Sunday, 24 May 2015

End of chapter

So this is it…three years of university gone in what feels like the blink of an eye. There was so much I’ve learnt, but not just about the subject I studied, but also about myself and how I want to progress in the world. Independent living has really been a boost to my confidence and making so many new friends was a big help with that also. My communication skills with people are way beyond what I ever thought I could handle, and this is crucial throughout life, professionally as well as socially.

Choosing to study game art was, in all honesty, a decision made a little lightly. I had an interest and felt university was what I needed to push me just that little bit further out the door. Yet I’ve found myself learning so much more about this industry and I honestly feel it will be such a fin yet challenging career to be a part of. I’ve learnt a lot about general business and extended my knowledge of subjects I thought I had a near firm grasp upon. I’m so glad I made this choice and I hope I can start on my career path in this industry in the near future. I understand it will take just a little more time, but I feel I’m prepared for this. Independent living has taught me this perspective of life. Things sometimes need to take time, and that is okay.

When I first started to approach the end of my time at uni, I began to worry about work. ‘What next?’ I’d say to myself, over and over again. I’ve learnt this industry is touch and that did shake my nerve when it came to my hopes of finding work. I know now, that if I put the effort in, I will see the benefit and opportunities will appear. This has helped me with coping with my ‘what next?’ thoughts. All I need to do is keep working. Keep improving on my art, keep improving my online presence, keep in contact with all those important people I’ve met along the way, and eventually, I will reap the benefits.

Above all, I feel genuinely proud of what I have accomplished during my time at university. I feel it has been one of the most important chapters of my life thus far. It has given me direction in life and taught me to always work hard and always keep busy. I think students do tend to get a bad reputation. They fall under the clich├ęd notion that they are highly irresponsible when it comes to taking care of themselves. They are generally considered lazy and still highly dependent on hand outs from parents etc. Of course there is a lot of truth in that. I find that thast the case with the more, tradition style courses. Courses which entail rigid lecture structures, with essays and exams that don’t seem to truly engage the student. A lot of the friends I met along the way that studied on these kinds of courses, did actually tend to fall into that student trap. I was happy to see that it isn’t always the case, when it came to my course. The majority seemed so dedicated to the work they were producing, and I found that to be contagious.

Towards the end of second year and throughout the whole of third year, despite what my timetable said, I’d be in every day of the week working on my projects. To think back to first year, when I would stay at home at all times to do work, I can see how far I’ve come. I’ve grown as a person, professionally as well as socially. I’d recommend it to anybody as a great way to get out of normality and challenge yourself. Being home now makes me realise how much I appreciate my own space. I feel this will push me to work hard in getting that first job. I want to thank everybody I’ve met along the way, every person has been a positive influence, I hope to stay in touch with many of my friends. I wish them all the best for the future and maybe, one day, we’ll cross paths again.

Lucy...signing off. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Industry Advice

With Final Major Project finished early, I decided to get in contact with some people in industry to ask for their advice on my portfolio. I wanted to ask them what they would be looking for when hiring somebody applying for the position of concept artist.

I emailed four people, ranging from fairly well-known names, to smaller indie style companies. I heard replies from three of them and two of them gave me great feedback so far.

Andy Gibson from 'Team Pesky' the makers of the up and coming Super Little Acorns game, gave me some very good crit on my portfolio work. He said he would like to keep in touch for further advice and inquiries.

I also spoke to Oliver Clarke from Modern Dream at ARCH Creatives, and he really liked the art book I worked on for Final Major Project. He's yet to give me the feedback, but the is also very busy. So far he's told me he can see how much work and effort i've put into my contribution to the book. I ook forward to hearing his full feedback.

They both seemed positive about my work and it gave me confidence to hear what they had to say. I found the constructive criticism very helpful. To have fresh eyes look at them and pick out mistakes that I missed, really helped me gain perspective and see my images in a new way.

However as helpful as the advice is, they made no mention to offering work, which obviously understanding, and very optimistic of me to think that. However, I see it as making connections and getting my name out there. I think I’ll continue to do this, the more names I come across, as its just more publicity for my portfolio.

With the advice they've given me, I feel I can improve my portfolio with 2 – 3 months whilst constantly asking for advice and job offers. I’m prepared that it will take time and I’m glad that I no longer have to worry about uni deadline and set my own projects. I will still set myself deadlines and use what I have learnt at university to time manage efficiently.

I’m so glad I made these connections, and it’s inspired me to make more. There is always that fear that you’re being a pain or a bother to busy industry people. Yet the majority are so willing to give advice despite their busy schedule and it’s always indisputably great advice to take on board. I hope that eventually, one of these connection will become a real career opportunity for the future, or at the very least lead to one.     

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Professional Brief - Re-submission

I received some feedback for my Professional brief, on how to improve my work. Seeing as I have finished FMP early, I thought I’d use this time wisely and make these improvements, if anything, to improve my grade.
I was told that the lighting was confusing in that certain things were lit one way and the shadows didn’t correspond to that lighting. Below describes what I mean.

Also, due to this long lighting the time of day would be near sunset. Therefor the colour palette should be a warmer tone. Oranges, pinks and reds. I also added more detail to the sky above the train. I felt this would add a bit more much needed realism to the piece.

Another improvement to make, were more detailed studies of the key assets. This includes more orthographic studies in order for 3D modellers to use as reference when it comes to modelling them.

I also decided to do some main character orthographics too, for modelling purposes.

I think these improvements really did make this a stronger project. It had more to it for others to work with, if this were a live project. The orthographics instruct 3D modellers and just give better information about the elements of the scene.
I hope these improvement have a good impact on my grade for this project. I’m really pleased with the results and decided to put this project on my portfolio. (Link down below)

I hope this showcases my concepting ability, as well as my understanding of the steps that would be to follow in the games industry. It shows logic and deep thinking behind the assets I’m including in the scene, as well as showing my general art skills through the improved lighting in the final scene.

ARCH Creatives Talk

Today we had a talk from a couple of people from a studio called ARCH Creatives. They are a studio in Leamington Spa that house a number of different games developers working on several different projects at once.

I was intrigued at this idea of having several developers, in one space. They seemed very focus on the quality of their games and how the audience will respond to them. They mentioned that the purpose of their games is to make the audience feel d=something. They need to connect with audience. They achieve this by creating unique visuals and thinking up new and interesting ways to shake up what we think of games.

Below is the trailer for Modern dreams latest release, I developer based at ARCH creative.


The visual style is fairly simple but reflect the era of the time this game is set. It’s very 70’s cop drama style, obviously with the name LA Cops. It’s being released for several platform which I was pleased to hear, this will make it accessible to more people and I really hope it does well.

There was talk of them taking on graduates for work and I really would consider doing this if that was the case. Its sounds like a great new studio to work for, and I shall be keeping my ears open for any opportunities. 

Easter Break

For the Easter break, I mainly did well…exactly that. As we were given an extension for Our FMP, I saw this as an opportunity to have a rest. However, I still managed to get some work done and I mainly was working on The Inventors laboratory part of my project.

I don’t have a good work space at home, so I decided to join my local library so I could make use of their studying facilities. This really helped with focusing on my work. Despite wanting to rest, it felt weird doing so. Being in uni and in your term time environment, its hard to switch off your student brain, as you current environment links to university, as you wouldn’t be here, in this town without it. For me, this puts my brain into 24/7 mode, it’s always whirring with ideas, and ‘what nows?’ So taking time to do nothing, does feel a little awkward.

I mainly did photo-bashes and worked on improving some pieces I already have. Below is what I mainly did over Easter.

With this extension to our FMP deadline, I feel I can really up the quality of my work as I now have the time to work on it further.

FMP Blog:

FMP - Change of Plans!

After speaking with a fellow team of two that are working together on an art book. I told them about my ideas and they strongly suggest I either team up with somebody to pull it off, or reign in the scope to make it more manageable just for myself. A fellow student, Georgina also known as Ed, overheard my idea and really liked the sound of what I was proposing. She seemed keen to team up with me so this is what we decided to do.
She gave me some ideas and we started a Pinterest board, to start gathering reference images.

After a couple of weeks, Ed suggested that to save time, maybe we should base the book off an existing story and just re-imagine the designs of all the elements that make up the story. She suggested a couple of fairly unknown fairy-tale stories, and these seemed like a potential idea.
However, I was home for Christmas and just so happened a film called Metropolis was on TV. I thought this was Osamu Tezuka’s anime film, which I’d seen before in passing. What I was met with was an old black and white silent film. I read the description and saw it was from 1927 and the plot read as something near exact to my original Miners idea. I looked into it further and realised the anime film metropolis was based off of this silent film.

I thought this story help great potential for our art book. I told Ed and she looked into It too. I thought seeing as there had been 2 versions, we’d have even more reference for when it came to designing.
We both agreed that this could work really well. Next on our list is to organise what we’re going to include in the book. We’re writing another blog that follows FMP’s progress. You can find that here:


On April 22nd I had the chance to go to INSOMNIA 53 in Coventry. INSOMIA is a games festival where Indie companies showcase their new games. Youtube gaming channels put on shows and also games are set up everywhere for people to play and enjoy. Thanks to a friend I got a free guest pass and was able to access the VIP area and to wander round freely. My main purpose of going was to meet some indie developers and just get some advice and contacts on how to make it in the industry. I also saw this as an opportunity to job hunt and I made a few connections.

There were a couple things that struck me first, the variety of games and different platforms. The Indie boom is strong and there is so much noise when it comes to modern gaming. Festivals like this need to exist for people to get that feedback and get their games out there. I spoke to several people and they all said the same that things. The game industry moves so fast you have to keep up. You’ll get knocked down and there’ll be a lot of failures but this shouldn’t stop you and you should always strive to improve and learn from the things that didn’t quite go to plan.

Another thing I noticed was just how young some of these gamers were. Maybe I’m just getting on in years, (cries) but the amount of a very young gamers blew my mind. It really did put things into perspective for me. My friend who got me the guest pass is part of a youtube channel that hosts Minecraft tournaments for kids to take part and compete in assault courses they built. The idea was to replicate those old kids TV shows like ‘50/50’, ‘Get your own Back’ etc. It was then I realised that Sonic the Hedgehog won’t be their nostalgia, Minecraft will. A game I know very little about to be honest and kind of ‘Don’t get’ the appeal, really proved to me, that again, the industry really does move fast. Which is exciting yet means the need to adapt is crucial to survive. This is something I hope to work on, to really increase my chances of employment.

Below are business cards of some of the people I spoke to.

It was such a fun experience and I hope to go to more festivals/conventions like this.