Ikumi Nakamura, ex-creative director at Tango Gameworks, explained her approach to creating stronger concepts.
Ikumi Nakamura is a talented concept artist who’s worked in the video games industry for 15 years. She first started as a 3D environment designer for ‘Okami’. After that, she worked as the lead concept artist of ‘Bayonetta’ and ‘The Evil Within’. Her last place of work was at the Tango Gameworks as the creative director of ‘Ghostwire: Tokyo’.
Just recently, Nakamura visited game conferences in Rome and Montreal as an industry speaker. She spoke about her approach to producing deeper, stronger concept designs, to spark a positive change in game development. Nakamura calls this method “Super Blooming Concepts” — named after the natural phenomena of the spontaneous mass blooming of flowers in a lifeless desert.
And according to Nakamura, at first, a concept is just that — a desert, and just like a real super bloom, a number of different factors need to align in order for it to happen. However, in the case of creating concepts, everything is in the artist’s hands.
Firstly, Nakamura suggests concept artists to always strive to present ideas that barely fit into the producer’s vision. By coming up with concepts that are outside the field of opportunities, an artist can find the elements that stretch boundaries as far as possible. And this can result in a much more nuanced and original concept.
Visualization of the Director’s Vision
Nakamura also feels like her role is similar to finding a good gift for the person — you think about what they’ll like and wrap up the ideas nicely to present them. she likes to think of whatever she presents as a gift box. The idea behind it is to fill it with some sort of custom-tailored present, a special element that will surprise the viewer and make him want to know more about the character.
An artist should also dive deeper into the concept and explore what traits a character might have. What is their purpose? Everyday surroundings? Even such minor things as tastes in music and food. Ikumi Nakamura thinks, that the best concepts tell a lot about the character’s personality, yet leave the space for imagination.
Think outside of the box and try not to always think of concept art principles as common truths. And in situations where you feel like you can’t move forward — don’t be afraid of destroying your idea and getting to its core to gain a new perspective. You might get too attached to all the work you’ve already done, but sometimes things just simply don’t work as you’d expect.
Of course, it may be hard to deconstruct your own ideas all by yourself — here communication is extra important. Seek feedback and listen to the ideas of others and how they view your concept. Though it may be hard not to get upset by the critique you’d get, you should still seek as much feedback as possible. According to Nakamura, if your idea stands through the rain of feedback, it will only get stronger.
If you listen to these pieces of advices, the seeds for your Super Blooming will already be planted and sprouting. All that’s left is to raise the saplings of your ideas into a beautiful flower bed of amazing concepts.
Author: HypeTrain Digital