Its function: to define the graphic coherence and visual identity of a work
Whatever field he is active in, the artistic director has the same function: to define the graphic coherence of a work or a work within a limited framework and to ensure that the entire graphic chain respects the indicated direction. It has therefore been found from the inception of a project to define the visual identity of a product, whatever it may be. And we find it as soon as the project is completed to check the consistency of the whole. Between the two, he will have made sure that everyone’s work matches what he has defined.
The DA – as it is called – is therefore in contact with the client from the start (the client, the initiator of the project, the financier, the inventor). He has to present to him, often on mood boards, the most important aesthetic lines that will meet his expectations or even bend them. He must never lose sight of the commercial dimension in order to surrender to aesthetic convenience.
Artist and manager
Once the creative universe has been defined, the artistic director will have to pass on his ideas to the entire graphics chain. For this he must not only be a good manager and an excellent organizer, but above all know all the limitations that graphic designers and designers face, and all the teams that have to work from his directions. He must therefore have a thorough knowledge of all the software used, but also be very aware of the financial management of a project in order to be able to adapt to budget constraints.
As a good manager, he should also have an address book with which he can recruit reinforcements as quickly as possible.
Education Level: Bac +3 – Bac +5 and more
Gross monthly salary: From 3,000 to 5,000 € and more
An experienced profession
In the digital world, be it video games, animation films or websites, the presence of an artistic director is necessary to ensure aesthetic coherence and the creation of an identity. Rare are those who start their career as an artistic director: you must first know the creative professions well; oftentimes, DAs go through the graphic designer-modeller stage before they can eventually become game directors of a studio.
- artistic sense
- Know how to work in a team
- Being creative
- Being curious
- Have a solid general culture
- Business sense is a “ Lake †
- Be Organized
End of study results
- Knowledge of all video game trading
- Mastery of the most important creative 2D and 3D software
- Management concepts
Words from professionals: Vincent Chiarotto
Director of the ECV Bordeaux Campus, he develops and supervises the ECV Animation & Game curriculum. As a former student of ECV, he worked for more than ten years in 3D for advertising, animation and television.
The profession of artistic director is present in almost all areas of visual communication. What is the specificity of this profession in the digital world?
More specifically, in the world of animation and video games, the DA plays a key role as he will accompany the entire graphic style of a movie, a series or a video game. The special feature is noticeable in the scale of the teams and projects. An animated film can bring together up to 500 people in a production and the DA can have an entire creation department under his responsibility. The technical complexity of productions also requires a good understanding of software limitations and their impact on budget and schedule.
How do you define the graphic direction of a work that you are not at the origin of? Should we appropriate it or take a step back?
This is probably the hardest thing about leaving specialist school: accepting that we don’t initiate all projects. Hence the importance of developing teamwork, sharing responsibilities and decisions while still a student. It will then depend on the experience and familiarity of the DA. Some will be in demand because of their modern and original style, others because they are more flexible, everything will depend on the type of production and the wishes of the producer. It can also depend on the country of creation: France is known for its creative power and the freedom given to its artists.
Is an AD present throughout the creative chain, from pre-production to post-production?
Yes, but with variable intensity. His presence is decisive in the pre-production, which will be closely linked to the most creative part of digital projects. After that, the DA will guarantee good respect for the graphic bible by the various professions. For example, he will have to check the fidelity of the modeling of a 3D character according to the model sheet (2D views of the character) created by the character designer. At the end of production, he must ensure that the VFX or calibration are consistent with the spheres validated on the concept art. In summary, after guiding and directing creativity, he will be responsible for the graphic style and its correct technical application.
In the digital world, do you need to master the technological tools of design and graphics (eg 3D or texturing software)?
This is certainly an advantage, because dialogue with highly technical departments can become hell if you don’t master the production pipeline and the feasibility of what you’re asking for. However, faced with the complexity and the very rapid evolution of digital tools, you need to know how to surround yourself with experts and keep a daily technological watch. Finally, if a keen mastery of software is not required, you need a perfect knowledge of technical terms and designations to avoid blushing when hearing words like retopology, rigging, blending shape or hardening. Thus, a digital art education will necessarily involve the teaching of reasonably developed software.
In addition to his creative qualities, the DA must be a good manager, even a good salesperson. In your opinion, are these functions taught enough?
Yes, but without exaggerating them too much, as it is very rare to leave an education or specialist school and immediately get a position of DA. In general, you must first prove yourself in a production studio by starting in a role dedicated to graphic creation: character designer, concept artist, mat painter, storyboarder… Then it is the status of lead (team leader) that will be offered to the best elements . This is when soft skills and the ability to communicate well will make all the difference and can lead to a DA position. Because these qualities are essential to develop in order to evolve in these sectors, the quality of their education can therefore make all the difference.
Guide 2022 – Digital professions – Schools and training
This sheet is from the special edition “Guide 2022 – Digital professions – Schools and training” published by Jeux Vidéo Magazine available at your newsagent for € 6.95. Click on the cover to discover excerpts from other professions.
Vacancies 2D 3D graphic designer, video editor, animator