Technically, an artist
The term ‘technical artist’ is new but the job has been around for a while. Technical artists are creative and technical workers who provide a bridge between disciplines. They need both visual design and programming skills to solve problems.
For example, if a client needs a character for an interactive demo or game the development process may include:
- Concept design: The initial character design which goes through several iterations until client sign-off.
- Prototype design: The first working version which can be tested in the real system.
- Character texturing and shader development: Creating the textures and shaders which define the surface appearance of the character.
- Character rigging: Creating the underlying skeleton which controls character movement, and how the surface deforms as this is manipulated.
- Character controller development: Creating custom controllers to provide a user-friendly interface for using the character.
- Character animation: Pre-defined and procedural animations.
- Documentation and support.
This process involves a mixture of artistic design and programming. The technical artist may handle the entire process, or act as a bridge between artists and engineers on the same team.