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.