Définition du concept art

General / 25 March 2020

Petit article en Français, pour une fois =) Comme on me demande souvent la définition du concept art je la poste ici :

Qu’est ce que le concept art ?


Version courte : 

Du dessin technique pour l’industrie du divertissement.


Version longue : 

Une activité de design qui trouve son application au sein de l’industrie du divertissement.

Concrètement il s’agit d’user de ses compétences en dessin et de sa sensibilité artistique, pour concevoir des idées, des concepts, des émotions, parfois des fonctions. 

Le concept artist est un technicien créateur qui traduit des concepts de manière visuelle, émotionnelle et pratique au moyen de représentations picturales que l’on nomme concept art.

Le concept artist travaille à partir d’un brief, c’est à dire des consignes orales ou des notes synthétiques, le concept artist comprends, analyse ces consignes et les traduit en autant de concept art. Le travail d’un concept artist est amené à mûrir au fil d’un projet et évoluer en même temps que la direction artistique ou alors selon les contraintes de production (faisabilité technique).


Pour aller plus loin : 

Types de concept art : 

environment concept art, character desig, props art,  key art, storyboards, rough 3d mockups, paintovers ...

Video games studios and their business models

General / 08 March 2020

Hey there fellow artists !

For those of you who are new, I'm a concept artist working in Lyon, france, where I also organize and animate meetups for indie game devs, you can check it yourself here : https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/Game-Makers-Lyon 

Lastly I started presenting subjects I am interested into as short classes in my meetups, and I wanted to share my thoughts and make it available to all of you.

While all my slides are in French, I will traduce everything you need to know, so keep on going until the end :)

  Video games studios and their business models

The principle we will be studying today is : Studios business model have an influence on their games' art direction. 

In this presentation we will work by the example, meaning we will be listing video game studios business models based on real word cases. Also I'd like to say that this is only a non exhaustive list of examples.

A word about me : I am a self-taught french concept artist based in Lyon, France
What inspire me the most is to create universes and IPs 

I am also a cute hedgehog here (spiky !)

First of all, let's talk about the studios that have a proprietary technology, 

In "The art of Total War" James Russell explains the difference between content-driven studios and process-driven studios. 

Studios with a propietary technology are definitely Process oriented, they build on top of what they already have.

For example, TellTale always uses the same core gameplay no matter which universe their game take place in.

This kind of studios capitalize as much as possible on what they already know how to do in order to build a franchise, this makes them very safe when compared to other studios, first because they know the exact process they have to go through to make their games, and second because the public knows what kind of game to expect. The bad side here would be creativity, all of their games tend to play the same way.

Examples : TellTale, Creative Assembly (Total War Franchise)...

Then let's talk about studios associated with an editor

It's harder to talk about them, since they have a way broader spectrum of activities. 

From my point of view (better do your own research on top of it !) these studio are usually a few people large (less than 5) and have signe a contract with an editor. Really they can be making any kind of game, 

I see no obvious downside to running this kind of studio, it's as good as it can get. 

Service Providers

This category isn't about studios exactly, in the sense that they're not making their own games : they are helping other studios to make games.

Usually this kind of company is very specialized in a little field : they don't do a lot of different things, but they do it very well, and for all sort of projects.

For example, One pixel brush provides a concept art service, Uko creative provides a trailer directing service for games, and Gfactory provides a game art service.

It is also very common in the video game industry to use this kind of service for Press release via communication agencies.

These studios always work in a lean manufacturing kind of way, allowing them to do better quality of work, faster, and for cheaper, at the cost of diversity.

But they also work as white mark, meaning they are not always credited on the final products.

Casual mobile games studios on the other end focus on making as many full products as they can. Quick and dirty

They are able to deliver finished games with only a bit of polish very fast, which allows them to lower the risk when compared to other companies that only release a game every few years.

On the other hand, they don't have that much control over the success of their game and it can feel a bit like playing lottery.

From my personal experience most of these developpers make most of their living on one of their game that had success pretty much despite them. Take it with a grain of salt though

Examples would be : 8Sec, 111%, Voodoo...

 

"Game as a service" studios

They usually have a single Game that they update often so that their communities can keep playing the game without getting bored.

It's really different than let's say making a game every few years and then going onto the next one, it takes a lot of nurturing and care, but eventually it makes games into giant playgrounds, which is pretty nice.

The bad side of this type of company would be that they need a good community, and it takes a while to grow one.

examples would be : Million Victories, Epic Games, Revolt (Neopolis), Niantic...
  


Studios based on intellectual property (my favs !)

These studios have actual IPs they can use to sell cultural products that are not video games, such as movies and toys, or even comics

It allows them to be safer, since their source of income does not come only from one source, but on the other hand it takes a lot of planning and time that could otherwise be spent on the game.

IPs are a thing by themselves and it's really a different exercise to create a whole fictional universe than to create a video game.

Good examples would be Ankama, Atypique studios (Noara), Riot Games, Rovio


Studios with an expertise outside of video games.

Some studios make video games not as an entertainement but as a way to help other fields and industry such as healthcare or VR. Serious games are getting bigger and bigger as time goes by.

It's hard to talk about these studios as a whole because it really depends on what field they have an expertise in. But from my own experience I can tell that they are the most people-depending studios. It means that they are not process-driven or even experience-driven, but people-driven.


Studios bought by an editor

Usually these studios have been existing for a while before they are bought by an editor

They tend to get bigger and more process-oriented.

An example in Lyon would be Kylotonn.

Indie studios

The experience-driven studios by excellence. They are usually composed of a few very skilled and passionated people, who thrives on making new experiences for players.

It is also one of the most dangerous ways to run a studio, since indie studios don't have a franchise or an IP they can build onto yet, they have to build everything from the ground up and there is no way to be sure that their game will sell.

Studios with more than one business model

Some studios rely on several of the business models we have seen earlier. The most common combo from my experience is a third-party service provider that is also an indie game studio.  

Studios so big they're actually a bunch of studios put together  

Just a disclaimer to tell you that my list is incomplete =) There are a lot of studios business model I did not talk about !
  

And most importantly, all of these studios make a whole ecosystem, and it's not only studios, but also editors, associations, meetups, big events ...

The video game industry is really a lot of actors and every single one of them is unique.
  

Here are my contact infos in case you feel like you have somethinf to tell me =) Enjoy !
  

The 3 last years of my life

News / 23 December 2019

Happy new year everyone ! I just turned 23 earlier this month, and I thought it'd make a cool post to go back on my 2019 resolution and what I learned in the past few years :p

Also it goes well with my last post which theme was resilience


3 years ago,

First projects, discovering animation, first movie (It was so eew)

Manage to get my diploma anyway, with honors, and getting ready to study in the US


2 years ago,

Well, go study in Oregon

Discovers the world, travels a lot

Discovers the world of design, and a vocation going with that

One painting a day for a year

Starts to work with actual goals in mind, not because I'm told to


1 year Ago,

Goes back in France

Drops out of college, to learn faster

Creates a few events for networking

Wins a startup weekend, launches my own studio, have it fail within a few month

Doesn't surrender and keeps working on solo projects, building recognition


This Year,

Goes Freelance, first clients, first contracts

Becomes an animator, regularly does public demonstrations

Practices sport regularly, perfects my autodiscipline, daily routine and gets a better grasp of what I wanna do

Specializes, learns a few extra trick, practices architectural visualisation ontop of concept art


So what now ?

Everything is going faster and faster as years go by, and I love that more steady pace, I'm more open to everything around me and I feel like I'm building something useful.

Things got better once I started working on my own, yet now I still feel like working as part of a project is valuable, co-workers push you higher. 


If you feel like working together, feel free to drop me a message, I consider any type of work, be it freelance or in-house ;) (And did I mention I'm willing to travel ?)


You can check my portfolio here : www.Maayanefyeodou.art/ 


Enjoy

One year of art

Article / 27 October 2019

Hello Artstation, today we’re going to talk about early careers, resiliency, burnout, and climbing walls. Let’s start out !

Out of about 30 students of my graduate promotion, only 3 or 4 are working in the industry 2 years later…

I had the chance to go study an extra year in Oregon, and that’s there that I discovered my vocation for concept art. When I made it back to France, I took the risky bet to become a self-taught concept artist -- And I gave myself the means for it, I started a Meetup group for networking, along the lines of those I had seen in the US, I got myself to produce art every single day, I asked professional concepts artists for some valuable knowledge (They're so nice !).

It's been about a year now that I seriously started studying concept art (I had never touched a brush before that), I've been taking Learnsquared and Gnomon Workshop classes, seeing others pros as mentor, all while taking all the odd jobs that I was presented with. I also made friends with similar and complementary career projects through the pro Meetup I created in France.

During this year I got to know myself better, where I was good and where I needed more training, and I also discovered the gigantic complexity of what I still had to learn, it sometimes gives me dizziness, but then I remember all I have already been through and I can get the fire burning again.

When I started I thought I'd be ruling the world in just 1 year (lol), but now, 1 year later, I believe it was a bit presomptuous of me. This is a much tougher piece than what I originally thought ; it's a career you gotta dedicate your life to.

Which gets us to the climbing wall ! I feel sometimes career is like a climbing wall, you gotta stop, take a step back, and watch for good holds. With the experience I got from this first year as a concept artist, I feel way more mature and confident for all the coming years !

St George Project Postmortem

Making Of / 21 September 2019

For this past month I had the chance to work on a project on my own I plan to release soon, it's a short film called "St Georges" about a ship. I did some water VFX and fluid simulation for the first time, along with some nice boat concept art, so I thought I'd share my process with you here before the teaser is released, enjoy !

You can check it up here : https://collectivememoriesstudio.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/st-georges-post-mortem-externe.pdf 

Ganbreeder animation test

Making Of / 26 August 2019

I tried animating using AI-generated images with ganbreeder, and I thought it would be a cool idea to share it here.

It's an awesome way to generate some trippy ideas.

Since Ganbreeder isn't made for animations, It's actually a time-consuming process, but you can automate some parts using auto clickers.

I had to downsize the gifs to 10MB to post them on artstation, hence the small size.

--

Let's start with my favorite, the uncanny environments

Next comes the plane-plant-tarentula

It becomes really weird when you try to mix organic and unorganic shapes, such as here ; The Website-plant

it gets really uncanny when you try to incorporate people in here ; I present you the Angry-Ladybird that is also a fox.

And last but not least : The Fox-Whale-Bun

I hope it was instructive, see you next time for more weird stuff.


  

Negev Desert reference superpack

General / 11 August 2019

Today I am sharing some pictures of the Negev desert, especially the area near the dead sea.It is just crazy how alien this place feels and how the topography of the floor just draws pattern over pattern.This is due to the fact it is the lowest place on earth and in the middle of a desert, so the weather shaped this uniqueness over a very long time.Albeit the desert looks like a dead and arid place, it’s actually filled with a lot of life. Most pictures here will focus on topography though.

Middle Eastern architecture reference pack

General / 06 August 2019

Here are some reference pictures of middle Eastern architecture

It’s interesting how the roofs are made of different materials than the actual buildings. You can feel the influence of time over all those old rocks and be fascinated over how they meet with the iron and paint.

Most of these pictures were taken in the city of Jerusalem and some in the city of Tzfat.

Small stuff (macro plants reference photos)

General / 14 June 2019

I recommend using these in imaginative ways, flowers have such a unique shape. Also shooting reference pictures in macro allows to get those weird shapes you wouldn’t get with regular pictures.

How to find collaborators that actually stick (as indies)

Article / 28 May 2019

Lately I’ve been organising meetups for local indie gamedevs in Lyon, France. I called these “Set goals and get the Sh*t done!”. It consists mostly of small groups workshops with indie devs that have a project in Mind. I figured it would be of common utility if I take notes during the workshops and make a small digest out of everything we learn each time in the form of a blog article.

This time the subject was “how to find collaborators as an indie and how to get them to stick with the project”.

Keep in mind this is the result of informal conversation and everything written here is based on experience, not facts. It is biased information based on our own experiences and the books we read.

We figured together that even though it’s not that hard to find people that are willing to help indie devs, be it other devs, artists, or com’ guys, the motivation slowly vanishes over the course of a few weeks and they tend to disappear (rude!)

Work with anyone, or find the right person ?

There seem to be a need to find the “right person”, usually someone who has a complementary set of skill. Thought the one skill that is the most appreciated nowadays is good teamwork. There are two boats here ; those who want to make a really good duo with always the same person, and the ones that think the most important thing is to be able to work ok with anyone.

The middle way and what ended up looking like the better solution would be to have a core team of a fiew people that share a vision for the game, and then outsource what’s left. This liquid system with a solid core would allow for more agile work while keeping a rigorous brand and mission of the studio.

Money, Vision and Regularity

One thing that tends to hold together even the most dysfunctional teams seems to be money. Making Money (Or the promess of money, usually taking the form of parts) is usually a huge step for validation of a project (most indie games fail before they can be profitable).

But then how do you get people to imply themselves in your project for free ? The answer could be : Have a vision. What I mean by that is that regularity in your work and personnal projects lets you develop your own voice, your own vision. And that very personal voice is a very important asset only you have. When your associates are not around for the money, they’re probably sticking because they believe your studio will change the world in a good way, or at least a way they like.The storytelling of the project is key here, knowing who you are, and what you want to achieve is too. Having a strong background and a solid portfolio also seems to help.

Hope I could help someone with that =) I you feel you can add something feel free to DM me.

Some unanswered questions : Do you approach an associate with a project in mind or build it together ?