Game production definitely took the most of my time last year; a lot of the things we learnt I’d never done before which meant that not only was everything trial and error, but the work itself was more interesting. Now that I’ve got a better grip on the basics of 3DS Max, I hope I can focus a bit more on my visual design skills, which to be honest I made minimal progress on.
In some ways, I feel that I went backwards a bit, because I was scrambling around trying to use digital painting and neglecting my traditional art skills. It’s easy to want to use Photoshop for everything because it’s so quick to get started, but in practice I find that the actual process of using it to create an image is a lot less intuitive than when you’re physically putting something onto paper.
Digital Painting has the unfortunate tendency of turning me into a perfectionist, which means I never get anything done because I’m agonising over every pixel instead of looking at the image as a whole. I might try to make more of an effort to do some of the assignments in traditional media I or do preliminary paintings and then trying to replicate the techniques I used in a digital version.
I also want to make more of an effort to bring my visual design skills into my 3D work. Last year I ended up spending the majority of the time I’d allocated to game production just working on the mesh, and it shows. I need to give a lot more time over to concepting and texturing, in particular looking at better ways to produce normal maps. Thankfully the summer projects have helped my greatly in learning how to make more efficient meshes, as well as giving me a little more basis from which to plan how much detail certain assets need, and how to best make use of textures.
As with Visual Design, my blogging was a bit neglected last year. This year I’m going to make a real effort to post on my blog at least once a week, and to blog about my 3D and 2D work in addition to posting the Critical Studies assignments. By posting my work regularly, including scans of my rough work, I will hopefully be able to get more valuable feedback, both from the course tutors and from other students, as well as just demonstrating my creative and concepting processes.
I’m looking forward to the group project as an opportunity to learn how to coordinate the skills I’ve learnt with the work of other people on the course. It will be the first time I’ve ever participated in a group art project, so I’m somewhat nervous about it, but I think that ultimately it will be fun. After all, the group work will be closer to what it would be like working in the game industry, and it will be good to get a better idea of what that will be like early on.