Game artist vs. animator: what’s the difference?

When people learn that I work in the games industry, they think that my job revolves around playing games all day. The second misconception is that a lot of people associate video game artists with animators. Sure, a game artist and an animator do similar things: they draw. But that’s where the similarities end.

Like an animator, a game artist can specialize based on their skillset: Concept Artist, Promo-Artist, Texture Artist, 3D modeler, Rigging & Animation Artist, Technical Artist and UI Artist. But one of the major differences in the production of an animation and a game is the limit of polygons that a game can use. Polygons are like the atoms of any game asset. In an animation, since the movie is rendered beforehand, the frame-rate problem is non-existent and so is the polygon limit on the assets. The production mentality in most game studios is: “less is more”. So an artist looking to make it in the game industry must understand these nuances.DSKIC Blog

An artist can no longer just draw and expect the game to create itself. Having experience in engines like Unity, Unreal and the like could be the edge in job interviews between one artist and the next. Engine knowledge is of prime importance when designing assets and managing their file-size. Another major difference is that game artists work very closely with programmers and designers in their team.

A game artist and an animator use different tools, have different work environments and modus operandi. While what we do might elementally be the same, the end result and the way we do it, is essentially different. This is rightly why Game Art and Animation are two separate streams at DSKIC (Supinfogame  & Supinfocom). Under the guidance of the trainers at the institute and with my personal drive, I was able to learn a lot more than I could hope for at any other institute in India. Working on team-projects became viable as I met a lot of like-minded individuals. And working becomes easier when the institute provides high-end systems. Their Build Your Own Game competition is a great way to make your first game and is an invaluable experience.
In the end, being a successful game artist solely depends on you. You could be provided with all the top-notch facilities in the world, but you need the drive to push forward and improve. The goal of perfection is light-years away, but you can always get closer with each step.

Written by Rahul Narayanan, a professional video game artist and DSKIC alumnus.


Game artist vs. animator: what’s the difference?

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