Create the look, feel, and style that drive the best games. Construct the atmosphere that players live and play in. Build the world you want to see.
Game artists live at the intersection of art and technology. Working with expert faculty and your peers from other game disciplines, you’ll learn to bring your visual ideas to life, creating compelling environments, characters, and animations that fully immerse your audience in the game.
As a Game Art student, you will hone your artistic abilities and learn the tools and technologies required to create 2D and 3D art and animation for games. By the time you graduate, you’ll understand how to bring everything you’ve learned together to give life to characters and worlds and to create a professional quality portfolio.
Qualities of a Game Art Major:
JoAnn PatelProgram Director(802) firstname.lastname@example.org
As game development environments become increasingly complex, careers in game art are becoming more specialized. They create the characters, environments, textures, props, and other elements that make up the world within each game. Careers in Game Art include:
Your Game Art degree from Champlain gives you more than the technical and artistic skills necessary to start your career. The collaboration that happens in the Game Studio between game artists, designers, programmers, and producers will give you game-specific collaboration experience that it normally takes years of working in the industry to achieve. A number of recruiters attend our annual Game Studio Senior Show and conduct interviews with the Game Art graduating seniors whose portfolio reels were the most promising. Our game industry specific Career Coach will help you with your search.
“The most passionate and dedicated individuals who pursue this field will graduate from Champlain with all of the right tools, skills, and resources that the industry is looking for.”
Game Artists begin with a foundation in the elements and principles of visual art and design while working in traditional and digital media. This includes life drawing, 2D digital art, 2D and 3D animation and 3D modeling. From these building blocks students can choose many areas to specialize: 2D art, 3D environments, 3D character development, 2D and 3D animation, technical art, game visual effects, and user interface design.
Introduction to Game Development introduces students to the full game development process from conceptualization to publishing, and to the language common to game development environments. Students learn about the different roles on a game development team, with emphasis placed on teamwork, group problem-solving, and effective communication. Students also create a series of rapid game prototypes.
This course is an introduction to the fundamental principles of animation and the aesthetics of motion. Students will learn to apply these principles to create beginner level 2D and 3D animations.
Building on the fundamental skills developed in Introduction to 3D Modeling & Texturing, students create detailed 3D models that are optimized for use in real-time game engines. Focus will be on refining high poly to low poly baking techniques, texture creation workflow, and in-engine material and lighting techniques.
3D Modeling II builds on the subjects covered in 3D Modeling I with a focus on modeling organic forms using digital sculpting software and techniques. Although the course focuses on organic forms, digital sculpting technology and related workflows are prevalent in the modeling of solid surface objects as well. We will also focus on using 3D painting, mesh topology and hi-poly to low-poly baking.
This course is a survey of Western and Non-Western art, architecture, and other forms of visual expression. Students will examine and critically engage with artifacts, and will consider the formal, conceptual, spiritual, social, political, economic, and cultural influences in the development of art.
In Game Studio II, students from all of the degrees of the Game Studio work together in large, multidisciplinary teams to rapidly conceptualize, pitch, plan and develop a 3D game. Students utilize the latest in game technology, while perfecting their collaborative, communication skills, and agile project management techniques.
In EGD 420, Game Studio III, seniors successful in pitching their games during the college capstone in the Fall semester continue into full production. Forming large production teams, games are taken to the perfect polished state of gold master, ready for publication. Academic emphasis for the class is focused on working successfully in a professional studio environment, preparing for entrance into the job market, and taking personal craft to the next level.
Game Art & Animation majors enroll in this course. The culmination of your art degree is your portfolio. As a game artist this includes a demo-reel, complimentary website, print materials and some final preparations for transitioning into the job market. In Senior Portfolio you will finalize your portfolio work and compile your visual portfolio into a dynamic and marketable combination of materials. To successfully complete the course you are required to have an approved body of work.
Portfolio image file for Grace Magnant
Portfolio image for Adam Streeter
Portfolio image file for Michelle Lee
Portfolio image file for Leanna Russell
Full 3D character made with Zbrush, Maya and Substance.
Real-time character model based on a concept by Hugo Richard.
Real-time 3D environment: UE4, Blender, Houdini, & Substance P/D
Fully functional rig for a complex robot model
Large scale 3D environment. Made in 3DS Max, UE4, and Substance
A futuristic, cyberpunk alleyway on a rainy night
Real-time 3D environment: UE4, 3ds Max, & Substance P/D
Through Rust We Are Returned is a tactical game where you play as Angel and fight homunculi to uncover the truth within the mainframe.
TEEEO is an action-adventure story game set in an imaginary toy world! TEEEO takes players on an odyssey that will usher nostalgia and excitement for all!
Scorch is a noir-inspired stealth, FPS. Takedown thugs as you try to break away from your former life. Stalk the shadows, gather evidence and get out.
Polaris Postal Service is a first-person, narrative-driven game where players deliver mail to inhabitants of a breathtaking forest, navigating using the stars.
Overgrown is a fast paced resource management game in which you have to keep a multitude of houseplants alive.
The power of the gods is at your command in the multiplayer, real-time strategy game Monolithic.
By deepening your understanding of programming, Game Art majors will become better equipped to work collaboratively with programmers to bring their ideas to life. Create stronger game features and develop a complex understanding of the architecture that underpins a game.
Learn to research and develop narratives, challenge your own assumptions about a storyline, and create plot lines that are unique and compelling. Discover the process of developing rich stories from beginning research through final revision, learning to craft your stories until they are strong throughout.
Game Art Major
South Burlington, VT
Game Art Major
How has your Champlain experience prepared you for your future career, both in and out of the classroom?
Through the curriculum at Champlain, I’ve been able to create a portfolio that has landed me multiple job offers. The Game Studio hosts many company visits and mixers, through which I’ve been able to make connections and a mentorship with an industry professional. The mentorship helped me not only get a job offer, but also allowed me to learn from a professional who was currently in the field and apply the skills I’ve learned.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken at Champlain? What made it special?
My favorite class was Advanced Seminar in Environments, which I took during my semester abroad in Montreal. The professor was a tough industry veteran who worked at Ubisoft. It was the hardest class I’ve ever taken, but also the most rewarding. There were only 4 students in the class. The class size was so small! We each got a lot of attention and the professor was able to push us to our limits.
How was your study abroad experience valuable as part of your overall education?
I studied abroad in Montreal during the fall semester of my junior year. The courses were excellent because they were all taught by industry professionals who were still working in their field and teaching us during the night. The school also took us on many company visits, tours, and cultural events throughout the semester. I was able to take an advanced French course, and it was great to finally be able to put what I learned to use when speaking to locals.
How has the Upside-Down Curriculum enhanced your education?
The Upside-Down Curriculum has been so beneficial to me as a learner that I cannot imagine being in a program that doesn’t utilize it. The amount of genuine experience I have received in my field has put me in a position that allows me to develop critical skills every semester starting right away.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
My first semester at Champlain, I was given the opportunity to join one of the Champlain College Esports teams, and beyond that I have had a blast participating in student-run events such as Game Jams and movie showings. I enjoy these activities because they are run by students, for students. Therefore, everyone has the opportunity to influence these activities and make them exactly how they want them to be.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found out about your experience at Champlain so far?
What surprised me about Champlain was myself. Oftentimes the first years come down with ‘imposter syndrome,’ and I can say that it hit me hard. I was afraid that I couldn’t live up to the expectations. What surprised me was how much potential I had within me, and how these classes could drag that potential out and allow me to do things I didn’t think were possible.
The Game Art major at Champlain College is a visual art program focused on the creation of 2-D and 3-D art assets and animation for games. To be successful, students must enter the program with a strong aesthetic ability and a passion for creating visual art using both traditional and digital media. As part of the application for admission into the Game Art major, Champlain College requires the submission of a portfolio consisting of five files.
See our portfolio requirements for more specific information on what to submit, and check out this article with tips from past and current Game Art students on how to shape your portfolio submission.
Suggested Areas of Study
We anticipate that our Game Art students will come in with basic drawing skills. It is valuable for you to have experience creating in a range of media. Here are some suggested areas of study and exploration that are helpful, but not required:
Portfolio Tips from our Game Art Grads
Explore Your Passion for Video Games With the Summer Game Academy—Virtual Edition
Champlain College Featured in The Princeton Review’s Ranking of Top Game Design Schools 2021
Champlain Named a “Most Innovative School” by U.S. News & World Report
Student-Led Gaming Invention Awarded Champlain College’s First Patent
What surprised me was how much potential I had within me, and how these classes could drag that potential out and allow me to do things I didn’t think were possible.
The Game Studio at Champlain College is the premier program for students looking to get a professional game development experience from day one of their education. Take major-specific classes and learn the skills and techniques that go into building your favorite games. Work as a team with other game students and construct fully functional games that you can download, play, and publish. By graduation, you’ll be prepared to succeed in a rewarding career in game development. At the Game Studio, we don’t simulate what game development could look like—we put you in the middle of the real game studio experience.
We’ll send you Game Studio info plus a game art poster designed by our students when you fill out this form.