The 8-bit, pixelated video games of the past are gone, video game art is in, and high-budget video game productions are in need of artists more than ever.
As the industry expands beyond the male 18-to-24 market and the budgets for game production continue to rise, creative types from filmmakers to fine artists have found a place within the thriving market.
Even big time producer Michael Bay got in on the action when he directed the trailer for the latest in the Need For Speed series.
"When people see video games like Uncharted or Assassin's Creed, even if they are working on visual effects for movies, they want to join us now," Raphael Lacoste, Art Director of Assassin's Creed Revelations told USA Today.
Lacoste, himself is a former concept artist and matte painter for several Hollywood films including, Terminator Salvation. "You can be more creative in video games, I think."
Students studying video game arts academically has doubled since The Princeton Review and Gamepro magazine released their first rankings for undergraduate and graduate programs. The latest list found the University of Southern California at the top both in undergraduate and graduate categories.
With blockbuster titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 raking in sales of $400 million in its first 24 hours on the market, artists are flocking in droves to the industry.
Video games now reaching a broader audience than ever, and studios will need a constant influx of artists, said Michel Ancel, creator of the Rayman franchise. "Thousands of worlds have yet to be designed, and artists are essential to bring these worlds to life. The story is just beginning."WATCH: Makers of the new Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim discuss the role of art in video games below and read more analysis here .