How to Become an Asset Artist?
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How to Become an Asset Artist?
22 June, 2017

A digital artist Karen Stanley allowed us to repost her amazing article with tons of tips and tricks on becoming a skilled prop artist.


So you want to be an asset artist

I’ve written this in various forms for a couple of people now, so I figured I would share some of these tips for people just starting to venture into being a prop artist in the games industry! 

I’d suggest to start with, look to brush up on your hardsurface skills, there are loads of workflow ways to do this now, with Zbrush r8 just releasing Live booleans, Modo also is a beast with the round edge shader work flow, or you still have the good old fashion model it with control loops. 

  • A good place to do this is over on the polycount forums as they have a Weekly Hardsurface challenge! h
  • It has been going a long time so there are plenty of challenges to catch up on and read techniques from.
  • A good asset artist I know of as an example of a good portfolio.
  • Obviously do not forget your organic sculpting skills as well! Hardsurface just tends to be a good way to learn everything you need about baking and modelling etc.. for the next steps

The next step after you are confident with your modelling is to brush up on those material and texturing skills

  • Tim Bergholz has a great tutorial for this on his grenade
  • Although Yannick is more stylized in his approach for dishonored, this is still an amazing asset portfolio 

After is presentation! Look into lighting setups for Marmoset toolbag (preferably tool bag 3 if you have a license) 

  • Look into Global Illumination
  • Look into 3 point lighting

Final step, proof of optimization knowledge! Remember this generation can afford a LOT more polys than previous, so do not be afraid to add polygons in places to hold strong silhouettes. Make it look good first and make it run well later. 

  • Look into the theory of “Texel Density” to check what size your textures should be for your asset
  • Look into basic lodding for at least one or two assets. Most modern studios this is automated now, but it always helps to have an understanding of what is happening under the hood if something goes wrong and you need to fix it yourself. 

I hope that helps!

Karen Stanley, a Digital Artist


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1 Comment on "How to Become an Asset Artist?"


Thanks a bunch Karen! I was wondering about some of these questions.