I'm a concept art student and I spent quite a bit of time today combing through job listings on artstation, Indeed.com, and several other websites just to get a feel for the job market. I was paying special attention to the job descriptions, specifically the required skills that were listed for the positions. In total I probably reviewed around 50 listings.
I realized while looking through them that almost all of the roles were generalist positions. Here's an example from one of the listings I reviewed:
- Create a wide variety of high quality character, creature, environment, and weapon concepts that help define the visual style of the game.
- Deliver highly polished concept paintings in a timely manner to be used for production and marketing.
Nearly all of the other concept art positions had similar descriptions. They would have a long list of required subject matter, which often included both characters AND environments, as well as several other things (such as marketing illustrations, etc). Don't get me wrong - every now and then I'd see a role for "character concept artist" or "environment concept artist" but these were extremely
few and far between - like 10% or less.
This is both daunting and confusing. My impression thus far was that concept artists generally tend to specialize in either environments or characters, instead of doing both at a professional level, based on what I've heard and based on what I've seen in people's portfolios. But most of the actual job listings don't seem to indicate any sort of preference for specialization, and since I don't know a lot of working professionals this is the closest thing I could find to the truth of what studios actually want. For those of you who work in studios, are my findings reflective of the reality that you see at your workplace? Are most concept artists actually generalists who design characters, environments, and many other things at a professional level? Or do you more commonly see specialization?