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A game artist is an artist who creates art for one or more types of games. Game artists are responsible for all of the aspects of game development that call for visual art. Game artists are often noted in role-playing games, collectible card games and video games.


Role-playing games

Many game artists are called upon to develop graphical treatments for the environments and elements in which role-playing games take place. For example, in the Monster Manual early Dungeons & Dragons artists created visual representations of monsters players might encounter while adventuring. Many such depictions may influence subsequent art and the type of campaigns or adventures that developers and players create.

Because role-playing games rely heavily on player's imaginations, graphic illustrations can influence the appeal of the game. Therefore, as games become more popular, developers make a lot more money available to art development to help continue to broaden the game's appeal.

Art for role-playing games can be expressed in a variety of media, from pencil drawings, to pen and ink illustrations, to oil paintings or even 3D models created with a computer. Therefore, no one skill set can be pinpointed as necessary for a role-playing game artist, beyond that of some artistic ability. Necessary skills will vary from game to game and developer to developer.

Video games

In modern video games, game artists create 2D art used as concept art, textures or 3D models and animations.

Under the direction of an art director and game designer, they often design the look of the character through concept art and render them to be integrated into the game. They are also responsible for designing scenery, props, and any other visual effects in the game, like FMVs.

The abilities of early home computers were so limited that having specialized personnel for art was unnecessary. Up until about the early 1980s, almost all art for video games were created by the game programmers. That art was simply created in code by specifying pixel colors and coordinates.

In recent times, dedicated video game artists make up a large part of many game development teams. Today, the ability of personal computers, software (such as 3D modelers) and video game consoles is so great that the number of game artists can far outstrip the number of any other group of the game development team, such as programmers and testers.



Salaries for game artists vary from company to company and country to country. In general, however, pay for game artists falls below that of game programmers and above that of game testers and game designers.

Results of a 2007 survey indicate that the average salary for a game artist is USD$66,594 annually. The least experienced artists (with less than 3 years experience) generally earn about $43,657 per year, while artists with over six years experience on average earn $74,335 annually. Art directors with over six years experience under their belt earn an average of $102,806 annually.[1]


  1. ^ Fleming, Jeffrey (April 2008). "7th Annual Salary Survey". Game Developer (United Business Media) 15 (4): 8.  


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