Thursday, 1 November 2012

Elements of game design, part five: planning and concepting

Planning and Concepting. What’s that you ask? Let me explain in the most detailed and linear of ways so everyone has an equal understanding and can produce amazing work, equally. That’s just it. It is such an individual and personal process to produce high quality, successful designs and content that you can’t summarise it for everyone. We all think differently so in turn our thought process to solve problems through drawing will be diverse. However saying that, you can break it down to people get an idea of what goes on. At the same time, I feel as though this is a learning curve for me because as an art ‘student’ my knowledge can be limiting as I am still learning myself as briefs and projects come and go.

After reading through this huge rant with information here and there (my definition of it) called ‘Art Process Boot Camp’ I learned quite a vast bit about figuring out this process myself. Reading it all was a challenge in itself I must admit, but I gathered that everything must be referenced. This Idea I touched on in my last post about doing it WITHOUT reference is not something to be proud of. Yet so called ‘artists’ shamelessly brag about it. Another thing that annoys me personally is when people mention the duration work took them to do, as a sense of pride. These things should not matter at all to the audience, the first thing anyone will figure out about mine and every other ‘artists’ work is if it makes sense. Does it work? What is it? Why is it their? Fundamental questions like these should be answered by the viewer simply from a glance, especially when we talk about design.

Reference and decision making are key to successful work, and everything should fit the context of the brief or project. This does not mean search for your favorite artists work and leach of it, or find 1 or 2 images from Google. Looking at real life seems to work best, architecture, culture, history, various animal kingdoms, geography, physics, when concepting all this and more should be put through the ‘process’ machine. The thread/PDF file/rant goes on to say working out is a necessity, thumbnails and marking making is crucial to understand what works and what doesn’t very quickly. The quality of these should not matter a great deal as they are like mathematical equations, it does not matter how neat the handwriting they are done in is as long as you can read them. Once a composition has been established, details within should be addressed. Clothes, anatomy, accessories, depth of field, lighting, these and more have to fit the context, in terms of accuracy in portrayal as well as relevance. Again, looking at the ‘why’s and how’s’ of everything helps much more than throwing something in because you think it is ‘cool’ or ‘different.’

After spending hours and hours on a piece of work it is important to show it to others if you are not sure of it yourself, and this brings us to critique. Getting attached on a personal level to a painting/drawing/3d model can skew your perception of your own work, of course it doesn’t help if all your friends know no nothing about art so when they see your rip off sketch from your favorite anime that did from memory and tell you it’s awesome, it isn’t always the case. Building a critical state of mind towards artwork helps tons in situations like these as it means you understand your own work. When working in industry, it also matters primarily what the boss thinks, so understanding all this becomes essential when trying to keep your job! I found this brief definition of Art Direction that explaining the role so understanding that you alongside others will be working under an Art Director, it gave me a good insight towards what to expect

After also reading through the critique part of the post, I realised that I myself can be very critical of my own work, it can never be good enough at times and because of this I end up not wanting to show it or not move on from it. A kind of perfectionist mentality like this or more severe isn’t healthy as it can cause a skewed perception of your own work in the other direction, where being good isn’t enough. It also made me understand that other people looking at your work might not even half get it, even if you do everything right there will always be people who want to see half naked women with guns, zombies, ninjas, or all of it blurred into one. Even if you have considered what the environment smells like, what a character is thinking and emotions successfully some people just won’t get it. Being too hard on yourself can hinder your skills and cause demotivation. Overall it was a very interesting read to say that even though you cannot exactly define the thinking process behind artwork, you can break it down into steps to HELP those who want to be artists, become more successful. The biggest things I picked up from it for myself were decision making (it if doesn’t fit, get rid of it), purpose, the why’s and how’s and material relationships with the environment (how something reacts to everything else)

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