I put this on my blog site. But I wanted to post it here. Since all of you have books I'm leaving off the list. I'd love to hear what other Artists read, reading, or use for inspiration. Please post any books you think are great and I'll add them to the list.
Having a vast library to get inspiration from, art theory knowledge, or technical processes is very important for any Artist. This still holds true for Environment Artists. I have a number books that I have purchased or read. Some I totally*recommend*to every Environment Artist to read and others are only a specific concern (modeling Roman columns, painting ancient cave symbols, etc). This is is covering the former, books that every Environment Artist should own. Now some of the books might be inspiration books (such as Art of books) and some maybe be theory books (Color theory books, etc).
Studio Projects: Game Environments and Props[/ame]
Maya Studio Projects: Game Environments and Props by Michael McKinley covers the basics of environment art creation using the 3d software Maya. It has a lot of great advice and walkthroughs on art creation for beginner Artists. I also have a piece of work in the gallery section with some amazing Artists, so that is pretty cool. I really recommend this book if you're starting out, fresh out of college, or trying to get back into game art creation after some time out of the loop.
Elements of Color by Johannes Itten is an amazing book (+1 for Kindle edition too) on color. Having an understanding of the different types of color contrast is very important for Environment Artists creating textures, lighting environments, and finishing scenes. This book really helped me years ago start thinking about my color usage in my work.
of World of Warcraft books[/ame]
There are many art of books. But the Art of World of Warcraft books (each expansion and the original game have art books) are the*quintessential*Art of books for video games. They have a fantastic mix of characters, props, and environment concepts. Blizzard does a fantastic job of having*phenomenal*art created for their games. Organizing that art and documenting it is very helpful for Artists to see the art and process. I find the books very inspirational. Even if you are creating art that is in a different style these books will help you think about form, value, and composition in your environments and props you create.*Unfortunately*these books are only officially available in the collectors editions of each game and expansion. So unless you bought those when they came out you'll have to scour an online auction site or reseller.
Art of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves[/ame]
Again, another Art of book. Being able to look at what professional Artists have done and understand their workflows for your art is important. This book has a breakdown of the whole art process from character concepts to finished environments and effects. The documentation is expansive and*precise*in the book. There is also a great The Art of God of War 3 from the same publisher that is just as amazing.
and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter[/url]
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney captures a lot of his blog
in book form. It has slowly risen on the lists of books that I read and look at for reference. He has a masterful understanding of *color and how to render forms. If you are hand-painting textures this book will directly influence your work.
There are a ton of other books. Most of the books on this list are not currently available digitally as of typing this. Hopefully when you read this you'll be able to have the option to digitally purchase these books.