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Video Game Art Director Job Description, Career as a Video Game Art Director, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training:— Bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

Salary: Median— $82,004 annually

Employment Outlook:— Good

Video game art directors are responsible for the quality of art incorporated in the video games produced under their supervision. They need to have a background in fine arts, so that they are knowledgeable about the technical aspects of drawing, texturing, and coloring. They need to have a good amount of creativity, as they are often required to visualize how a particular section of a game would look once it is finished.

Video game art directors usually manage a team composed of both amateur and experienced designers, and as such, having management skills is always advantageous. They are often required to work closely with people having different skill levels. Video game art directors also need to be open towards suggestions from other team members. In a large team, every member is likely to have a unique opinion regarding how a particular level should be designed, or how a texture should be incorporated in the game environment. It is the job of the art director to take all these suggestions into account, select the best one, and develop it further with personal inputs.

Education and Training Requirements

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts is essential for a video game art director, along with good understanding of architectural principles and knowledge of anatomy. Additional certifications in multimedia arts also help a lot. Video game art directors must have good knowledge of computer operation and also of software used in graphic designing. Experienced art directors may pursue a degree or certification in art administration, which focuses on non-artistic fields related with art direction, including finance and project management.

Getting the Job

Video game art directors cannot get into direction straight away. They need to have impressive skills and experience in creating art and textures for video games. Most video game art directors initially start out as game artists or animators, and slowly shift towards directorial positions as they gain experience. Information regarding job opportunities in this profession is available in newspapers and on the Internet.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement in this career depends on the director’s skills as an artist, his/her experience, and level of technical knowledge about the concepts of game designing. The director’s human resource management skills also play a significant role in advancement in this profession.

Skilled game artists, animators, and illustrators with more than 3 years of experience are usually promoted to directorial positions. Talent and skill as artists are extremely necessary for candidates who seek success in this field. However, newcomers are likely to face stiff competition, as there are always more eligible candidates than available positions in this industry.

Employment outlook for video game art directors is expected to be good in the next few years. Video game sales have nearly tripled in 2006 compared to 1996. This fast growing industry is naturally expected to have a high demand for skilled and experienced art directors in the coming years.

Working Conditions

Video game art directors may have to work in varied conditions, depending on the size of the organization they are employed in. Art directors in large companies work in spacious, well-lit workspaces. They usually work in regular shifts unless there are tight deadlines to meet. Art directors employed by smaller organizations may have to work in varied shifts, and in a relatively congested environment. Freelance art directors work in their own offices, or in their clients’ offices. They may have to work under more stringent deadlines than those having permanent positions.

Where to Go for More Information

National Association of Schools of Art and Design
11250 Roger Bacon Dr., Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190-5248

American Institute of Graphic Arts
164 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10010

Art Directors Club
106 West 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

Video game art directors earn a good salary package, with the yearly average hovering around $82,004. Those with less than 6 years of experience report an average annual salary of $65,313, while more experienced video game art directors earn around $98,696 per year.

Directors employed in large organizations enjoy benefits offered to most regular employees, including paid leaves, vacations, and regular work shifts. They usually have 40-hour work weeks. Directors working in smaller organizations may have to deal with irregular work shifts as per clients’ requirements, and often get less perks.

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