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"Hidden" creative side of big names? Phenomena or obvious order of things?

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Iwazaruk7 triangle

Sorry once again for weird discussion topic, but it's something that was bothering me for a long time.

Browsing "PRO-heavy" resources like ArtStation, Behance etc. I sometimes notice one interesting moment.

There are cases when I'm lukewarm or not really a fan of work that certain studio or developer produces (not because they lack something, but because of my own artistic preferences as audience)...

...then, however, I often discover when Senior Artist or Art-Director from such a studio have a profile, and guess what? Among "personal projects" they very often post mind-blowing and amzing stuff that is really jaw-dropping in my eyes.

But, I'd say it leads to very mixed feelings. Certainly, it makes me respect more those studios and perhaps even lead me to give a second chance (as gamer, comic reader, film viewer etc. etc.) to their releases. But also it makes me wonder, or perhaps... makes me feel very sad that those amazing creators only able to create such wonderful things I find sincerely fascinating only as "personal projects" or "side projects" or, rarely, "collabs" that happen once in a lifetime. While their "main bread and butter" is often something that I don't enjoy or prefer that much (e.g. your typical commercial mobile F2P production, or family friendly casual stuff etc. etc.).

Now, please don't get mad at me. I have huge respect for all hard working and talented artists, regardless of genres and styles they work in. However, as someone who is really into obscure, niche, underground etc. subculture/culture, I often find it interesting yet troubling... and here come the questions.


// As an artists, how hard, do you feel, it's to keep the balance between "working for industry's needs" and "pursuing your own vision"?

// How much freedom can you get, and which "sacrifices" have to be made?

// Do you often end up keeping things you really love to create only as side/hobby projects while getting paid for something entirely different? Or were you the lucky one to find the right solution?

// Or perhaps you are just lucky to be tasked with things you are really feeling being "your stuff", so there is no such "dilemma" in the end?

// Do you feel like CG might be more "restricting" compare to traditional illustration, or only depending on budgets (higher budgets = less risks)?


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter

    commercial art is not made for overly acute consumers. It's made to be appealing to broad audiences. It's also made a on deadline/budget.

    if you want creative freedom, you have to make your own stuff.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe veteran polycounter

    It's a job, you do things other people want in exchange for money.

  • oglu
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    oglu polycount lvl 666

    I have to create a creature on the current job. Cool task good design in the initial briefing.

    But it has to work on tiny phone screens. It needs easy to read shapes. It needs to be readable across different backgrounds. It needs a color that seperates it from the background. It needs to be readable from the top. It needs to be approved by our ArtDirector. The clients ArtDirector the GameDesigner and the ProductOwner. And i have only two weeks time to create different versions.

  • killnpc
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    killnpc polycounter lvl 11

    video games are a hot commodity. creatives want to make something great. developers want the security to make games for the rest of their lives. investors want their money used in the best ways possible. shareholders want their companies to be relevant. so long as everyone's happy anything is possible.

  • Joopson
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    Joopson Polycount Sponsor

    Yes to this; but at the same time, movies are also commercial art, and, artsy-ish well-performing movies seem to be more of a reality than artsy-ish well-performing games. Admittedly, games do have a big indie scene in a way that movies don't necessarily, and I think a lot of those auteur creators go there instead.

    Still, I'd love for a video-game Robert Eggers to show up and make a weird opaque game that even publishers will see the genius of, even if the public responds lukewarmly.

  • Leinad
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    Leinad polycounter lvl 9

    Replying specifically to this snippet from your original post:

    "I often discover when Senior Artist or Art-Director from such a studio have a profile, and guess what? Among "personal projects" they very often post mind-blowing and amzing stuff that is really jaw-dropping in my eyes."

    I understand you're mostly referring to 3D art in it's purest illustrative form.

    The simple answer is when optimizing simply for illustration output in a portfolio it becomes significantly easier to produce quality images.

    Much of this is due to the fact that the artist doesn't have to consider optimization, product, marketing, gameplay, design, animation, rigging, device, platform etc... when designing specifically for maximum visual quality.

    Obviously there are always exceptions to my above statement of artists who can do it all, but it's very rare.

    It's SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult to produce great art that is useful in the final studio product. That doesn't make it any less jaw-dropping, it's just not as easily appreciated.

    I personally find studio art much more appealing when done right because of how artists deal with limitations.

    Studio optimized products are often like impressionist painting. I get great joy in seeing how artists squeeze out the maximum amount of quality with the least amount of data.

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