Prop artist: working with game art

prop artist could be the way to work in one of the most profitable and fun industries today? Or, are you interested in game development but don't really like the programming part?

So read on to find out how to make money on games industry with your creativity !

Prop artist: working with art in the games area | 711916ee pexels pixabay 163077 | married games technology | game development, gamedev, life is strange | prop artist

In the previous article, we talked about gameplay programming and continuing our series on professions for those who want to create games, this time, especially for our readers with the soul of an artist, today I bring you one more option: prop designer.

prop artist
Prop artist: working with art in the games area | game development, gamedev, life is strange | prop artist

After all, what are props?

This prop term is inherited from the theater and  according to the cambridge dictionary  it means “an object used by the actors in a play or film” or “objects used in a scene on a theater stage or in a film”. But what does this have to do with games?

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If you’ve played Hearthstone you’ve probably come across hidden secrets on scenery objects, as shown in this video made by the KinkyGaming channel.

And not only in this game, another classic example is the boxes and Wumpas (the famous berries) from the game Crash Bandicoot, which even included the most recent title of this beloved Naughty Dog franchise, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, was announced for the Nintendo Switch platform this week on the official Nintendo channel.

I mentioned these games so that you have the perception that props can be any and all objects in a game scenario, which can be interactive or just part of the decoration. These objects are a fundamental part of the composition of games in general, because they can be part of basic gameplay such as healing items, weapons and items usable for solving puzzles.

In addition, it can also be small details that tell more about the game world. An excellent example of this is Dontnod's Life is strange franchise, which although it has a very simple gameplay, all the care that the team took with the props, even makes posters and small papers through the scenery in relevant pieces of history, making this much more interesting game.

Now that you know what props are and what and how important they are to game art, let's understand a little more about the profession of prop designer.

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Responsibilities of a prop artist

Below, some of the main responsibilities in the daily life of this professional, that is, what is really expected of you on a day-to-day basis.

Design

The prop artist is responsible for modeling the objects drawn by the concept artist (conceptual artist), from beginning to end, that is, in addition to the 3D model, this professional will apply textures, colors, lighting and animations, in order to make the objects ready for game scenes are added. 

But this can vary depending on the company, because in some cases the concept art, and the design of the prop itself will be part of your responsibility as well.

Optimization

It is necessary to have a good knowledge of computer graphics and computer architecture to know how to optimize the models you will deliver, so that this little piece that makes up the scenario does not spoil the entire performance of the game.

What it takes to start a career as a prop artist

If you are interested in starting your career working in game companies, know that a diploma is not necessarily a requirement, it can only be a differentiator.

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Therefore, to work as a prop artist the absence of a diploma is not a determinant. What really matters is the mastery of some of the main software on the market:

For some jobs, it is also necessary to have knowledge in animation, whether 2D or 3D, because not every stage object will be inanimate, even if it is not interactive.

A good portfolio containing works with varied themes helps to show your ability to act as an artist in different projects. If you want to work only with 2D or 3D it is important to have a portfolio with only one type, now if you prefer to demonstrate a more general knowledge, you need to demonstrate a good command in both styles.

Professional Profile

Although this is an art-oriented profession, you will still work together with other professionals, such as game designers, artists and programmers, so communication skills are essential.

This is because each prop is created incrementally, that is, until its design is approved, it remains a prototype, which needs to be constantly validated and modified.

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In addition, to create creative designs, you will need a lot of references, so enjoy researching, on sites like Pinterest for example, it will be a great differentiator. And always be curious about new trends, and watching the work of other artists on social media.

And as mentioned earlier, having a certain flexibility as an artist, being able to perform different tasks, in different styles as needed can also make a lot of difference in your career.

How much does a prop artist earn 

According to the website Comparably , in some overseas game companies, it is possible to earn an average of $ 60,000, up to $ 72,000. Remembering that this variation is due to factors such as experience and skill level.

Nessa prop artist job at Blizzard for example, the estimated salary ranges from $ 61,000 to $ 83,000. Already in this ArenaNet spot, the remuneration can vary between $ 52,000 and $ 75,000.

🔴 Do you want to earn up to $ 75 a year?

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So I have some excellent news for you!
In just one course you learn how to:

➡ Everything you need to create 3D characters, weapons, scenarios and many more.
➡ Bring your works and creations to life in the Animation Module.
➡ Create your own Assets.
➡ Learn to model from absolute zero.
➡ Textures, lighting, rendering and more!

In addition, you have the incredible benefits of studying with Danki. Including a 30-day armored warranty: O

Alternative way

As mentioned in previous article, if you prefer a more flexible routine and a little more autonomy, there is the option of working as a freelance.

For this, it is necessary to maintain an updated portfolio, on sites such as artstation e behance, and post your work regularly on social networks like Twitter, linkedin e facebook groups. Or, set up your own website.

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Another point worth mentioning is that in this case, the remuneration is a little more unpredictable and to be agreed with the clients according to the duration of the project.

References

Below are some propdesigns so that you have a slightly more visual idea of ​​what is produced by the artists, as well as some references to build your own portfolio.

Jjutang Ha

These props made by the artist Jjutang Ha are examples of what you could deliver as a prop artist if your task was to make a concept art of props for someone else to model.

Or, if your task were just to model the props with a ready-made design, you should receive something similar to these images from a concept artist on your team.

Michael Fleming

These works taken from the prop artist's portfolio Michael Fleming demonstrate how you could organize your portfolio if you are interested in work only with 3D props.

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becca hallstedt

These arts made by becca hallstedt show that she prefers to work only with 2D and weapon design for games. It is interesting to have this identity as an artist, but it is worth remembering that it is good to have others works in various styles, so you end up attracting more clients, in case you work as a freelancer.

Mikael Yusifov

And finally, these concept arts designed by Mikael Yusifov are some extra references, in this portfolio he demonstrates a good skill in drawing and coloring, and demonstrate specific skills that you are very confident in is always a good idea.

To learn more

Are you interested in the profession of prop artist? how about starting now by learning some techniques with these tutorials recommended by ArtstationMagazine.

You can search for a job as a prop artist on the website indeed and simplyhired, where big game companies like Epic games and Blizzard always post vacancies.

And finally, this really cool interview with Hannah Watts, who is Prop Artist senior at Ubisoft, where she tells a little about her trajectory and creative process.

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I hope you enjoyed this article, don't forget to share with your friends who are also interested in entering the games market and leave your opinion below in the comments . To the next!

avatar of tayla tineu

Software engineer, 20 years old, graduated in Digital Games. She is passionate about game development on Unity, Linux and World of Warcraft.