With AAA Games being more complex with a larger scale and scope, they now require immense amounts of assets that need to be created. However, most internal studios do not have the capacity or resources to create it all—not to mention budgets to support it.
So what do they do?
The current trend of Internal Art production teams has become smaller and studios are quickly relying on outsourcing to help meet the demands of that project. The job isn't about making "things" or assets anymore—it is about creating high-quality games, hopefully, on schedule.
The Game industry follows most other creative industries, studios have core Art teams, and anything that falls outside their capacity gets outsourced to freelancers or art houses. Outsourcing Is now a huge percentage of Game Development. Everything from Concept Art and Characters, to Environments and Animation, UI, and even VFX gets sent out. You name it, it gets outsourced.
This is where global resources come into play. Not to mention working from home and working remotely has expanded the outsourcing market. Hiring external art houses or freelancers all over the globe, in other countries like China, Ukraine, South America is common. Everything is fair game if the quality and budget are right.
It seems like so much, how is this achieved?
New positions have been created in order to facilitate this Art process and are now standard roles in game studios. Art Outsourcers or Managers are quickly becoming invaluable to the success of a project.
These roles require specific and experienced skill-sets where strong knowledge of fundamentals and foundation is required. Plus other cross-practice, non-traditional requirements, and specific knowledge of a practice get merged into one role.
Specifically, these 4 components are needed, and in fact, any game position requires these to succeed.
Knowledge of your Craft - In order to achieve your role, you have to understand how it is done, how to problem solve, how to envision, create, build, and achieve your work to the highest quality.
Art Direction - This one is really important, knowing how to identify visual differences, irregularities, and compare or correct those differences to ensure visual excellence.
Production - Understanding of how Game projects and production works. Knowledge of schedules, milestones, priorities, and effort vs. impact.
Communication - This is part of any job. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is required—you do it every day. You have to talk about various aspects of the the job, and with people.
Like all industries, the landscape is quickly changing. COVID, WFH, and Global Markets play a big part in how Art is being created across the board. Technology and tools have made production faster in order to create more, and to support that, job roles evolve and change.
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