Sunday, 3 April 2011

Task 24: Personal review of the second year: Where do you want to go, and how do you get there?

Well this year has been very tough, especially the 2nd semester. I kind of expected it once the year begun with stories I heard but it was different sitting through it.

The first semester played out quite similar to the end of the first year as we have visual design and games production running side by side. At the start of the year I made a propostion to myself to become better at my artwork on the course. The first year was alright but I like to think that iv improoved signicantly since then.
This year I focused more on digital art styles rather than traditional as I didnt have much of a chance to work with it last year, I was a bit fearfull of it also. Im still not 100% clear about digital painting but I was able to learn new techniques and ways about doing it. The painting has gone fairly well but so has my 3d, was concerned about my self portrait project but it actually went very well! Was my second attempt at modelling a humanoid and was surprised at the likeness I managed to achieve.
I spent quite a lot of time looking on face topology to make sure it was just right and if im honest I think it was one of the better 3d models Iv made. (Also enjoyed reading mortal engines as I hadnt done any reading for years!)

Once the 2nd semester started things started getting a little trickier, I was also mainly concerned with this group project.
The group which I wound up with was actually quite stressfull towards the start as they were people who I didnt really speak to. As the weeks went on and we worked more and more together we started to get settled with each other and our individual abilities.
During the course of the group project I struggled quite a lot with the visual design projects, a lot of them pushed towards the weekend with the weekdays full of group project. I managed to keep up with the work load for a couple of weeks but then fell ill and lost a day of working which messed up quite a lot of the other time.
I also struggled with motivational issues, had to really push myself to getting the work done. I did but it was quite a painful process getting stressed about doing my work, with the group project I was quite happy working on it but with the visual design side It was a challenge.
Eventually I managed to get things sorted out and the group project which I had previously feared actually went very well and I made friends with the people in my group.

In a nutshell thats what happened project wise throughout the year.

There was a moment of interest when in visual design we were given a project based on random words, make a story from the nonsense. Asked to make some storyboards and then develop characters from them. I have always been concerned with character design even from GCSE years, I didnt really see myself as doing it as a career as the quality of my desining always seemed very "immature" as though I wasnt sure what I was doing. Im still facing that now but to be honest I really enjoyed concepting the character for that project and produced quite a good portrait. I think since the course did quite a lot of environmental works rather than character Iv started to get a little sick of it and struggle to get interested in it as I used to.
Did a bit more character work on the 2nd semester and I quite enjoyed both of them we tried (The vehicle didnt go as bad either) Although I was struggeling with motivation I really got into these designing projects and enjoyed doing them.
The only thing I think ill have to tackle is that as iv mentioned, the designing and sketching of these characters seems very child like. This is something ill work on over the summer.
Also with the group project I quite enjoyed doing the asset creation, actually did 10 more than I was assigned as I got into it. Although I wasnt entirely comfortable with the texturing side of thigns I think I managed quite a good job. The group project was good since it was like a taster of a game development team, previously in the course we didnt do anything together as a group and we were all pretty independant but this just wouldnt happen in the industry.
I think my interest seems to be in character and asset creation, though I would like to keep my options fairly open I think this is perhaps the direction I would like to take.

Task 23: Life Changing or Career Building?

This is a tough subject to talk about.

Courses centered around the games industry are a bit hit and miss, its quite a strange turn from the more "Acedemic" courses where things are centered around memorising dates and figures. Essentially they are creative based courses be it arts or in the programming side of things. Doing things for a reason - a finished game or level. Sure the acedemic courses make students learn figures and dates for a reason but its not quite the same sort of thing.

In comparison to these courses in question I think I prefer the way the art based courses go about, basically as Iv learned in my foundation art course prior you drive down your own path. If you need help or assistance ask, its about being mature and finding out things on your own rather than being rammed facts down your throat. I can understand some courses need that but for this subject (and me as a person) I prefer how this course unfolds.
During secondary school you were so used to be telling exactly what to do that students going into this faculty arnt used to the freedom found in later stages of education.
Game Art as a course is not the same as foundation art, its a little more centered around games, not only drawn artwork but also in 3d packages. Franckly I prefer art which has a purpose rather than the rubbish you usually get with modern art. I have heard from many people that getting a job in fineart is so difficult as it doesnt really have much of a direction. Though I respect art sometimes things get so farfetched that it becomes useless and uncreative.

Obviously for us it does require some technical learning with the computer programs we use but it still retains this art style course, you cannot tell everyone everything that the program in question can do. Its basically about understanding what you want to acomplish then findout and do it rather than being spoonfed. Some may argue that this may waste time but sometimes the things you work with surprise you which is better than knowing everything at once. It retains the creativity to not realise how much a program can do, it somehow forces you to challenge your preconceptions.

Education in this field is a trickey thing, it would be great if you could remember everything about art and creativity from revising a text book but its simply not the case. Im unsure how else you could study for art. Afterall art is a lot about expression and feeling, not something you program into yourself. To make these courses count students have to learn to be quite independant in their thoughts. Some are not used to this concept comming straight from school or college and so can be a challenge (I sure wasnt!).

You build you own fort which is what these courses are all about, I really dont think you can control the experience as lectures. At the end of the day its about the students utilising other peoples brains when needed.