I love art books. Not art history books per se, but books about the design behind movies and video games. When you’re watching a movie or playing a game, it’s easy to forget just how much work goes into every frame. These art books let you see the thought process and design evolution of every element, from set design to clothing styles. A lot of these elements never even make it into the final product, so it’s incredibly inspiring for me as a designer to see how a design changes and develops from sketches into what you ultimately see on screen.
The CGTalk community routinely posts these same types of behind the scenes articles, like this one on Portal 2, one of the most anticipated games of the year. I’ve been knee deep in game design for a client project for a few months now, so it was awesome to get a glimpse into the minds of the people who made Portal 2. The article details the designers’ thought processes from the general aesthetics of the game to its functionality. It’s definitely worth a read, with plenty of process and under the hood images to make your design neurons go all tingly.