One of the most beautiful and complex parts of concept art has to be environmental design. Since every story takes place somewhere, carefully planning and bringing to life the world where those stories belong plays a big role in the magic of concept art for any media.
In my opinion, environmental design is one of the most difficult types of concept art, to become an environment designer you need to have a very solid base of drawing fundamentals and even have the architectural and industrial design knowledge to be able to create anything from your typical buildings to fantastical and otherworldly territories.
In this gallery, we’ve gathered what we consider great examples of environment designs made by ArtStation professional artists, that we hope you can use as an inspiration to learn and grow as a concept artist.
Blue valley — Finnian MacManus
Inspired by coral formations this amazing piece transmits a very strong message about a long-lost alien civilization. The colors and composition are on point, making it easier for the viewer to immerse in this new universe.
Crash Bandicoot — Adrian Nagorski
These fantastic pieces created for “Crash Bandicoot” have an amazing sense of flow and movement. The limited color palette of the desert doesn’t seem to impede bringing the viewer’s attention to the roads, making them the perfect example of environment design composition for action video games.
Don’t touch them — Evgeny Romanov
This fantastic piece has very strong energy, the illumination and composition transmit the adventure breaking point message, amazing 3D work by Romanov, available in 6K on the artist’s page.
Dreadnought —Yuriy Mazurkin
The most important task of environment design and concept art is to have that ability to take the viewer away from earth and transport them to the world our story is taking place, and this breathtaking collection carried on that magnificently.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy — Sylvain Sarraihl
Although in this piece the style seems to be simple, the use of shape language, and depth makes it a perfect fit for the game and story. The bright and vivid cool in contrast with the sky in the background and the dragon in the foreground make the beautiful castle the main focal point of the piece.
Omni The White Tree — Hue Teo
This beautiful piece is an explorative painting from the great artist Hue Teo, the style and composition are astounding, and with the use of shapes and textures, this piece transmits the “journey” message incredibly well.
Beach Villa — Sin Jong Hun
Another great piece by Jong Hun, where though the format is landscape, the verticality gives us an “Observer Experience” where we stand on the top of this village looking towards the horizon.
Sacred tree — Eli.Xue
This breathtaking piece is the perfect combination of reality and fantasy, the composition, lighting, and contrast between the bright background, foreground, and that small cabin illuminated by the sun make the viewer jump straight into the world it was created for.
Volcano Ruins — Yiwen Li
In this 3D render by Li, we can appreciate how important it is to set the right mood for a concept art piece, here the feeling of danger and anticipation for adventure are engraved all over this amazing piece.
Elixir — Valentin Perouelle
This casual scene plays with the contrast between detail, guiding the viewer’s eyes toward the most important part of it. The bright colors and simple shapes are eclipsed by the story lying behind, which makes it a great example of one of the most important parts of concept art, storytelling.
Find Our Ways — Robin Tran
Here we can appreciate a gorgeous piece made entirely in Blender, with a combination of elements where the light and atmosphere is perfect to set the mood for a romantic scene.
Square Landscapes — Anton Fadeev
This collection of works is a great concept art example, it plays with shape, composition, and color contrast to transmit strong and vibrant energy, making it easy for the viewer to immerse right into this world.
Final Mission — Satish Kumar
This collection made by Kumar along with his students from Art Train Academy brings to life the idea of space exploration in a dark manner. With a dark color palette and realistic sculpts, the danger is palpable in these keyframes.
Boss — DANDAN00
With a mix of photo editing, photo bashing, paint-over techniques, and 3D modeling, amazing pieces like this one can be created for concept art. Although the dragon seems to be the main focal point of the piece, the warrior in the corner sparks the storytelling part of this piece.
Cyberpunk city — Hardy Folwer
This piece is part of the architectural structure curse of the artist. The amazing use of textures and shapes brings to the viewer a highly realistic and immersive environment.
Absolver Concept Art — Michel Donze
This beautiful piece made for the video game Absolver is a masterpiece in composition. The elements in the foreground, midground, and background merge beautifully, and the use of colors gives this enchanted forest an almost welcoming and comforting vibe.
解禁图 — Snow Gao
This gorgeous work of art is very different from the usual environment concept art pieces, the heavily culturally influenced style, color harmony, and composition capture the viewer’s attention at the first glance and sends them to a fantastic ancient world.
Belly of the beast — Corenting Ligot
This is a prime example of 3D modeling and concept art, the use of textures, organic shapes, and contrasting colors helps build the bizarre ambiance where the story takes place.
Ruined Temple — Corentin Ligot
This stunning temple made for the series “Fall of Enchantment” was made in 3ds Max and VRay block by block, the eerie mood and dark aesthetic of the piece are the results of the artist’s ability for modeling and rendering since this piece was minimally retouched in photoshop.
East Punk — Forrest White
Behind the perfect execution of this piece is a thorough study, not only regarding references but structures, colors schemes, and composition. An amazing example of how environment concept art is done that you can check just by clicking on the artist’s name.