The background artist is the person on the video game production team who specializes in drawing the items in the story other than the characters. The design team makes decisions about where the action is going to take place, and the background artists go work to set the scene for the story.
Like the character artist, the background artist starts his or her work on a project by making sketches of what the landscape, stadium, or alien plant is going to look like. Once the original sketch has been approved, it must be redrawn to scale on graph paper. This part of the work is very precise; otherwise, one or more components of the background to the game may be out of proportion.
All the structures in the background need to be drawn in proportion to each other, as well as the characters in the game.
After the objects in the background have been drawn on graph paper, they are drawn on a computer. The background artist builds a virtual movie set where the characters in the game can interact with each other. An indoor set would have to include walls, a ceiling and floor. It would also have doors and windows, as well as furniture. The background artist would also be responsible for drawing any small items that the characters in the game would be able to pick up as part of the story line.
Lighting for a scene is also part of the background artist’s responsibilities. They know that the right level of light or shadow in a scene can set the mood for a particular game level.
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If the game being developed is in 2D, the background artist draws the scene on paper so that it can be scanned into a computer. Once the image is digitized, it is colored. Depending on the game, the same scene may need to be colored a number of times to reflect different perspectives depending on the possible story lines for the characters.
Texture artists add detail to the background of computer and video games. They are responsible for adding the little touches that make the game set pop out. When you see a creature with scales, feathers or smooth skin, you are looking at the work of a texture artist. The texture artist can also add detail to objects like bricks, roadways, furniture and plants that are part of the game.