Diego Minguez shared the workflow behind The Depth of Green project, told us what he enjoys the most in being the Concept Artist, and gave some tips for beginners.
My name is Diego Minguez, and I'm a Concept Artist from Spain. I've been working in the game industry for about 10 years. During my career, I’ve worked on such games as Call of Duty, Hitman, The Division, and the upcoming Somerville that will be released later this year.
Being a Concept Artist
I got into drawing and painting when I was studying, and later I decided to try myself out doing 3D in the game industry. I started with making props, then I moved to environments, lighting, etc. Finally, this experience brought me into concept art.
I especially enjoy working on projects in the early stages generating ideas and designing the worlds that have to be created from scratch. Concept art is also great for me because I don’t like to go too technical but I do like playing with shapes, colors, or brush strokes while painting.
Software and Tools
In my projects, I mostly use Blender and Photoshop. I also try to use plugins or add-ons to speed up the workflow – if I need something for the project, I look for some tools to help me out.
Lately, I’ve found myself enjoying the free painting/drawing without any or much 3D, however, it’s usually really useful to have at least a proper 3D blockout that will make things easier with perspective or even a first light pass.
Inspiration and Goals
The Depth of Green project was mentored and art directed by Jama Jurabaev. He gave me the brief of a desertic world. From this, I started exploring different ideas of how people would survive in this hostile environment.
The structures and energy transformation that this society built became a part of the world-building for this project. At the same time, The Depth of Green was meant to tell the story of our main character who travels far away from home to find the last tree on Earth, the last Green.
Drawing and painting are what I enjoy most, so I spent most of my time making first sketches, designing explorations, and valuing studies at the beginning of the project. Later I transferred it to 3D and created the final image. I tried not to spend too much time on modeling, so I took ready-made 3D models such as the slums or the panels so that I could use them in the way I wanted and dressed the world quickly to have a good base to work in Photoshop later on.
For the first sketches and design exploration, I tried to use different techniques depending on the image: quick line drawings, different camera shots, value sketches to test out shapes – whatever I found convenient to work with.
As for the final image, I tried not to go too far in Blender with the 3D base so that I still could have enough freedom to change things and go a little bit crazy when painting in Photoshop.
This project took me around 8 weeks, though I have to mention that I didn't work on it full-time. One tricky thing was to show a pretty big place and suggest details without actually having to detail much.
Another crucial thing for me was to show the world and the story I want to tell in the best and shortest way possible, playing with camera shots, lenses, shapes, and mood.
Overcoming these difficulties is all about trying out, testing, and failing in the beginning. If you end up with the first thing you had in mind, probably your project won't be as good as it could have been. It’s all about iteration.
If I had to give some tips on concept art for the beginners, I would say that it’s very important that the story you want to tell and the narrative details are clear, so you make choices from there. The function will follow since we want to make a believable world. All the designs will be easier and stronger with these things clear.
There are lots of great talks on Iamag devoted to this topic. There you can find great artists sharing their experiences and wonderful masterclasses – make sure to check them out.
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