Where I want this to take me

After leaving school I had literally no idea what to do with myself. At the time I was naive enough to have no clue that you could have a career creating video games. Let alone playing them. I mean some of the biggest Youtube gaming channels (to watch over enthusiastic dudes have a rolling commentary over their game-play) have crazy views with serious revenue, let alone competitions with prize pools of 1 mil+. Maybe naive was not the right word. This never existed when I left secondary school back in 2009, the only thing you could find back then were helpful tutorials and brilliantly creative machinima which were basically a cinematic production by a player in game with a hilariously written song to go with it, I recently watched a few of these from 2004 that I’d completely forgotten about and a wave of nostalgia hit me. Good times.

ANYWAY. Not like I went of topic. what I’m doing here is finding what really inspired me to go down this path, why particular this creative one? well that is pretty much it right there. Creativity. I’ve always had satisfaction with creating things. I like having my input into something to stand back and be proud that I made or help make that. Creativity is something that has always stuck around with me, something that I can rely on to pop up pretty much anywhere, or sometimes annoyingly, anytime. Where I have this urge to create something, it exhilarates me before I have even begun, and I don’t know what it was I even want to create! It’s just there, like waking up from a dream with a great idea.

So when did I finally decide to do something with this? About a month ago. I have had this creative buzz as long as I can remember, but maybe not so much the confidence to actually decide to do something with it. I took 3 years of college in art and design, but when feeling a bit of pressure to earn money and seeing the amount university costs during the end of the course I jumped in to the amazing working world, at the bottom on minimum wage full of honest, trustworthy, equal treating bosses. Hahahahahaha. Worst decision ever.

I opened my mind up and realized I want, and believe I can be better than this. So I applied for university. For my love of creativity and video games to team up with the best of my talent to take me in any creative career path it will allow..and can make me some monies.

James

Strengths and Weaknesses

So this is just a little about what I am comfortable with in my own work at the moment and what I feel time could be spent on getting up to standard in my work. This is a hard one for me as I don’t really look back on my strengthens and weaknesses or maybe don’t identify with them so well. For me, I feel that when I create a piece of work that I am proud of, It can come out of no where, maybe I felt relaxed, in a creative mood or maybe it was because I just generally felt good, maybe I had been eating right, rested well and some fundamental knowledge has began to sink in, who knows, but when this happens, and I become creative, hours can fly by on a piece of work.

Starting with a couple things I feel I am good at would be creating sketches from reference, Imitating what is on a screen or piece of paper and creating my own drawing from it. Following up with shading, everything looks better once its shaded/rendered hence why I do a lot of it and have become some what good, especially after learning how to correctly shade an object depending on where the light source is. Of course this doesn’t mean I feel I am amazing and the best at shading to ever of existed, I will always try to improve on it, especially with more complex shading, for example with 2,3,4 different light sources on an environment or object.

So back a couple of weeks ago I visited the Ashmolean museum in Oxford with my sketch book ready to get my skills up a bit in figurative drawing.  At the start it was great. There were lots of full body sculptures so I could practice my figurative drawings in all sorts of different poses. So I began to draw them…. not so very well. I couldn’t really understand, I mean they really were not so good. This creative flow I find when drawing at home or at university was no where to be seen and I was not comfortable. Perhaps it was because it was my first time trying something new,or out in public with my sketch book drawing? Either way I put it down to being new to me and will be going back time and time again until I start feeling comfortable drawing outside of my comfort zone.

I mean I cant just accept being able to draw at home or at university, I need to be able to take my skills where ever I go for people who wish to purchase them.

James

 

Pulling an image apart

So today I found out about dissecting an image, more specifically, concept art of an environment from a scene in the video game Destiny. First was the top down view so I could map out everything in the scene, mountains, cities, space junk that was buried in the terrain and figures too. Mapping this out gave me a good idea where everything was even if most was left up to my imagination. What I mean is, there were only so many objects I could see in the image, were the objects behind mountains or boulders? or more the city I could see? So I just mapped out what I could see and added some things that I thought would be cool

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Now bare in mind this is my first top down view of an environment. I’m sure there are a lot of things wrong, the buildings for example. I wasn’t sure how to implement the mountains and range, so I asked and was told for a top down view you would use topographical mountain contours, which I still didn’t have a clue until I was shown and had a look up on the web. I implemented the ones I could see on the image and added a few of my own too. After I added what else I could see and labeled so I wouldn’t forget.

Next was camera position. Where would I was the camera? There were a few places, I drew up some quick thumbnails and played around with the camera placement

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Again, this was my first time drawing up quick ideas and learning not to be so attached and particular about my work (It was about a week after I learnt to add value to objects closer to the camera). I chose a long shot with the landing pod situated right in front of the camera and the figure slightly off to the left of it glaring at the new city to explore. I felt there wasn’t much of an eye lead so I made a quick sketch for placement

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Apart from not adding no where near enough value to the landing pod and not getting the perspective correct. I was happy and decided to take this further.

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I enjoy shading. Again I feel the pod could of had more value and depth and the mountains and city could have been faded due to atmospheric perspective But overall I was pretty happy with it and felt I managed to solve the river and terrain reasonably well. Oh and I needed to show the light source more clearly, you can just about see it coming in form the left side of the image, but there isn’t really much showing it on the objects and terrain.

From playing to making

So begins a life as a student again. Not so much like an A grade academic one like I have always been. Ha. Nah, more like just doing something that keeps me interested and I enjoy. Video games of course.

After years of playing and playing…and playing. I’ve decided to put what only skill I feel I am decent at to the test as I embark on a 2 year degree course at the wonderful SAE Oxford.

Finishing 3 years of art and design at college and ready to jump into the working world I felt great, all up until every job I applied for required experience and/or higher qualifications. So how would I get an opportunity to gain experience in a career path that I wanted to work in if everybody wanted experience and/or higher qualifications? Going back into education of course. This time with a nice bit of cash courtesy of the government to help me long. Always helps, thank you. Taking it seriously for a moment though, Game art had always made me wonder how can something be made so beautifully, Fresh from someones mind implemented into cyber space for all to enjoy and bring their adventure too. Too be lost in escapism for hours and days, eventually snapping out of it to slowly join reality again. Sad, “apparently”. But true, and its what keeps us coming back.

This is my story as I explore all areas of game art animation and where i’ll be pinning up some of my work for myself and all of you wonderful people to critic. Enjoy.

James