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Old 05-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
I always had a misguided delusion that I'm not really an artist, or else I would have been drawing amazing things since I was a kid.


Honestly, this sounds like you are making excuses. Your only other post than this one is asking whether you can make it as a "modeler/animator" which indicates that you have a certain amount of grasping at straws going on here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
Even though I have these sculpting & technical skills, I am realizing now that being a concept artist with photoshop is where the real art is.
Don't fool yourself. For every Dylan Cole out there doing sumptuous color studies for Star Wars movies, there are hundreds of others designing crates and swords and helmets for all manner of games and movies. I would much more classify "concept art" as a trade and not really an "art." It's about bringing life to someone else's vision, not necessarily creating your own. There are very few people I would call "visionary artists" at the top of the concept art pile, and those are the ones with books of their work and whose work is equated with the business of CA. It is not the norm for the industry to have so much creative freedom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
I don't really want to work at a studio or on someone elses project, I really want to start something amazing that many people will see and hopefully open my own studio...

This is, to put it kindly, a terrible idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
but I'm already making a good income stress free with no deadlines or overtime and I get to be away from the computer and socialize.


Then you are in an ideal situation to learn. Every person I know who wanted to switch career tracks who was in a similar position went home from their day job and worked 6 or 8 hours every night at the job they wanted to do. That's what it takes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
I'm just not as hopeful as I can be anywhere near as good as someone like Dylan Cole since I'm only getting into concepting / photoshop so late in my life.

In all honestly, it's likely you will not be as good. But you can be close, if you are dedicated enough. Even with all the people telling you that age doesn't matter, the truth is that he probably already has 20 or more years experience over you. That's a lot of catching up to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
I hear people say it takes 3 years to be good, but can you really become a talented concept artist starting this late at 26?

3 years is an arbitrary number. All serious artists are learning and improving all the time. There may be some point at which you could call yourself "employable," but there's no finish line here. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be the hardest thing you've ever done and test every ounce of commitment you can throw at something? Yes.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:27 PM   #17
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If you already have a good source of income doing a stress-free job that you enjoy, then you are already ahead of most people on this planet. If your goal is to open up your own studio, you're going to be living a very different life. You will be stressed out all the time, and you will be dealing with a lot of business end of things that have nothing to do with creativity (unless you can afford to hire/partner with someone to do all that--basically run your company for you while you just handle the creative aspects). And you'll likely find that your work life will completely dominate your personal life, because running a company is so much work.

Now, about your desire to become a good concept artist.

What is your motivation? Do you actually love the process of drawing/painting/designing? Don't think about anything else (what you'll be using the concept art for)--just focus on the actual process of brainstorming and researching design ideas for environments, characters, vehicles, weapons, gadgets, creatures, etc, and then sketch iteration after iteration of different variants to explore possibilities, then draw/paint it to the level that is considered top-quality work, which will take many hours of hardcore drawing/painting. Do you have any experience going through that entire process? How much of it have you done so far? And did you really LOVE the process, or did it feel like a chore?

See, you have to separate your desire to do something from whether or not you actually love doing it. There are way too many people in this world whose desires are writing checks their personality can't cash. I have taught hundred of students, and many of them wanted to be concept artists, but when it comes to actually putting their noses to the grindstone and actually putting in the hard work, many of them discover that they had the desire, but lack the personality for it (meaning they lack the discipline, patience, tenacity, endurance for hardship, and the ability to enjoy being challenged and fighting hard to become better). This is the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

When you really love the process itself, it doesn't even feel like hard work, because you just lose yourself in the endeavor and that full immersion makes it easy to endure the many hours, days, weeks, months, and years of pushing yourself to the limits of your ability. But if you find the process too grueling and it feels more like torture and a chore, then you are desiring something that your personality isn't suited for.

Whether you make a living with your art isn't a real indication of how good you can be, but generally speaking, professional are so good because they need to be that good in order to compete and make a living, so there's extra incentive on top of them being passionate and loving what they do. So unless you make your artistic development into something that is just as all-consuming and demanding of your time and energy and dedication, it'll be very difficult to reach the same level as the professionals.

Assuming you have the right personality, love the process, and you have the passion, discipline, tenacity, intelligence, curiosity, imagination, and endurance, then yes, you will be able to become a good concept artist if you work very hard at it the way full-time concept art students do while attending a demanding art school like The Art Center in Pasadena. There are enough learning resources out there these days that you can design a full curriculum for self-learning and achieve your goal.

One thing to keep in mind, is that when it comes to excelling in any creative endeavor, it often requires you give all you've got (or close to it). It's not as if you only give 50% of your passion and dedication, you'll see a 50% yield. It's more like there's a threshold you have to meet (let's say maybe 85% minimum), and if you don't meet that threshold, then all of your efforts will end up resulting in not much of anything, because you haven't built up enough momentum to see clear results of your hard-work, and without that momentum, you will lose interest, and then give up. And you have to keep the momentum going, because you could be one year into your artistic development and then lose your momentum and it all just ends right there. Once you lose it, it's very hard to get it back. Many people lose their momentum when they're young, and only with age and mounting regret manage to find the motivation to try again many years later.

And to echo what other said--26 is still very young. There are many of us who would trade something very valuable--like a body part, to be 26 again (but still retaining the experience/wisdom we've built up at our current age).
 
Old 05-22-2013, 12:12 AM   #18
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Wow you guys are so inspiring, encouraging and beautiful. I'm sorry for making some of you feel old, but your visual life experiences and imagination must be vastly greater than someone my age giving you incredible power & potential. It's very motivating to hear well known people who got started later in life.

About opening my own studio- I think many of us dream of it someday, it's only something I hope to do on a smaller scale if the short movies I make do well on youtube and partnership turns lucrative. A good example is where freddiew is now. It's my dream to be half as successful as him. I think I have a bigger skillset not only on the vfx/AE/film/particlesim side but with modeling animating and hopefully environment matte painting / concepting soon.

I've collected tons of material & dvd's on photoshop / matte painting / concepting / perspective drawing from gnomon, DT, cmivfx, and many popular other tutorials.

I know I probably come off as pretty ambitious tackling too many disciplines, but I'm not trying to make long complicated movies, only 1-2 minutes like freddiew, but with more cg and less live action. Since I can't afford to pay any artists because anyone of quality would cost more than I make at my job, I have to do everything myself, at least at the start (if you build it they will come). Also I think I have the patience, potential & dedication for this transition coming from using maya & zbrush for years.

It seems that the number one quality of any successful entrepreneur starting his own project is not only to have all the skills and drive to do it, but the free time. Our society isn't really designed for people to work their day job, and then treat their personal project as a second job, because thats incredibly draining. Yes it would be amazing to work on huge movies and be part of a wonderful studio, but nothing probably beats having total control and heading your own vision.

A final response about not wanting to do this as my day job. If eventually what I'm making contributes to a good portfolio it could be ideal, since instead of selling insurance / realestate I would be working on my craft and getting better every day as an artist, but I think youtube is a huge market and it would be a dream to turn that into a living instead (just have to sleep alot less).

I can't thank you all enough for the posts & encouragement here, what an amazing community.

Last edited by iLoveGreenDragon : 05-22-2013 at 12:38 AM.
 
Old 05-22-2013, 06:40 AM   #19
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don't listen to any of these people.
26 is too old.
you need to find a nice rocking chair.
 
Old 05-22-2013, 09:27 AM   #20
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don't listen to any of these people.
26 is too old.
you need to find a nice rocking chair.

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Old 05-22-2013, 10:44 PM   #21
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Don't fool yourself. For every Dylan Cole out there doing sumptuous color studies for Star Wars movies, there are hundreds of others designing crates and swords and helmets for all manner of games and movies. I would much more classify "concept art" as a trade and not really an "art." It's about bringing life to someone else's vision, not necessarily creating your own. There are very few people I would call "visionary artists" at the top of the concept art pile, and those are the ones with books of their work and whose work is equated with the business of CA. It is not the norm for the industry to have so much creative freedom.


How can something be called a trade yet have its top practitioners named as "Visionary Artists" surely they would be "Visionary Tradesmen" in that case? Maybe they are, who cares.

But anyway... Creativity and execution IS important, there may be a functional requirement for a crate, but you want the person doing that crate to at least do a very nice interesting one, who understands the history of design, form and function, who can combine and interpret it all in a unique way, which takes a creative mind!

There are also people at the very top of the game who do not have books published or huge Facebook followings....
 
Old 05-22-2013, 11:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by conbom
How can something be called a trade yet have its top practitioners named as "Visionary Artists" surely they would be "Visionary Tradesmen" in that case? Maybe they are, who cares.

But anyway... Creativity and execution IS important, there may be a functional requirement for a crate, but you want the person doing that crate to at least do a very nice interesting one, who understands the history of design, form and function, who can combine and interpret it all in a unique way, which takes a creative mind!

There are also people at the very top of the game who do not have books published or huge Facebook followings....


My point is that you don't hire Syd Mead to design junk to fill in your sci-fi set. You hire him for his vision and visual style, for lack of a better word. Even though he uses all the traditional tools of design, he most definitely has his own "look" that a director or studio is after. But I would venture to say that most concept design is not like that.

I have done a fair amount of it myself (just env. & props & vehicles), and it often comes down to just doing what's appropriate for a given environment. Most CA is not a case of tearing down the problem and working through many solutions and varied approaches. Often that world is already laid out and just requires that your designs "fit" with everything else. It takes some design skill, for sure, but not that much.

Concept design is actually a pretty rare skill/craft/art/whatever. There aren't many opportunities in the industrial arts to combine technical drawing skills, design theory, and practical application (even if that application is fictional) into one craft. If you have all these skills, and are lightning fast at them, you might have a shot at that business.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:48 PM   #23
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I couldn't agree more with what ArtBot has to say here. Folks must understand that there are many levels of "concept art" and "concept art tasks". For example there is concept art and then concept visualization. The two have almost no similarity and are almost 180 degrees out of phase with eachother. Concept art can be the precursor and will set the direction for the final product and style, concept visualization is the post product which is created to convey the message or story of an already well defined concept or idea. In between there are many levels which can combine or range between the two. But in the use of the terminology(taxonomy) it may be difficult to understand the difference without prior experience in one or both. And sometimes the terms are used interchangebly only confusing matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artbot
My point is that you don't hire Syd Mead to design junk to fill in your sci-fi set. You hire him for his vision and visual style, for lack of a better word. Even though he uses all the traditional tools of design, he most definitely has his own "look" that a director or studio is after. But I would venture to say that most concept design is not like that.


I completely agree, however I would go further to suggest that this example be thought of as Forward Vision. The ability to imagine something that has never existed and lead the way with a new and imaginative idea and give visual body to a narrative where no visual pre-exists.

However, while I agree, I do think there is some irony to this statement. Having met Syd and listened to him describe his experiences, Syd is one of those really rare individuals who can fill large negative areas with nondescript content that suggests that something is "there" without getting into the specifics of the content. While I would never dare to call this visual content junk, his ability in this area is an absolute artform within itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artbot
I have done a fair amount of it myself (just env. & props & vehicles), and it often comes down to just doing what's appropriate for a given environment. Most CA is not a case of tearing down the problem and working through many solutions and varied approaches. Often that world is already laid out and just requires that your designs "fit" with everything else. It takes some design skill, for sure, but not that much.


This is fairly close to world I live in. I work with people who have their ideas and products clearly laid out, understood, and predefined. I can't deviate from that without the potential risk of damaging the credibility of their product. My "concept visualization" often lacks the component of being able to employ "forward vision" because its not about what I want to create, its about respecting the client's product and visualizing their ideas, not mine. Along the way I occasionally get to introduce some of my ideas, with permission of the client, and if accepted is a positive experience. This side of the equation is more a matter of interpretation than style, and I enjoy this kind of work.

However, this can be a difficult thing for some artists to cope with because it can often go completely against everything they "feel", "need", or have been "taught", especially regarding the traditional art theory of personal style development. So many artists become artists in order to perform "their" art, to establish "their" style. If you are sought out for that you are fortunate indeed. But many artists are needed just to visualize someone else's vision. The ability to swing back and forth between these two extremes is a talent in and of itself. The trick here is for the artist to figure out exactly where in this spectrum they enjoy being.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artbot
Concept design is actually a pretty rare skill/craft/art/whatever. There aren't many opportunities in the industrial arts to combine technical drawing skills, design theory, and practical application (even if that application is fictional) into one craft. If you have all these skills, and are lightning fast at them, you might have a shot at that business.


I don't disagree, but I'm curious if the scope of this comment might sound more narrow than I think it was intended. Concept design can be applicable to Feature Film, Television, Product Development, Science and Research, etc. In each area the "form follows function" factor deviates dramatically. In feature film or television you can have the possibility of "function" applying no constraints since you may be in the situation of pure imaginative design. In other words, anything goes. And then documentary work will be very different from science fiction. While in product development or science the constraint of "function" drives everything.

I think the skill factor is right on the money however. Someone can have the greatest imagination ever, but with no skill to put that imagination on paper or screen, no one will ever know your abilities.

Its the reason I think that there is this misleading presumption that child artists have the edge over everyone else. That they have been honing their skills longer. It may be true in some cases, but its no guarantee of success. The only guarantor of success is motivation. Not age, not congenital talent, not the tool you use. If you are motivated and focused, the potential for success is all up to you.

Joey
 
Old 05-23-2013, 05:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyP88
My "concept visualization" often lacks the component of being able to employ "forward vision" because its not about what I want to create, its about respecting the client's product and visualizing their ideas, not mine. Along the way I occasionally get to introduce some of my ideas, with permission of the client, and if accepted is a positive experience. This side of the equation is more a matter of interpretation than style, and I enjoy this kind of work.

However, this can be a difficult thing for some artists to cope with because it can often go completely against everything they "feel", "need", or have been "taught", especially regarding the traditional art theory of personal style development. So many artists become artists in order to perform "their" art, to establish "their" style. If you are sought out for that you are fortunate indeed. But many artists are needed just to visualize someone else's vision. The ability to swing back and forth between these two extremes is a talent in and of itself. The trick here is for the artist to figure out exactly where in this spectrum they enjoy being.


This hits the nail on the head and brings it back to the OP's intentions. It may be a bit presumptuous, but it sounds like OP thinks that a concept artist is hired for their own vision, when in reality the majority of CA tasks are deciphering and presenting someone else's vision. And the emboldened sentences say it all.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:26 PM   #25
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:51 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artbot
This hits the nail on the head and brings it back to the OP's intentions. It may be a bit presumptuous, but it sounds like OP thinks that a concept artist is hired for their own vision, when in reality the majority of CA tasks are deciphering and presenting someone else's vision. And the emboldened sentences say it all.


I think my last post was clearly about the opposite. It's the reason why I'd rather work on personal projects than at another studio to have complete control..

Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
Yes it would be amazing to work on huge movies and be part of a wonderful studio, but nothing probably beats having total control and heading your own vision.


Meaning that even though you are getting better as an artist since it is your day job, you still are working on someone elses 'vision', which is a trade off some people may not be willing to make.

Also forgive me for turning into a troll but isnt the quote in your signature a tad foolish?

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -P.K.D."
That is, until you're dead. What is the point of this quote? Obviously reality doesn't stop, because it is reality, you may as well say another random obvious statement.
Even if you don't believe in gravity, apples still fall from a tree and hit the ground.

Anyways, words can only say so much and to me are not really a vision. A concept artist is really the visionary, if you say I want a space ship interior with aliens and give specific details, they are just words. Unless you are working from an even more basic concept reference, which is still concept art.

I think there are exceptions though, we can't be so bold to say it's one specific way or the other, it probably goes both ways. For example dylan cole's role in bioluminescence and the whole art direction for avatar seems to be extending from his vision. The one who told him "I want glowing alien plant life in a beautiful nature scene" is not the visionary. Thats just a brief description. At least in dylan's avatar section on his site he made it seem like he played a large role in the overall style.

So concept artists are visionaries in their own respect, but contradictorily I also agree to have ultimate complete control over the vision you can only really achieve that on your own personal project.

Last edited by iLoveGreenDragon : 05-23-2013 at 10:16 PM.
 
Old 05-23-2013, 10:15 PM   #27
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Okay, you are incredibly naive and have no idea what you are talking about. Good luck with your "vision."
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:18 PM   #28
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Okay, you are incredibly naive and have no idea what you are talking about. Good luck with your "vision."


Please elaborate on which part of my post was incorrect. I thought it was a good response to bring us all together.
 
Old 05-23-2013, 10:26 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Artbot
This hits the nail on the head and brings it back to the OP's intentions. It may be a bit presumptuous, but it sounds like OP thinks that a concept artist is hired for their own vision, when in reality the majority of CA tasks are deciphering and presenting someone else's vision. And the emboldened sentences say it all.


I'll say you nailed it in your comments as well. Its more than true that its very very rare that an artist is hired to share his or her vision, you're there to create and "make real" someone else's vision in just about every actual work for hire situation you'll find yourself in. If you're working towards getting hired as the creator, you'll have better luck funding yourself.

I think a lot of younger guys who get into the business side of the industry don't realize that for a little while. Majority of us are tools for hire. And its afforded me a good life so far.

If you want to only work for your own art, pick a job that pays well for a few years like investment banking, then retire and work for yourself.

Last edited by pipdixel : 05-23-2013 at 10:30 PM.
 
Old 05-24-2013, 12:19 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveGreenDragon
Anyways, words can only say so much and to me are not really a vision. A concept artist is really the visionary, if you say I want a space ship interior with aliens and give specific details, they are just words. Unless you are working from an even more basic concept reference, which is still concept art.

I think there are exceptions though, we can't be so bold to say it's one specific way or the other, it probably goes both ways. For example dylan cole's role in bioluminescence and the whole art direction for avatar seems to be extending from his vision. The one who told him "I want glowing alien plant life in a beautiful nature scene" is not the visionary. Thats just a brief description. At least in dylan's avatar section on his site he made it seem like he played a large role in the overall style.

So concept artists are visionaries in their own respect, but contradictorily I also agree to have ultimate complete control over the vision you can only really achieve that on your own personal project.


Believe it or not, even famous concept artists disagree with you. The people who create the stories, doing the world-building, structuring the plot, breathing life into the characters with descriptions and dialogues, etc are the visionaries. Read any major landmark sci-fi/fantasy novels from the past and you'll see how much influence they had/have. Feng Zhu, one of the leading concept artists in the world, said publicly in one of his videos that the best source for building one's visual library as a concept artist is to read novels. To say that "words can only say so much" is to completely disrespect the power of words and storytelling, which is the root of of all imaginative works. How imaginative and creative do you think all your favorite concept artists would be if they didn't grow up reading novels and comics and watching movies/animation--all of which had to originate from the creative vision of a creator/writer?

The concept artists cater everything they do towards the will of the storytellers (the writers, directors, game designers). When you read novels and screenplays, the good ones make you see a rich, detailed world in your mind's eye through the descriptions, and the job of the concept artist is to translate that into the visual representation so production artists can build assets out of them to be used in the film, TV show, or video game. Yes, concept artist do contribute their own creativity and add to the descriptions they're given, but they are not the ones calling the shots or the ones who did the world-building--it's the creator/writer/director/game designer that came up with the premise, and they dictate what concept artists will do. You talk to any concept artist and ask them what should be king in any project with a narrative, and they'll tell you "The story is always the king." Without the visionary behind the story, the characters, and the world-building, concept artists would have nothing to work on. Even projects that aren't heavy on story (such as some MMO's) there would still need to be enough world-building by the creator/writer for concept artists to begin work.

Now, I'm talking about mainly concept artists working in entertainment. In the world of industrial design things can be different, but even then, the designer has to work with a set parameter of requirements and rules and feature sets--it's not as if the designer one day woke up and just came up with a revolutionary technology/invention. It's the scientists and inventors that are the real visionaries--the designers help the inventors bring their ideas to life.

I think maybe you're confusing certain aspects of this discussion because you have aspirations to be a creator/writer as well as a concept artist, and you're kind of mixing them up because they are somewhat intertwined in your own projects. But if you separate each discipline logically, you'll see that it's always the storytelling that matters the most--everything else is there to serve the story.

Almost without exception, projects that have great visuals but horrible storytelling, uninspired premise, or lackluster gameplay don't fare well with critics or fans. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between. Also, if you look at all the successful and critically acclaimed works out there in film, TV, games, or even in toys, the creative visionaries who came up with the ideas for them were not the concept artists. The concept artists were hired workers that were brought into the projects to work on the ideas that the actual creative visionaries came up with.

Creative projects exist because of the creators/writers/directors/game designers, not because of the concept artists. When was the last time you heard in any promo that said, "From the concept artists that brought you Toy Story/Star Wars/The Hunger Games/Harry Potter/Star Trek, comes a new adventure," or "The critics are calling the latest film/TV show/game by concept artist(s) so-and-so a triumph and instant classic."?

None of this is meant to downplay the contribution of concept artists--I'm simply stating things as they are. I love concept artists as much as anyone else, and in fact, one of my biggest influences as both an artist and as a human being is Craig Mullins, one of the most beloved concept artists working today (his presence and teachings at Sijun Forums during the early years had a huge impact on me).
 
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