Thursday, 5 July 2012


Today was all about studying UIs, learning the relevant terminology, and, crucially, mocking up some game ideas.

Part of this involved more thought being put into the units we'll have in-game, and we all seem pretty stoked about dragons.

Red ones, blues ones, old ones, new ones and everything in between!

This lead to some relevant (and not so much) Google image searches, and between How to Train Your Dragon and Sparkle Dogs (don't ask) we ended up with some pretty cool ideas!

One of the most prevalent ones at the moment is to base the dragon's look and traits off known silhouettes, and as such we're looking into the animal kingdom.

Here we have a hare, rhino, guinea pig and panda-dog!

We're also keeping up with doing some 20min speed paintings, the theme of which today was 'Swamp':

Thanks to the course, my colour work is MUCH better than it used to be, and I've only been there 4 days! It's a truly fantastic course that I'd recommend to anyone, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow where the plan is to refine the game idea.

Can't wait!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

2 more days down!

Afraid there wasn't much to post from yesterday, we worked on some pixel art and learned about dithering and other cool effects, but I forgot to bring any home with me to write about!

Today though, I have 2 pieces to share with you, and both have been created with an awesome new (to me) piece of software called Alchemy. Available here as a free download :

"The Stag"

This was created with reflection on and "Trace Shapes" being used, with "Style" in the upper right being on blocks rather than lines.

All the different brushes have cool effects, ranging from using per pressure to generate spiked gate-like lines to using sounds fed into the microphone to create large blobs, but trace shapes is by far my favorite. The way it works is to grab basic shapes other people have created from an online repository (it does this for you) and you 'trace' blindly around them. Setting opacity to low and building up black and white layers can leave you with cool effects like this!

Another I created with Trace Shapes it 'Throne Room':

Much higher contrast for a stronger image!

We also did some environmental 20min speed paintings which were critiques by industry professionals, so that was amazing! And then we were told about the following gold mines:

Pretty amazing stuff! And that's all for today, with no idea what tomorrow will bring!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Day One: Some amount of hours remaining

First and foremost, you would not believe the amount of planning I've put into my month of Gamer Camp.

I'm always a stickler for accuracy, and as such I have created a spreadsheet to document my day-to-day spending and given myself a daily 'extras' allowance as such. And so: I have £5.14 as "recreational" funds to spend per day!

I have also made a list of 15 trains I can get ~to~ Birmingham every day, and 20 I can get ~from~, depending on the start and end times as per. the course and my team's instructions.

Now, onto the good stuff!

There were only 14 available places for Gamer Camp Nano this year, which would be split into 7 artists and 7 programmers, however due to *unknown activities* there's only 9 people taking part this year. This group consists of 4 artists and 5 programmers, and yours truly was, of course, late.

In my defense, I was only 5 minutes late, but everyone else was happily on time, so I was left with that horrible feeling that I'd been holding everyone up. Thankfully my fears were put to rest when I realized we still had 10 minutes scheduled of coffee-drinking-friend-making to do.

So friend make I did!

I'll keep anonymity available for others, but suffice to say they're all lovely people. And it was startling to see how much everyone had in common!

Now, onto the good stuff:

Being day one, the first half of the day was orientation. We all took part in some cute little team building activities, including one where we made a quick poster about ourselves and presented it to everyone else.

I, of course, mumbled and bumbled along, allowed my stage fright to set in, then spent the next 10 minutes not being able to stop my fingers shaking.

Then we started work, and by work I mean playing some games.

 Analyzing, comparing, playing, playing, playing... It was good! Followed by some brainstorming (and some pleasant arguing over ideas) we were pretty much ready to go!

So, as of today, we have a VERY rough, unrefined in any sense, spec. And I'm excited as hell!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Gamer Camp Nano 2012

I've been officially accepted onto Gamer Camp Nano!

It starts on the 2nd July and I really can't wait. I've handed in my notice at work, sorted through all my belongings (as I'm also moving house after the camp is finished) and got myself into a bit of a stupor over all the free time I'm going to have for art again.

Oh man.

Art art art.

It's really going to be great. I'll be a part of a small team of artists and programmers, working together to make a game to be put on the Apple App store.

We're going to be using, it seems, both Adobe Photoshop and 3DSMax. Now, 3DSMax is a lovely piece of software that I've owned for a few years now, but nothing's really given me the drive to get my head down and, well, learn how to use the damn thing.

Once I found out I'd be needing it for the course? Well...

First attempt, a wooden head:

Second attempt, a wild west outdoor scene:

Third attempt, a wild west saloon:

Complete with glass cabinets!

So overall, yes, I'm pretty damn excitable about all-things-game-art and I can't wait to rub-shoulders with the other participants in Gamer Camp this year!

Also, I here-by promise to keep up with this as a daily art blog again for the duration of Gamer Camp.

Tune in again on the 2nd July 2012 to follow my craaazy adventures in the gaming industry!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

..and I'm a material girl

Thanks to the recent material studies I've been partaking in, I've been able to create an amalgamation of the materials studied (with the added bonus of red plastic tubing) and flesh out one of the robots I created in the previous post!

There's also the added bonus of wood in this image, which I did the following study for:
Which has been my favorite study so far! Even through I used a different type of wood (closer to maple) for the robot legs.

Interesting note: The robot legs would actually work. The metallic balls at the top of each leg are magnetic and the larger magnets on the body of the robot can be triggered on/of and, when on, positive/negative so it creates a quick push-pull of the upper joints. These joints force the lower bend in the leg tense and lax and push the leg in and out.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Rapid Prototyping and You

So, I learned this cool technique for rapid prototyping in concept art recently. It's pretty fundamental but hey, I've not used it before!

Basically, you create quick component pieces of what you want to create. Legs, arms, heads, basic body shapes, accessories, etc. It works well for cars, aliens, animals..anything really, but when I first heard the idea, robots seemed like the best fit for an initial try!

As such, I created the above, a selection of 'ROBOT PARTS', as I've so mysteriously named. It's a pretty safe set that didn't take me very long to mock up. The important things to remember here are:

a. We're focusing on the profile of the image

b. Shapes should fit together ~relatively~ well with little editing.

From here it was pretty easy to mock up some initial robot designs:

I've obviously added some small features to individual ones here, hanging wires, lights and the like, but overall almost all elements are available in the initial spec.

And I strongly believe that if I'd just tasked myself with creating 4 robots from scratch, I wouldn't of created anything so detailed with such funky outlines, and definitely not so quickly!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Go on, touch it!

Would appear I was suffering for artist's block again recently. Usually I try to sketch it out, creating rough shapes and seeing what I can turn it into, or doing circle practice (drawing rough circles with my wrist, then elbow, and finally shoulder).

It felt like none of these were working for me, so, to avoid the mental block that creativity was imposing on me, I decided to partake in some material studies, and here are the results!



The originals are, of course, on the left while my spherical interpretations are on the right. 
Both attempting to mimic a material while attempting to turn it into an unnatural shape was damn good practice, but still made me feel like I hadn't achieved enough.

So I made a house with a cool pool in Sketch-Up.

Rather happy with it, and while you can't see it from here, there's also a loft indoors with a ladder leading up and a bed.

Always entertaining to learn how to use a new piece of software!
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