Friday, 9 December 2011

Vehicle Project

University Project to produce a vehichle 9,000 tris or below. I've chosen to make a Datsun 240z. Using reference from my dad's 240z, who is a bit of legend in car club.

Currently unwrapping the model. I will of course upload the finished textured model later.

I'll also post up some progress shots of my rooftop in the next couple of days as it's been a while.

Couple of Speedpaints

The speedpaints were set by a random sentence generator. The first sentence was "An armoured fish breaks down" and the second "A wrecked tripod hypnotises".

They are meant to be a bit of fun, so sorry if you don't share my sense of humour :)
Both were around 90 minutes to do.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Level Progress

Had some trouble with my computer this week, so i'm around 3days behind i recon. Here are some screen shots of my level progression in the past week.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Assets are complete!

I have finished all my assets for the interactive areas in my level. They have also been unwrapped, so all that is left is to make the few assets for the surrounding buildings.

Screenshots below of how my asset list is now looking and some of the assets that have been created.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Assets on the way...

Just a post to show that assets are being made now. Included is a quick update of my asset list so far this week.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Another concept

Decided to just get on with my front view with more assets visible. These aren't all my assets just the one's that would show up from how far the sketch is away.

Rooftop Update

Since gathering my reference I have been looking at tutorials that will help me out later in this project. I have also been playing around with layouts for the level. I started off with an idea that I thought I was going to do straight away. After messing about with layouts I ended up with something that I think is better than my initial idea.

I then did two quick concepts of the space with major assets in place. I need to do another full concept with all assets in place. To do this I need to have assets, so I have constructed my asset list.

With the planning I have done so far I think I will be able to start modelling assets and building a whitebox in UDK. I will post updates on models that are made and unwrapped etc. Hopefully I won’t get carried away and the next post you see is the completed level.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Collecting Reference

Went for a walk about the city with the trusty digital camera to get some images of the local roofs we could get high enough to see. I took a lot of pictures so I’m only putting a few up on a couple of mood boards below.

Had no trouble with any security in any of the car parks, the rain was the only troublesome thing on the day. I’ll collect more reference as I go, but I think the pictures I’ve taken are a good starting point. From these I should be able to start thinking about concepts/ layouts for the rooftop.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Third year is a go

Welcome back to the wonderful world of me. I’m sure everyone has been screaming for my blog to return. I’m happy to announce I have heard your screams and will return to blog duty regularly.

My plan was to keep my blog running over the summer. Unfortunately my job as a lumberjack/ landscape gardener/ general handyman, left me more than exhausted when evening came about. I managed to do some modelling and keep my fingers nimble but found myself without much to rant about whilst living at home. Also in my summer I found myself attending a few funerals as I lost some family members and a good friend.

Life goes on though so here we go. Rooftop project and vehicle project are first up. For the Rooftop I want to do a roof with two levels. One will be for living purposes and will include assets such as a BBQ and a dining table. This floor will hopefully look like a private balcony for a top floor flat in the building. The second building will be for building maintenance and will have the generic air conditioning units along with TV and Satellite dishes. I really don’t want to have a water tower!
As for the vehicle project, I will be modelling a 1973 Datsun 240z. The reason I am doing this car is because my Dad owns a few and used to race the model in the Historic sports car championship. I grew up seeing these cars every day in the garage or at the race track. Also my parents used one as their wedding car just to top it all off. Reference won’t be a problem; all I have to do is go home. I just hope I can do it justice.

As well as the above projects I will be planning and researching my FMP. I won’t disclose the details of it in this blog as I am setting up an individual blog for it. If you’re special enough I’ll even invite you to take a look at that blog too.

Really looking forward to the year ahead that I’m sure will be full of challenges.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

End of year review.

I think this year has gone faster than the first. The summer between the end of the first year and the start of the second seemed to last forever. The second year just seems to of flown by. The reason for this has just been the constant work flow. I’ve learnt so much and progressed in all areas as an artist (so I’ve been told, not just what I think). I see my visual design now as fun. I know I won’t be getting a job as a concept artist, so I’m just using the projects has little breaks in between 3D projects. I’ve also come to love these blogs. It’s a good place to vent as not many people read it and it’s only what I would say to anyone if they asked me about the subjects in the flesh. I will try to keep it going over summer by putting some of my finished work from the year and summer projects. I also think I might use it just to slate some poor public events or TV displays. The most important thing though is to keep posting and looking at ‘cool shit’. I’d also like to take this moment to thank Papa John’s. They have essentially fed me this year and giving me a nice big hug when I’ve needed one.

As I’ve stated somewhere before. I’m looking at doing a couple of the summer projects to stay loose. I’m going to take a crack at learning Zbrush over the summer as it will most definitely come in handy. I’ll have another stab at a character as well to utilise my Zbrush learnings. If it’s a failure you will not be seeing it on the blog end of. As to which projects I’m looking at. The F1 car and driver brief it top of my list as I want to get a decent car model done and the driver is the obvious choice to try redoing a character and using it as a Zbrush test. I don’t really want to do a car in my FMP as everyone seems to do them. I want my portfolio to show that I can do everything but I have lots of stuff in my locker and not wheel arch specialist or some shit like that. I’m playing with the idea of doing an airport terminal. Not sure if it’s a security risk me going and taking photos last thing I want to do is end up in one of the governments underground torture facilities. I would probably find myself being charged with everything and for some reason being probed, knowing my luck.

Next year is going to be the most important of my life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I saw this course. I’ve got nothing to fall back on, I’m on the best course in the country and I’m not going to let this opportunity escape me. Obviously I can’t predict the future. I might get run down going into the labs next week which a bunch of Yum Yums in hand. If I’m not laying in road somewhere I will be working, or sleeping and possibly having a beer when I can. Overall I’m looking forward to the challenge of next year. All new projects are being lined up apparently so I hope to be a pioneer in them for years to come. I have to say I’m not looking forward to the introduction to mandatory 2D projects being assigned though. If I’m not happy with a 3D project and I have 2D to do… it will not be getting done. I will not be getting a job based on my 2D skills. I understand the introduction of this as there is a lack of 2D being produced in the 3rd year which is understandable as everyone is focusing on their FMP’s. However I do think it’s almost comparable to asking a taxi driver to tuck you into bed at the end of a night. He could do it as he has the capability but it’s ultimately using up his time and costing him money.

Ever open minded, I reserve judgement on how this is going to turn out. It might be fine and the 2D will be a welcome break from my FMP. Anyway really enjoyed this year so far, still have couple weeks left to go. Overall, feeling good about this year.

Life Changing or Career Building?

On the course we occasionally get time to sit down and talk about ‘cool shit’ happening in the world and in the industry. The rest of the time we are doing projects or playing COD 2. Most people are always scouting the web looking for the next thing we can use to make our stuff look better. They well then show a few people who will spread the word. This only applies to the technical side of the course and the skills we will need when graduating.

Why teach people what the industry already know? Do people really think that an artist, however good they are with no technical ability will be hired over a slightly less talented artist who can make quality 3D models from the word go? Not only would they be gambling on the artist being able to pick the software and translate their talent into 3D work. They would also be losing money whilst training (investing) in them. I think it’s paramount to teach core skills in the industry. Without mine I would be nowhere.

However, the ability to know when something looks correct or not is not to be overlooked. You could have all the technical skill in the world but if you don’t keep your work within the briefing guidelines when it comes to style you will have to try again. The way for educators to get around this problem sounds simple. Just produce well rounded students who have a traditional art background and teach them the technical skills they need. If you think this is too easy to be true then you’re right. The students have to be committed to the course and willing to relearn everything they ever knew in order to improve.

From my own experience on the course, I think that it’s well rounded. We’re directed in a way where 3D is essential but so is 2D. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you area of interest is. Everyone does the same projects for both 2d and 3d so neither gets neglected. We get time to crit each other’s work face to face and also using the DMU Facebook page. We’re also encourage to take a look at the world around us and what’s happening in it as it’s full of inspiration. I have no experience of any other Game art course but from my interviews and reading about the course, I knew that this was the course to do if I wanted to get a job in industry.

There is no real answer though. Every company is looking for something different from graduates. If you meet their technical requirements you then must be able to work with them. If you’re hired and you piss everyone off, people will hear about it as it’s such a small community. If you mess up, there is guaranteed to be someone who is just as talented and willing to work with anyone to be involved in the industry.

The only thing educators can do is produce rounded students or direct them towards an area of specialty and hope for the best.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The yearly or termly blog on creativity….

I don’t mind writing this blog every term as it will be interesting at the end of the course to see how my views on the subject have changed over time. I’ve been told to try and challenge my previous views on the subject explore others ideas. I can’t see this happening as I’m quite head strong when it comes to philosophical views, as I’m sure you will see throughout this entry.

So creativity, I’ve not changed my opinion that it is the title given to the skill of creating new and original ideas, and that also it can only be judged by others in ideas area of specialty. For example you don’t want art work to be marked by a government inspector who just ticks boxes…. Oh wait that’s what happens in school. It’s a well-known fact that Damien Hirst got a D in art A level at school and has gone on to be a very successful artist. I’m not going to say whether I liked his work, I just wanted to use this as an example that creativity can only be judge by those in the field that the idea applies too.

The tick box system that is implied in the British educational system is squashing the creative arts. Funding is being pulled by 100%, and courses such as our own are being forced to merge with the humanities department. Ironically we have been asked to do a project with the creative writing department who of which will only experience cuts that apply to their faculty. After meeting them and discussing their course and telling them what we could do I found myself thoroughly pissed off and this is why. The article/story they gave to us to work from was ¾ of a page of A4 no longer than this blog probably. We were told that they had 3 weeks to complete this task with no other side projects. On top of that we (game art students) found ourselves effectively re-writing their story so it actually described something. Whilst doing this we were in full swing of our group project and continuing with visual design work as well. With all the cuts currently being done by the government, why not cut the funding of the courses that encourage slow and poor practice rather than the top Game art course in the country?

Now to get this S.O.B back on track. Been asked out I show my creativity and how I expect it to be acknowledged by others. To be honest I don’t really care. All my good ideas I keep to myself as they are original. I don’t mean I’ve come up with a halo suit in a different colour and with a jet pack or muscle bound bellend to carry a chainsaw gun. I pride myself on that fact that I think differently too others as it is a mark of my creativity. I may not be the best at portraying my ideas in visual form, but I do have slight grasp on the English language that is more than enough to explain an idea. The idea of authorship has been in modern art for the last 50-60 years (where you get others to make your idea) and some of the most respected and iconic artists of recent times have emerged through this concept.

I would like to conclude that I’m not trying to blow my own horn, I will be judged by respected people in the industry and on this course on my work and not by government number monkey.

Off topic, if you’ve been sent here by some random webpage that says to check out this blog. I don’t know what the hell that is about, as all the other recommended blogs are no way related to game art nor are written by students… Almost as bad as YouTube’s recommended video system.

From Generalist to specialist?

As we know in most game companies around the world, employees are assigned to areas of specialty. You won’t find the world’s best character artists or Engine technicians producing concepts too often and vice versa. I’ll be talking in my next blog about creativity again… where I’ll be discussing that talent is learnt and not given from birth. My point being, from doing one thing over and over you get better at it. If you only make environments, your environments will improve and be better than someone who makes half as many. So the reason for specialists in the game industry is produce the best result possible without having too many cooks in the kitchen.

When starting this course (year and half ago) I thought I was going to be concept artist by the end of it. I’d come straight from doing Fine art A level where I spent most my time doing portraits. I had no experience with any 3d modelling programming or game engines. After sitting in a few lectures with Mr Powell I soon realised that it would near impossible to get a job as a 2d artist no matter how good I could become. So within the first couple of months I set about learning the 3d side of things. After a year of using the software I find myself as a very capable 3d modeller and all round artist in my opinion. In the recent group project I found myself taking interest in the technical side of game engines. I ended up creating a lot of stuff in Kismet creating Matinee’s and particle effects. I was also pleased to find that through my development I was able to now help and teach the people who have taught me so much over the last year on the course.

I find myself within a month of finishing my 2nd year on the course, and 18 odd months away from graduation. I still haven’t decided exactly what area I want to direct my energy towards. I’ll have one more stab a character modelling over the summer just to improve. However I do think I’ll aim to be an environment artist at the end of the course. I will continue to learn the Unreal engine as I go along as it’s something I actually enjoyed, and I wouldn’t mind taking a closer look at FX role in company. I try not to put too much pressure on myself in all aspects of life as I’m a firm believer if you put the work in, results will come. So far this has worked me. I’ll continue to work hard and learn what I can and let nature run its course. I feel that you can’t choose what you are; you evolve and develop into it. So by the time I’m writing this blog entry this time next year I will be a well-rounded artist that specialises in…… area of the business. Which I’m pretty sure will be environment art, but I never say never to anything.

Sorry to those who occasionally read this blog for my rambling and poor humour. Normal service will be resumed in due course I’m sure.

Couple of Group projects screenshots

Promised some screenshots of the level i helped create for the group project. The brief was to create a survival horror level based on the Queen's building on campus. Also it is meant to be roughly styled in the way of Resident evil 4. These are just some real time print screens from UDK. I'll upload a few more showing the torch we made to use when looking around the level.

Also we animated a train to come along the track and kill the player on impact if they are still on the track. I’ll try and record a video of a play through of the cool shiz that we’ve added to the level. There is an integrated system of vents that you can walkthrough to get to the subway section. I will also upload a screenshot in editor showing just how big this level really is. Enjoy.