Guidelines for Concept Art

Tamriel Rebuilt uses concept art to visualize our ideas before and during the design and implementation process. If you’re a concept artist, the following FAQ will be helpful to you.

Concept Art Guidelines & FAQ

What is concept art?
Concept art is drawings, paintings, sketches, and other images of new ideas, places, or things that could be used in Tamriel Rebuilt. Concept art does not include models and textures, which are posted in the asset browser.

Who can post concept art?
Anyone! This is open to concepts from everyone, artist or not, developer or not. Any skill level. Really!

Where should I post?
Head to the Concept Art Forum. Post one thread to show off your concept art. Keep updating it when you make new art. Art for a specific topic or asset with its own thread should go in that thread (or if the item in question is in the asset browser, it should be posted in there).

What shouldn't I do?
- Don't insult other people's art (or yours!). We like art of all levels here. Suggest improvements nicely.
- Do not use copyrighted artwork as your own. Plagiarism is not okay.
- When posting artwork that has nudity or sexual content, use common sense; if it's thematic and fits in with the Elder Scrolls, we might use it. If it's gratuitous, we probably don't need it.
- You can upload images directly to the forums or use a free image host (see FAQ below for suggestions).

What can I draw?
We are collecting concept art for anything in or related to the region of Morrowind.

Is there something specifically you need art of?
There might be. If you're looking for something specific to draw, there are a few places we post requests:

  • Check the Modders Wanted page. That is where we keep links to what’s needed.
  • Check the Asset Browser. We post requests for new assets in there, and any new asset needs illustrations first. Assets that are in the process of being developed also go there and may need concept art.
  • Check any active discussion threads in the planning forums, where people may be tossing around ideas that could use illustration.
  • Last, we love getting any and all concept art, especially new ideas. You're welcome to contribute to existing requests or make up something new on your own. If you have something in particular you want to draw, go for it, even if there doesn't seem to be a need for it. Our active and request threads don’t cover everything, in no small part because we often realize we need something only after someone’s made a concept of it!

But what if my art never gets used?
Any and all concepts are helpful to us and help inspire us to keep making Tamriel Rebuilt and develop new assets for TR_Data. Even if your piece of art is never "used," it will still have helped. Art is always useful for inspiration and to help define and visualize the lands and cultures we create.

Does concept art have to meet a standard?
Short answer: no. Long answer:

Concept art is most useful when it accurately conveys its message. In this respect, practically any "level" of art is useful; anything from quick sketches up to completed masterpieces. A neater, cleaner image may convey the idea better, but sketches are useful, too. Generally, your artwork should convey some combination of the following: the shape and contours of the item, the color, the texture, the size, and where it lives or is used.

Concepts usually fall into the three broad categories: conceptual art, atmospheric art, and functional art.

Conceptual artwork introduces a new idea, and varies widely from quick sketches to more developed art. The most important thing here is to get the idea across.

Atmospheric art generally portrays landscapes, environments, cities, and conveys how it feels or looks to be in a certain place. Atmospheric art is generally looser, as it does not get used as a strict reference image.

Functional art portrays objects as they would actually be seen in game, and covers all possible types of objects, from rocks, to mushrooms, plants, people, hats, houses, and anything else that would be modeled. Functional art tends to be tighter and more representative, as some of it will be used as direct reference material for developers to make models from.

If you have been asked to make functional art specifically as a reference for a modeler, please make your artwork neat and clean, and provide planar views, such as top, bottom, front, back, left side and right side. Otherwise, do as much as you need to get your idea across, but don't worry about making each image a masterpiece.

I can't draw, but I have an idea...
If you have an idea you'd like illustrated, post it in the Asset Browser.

What does it take to be promoted?
Make good concept art for us, then ask. There's no special showcase or promotion guideline for concept artists. Just make art! Keep in mind that being promoted for concept art is entirely aesthetic. (If you want to participate in Interiors, for example, you still have to make a showcase for that.)

Where should I upload my art?
There are a variety of free image hosting sites where you can put your artwork. You can also upload your art directly to the post or asset. Here are a small selection:

Imageshack Photobucket deviantART imgur

Of these, photobucket and deviantART are recommended, because they do not delete old images. DeviantART does not allow direct links. You can also try Dropbox. There's nowhere online that's entirely perfect for free image hosting, but these are okay.

How can I make my art be visible as an actual picture instead of a link?
You can post it directly by clicking on the tiny picture of a house near the top of the post editor. The window that pops up there allows you to resize your artwork and make it link to a larger version if you would like. Make sure your artwork is being resized to less than 800 pixels (otherwise, the forum software may display it squished). You can also upload your art directly to the forums or asset browser.