Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sketchbook



Pumpkins for Paul. Thank the Maker, its Fall.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unsolicited Industry Advice, Part 2

Continuing the discussion from earlier in March:
  • What I look for in a Portfolio-- Games Concept Design and Development.  In 8 to 12 images I need to know what you love, and how you bring it to life. I need to answer if you're a Specialist or a Jack; Bluesky, Production, or Illustration. Then I know where you fit in a production pipeline and if you fulfill the job requirements. 
Never put anything in your portfolio that you don't like doing. If you have less than 8 pieces that fit that definition, then only show those. Any of these profiles are broad with a lot of work in the pipeline. Drawing, modeling, texturing, painting, etc. Work in the genres that fit you, learn about the others. On the side, get in gear and do more personal work so you can show more of what you're proud of.

If I'm given a blog and a portfolio link, I will always go to the blog first. It's easier to update, shows sketchbook, and how you solve problems. It shows if you're still engaged in learning and studying. It shows what you spend your free time on - aka what you love. If I like what I see, then I go to the portfolio.

Blue Sky Portfolio:
1.  Bluesky Images- Defining a look/ feel with the right thematic and tone through broad stroke exploration. Show one problem solved in radically different ways.  2.Primary Images- the lay of the land. Establish artset, sell thematic, and scope. Primary image defines a world apart from other properties and informs initial environment work. Show iteration along art direction.  3. Mood Images- narrative. Sell mood, tone, personality. Personal/epic Moments, lighting, and color keys.

Show a breadth in your portfolio. Example: If everything is epic, then nothing is. Shapeshifting and photobashing are valuable tools but cannot be your crutch. The point is to be fast and loose, get the ideas out and pitch-able.These are meant for internal use, but really good ones can be player facing for promotional material if taken further.

Character and Creature Production Portfolio:
1. Character Promo image in color- the selling image to get AD approval and team alignment. Solves Character role and design needs.  2. Character orthogonal views (front/back and side, whatever is needed to properly describe)- so we know how to build it and solve any development problems. 3. In-game view angle- how the player is going to experience it. 4. Call outs- anything that needs to be described with more detail, or will be a separate model, such as weapons. 5. Texture swatches- just a few to represent how materials should be rendered in game and describe any unusual materials. 6. Gesture studies, and expression if required. 7. Iteration studies- these should not just be costume variants. They should show radically different ways of solving the character.

This spread should leave no questions on who the Character is, and how to build it. Everyone in the production pipeline should not need to come to you for follow up information. It is a complete package. Bonus Points: Demonstrate ways to be more efficient with characters in their rigs, textures, or geo.
Notes:  Games are all about being over the top. If it isn't memorable, its garbage. You don't need to render the hell out of everything. Usually the promo image is the one to spend the time on for sell factor.

Environment Production Portfolio:
1. Promo image in color- the selling image to get AD approval and team alignment. Solves for Design mechanics. 2. Various Views- game view angle, Level layout, Interior/ exterior.  3. Mood/ Weather shifts- Lighting, time of day, weather, mood variants. 4. Call outs- anything that needs to be described with more detail. Usually a "hero" asset, and population assets. 5. Texture Swatches- Material keys. 6. Iteration studies.

This spread should leave no questions on what the environment is, and what elements are needed to pull it off. (In a Holodeck, build an environment kit, culture kit, Modular kit, or whatever the game/genre calls for).  A good environment can be expanded and extrapolated upon or scoped way down and still preserve Look/Feel.
Notes:  Some gameplay mechanics will be in every property you work on. Its your job to solve it in new and interesting ways. Creates for example: if I get a spread of creates that are interesting and memorable but still cheap breakables that I have never seen before, then you're on my favorite persons list. Again, you don't need to render the hell out of everything, solve what you can with tight comps.

Promo/ Illustration Portfolio:
1. Character Promo- Internal/external promotional marketing material. Pin-ups or teasers. Full color, high degree of polish/rendering and establish narrative. Maintains style guide and branding. 2. Game Promo/ Property Promo- Internal/external promotional marketing material. Defines style guide and branding.  3. Event/ Narrative Promo. Illustrates poignant moments to interact with audience.
Notes:  Don't disregard your backgrounds. They have just as much to say as characters. Don't use the same lighting set up in every image, and have breadth in your pallets. Really learning material rendering and material interaction with lighting will carry a huge weight. There is a big difference between bad anatomy and stylized anatomy. Again, everything is over the top in games, so make your illustrations dynamic and compelling. Push further, break stuff, then scale back.

Notes on what you bring to the Table:  
Bring your sketchbook to interviews. Leave the portfolio on the web.

I don't look for degrees. I only look at the work, your experience level, if you're someone fantastic to work with. I think that being a gamer is important because that is the client you are solving for. We can draw all damn day long, but if it doesn't solve for the problems of production, and an amazing game experience, then it doesn't matter.

Hope that stuff helps. Other topics to cover in the future:  Nature of the Industry, Work/Life balance, Average Day, Personal Projects.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

sketchbook





Dear Bloggspot, Why are you darkening all my images? Anyone know why and how to resolve it? 
* Fixed. Thank you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Substrata


I finally received my copy after much anticipation, and I have to say, it is better than I could have ever hoped. It is amazing. This book is not only a source of inspiration, but a major resource to my craft. It will have a permanent place at my desk. Thank you Paul and Lena and everyone else for the awesome, and looking forward to the next.


KKG




Update of my work for KKG. Really proud to be able to participate with such good people on such a great project.  https://www.facebook.com/Gamersf0rGood


lil environs





Sorry for the absence. Sometimes life kicks you squarely in the balls, and I needed a little time to recover, re-evaluate, and re-engage. I will be catching up on posting the arts.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sketchbook



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blubberbusters



I am excited to say that I have been participating in Blubberbusters. See the game progress here:
http://spacewhalegame.tumblr.com/

unsolicited industry advice

After spending a late afternoon with a bunch of students this week, and seeing GDC on the horizon, I realize how desperately I want new people in the industry to succeed. Really, the reason is selfish. I want to play new exciting games, watch mind altering movies, and read books that redraw the landscape. I want to play in their worlds. That is why I went into this in the first place, I want to create worlds within worlds. Working with really talented people brings me closer to that becoming more tangible.

So, I've decided to periodically offer some industry advice squeezed from my own experience and opinions. I know it isn't much, and I'm sure plenty of people would disagree with this or that, but if I can give any hints, shortcuts, insights, or just some gut checks from grief, then I think it would be worth me scribbling this stuff out on the keyboard. Here are a few for today.
  • If you don't know what to do, decide now what it is you love, and do that. Art has many roles in the entertainment genre these days. It is as deep as it is wide. You know what you gravitate to. You can see where your interests have led splayed out all around you. Commit to a genre, and build from there. Learn all about that industry and find what cog in the wheel you need to be and how to get there. Then get to work becoming the best damn cog you can be. 
  • What is concept design--the JOB? In film it's called Visual Design. It's the visual target for final product. Concept has three roles in games: Blue Sky exploration, Production Concept, and Promo Illustration. Specialists usually only work in one of these roles. Jacks can work in one or all three. I work primarily in production concept and consider myself a Jack, as I am comfortable working on creature, character design and development, weapon/armor, prop, environment, asset, level layout, and texture. Production Concept specialists usually are character or environment. Obviously, smaller studios benefit from having a couple jacks, whereas large studios can and want to support a bigger team of specialists. Blue Sky is all about making beautiful amazing images to sell direction, tone, and scope. Production Concept is solving as many problems upfront as possible for a whole team of devs to follow while upholding style-guide. Promo Illustration is for alignment and selling wow factor internally and player facing. Most of that work is leveraged for marketing material. All of these roles are found in freelance/art-outsource houses, and in-house jobs. 
  • Build a portfolio for a specific client. Build a genre specific portfolio that will showcase your skill-set as a Specialist or a Jack that is catered to studios and clients that revolve around your preferred method of working.  Don't send photo realest work to stylized houses, and don't send a portfolio full of fantasy to a studio that you know will never do anything other than science fiction. I will deep dive on what I look for in a portfolio next time.

Friday, February 28, 2014

lil'environs





Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Substrata


I am super excited, Substrata has pre-orders now available. I am very honored to be part of such a great project and to have learned so much.  

 http://www.udonentertainment.com/blog/udon/announce-substrata-press-start-on-a-passion-project-from-an-international-array-of-top-game-artists/

UDON Entertainment » Blog Archive » ANNOUNCE: SUBSTRATA: ‘Press Start’ on a passion project from...
www.udonentertainment.com
What happens when over 80 creators from the world’s top video game studios join forces to create the ultimate dark fantasy game? The...

sketchbook