What exactly is Concept Art?

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Hello, i wanna start creating concept art for 3D but i don't know where to start. What is concept art really? i was thinking concept art is drawing references to create in 3D. Like this guy who created a dinosaur with Blender 3D, he created this drawing with a painting program:


and then used it as a reference and created this with blender 3d



So is concept art basically a reference for 3D?

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  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Concept art is NOT just drawing things, its also not drawing well, or rendering good lighting or figure out good compositions or how to tell a story. In a way it is about reference, but its also about the design in the first place, your example is a bad example since, as I understand it, the same artist did the concept and then the mode, which removes a big part of what concept has to do...

    its conveying information. most of the time for someone not yourself, that needs to understand every aspect of the design.

    I always link to THIS one when talking about making better concept art.  Its not rendered overly spectacular, just enough for the material definition to be there, and there are only basic colors, and only on the front view, just enough to understand and not waste the artist time.
    There is a proper back view and many items that can be hard to see on the front view have been given the attention to be drawn out in different views for clarification as well.


  • Optimus
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    lotet said:
    Concept art is NOT just drawing things, its also not drawing well, or rendering good lighting or figure out good compositions or how to tell a story. In a way it is about reference, but its also about the design in the first place, your example is a bad example since, as I understand it, the same artist did the concept and then the mode, which removes a big part of what concept has to do...

    its conveying information. most of the time for someone not yourself, that needs to understand every aspect of the design.

    I always link to THIS one when talking about making better concept art.  Its not rendered overly spectacular, just enough for the material definition to be there, and there are only basic colors, and only on the front view, just enough to understand and not waste the artist time.
    There is a proper back view and many items that can be hard to see on the front view have been given the attention to be drawn out in different views for clarification as well.


    this is not my question. i simply asked what concept art is. do you draw an image and then use it as a reference in 3D software like Maya or Blender
  • Greg Westphal
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    Greg Westphal polycounter lvl 5
    Its not just for 3d.  Concept art is just jargon for pre - visualisation conceptual designing.  For the gaming industry it means sketches or paintings that can resolve the final look of the model because even 25% wasted time on a triple A project for a 3d guy is 6 months or tens of thousands of dollars.  Having pre-vis cuts down on that waste rate from bad decisions a lot of its used correctly and can save you from making something really unprofessional looking.

    Best kind of metaphor for entertainment I can come up with is think about concept art for a car or a building saving millions and developing over centuries.  The two fields of design that are the most thoroughly developed are architecture and transportion design.  If you follow those examples onto entertainment you can see that early sci fi  in the 50s was pretty basic and primative as a greek temple and as its become more sophisticated (ie holograms and better visual language for the sci fi) they've added in arches and glass and such.  So when you scroll through art station you can see the 3d guys that are and aren't doing the previs first because the work they put out will almost always look juvenile in comparison and thats why its pretty hard to break into the industry as a concept artist.

  • pior
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    pior hero character
    "this is not my question."

    Well it might not be the answer you wanted to hear, but indeed @lotet 's answer is the best and most accurate you can possibly get ... unless you mean a different thing altogether by "concept art". In which case it's up to you to be more clear as to what you are asking.

    In short : a good piece of concept art is not necessarily a set of orthos to load in a 3d program on a reference plane. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.

    Concept art is whatever is needed for the modeler to work from. Different modelers and ADs ask for different things. But overall, the example panel shown by Lotet is probably the best kind.
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Optimus said:
    this is not my question. i simply asked what concept art is. do you draw an image and then use it as a reference in 3D software like Maya or Blender

     eeh...yes it was, that was your question.
  • Greg Westphal
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    Greg Westphal polycounter lvl 5
    Honestly, I'm not sure what he is asking for after rereading it.  Is he asking if it has to be a drawing?  It can literally be anything.  I've had some projects just requiring me to make photo reference sheets with no "art" part of the concepting required.  Most triple A studios I know now won't hire people without some understanding of 3d.  If what he is asking for is the high level "what is concept art" then that is a huge topic which really depends on the client.  If he is asking "can you still get paid drawing stuff before it goes to 3d" then the answer is yes, I and nearly all my friends make my living with still some amount of line art.
  • Optimus
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    Optimus triangle
    I am asking if concept art is meant to be used as a reference in 3D. I have gotten my answer already

  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Optimus said:
    I am asking if concept art is meant to be used as a reference in 3D. I have gotten my answer already

    @Optimus - if your looking for the absolute simplest answer to the question possible, surely google would have been able to help you? 

    just out of curiosity, why come here in the first place, ask questions and then reject any sort of complex answer?
  • Optimus
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    Optimus triangle
    i have not rejected any answers. i have read them. As i have stated, i have received my answer already.
  • EricElwell
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    EricElwell ngon master
    Excellent! Transaction complete. Thank you for doing business at Polycount. 
  • Optimus
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    Optimus triangle
    I don't know to laugh or be mad lol.
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