Ar­mand Ser­rano on why a vis­ual de­vel­op­ment artist is a de­vel­oper, de­signer and drafts­man, when cre­at­ing be­liev­able worlds for an­i­ma­tion

ImagineFX - - Workshops -

The main task of a vis­ual de­vel­op­ment en­vi­ron­ment artist work­ing in an­i­ma­tion is to con­cep­tu­alise, de­sign and ex­e­cute a be­liev­able world for char­ac­ters to live in. But the suc­cess of these en­vi­ron­ment con­cepts doesn’t rely solely on the draft­ing skill level of the artist. It’s the whole pack­age that makes the fi­nal prod­uct work ef­fec­tively. I’d say the goal of the vis­ual de­vel­op­ment artist is to be­come a de­vel­oper first, a de­signer sec­ond, and a drafts­man third. A de­vel­oper is a think­ing artist – an artist who can plant, cul­ti­vate and harvest an idea or con­cept that sup­ports the vis­ual foun­da­tion of a story. To be­come a dy­namic de­signer is to cook those ideas and con­cepts un­til they be­come in­te­gral vis­ual in­gre­di­ents of the story. For the artist to be­come a pro­lific drafts­man, one has to ex­e­cute and flesh out those vis­ual in­gre­di­ents for pub­lic con­sump­tion.

Vis­ual de­vel­op­ment is sim­ply the vis­ual de­sign evo­lu­tion, from an idea to the fi­nal prod­uct. It’s how the story is han­dled by the artist(s) work­ing on the project, go­ing from the ini­tial pre­pro­duc­tion stage to the break­ing down of the en­vi­ron­ment into smaller parts for oth­ers to work on. So it’s cru­cial that the struc­tural makeup of the art­works in de­vel­op­ment oc­cur in this or­der – con­cept, de­sign and tech­nique – and not vice versa. To think tech­nique is the key to the suc­cess of the art­work is to­tally miss­ing the mark.

Here are my key tips that point to­wards a suc­cess­ful process in cre­at­ing strong con­cepts and com­po­si­tions for an­i­ma­tion.

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