Piranha Bytes - Interview @ Piranha Club
A site called Pirahna Club has an interview with Piranha Bytes' art director, Ralf Marcinczik, in Russian and German. Luckily for most of us, World of Risen has an English translation. The conversation centres on Ralf's background, rather than Risen:
1. Does a graphic artist really need a professional training? If so, please explain why!
Not really - but it helps a lot.
Over the years I met a lot of graphic artists in the games industry who were never professionally trained to draw or to see thing analytically from a painters perspective. And in the long run, this causes communication problems because these basics are missing. Be it a technical issue (how to create a good pose? what criteria determine the best way to present a character?) or a theoretical one (how to develop a unique style for a certain project? how do colour systems work?)
Many graphic artists get to this job because of their enthusiasm about games. Some have learned to handle 3D programs by themselves, others just like to modify games.
Alas, a real professional training that covers all aspects of games production does not exist.
I myself had, when I was still in school, absolutely no idea how to realise my career aspiration. It took me some detours to finally come to study "communications design / specification: graphics". And even so I was a bit disappointed about not really learning a lot of technical stuff at the university, it still taught me how to understand graphics and that anatomical drawing does not have to be boring.
Source: World of Gothic