Saturday, 24 March 2012

Blitz Open Day, a Day that Changed Me

On Friday 23rd March I went to the Blitz Open Day, and I feel even more thankful that I qualified.
I think this was definitely one of the most important days of my educational life, I have learned SO much from Blitzgames, mainly about my desired career path and opportunities. A full day of showing us how they work and their priniciples and reasons for doing so, was a brilliant insight to one very different games company, and I was deeply impressed.

Towards the end of the day, they had gathered all the other applicants in each area, 2D, 3D, Games Designers, Animation, Audio, Programmers- into their respective rooms with their respective professionals from Blitz to do disciplinary feedback. We 2D artists were asked to show off our portfolios (my greatest regret was assuming they had only wanted a couple of pieces, but I had the option of showing them my FMP blog) and we got excellent feedback, constructive critisims for our art, a point in the right direction if we wanted to apply for a job in Concept art etc. It was humbling to say the least, and I felt I should have posted my work on or Polycount, both which I have accounts on but was too afraid to submit to. 

The other students who had gone that day were excellent, and I felt belittled to the point I was sweating bullets when it was my turn to show my work. Two in particular had environmental art that looked top notch, professional, but still had holes poked through them. I felt my critisims were light in comparison, but it was probably because I had less work to show, and the work I did show, gave the progression with character design- which pleased them. I was a little surprised, most if not all the concept art I ever saw has always been wonderful and full blown environments with brilliant lighting and atmospheres, I had thought I had applied to the wrong area, but apparently character itterations were considered much more concept than beautifully finished illustrated environments. It was all about rough design, iterations and the journey to the final product. 

I started doubting that the feedback I got was realistic/harsh enough, so I went to talk to more of the artist and further bug the ones that gave me feedback at the pub.

Yes, after the day ends, staff and students are invited to go to the pub where we talk more and this gives us a chance to get even more insight, more feedback, more information and grab a few contacts while we are at it. I took every chance I had, I wanted so badly to know where I would fit in best in the art department. I know I should go for what I want to do- but what if you genuinly could not decide? I have always liked dabbling in several areas at once, and this has lead me to NOT specialising and becoming more of an all-round 2D/3D person, not hammering out pages and pages of environmental sketches (which is due to my cowardice). I enjoy both 2D and 3D immensely- however I have not found passion in environmental paintings or purely environmental 3D. After a brilliant talk with Ben Ho, Steve Walker and his friend (whose name I will get soon), I now know what I must do to improve, and better my chances. I need to just work my butt off in all the areas I've  mentioned and actually try to get out of my comfort zone and do more environmental art. They pointed out particular weaknesses I had with my 3D and 2D (in what was shown), and this was humbling, I felt thankful and at the same time I felt I really needed to step it up. 

It seems obvious when I say I just need to work my butt off to improve, but the uncertainy I had stemmed from doubting my own abilities- I didn't know how close I was to my goal. Because the feedback was so positive (from professionals) I feel like I have a chance, I have what it takes to become that awesome person that does cool Character designs and 3D art. I want to be good, in all the areas, I don't care about specialising one bit, and this gives me more determination to improve at 2D/3D. Characters are my biggest interest, but I want to be good at environments, I don't want to be limitied.

However, a new anxiety is born, and I feel I don't have time for the next few months (which is a long time) or so to imrpove, I'm giving my 100% to my course at the moment- and I mean, I'm working day, night, day, night, seven days a week on it. If I get the slightest down time, there will be no doubt that I will be doing some environmental/character studies. I just need to finish this course first!

Some of the images I had shown:

My Blitz Submission

Face of character iteration

Victorian lady anatomy studies

Dress design iteration

Monster variety

Monster Sillhouette scribbles (Ben gave very good tips for these, detail is key even in small scribbles)

Monster final iteration (Ben gave more feedback on my need to consider bending joints and realistic muscle/joints proportions)

Steve and friend pointed out that the cheeks are sunken and do not look right, I must make the 3D work and not let it become a slave to my 2D, also that I need to practice sculpting in general.

Phillip Oliver (CEO) says the polys could be lower. Yes, the CEO! I'm amazed.

This was praised for its decent topology, they were much more concerned for the concepts.
 Phillip Oliver (CEO) had seen my Chaos Trend promotional artwork, and the one thing he suggests is making the character itself visible (since promotional art is like a front cover/intro for the game).