Concept art Vs Straight to 3D

Hey guys,
I’ve been teaching myself blender amongst other applications to get an all round view of game design. I’ve been trying to make my own concept art for a time as well but although i have had some break throughs and visible progress I’m considering weather I should just be trying to concept with a quick rough sketch on paper, then straight to 3D and skip out the digital painting step. I’m aware of 3D sculpting but have not used it to a great degree, however it really is only useful for character design as far as I have seen in videos.

Any comments?

step 1 = design a concept

step 2 = model low poly that deforms well and unwrap

step 3 = copy model, make high detail texture and detail faces

step 4 = bake texture out and normal map, from high quality to low poly

step 5 = copy low poly mesh, apply maps to it…

step 6 = collect underware

step 7 = profit.

The “concept design”, like the name explains is a conceptual view designed for a subject, product or idea.

The idea behind concept design is that it should give an idea and it doesn’t have to be 100% same with the final work.

Generally when things are vague draftsman or sketch artists are faster to come up with volumes shapes and different combinations of design elements.

In a production environment different variations of a design is usually preferred. So making detailed illustrations is not ideal. (Specially if working with a small team of artist).

After the release of ZBrush and similar sculpt tools, the proficient artist could work fast enough to create a conceptual design without wasting too much time. And since the design could be quickly replicated , altered and painted over; it become popular.

The choice depends on the workflow of the studio, artistic direction, speed of the artist and amount of work assigned to the artist.

There is no “correct” way - you either sketch your concept beforehand, or you develop it on the fly while building it. Go with the method that gets you to the final idea faster. The reason most studios use concept artists is for efficiency - one person focuses only on making the best concept, while another person worries about modelling it.

Draw&eyeball for the 3D model.

You can use it anywhere really. One technique is to create small thumbnails for very quick concepts , which is just 30 seconds to 1 minute per concept then pick a thumbnail , create the concept making one from the top , one from the side at least to be used as reference for your 3d work.

Blender comes now with a very powerful grease pencil tools that is excellent for the quick draw of blueprints for objects and even rich 2d animations.

Also not having to worry about the design decisions when you decide to work on 3d will greatly speed up your workflow , since it much quicker to experiment in 2d than it is in 3d.

Your mistake is that you see this process Concept and then 3D Modeling as a linear path.

It is not in reality. I work in product design and do both at the same time, sketching and modeling.
Sketching (concept) and modeling (3D) are just tools. They do not exclude each other. They can rather
inform each other.

So I start roughly sketching then I go into rough modeling when I hit a problem that is better explored with sketching
I go back to pen and paper and after that back into 3D. You see it is a constant left and right.

The only thing that is constant is that overtime the work gets more solidified.

At the end the question is not when to use what tool, but WHY to use what tool.

Certain things are faster with pen and paper others faster and better with 3D.
Mixing them together is where it really gets interesting.

So you can make rough 3D mock-up, take a screenshot of that paint over it and and and.
Or 3d model and paint on mesh planes as a canvas all in Blender at the same time.

I hope this might give you a better idea than most of those linear Making Off approaches you see in Youtube.

Reading what you have said here, it seems that you main question is not whether to actually do concept sketches but rather if you can skip the painting or rendering steps of the design process prior to 3D.

I think that is going to depend more on what size your team is and how spread out your tasks are going to be.

If you are working alone, you may find sketches to be adequate. If you are trying to coordinate a team it will be more valuable to set a visual style prior to 3D production. And thus more easy to keep everyone on the same page.

Concept art has two purposes. One, to knock out ideas quickly and see more immediately the indented outcome and second, to use this as a guide for a team to coordinate efforts. Concept art can also be used to seek approval from a producer or director before committing to further steps.

Myself when working alone, sketches are adequate. Because I have don’t have as good of skills in the 2D painting area. So it is just as well for me to move on to set construction and work out the colors and other aspects when I get to textures. However before going in I usually work out a color scheme in advance. Though I don’t paint it into concept art.

When I am working with artists who are competent at concept art I prefer to have them go all the way. It makes a big difference to control the look when using a team.

Its just what you prefer, you could as well draw, take a 100m swim, paint, do a triathlon, 3D model, if that helps you.
If you got a good imagination you can directly go to blender, skip all drawing, and painting.
Or you might skip Blender, and create greate drawings and paintings,

…you’re free

Skipping steps 1 through 5 is probably why I haven’t made any money with this whole 3D thing yet.

I guess that it also has to do with whether-or-not you can actually draw!

(Awright, awright, stop snickering here … I’m actually serious. I… can’t … draw.)

Therefore, the fastest and most-effective way that I have, to get a point or idea across, is to “kit-bash” something using Blender. It ordinarily consists of (“to scale(!)” …) geometric shapes. A tiny animation, or just a camera-flyby.

You might say that I’m flipping the process of “human visualization” end-for-end. Instead of presenting you with a very detailed sketch (which, as I said, I am quite-incapable of doing, although my nephew isn’t …), and asking you to visualize what it would look like if it were actually moving … I present you with something “that i actually, ‘moving’,” and ask you to imagine that “Mister Sphere-Head” is actually a Bunny.

But, I would also cautiously suggest that there is a certain method to my madness:

By doing things this way, I push attention to “the shots.” And, to the many (cinematographic …) alternatives to each “shot.” Although I do this, in part, purely out of very-real necessity … “it’s not just that,” at least for me.

Find what works for you, for your abilities (or lack thereof), and for your client(s). :slight_smile:

I just skip the drawing part (I’m better at 3D than drawing and I don’t use piles of paper that way).

With concept art on paper for instance, it’s very hard to change something without redrawing the whole thing. I instead just create a picture in my head (something that tends to come easy for me).

there is nothing wrong with low res stand ins when you block out a scene.

With concept art on paper for instance, it’s very hard to change something without redrawing the whole thing. I instead just create a picture in my head (something that tends to come easy for me).

Ace, I would imagine most concept artist work on visualizing paper. A white paper with tooth that can be seen through. Meaning you can throw one sheet over another and just pick up what you choose to. With or without a light table. It also lends itself to flipping which quite frequently reveals mistakes in proportion among other things.

With regard to concept artist. I have a few Blender buddies on here who do some amazing work using the viewport in Blender as Ace does. And, hell I do the same now quite frankly. But, at what cost in time. Or, for that matter a concept never realized. In a studio setting a concept artist is a invaluable team member. And, from what I’ve read most often the highest paid since they have actually studied art. Blender is a damn tool and art is a study. Not the other way around.

This might seem unusual but I work better when I don’t have a goal in mind.

Thanks guys,
completely forgot i had asked this question! Blueprint, your process is something i’d read before but completely forgotten will keep in mind.
i guess it really depends on the situation, sometimes concept art is useful like for what richard said “to knock out bad ideas” but sometimes time consuming , where a sketch would really suffice, on the otherhand you could just sculpt and kitbash, I saw something really cool recently on youtube using sketchup to create a mars lander style vehicle ( . For me concept art isnt a strong point yet but i’ve been putting some hours into 3d so if i find out anything else i will post back here.

Your points have been really helpful!