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Integral approach to art(concept art)

Last post 09-10-2007, 3:11 PM by funkglorious. 0 replies.
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  •  09-10-2007, 3:11 PM 28340

    Integral approach to art(concept art)

    I've laid out a Quadrivium approach to the concept art process in video games.  I used it on my last project with some success.  I would love to further develop this approach.  Any feedback would be great!  The cut and paste is from my blog:



    ULDK was the project where I first fully applied an Integral AQAL approach to design.  Previously,  I neglected certain aspects and was inevitably met with much pain.  So on ULDK I was dead set on doing it right. The end result was a much more fluid and rewarding process. 

    I organized the Quadrivium as such:

    The Quadrivium of Conceptual Design

    Upper Left(interior individual):


    Upper Right(exterior Individual):


    Lower Left(interior Collective):

     Team, Player, Management, Marketing

    Lower Right(exterior Collective):

    /Process, Genre, Design, System Specs.

    Upper Left:  (Behind the concept art, at it’s interior, is the concept artist, the I)  First and foremost I had to center myself.  ULDK was very similar to the project I just came off of.  A personally heart breaking and demoralizing one that ended with the company shutting it's doors down.  So when I started working at Sony, I had to regroup myself in order to focus on the new tasks with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.  This allowed for the MAIN element of this quadrant’s success.  That is, the belief in the idea - the passion of the approach.  If I was to be cynical and demeaning to my own work, career, and job at hand, then this quadrant is sure to fall apart.  

    Upper Right:  (The Concept)  When dealing with the arts, the upper right is always the artifact.  The physical piece of work, or in this case, the digital piece of work.  It is in the interest of the upper right that the level of execution is the highest it can be.  If the concept is a character, then proportions, anatomy, etc.. must be of important focus.  For environments, it's perspective, atmosphere, etc..  Then there's line work, value communication, color theory, techniques, the list can go on and on, but it all comes down to the accomplishing the highest quality of art that is possible within the given parameters of both the task and personal skill-level of the artist.  Furthermore, it is also important to choose the correct techniques, styles, and level of detail that is appropriate to each task.  This then leads into the lower left quad.

    Lower Left:  Who am I communicating to? It's not the designers, it's not the 3d artists, it's not the art director, it's not the CEO of the company, it's not the players, nor those dudes doing focus tests and print ads.  It's communication will all of them, with each holon.  This is the toughest and most challenging thing about conceptual design for me.  It's doing art that:

    1. successfully communicates and engages the designers needs: 

    2. gets the team excited

    3. communicates well with the person modeling it

    4. marketing feels confident in promoting.

    5. middle management feels confident in presenting and backing

    6. upper management feels good about funding

    7. Players can identify with, and get excited about.

    That seems like an extensive list, how can one generate concepts and ideas that successfully grabs all those people, half of which you'll never have a single one on one dialogue with?  Here's where integral awareness becomes very important - by taking on multiple perspectives, bringing previous lessons and understandings to the drawing table, the understanding of developmental psychology, e.g. Clare Graves and Spiral Dynamics.  The ability to listen, Listen, LISTEN.

    Lower Right: (structures and systems)  Some of structures and systems that must be addressed are:

    1.  The production process. Is it fragmented or lacking is certain aspects? then how does one adapt best?  What are the deadlines and milestones?  Those must be considered, e.g. knowing when to do quick sketches/paintings, versus complex or detailed exploration of design.

    2.  Understanding of the genre.  What are the archetypes?  What are the standards?  What are the push an pull limits between innovation and conformity within that genre?

    3.  What is the over all game design?  What style and art direction is appropriate for that game design? 

    4.  The system specs of the console or pc?  Can the designs be realistically executed within the system specs?

    5.  Company structure: Knowing proper roles and chains of command, etc..


    So there we have a summary of an AQAL approach to the conceptual design of games.  The way I have it layed out, I found that the Quadrants, Lines, Levels, States,and Types can all be examined within each aspect of the Quadrivium.  I will go into more detail in the future. 



    Also, I did the same towards non commercial art.  Please check it out:  I would love feedback to refine the approach.  Thanks!

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