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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

30 September 2011

Fun times with Bamboo

With the coursework squared away in a separate post I can get on with the fun things to show to you guys. And where better to start than by posting a really short review of my new, shiny, pretty, cute, amazing, lovely, sleek, sexy, awesome and cool Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet!

Firstly, from the aesthetic point of view, it looks good. Cute little light on the side, material thing on the other and BAMBOO logo beside the drawing area. It works well, doesn't lag and doesn't jump. The only problem is the annoying circle that appears every time you click on anything, but that's to do with Windows 7. Took me ages to find and disable. All in all, it's a good tablet for the money, and all tablets are generally the same.

I couldn't wait to play with it so I did this.

Each one took about an hour but it looks like I still need to get used to it. Today I'll do more!

Time to talk a little bit about the coursework and uni related things. For next week we need to get a character sheet in for animation, plus some sketches; also ten story beats and a premise for screenwriting.

The premise for screenwriting is this:

"After the death of his grandmother and coming back
to his childhood home, an artist finds the terrible
secret of his birth, meets a childhood love and stops
the war of the fay kingdoms."

This idea came to me in a sinusitis inspired stupor one morning in a lecture. An image came to mind from the Hellboy series.

As always Mignola and Fegredo don't disappoint with their beautiful imagery, style and mood. I almost forgot how much I love Hellboy! If anyone is interested the image is from Hellboy - The Wild Hunt # 1

Well, it's time to finish this. See you next week!

Coursework Time!

Hey folks! This time I'm basically writing down my coursework tasks so I won't forget; and also to show you guys what sort of things we do in Uni these days.

Also I've been quite ill. Sinusitis. It's not a fun thing to have. Your face is sore, you can't concentrate on anything, can't smell anything and experience constant nausea and dizziness. So I've been staying at home and even missed a few lectures. If a lecturer is reading this at any point - sorry!

So here's the coursework for the year.

Advanced Visualisation for Tuesday 10th of January 2012

  1. Concept Development - I will design a simple biped character to take the lead role in a 30 second animation. I will represent the design in form research and development sketches, concept sketches and a character model sheet sheet inside my sketchbook. The focus of the animation will be on character acting and emotion as he encounters an unknown element. This is completely open to interpretation. I will produce a series of storyboards to demonstrate my ideas.
  2. 3D Model and Rig - I will produce a fully modelled, rigged, and textured 3D model based on my character model sheet. The model will have facial animation. Clear evidence of my research into the technical aspects of character rigging will be in my sketchbook and on this blog.
  3. Character Animation - I will produce a 30 second animation planned in Task 1 and modelled in Task 2. The animation will demonstrate my knowledge of the principles of animation and the graph editor. The character must have animated dialogue. It will also have a scratch audio track with dialogue and basic sound effects. I will also include WIP animations on this blog to illustrate my progress. The final animation will be in form of a Maya playblast.
  4. Exploration of 3D Character Animation Performance - I will critically analyse a 3D animation(s) in terms of principles and methods used to create character personality and performance. The essay will be 1000 words in length.

Advanced Interaction for Friday 13th of January 2012 *EVIL GRIN*

  1. Proposal -  I will identify a particular topic or issue which I want to explore through creating an interactive 3D world. It must be a specific research question, which I will pitch at my pitch group. 500 words.
  2. Review - Once I completed Task 1 I must produce a review of existing works on the subject. These can include games, artwork, films, board and tabletop games and so on (the brief had a huge list, which I won't put here). I must collect the information of my findings into a digital presentation. Each source must be referenced and annotated. The end result will be a PowerPoint presentation. Personally, I think anything from 50 to 100 slides will cover it.
  3. Project - I will conceive, design and develop a 3D Interactive Virtual Environment in response to the research question posed in Task 1.
        1. Concept Development: Can include scanned sketches, floor plans, story boards, design documents etc. Concept Development must include a storyboard which clearly shows the planned user interaction.
        2. Art Assets: 2D textures, 3D models.
        3. Interactive Virtual Environment: Final .UDK and all associated .UDK files. Can also include a standalone .EXE file which can be run/installed on a Windows PC without any additional software.
  4. Evaluation - 1500 word essay illustrating my development process and any difficulties I had during it. For approximate bullet point structure of the essay refer to the Coursework Brief.

Screenwriting for Digital Media for Friday 13th of January 2012

  1. Sketchbook - Must clearly show my research and contextual understanding through sketches, brainstorming, mind maps, reference and inspiration images, photographs and so on and so on. Everything must be annotated.
  2. Premise - I will create a premise for my story. I must aim to touch my audience emotionally and outline quickly who the main protagonist and antagonists are.
  3. Story Beats - I will plan and structure my story by creating story beats. The evidence of iterative design must be present in my sketchbook and my roughs must be included in the final submission.
  4. Storyboards - I will create production boards based on the story beats, iterating and modifying the story as I go along.
  5. Animatic - I will produce an animatic based on my story boards. It is the roughest cut of the film and the story must be perfect by then. It must include SFX, music and dialogue as necessary.

Personal Project. Actually guys, let me rephrase that one... PERSONAL PROJECT!!!

  1. Personal Proposal and Plan - I must develop and personal proposal after I was put into a group and identified the client brief I'll be working on. The proposal must outline the areas of art, media, design I wish to specialise in, what skills I wish to develop and how I intend to work as a specialist in the confines of the project brief. I must also produce a contract of all my final deliverables and a project plan. The plan must include time scales, major tasks I need to break down into smaller tasks and a Gantt chart. The proposal will be written in an active personal tone and will be 500 words long.
  2. Contextual Review - I must research and review existing research, artwork, games, and other media relevant to my project. The review will then be turned into a 1500 word essay that addresses the major issues and current thinking in my field, highlight examples of contemporary media associated with my project and demonstrate how my project relates to existing new media projects. The essay must be written in a formal academic style (third person passive) and make use of Harvard Referencing.
  3. Concept Development - Based on my Contextual Review I will produce a range of conceptual artwork. This concept work will play with ideas such as visual style, mood, target audiences, narrative, functionality, human-computer interaction, game play mechanics, competition. I will compile these ideas in a professional looking document.
  4. Project Presentation - Throughout the year there will be 6 presentations to the clients and tutors. I will submit these progress reports at the end of the year on a DVD.
  5. Project Media - I must submit everything I've done to contribute to the project. This could be 3D modelling, 2D digital and concept art, interactive media, web solutions, animation, digital audio/video files, level designs, design documentation, business analyses etc. This should include all supporting materials, media tests, and development work as well as final assets.
  6. Project Evaluation - I will write a 3,000 word essay to reflect on the project. It will be split into two parts. One will be a personal reflection on my experience and the second will be a critical evaluation of the final product. Former will be in first person, active form, whereas the latter will be in third person passive.

Woah! That's a hell of a lot of work!

Better get on with it then, eh?

20 September 2011

New Year New Start

I thought long about what to write here. There is nothing better than starting a blog in the right way. I mean, somebody, somewhere might actually be reading this someday! It is a scary thought. Therefore after much thought I came up with this universal greeting to everyone no matter of background or social standing. Here it goes:

"Hi :)"

So with that out of the way let me give a short intro on what this blog is all about. This virtual space will be my sketchbook, diary, notebook and pretty much anything else I can think of. Listing my interests, work and interesting finds on the Internet. Primarily it is of course to act as a digital sketchbook for my third year in Computer Arts, but nothing is stopping me from sharing some interesting links with you guys, right?

For example, let's start with this one. I believe everyone must see this, no matter what you do or what your interests are.

For best results watch this in HD and in a full screen.

See what I mean? My first reaction was something like this, "Oh cool, I like skiing. Would love to go off pist like thaa-WWOOOAAAHHHHH!!!".

And now for something vaguely on topic. Many students find summer to be a difficult time and I'm no different. However with a stroke of luck I managed to make some awesome things for some awesome people, and show off my artistic skills at the same time! Of course I didn't get paid for any of it, but what great pieces of artwork to add to my portfolio!

The first thing I did was for a friend of mine and his music blog. The blog is called RedSheep and you should absolutely check it out. The website itself is under development at the moment unfortunately.

The one in the middle actually made it to the site, whereas the other two came very closely behind.

Second bit of professional work was done for a Glasgow Vampire LARP website. They are awesome guys, really easy to work with and generally pleasant to chat to. You should also check them out. Maybe come to some games. It's great fun.

The very first one can be seen on the website right this second, and they were even nice enough to add a link to my dAPortfolio at the bottom!

And finally, just as I started to think that summer will never end and I will surely perish in the crazy boredom of one lazy summer day after another I was asked to help out with a burlesque show that was being put on. After happy two weeks spent running around, arranging venues and such things we had a green light for a show and it was time to make posters. The one I made didn't quite make it to the finish. Mainly because I was so caught up in getting ready to go away on a holiday I forgot to put in our sponsors and other important bits of information.

So quite a busy summer as you can see. Next year will be even busier! Bring it on! :D

Until next time!

PS: I'll try my best to update this blog every week. Probably on Wednesday or Friday.