My part in this story has been decided. And I will play it well.
That being said, it's actually funny how many simularities there are between commercial art and programming. I never really thought about it that way.
Art will function the same for everyone.
Coding might have to take into account different operating systems, different hardware etc.
Art generally should not need debugged, as it should I believe be relatively easy to test if it does what it is meant to do, as the number of test cases would be more limited.
Art does not have a cascading effect on other areas, as the recent taint issue highlighted.
There is still some vanilla code lurking around that was handling a now non-existent Micromenu button for the map, for instance.
Though I can't personally judge how hard the coding part of it is since I only know the art side of that kind of software, etc. I imagine it takes a while as well.
Last edited by OzoAndIndi; 2013-12-31 at 01:43 PM.
I think the outtakes from Shrek do an entertaining job of showing the debugging process in 3d art. Then there's issues of building meshes that can be freely animated, which requires a fair amount of testing, then constraining your skeleton so as not to break immersion or just break the form. This comes up more if you want to use rag-doll physics in your game. Then issues with collision checking. It's a long list actually. Essentially, ever time you are creating a process for the art rather than manually creating the art, there will always be some debugging.
There are pretty limited issues of cascading art failure, I'll give you that. These usually have to do with changing timing, or changing something stupid like the texture size or resolution.
In my opinion to compere the 2 is not possible, if they were from the same category sure, coding implies mathematics the study of algebra, algorithms and a straight forward thinking, learning complex programs while art implies visual experience, study of nature, free and creative thinking, a feeling for mixing different elements from history, culture, etc in to something unexpected.
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Programmers consume the art content done by artists. They set out constraints such as vertex limits. They take the raw content and convert it into the necessary formats. They program all the in game effects such as by coding shaders with the High-level shading language (HLSL).
A graphics programmer is not an artist. Although they will work together with the art directors to bring the vision to life.
When I'm talking about constraining meshes I'm referring to rigging the model. This requires a fair bit of tedium in making sure your quads are lined up the right way and sufficiently numerous to survive the deforming. Then weight painting the model so it moves correctly with the changes in the bones. Then going through and making sure that none of those bones can move beyond certain break points so they don't intersect with the model or swing off at weird angles.
All of those things are either painting or animation.
Eventually, possibly even pretty soon, there won't be much of a difference in graphics programmer and 3d animator type jobs for games; but that's pretty far along the voxel emulation of flesh volume road. Still, if things progress as quickly in the next twenty years as they have in the previous twenty... who knows. I feel bad for any artists who skirted calculus, that's for sure.
Art is art, all the way through. Designing a 3D model is about finessing the 3D model to look good as a 3D model, not just look like the sketch you seem to imply was "handed down" to them. You'll notice that many of Blizzard's concept sketches don't actually look exactly like their corresponding in-game models (if they made it into the game at all,) see... Vrykul, Val'kyr, buildings... really, ANYTHING... They show creative license all the way through.
And hell, if that were true, you could just as easily contend they have a whole room full of underpaid codemonkeys slaving away.
Something I'd like to add in regards to programming: Wow certainly does have programming involved, but the majority of the things some here refer to are not really programming as much as clicking things together in an editor or writing scripts. Huge difference.
Different projects take different amounts of time, has nothing to do with what is "harder". I'm an artist and coder, both at a respectable level, and they are totally different animals.
Art is learning how to exactly box in wild creativity. Coding is learning how to be wildly creative in an exact box.