Badge Designs – Dota 2

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Having focused on another project over the last year, Lagasaurus Rex, my games review blog with a fellow writer. I am moving back to focus on self initiated projects and further pad my portfolio, both with work that interests me and with experimental design and projects.

LR was a great project, and guided me down a road I was never on before, writing. I never considered myself a writer, but whilst tasked with this year long project, I felt almost obliged to learn more about the art, different techniques, which lead me to new professionals of writing, figureheads in the writing industry. As most people know, I am an avid gamer, with a vast gaming vocabulary, but this I mean I have played many games on many platforms, both indie and AAA. I like to research games and how games work, on a technical and psychological level. In short, I love games and games culture. But what I realised with this project is, where I do love gaming, I don’t love writing about it. The creative process of writing and analysing the content of a game was so incredibly taxing to my time and it did not reap the rewards that I set out to achieve with the project, by rewards I mean, the love of the process.

I would much rather focus designs on games, and not writing about games, it takes the fun out of the game for me, I discovered that over analysing a game ruins the spark you have for a game, and I started playing games for all the wrong reasons.Trying to soak as much in play as much hours of a game I could in order to review it, and without appreciated the game in its entirety, spending time to love a game. This is ultimately the reason why I quit, it was ruining the art of gaming for me.

OFFSET 2014 – What I learned

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March 21st – 23rd saw the illustrious design convention, Offset, return to Dublin’s Bord Gais Energy Theatre. The convention centres around talks from Creative Designers / Artists / Illustrators, from all principals of the industry. From Advertising, Animation, and Childrens Books to Photography, Visual Design, Magazines and everything in between. The speakers were from all over the globe, with a tremendous amount of Irish talent representing the country at the event, which ran over a 3 day span from Friday to Sunday, March 21 – 23 2014. Its an incredible opportunity for designers, young and old alike to get instant creative inspiration from industry professionals, the ones who have worked hard, honed their craft and pave the way for all designers in the industry. Its also astounding to get an insight into their story, how they started, their thought process of a piece a work, and how they do it. The following is a brief account of what I have learned from these incredible speakers over these 3 days;

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Work Hard

The best of the best did not reach where they are now by not working, and by that, working hard, very hard. It was incredibly inspiriing to hear all the designers and artists talk about their own personal story and not just their work. It gave a complete insight into their working day, the effort they put in, and what it takes to reach their level. By committing yourself and working hard, you can achieve what they set out to do. Setting goals, setting targets, and sticking with them, altering them slightly along the way to suit a changing landscape of a project. These people are the best in their field for a reason, there were no shortcuts, although, I do believe that part of success comes from a “It’s who you know” type of business, buts thats only a partial aspect of the success. It all comes down to hard work. Turn up and make something every day.

Dont Fear Fear

Although the subheading looks pretty hard to read, it’s very straightforward in its meaning. Sometimes your greatest foe is yourself, this fear that when your work is made public and people can see it and consume it, there will be a terrible backlash, potentially so much that you be put off doing what you love just because of  negative comments someone has made. But this is never the case, sure there will be people out there willing to put down your work, anonymous people who doesn’t affect you. It’s very easy to sit behind a screen and mock something that you have nothing to do with, and as my co-designer said only recently, “People always seek to destruct, because its easier than to construct”. Ignore the naysayers, your work speaks for itself.

Always make something

This feeds into the first lesson slightly, but means quite simply, turn up and make something every day. This is the only way to better yourself as an artist and will make you feel much more accomplished with your work. You can only grow from your output, and if your output is constantly being produced, everyday, the only way for your potential is up. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Remember, nothing is perfect. Know when to say, this is what I want to publish, and know when to say it earlier in the process. If you want to learn something new, dive in at the deep end, this is the only way to learn it, get hands on with it, and learn as you go. I myself have spent too long searching for tutorials on different processes, which is great, because it gives you a general direction, but spend time with your software, get to know by just diving straight in and experimenting with your knowledge of the tutorial you just learnt with a new aspect of the creative process that your yet to master. Learn by failing, but more importantly, learn by maxing your output, Make something every day!

Blue Bear Opportunity

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I havent post anything in a while, mostly because of work, but I have been contemplating what to do with my portfolio, whether to stick with posting about work and industry related content, or go with posting about everyday activities. Alas, I have decided not to go down the route of daily activities and events and have decided to stick with professionalism and my work.

A couple of months ago I applied for the role of a junior games artist with Bluebear games inc. based in Dublin’s digital hub. I then heard back (rather quickly) from the company and had been sent a brief to complete within a week’s deadline. This was a great shot for me, I have always wanted to work within the games industry and this was poised to be the starting point in my career.

The brief requested that I complete 3 pieces of artwork. A Main Menu screen, an Ice Cream cone, and a Slushie Machine. I was very enthusiastic and dropped every other project I was working. I spent 4 days in total working rigorously around the clock to complete this artwork, making sure I have every small detail covered and not 1 pixel was out of place.

It was an extremely stressful experience, knowing that this could be my big break into an industry I have always wanted to work with within. As you can tell by reading this that I was unsuccessful in attaining the job opening, unfortunately. But I did learn a lot from the experience, particularly, not to get too attached to a piece a of work, because I spent so long, day and night, and put tremendous effort into the work I almost had myself convinced that it was in the bag, which, as an artist is the worst thing you can do. I thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating the artwork though, it got my back to college days when you would pour so much effort into big projects.

Although this isn’t the happiest of endings to a post, things certainly are starting to look up in the jobs department and are beginning to move in the right direction, I normally dont like to post smily faces here, but just this once, I think I will :)

Video: Lego LOTR – Weathertop

As with my last video, the Mines of Moria scene, this also took quite some time to plan out and execute. I compiled the photo’s I took of the “Weathertop” Lego set into this video, replicating the scene from the Lord of the Rings film.

This scene was shorter than the Mines of Moria scene, coming in at around the 3.30 mins mark, with more shots per second compared to the other video, which should keep the viewer more interested than the previous video.

I still have another scene to shoot, which I could get done in the short future, before the end of the month, which involves the scene with Frodo, Sam and Shelob.

Photography: Lego LOTR – Weathertop

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Like my last photography project, this took some planning, from sketching the scenes, postions of characters, and timing. I got this Lego set for Xmas and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, take pictures of it.. Obviously! I had to change some parts and add Sam and Merry, seeing as the set didn’t come with them, fortunately, they came in other sets that I already had and added them in to make it as close to the scene from the film as possible.

It was clear from the start that it was going to be hard to physically fit all the characters into the actually set area which features in the film, I dont think Lego thought of the sizing when it came to photo shoots, then again, they do make these sets for children. All in all, I feel I did a pretty good job recreating the events from the film shot for shot, despite the restricted area to shoot. I will have the stop motion animation posted in no time.

Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbutterlydesign/sets/72157632855478112/

 

Video: Lego LOTR – Mines of Moria

As I have posted before with my photography of the Lego LOTR from the “Mines of Moria” scene, I have compiled a video of the scene using the same shots I have used from the photography of the scene. Only this time I have accompanied the photos with the audio from the scene in the film.

I had to cut down on the time of the scene a bit, it was running into the 8:30 mins mark so was a little too long, and cut it back to 6 mins, whilst maintaining the integrity of the scene. I have a couple more videos and photo’s of scenes like these coming shortly.