What Are the Different Types of Game Artist Jobs?

Eugene P.

There are several diverse types of game artist jobs. This is partly because of the amount of content needed for a commercial game and partly because video games have increased dramatically in complexity. Many parts of the required game art are assigned to niche artists who specialize in a particular area. Some of the game artist jobs available are concept artist, texture artist, background artist and three-dimensional (3D) modeler. More specialized jobs that require targeted technical knowledge include animators, interface designers and packaging artists.

A handheld video game.
A handheld video game.

Some game artist jobs require that an artist have good drafting skills and other traditional two-dimensional artistic training. A concept artist fits in this category, providing the basic look and feel of characters, backgrounds and other objects in the game before they are modeled. This means concept artists work primarily as classical artists. If a concept artist deals exclusively with the characters within the game, they can also be known as a character artist.

Industrial packaging designers create CD cases to hold games.
Industrial packaging designers create CD cases to hold games.

There also are jobs that require knowledge of 3D modeling software and the ability to visualize completed objects. These types of jobs include 3D modelers who convert concept art into 3D models that can be animated. It also can include the position of background artist — also known as environmental artist or level designer — whose job it is to build the world in which the game takes place.

Other game artist jobs are a combination of both forms. An example of this is a texture artist. This is a person who takes a 3D model and wraps flat, two-dimensional images around them to create a sense of texture, clothing or depth.

A number of game artist jobs require special technical knowledge or experience. The job of animator is one of these positions. An animator takes the 3D models that have been built and adds virtual bones and muscles to them. Depending on the production, an animator might need knowledge of motion capture techniques, anatomy and complex mathematical concepts.

Other jobs that might require special knowledge include interface designer positions; they may need to know how a program reacts so they can customize buttons and scrollbars on the screen. Industrial packaging design is another specialized field. Such artists create the boxes or CD cases in which the games are sold.

Not all games and game production companies are the same. This means the types of game artist jobs could differ from one position to the next. Companies that design games for mobile devices might only use simple two-dimensional graphics and would not need modelers. Other companies might require that a concept artist work exclusively with rough 3D models. The jobs required could even vary from project to project within the same company.

Game artists may be responsible for the graphics and design of a game's characters.
Game artists may be responsible for the graphics and design of a game's characters.

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Discussion Comments


I can imagine that it must be very difficult to be a game artist, especially with all the rendering of the models. As an example, has anyone ever heard of a game called Mario & Luigi Dream Team? The game nearly took four years to make.

The reason why is because the developers had such a difficult time trying to adapt the 3D models in the 2D world. In fact, even though the game was developed by Nintendo, a different company worked on the 3D models. It really shows how much work goes into these games.

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