Friday, 17 December 2010

Semester 1







Although I thought my time management was fairly good this semester; I find myself agreeing with the 'work faster' statement. Somehow I become complacent with a certain speed of work and then wonder where the time went even though I spend most of my day glued to the screen. It doesn't matter if you do a 9-5 day everyday if you don't have the appropriate amount of work to show for it.

To analyse my own work I would say that I didn't invest in enough research time for the rooftop project; I started with what I wanted it to look like without consideration for the 'real' rooftop elements e.g making the garden area then plonking a water tower and a couple of satellites on top and hoping it looks coherent.
Texture-wise I am still afraid to dirty up those textures! I think in the future I need to go and find whatever materials I need and take photos/samples; even if it's not the same object it will help to see the material used and decayed to whatever level it needs. My textures are far too simple.
I think the thing that may help me with my fmp project is that I plan to sculpt whatever I can which will give me a basis on which I can build my maps.

Falstaff was a fun sculpting project to do; although I won't be saying that when I attempt to rig him. I feel more confident with sculpting now and I'm glad of it as it is a very useful tool when combined with the fundamental skills of 3d. Building a good base mesh I would say is imperative; I cannot stress how much it helped to construct the face mesh before taking it into zbrush as it lessened the workload during and after the sculpting stage.
My feedback suggests it is unfinished so I think I need to work into the texture more as it would be exposed to the elements and also probably clean up the mesh - 'Look at your low mesh structure' didn't really give too much away.
As for the rooftop; I shall try to get the lights flickering in the storage room and add interaction with the meshes. Any other suggestions would be welcome.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Year 2

It really has just flown by at a ridiculously fast pace; and I'm not sure about the improvement of my work; it gets harder to judge the longer you spend on projects and keep going back to work on them. I feel like the course really should be four years, I think it's been mentioned recently and I have to agree.
If I pass, then being a third year is going to be weird; I like having other work to look up to and thinking I can achieve that standard but after this year all we'll have to look up to are the professionals - pretty intimidating.
I'll only be content with my work when I feel like I can show it without cringing; that's enough to keep me going; I hate that feeling.
I figured that I need to get really specific; I think I've said that before but I never followed up; because really, how am I supposed to speedpaint without knowing how to paint basic elements; weather, materials etc. it just doesn't make sense; like trying to run before you can walk; excuse the cliche idiom.

Year 3 = All work, No Play, Lots of tea.
Maybe a quarter life crisis thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

group project

There were definately things that could have gone better, but I don't think anyone in the year could disagree with that statement; for us, specifically time management, folder structure and maybe communication/decision making. I think enthusiasm wore off as time passed; the assets weren't exactly thrilling and I never expected them to be; it just didn't feel like anything significant. I'm not saying our level was bad by any means; I think I just prefer more colourful, organic environments.
 Everything did look a lot better put into the map at the very end though and I really enjoyed working with my group; they're a great bunch even if there was plenty of amusing excessive swearing directed at certain pieces of software.
I think the only downside was the mandatory building and theme which might not have been everyones preference; as artists, of course we all want to go in our own direction but really it was for our own good and it kept our untrained imaginations grounded and differences at bay.

On the positive side personally; I did take the time to learn Unreal and I can't wait to make some small scenes over the summer or whatever projects that may be set for us. There's also some technical practices that I still need to learn like baking normal maps; I've been skirting around the more complicated stuff because it sounds so long-winded but now I need to get on with it in preparation for third year, if I make the cut. I also want to model at least one more character; I doubt I'll ever choose to specialise in character design but I still like trying and you can't ever be too weak in any given area in this profession.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

I write this whilst listening to the Assassins Creed soundtrack. If it were disassociated with the game, I would still love it but probably wouldn't have ever chanced listening to it.

How is it that we can immediately label music as sounding epic?- in the real sense of the word; not the over-used game language sense. That word immediately brings Lord of The Rings to mind; and probably would to anyone else with no extensive knowledge of music. It was a dramatic and emotionally involving story but what I now appreciate is how music can evoke emotion on its own; I'm talking about orchestral here, not punk or pop or anything else.
This music speaks on a much higher level without the use of words.
Maybe I'm just biased; full of admiration for an art I won't achieve.

My point is that music for games can be an extremely powerful tool; only a few notes could bring back memories in a flash no matter how simple or epic, from the super mario theme tune to Halo's orchestral adventure. I hope that in my later years I'll be able to cherish the soundtracks of my favourite games with serene musical nostalgia.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

"You're treating this work like A-levels." A typical Chris comment but true nevertheless. It's good to hear words that make you think about your work and how other people see it. However, It did make me ponder my education again; and really, how slack it was. I'm not entirely blameless but it was hard to be motivated when I had no idea what career I wanted at fifteen after spending three wretched years in high school drifting through the system in constant worry of my future. It's not much of a way to spend teenage years.

Art was a sort of solace for me; a quiet state of mind away from whatever troubles I had. I'm not purposefully anti-social if that's how it appears; I just enjoy solitude; quiet relief from the constant noise.
Game art was more of a lifeline; I knew I could never make a living from fine art, although modern art says otherwise. This involves a lot more thinking and design consideration; maybe that's what I'm forgetting.
This isn't meant to just be pretty; it has to function and be part of a world.


It was a beautiful evening the other day; the kind of one where you could walk in the sunset forever. The kind of one that makes you think lifes not so bad after all. Then you wake up the next day and remember that it's Britain. That perfect weather was never going to last and neither was that perfect feeling.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

5 hour mornings are the best. I feel a bit zombified for a couple of hours though so I've been doing digital painting or sculpting in the morning and 3d when my brain starts to kick in. Unfortunately, in my brain dead state this morning I sculpted two right hands. He's nearly done though; but not that interesting for an interesting character; I'll have to work on that.

I borrowed these two books from the library recently:



I think we need more books like this, especially The Skillful Huntsman with it's visual development right from the inspiration and initial sketches all the way through the process.
It's virtually impossible to look at finished images and wonder how such a high standard was conceived; seeing the early stages is much more motivational and makes the whole thing seem more achievable, given that you invest enough time.
I also read that you should first sketch out all of the cliche and overdone concepts before you get to the original stuff in your head; makes sense.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

I overheard a couple of the guys in the labs talking about being able to sleep for only two hours a day without going crazy. I was instantly intrigued. It turned out that it has a name - polyphasic sleep. I've never questioned sleep, let alone known there was different types, so I decided to investigate and stumbled upon a blog which documented an equally curious persons experience of this sleep pattern:

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/

"It feels like playing a single-player role-playing game where your perpetually active character moves through a world of NPCs who follow predictable routines. I think if these zeitgebers were removed from my environment, I’d stop thinking about time in terms of days altogether"

I found it very interesting to read, so I hope it's genuine. I'd like to give it a go over the summer although this may just be some late night fixation which will dissipate in a short period of time.
I think a good hard look at self-discipline might be the second best thing at the moment:


I would normally take a quick glance at articles like this and disregard them completely but this writing seems more coherent; more applicable right here, right now.
Anyway; I think my self discipline could definately do with a step up in all areas; regular sleep patterns, less processed food, less caffeine, more exercise, less wasted time; all of which contribute to a better quality of life and higher productivity. Bad habits need breaking, and new ones need forging.
My first is to wake early, consistently; I'm going to go with 7am for now; If people can go polyphasic then I sure as hell can go early bird.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

I've liked reading others blogs lately. People seem to be questioning how they feel about life; the kind of thoughts that might otherwise go unheard but have the power to change and help our perspectives.
It made me realise that I always think about all the things that could go wrong, which is the reason why I try and stay quiet most of the time; afraid that my opinion is 'wrong' or could be inadvertently hypocritical.

Fear is obviously an issue in everyones lives but it kind of reminds me of how I used to feel about rollercoasters. I used to be afraid of them and at the extreme negative, thoughts would wander to ' what if I fall out and die?'....don't laugh. It happens. But now I think 'let's go on the highest, fastest one because I want that adrenaline rush'; there is no room for fear. And the same can be applied to life; get past your mental barrier and just go for it. I think It's difficult the more younger and inexperienced you are because everything seems like such a big deal, but In the words of the great Dr.Pepper;

 'what's the worst that could happen?'


Oh wait; that's being negative; Dr.Pepper just undermined my whole blog.

Monday, 5 April 2010

This is how my markers experiment went; before & after:




I really like this exercise, probably because the markers do the work for you and add texture without making it look forced. However, a disadvantage is the lack of perspective in random markings, so you have to work around that. It is good practise in seeing shapes though and something I'd like to continue and progress at, adding more detail and more believable lighting and so on.

My other uni projects are coming along too; I keep flitting from one to another; which seems to work as I'm kept busy but I'd rather have a smaller list of things to complete. I think I should wrap up some 2D pieces in the next couple of days.
Preferring organic shapes over mechanical is a slight problem when it comes to drawing vehicles in perspective though; damn curves all over the place.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Break time

pencil sketch + photoshop
Copic markers came today; I wanted to try something from a Scott Robinson Gnomon workshop dvd.
Let's see how this goes.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


I picked up this Watchmen portrait photography book in the Works today. Even if you've never watched the film or read the comics it's still a great resource full of interesting characters, expressions & clothing from on and off set; albeit all in black & white; good for value study though. I'm gonna use tracing paper and practise drawing topology on their faces; all good fun.

"Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense."

Friday, 26 March 2010

A certain thing that's good about doing this course is that you learn to respect the profession because now you know how much effort experts have to put in to be that good. I'm sick of seeing comments that tear games to shreds just because they're not to someones particular liking and clearly don't have a clue what it takes to make a game.
Even if it is poorly designed, has bad voice acting or whatever, it doesn't necessarily mean any less effort and time was poured into something created solely for our entertainment. End of.
So, it's the easter 'break' which will definately not be a break for most of us but I'm not complaining.
"It's not like you get these kind of breaks when you have a full time job" as my dad politely reminds me, which is a fair point.
I'm definately feeling more dedicated as of late, minus the neglect of this blog and I really want to succeed, not just struggle along, lest my epitaph reads: - Here lies Sophie Holt. - Almost good. -

There's no jobs for almost good.

Actually there's no jobs for pretty damn awesome either at the moment.
What surpasses pretty damn awesome?
I'm not sure but I know I'm a long way off from it. One day though, one day.
*Work montage to Eye of the Tiger soundtrack*

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Time for some reflection about the group project. I don't think any of us knew what to expect; I wouldn't describe it as difficult, just awkward as we have nothing to compare it to; no previous experience of having to rely on others and communicate frequently and thoroughly.
  I think I expected more unity and team spirit but we've all been a bit scattered over the weeks; at least we all get along and everythings starting to come together. I just hope we haven't left the texturing too late as it's a weakness of mine.
 I know we haven't finished yet, but I hope I'm pulling my weight.

Anyhoo, heres a quick study from John Hammonds 'Capturing Light in Acrylics' book. His work is beautifully ideal; a nice change from our resi style projects. Hopefully if I keep studying works like this, it'll help with my colour confidence. 

Friday, 29 January 2010

More reflection. I may yet turn into a mirror.

I suppose recently I feel like I've been running on the spot, so to speak. It's not like I don't do any work, It's just that I havn't got much to show in comparison to how much I've been learning.
I'm reading all these books and studying all these artists without paying attention to my own work. I'm still afraid to just open up photoshop and do something because I know it'll probably turn out crap. It's this stupid mental barrier. My head says I've been doing lots of work, but my heart knows I haven't really...
I need to set some targets. Something like a self-portrait in a different medium every day for a week and then something different for the next week. It has to be accessible and realistic in short stints otherwise, to be completely honest, I just won't do it.

Saying that; I havn't really even been playing games lately, which I suppose is a good thing. I was probably the only person who didn't care that much about CoDmw2. Never have, really; didn't care for the airport scene either. But it's kind of like, so, just because they're not in a soldiers uniform makes it worse? Soldiers are people too but you don't have a conscience whilst shooting them in the face? It's all just egos and "enemies".
Anyway, Mass Effect 2's where it's at! Even the beginning is awesome. I love getting attatched to characters aswell, it completely makes a game for me.
So, I'm off to save the galaxy. Again. I'll be back.

Sunday, 17 January 2010



Sight is extortionate for those less fortunate.
Hah, I did a rhyme; this warrants a smiley face :)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Turner & the Masters



Now exhibiting on my wall
But seriously, how amazing are these paintings, and the scale aswell, its mindblowing. I wish I had been taught how to use oils in college but apparently it was too expensive. I'll give it a go when I'm proficient in other mediums first, otherwise it'd probably just be an expensive disaster.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

colour theory: from the beginning






time spent: 1 hour
knowledge gained: priceless
not taking initiative sooner: ridiculous!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Friday, 1 January 2010

More thoughts on how I work; not neccessarily for reading, but for me to sort out the jumble of certain personal observations I have had.

  • I now realise that to read for hours about artistic matter is a sidetrack to actual practise; however, I am gaining knowledge but I must put this to practise lest I forget!
  • I find my sketch book rather daunting to draw in. I should feel the opposite but I don't. I've started doing studies on canvas board and felt less confined physically, but more importantly in my mentality.
  • I still need to rid myself of hesitance and throw myself whole-heartedly into projects; more research, preparation, careful consideration and observation. Sometimes I zone out, which is fine when out life drawing but not when I'm trying to learn from any given subject.
I am sure there is more but for now I proclaim my newfound idol in Leonardo Da Vinci. It seems the game 'Assassins Creed' has sparked an interest for Italy, the Renaissance period and the Medici. It's slightly ironic how a game meant for indulgent entertainment has led me to the subject that I used to find so terribly boring; history. It's also quite sad that I shunned the eternally interesting and expansive subject while I had the chance to learn and embed the knowledge in my mind. Ah well, it is a regret I can amend gradually.

That just leaves my new personal mantra:
Everything now is not how it used to seem, but should be seen afresh.
Observe with the eyes of a curious child and study with the mind of a learned artist.




A visit to the Turner & The Masters exhibition is also in order!