Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Masters Overview

Semester 1

So...Where to begin! My MA journey has been a long one that's for sure! I started out with basic knowledge of Maya and UDK, I had never created a hand painted texture or a piece of concept art. I had no real idea about the professional work pipeline that goes into being an environment artist. All I had was a good eye for art and design and the drive to further my practice and learn!

I started out wanting to explore how environments provoke an emotional reaction from a player, it was a good place to start and it allowed me to understand the importance of colour and lighting in this process. It was pretty much a dead end direction as I had worked out the vital factors are game flow, lighting & colour, level structure and sound. These factors dictate the type of mood your environment will evoke from a player. The project also allowed me to further my skills in modelling and UV mapping, it also helped me understand UDK a lot better. 

Semester 2 

After the conclusion of my findings in semester 1 I turned my attention to the emotive quality of texture work combined with colour theory and spent time learning how to paint textures. I wanted to direct my project towards creating a unique visual style through hand painted textures. 

Through my texture painting exercises I learned the importance of Tonal value, dark and light details, bounce light and complimentary colours. It also provided me with a good professional workflow when it came to texturing. To my good fortune my work aroused the attention of White Paper games, where i became the 2D and 3D Environment Artist. This meant my project was now a live brief and I was creating a visual style for a game already in production. I managed to develop a Visual identity that stood out and also gave the illusion of a cell shaded post processing effect. It was by pure accident, but I had manage to find a style that looked good, was quick to produce and had real character. 

Semester 3

I am now part of an Independent game development company and we have moved into our own studio. This means I am working on my masters in a proper development environment with all the benefits of communication and collaboration this brings. I am also working alongside really passionate guys which helped boost my work ethic and drive. So..... back to the MA! The previous semester was focused on creating that unique visual style through emotive texture work. Now my project is aimed at trying to further this visual style, whilst developing a professional work pipeline of a working Environment Artist. Working 8 hour shifts 5 days a week helped me focus on developing all aspects of my practice, from concept art, to 3D modelling, UV mapping, Light Mapping, UDK, Material Editor, Level Flow, Lighting and Design. I was also able to teach my texturing knowledge to degree students at Future Works, this provided a great insight for myself to see how far I have come on my MA. 

Teaching my knowledge of Texture Painting to Future Works student.
 Creating 3D worlds using professional processes. 
 Providing Concept Art for early Idea generation stages of development.
 Creating and Building a variety of environments using a unique visual style.
Living the Dream and making a Video Game for a living! 

I can honestly say that pursuing my Masters degree was the best decision I have made in my life. The amount of knowledge and experience I have gained on this course is crazy. It has helped me lay a solid foundation of knowledge for my career and opened my eyes to the possibilities of Independent game development. Thank You for sharing my MA journey with me! Look out for Ether One in Q2 2013!

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