Studio One, Week Three

 Week 3 has had a focus on finalising the documentation and planning of our project in order to move out of the pre-production phase. The progress has been substantial but has required us to revisit the asset list, which has already had many iterations. Our group leader I find has handled this well and has made multiple difficult decisions based on our group discussions.

While the pre-production process has been frustrating in terms of planning and pragmatics, I have thoroughly enjoyed the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks and solving problems in a group. Examples of this include solving design problems in development of the Environment maps and collaboration to create concept designs which are congruent. I have found that small victories have provided much needed motivation.

During the course of the week, moving towards our art bible goals I have focused greatly on completing moodboards, and my chunk of the concept sketches. A question which has been posed at this stage before the production phase has even begun is how we wish to tackle the creation of our environment in the modelling and texturing phase. We are in the process of fully understanding the implications of modular Vs non modular design. From what we can see a blend of the two would be ideal but the difficulty is in deciding the perfect ratio. Something we have learnt is that the asset list feeds directly into the modular Vs non modular project structure.

Currently we are figuring out to what extent we will have a modular work flow. The nature of our environment is one which is clean and fairly minimal, but must also be passable as a research facililty. To be convincing our design must reflect the consideration of real-life examples of lab/military research buildings.

During studio we have had a lengthy feedback session where our design was scrutinised and many flaws uncovered. While we are still aiming for the same atmosphere and style, and are happy with our concept development, the spatial design and pragmatics of the environment needs plenty of reworking. This will also mean further iterations of the asset list.

One crucial thing I have learnt is to let go of ideas which I have grown attached to once their usefulness has expired. Two examples of this has occurred in our last feedback session. One is the security checkpoint I have already designed and imagined within the space. The other is a security door which I had imagined as grand in scale, which now needs to be resized, and further designed.

Our new plan of action as discussed within the group and given the go ahead by our group leader is to further develop several options for our EM layouts. After this we will develop one option further to the goal of a refined space which can be blocked out in 3D. It has also been decided that from our EM we can determine what assets as well as how many assets will be needed. From this point we can make an informed plan towards our hybrid modular/non modular work flow, with this determining our asset list.

alexw_asst1_prp_concept_rawscan_isosketch
Wyld, 2016. Isometric Environment Sketch.
prp_security-door_concepts_scanp07_alexw_v02
Wyld, 2016. Security door concept sketch.

References

Wyld, A. (2016). Exo (working title). Isometric environment sketch.

Wyld, A. (2016). Exo (working title). Security door concept sketch.

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Studio One, Week Two

Thursday, 22nd September

After this week’s first environment design group presentations we have received a chunk of useful advice. This included a prompt to consider the reasoning and justification when making decisions about our environment design. The biggest thing I have taken from the feedback is the necessity to develop a strong treatment and narrative as well as taking the effort to become informed with the necessary so that we can make better decisions after the production process and create a believable and consistent environment. It has become obvious that a finished product needs to have elements which are congruent with the subject matter which inspired it.

My first port of call has been to look into these sources which were suggested for reference:

  • Half-life (Valve, 2016) for environment map, security implementation and the concept that a player works their way from the depths of the facility and back towards the entrance.
  • Bio-shock (2k games, 2016) for its architectural design.
  • And adrift (505 games, 2016) for its overall environment atmosphere.

 

I am still in the process of looking into these videogame examples.

 

All these things considered I feel that the pre- production stage will need to be handled delicately. In my in-experience I think that the project could be over whelming if not planned well. In the days that have followed the presentation our group (which has been tentatively named the brown coats) has spent a lot of time trying to work out the crucial details we need quickly. This has meant the creation of all our documentation and a focus on working out the details of the narrative and the schematic layout of the space we will design.

 

This has involved treatment, story and lore development, mood boards, rough environment maps and sketches. We are aiming to complete the narrative and environment maps in the coming week. Due to our newness to our in-experience and will negotiate the time spent on concept development and model sheets to fine the balance between moving onto production as quickly as possible and not allowing a drop in quality.

 

References

Corporation, V. (2016). Valve. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from http://www.valvesoftware.com/games/hl2.html

BioShock the collection on 2K.com. (2016). Retrieved September 29, 2016, from https://www.2k.com/games/bioshock-the-collection

ADR1FT. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from All, http://www.505games.com/games/adr1ft

Studio One, Week One

During our first session of studio, we have been prompted to consider what creative roles we wish to play in industry. After some thought about which direction I would like to be heading creatively, I feel certain that my previous feelings which I have had before commencing my course have not changed. From the onset of my animation education I have been greatly interested in working as a character designer. Despite this, I have also started my creative education with the intention to keep my mind open to other possibilities.

During the span of the first two Trimesters, other areas within the animation discipline have peaked my interest. Specifically these are concept art and 3D model texturing.

Whilst I have enjoyed my early experiences working within the various stages of the production pipeline, I find the most appealing aspect of production to be pre-production concept and character creation. The process of sketching, sculpting and making conscious decisions about the aesthetics style, appearance and identity of fictional characters is something I find not only fascinating but quite natural. Outside of my assigned projects, I find most of my own creative ideas to relate to these conceptual and character design related areas.

I have noticed however within the few opportunities I have had to dabble in character design in my education that my designs are held back by a lack of the important communication skill,  drawing. Whilst I have improved greatly from Trimester 1 I am still far from my desired competency level. My estimation of skill level during trimester 1 would place in a beginner’s bracket and happily I find myself to be moving away from this category quickly. With this in mind I aim to not only become competent in my drawing skills by the end of my course, but develop my own aesthetic style which I am comfortable with and utilise to communicate my designs effectively.

Despite my growing interest in character design and concept I am still exploring the possibility of such roles as 3D texture artist. Within this first studio, in regard to the interactive environment project, I see this Trimester as an opportunity to delve deeper into not only my love for character and conceptual design but also an opportunity to explore the limitless variety of texturing styles and methods which exist for the video game industry.

After reading the interactive environment brief I am leaning towards Sci-fi as it falls under my favourite genre. I am currently at the start of the research stage, and I intend to study the aesthetic styles which I admire within such videogame Franchises as Bioshock (2K Games,2016), Borderlands (Gearbox,2016), Metroid (Nintendo, 2016), Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, 2016) and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (Nintendo, 2016) as well as the upcoming Breath of The Wild (Nintendo, 2016). This is my starting point and I will be extracting what I can from these examples and adding it to what I can gain from my research stage.

References

 

(2K Games,2016). BioShock the collection on 2K.com. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from https://www.2k.com/games/bioshock-the-collection

(Gearbox,2016). Borderlands. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/game/borderlands/

(Nintendo, 2016). Search Nintendo games – Nintendo game store. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://www.nintendo.com/games/game-guide?pv=true#/filter/-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|metroid

(Nintendo, 2016). Search. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://www.nintendo.com/search/#/results/supermariogalaxy/1

(Nintendo, 2016). Search Nintendo games – Nintendo game store. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://www.nintendo.com/games/game-guide?pv=true#/filter/-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|thelegendof zelda

(Nintendo, 2016). The legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild for Wii U trailer Retrieved from http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-wii-u

 

 

Week 6: Social Media and Your Career

The topic for this week revolves around social media and professionalism, with the lecture delving into the realm of celebrity life within social media (SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry & Institute, 2015).

 

A few surprising and interesting ideas have come up within the lecture and the weeks tutorial. The first of these are the theories around how celebrity status is forged within the online community.  A video entitled “This is Phil Fish” introduces a former video game developer and his unfortunate rise from unknown indie creative to hated subculture figure (Innuendo Studios, 2014).

 

It was explained within the duration of the video that a celebrity online is often one which becomes a symbol for many things. It becomes obvious that the celebrity status of Phil Fish is largely due to what he has come to represents rather than the sum of his character.

This idea has led me to wonder further about appropriate conduct online. Negativity appears to be a relatively safe practice when someone is anonymous and unknown in forums and comment sections. In contrast negativity when well known can ruin a career very quickly.

Coming back to the unfortunate example of Phil Fish, it would seem that once a person has become infamous, the attention that this person receives grows at an alarming rate. To add to this, a picture is painted from  mistakes and negativity while anything that does not fit this negative profile is conveniently left out by media and anonymous members of the public.

It would seem that celebrities such as Phil Fish are simply created by the public to become the emotional outlet to relieve the most current disappointments of the collective online community.

The lesson I have taken from this has been to be cautious of what I choose to discuss and comment on in any social media context. Further more, I feel that developing a sense of diplomacy would improve professionalism when using social media. A valuable thing to remember on top of this is that honesty in an online persona helps greatly in developing a professional presence online, displaying work which is accompanied by a void where personality should be is indeed damaging.

 

 

 

References

Innuendo Studios (2014, June 16). This is Phil Fish Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmTUW-owa2w

SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry, & Institute, S. C. (2015, March 9). Week 6: Social media and your career — self-directed practitioners. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-6-social-media-and-your-career-21ec52b2b003#.seyemmcyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 5: Inclusive Design

This weeks lecture revolved around the concepts of inclusive design and how a creative project can reach a wider audience. Another part of inclusive design is the inclusion of a wide variety of demographic within a project team (SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry & Institute, 2015).

Something I have taken from this weeks topic is the reasoning that a diverse creative team results in a project that can be enjoyed by a diverse audience. I have always thought this and while i feel it is not needed for every creative project it is often something which provides extra character and depth.

As discussed in the lecture, inclusive design refers to the plethora of demographics of audience members. This may be age, race, cultural background, gender or many other factors. Inclusive design should take into account that each member of an audience will interpret a creation differently. It is also important to portray people in a way which is not discriminatory or in a way which can be perceived as cliche.

It is this portrayal of people within fictional worlds (video games, movies etc.) which causes much controversy. This links back to diversity in a creative project, and demonstrates why having a group of individuals with varying perspectives and experiences is critical for many creative endeavours.

Within this weeks tutorial we explored the topic of inclusive design through a few friendly debates. The purpose of these debates was to demonstrate the bias  nature of belonging to particular groups or categories in society.

The first of these debates posed the question;  which is the superior gender? At the time i felt this to be a surprising topic for debate. I found this exercise to be uncomfortable for personal reasons but the debate was friendly and overall quite hilarious. One thing that I will admit about this debate was the very effective result. The answers given on both sides show the expected subjective answers that are determined by gender.

Several other exercises were undertaken, one which spilt people into discipline, and the very last was one where groups were mixed. I have found that I do not enjoy these divisions and feel comfortable in a diverse group of peers. All in all the activities were successful and I have come to the conclusion that while inclusive design is something which is now often an aim in the creative industry, it is a complicated subject which is hard to measure.

Something I have contemplated after these activities is whether the film, animation and video game creations I enjoy most are truly inclusive design. One of my favourite games, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is something which I have been enjoying lately with the release of the game in HD format.

Originally released in 2006 (IGN, 2006), Twilight Princess contains a game world which has held up well in many respects. It is interesting to note how many problems with inclusion can be bypassed by the non-human fantasy cultures of the Zelda universe. This is because there is a definite lack of mis-representation of people within our society.  Even so, after reflection I have come to the conclusion that the inclusion of  a wide range of respectfully represented characters is just one way of creating inclusive design. Another way can simply be the absence of the stereotypical or constricting perspectives of the past, letting an audience fill the gaps with imagination.

 

SI_WiiU_TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincessHD.jpg
figure 1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess WiiU Release. (Nintendo, 2016).

 

 

 

References

SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry, & Institute, S. C. (2015, April 20). Week 5: Inclusive design — self-directed practitioners. Retrieved July 4, 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-12-inclusive-design-9df8f239653b#.jwr1sqsy1
IGN, M. C. (2006, June 7). The legend of Zelda: Twilight princess (GameCube). Retrieved July 4, 2016, from http://au.ign.com/games/the-legend-of-zelda-twilight-princess/gcn-572738
figure 1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess WiiU Release. Nintendo. (2016). Between light and darkness, can you save Hyrule? Retrieved July 4, 2016, from https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Wii-U/The-Legend-of-Zelda-Twilight-Princess-HD-1082222.html

 

Week 4: Secret Interview Techniques

This week has been all about interview techniques. The lecture covered the questions commonly asked by potential employers as well as some that are unique and require lateral thinking. Some of these at first seem absurd, such as what part of a car would you be? and why does a tennis ball have fuzz?

As explained however these questions are designed to test how a candidate thinks, and are popular at interviews for companies such as Pixar (SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry & Institute, 2015). As an animation student this is information i have definitely found interesting.

 

One thing I have taken away from the tutorial this week is related to these lateral thinking questions. It is important to remember that a job interview aims to give a potential employer the chance to understand what type of person a interviewee would be in the work place, whether they would be a fit for a particular company and what professional experiences the candidate has acquired.

Other factors  in an interview for a creative position is the way someone tackles problem solving, works in groups and generates their own creative practices.

These concepts brought up in the online lecture were fleshed out in a role playing activity during tutorial. various types of employee personas were assigned and groups would take turns in conducting interviews with self written questions. The aim of this role playing is to experience the way other factors than qualification can be important parts of a persons professional persona.

I myself was given a false persona which was to project honesty but unreliability and questionable personal life habits. I found this a daunting task but strangely satisfying. The reactions of the interviewers was also a surprise. My first thoughts after the interview were imaginings of negative reactions to the overly relaxed responses I had provided. Afterwards I was told that some of the reactions to my answers were positive. Honesty and a relaxed demeanor had interestingly positive reactions and it is something I will bear in mind in the future.

Upon reflection, I have had more of a rigid approach to past interviews than ii previously thought. Most of my energy has been poured into keeping composure and giving “correct”answers. With new information it suddenly becomes obvious that this is not the only component of an interview. After this weeks tutorial I can now also imagine certain thought processes that an interviewer must go through during an interview.

A balance between showing honest aspects of personality and maintaining a professional mindset is key to a successful interview.

 

 

 

 

References

SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry, & Institute, S. C. (2015, March 26). Week 4: Secret interview techniques — self-directed practitioners. Retrieved June 23, 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-8-secret-interview-techniques-8cdd5b225eee#.axysnzbc2

 

 

Week 3: Copyright and Contracts

Before beginning my studies in animation I have always had many questions about copyright, with only a vague idea of how it functions. My knowledge up until this weeks lecture and tutorial has extended only to the fact that copyright is protection of intellectual property.

Important points within the online lecture include how ownership works, and what rights are included with ownership of a copyright. As I understand it an owner of a copyright can reproduce the copyrighted work as they please. The owner of a copyright also determines the debut of the work for public consumption as well as general communication of the work in public such as promotion.

It is important to not that in general but not always the creator of the work becomes the first owner of the copyright. In Australia copyright is automatic and does not require application to be awarded. This is something I very much appreciate as an animation student.

Extending from the online lecture, tutorial this week has covered the legalities of copyright. The example which we had found within my assigned group was the case of an American rapper, Ghostface Killah sampling sound from a 1960s Marvel TV show within his own song titled “Iron Man”(Gardner, 2015). The sample used is relatively small, however this case clearly highlights the dangers of using any part of another persons intellectual property. While the court ruling favoured Ghostface Killah’s employer, Sony Music (SONY, 2016), it is a clear demonstration that the scope of copyright protection  is tedious to understand at best.

I find the subject of copyright to be quite complex, particularly when considering the issue of taking creative inspiration too far. This is something which is quite hard to narrow down as everyone who wishes to contribute to the creative works of the world must also take inspiration in some way from what already exists.

An interesting take on the subject is the Ted lecture which was viewed in this weeks tutorial. Titled “Embrace The Remix” (TED, 2012) the premise was simply the idea that everything created in this day and age is essentially a remix of what already exists, and that this when accepted can be liberating for the creative mind.

I quite enjoyed this short lecture as it has caused me to pay more attention to what the possible sources of inspiration could be in the creative works I  watch, listen to and see in the media. I now wonder whether i will change my perception of the extent to which an individual should pull inspiration from external sources.

 

References

Gardner, E. (2015, April 21). In Big ruling, Sony beats “iron man” composer’s lawsuit. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/big-ruling-sony-beats-iron-790466

SONY. (2016). Sony music. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from https://www.sonymusic.com/

TED (2012, August 10). Creativity is a Remix | Kirby Ferguson | TED talks Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd-dqUuvLk4