Game Art& Design
I want to put my ideas in play.
Welcome to one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. If you’re still reading, then you must be up to the challenge. And that’s good, because you’re also in line for a career where you can feed your passion for gaming—and turn the skills you've honed into a career where you do what you love. Your future starts in our Game Art & Design degree programs, where you can learn what you need to become a key player in the game creation process. Using the same kinds of technology professionals use, you’ll explore what it takes to get games into the production pipeline. And get yourself into a dynamic industry. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’ll put your talent and commitment to the test. But it could also put you in a position to succeed.
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty & instructors.
Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design
Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design
See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/384 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:
- Demonstrate the ability to apply design and art skills, both traditional and digital, towards game related projects.
- Employ the principles of gaming, to plan, design, and create environments, level play, background stories, and characters.
- Demonstrate the requisite skills in presentation, interviewing, networking, resume-building and game business knowledge critical to seeking an entry-level artist and/or designer position in the industry.
- Demonstrate the ability to apply the skills necessary to create quality, game-ready assets using industry standard techniques and tools.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the managerial and developmental aspects of the game production pipeline and demonstrate knowledge of planning, budgeting, specifications, constraints, scope, teamwork, problem solving, and deadlines that go into making a market-ready game.
I'm ready to take the intensity to a whole new level.
If you see yourself using your creativity to tell stories, you’re looking at a rigorous education. In Game Art & Design, you’ll start with the fundamentals like the principles of design, drawing, and color, in both traditional and digital art. You can build skills in game design, level design, 2D concept art, 3D modeling, texturing, and real-time lighting. The focus is on the principles of gaming, balance, and usability; creating the entire gaming experience; and developing games that’ll be used in industry-standard engines. You’ll explore the planning, scope, problem-solving abilities, and economics of creating a market-ready game. And through it all you’ll put in a lot of hours, work your way through a lot of trial and error, and find yourself challenged by other like-minded students. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.
Meet Our Alumni
Amanda BurnhamGraphic & Web Design , 2008
"[My education] prepared me for the actual process of developing a website. With the instructors checking in at every milestone of the project, it simulated client interaction and feedback."Read More
Director, Manages Incoming Web Projects, Workflow, Design, Development
Amanda Burnham is the director of web design and development for Monster Design Company. She oversees all incoming web projects and manages workflow, design, development, and intern work. “I've worked for Monster Design Company since my 2011 [which was] my first year attending The Art Institute of California—San Francisco. I was lucky to be [hired on] before I finished my degree. I also work freelance on the side.” Amanda adds that a typical workday includes checking the job board, organizing projects by priority, and delegating as needed. She’s focused on completing jobs before deadline.Read More...
She understands that it’s easy to feel pressure during school but emphasizes to current students that school is only temporary. “Keep pushing, be professional, and put out only your best work. You never know who is watching and who could help you get a job in the future.”
Amanda cites a challenge that she experienced in her work—when she had to customize a WordPress website for a client. “I had a client that wanted a portal for users to apply to be an agent for his company. I wanted to use a particular plugin to do this, but because of the highly sensitive information we were capturing, I needed to find a way to make it as secure as possible.” She researched and customized plugins to accomplish the task. “From my experience, there really isn't anything you can't do on the web. If you don't know how to do it, spend a few hours on Google and make a plan.”
Amanda adds that her career is detail-oriented and that designers have to love what they do. “If you don't [love what you’re doing], you're not going to care very much about the quality of your work. Even with the ‘not so fun’ jobs or clients, you need to find the excitement in every job. Passion and dedication is what clients and employers notice.”
She works in a small team environment, which has enabled her coworkers to become close friends. “Not only do we collaborate on many projects, but we also come up with our own crazy ideas for projects to do on the side. I think we all compliment each other very well.”
Amanda earned degrees from two schools in The Art Institutes system of schools. In 2008, she earned an Associate of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco. In 2014, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento. She says that in school, she worked on web projects from start to finish. “It prepared me for the actual process of developing a website. With the instructors checking in at every milestone of the project, it simulated client interaction and feedback. Also, student feedback gave me many sets of eyes [on my work] and I believe made me a stronger designer.”
Eric J. DrakeCulinary Management , 2015
"The knowledge and skills I gained in school [are used in my job] every single day."Read More
Eric J. Drake
Floor Manager at Bumble
Eric J. Drake is the floor manager at Bumble, a farm to table restaurant in Los Altos, California. He oversees front of house management, runs the floor, and expedites hosting and serving of customers. Eric enjoys the human element of his job—serving people and working with his employees. “I love having a hand in making someone’s day better. Food is a great way to do that,” he says.
Eric explains that when he joined the restaurant, he quickly realized that there was a lack of communication between the front of house and back of house. He set out to fix that problem immediately. “Now everything is organized and communication with the kitchen is much better.” Eric mentions that he supports the new trend of mandatory tipping—or eliminating tips altogether and paying employees a higher wage.
He gained his passion for food from his mother—and adds that his father taught him what it takes to be successful. Eric adds that the industry can be challenging but urges current students not to take things personally. “People in this industry are passionate. Keep your chin up, brush off [any disagreements in the workplace], and go on doing your job.”
Eric, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that his education provided the knowledge he needed to transition into a culinary career. “A degree doesn’t make you a great manager, that can only happen on the job. But the knowledge and skills I gained in school [are used in my job] every single day.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1410 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Lucia MendezFashion Design , 2015
"[My education] covered every area of the fashion industry."Read More
Technical Designer for BYER California
Lucia Mendez is a technical designer for BYER California, based in San Francisco. She’s responsible for writing specs, sketching new designs, and specing sample garments. “I [joined the] company right after graduation,” she proudly states.
Lucia says that her grandfather inspired her to pursue fashion design. Today she is excited to be part of a nationally recognized fashion company. “[My work] is in an area that may not be as creative, but it is essential for the fashion industry.”
Lucia, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education provided a solid foundation for her transition into the world of fashion. She recommends that current students stay focused. “Know what you want and once you start, do not stop. Don’t give up.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/380 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.Read More...
Marichuy ReynosoFashion Design , 2007
"[My education provided] a thorough overview of the field."Read More
Brand Manager for Vince Camuto
Marichuy Reynoso is the brand manager for Vince Camuto. She’s based in San Francisco’s East Bay. Marichuy is responsible for relationship building and merchandising, as well as evaluating floor space, product on hand, and updating mannequins on the merchandise floor. “I enjoy the experience of understanding what customers buy and don’t buy. This is great information when designing,” she says.
Marichuy is proud to be in a challenging career that makes her leave her comfort zone. She recommends that new designers remember to master the basics. “The human body has not changed. However, fibers and new technologies are changing, especially in performance wear.”
Marichuy, who in 2007 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education provided a thorough overview of the fashion industry. She also credits the school’s career services team for helping with her job search. Marichuy adds that it’s important to participate in fashion shows to show off skills. “[Internships are also important]. They are solid experience that appeals to employers.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/380 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info. *As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University.
Sabrina PaduaFashion Marketing & Management , 2016
“No matter how long the days are, I enjoy that I get to be in this industry making a difference, alongside my team. It's great to finally be able to have a career that I've always envisioned myself being in.”Read More
Sabrina PaduaResearches and Creates Trend Plans Two Years Before Final Product Hits Stores
As the product line coordinator for Lucy Activewear, Sabrina Padua has many responsibilities. She coordinates and manages data pertaining to the product line, product creation, and development—and works with the “tops” category team to help to determine new product and consumer needs, price points, and strategic developments. Prior to her current position, she worked with prAna, Mel Cotton’s Sporting Goods, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters.
Each day is a balance of new tasks and outstanding projects. “My work consists of creating multiple presentations on PowerPoint [for] different cross-functional partners, managing data pertaining to the product line on multiple Excel files, and ensuring the integrity of its contents. I also attend prototype fittings, organize salesman samples, attend meetings with different teams (design, product development, marketing, sourcing) to go over seasonal collections, and coordinate all of the important gates and milestones when it comes to the product life cycle,” she says.
Sabrina adds that she didn’t quite know what to expect on her first day at work. “I had butterflies in my stomach and I would think to myself, ‘Am I going to do a good job? What if I don't catch on? What if this isn't for me?’ But the moment that I walked into the office and met everyone, all of my fears were put to rest. I realized very quickly that I knew my strengths and my skills, and I was prepared for any challenges that may come.”
She explains that fashion takes a high level of commitment—but it’s an exciting field full of creative individuals. “[I work with people that] I can learn from and look to as role models. I see what it takes to be successful and I strive to learn and adapt quickly, and to contribute to the future of the brand as much as I possibly can.”
Working on projects two years before they hit stores can be a challenge. “We are really in the forefront of the product's lifecycle. I help my team brief the new ideas and we work together with the designers to create an entire product line. My team goes out in to the market to find out what styles, fabrics, and technologies are trending, and we work with our designers who then create the collection based on the details our findings.” From that point, the project evolves to include fittings and samples of the designs that will be available in stores.
Sabrina, who in 2016 earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education taught the key skills needed to transition into the fashion industry. “It’s great to come into the field knowing industry terms, departments, and how they pertain to the product line.” She adds that it’s also important that individuals in the industry continue to innovate and create. “It's good to be adaptable, flexible, and on your toes. There's so many different moving parts when it comes to introducing the product and brand to the market.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/383 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Samson ChenFashion Marketing & Management , 2011
"Soak up knowledge and experience like a sponge. Collaborate with industry leaders and mentors that you want to emulate."Read More
Creative Entrepreneur at TOA, Article & Goods and Azil Boutique
Samson Chen describes himself as a “creative entrepreneur” at TOA, Article & Goods, and Azil Boutique—companies that provide handmade or specialized creative pieces. He prides himself in building a business model for these companies out of experience and observation. “[I see] what is missing in the market and [determine] how I can change it, improve on it, or break into it,” he says.
Samson admits that he had to swallow his fear and believe in his intuition when going out on his own. “Sometimes failure or trial-and-error is the best way of learning.” He enjoys being independent. “The heart and soul I put into my work [makes me feel] satisfied and rewarded.
Samson, who in 2011 earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that his education provided the fundamentals he needed to work in the creative industry. He recommends that current students learn as much as they can—even in unpaid positions. “Soak up knowledge and experience like a sponge. Collaborate with industry leaders and mentors that you want to emulate.”
See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/383 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
*As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University
What Will I Study?
I have the imagination. I need the tools.
In this competitive industry, companies are looking for creative people who are passionate about the craft of taking a game from concept to market-ready. The curriculum for Game Art & Design will help you prepare to do just that, as you study:
- Digital Imaging
- Life Drawing
- Drawing & Anatomy
- 2D Animation
- Digital Storytelling
- Character and Object Design
- 3D Modeling
- Game Art & Design
- Texture Mapping
- 3D Animation
- Material & Lighting
- Game Modeling
- Game Production Pipeline
- Designing Interior Spaces and Worlds
I'm looking for my proving ground.
At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Game Art & Design is built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper the tough with the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. Here, you’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. So if your heart is telling you that you belong in a creative field, you belong here. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love.
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.
Meet Our Faculty
Kevin MartinAudio Production
"You may be very talented, but it's when you start to collaborate with others that things really start to happen."Read More
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I use my industry experience to give students some practical tips. For example, when you record drums in the studio, it’s important to measure the distance of microphones from the instrument. You could carry a tape measure, but when I worked in studios in Nashville, we measured with the microphone cable. Simple solutions like that can come in handy for students when they start internships or their first job in the business.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In teaching audio post-production, I take a short piece of video that students choose and have them strip away the audio using a digital audio workstation like Pro Tools or Apple Logic*. They then recreate the audio by sourcing sound libraries and doing their own recording. Students help each other by recording or serving as voiceover actors or sound effects artists. By the time they’ve finished the project, they’ve gained a deeper appreciation for how the magic of audio transforms a piece of film or video.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
In my Video Production class, students from Audio Production, Digital Film, Web Design, and Graphic Design each propose an idea for a 30-minute TV or web program and we pick one by popular vote. Then comes the writing, storyboarding, building sets, and lighting and set design. When we start shooting, students get to wear many hats—director, camera operator, floor manager, video switcher, teleprompter, etc. The experience creates friendships along with a solid final deliverable that everyone can add to their demo reels.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
You may be very talented, but it’s when you start to collaborate with others that things really start to happen.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Someone I worked with at LucasArts once told me that you won’t like everyone you work with, but if your standards stay strong, your art will speak for itself. Some of the best work comes from teams that love art, but not each other. It sounds a little harsh, but it’s true.
*Apple, the Apple logo and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.Read More...
Trey GallaherGame Art & Design
"Critiques and group discussion are where students stand to benefit the most."Read More
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an artist of some sort. When I took my first art history class in college I saw the work of Artemisia Gentileschi and knew what I was destined to do.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?
Whenever possible, I try to use samples of my own work or an anecdote from my professional experience to set the tone and create a picture of the industry practice and standard. I have always been a hands-on type of teacher. I try to show, not tell, and demonstrate the skills and steps required to achieve a higher standard.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
In my character design classes, I give an assignment where students explore abstract visual concepts through thumbnail sketching and silhouette refinement. I begin by showing them how to get started, what methods and tools to use, and set them to work. Through their own exploration and work they find a spark of originality and an idea that sets the direction for further development. They are often surprised by their own discoveries and in finding something unique and special in their own working process. This is the heart of what I do. I teach process for image creation and visual problem solving thereby unlocking my student’s potential.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
One of the many rewards of attending a traditional brick and mortal college in the modern age is the collaboration and feedback you get from an on-ground experience that generates and fosters professional working relationships. By having a diverse student body with a variety of design concentrations, students are exposed to neighboring disciplines often working together on projects exchanging ideas and both giving and receiving feedback. Critiques and group discussion are where students stand to benefit the most. Students find themselves surrounded by other creative individuals attempting to solve similar types of design problems. Through this exchange and collaboration, they make connections and form lasting bonds that carry on after their college life and into the professional work place.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
Work ethic and accountability are the two biggest requirements to becoming a professional. Taking personal responsibility for the development, execution and on-time delivery of the highest-grade work possible is the sign of a student that is ready for the industry. When students enter The Art Institute, it begins with their passion and talent. Our job as faculty is to guide that passion and talent through challenging course work and instruction that will better prepare them for the demanding industry standard. A strong work ethic and accountability are the promise each student must make to themselves in order to achieve success.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?
For over thirteen years at Ai I have been continually amazed by the high caliber of work our students achieve. I have a strong respect for the discipline it takes for students to stay focused on their goals in this busy and challenging age. I applaud and consider it a privilege to stand behind them in their dedication to their own passion, talent and decision to make their dreams a reality.
I'm challenged by the opportunity to take my ideas and bring them to life. Marlon Munoz
Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Miami International University of Art & Design, 2008