Friday, 30 April 2010

Group Project Blog

Group Project Blog
The group projects are over now. It is a relief although I did enjoy the experience of working with different people. It gave me an insight into the world of work and what the industry is like.

The journey with the group has taught me how to communicate well as we used the blog, forum and texting as sources of communication so we updated each other with our progress. At the beginning, we discussed as a group which part of the queens building we should build and came to an overall decision of building three floors starting from the very top. We attended regular group meetings to ensure we were all on the same boat with concept ideas and the overall look of the layer. Aby and I were the art directors and we kept close contact with the colour scheme of the level. We created various colour palettes and concept ideas that the whole group could vote on the best colour set, we then provided a colour palette for the amount of grime to be used to keep the consistent flow of grime. We wanted to go for an overall claustrophobic and dark grimy feel to the level, hence the lack of lack, therefore the player is more likely to explore around the level and come across the details such as writing on the walls we included.

It was a challenging effort for the group as we chose to build such a large level but we were happy with the final outcome in the end. From the first reviews we were told to include more assets as the level looked empty due to the size, therefore our group attended a meeting and discussed assets we could include to make the level look busier, enough for the player to feel that an event has occurred. I’ve felt I have definitely improved in 3D max as I am now building assets much faster than before and texturing them just as quick. As for the Unreal engine, Mark made sure the assets imported correctly and worked with the effects we had. I had a hard time using Unreal to begin with but got used to it after working at it in 2 days and now I enjoy using Unreal and feel I know enough to start using it in the third year (hopefully I’ll make it to the third year.)

Overall, I enjoyed the group work and would definitely consider working as a group again, especially with the ‘Spaazm’ members I was with. We all got along well and avoided any friction by communicating well and solving any issues as a group.

Future goals
Where do I see myself in the future? To be honest, I don’t quite know yet. Since the group projects, I’ve learnt how to use Unreal engine and add effects to improve my work. As for 3D max, I enjoy and use it very well but I’ve still got a lot to learn in Unreal engine and bonus skills in 3D max. I may end up in the gaming industry, but I need to work very hard to get there, which means avoiding unnecessary distractions. This isn’t easy, but with improving in time management, I shall hopefully get there. After coming this far and completing the first and second year, I really want to complete this degree and move on in my life to use my skills in the world of work.

Monday, 19 April 2010

They don't make them like they used to...

I was reminiscing over cartoons I used to watch as a child and grew up with (still do watch them when I get a chance) and I don’t know what’s happened to the industry but they definitely don’t make cartoons like they used to in the 90’s. The 90’s was a fantastic decade of childhood shows. Two that really stand out for me is “Cow and Chicken,” a surreal cartoon about odd siblings and “Ren and Stimpy,” another surreal and slightly twisted cartoon about a cat and dog.

What I loved about “Cow and Chicken” is the pure humour that came with it. I mean the siblings that are farm animals had human parents that only had legs. Plus they had a boneless chicken cousin and an uncle who was a slug married to a human with a child together! And who could forget the red devil guy that had an exposed rear-end for everyone to see. Now that would confuse any small child, but my curiosity towards the cartoon is what made it hilariously addictive. This cartoon was mad and quirky, the way David Feiss (creator) came up with ideas was amusing such as naming Cow’s cuddly toys ‘Crabs’ the warthog dog and ‘Manure’ the bear. Even adults could get into the cartoon as there were many adult jokes. Even as a young adult now, I still enjoy watching “Cow and Chicken” and understand the subliminal adult jokes I wouldn’t have understood as a child. This cartoon will never get old!

I remember John Kricfalusi’s (creator) use of sarcasm and animation with too much detail of expressive emotional features and disgusting close ups in “Ren and Stimpy”. This cartoon was insane and sinister with the dialogue, music and animation combined, it was powerful. In the episode “Space Madness” the way Kricfalusi portrays Ren’s progressing insanity was an eye-opener with Ren eating a bar of soap and referring to it as an ‘ice-cream bar.’ This was comical as well as bizarre which was the style the cartoon was well acknowledged for.

I guess the industry has stopped making cartoons like these because they are afraid of complaints due to the content. There’s the whole issue of nitpickers protesting the suitability of cartoons for children etc therefore cartoons nowadays are lacking that comical value with crap happy storylines that are ineffective.