Sunday, 28 October 2012

too many pictures

Ive uploaded so much work to this blog, that I have reached my limit of pics this blog can hold...
Its my own fault for drawing too many sketches.
I was gonna show my game production....

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Progress - How far have I come?

I really wasnt happy with the previous visual design work, But I have been told that its not about whether my work would win any prizes or not its about how far I have come.

Just how far have I come?

Lets compare my work to a month ago and last year. Lets really see how far I have come from the beginning.

 Visual design.

Bradgate park colour finals from the beginning.

I made some alterations...

 Its the last two images I wanted to compare really. looking at them both I realise that I have progressed and this wasnt as bad as I had thought.
Areas on which I have improved,
My paintings are not blurry as they once were, unless of course I want parts of them to be, so I am in more control of my visual design work, I like being in control.
My composition has improved (hey) my painting techniques use of colour. Thats not saying I couldnt improve on this. I will alter it again. Im interested to know what chris thinks.

Game production


One thing I will say, my textures are no longer muddy. When heather first told me that I thought she meant actual mud, I spent the next few projects trying to take pictures for "clean" texture reference.
 I can make normal maps now and my work is believable. The biggest breakthrough is in the aesthetic appeal of my 3d work. It just looks better. Loads better. 

Critical studies

Yep the ol' blog. I believe I am talking and writing about my work more and that may be the reason I am making better progress. I know its just the iceing on the cake but I want that iceing to compliment a beautiful cake not cover up a mediocre one.
If trying works like it has, and also like i didnt realise then carrying on doing what I do is the way forward. Im talking about my progress now and showing my failures and my accomplishments.

I think the most progress I have made is being able to find passion and inspiration in the most unlikely of places and most boring sounding of projects. 
I am enjoying it, Im even able to work with a dull day at bradgate. Thats an achievment.

There will be days I consider giving up, there will be days that I achieve so much I cant believe it.
I still make progress though even through my struggles. That is great to see visually.

*Task 13 composition/ applying contrast in v.d

k. Time to talk about visual design this week. It was in most parts a lot of mistakes.

and applying contrast, contrast in other ways than we typical think of when we think of contrast.

This week I felt it. I felt the pressure and the work I put in. I felt the failures. Visual design is H-CORE.

Regardless of how hardcore or not it is/was Im going to talk through my mistakes, stresses and then how I managed, through sheer determination some camomile tea and some sleep to turn things around.

After doing several sketches already and watercolours (that failed miserably) and learning about composition I realised I knew nothing about composition.

If true knowledge is knowing you know nothing I consider myself Albert Einstein.

So I reflected on the lecture and did some research of my own and decided that this week I would focus on using different methods of contrast to help with the composition of this weeks final.

I had plenty of sketches, I looked through them and found a page of sketches which I had drawn and before that moment I didnt realise why they worked.

One particular place at bradgate park had alot of natural "line" in the landscape that all seemed to point to a particular spot, making it the focal point.

I thought yes, its my chance to use something else aswell as the rule of thirds and golden rule I usually swear by.

these watercolours just didnt turn out, In an attempt to try and control the paint I managed to control it less. Although I still had colour to work with and even the splodges managed to convey the atmosphere of the day,

 On thursday I started painting over my final sketch.  I got so worked up with this, I spent hours and this is all I achieved.

What I wanted to achieve was contrast in line, contrast in colour, contrast in value, contrast shape. contrast between the full ground and the empty sky and focus  by making the focal point more "in focus" or  detailed and the painting around the outside a little more blurry amongst other things that i will discuss when I present my final at the end of the post.

 I started again the next over the colour background I had created in photshop, which was just base colours and silhouettes.

I wanted to render this image entirely out of dots and lines that I beleived would be a good contrast of texture. The image I had chosen also had alot of pointy and round shapes making up the whole image which I thought was also a nice contrast.

I rendered away in no where near as long as the failed bradgate painting of previous. At the time I got stuck I looked up a grass tutorial, that I made and it just looked weird so I got rid of it by cropping the image. I was hoping to show alot of ground in contrast to a small amount of sky after all why would I want an image that consisted of mostly grey sky?


I didnt think the image had alot of contrast in the ususal sense and just looked dull so I brightened it up a bit  (too much thats why its small so it dosent hurt your eyes, ow) I had used alot of colours, hoping that if the majority of them had the same value they would work.
I made the area near the focal point more brighter aswell to emphasis it.


 I thought Id add some darker colur around the edges to try and add the attention to the focal point, i overdid it a bit, The greyscale shows the image for its value, I  thought the grasses at the front of the image looked abit out of sorts and needed blending in a bit. There was too much light directly to dark in the rock at the back aswell.
The trees at the back where to  "in your face" and needed fading out a bit.

 I added more shades of grey to the rock and also added some highlights shadows to make it look a bit better, a bit of grass too. I also added some last few touches to the trees to give them more definition.
I added some more line strokes to areas for contrast in texture. I feel like im using the word contrast too much.

 The last thing I did was to blend the edges by added some more "paint" and making the "brushstrokes" lower opacity to reduce the emphasis on the edges directing the eye to the focal point.

This is the most recent final, with contrast concentrated on.

In comparison to the failed peice this is an achievement, But i learnt something, I like the way that texture has been used for contrast and the way it is painted contrasts against the empty sky.
The lines that point to the centre that are coming from all areas contrast with the round shapes in the image. The value of the colours in the foreground have  mostly been made the same value, with a little contrast.

I will continue with composition though, Im not entirely happy with this image i have used other things such as repitition of line, the rule of thirds and the golden rule.

Im going to go now if i use the word contrast anymore I feel the word will be permententally be imprinted in my brain.

How I feel about game art -The 20 in 2 theory revisted

Yep its almost been a year now (10 months to be exact) since I as an inexperienced fresher, naively and idiotically tried to prove my worth as an artist by drawing 20 thumbnails in 2 minutes.

You'll be pleased to here that this isn't a post where I'm going to attempt that again, nor will there be any posts in the future where I attempt that again.  Its a post were I talk about what I have learnt since then and my thoughts on achievement

During the concept/planning research and before and after it I considered could I do 20 thumbnails in 2 minutes, well it depends on what I want to achieve. If I want to show the world "yeah" I can pointlessly speed draw 20 or more in 2 minutes for the purpose of proving that I can speed draw 20 or more thumbnails in 2 minutes then yes i could. I would gain absolutely nothing.

What is the point of that? No point. In my work these days (thumbnail sketches included) I try to get as much out of the time as possible. If I wanted to thumbnail for the purpose of composition, lighting and all that other jazz then no probably not, it would take a lot more consideration and a lot longer, but I would achieve something.

Lets talk about my new view of achievement and my future hopes for what I will gain from game art design.

Honestly the stress of trying to get 70% for every project kind of backfires because stress makes me make mistakes, brutally murders my confidence by hacking away at my thought process in a project. It makes me over think too much.
Honestly I find I write the best, draw the best and model 3d the best when I am myself and trying to be something I'm not almost kills me,

I was and most of us were very big fish in tiny ponds at college, unexpectedly entering the game art ocean with unimaginably huge fish. Not the best anymore, but with a chance to grow.

I'm going to be real now, this is not me being negative I just needed to take a step back and look at things from the perspective of my own skills in reality.

I am not a first class honours student and the chances are that I never will be.

I don't have the skill to be getting 70% right now, I have the determination to build those skills but to be at that level I don't believe I can do it within the next 2 years or have the time to put the work in to get them to that level. I will keep trying though.

That's not saying I don't work hard, I put a lot of work in, I work everyday but I still don't think its enough to be at that level.

My thoughts for the future are this, If I could get a 2:1 I would be very happy and that will take a damn lot of work. I think it could be within my reach If I really, really, really really try. I mean really try.

I made errors in visual design this week and my final sucked, I went to bed at 2am in tears and in an absolute broken wreckage and have some kind of stress cold now. My dreams were filled with thoughts that I was going to fail visual design. Ive since redone it in a calmer mood and it turned out better, I don't want to ever be in that state again.

I decided today that I'm going to do this course to gain knowledge, skills and confidence and to enjoy it. What happens after that I can only imagine and hypothesise I can never really know. I'm not mates with doctor who and I cant go into the future to see.

I am going to try and be all I can be but not at the expense of my health or my family, I really needed to decide exactly how much I can be. I'll do all I can til the very end of my time here. whenever that may be.

I will be all I can be, and do all that I can.

My philosophy was, will and has always been the title of this blog,

Pretty polygons or damn good tri's at the very least.

*Task 13 composition/ contrast

Contrast by definition "The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association"

Its those damn words again..... so hard to read.

I dont think that is quite accurate to be honest after doing some research.  The idea of setting one thing off against the other would be a more accurate discription. 
Maybe in more detail I could say the idea is not how different these things are its how they work together, contrast as one element of composition.

Lets break contrast down into its many forms. Probably the most obvious example of contrast in an image would be difference in value (light against dark ) or contrast in colour thats what most of us would think of if I said contrast.


I am glad to have finally realised that there is more to colours in composition than just contrasting and complimentary colours.
Colours can be used in composition to set each other off  without neccesarily being "classed" as complimentary or contrasting colours. My inner artist says Huh? what on earth do you mean victoria? How confusing!

let me explain.(to myself)

I discovered today that if two colours have the same value, they can still set each other off. There is still more to it though.
This very much depends on the lighting in an image. Colour and lighting are of course inseperable. Another realization.

That is probably why My living room and kitchen have the same paint on the walls but it looks like the colours are different. The same colour will always appear different in different lighting conditions.

Bright/dull? Maybe I can use this in my bradgate final so it dosent look so grey? would it work?


I have included solidity and texture in the same because I want to focus on this in particular this week, even though Its not just  the texture that conveys how hard or soft an object is in an image it can be a whole list of other things, light, shape, value.
Contrast can  be achieved with the use of texture or having hard or soft objects in the same image that contrast against each other but work so well.
I found an excellent example but unfortunatley cant place the image here. It was an image of stonehenge with fluffy white clouds in the background it worked really well.

This has made me think and consider how I could convey this contrast in texture/solidity.
Line perhaps, how about brushstrokes? I could use contrasting brush strokes round and straight. Shapes pointed and round.

Im going to go off and rework that damned painting. I will write more about contrast after, i want to take this one step at a time to avoid confusion.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

*task 15 Composition - start of process

 I think that there is more too this than can be discussed in a single post so I am going to continue to  write about composition until we move onto the next thing. As for learning about it I will focus on it for the next few weeks in the blog then continue mastering it afterwards.

It states that a final peice should be the end of an iterative process not random chance. I agree after all the work ive done finding out about concepting and planning I agree.

I only ever applied a few rules to composition in my paintings. It was always the rule of thirds, contrasting colours and what I believed to be the golden rule.

There is so much more though.

I thought that at first I would try and work with my duck photograph see exactly what made it better than the rest of the duck photgraphs.

I played around with the image a bit aswell too see if little things made a difference. It made me wonder if just a few compositional rules when applied will work better or worse than a lot of them.
Is there a point when it can be overdone? I think so.

 It was not just the rule of thirds as I first thought. I believe it is also The repition of line or apparent texture of the water ripples the way in which they surround the duck/focal point of the image helped the composition. They also guide the eye around the rest of the image.
There is contrast also , between the duck and water colour wise, reds and greens.

There is more too contrast than meets the eye. Aswell as colour maybe solid/liquid is also a contrasting element. Still duck/moving water also contrast.

Im going off to look into contrast sounds interesting, till next post.

The highlight of my week

I must admit that I always look forward to our thursday lectures. I feel I learn so much and discover so much that I didnt know existed. It makes me realise how little I knew this morning.

Thinking about composition on the way home I realised how people have used it to manipulate me into giving them my bank details in the past. How dare they. Well I'm not falling for that one again.
An image of a child from above with a faded out background.

Im going to go back and work on the composition of my visual design now.

RidleyScottin' The duck pond

I forgot to include this the other day. Whilst at braggy park I was taking some photographs of ducks Ridley Scott style. Most of them were blurry with awful but I got one that I thought was cool compositionally.


See, not ver good compositionally, these were pretty random. Others I took arent even worth looking at.

Check out this composition, the placement of the duck, the ripples in the water, it works I believe it works really well. Even the reflections in the water. sit along the intersections.
This was on monday.

Yesterday Zee Zee wanted the ducks aswell somehow got off her lead and dived into the pond. getting her back on the lead was the hardest. We had a very soggy doggy. There were loads of people there watching her, it was quite embarrassing for me really having to chase her around with sketchbook and other stuff in my hand.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The medium I cant control

I went back to bradgate park today, It was wetter and even more dismal than monday, there was rain mist too, I managed to find a bench under a tree.

I managed to do some fairly decent tonal sketches of areas, and some watercolours of trees, I have been determined to do my finals using traditional media. One problem though, I cant control watercolours, they seem to have a mind of there own, they are in consistent and it is pretty much hit or miss unless you are an expert which I am not.

I have had to make a hard decision today, although I want to be a proper artist who uses actual paint, if my experiments continue to crash and burn like this I am going to become very behind with my visual design work.

So Im going to practice traditinal in my own time and do some digital paintings of bradgate.
Ive got enough info on paper, even my rubbish atmospheric watercolour splodges have some use, see its not all bad is it.

ill upload themalong with the final peice when its done,

Its just stressing me out making all of these mistakes I know you learn from them but I feel I could be making better use of my time quite frankly,

I prefer oil paints but they are so time consuming. time, thats the issue here.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Gp week 3, Gaps in the brief

I REALLY want something cool to happen this week, last week was cool, this week has been a bit dull, not bad but dull. Oh divine intervention save me from the dullness.

I removed the texture from that horrid building model... The more ideas I have the less horrible it looks.
I decided,  based on the old vague brief and model I looked at, that these are my limitations as far as the project will go.

I will model a shop building which fits within two buildings in an existing environment.

The triangle count should be approximately 6120 Triangles.

Texture budget should be approximately 30 MB

I say approximatly because I may be able to get it down, I need to design the damn thing first, I feel slightly more passionate since a couple of hours ago.

Quick decision but I just want to crack on with this, Ive already got textures during lunch today that I felt were appropriate.

Plan, little more ref, concept and make one before the weeks out.

GP WEEK 4 Passion from hatred

With the trash project under wraps, and a few difficulties I had this morning involving blank discs that shouldnt be blank and redoing my final tweaks in 50 minutes, I am glad its over and done with and I am able to start something new.

Is it me or did the games production projects just become awesome this year?

Actually Ive just checked this environment out in max....... This is the kind of thing I hate.
So I have a challenge for this project. Putting passion into something I hate..... The thing that I stated was near impossible.

These buildings are like my house in my nightmares... I hate the normal maps and specular maps on these things, I think the details too much.

But I have to emulate this style into my own building.....

We have this environment project but the brief was very vague, no triangle limits or texture limits.
It did however state that the project should be based on the models provided so it makes sense to get the texture and tri budget based from them. (obvious I know)

I thought Id break the models apart and find out exactly how many triangles were used in each part so I could at least get an idea of how I could model them. But first I need to decide on what kind of building I am going to do......

How am I going to get around that one..... I cant concept before I write the brief can I......

No.....After all I have learnt...

 Im going to have generalise what I need to do I know I have to make a building that fits in with the style and that each building is about 6144 triangles....
Then I can go on like I did last time and decide where the texture budget will go.
Yes... ill be right back with that brief.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Train wrecks and resilience

This week I have learned resilience. Me and Tyler-Scott entered a competition at his school on friday morning to make a working (miniture) fairground ride out of cardboard, rubbish and cotton reels.

We concentrated on making it work while my big sister and her kid were making theres look pretty.
Ours worked but it looked awful. I left disapointed.

He came home and told me we had won which shocked me. Apparently it was because of a single sentence I had said to his teacher. "theres no point making it look pretty if it dosent work".

we won a pack of fruit winders which I dont even like, but I beat my sister and that made me feel FANTASTIC. sibling rivalry and all that.



Drawing engines is hardcore.....
I went back to loughborough today. Ive spent the majority of this morning building locomotives with primitives on paper to try and get it right.

It was hard graft..... Probably the hardest thing ive ever had to draw.

after many failed sketches which I am not even going to bother scanning in for now. I thought id give the best one I had a watercolour wash to get an idea of colours and light.

The elipses looked wrong, but I thought at least I could get something to work with for when I do the digital peice tommorow.

As far as the painting gos it is PROGRESS, hooray. I am finding as my confidence is increasing each week I am able to add another 5 or so layers of paint to my traditional work.

 I should have left it, but no I had to try and fix it, By painting over the dodgy elipses by adding too much paint. It looked better for accuracy but worse aesthetically.

 Again I should have left it, but no I had to try and fix it, by drawing around all of the  outlines with black pen...What was I thinking..

I have made so many mistakes today, so many but I have learnt absolutley loads of tricks and skills.

Another positive thing is that I have enough information to go on and produce a digital painting.
I like this making mistakes thing, 

resilience, passion and what was the other one oh yeah Confidence (in no particular order of importance)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

I killed the list...... what is art?

 I wrote this after i'd written this post.
Firstly I would like to say that everytime I write in this blog there is a chance I may get things wrong or appear stupid or dumb and contradict myself in excess. But I still write what I think based on what I have learned in that day or week, there is always a chance that my opinions will be disagreed with. 
I have to write things from my own perspective the way I have learnt things and what they mean to me personally.

 Words are so misleading, how frustrating.
I have raised a question. Lets break this down. What is art to me? what does it mean to me.
I have read many definitions but Im determined to figure this out. Based on the lecture today where alot of things were explained in simple terms. Serving its purpose being the hardest to grasp and break down.
Functionality is the correct word. After knowing what it means it has made me realise alot more. Just saying that it needs to serve its purpose dosent quite cut it as I came to understand.

Yesterday I was an "art to serve its purpose" artist today I'm all about functionality in art.

I would say art  is visual communication that has functionality.

Its about the qualitys art has that makes it suited to serve that purpose.
Discovering those "qualitys" makes this one very high up in the heirachy of concept art.

Hang on just one minute.......

Im going to contradict mine/everyones systemizing of what you need to do to be a concept artist

About lists though.... Are all of the things of equal importance be it design, adabtabilty or functionality, skills and time and speed.

I would have put adaptabilty very high. If your thrown in at the deep end and you cant adapt to new software or methods of doing things all the other things become obselete.

Without The design or brief, you wouldnt know what you are doing or the qualitys you would need to give your art, you wouldnt even know what purpose it would need to be suited for to find those qualitys making it obselete.

Without time/speed you wouldnt get the job done on time and it would be very expensive, what would be the point. Deadlines are not met, everything becomes obselete.

Ive decided to abolish the concept art list of importance.

All of these things work together in equal importance.

..and heres a picture, because us arty types like pictures.

This is concept art planet and all of the things that make it turn around.
May I add that they have to be applied. 

Systemising, aeroplanes and background history

I have not really written anything personal in here for a long time apart from the odd extract from life. The thing is I have had many experience's in my life that have moulded me into the character I am today. They are part of my texture now and I dont think I will ever iron out those creases. Guess what, I dont mind because I'm starting to like that texture alot more these days.

One of the reasons why my questions may sound cheeky is not that i'm rude it is that I cant always determine how people are reacting to what i'm asking/saying. If someone smiles then I believe they are happy with the question. I believe its down to the face, ive read about this and am not very skilled with determining facial expression or recognising it at all sometimes, as a few people here are aware of. I get things mixed up.

One thing that was brought up in todays brilliant breaking down of mitch's list - plus extras was getting over things and moving on. At the point in my life when 30 is so close I can feel my youth fading away I consider myself an expert in getting over things as I have had many things happen to me that I had to get over in order to move on with my life.

I had one parent at the time of my life when I was growing from a girl into a women and that was my Dad. An obviously very male influence.
For the record I do have a mother who I talk to now and am one of 5 children but they all lived with her.  He taught me that lying and cheating were very bad things and did everything he could so that I didnt turn out like my mother. Though I do have some of her traits I believe she also has trouble with faces and empathy.
Positive outcomes can come from bad situations.
Dad wasnt just a man though he is more than that he was a systems engineer at British Aerospace (bae i think its called now)
Dad taught me how to get over things he taught me how to be a "man about it".  Dad taught me many things. I guess systemising things was one of them and systemising is a very male trait, he didnt always get it right first time, but we never do, the more  mistakes we made the more it taught us.
He also made me flexible to change. I had to adapt to my new life with him, no other option really life could not go back to the way it was.

I was cooking dinners when I was 12 and learning that I need to do things in a particular order for them to work, the biggest breakthrough for me was my first roast dinner because all of the timings had to be right. Dosent seem a big deal but for me it was.

It was very much about problem solving I had to find a way out of eating dads bullet rissotto (rice not cooked first) or his famous "contraception caserole" ( appropriatly named for the fact that dad never browned the sausages off first and the sausage skins always floated to the top). Just one important step he forgot that messed up the whole thing.

I learned to make pastry off my own back, I developed the skills which led to many tasty meals that were all served with boiled peas and gravy and on the table for 6 oclock on the dot when he came home. Then he started baking too, the sponge cake with the blue jam (to much bicarb of soda) tasted strange but he is now the baker of the nicest Victoria sponge cake ever (even better than grans, with her war ration's mindset still firmly in place to this day).

Anyways, time to move on to some more work.
Id write more but quite frankly I dont really like talking about depressing stuff like this, my mindset says I shouldnt look back to much and I kind of got over it anyway. It may have been the start of creating the artist I am, maybe it was unrelated. Who knows. There are years of my life that I believe I got over so well I can barely remember them, they are fuzzy. Lets not dig up the past anymore.
Its dead and buried and better off that way. bye bye.

The only history I am concerned with right now is the art history we have discussed the importance of. I think alot of internet sites and books tend to skim over it, I think we should analyse it in more detail, I mean who skips the first 30 odd thousand years. There may be some interesting stuff to discover. I suppose the recent art is seemed the most important because of the influence it has on our lives now or the influence our lives has on it.

Some detective work is in order me thinks. I think I will get alot of ideas and knowledge. til next post.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Concept artists and Confident artists

Well like an idiot I didnt schedule todays events into my schedule so I feel a little knocked off schedule. I was planning on going back to the train station today but im glad I didnt.

I was working on my environment for the trash at about 9ish in the labs this morning before the concept art "thing" I managed to get quite alot done but it wasnt until after getting feedback from one of them later I realised what i was doing wrong.

I managed to have the confidence to ask alot of questions and ask for feedback from them where as before I wouldnt have been able to and im sitting in the front of the labs now where people can see my work from behind me and drawing my crappy little thumbnails in the labs with two awesome artists in the room,  not really caring who sees them, for me thats a breakthrough.

One thing that I always thought that was important when concepting that was backed up today was things being fit for there purpose. I have always been an advocate of do what you need to do to proceed. I wasnt entirely sure but I carried on with it anyway. This has inspired me to do the things I think are right even if im a little unsure its all down to confidence, without that I cant draw I cant show my ideas I cant ask questions I cant do anything.

The whole atmosphere has changed here and I think that may be down to my new confidence. Its good though it makes me want to be here. Im even talking to my classmates more getting the constructive criticism I so desire.

Back to todays events......

The top 5 skills for  concepting in order (as specifically asked for are as follows:_

Technical ability/skill
fit for purpose - nothing is made without having a purpose
adaptabilty - as in being able to pick up or learn new software.

In regards to other skills
colour theory
art history- why did artists do things
building a visual library

I got alot of feedback on my visual design work,  Particularly about silhouettes and how its a good idea to use them in visual design too as well as for concepting 3d models. For example when im painting trees i was told i should make the silhouette of the leaves and the trunk, not just the trunk and add the leaves after ( he knew) I had done that, so in future i know what to do.

Got tips on thumbnail sketching too, I was advised not to use the grid system and he showed me another method I was also advised not to draw in pen as it makes the line inconsistent.

The cross and point"thumbnail" was advised and seemed to work better, I suppose its the same principle as the rule of thirds but it seems easier to stick to  the intersections.

All in all a good day. More of the same please, next time  will schedule it into my life :) thanks guys

edit: Im doing some research now in how to do spec maps well, be all you can be and all that, im going back to the train station at the weekend to do a plein air traditional final peice (with a little bit of development and better perspective)