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Understanding the role of a Surface Artist

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Real-time technology is the fastest growing skill in 3D graphics and is driving the transfer of skills across a vast amount of industries. As real-time technology continues to influence the job market, more and more high-profile organizations are looking for candidates to fill both creative and technical roles that are traditionally associated with game development. One role with a considerable amount of transferable skills is that of a surface artist.

What is a surface artist?

Typically seen in the gaming industry, a surface artist is responsible for defining the look and feel of all kinds of surfaces in an environment. Through the use of materials and textures, they describe how objects’ surfaces respond and interact with lighting. A surface artist’s role is centered on a combination of art and tech. Surface artists must excel at painting and sculpting, but also need to be well-versed in the technical aspects and workflow of real-time projects.

Surface artists have a strong focus on:

  • Textures
  • Materials


A surface material variation from Paragon’s Crunch character

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