It came up in Strangefates post http://boards.polycount.net/showflat.php...;gonew=1#UNREAD
in pimp/preview section that there are very few that are interested in environment work in the ganes industry.
Env work has always been regarded more as the shit work or the work that people use as a means to traverse to a position they consider as higher up on the food chain, which is to be a character guy.
Characters are ego stroke work, but they generally occupy 20% of the screen real estate, the other 80 percent is the world in which they run around.
Despite that, artists generally would rather make characters.
It's my opinion that theres a good few reasons for this.
As mentioned, characters are an ego stroke, its more widely accepted that more time should be taken on a character than on a lampost for instance.
We don't see close up's of a lampost on the cover of magazines or gamebox's so theres the ego / pride coming into play there.
It's not something I think artists should be ashamed of, we all want to get acknowledgement of our ability, its a natural part of the drive to succeed.
The problem with this perception though is that its more widespread than the art team and as a result companies often don't have the foresight to proportion the necessary time for environment work that they do with characters which makes it tougher for people to excell in the environment area.
Or, many companies have people that do a bit of everything so artists rush through the environment work ( the shit work ) to get to the character work ( the fun stuff!).
Sadly, environment guys are the unsung heros of most games, in the previous generation of technology it was the case that often the map texture guys were the backbone of the games art direction in that the responsibility for tying so much of the game together rested on their shoulders but few of us knew who the texture map guys were.
Compare the awareness we have of who the skin artists were on the characters and you will see my point.
Another problem has always been , and still is, that usually the characters get a higher portion of the memory resource. If the game is not able to fit on the disc or in memory, the first thing to lose resolution or polycount are the environments, then often the effects, the particles and so on before the characters are sacrificed.
So with this lower spec coming in to play, its simply another reason why many use environment work as a stepping stone to get to a discipline that has a higher spec so that people have a greater chance to excell.
Collectively, these are the reasons many games environments end up being quite weak or have a mixture of quality levels that are not as consistent.
Anyway, the industry is changing, as it always is. Next gen offers( demands perhaps?) the chance to articulate every aspect of the game to a great level of detail.
It's thanks to this that environment work is becoming a lot more demanding and as a result the old attitudes of putting the most skilled artists in the area of character art is starting to create a wider division in the quality level of games environments.
I'd say this is the best possible time to start getting more heavily into environment creation, its actually an area thats more challenging, diverse and rewarding that others now that hipolygon creation is the driving force for its quality level.
Being an environment artists gives you the chance to recreate the world in your own style and allows you to take inspiration from any geographical location in the world and any time period of artistic movement.
It's true that you can argue the point that so does character creation but taking characters to a higher level of detail is more subject to the law of diminishing returns.
I can respect that someone has taken the time to model dimples in the skin of a face with zbrush or mudbox, I'm impressed by the closeup of it in a render or on a magazine cover, but I dont really appreciate that at all in the game because its so tiny.
With environment creation, theres the chance to walk right up to the increased level of detail and appreciate it and that is what is so rewarding.
Next gen likewise demands that far more subject matter is articulated in 3d by the environment team because less faked 3d on flat walls will hold up with modern normal map driven higher polygon worlds.
Environment works is also much more relaxing than discplines like character or vehicle creation now I think because to finish a single character or vehicle the time spent modelling it out can be anywhere between 2weeks to 2months by the time you are finished the low poly, unwrap and the hell of getting it all processed correctly.
The longer a single piece takes the more stressful it becomes, most of us have a barrier for self perceived efficiency that disappears once we hit the week and a half barrier. Anything beyond the length of time ends up feeling like we are wasting time, going to slow, not fast enough or worry sets in that management wants you to finish quicker.
While some environment pieces, like the hero assets can take the long, a lot of time take a week, or less and the balance between piecemeal snack like construction periods and then long marathon endurance test assets helps to promote a more relaxed and varied workflow.
For me personally, I thrive in the research of other cultures, time periods and artstyles that is necessary in order to convincingly articulate a new or wellknown world.
I joke to myself that others create characters, or guns, or blades, or vehicles... but I get to play god and make a world.
Anyway, if you have opinions, it'd be interesting to hear them.