Read an Interview with Survarium Artist
To communicate the ideas and the mood of the project, you need concept art. It is created by a concept artist, who works on visual design of objects, characters and locations.
Find out how Survarium concept art is created by reading through an interview with Anton Kuhtitskiy, artist of Vostok Games.
Please introduce yourself. What's your position in Vostok Games?
Anton: My name is Anton Kuhtitskiy, my nickname on social networks, websites and games is Zenitium. I am a concept artist on Survarium and I'm responsible for environment, characters, mutants, plants, effects, and more. Also I work as an illustrator.
If you're interested, I have a portfolio.
What did you do before Survarium and how did you end up in Vostok Games?
Anton: Before Survarium I worked a lot as a freelancer in digital graphics, drew custom illustrations and oil paintings for covers. Since I was born in a family of tattoo artists I tattooed a little to earn some money. We were making a game with my friends, and I drew the concepts for it. After that Nickolay Barre made 3D models out of them. Later, Nick got a job in Vostok Games as 3D character artist and recommended me for the position of concept artist.
Do you have an education in the arts? Or are you a self-taught artist? By the way, what do you think: is there a chance for self-taught artists to find work in the game industry?
Anton: Yes, I am a graphic artist. Recently I've graduated from National Academy of Art and Architecture, now I'm going to become a master of "supreme magic".
I believe it all depends on the person. If one wants to do something, he will succeed. I know many people who evolve professionally very fast. They draw all day long and they learn basic academic knowledge from books and internet. Eventually they get jobs as artists having an education in physics or mathematics, for instance.
The Academy has its own special group of artists, where you can learn about the intricacies of art. That is hard to grasp sitting at the computer. However, this can be achieved if you socialize, attend exhibitions and courses, and so on.
Please describe a creation of a new concept step by step. How long does the process take?
Anton: I start with reading a text document describing the properties and characteristics of the equipment set. I discuss details with other artists, then look for photo references, and then show the results to the person who approves them. If the work is not approved I continue to look further.
After approval, I start sketching in "photoshop", gradually working on the picture in detail. When I see that everything is in place, I start to work with color, moving from large to small, paying special attention to small details: spikes, nuts, different devices and debris.
My colleagues from the art department might not like the final result or it causes some negative associations. Then I have to redraw this element, for instance, a helmet or a shoulder pad. I draw from two to four characters monthly.
Working with locations, anomalies and plants is much easier and more interesting, because I have a lot more freedom. I give ideas, and Nickolay Gatilov (art director of Vostok Games) endorses them and helps me to develop as an artist. Together we try to create a general idea and composition, collecting all concepts into one. The main thing is to recreate the feeling of the unknown. One concept can take from two hours to two days.
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
Anton: Out of my head! Sometimes from movies, books, also I revise photos of engines, machinery, photo reports from paintball games or post-apocalyptic parties.
I follow players' posts in Russian-speaking Survarium community and on the forum.
For locations it all starts with finding a composition spot. Then I start looking for pictures of nature, abandoned buildings, etc. Sometimes I take pictures myself, and sometimes just look for them on the internet. Then I generate images of various anomalous plants, mix it all in one concept or divide into individual objects.
Which of your ideas implemented in the game do you consider the most successful?
Anton: It's difficult to answer this question. I really do like that my drawings come to life in the game. That's cool, so I don't have any special claims to the implementation of my work. Of all the equipment I have worked on, I like level 10 outfit of Black Market the most. The concept was not that great, however, my friend Nickolay Barre made a very good 3D model, and the result was pretty aggressive.
So far I have only worked on London map. And on some others, but I can't tell you about them yet...
Was there a situation when the location was designed by concept artist in one style, but was implemented in the game in a different form?
Anton: Yes, there was. That's exactly what happened to London map. Originally it was intended that the city would be flooded by Thames. Later, the city was flooded almost like Atlantis. Then, large roots of the Forest took over the metropolis.
In the end, the city sank in the sand. But this is a normal workflow. While drawing concepts you become fixated on one idea and it gradually becomes boring. And then a dramatic turn leads to a new idea. Many complain about our final choice, but I don't see anything wrong, because diverse environment enriches the game and makes for much more interesting characters, anomalies and other things.
It is clear that it is too early to talk about this, but anyway. If we ask about the thoughts of a concept artist, how does he see mutants in future game modes of Survarium?
Anton: They could be evil and mysterious, so that it'd be interesting for the players how a creature mutated, what properties it has and so on. Probably it's going to be animals that have adapted to anomalies or were affected by them.
I always read players' feedback and listen to all the requests. I am a gamer myself, so if I'm given a task, I will try to do everything in my power to please the fans of Survarium. Well, I hope that the game designers will come up with something interesting.
Do you play Survarium? What location do you like the most and why?
Anton: Yes, of course, I play it. Sometimes in the morning before working on a new concept I play one match. And after work I play in a squad with my two cousins.
My favorite location is Tarakanovsky Fort. To me this map is really good. It is filled with exciting details and is fun to play in terms of tactics. It's easier to reach your target because the map is not big (so you don't die from a sniper's bullet), there're lots of walls, traps in the aisles – just what I like.
Take a look at other art by Anton in Survarium Media Section