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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.

5 December 2012

Make Something Unreal Live Pitch Report

It's been a crazy couple of days. We went to London and competed against 11 other teams for the place in the final. Ultimate prize being 5 Unreal Engine 4 comercial licenses and legal support to get our studio off the ground. In monetary terms, 5 licenses would cost close to £500,000. That's half a million pounds. A sum that is completely mind boggling to someone like me, who lives on 6 grand a year income.

First impressions of London are breath taking. It's a true metropolis: people, cars, concrete mix together into an intoxicating whole. There are always places to go to, things to see and do. Everything is big, from prices to architecture. Grey concrete buildings dominate central London and even hobos can give you advice on what brothel to visit and where to get the best coke (don't ask, it's a long story).

It was a stressful time for me, because we were still one painting short. I found a solution by placing my laptop inside a cupboard in the hostel and spending a few hours hunched over inside there. This is the result:


Gotta say straight away that this is probably not my best ever painting. But that simply illustrates the importance of proper planning and preliminary sketches. When in the past thumbnails and value studies were done prior to rendering, this time round there was simply no time. Plus, it's fairly difficult to paint in a 6 man dorm. Especially when everyone is there, behind you, is stressing out as well. So what's exactly wrong with this image? A lot of things. The perspective does not work, and the background seems to be sitting on a completely different plane to the structure in the middle, which in turn is sitting on a different plane to the character in the foreground. The structure is wrong. The composition is plain and fairly boring, there isn't much interest or drama. The shapes are blurry in the background and sharp and solid on the focal structure. That creates disbalance and unnecessary contrast between the elements. The local colours are bleak and do not add anything to the image. The lighting is messed up and not much effort was put into highlights. The concept is interesting however, and that is what saves the painting. There is interest in the idea that something is glowing in between the stones, shining from the inside of the structure. This creates mystery. The colour transition between bright blues and greens to the oranges and yellows on the structure creates a pleasant contrast of tones and thus adds to the feeling of mystery. The character figure, even though stands out like a sore thumb is anatomically correct and makes use of the Windmill principle that Gurney talks about in his blog. Overall thus the painting is not an epic failure, however it's not a spectacular success either. Simply the best effort I could muster in the extremely stressful and uncomfortable conditions.

I would like to talk about the competition a little bit. The results, the four teams that made it through to the final, were quite predictable. Perhaps I am growing more cynical, but before the results came in I predicted which teams would make it in. Everything's happened as I predicted. Now I'm not saying that a huge multinational company like Epic would politicise its competition for maximum value and publicity...

In any case, we didn't make it through. However the judges loved the art direction. My art direction. And having recieved a compliment from the CEO of Epic in UK, a member of Welcome Trust and heads of various other video games studios, I'm quite chuffed. Time to stare at Syd Mead to get my ego deflated again.