Classic Art in Video Games

Chris Solarski in New York Film Academy

This Thursday the New York Film Academy‘s Game Design and 3D Animation program welcomed guest lecturer, Chris Solarski. Chris is an artist game designer and author of Drawing Basics and Video Game Art: Classic to Cutting Edge Art Techniques for Winning Video Game Design. With a Bachelor’s in computer animation, Chris began working as a 3D character and environment artist for Sony Computer Entertainment in London. Later, he enrolled in art classes at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, where his interest in applying classical art techniques to video games began. It was after a lecture by visual artist, Andrew Jones, that Chris found his true calling. “I was so impressed with his ability to create something out of nothing,” recalled Chris. “I knew I needed more training. I had catching up to do.”

The students were treated to an hour lecture that was truly fascinating and well thought out. Chris’ lecture focused on the connection between classic art and modern video games. Yes, that’s correct. While it may not be obvious at first glance, Chris was able to dissect classic works of art to validate his points. Using comparisons from the work of artists like Degas and Boticelli, Chris was able to show the influences these artists have on modern gaming. Much like an intricate painting or drawing, a crucial element in game design is emotion. Emotion can be conveyed through composition, contrast, and the structure of images. These elements are essential in the development of any art, and Game Design and 3D Animation are no different. “The composition and contrasting elements have a very strong impact on emotion.”

One of Chris’ most recent games that he enjoys the most is Journey, mainly due to the composition and emotion of the experience. “It is important to know the emotional experience from the outset and use composition to create the player experience.”

Chris currently develops his own video games under Solarski Studio, with the aim of exploring new forms of player interaction and creating more expressive and varied emotional experiences in games. “My job is to validate video games.”

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