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Environment Design as Visual Storytelling: Theory and Practice

Miriam Bellard (Art Director: Visual Development, Rockstar North)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Visual storytelling is one of the core pillars of designing game environments.

In this talk Miriam Bellard covers the theory and practice of visual storytelling in game environments. She draws from film and visual design theory, as well as neuroscience, psychology, and art techniques.

There are multiple opportunities for environment designers to create visual stories, including spatial design, use of props, and set dressing. The role of the environment designer is to be an actor or actress and get into other people's headspaces and use the environment to tell the story. An environment designer can also create stories via association – using contrast and affinity, and the meaning of colors and shapes. As well as discussing the techniques themselves, Miriam discusses the science behind them, and when and where cultural differences come into play.

Miriam uses examples, rom pre-production to final art, from GTA V Online DLC.


Ideas and techniques that can be used during pre-production to enhance the quality of final in-game environments.

Intended Audience

This talk is aimed at anyone involved in environment pre-production, including art directors, environment concept artists, level designers, and environment artists. It will also be of interest to any architects, interior designers, or students interested in working in this area. No prior knowledge is necessary.