Conceptart refers to a form of illustration that is intended to visually illustrate a concept before it is translated into a final product. These visual implementations are used on the one hand in the development of ideas, design concepts or moods in the production of cinema films, video games or comics, and on the other hand in the explicit execution of assets, props, film sets, items, level elements and characters to be produced.
Concept art is a term adopted from American English that has been used by the animation industry since the 1930s for concept sketches. These drawn or painted images are intended to illustrate the design, general look, moods, colours, etc. of a planned work. Later, the games industry adopted the term when the increased visual demands of computer games necessitated more careful planning.
Concept art refers to a preparatory visual description within the entertainment industry. Before characters, game worlds or details are elaborated, images, usually based on the specifications of the screenwriters (in film production), show how these things might look; in the games industry, the game designer's concept is usually interpreted by the game artist and elaborated into executable work orders for 3D modelling, texturing and animation. Concept art thus not only describes the visual implementation and elaboration of ideas, but also defines - usually in conjunction with the director or game designer in iterative design processes - what is actually to be produced.
An important element in the development of ideas for the illustrators and animation artists is the production of still photos of built models. This is how, for example, the Elvish swords for the film version of The Lord of the Rings were developed from leaf shapes.
Since the mid-1990s, most illustrators have been working predominantly digitally. Here, 3D modelling is possible as a new form of representation.