Concept Art Inspired by Video Games

Even though I work in film and video, I tend to get a lot of cinematic inspiration from videogames. The genre has come a long way since the days of Atari and Sega. With titles such as “Last of Us” “God of War” and “Red Dead Redemption” now featuring in-depth narratives and sophisticated world building, rich characters, and detailed, twisting plots that are as complex as any film or TV series. Games now have directors and entire production crews that actually stage real motion capture scenes on sets, where voice actors physically act out the situations that unfold– just like in film.

The following simple studies and pieces of concept art are inspired by cut scenes, narratives, and characters from videogames.

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“A Fishy Place” concept art and lighting study

I wanted to represent a feeling of coming upon some ancient ruins. This was inspired by some of the situations you may find in God of War, where the characters travel through a world that’s full of ancient magic and history, in order to discover their destiny.

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“Ghost Bunny” environment and color study based on RDR2

Ask any gamer, and they’ll tell you– the environments in RDR2 are just incredible. This drawing was based on a swampy environment. It’s more of a color study than a lighting one– I wanted to experiment with drawing something based on the game’s color palette for this scene. Then I added a white rabbit with a glow effect. There are many ghosts in RDR2 that you can encounter at set times of day and under certain conditions. These mysterious encounters and many more odd easter eggs you can find throughout the game really add a lot of curiosity and interest to the story, and build out the world.

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Scifi concept art and lighting study.

Not much to say about this little illustration except that it started as a simple study of a girl standing in a golden field, and after I was done with that, I decided to spice it up a bit by adding this big, ominous robots walking around the landscape. I really enjoy experimenting with light beams blasting through the atmosphere of different environments. Fog machines and hazers are commonplace on set, and I’ve had the privilege to have studied their effects on many projects. A good fog effect turns light into a painting.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 study “Arthur” black and white

The world and environment of Red Dead Redemption 2 is beautiful, the depth of its story is seemingly endless, and the characters are unique and lovable all in their own ways. Who doesn’t love Arthur Morgan? I was inspired to sketch a portrait of him after the game’s finale.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 study “Arthur” inspired by the game’s promotional artwork

After drawing him in black and white, I decided to add some colors reminiscent of the original promotional imagery. Bright reds and yellows blasting over the black and white image gave it a much “edgier” look.

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Concept art– this was more fantasy themed, a representation of a “boss battle” of some kind

Was listening to a lot of epic videogame soundtracks, and this popped into my head. A lot of “boss battles” display these giant, godlike centralized figures that appear unexpectedly and have human-like qualities, yet an overall more ethereal appearance. This one is more of an angelic figure.

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Scifi concept art — android design

Just a generalized concept. Nothing too unique, just wanted to experiment with how to represent an image like this in the most minimalist, efficient way. I find that using gradients to carve out large shapes and definition is the fastest way to build an image. I use the lasso tool in photoshop to draw most of the image, then use the gradient tool to create soft shades. A few layers can complete an image quickly– it doesn’t take much to get the idea of your image across if you have a good system.

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Floating castle in the sky, lighting and color study.

Was experimenting with a popular coloring technique in photoshop. With this technique, you paint the image in black and white, and then overlay the colors on top for a kind of “glazing” effect. The problem with this technique is that you can’t fully control how the color behaves, and it inevitably ends up either too saturated or not saturated enough in most areas. I found that this technique is useful for certain situations, but not all. I end up doing an overpaint to blend the colors together at the end anyway.

Need storyboards, beat boards, key frames, or concept art? Contact Lee at for a quote.

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