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Advice on How to Become a Concept Artist

This series of artwork is set in New York, 2030 in a post-apocalyptic type. “Walking Dead” and “The Last Of Us” were my references.

The last surviving faces of humanity are plagued with zombies. Made to barricade themselves into several places around the city, which is devastated and lifeless.

In this type of world, it is important to know the period of time since epidemic, is it something that happened long ago or something more recent?

This can change many things from an artistic direction. Whether or not the vegetation in regaining the upper hand on the environment, and by how much?

On average I put in 2 – 3 days to accomplish every painting. I mix techniques, between 3D and 2D

I put on average 2 – 3 days to accomplish every painting. I mix techniques, between 3D and 2D. For the 3D I use Cinema 4D and Vray as my final render engine, for the 2D I use Photoshop, for the photo bashing, the overpaint, and all the 2D elements.

Sometimes I like to go far with my 3D base, elements are modelled and textured and taken to a good level of detail. Usually, I have a camera to work out the best position, one or several lights and one defined with Vray.

When I create an environment, I must answer 5 questions: what, who, where, how and why.

On average, I will spend 50% of my time in Cinéma4D and 50% of my time in Photoshop, but with every concept it differs and you have to be flexible.

On some projects I might not need that much 3D because I find the perfect photo(s) and then use it more like a matte painting, other times, I can’t make anything without having my 3D base to start with.

In this painting, the survivors took possession of the “Department of Justice” to make as their hideaway base.

Artistic direction is rather simple but efficient. When I create an environment, I must answer 5 questions: what, who, where, how and why.

Each one of these answers will bring additional information, it will give me an indication of the history and it’s what is going to give life.

They barricaded the door with pieces of furniture and distributor of drink find on the place, mattress put down on the soil to sleep, cases of weapons and of ammunition are present, small objects of daily life, like the plates filled with apples, the coffee cup, books, pencils. etc. . .

Generally speaking, I am a concept artist for video games. When I am working on personals projects, like this one, I think first as “player” then as “spectator”.

The player can use computers to see town plans, plans of the underground, to release a part of the card game or to create a route towards a new quest.

There are no characters in my early portfolio pieces, I only concentrated on environments because at the time it’s what gave me the greatest pleasure.

Today, it different, I am Concept Artist at Ubisoft and I must include characters in an environment, it breathes life into the concept art. I have improved a lot on my character work.

I was a student when I made this and my goal was to get employment somewhere!

My logic was that an employer must think “Hey, this guy makes exactly what we make. Let’s give him a job”.

I think having that mentally gives you a really great chance of getting a job. For example, If you want to work at Blizzard, your portfolio should have at least in 70 % of work based on a similar artistic direction of the games that they have made.

Author: Maxime Delcambre

I began at the high school with a professional baccalaureate in visual communication, with a profile of computer graphics specialist, 2D.
I studied in Game Art at New3dge, where I learned about techniques and 3D software. It allowed me to mix 2D and 3D to make concept art.


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