Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Personal review of the first year

Ok so it’s like the end of the first year and all of us on the course have had time to develop our personal skills while given expert teaching methods pass  on from our tutors and each other. Despite my slower pace and workflow in the beginning I feel I have learnt a hell of a lot in terms of dealing with new software, discovering different aspects and techniques of producing good art work and how the industry is run over time as computer games increase. It all feels like is has gone extremely fast.

Everyone found 3DS Max rather difficult to get to grips with and so did I in the beginning. I thought I would never be able to create complex shapes in our to get the desired outcome, especially with the first task being a dalek. With a generally good idea of size and proportions, I began to feel one step ahead because I felt I began to crack mesh building and adding separate parts to an item the make the full one. Texturing worried me until I began to get more used to building up UVs and simply placing the textures onto areas. I think suggestions to improve overall quality of items or to help speed up simple process is to give as much examples of quick mesh building techniques such as twist and taper, although we can discover this ourselves with the time we have, im sure  a checklist of useful tools and where to find them or what shortcuts to press will please all years in speeding up their production of work. Plus, trying to get the right look for different materials textures need to portray.

My final 3D project was to make a weapon of choice, so i wanted a detailed sword. Rock added for random lulz :P

I knew I would struggle with visual design the most which is weird but I did not have enough practise beforehand which I really wanted to do during summer before starting the course. However given a new outlook from the very beginning and looking at already good artists within the same year, I felt I was starting from scratch all over again but learning the proper methods. I said to myself, “if only I could have learnt about some of this sooner”. Perspective and horizon lines were new to me, something I didn’t learn in college as we were given pure still life to work with. My details and rendering needed some help but with the discovery of mechanical pencils and tools like a blending stump and such, I believe at this point near the end of the course I have improved. I notice that giving yourself more time and not leaving work to the last minute allows you to be more relaxed and work comes out extraordinarily well as you experiment. I feel I am behind in one aspect in particular with digital painting which goes on to mean I have not had enough colour theory practise. What I suggest is that we should all be required to buy a small watercolour set and begin practising simple colour swatches and themes in order to learn about setting the mood before we get taught how to digi paint.

My final Visual Design project was a revisit to Bradgate Park, Leicester.

For me personally I am really going to work hard in learning to digi paint using brushes and so on in photoshop over summer as I have a graphics tablet and pen but have been hesitant to use it. I know there are recommended tutorials to follow and students who are already skilful in this section so consulting them will be a must. With 3D work I, am happy with my current progress but, with the summer and personal projects I want to learn the basics of UDK for the second year and learn faster techniques for mesh building and learn to build up more sharp and convincing textures. Playing high rated games and watching movies are great for reference and taking ideas of colour schemes and perspective or even finding key mistakes. I will carry on reading ad learning about the industry as my dad never stops buying games magazines anyway. The main goal I want to achieve is better concepting when it comes to creating or adding original ideas to work and once I improve with photoshop painting, I believe I can place myself on the same level as the stronger students in my year.

A lot has been learnt but there is tons more to learn and it never stops, in when you find a job. But that is what makes this course and working in this changing industry so exciting. I will be posting much more blogs of progress and what I find interesting over summer in my particular goals. Until next year :).