GAD专访|优秀的美术师要具备什么素质?

发表于2016-04-08
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Jeffkang(hyeongwonkang)


【工作经历&参与项目】

 Tencent 腾讯量子工作室美术指导组(2013~至今)

场景美术专家

暴雪娱乐公司(北方暴雪,blizzard Console,暴雪总部)(2005~2013)

原画/高3D美术-《暗黑破坏神3》

人族装备原画-《星际争霸2》

原画/高级场景设计-《星际争霸:幽灵行动》(ps2/xbox)

万代游戏(美国)(2003~2004)

角色主美/UI/场景设计师-《脱狱潜龙2》

原画/场景设计师-Dispalcement(xbox/ps2/psp)

Crystal Clear Entertainment(2002)

原画设计师

Studio 21(1999~2000)

创意总监

LG(1996~1999)

高级视觉设计师


  他,曾经在LG、万代、暴雪等行业顶级公司工作;他,做过特种兵、兼职模特,爱长板爱打碟爱健身爱真实的生活;在粉丝见面会上哭过;追求者自己的梦想。,也实现过别人的梦想……Jeff Kang的人生经历不一定是腾讯中最丰富的,但却是最打动人的,这位热血老男孩思密达,有着四十岁的年龄三十岁的面孔二十岁的心,他用实际行动高度你:梦想还是要有的,万一实现了呢!


What are the traits of a good GAME ARTIST?

优秀的美术师要具备什么素质?

Preamble

  During the past 2 and half years of game development experience in Tencent I have been thinking about talking about this subject but unfortunately I simply just couldn’t get a chance to do it due to the continuous overtime ever since I have joined Tencent. Sad but true. Even though I did a couple of lectures about Blizzard project related stuff and some specific art demonstrations I always thirsted for talking about this question. This article completely based on my “personal thought” from over 10 years of game development experiences including Blizzard and Tencent’s latest release which I was in charge as an art director. This is also for sharing my thoughts with those who have the same questions so it doesn’t necessarily be suggestion or guideline to follow. I also don’t want to generalize any situation we currently have here in Tencent now and neither compare with any other specific companies with Tencent. Now I finally have a little bit of time to write this article on warm tropical Christmas of 2015. 

序言

  过去两年半的腾讯游戏研发过程中,我一直想找时间聊一下这个话题,可惜始终找不到机会,加班常态,自加入腾讯以来一直如此。有点小悲哀但却是事实。虽然期间我也有做过几次讲座,分享了暴雪相关的一些内容和现场Demo,但是还是一直很渴望聊一下这个话题。这篇文章完全是个人观点,基于过去10年多的包括在暴雪的研发经验一直到在腾讯游戏项目做主美的感受。文章分享自己的想法给为同样问题所惑的人,所以谈不上建议或者是指导。这里也不想以偏概全的谈论整个腾讯或其他竞争公司的情况。正值2015年温暖如春的圣诞节,终于能有一点时间落笔。


Lets look back

  The impression I get from artists here in Tencent is very simple. They are incredibly talented, hard working and open to feedback. There is no doubt. I still learn a lot of things from artists around me and it is an amazing everyday experience. It is not hard to see artists who can draw, paint, model or animate better than those work for Blizzard. I am not kidding. Then, some may think at this point, “wow then.. we already have the traits of good artist!” I am afraid I have to say “There might some more things we need to consider deeply.” in terms of “good GAME artists”. Again, please don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to judge anything here and I don’t think I deserve to do it. Here are my personal thoughts about good “GAME artists”.

我们来回顾一下过去

  我对腾讯美术师的印象很简单,他们非常的有天赋,又勤奋,而且乐于接受意见,这些是毫无疑问的。我到现在依然还是能从身边的美术师身上学到很多,这是很棒的日常体验。不难在这里遇到比暴雪的美术更能画、模型雕的更棒、动作调的更好的美术师。这一点真不是开玩笑。那就有人会问:“那就是说我们已经具备优秀美术的素质了?”这里我要说定义什么是优秀的美术,“可能有很多事我们还需要考虑的更深一些”。请不要误会,我不是要妄加评判,我自觉还不够格。这里要谈的是我个人对于“优秀美术师”的理解。

 

Let’s see where we are.

  There must be a lot of restrictions / limitations when we are talking about the “very ideal” situation and circumstance for being good game artists because of the nature of the project cycle, schedule, human resource, financial status of the company and such. In other words, there must be a huge gap between the reality and the idea. However it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are not even allowed to think about how to be a good game artist. It is always worth to think about and share with each other and that’s obviously one of the best way to grow.

看看我们所在的位置

  我们在聊到优秀美术的时候谈的都是非常“理想化”的情况和环境,而实际开发中会有很多的限制/局限,比如项目周期、人力成本、公司财务状况等。也就是说理想和现实是存在巨大差距的。但这不是说我们就不能去思考什么是优秀的美术了。这种思考和分享是很有价值的,也是最好的成长方式。


More communication is the key

  Let’s look around us and see how many artists are actually going to other artists seat or even other sub-teams such as programming, design team to communicate “in person” instead of using RTX? There is no doubt about how great instant communication tool RTX is and I totally agree with it and I use it every day basis as well. However sometimes it is still hard to see cross feedback/critique between artists even in RTX groups. An art director or a lead is not supposed to be the only one who gives feedback/critique even though they are the one that who makes the final decision. When you try to give feedback to someone you are going to find out you need to go through a lot of thought process in terms of art theory, philosophy and other art foundations. This is one of the biggest chance for you to learn as well as you to give feedbacks. To make this whole cross feedback session work the best everybody has to get ready to take feedbacks with open minded and digest them for the growth. Leads should encourage their team members do this more often and constantly and this could be potentially used as an obvious team work factor of individual’s performance review down the road. Communication between artists will prevent any possible production problems as well. If a character concept artist and an animator communicates each other regularly then an animator can give a rough information of animation bone number limit, possible rigging issues with certain shapes and whatnot to a concept artist beforehand so that concept artist can avoid any kind of problematic design in the first place. If you are a tech artist(TA) then you will be the middleman between programmers and artists to bridge tech and art in the production and it will be super communication heavy job. Of course if you are a 3D artist you can also be super active on communication so that you can request specific tool/system for better productivity to TA or programmers and in the end of the day it will benefit the entire production. Let’s go talk to more people around you and you would be surprised at how approachable and kind those people are.

多沟通是诀窍

  看看我们身边有多少美术会走到其他美术的座位上,或者甚至是到策划和程序那边“面对面”而不是通过RTX来交流?并不是说像RTX这样的即时通讯工具不好,相反它是非常方便的工具,也是我每天工作的必需,但是即使是用这种交流方式,我们也很难在群里看到大家的互相反馈。主美或者leader虽然是最终决策拍板的人,但不应该是唯一可以给予反馈和提意见的人。当你想要给别人反馈的时候,其实需要经过很多的思考,对于美术理论、哲学和其他美术基础都会有自己的思考。给别人反馈的过程实际也是提供给自己很大一个机会去进步。要让这种互相之间的反馈发挥最大的作用,每个人都要抱有开放心态,去接受别人的反馈,努力消化,化作成长的能量。Leader则需要鼓励组员坚持这样做,并考虑将这一点在未来纳入团队协作部分的考核。

美术师之间的沟通还可以避免走一些弯路。如果动作师和原画师经常沟通,动作师可以提供所做动作的基本信息,像骨骼数量的限制,不同的形状在绑定时可能遇到的问题,那么在原画开始任务之前就能提前规避一些会出问题的设计。如果你是一名TA,那就相当于连接技术和美术的桥梁,承担了很重要的沟通工作。如果你是一名3D而且善于沟通,那么你可以建议TA或程序使用特定的工具/系统来提升团队的开发效率,最终让项目收益。尝试多跟周围同事沟通,会惊讶的发现原来他们都那么好接近那么热心。


  As well as cross feedback and critique it is kind of hard to see artists compliment each other on their good works. Yes, we do compliment each other for good work through RTX but not really do "in person". Maybe it is from the cultural stuff. I am a Korean so I understand this Asian culture of being shy with giving compliment to others even though I spent a long time in US. Sometimes it may make you feel overstepping over someone when you are giving compliments because we automatically worry that compliment is normally the thing has to given by leaders or superiors. However giving compliment each other is one of the greatest way to get everybody keep passion through the rough journey. It will make everybody feel like they are contributing themselves to something special to tell a larger story of the project when it is given "in person'. I still remember one good compliment from my coworker artist when I was struggling with making a small tree in the environment when I just started my career in the game industry. "Hey Jeff, that is one of the best looking tree I have ever seen in my life. Keep up the good work brother!" This could be a small compliment but it sometimes makes your fellow artist keep going with passion and remembered forever. Let's take off your headphone and get off from your computer once in a while and go to your fellow artist's desk and share your ideas, give feedback with compliment, learn from others and mentor each other. This is how we grow together as a team and a company. You can learn not only from your mentor or offline/online lectures but also from your fellow artist around you everyday. Chances are there and it is totally up to you to pick up and make it yours. Let's not limit your communication channel only in the art team. You should go to talk about your ideas and suggestions to other sub-teams more often. Share your ideas about new game play from the game you played last night, fresh game play ideas from the movie you watched, suggest your new tool idea to programmers and tech artists and any team event, production ideas to producers. Let's talk about this part a bit more in the next chapter. 

  在交叉反馈的过程很难看到大家互相的赞美,我们也许会通过RTX来表达但是很少面对面。可能是因为文化差异的关系。虽然我在美国待了很多年,但是我本身是韩国人,可以理解亚裔文化里面羞于互相赞美的这一面。但是在项目进行过程中互相赞美对于在艰苦的研发过程中保持激情有着很大的帮助。项目成员会感到自己对于整个项目的大目标尽己所能有所贡献。我还记得我曾经听到过的一次很棒的鼓励,那是在游戏开发生涯开始的时候,需要设计场景里的一棵树,这事情很小,做的也很纠结。我的同事跟我说“Hey Jeff,这是我这辈子见过最棒的一棵树,继续加油!” 这也许是顺口的一句赞美,但是对于当时的我来说确实是莫大的鼓励,感到自己不是在做微不足道的事情。或许你的一句无心的赞美就能对于周围的同事产生很大的影响,给他们打足鸡血,甚至会记在心里很久。让我们摘下耳机,偶尔离开自己的工位到周围的美术师那里串串门,互相交流赞美,一起学习,这是团队发展、公司发展的基础。除了公司提供的导师和线上线下的课程,我们同样可以在日常工作里与周围的同事互相学习。机会就在那里,能不能伸手抓住为己所用完全取决于自己。不要将自己的沟通渠道仅限于美术组内部。同样你应该跟项目其他成员多沟通,分享你昨晚刚玩到的一个新游戏,看电影灵机一动想到的新玩法,对程序和TA提出对工作软件的改进,和制作人交流组内活动和开发流程的一些想法。我们下一节进一步聊。


Let’s get involved in game design a bit more

  Let's look at yourself how you start to work on your task as soon as you get a task from your leads or TAPD system. Under the premise of you get the prefect design document you probably start with reading a request from design team and think about how you are going to tackle the task. The most important thing to think about first at this moment is "how your artwork is going to support the game play". This is also the best timing to double check design document from designers and ask them if there is any not enough or unclear information for you to start with. Of course this is also the great time to suggest your own game play ideas and discuss it with designers and this is the moment you need a communication with designers in person. In other word, you don't want to limit yourself too much to the design document given to you. If you are an environment concept artist and you are asked to do the new zone concept art from design team then before you start your work you must make sure the exact size, specific game play in there, number of characters and kinds, background story, walkable and non-walkable areas, height changes, weather changes, day and night cycle and whatnot of the zone with designers before you start to sketch out the zone. If you are a character concept artist you have to make sure what kind of role this character will take, attack pattern, specific game play related behavior of the character and whatnot. If you are an animator you definitely have to check out the charactor's behavior pattern and how your animation will interact with given environment and most importantly ask designers for the complete animation list. You should take enough time to think about these things which are directly related to the game design instead of just jumping into creating art work. This will solve a lot of struggles and problems on both game design and art side. When you have a controversy over which color is better for your art then there is only one thing to think about. "Which color will support the game play better?" It doesn't mean that artists always have to sacrifice their art decisions according to game design. A solid game design is always a good base to start with and it should be the number one thing to reference off of. In other word, if the game design doesn't look that solid enough artist also should take a responsibility of finding solutions actively with designers. This is what we call the real teamwork and this is also how we grow together for the better result and ultimately make the game that people will play for many many years after it is launched.

The one rule never changes. "Game art has to support game play all the time." In other word, "Good game artist creates art that supports game play." Form a small task force team(or strike team) for the certain game play or game design and trying to lead that small group as an artist could be a good way to learn communication skill and problem solving method as well and ultimately key to improving yourself as an artist who see a bigger picture.

多一点参与游戏设计

  我们来看一下你从leader或者TAPD拿到需求的时候是怎么开始工作的。假设你拿到的需求文档很完美,那接下来就是阅读需求,想着要怎么开始做需求了。这时候最重要的是思考你的工作要怎么去帮助实现玩法。去跟策划再次确认需求,去勾对一下不够清楚的信息,这也是跟策划提出自己对玩法的建议的最佳时机,此时一定要当面去聊,这就是说不要被给你的策划文档限制的太死。如果你是一名场景原画,要开始一个新的区域的设计时,在画草图之前就要跟策划确认好具体的尺寸、玩法,出现的角色数量、种类,背景故事,可行走、不可行走的区域,高度变化、天气变化、昼夜变化等等。如果你是角色原画,需要确定这个角色在游戏里的定位,攻击方式,特性玩法相关的行为特征等。如果你做动作,你必须要清楚角色的行为特点,动作怎么跟环境搭配,最重要的是要跟策划确认好完整的动作列表。你需要花时间充分思考跟玩法相关的这些事情,而不是拿到需求就埋头蛮干。这个的工作习惯会减少和避免策划侧和美术这边很多后续的麻烦和问题。当你在纠结用色的时候,只需要考虑一个问题,就是“哪种更适合当前玩法”?这并不是说美术永远都要为玩法做牺牲和让步。优秀的策划案是美术开始工作的基础,也是第一参考。那如果策划案没有很完美时,美术师也需要配合策划去积极的思考解决方案。这才是我们所说的真正的团队合作和一起为更好的结果而共同进步,最终做出来的会是能让玩家玩上很多年的游戏。

有一条规矩是不变的,“游戏美术始终服务于玩法”。也就是说,“优秀的美术师创作出来的是服务于玩法的美术作品。”为了某一特定的玩法成立一个小的任务攻坚组,尝试去引领这个小组,会是一个学习沟通和问题解决技巧的好办法,最后的目标是成为一个有大局观的美术师。


Multi-tasking skill sets

  You can easily find multi-tasking artists in Blizzard. A concept artist who can do 3D modeling and texturing by himself, An animator who can do concept design and also rigging or sometimes game designers who can do 3D pretty well so that they can mock up the simple environment test level quick and such. It is really important to seek out variety. In other words, it is totally worth to spend some time and learn multi tasking skill sets as a game artist. Here are the reasons why.

  First of all, if you have a multi tasking skill sets you can obviously tackle more tasks by yourself. This means that you can shorten up the production time and also minimize the delay or bottleneck problem by eliminating gaps between different types of tasks. Let’s say you are a concept artist and have a solid 3D modeling and texturing skill sets. Then you can just go directly into 3D modeling phase as soon as you finish your concept work. Sometimes you don’t even have to finish your concept art super tight with every single details or whatnot because you already know which is what clearly so you don’t have to explain it for yourself again. It will minimize the time and possible error often occurs from unclear explanation from concept art when it is being translated to 3D model and texture. On the other hand, if you are capable of 3D modeling as an environment concept artist you don’t have to worry about dealing with perfect perspective of your scene or final lighting result because you can simply model your scene in 3D roughly and test out simple lighting first and then render it out to the base image you can start from. The perfect perspective and overall lighting vibe is already there so you already saved a ton of time plus got rid of any possible errors. If you are a character modeler and have a solid knowledge of rigging then when you doing modeling you can minimize the possible problems from specific joint geometries on your model for character rigging. If you have a simple knowledge in texture sizes and projection as a concept artist you can support texture creation for 3D team when you are in down time. (As we all know most concept artists get into the down time after the pre production is over) If you are a concept artist and capable of making simple models in 3D then when you are dealing with complicated shapes you can simply make those simple 3D models and see it from the 3D view so that you can find abetter structural solutions instead of just thinking in 2D all the time. Recently a lot of concept artists use high end 3D sculpting programs such as Z-Brush or Mudbox because when they need to design complicated creature concepts they can simply sculpt any kind of shapes virtually and quickly. You may want to think about what kind of multi tasking skill set will benefit you the most first if you are willing to be the one.

  Multi tasking skill sets will be your ultimate weapon in your long term career path. It is not the best thing to think about but let’s face the reality. Game industry downsizing could happen anytime soon in China as well. Sooner or later this industry will focus on smaller team with maximum efficiency. I don’t really want to use this word but to “survive” from this possible future scenario you need to arm yourself with better value than others. Multi tasking skill set will shine when this time comes. One artist with solid multi tasking skill set would obviously have bigger advantage over others in job market.

  Speaking which of shortening production time with multi tasking skill sets it is also a great way to minimize the excessive overtime. The excessive overtime is being one of the biggest issue we have here in Tencent now because sometimes only a small percentage of people need to do excessive overtime just because they are the only people who can deal with certain tasks. If we could have more multi tasking artists who can handle more tasks other than their own jobs we could probably distribute work load a bit more evenly so that we could reduce the overtime rate.

成为多面手

  在暴雪很容易找到多面手的美术师。原画师能自己建模画贴图,动作师能做原画和绑定,有时候策划的3D水平还不错他们可以自己拼出简单的场景模型快速的测试一下等等。拓展自己的技能的多面性很重要,很值得多花一点时间去做这件事。有这么几个原因。

  首先,如果你是一个多面手,就能独立解决很多问题。这意味着研发时间能缩短,可以降低不同种类的任务中间衔接过程造成的瓶颈和减少延期。比方说你是原画,而且3D基础扎实,那在完成原画的时候自己就可以直接开始做模型和贴图了。有时候都不需要原画做的很细致,把每个细节材质都交代的那么清楚,因为自己心里都很清楚哪个部分是什么情况也就不用在原画上给自己交代的那么细了。这就会缩短开发时间,避免因为原画跟模型师因为没沟通清楚造成模型和贴图的错误。另外如果场景原画师会建模的话,你就不用纠结要给出完美的透视,或者布光,因为你可以先建一个简模,然后简单的布光测试一下,然后渲染出来,在这个基础之上开始原画。这时候你已经有了完美的透视和大致的灯光氛围,节约了大量时间的同时避免了一些可能出现的错误。如果你是模型师,而且有扎实的绑定模型和蒙皮的基础,那你在特定的关节处布线的时候就会考虑到绑定的问题,从而减少可能出现的问题。如果原画师有一点简单的贴图尺寸、投射的知识,那在有余力的时候就能帮助3D团队画一些贴图了。(一般来说在项目的前制作期结束后原画师的工作量会减少一些)。如果原画师会一点简单的3D,那在设计一个复杂的形状时可以先建一个简单模型出来,在3D视角下去思考结构,得出一个更好的方案,而不总是仅仅在2D视角去想象。近来很多原画师开始使用像Z-brush或者Mudbox这样的高级的3D制作软件,这样他们在设计形状复杂的生物时可以先在3D软件里面雕一个出来,快速直观。如果你也想成为一名多面手的话,你可以思考一下什么样的技能组合对你最有用。

  除了刚才提到的多面手技能可以帮助缩短开发时间以外,也能帮助较少过度加班。过度加班已经成为腾讯现在面对的一个大问题,有时候有一小部分人过度加班是因为特定的任务只有他们能完成。如果美术团队有更多的多面手人才,除了自己的本职工作以外还可以承担一些其他的任务,那么我们可以把工作量安排的更平均一些,这样也能够一定程度上减少过度加班。首先,如果你是一个多面手,就能独立解决很多问题。这意味着研发时间能缩短,可以降低不同种类的任务中间衔接过程造成的瓶颈和减少延期。比方说你是原画,而且3D基础扎实,那在完成原画的时候自己就可以直接开始做模型和贴图了。有时候都不需要原画做的很细致,把每个细节材质都交代的那么清楚,因为自己心里都很清楚哪个部分是什么情况也就不用在原画上给自己交代的那么细了。这就会缩短开发时间,避免因为原画跟模型师因为没沟通清楚造成模型和贴图的错误。另外如果场景原画师会建模的话,你就不用纠结要给出完美的透视,或者布光,因为你可以先建一个简模,然后简单的布光测试一下,然后渲染出来,在这个基础之上开始原画。这时候你已经有了完美的透视和大致的灯光氛围,节约了大量的时间同时避免了一些可能出现的错误。如果你是模型师,而且有扎实的绑定模型的基础,那你在特定的关节处布线的时候就会考虑到绑定的问题,从而减少可能出现的问题。如果原画有一点简单的贴图尺寸、投射的知识,那在有余力的时候就能帮助3D团队画一些贴图了。(一般来说在项目的前制作期结束后原画师的工作量会减少一些)。如果原画师会一点简单的模型,那在设计一个复杂的形状时可以先建一个简单模型出来,在3D视角下去思考结构,得出一个更好的方案,而不总是仅仅在2D视角去想象。

  近来很多原画师开始使用像Z-brush或者Mudbox这样的高级的3D制作软件,这样他们在设计形状复杂的生物时可以先在3D软件里面雕一个出来,快速直观。你可以思考一下什么样的技能组合对你最有用,如果你也想成为一名多面手的话。多种技能加身会成为你在长期的职业发展中的终极武器。也许我们不愿意去想是不得不面对的现实是,行业的人力缩减的趋势在国内随时都有可能会到来。迟早这个行业会倾向于以最小的团队获得最大的产出。我不太愿意用这个词,但是为了“生存”,需要武装自己,让自己有更高的价值。这时候多面手的价值就会显现出来,在职场上会获得比别人更高的筹码。


Don’t stay in your comfort zone and never afraid of making mistakes

  Besides multi tasking skill sets there is another important skill sets you may want to think about. The ability of dealing with different art styles. This ability will give you essential skills to tackle any kind of task of any projects in the industry. I remember that when we first started the current project it was really hard to find artists who can deal with this kind of military / Sci-Fi FPS game art style because almost all over the studios there are similar themed games going on. Surprisingly it was also hard to find artists who can do military / Sci-Fi style even outside from the company due the majority of games being made in Chinese market were mostly about medieval fantasy or cute styles.

  As you may know I worked on Diablo 3 which is purely medieval fantasy themed game for over 8 years. To be honest with you I am a big fan of Sci-Fi and military genre.  When I was working on Diablo 3 I never stopped working on Sci-Fi and military stuff after work and tried to take any open opportunities in Blizzard from other projects. I worked for Starcraft 2 Terran unit concept session after work and I also volunteered to help the latest Blizzard title Overwatch concept session while I was working on Diablo in the day time. This was obviously not for the money or anything(and of course I didn’t get paid for those extra credits). I was just happy to do something I was really into and see myself grow. 

  Don’t limit yourself with your style you feel most comfortable with all the time. Try out different styles and genres you have never tried out before as possibly as you can. This way you can get more variety in your art portfolio and take way bigger advantage over other artists out there along with the multi tasking skill sets. Ultimately you will be a great fit to any projects in the company and have more chances to contribute your talent.

  One important thing here though. Seeking variety genres and styles has to be fun and exciting process rather than painful. “Follow your passion and do what you love but not limited to.”

  I am personally planning to do a lecture about Sci-Fi / military design soon so please stay tuned if you are interested.

  The last not the least, don't afraid of making mistakes. This is one of the biggest reason why for most of people want to stay in their comfort zone. You need to go through a lot of mistakes until you reach your goal and especially when you are trying something you have never tried before. There is always a steep learning curve and challenge waiting for you. I know it is hard to feel safe to fail and making mistakes in the actual production pipeline and under the competitive situations but this is an unavoidable path to take to grow. I know we always talk about "quality over quantity" as a slogan of the future of Tencent products. We are always seeking for innovation which is also proudly engraved on our badges. Innovation never can be achieved without making mistakes. There is one important thing when we say "safe to fail" though. It is always safe to fail but fail as early as possible because the last minute fail could affect the whole team and entire production.

不要待在自己的舒适区怕犯错

  除了拥有多面手技能以外还有一个重要的技能需要考虑。就是能应对不同美术风格的技能,这一项核心技能可以帮助你完成行业里面任何项目的任务。我记得我们项目成立之初很难找到能做军事/科幻风格的美术师,因为整个工作室群的美术风格都比较相似。而且让人意外的是,在公司外面也很难招到合适的能做军事风/科幻风的的美术,因为在中国的游戏市场大部分都是国风、玄幻和Q版的风格。                           

  你们可能知道我在《暗黑破坏神3》这样的一个中世纪奇幻风格的项目做了八年多。但实际上我自己是一个军事迷、科幻迷。我在暗黑三项目工作的时候一直都没有放弃军事和科幻题材,利用休息的时间进行练习,其他项目组有需要的时候我都会积极帮忙。我利用休息时间给《星际争霸2》做过人族的原画,也给暴雪的新作《守望先锋》做过原画。这肯定不是为钱或是其他(也没有因为帮忙给我涨工资),我就是很开心能做自己很喜欢的事情,在过程中也能看到自己的成长。

  不要把自己局限在感觉很舒适的一个风格,要尽可能多的去尝试没有做过的不同的风格,这样你的作品集就会很丰满,会比别人有更多的优势,再加上技能的多面,那么就能适应各类不同的项目,也就能比别人获得更多的机会去贡献才能。

  有一点很重要,去探索尝试不同的类型和风格是很好玩的一个过程,不能让它变成一种痛苦。“跟随内心的热情,去做你热爱的事情,而不要被局限。

  我近期计划开一堂关于科幻/军事风格的美术设计分享课程,如果有兴趣的同事请关注。

  最后,也是很重要的一点,不要害怕犯错。这也是大家容易待在舒适区的最大的原因。要达成一个目标,你可能需要经历很多的错误,特别是在做从未尝试的新事物的时候。学习总是像爬陡坡,会面临很多的挑战。我了解在实际的开发过程和激烈的竞争环境下对失败和犯错容忍度没那么高,但这却是成长的必经之路。我知道腾讯未来产品是走“精品策略”的,质量高于数量。Innovation(创新)作为腾讯文化的一部分,一直以来都是我们追寻的目标。但是创新不可避免要犯错。我们在谈“safe to fail”的时候有一点很重要就是要尽早尝试尽早失败,不能在最后一秒失败,否则会影响到整个团队和项目开发。


Concentrate on fundamentals and foundation art skill

  I was wondering whether Blizzard really cares about fundamental art pieces and foundation art portfolios when they are hiring artists when I was in art school because I heard it was like so from my friends. Yes, it was true and I was also looking for the art pieces which represent candidate’s art foundation from their portfolio when I was hiring people after I joined Blizzard. The reason why foundation art skills are being an important factor for reviewing portfolios even for 3D and effect artists is this. Effect and 3D art is obviously techie. The basic skill sets for these artists are strong 3D skills and tech-oriented knowledge but having a good foundation in traditional 2D art(drawing, painting and whatnot) is what takes you a step above. You will get more in-depth knowledge of skills integral to being a great 3D / effect artist. These foundation art skill sets are more about understanding color, value, saturation, shape language, shape consistency, visual hierarchy, golden ratio, composition and such. (I will talk about how we can apply these fundamental art theory to actual concept design later next time.)

  In Blizzard, there are a series of internal art groups actively running officially and unofficially such as sketch groups, figure drawing workshop, sculpture workshop and so on. Even after you joined Blizzard, a group of world’s best artists, you still need to keep up your foundation art skill to grow through your career path so these kind of group activities feed you a career long benefits and chances to be a better artist. You don’t have to go to school or institute to learn these foundation skills if you want to now. Just draw from life. Bring a sketchbook or whatever medium you can draw on with you and keep drawing. Draw landscapes, plants, people, animals, industrial machines, construction sites….. you see it, draw it. Again, this process rather be a fun and exciting than painful. I have been thinking about form an internal sketch group in IEG for encouraging more artists draw in a relaxed and fun vibe. It is obviously not a drawing competition. Just getting together (with beers will be even better) in some place and sketch and have fun. Go crazy with your ideas without any pressure from the real production. We can learn from others not only their foundation skills but also and most importantly “how others think creatively” in this way. I strongly hope I can make this thing happened soon.

  Learning the fundamental art theory doesn’t necessarily need any group activity if you don’t have time to join a group or go to school and whatnot. You can go online and look at other artists’ works and analyse them based on art theory. Have a close look to those well designed cars on the street and think about shape languages and hierarchy. While you are taking pictures with your cellphone just spend a couple more seconds to think about the golden ratio of the screen composition before you hit the shutter and try different angle. There are so many great resources and live tutorials around you. Just reach out and make them as yours.

聚焦在美术基本功

  我还是美院学生的时候就很好奇暴雪在招人的时候是不是真的很关注作品集中体现的美术基础素养,当时我听身边的朋友说是这样,而事实也就是如此。加入暴雪之后,在我需要招人的时候我也是会关注候选人作品集里面最能体现美术基础功底的那一些。甚至在招模型师和特效师的时候,作品集体现出的基础美术功底也是我们考虑的重要因素。虽然这两个岗位需要的技能偏技术相关的,需要熟练使用相关的软件。但是传统2D美术的基础(素描、着色等)能够让你先行一步,也是成为优秀的3D和特效师不可或缺的。这些基本的美术技能更多是对于色彩、明暗、饱和度、形状语言、形状一致性、视觉优先级、黄金分割、构图等等的理解(下一次我会着重分析如何将这些基本的美术原理运用到实际的原画设计中去)。

  在暴雪有很多官方和非官方的美术兴趣小组都很活跃,比如速写组、人物素描组、雕塑组等等。虽然进入暴雪已经证明了你的实力是全球顶尖,但是仍然需要持续保持和提升美术基础水平,这些美术小组对长期职业发展很有益处,提供机会成为更好的美术师。如果你现在就想要学习提升美术基础你也不一定要去学校或培训机构进修。试着从生活中汲取养分。带上你的速写本坚持练习,风景、植物、人物、动物、工业机器、建筑工地…你目光所及都可以画。这是一个有趣的让人激动的过程,不要怀着痛苦的心情去做。我一直想在IEG内部组成一个这样的小组,鼓励更多的美术师在一个放松的有趣的氛围下去画画。这显然不能是一个竞赛,而是找一个地方大家聚在一起(有啤酒更棒)然后一起画,一起享受这个过程。在没有KPI压力的环境下,我们可以尽情发挥,将脑子里面的想法淋漓尽致的展现出来。我们不仅能互相学习一些美术基本原理的东西,更重要是“看别人如何创新的去思考”。真的希望这个设想能早日实现。

  当然了,如果你想要学习美术基本原理但是又没有时间参与团体活动或者是去培训机构,也可以多在网上观摩其他美术师的作品,用美术基本原理去进行分析和解构。在街上看见设计惊艳的车想一下这个设计运用的形状语言和层次。拿手机拍照的时候可以多花几秒钟想一下构图黄金分割,再按下快门,并多尝试几个角度。你身边有那么多的优秀的资源和鲜活的教程,只需要多接触接触都能为己所用。


Along with those fundamental art theory and foundation art skills let me talk about a couple of check list you may want to think about before you draw / paint / model something.

连同刚才提到的美术基本原理和技巧,下面给出一份清单,供大家练习之前去思考。


Story

  Identify what you want to “say” in your art piece. It sets the goal for yourself and task and all the components of your piece are going to serve this statement. If you are painting a poster then you should think about what is happening, what just has happened or something is just about to happen. You need to paint the “moment”. It will put an extra layer of depth and story in your poster painting. If you are designing a Sci-Fi weapon concept then you need to think about what is the “main” trait of this weapon first. This will be the main story of your weapon you want to talk about the most and also this will be your “dominant” shape. This is really important because it is also directly related to the rule of “concentrated coolness”  This will also set your blueprint of what will be the dominant and minor shape of your final design. And then think about how it is being built for what, timeframe when it is built, who are using it and whatnot. This is really cool things to think about. You are basically creating your own story on your work and you are the greatest storyteller at this moment. (In the production it will be mostly driven by design document from design team).

故事

  定义好你想在作品里讲述的东西。这是一个目标的设定,接下来作品里的每一个部分都要围绕这个设定来进行。如果是海报设计,就需要思考发生了什么,正在发生什么,和即将要发生的事情。你描绘的是一个“时刻“,这会为你的海报设计加上一些深度和故事感。如果你在设计一把和科幻风的武器的原画,那你首先就要思考这把武器主要的特点是什么,这会成为这把武器的故事也会决定“主要”形状。这一点很重要,因为它与“凝聚优点”(concentrated coolness)原则密切相关。会帮助计划好最终的设计中什么是主要的形状和次要形状。然后再思考怎么去组建,每一部分设计的目的、时间、使用人等等。想想还是很酷的。你在在你的作品里创造了一个故事,这一刻你是最棒的讲述者。(在实际项目中这一部分都是由策划主导的)


Shape language

  What is the statement you got from the story? Should the shapes be calm? Aggressive? Soft? Funny? If it is shaped both round and angular then how are you going to blend them together? Are there any shapes don’t sing together?(Shape consistency and echoing shapes) If you look at those bad ass concept artist’s works they are using shape language really well and it totally separates them from other artist.

形状语言

  你从故事里面感受到了什么?用到的形状需要表达平静的感觉吗?还是攻击性?柔软的?搞笑的?如果你要同时运用圆形和多边形你要怎么把他们融合在一起?(形状的一致性和呼应)如果你去看一些很牛逼的的原画他们的形状都用的很好,仅这一点就将他们与普通的美术师区分开来。


Overlapping shapes, perspective and structure

  Perspective is not only for making shapes look right in your scene or characters or whatnot but also it is for directing audience’s eyes to the composition of your art. Overlapping shapes is not only for separating foreground, middle ground and background but also is for making people sense the 3D space in your art. Structural thinking and approach is also really important with right perspective and overlapping shapes because especially when it comes to 3D model from 2D concept. Again this is another reason why simple 3D modeling skill is essential for 2D concept artists especially when they need to design structurally complicated shapes.

叠加的形状,透视和结构

  透视不仅能让你的场景、角色等等里面的形状看上去是对的,也可以引导观众看你的构图。叠加各种形状不仅是为了区分前景、中景和后景也是要让观者可以感觉到你作品里面的三维空间感。结构上的思考和处理手法和正确的透视和形状叠加一样很重要,特别是要根据原画建模的时候。这也是为什么原画师最好是需要懂一点3D,特别是需要设计结构复杂的形状的时候。


Value, lighting and color

  Even though it is the same design it will look completely different under different light set up. These 3 principles here(value,lighting and color) should be set up based on your “story”(See number 1). Lighting and value will create the overall mood of your art and you can even play around the shape, length and softness of the shadow to give the extra vibe on your art. Color is for the complete emotional reaction. Go bold first and then fine tune it later.

明暗、光线和颜色

  虽然是同样的设计,但是打光会让整体的感觉大变样。这三条基本原则(明暗、光线、颜色)需要根据你的“故事”来设定(如上1)。光线和明暗会定下整体的基调,你也可以通过调整形状、长度、阴影来增加一些风味。颜色是为了完整的情绪表达,先大胆用色,再做调整。

 

Golden ratio

  The golden ratio. A mathematical concept nature obeys and that we humans subconsciously recognize as an expression of perfection.

Surprisingly a lot of artists do not think about it or even subconsciously ignore it even though they all know what golden ratio is. Of course not every cases will work perfectly with golden ratio rule but at least it is a good starting point and also great problem solver when you have an issue with composition, coloring and even mechanical design not to mention of U.I interface design. Applying this rule will be effective to almost every art assets you create. This is also related to content clustering and separating primary and minor shapes. However, golden ratio is not the ultimate answer all the time so you should use it as a guideline and reference.

黄金分割比例

  黄金分割是自然界遵循的一个数学概念,人类潜意识里面识别它为完美的表达。虽然大家都知道黄金分割的概念,但是让人意外的是很多美术不去思考如何应用黄金分割甚至潜意识里忽略了。当然不是说黄金分割就是万能的,但是在遇到构图、涂色的问题的时候甚至是在机械设计的过程中都会是思考的起点和问题的答案,更不用说UI界面设计了。运用这条法则几乎对你所设计的所有东西都有助益。这条法则也适用于内容聚类、分清主次形状。当然我们只能拿黄金分割理论做参考,不能依赖它解决所有设计上的问题。


Get off of the computer

  I know we all need to sit down and staring at our monitors more than 10 hours a day mostly (Sad but true) but I still ask people to get off of the computer and go out, meet up with other real people(not through WeChat of Facebook), experiment worlds and try out a lot of things around you. You don’t want to trap yourself in the world in your monitor or cellphone screen. No matter how your screens are super HD nothing could even get compared with the “TRUE HD world” around you. Head up when you walking on the street and look around how world is turning around you. Feel the surfaces with your hand. Feel the real metal and leather surfaces. Look how they react with lights around them. See how animals behave in the zoo. Try as many sports as possible and feel it with your body and find what makes you feel excited when you are playing that sports. Try to go deep into your hobbies and share the experiences with others. Life goes fast and you start to have a family and kids and all of a sudden you realize there is no time to do your own things anymore. Put these list on the same level as eating and sleeping. You need to find and experience what you love and have been wondering about as much as possible because there are so much things you cannot learn from video tutorials or books.

  Make connections(Not political connections) with other artists around you and make them as your friends. Try to be outgoing and collaborate with others more. These people around you will go on to be lifelong professional contacts and will be the source of new opportunities for you throughout your career and of course they are the true living mentors totally reachable anytime.

离开电脑

  我知道我们所有人几乎每天都要在电脑面前坐上超过十个小时,但是我还是强烈建议大家要离开电脑,走出去,见见朋友(不包括上微信或者Facebook),感受真实的世界,尝试很多不一样的事情。不要把自己困在电脑和手机屏幕。不论你的屏幕看上去有多么的HD高清,也依然比不上你身边真实的“高清”世界。走在街头,抬抬眼,看看你身边的这个世界是怎么运转的,用你的手去感受物体表面的质感,感受金属和皮革表面的质感。看看他们是怎么去反射光线的。去看看动物园里那些动物的行为。尝试尽可能多的运动,用身体去感知,去发现在做一项运动的时候是什么让你感受到兴奋。花多点时间把你的爱好玩精,然后把经验分享给周围的人。时间过的很快,你会有家庭和小孩,突然你就会发现你已经没有足够时间去做你自己想做的事情了。把这些清单放在同吃和睡一样重要的位置。你需要尽量多的自己发现和体验你喜欢和一直好奇的事情,因为很多东西你是没有办法从教程、视频和书上学到的。

  和你身边的美术师们处好关系(这里不是说带政治色彩的关系),多交些朋友。让自己变得外向和更容易合作一些。你身边的这些人会成为你职业上的人脉,在你的职业生涯中给你提供机会,也是你任何时候有问题都能马上找到的良师。


Conclusion

  While I was closing this article I still hesitated to get this article published because I couldn’t stop worrying about whether I was being presumptuous or not. I especially needed a huge gut to list out those issues we might have and had to spend a long time to think about the best way to express suggestions because this article is going to be translated in Chinese later on. (Again, big tanks goes to Tina!!!) I truly hope there is no misunderstanding and hope this article gives a little bit of chance to everybody to think about what we have been missing.

  Again, it has been my great honor to work with amazing artists around me and I get always excited to get inspired by all of you.

  Let me finish this long article with one of the greatest quote for us to keep in mind.

  "If it doesn't challenge you it won't change you." - Unknown

结束语

  当我快写完这篇分享的时候我还是很犹豫要不要发布,我担心这样写会不会显得很冒昧。要列举出可能存在的问题,要思考提出建议的最好的方式实在是需要很大的勇气,这篇文章也会被翻译成中文。(这里要非常谢谢Tina的翻译!!!)

  我真心希望这篇分享不会造成什么误解,希望这篇文章能引发大家去思考我们自身可能缺失的东西。

  能与身边这么多出色的美术师一起工作我感到很荣幸,我也总是能在你们身上获得启发和灵感。

  最后让我引用一句伟大的名言来结束这篇冗长的文章,请大家记住:


“没挑战的事情就不会带来改变。”(If it doesn't challenge you it won't change you.)-Unknown.

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