Student work by John Olofinskiy
Look dev artists (also known as surfacing artists or surfacers) play a crucial part in both pre-production and post-production processes. They oversee the overall look of the initial artwork and concentrate on developing the aesthetics of the game in pre-production. In post-production they create the final finishes on the game’s textures.
The texture artist will provide the textures chosen for assets then the look dev artist will add shading, special effects, contours, etc. They will also develop the differing conditions of a texture, for example how it will react to elements such as water, light, wind, fire, etc. In terms of character design, they may work on skin textures such as goosebumps, heckles, burns, etc.
Establishing visual style is an important responsibility of the look dev artist. They work within genre, geography, and mood to help establish the world of the game. They keep these style filters consistent throughout the work to maintain a seamless gamescape.
As the title suggests a look dev artist focuses on the development of the visual style of the game. Overseeing all elements such as layouts, environments, characters, objects, assets, etc are in line with a uniform look. This involves setting the style, color scheme, genre, and execution of the artwork.
Look dev artists put the finishing touches on textures to keep them in line with the aesthetics of the game. They curate the color scripts of the game, determining the mood of a scene or level. This is done by determining rendering processes and the stylized asset designs.
Role & responsibilities of a look dev artist in the film and games:
The Look Dev Artist has to have a keen eye for detail and the ability to look at the big picture of a game. They are adept at interpreting visual styles across all environments, backgrounds, characters, and assets. Working with a clear vision of the final integrated aesthetic is a vital skill for the look dev artist.
Video game studios may look for the following skills in a look dev artist:
Look dev artists may initially sketch out designs and storyboards with pen and paper, however, all artwork is finished and presented digitally.
Look dev artists may need knowledge of a combination of the following software:
The role of a look dev artist is not an entry-level one, it requires at least 2-3 years of experience in game art design to take on the heavy responsibility of overseeing the entire look of a game. The average salary of a Look Dev Artist ranges from USD $32,000 to USD $77,000. Source: Glassdoor
3 months - 20hrs weekly
3D modeling for beginners starts with the essentials: navigating Maya, setting up workflows and building 3D assets from scratch. See the differences between film and game models and find out how to work with your models in Unreal Engine and texture in Substance Painter.
9 months - 20hrs weekly
Learn 3D character modeling and create a game ready character complete with hair, clothing and accessories. Then build a 3D environment which you'll texture, light, import into Unreal Engine. Note: Term 1 of this course is the same as the Introduction course. So if you've already completed it, you’ll skip to term 2.
9 months - 20hrs weekly
Speed up your workflow and further your environment and character design skills by creating more detailed fully rendered models, including a creature with skin, scales and fur. This course focuses on portfolio prep and career development so you graduate studio-ready.