Wednesday, 17 November 2010

As real as it gets

Recently we had a talk from Del Walker and ex student who graduated last year and has recently been snapped up by Blitz games. He came back to tell us all about what it was like making the transition from student to employee of the real deal. He told us how he went about it and the processes he went through to improve himself over the course of the last 3 years telling us what we should expect. It was refreshing hearing it from a real ex student knowing that this was how it really was, we got all the grit on the interviews and some encouraging and inspiring talks about members on his team and how much everybody worked to get to were they were. Del seemed to be really at home already at Blitz and it really got me motivated to achieve what he had. Im hoping we get to hear from other ex 3rd years who find time to tell us about their experiences.

Compose Compose Compose

composition is quite often looked over and dismissed by art novices who cant really see beyond replicating or throwing together ‘cool’ ideas. In actual fact composition is one of the most important elements to art. Guiding the viewers eye around the work, showing story, meaning and design can all be achieved by the way the work is laid out and composed. From being into art from a young age I have been taught about how pictures can be unbalanced and be ‘heavier’ in parts pulling the viewers gaze into a void of colour, this usually occurs from the lack of or over abundance of subjects in a certain side of the work, and absence for example to the left of the work would pull all the attention away and half the picture, ‘theoretically’ would not be there. One can achieve a good composition by using scenery to carefully boarder and present the focal point of the piece, this of which does not want to be too far from the centre but at the same time hardly ever right in the middle.

Since year one I have tried to achieve exciting composition in all of my pieces, from painting through an archway to using vanishing points to guide the viewer’s attention to where I want it to go.

When working on imaginered work you can use everything you know and see in other work taken from real subjects. Artistic eye is important for seeing what will work best without exact reference, and knowing how things should behave. Work should always be self critiqued and analyzed every step of the way until the final piece is exactly what you wanted, most pictures are not the artists first attempt of the one piece but most likely a final comprised of tests and experiments to see what works best and using their artistic judgment to correct what they see. This is especially important when working in 3d because even when you have the reference it is hard to view exactly what you want to view and it takes a lot of judgement to fill in the gaps left by the 2d references you have at hand, this can be down to logical reasoning or true understanding of the subject both of which should be practiced and incorporated into your work. I have found this useful when doing this years 3D design, especially the self portrait, there are a lot of places you cant see or get a good picture of and it is down to anatomical understanding and judgment that helps fill those spaces and achieve something that looks viable and something you can be proud of.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


The other day we were visited by Jolyon Webb and Aaron Allport who we met in our first year, they returned to give us another talk on the games industry and what we should expect. Just like last time it cleared up a lot of questions and thoughts I had about the industry and has given me a clearer picture on what I want to do once the course has ended. Recently I have been confuse as how I want to take my work with the 2D and 3D aspects but they explained the roles in detail and also what other positions involved and I really clicked to what the industry was asking for. I now feel inspired for the rest of the year now and really want to prove to myself that I’m dedicated to this as much as I love the art.

Its also reassuring that they explained the process of getting into the industry from how to get your foot in the door to the interview process, what to do and what not to do.

For now I’m going to keep expanding my skills and allow myself to fall into an area I feel comfortable and pursue it from there, my mind changed so much last year I’m hoping it settles faster this year.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Me and steve visited GameCity in Nottingham last weekend and it was the first time I had been to a proper game convention (after missing Eurogamer Expo), even if it was a small one. The main tent was set up in the square but when we arrived we couldn’t find anything at all and looked around for ages. All we came across was a exercise demo tent showing off every consoles new views on self health and how their games will assist in self fitness, and an EA set up with a few games on that didn’t really show off anything we hadn’t seen before. After consulting the map we went in search of several locations only to find out they were all bars and places to eat and nothing to do with games. We were honestly about to give up when we came across a small cafĂ© which was hosting a small mini game related to Gamecity, from here we could ask where the hell everything was and how to get to the main events.

From then on things started looking up, we found the live demo for Crysis 2 and managed to beat the que for that followed by talking to some people in the media industry covering the event. At one point we were watching a live game workshop and were invited in after explaining we were on a games course, where we were shown what they were working on.

After a lot of demos and talking we finally went and qued for the main event, the Kinect talk by Rare. It was the first time we had seen the Kinect device first hand and got a good insight into the future of the product from Rares point of view, some live demos and a extensive Q&A session.

To be fair it was a really interesting visit for a small set up and will defiantly be attending next year.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Failing to prepare…

I always knew I was a bit hit and miss with organisation, and id always be up for the concept of an organised room or an organised shelf but I could never maintain the order. I suppose this was part laziness part boredom, id switch and swap things quickly because I couldn’t be bothered to carefully replace the items. At college the deadlines were so slack and spaced I grew into taking my time and not focusing on a timescale. I got my work done and to a good standard but was never worried about not making a deadline because nearly all the class would not be ready either and the tutors would push the deadline back almost every time.

Since university though I have really come to realise the importance of organisation, as well as organising my stuff I have learnt the importance of time management, and I learnt it the hard way. During year one there were many times where I would begin to hold stuff off until I was rushing and not finishing it to the best of my standards. However this was not because I disliked the course or underestimated the importance of the project, I found that if it was something I enjoyed I was doing it way ahead of schedule. Organisation can be part of presentation as well, another thing I feel I lacked last year. Due to lack of time id scan pages quickly and arrange them poorly. Setting something out in an appealing way makes the piece a million times better than that alone.

This year however I have forced a change after suffering harshly from the final deadline and I swore I would never do that again. After a rocky start getting back on track I have begun to work a lot more efficiently spreading my work evenly and balancing time, spending longer on things I know I struggle with and trying to practice as I go. Managing stuff in hours rather than days and putting time aside for harder longer projects as well as going out less are all part of my plan. After putting these new plans into practice I’ve noticed my work speed and productivity has increased drastically and I’m feeling more relaxed and learning more than I did when I wasn’t making time for myself. I’ve even covered the poor presentation, I’ve made a digital stamp to sign my work and began using media and presenting how I have been recommended to do so. If I keep this up I know ill be on track for success. Like I said before I worked more efficiently on projects I liked and this year I’ve loved all of them and really gone to town and tried to improve as much as possible. I think it really shows in my work.

Like they say, “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”.

(I was going to write who that quote was from but after I Googled it each link said it was from someone else.)