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I am a starting concept artist who would like to enter the gaming industry. I noticed that some AAA titles show their concept art with no artists signature (only a reference to game the game, such as for Star Wars The Old Republic: 2013 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BioWare, LucasArts).

I asked myself a question, what possible harm could my autograph cause on the public concept art if I am not a well known concept artist such as Adam Adamowicz (who did concepts for Skyrim). Why would a prospective boss tells me not to leave my "finger print" on the picture despite, the fact that I am a very talented artist?

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Your studio may want to use your art for years in marketing material or box art or whatever. Meanwhile, in 6 months you may become a convicted felon that hits the national headlines and your name becomes a household word so your studio would not want that stigma attached to their property but rather a clean break. no loose ends. I don't blame them. I know that's a facetious or extreme example but there are many less obvious (and typical) examples out there. –  Steve H Jun 29 '13 at 13:51
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A list of pros and cons is a broad question without a definitive answer; I adjusted your question somewhat to ask something that is a little better suited to this site's Q&A policy (see the faq). –  Josh Petrie Jun 29 '13 at 15:01
    
Where would animators "leave their fingerprint", or story-writers, or programmers, or producers, or build engineers? Its not about one person anymore, a game is teamwork. Why would concept artists be special? You're part of a team. –  Maik Semder Jun 29 '13 at 23:26
    
Wouldn't the people mentioned in the previous comment get a place in the credits? –  sarahm Jul 6 '13 at 12:09
    
The book covers, Eg. Harry Potter also tend not to have their covers signed :) –  Mikolaj Marcisz Jul 6 '13 at 22:51
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1 Answer

Most of the concept art you're likely familiar with from big names in the industry was produced for a game, while the artist was in the employ of some company. That often means the ownership of the copyright falls to the company itself. It's similar to how all the code I've written while working for my current employer is not mine to keep if I were to leave the studio.

As a result, it may be company policy not to sign art produced for a game. Possibly for reasons Steve H pointed out in his comment (they want to continue to make use of the art, even after you leave or even after your name becomes sullied in some fashion that they'd want to distance themselves from... although the former is more likely than the latter I'd hope). Possibly simply because they want to keep it "unadulterated."

I just checked, and the large of some of Daniel Dociu's work I have in my room isn't signed, for example.

That said, I'd sign everything you create on your own time for your own projects, if I were you. It's only after you get a job in the industry (and if that job requires you to not sign anything you do as part of that job) that this will affect you.

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