Blog

Simon Fenton

Simon Fenton

simon@escapestudios.com

Real time global illumination; you heard!

Real time global illumination; you heard!

It wasn't that long ago that real time global illumination was the stuff of science fiction, now it’s running in real time and can even be used on high end mobile devices in Unity 5, as it’s adopted the technology from middleware developer Enlighten.

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Tue 23 Sep 2014: 10:27am

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Yet another killer update from Zbrush!

Yet another killer update from Zbrush!

Pixologic just last week released yet ANOTHER free update to Zbrush, it’s called ‘Zbrush4r6’, and to be honest It still amazes me that they are able to provide such innovative updates for free, especially as this one is nothing short of game changing!

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Tue 9 Jul 2013: 9:41am

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The Last of Us Concept Art

The Last of Us Concept Art

The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game which gives us a different look at a post-apocalyptic world. Here is a great series of concept work from the game and what strikes me is the beautiful lighting and attractive quality given to this ‘end of civilization’ setting.

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Tue 2 Jul 2013: 11:20am

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MARI Mania!

MARI Mania!

For those of you out there who use MARI, some fantastic new additions to its functionality are now available for download and I highly recommend them!

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Thu 27 Jun 2013: 10:30am

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MARI for your Mac!

MARI for your Mac!

Here at Escape, when teaching our compositing professional class – a question that always comes up is, “is Mari available for the Mac?” It gives me great pleasure to announce that it now is!

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Tue 18 Jun 2013: 3:29pm

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Ready, Set, Design.

Ready, Set, Design.

Set design is a real passion of mine, and I recently found this great video on the film club website, even though I’m a 3D artist I thoroughly enjoy seeing real models

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Thu 23 May 2013: 12:13pm

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Make it Polycount

Make it Polycount

As a 3D lover I am also a regular frequenter of Polycount. Some of you out there will no doubt already be familiar with this site, but for those that aren’t – it’s a community of pros and hobbyists that specialise in creating 3D for videogames, and it is always brimming with infatuating content.

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Wed 22 May 2013: 12:19pm

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Black Phoenix 3D Project (it's as cool as it sounds!)

Black Phoenix 3D Project (it's as cool as it sounds!)

You may have read our blog a few weeks back about the robot dog/drone/potential death machine that was created by the US military, if you did catch it, you’ll know that this ‘Black Phoenix’ from 3D artist Vitaly Bulgarov project is not far away from being very much a spot on prediction of the near future.

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Fri 8 Mar 2013: 10:36am

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Game of Thrones fans, series 3 is on the horizon!

Game of Thrones fans, series 3 is on the horizon!

I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones and LOVE the VFX work the guys at Pixomondo have done on the series, especially the set extensions, and it gave me a real thrill to read that series 3 is on it’s way! The series 3 release date being announced at the 31st of March 2013.

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Thu 14 Feb 2013: 2:25pm

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The 3D Printing Revolution!

The 3D Printing Revolution!

I am a huge fan of production design and this week, came across this awesome blog site complete with a nice video explaining set design and 3d printing!

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Thu 14 Feb 2013: 9:41am

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Bad Robot & Valve - Oh yes!

Bad Robot & Valve - Oh yes!

My goodness, it’s only January but for games and scifi fans dare I say it, Christmas is coming early.

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Fri 8 Feb 2013: 10:02am

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Iteration to a whole new level

Iteration to a whole new level

As an artist, I have a huge passion for the process of pre-production; taking an idea and iterating until you achieve the correct result.

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Thu 23 Aug 2012: 10:00am

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MARI: the best thing since sliced bread for texturing

MARI: the best thing since sliced bread for texturing

The latest version of 3D digital paint tool MARI is being harnessed by LucasArts to help power the impressive visuals seen in its hotly-anticipated title Star Wars 1313.

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Tue 21 Aug 2012: 10:15am

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Rock on...another escapee success!

Adam Esat explains, that like many video games industry professionals, the first seeds of inspiration were sewn as a child, playing the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid and Pokémon. 
We soon found out that like the protagonists of his childhood inspirations, Adam had embarked on a pretty exciting journey of his own.
We caught up with this escapee in the wake of a recent poll from ‘develop online’, indicating Travellers’ Tales (His employers, and main producers of games under the Lego franchise) to be the number one UK game developer.
Adam explains that although he knew he wanted to enter he world of gaming, he didn’t quite have a clear cut vision so early on, and it took him three years at university to make a decision as to what he wanted to specialise in.
‘I loved 3D modelling most of all, which I dedicated my efforts to from then on.’
From here the foundations were set, and Adam could start stacking the building the blocks of his career. (If you’ll excuse the pun) Speaking of his time with us, he acknowledges the premium level of teaching and positive learning environment that Escape Studios has to offer.
‘The quality of the tutoring is what I consider to be world class; it truly was a creatively charged, collaborative place to study, which frankly made me strive to improve myself even more’
As with all of our success stories though, our resources are matched, if not trumped by the infallible commitment of our students, and it took Adam four patient months of meticulous alterations to his show reel before he felt it ready for job applications. These were four months though, that surely pale into insignificance now… 
‘Since then I've been happily employed at TT, whilst also pursuing my personal work in my free time’
We asked Adam to dispatch some industry wisdom for our students and any potential VFX artists out there  who may be reading his success story
I would say the most important thing is decide exactly what you want to do within the games industry, and focus on it, the key is to specialise. Work as much as you can on creating an awesome showreel targeted at the area you wish to specialise, It's incredibly competitive out there and if you want to succeed, you need to work hard. Show your prospective employer that you're the right person for the job and most of all that you want it more than anyone else.
Adam knows not what the future holds, as the industry is always evolving. But with a work ethic and skillset like his, we can be sure that this escapee has a very bright future.

Adam Esat explains, that like many other video games industry professionals, his first source of inspiration came as a child, playing the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid and Pokémon.

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Thu 16 Aug 2012: 11:00am

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Pixologic Release New Upgrade

Pixologic  Release New Upgrade

Pixologic have just released a new update for ZBrush. Any one of the new features would have been worth the price of upgrade... but wait, I forgot...you don't have to pay for the upgrade because its free and totally awesome.

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Fri 27 Jul 2012: 11:06am

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The Rise of Mobile Gaming

The Rise of Mobile Gaming

I’ve just discovered some news for the British video games industry. In the middle of a double dip recession, there are 2 new studios opening up in the game industry, which is exciting enough, but this comes alongside the recent announcement that Amazon are also opening up a digital media innovation hub in London. This will have a focus on the creation of interactive digital services for games consoles, smart phones, PCs and TV. They are also building new services and APIs behind the company’s digital media.

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Wed 25 Jul 2012: 3:30pm

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From Past To Present

From Past To Present

It’s always interesting to see how different studios rank, whether it’s in regards to gaming, films or television. On Wednesday, Develop Online released its top 100 best studios, which, let’s be honest is always good to have a nose at. This time, however, what made it more interesting for us is the fact that two escapees have gone on to work for the number one voted UK game’s developer, Traveller’s Tales!

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Mon 9 Jul 2012: 11:00am

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Valve Mini-Movies

Valve Mini-Movies

Valve has released this video to show us how they create their mini-movies.

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Thu 28 Jun 2012: 4:00pm

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New Type Of Education

New Type Of Education

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but, as I have said before my favourite developer is Valve. They consistently produce work which is innovative on so many levels and always has engaging narrative and characterisation.

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Wed 27 Jun 2012: 12:24pm

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Valve Show Us How It's Done, Again

Valve Show Us How It's Done, Again

Once again, I’m going to have to promote how great a developer Valve is by showing you another presentation that I found on their website. I know I have already showcased some of their expertise in a post a couple of days ago but I think this presentation is equally as impressive as the last one.

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Fri 15 Jun 2012: 10:30am

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Valve Show Us How It's Done

Valve Show Us How It's Done

If you're anything like me, you'll have a favourite developer, and mine just happens to be Valve. For those of you who don’t know Valve, it's an entertainment software and technology company that has been around since 1996. Since its beginning, it has produced an overwhelming amount of award winning games, with the most recent including Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Portal 1 & 2, Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike. It is also the developer of leading-edge technologies including game engine Source, and premier online gaming platform Steam.

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Thu 14 Jun 2012: 9:30am

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Texture Artists will Rule the World

Texture Artists will Rule the World

Most people will credit Photoshop as the most used and versatile tool in the graphics industry, and now the mighty adobe have launched a public beta. You can download it from here and away you go.

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Thu 29 Mar 2012: 11:00am

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This Work in ZBrush is Awesome!

This Work in ZBrush is Awesome!

I'm very rarely lost for words but after looking at Jason Martin's work, I really was. It is nothing short of phenomenal and the quality of detail of the work is beyond impressive. ZBrush is hard to beat within the sculpting world and Jason's work illustrates this perfectly. What's great about ZBrush is that it's like working with a piece of 3D clay, the tools are very similar to that of an artists toolbox you to visualise and create your concept pretty quickly. But don't let me convince you! Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

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Tue 27 Mar 2012: 10:30am

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Nationwide Tax Break Policy for the CG Industry

I was pretty shocked last week when the Coalition Government reversed its position in their dramatic Budget announcement. The UK government has declared its intention to establish a nationwide games tax break policy, in a manoeuvre that leaves the British sector in shock and jubilation. They stated: "Following consultation on the design, the Government will introduce corporation tax reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries from April 2013, subject to State aid approval," read the official budget report.

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Mon 26 Mar 2012: 10:24am

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A Sad Day for Comics, French Artist Jean Giraud - Moebius - Dies at 73

A Sad Day for Comics, French Artist Jean Giraud - Moebius - Dies at 73

A very sad day indeed for the comics industry and for all of those like me who grew up within the amazing and imaginative world of Moebius. I have always been an avid comics fan and for me, the two most influential peolple have been Stan Lee (he taught me very important words such as puny proverbiale and imperious rex) and Jean Giraud who I stumbled upon by accident. He introduced me to the world of french comics and it was a revelation. The French are masters of comic art and narrative, and the works of Moebius have inluenced all manner of media including some of the most important science fiction films.

His legacy will no doubt live on - a true inspiration. You can read the full article on the Geek Out Blog.

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Tue 13 Mar 2012: 2:51pm

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A Cube Made Out of Gears

A Cube Made Out of Gears

Sometimes, you just come across something which simplify defies logic and the laws of physics... Today, I did just that when I discovered this incredible piece of 3D printing. It just goes to show the magic you can create with such technology. And if you fancy trying to build something like that yourself, here is where you can find some instructions.

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Mon 19 Dec 2011: 9:19am

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December's Free Tutorial: Mastering Maya's Transfer Maps

December's Free Tutorial: Mastering Maya's Transfer Maps

I created this month’s free tutorial with one thing in mind: How can I help improve artists’ workflow’s? This tutorial explores Maya’s ‘Transfer maps’ tool and is designed to do just that. I’ve made sure that we cover this tool in great detail, providing valuable insight into how it works, and how you can avoid common problems. It’s a very practical, hands-on demonstration of the ‘Transfer maps’ tool and with it, you will learn how to bake a diffuse texture from multiple pieces of geometry to one individual model. 

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Thu 15 Dec 2011: 10:39am

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A New Pricing Structure for Photoshop...

A New Pricing Structure for Photoshop...

I have just seen an article entitled "Adobe Will Only Offer Photoshop CS6 Upgrade Price to CS5 Owners" in CGTalk (CG Society) about a dramatic change in pricing policy from Adobe regarding CS6. 

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Thu 8 Dec 2011: 10:41am

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The Power of Making

The Power of Making

To escape from the heat over the weekend, I went to a great exhibition at the V&A. If, like me, you like to know how stuff is made, this is the exhibition for you. It's called The Power of Making.

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Tue 4 Oct 2011: 8:58am

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Amazon Announce New Kindles & Kindle Fire

Amazon Announce New Kindles & Kindle Fire

Typical! You wait for a bus and three come at once. Yesterday, Amazon released details of not one, but three new Kindles, including a brands new tablet called the Kindle Fire.

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Fri 30 Sep 2011: 9:35am

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Coca-Cola's Siege

Coca-Cola's Siege

Here is a bit of Friday eye candy for you... 

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Fri 19 Aug 2011: 12:51pm

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Online Texture Library

Online Texture Library

All 3D artists should take as many photos as possible which they can later use as textures, but for those of you who haven't done so, here is a link to a new and very useful online texture library.

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Tue 16 Aug 2011: 2:54pm

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The Camera That Turns Light Into Living Pictures

The Camera That Turns Light Into Living Pictures

I have just come across what I can only describe as an awesome bit of kit! It's made by a company called Lytro, and it is a camera that lets decide the focus and depth of field of your image, after you have taken it! And that's just the beginning...

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Wed 3 Aug 2011: 8:18am

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Escape Studios First in the UK to Teach NUKE to MARI Bridge

Escape Studios First in the UK to Teach NUKE to MARI Bridge

I have just finished a great week teaching MARI to our new Compositing Professional class. I took them through UVing in Maya, and then taught them how to get to grips with MARI. As part of the curriculum, I also included for the first time the brand new NUKE to MARI bridge which makes the process of taking camera projections from Nuke to Mari and baking projections to UV space much quicker and more flexible.

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Mon 18 Jul 2011: 10:41am

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Games Course Escapee Holly Pickering Gets Job At Travellers Tales

Games Course Escapee Holly Pickering Gets Job At Travellers Tales

We have got some good news to share today about one of our Games Course escapees. Holly Pickering - who finished our Games Art Course a little while back - will be joining Adam Esat (another escapee) at Travellers Tales working on AAA titles as a Character Modeller. 

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Mon 13 Jun 2011: 11:30am

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Ubisoft Names First Three 3D Movies

Ubisoft Names First Three 3D Movies

Have you seen this article in gamesindustry.biz?

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Fri 20 May 2011: 10:54am

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Games Escapee Ross Garfoot Secures Job at Playground Games

Games Escapee Ross Garfoot Secures Job at Playground Games

Another one of our Games Art Production course escapees has just landed a job. This time it is Ross Garfoot who just secured a job at Playground Games - well done Ross!

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Wed 4 May 2011: 5:37pm

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Games Course Escapee Tom Harle Lands a Job at Rebellion

Games Course Escapee Tom Harle Lands a Job at Rebellion

It's always great to hear when escapees land jobs - especially if it's one that they've always dreamt of getting. Tom Harle, who studied our Games Art Production course has just secured a job at top games studio Rebellion. He's worked really hard on his portfolio and it's clear that it's really paid off.

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Tue 26 Apr 2011: 9:10am

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How Will the Budget Affect the Games Industry?

Reading the article about what the Budget has done for graduate recruitment made me think about how this might affect the Gaming Industry.  Gaming truly is part of our culture. It's everywhere, we have never had so many platforms and opportunities on which to play games and I think it's fair to say gamers have never had it so good. So, why is it such a bad time for the UK games industry?

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Fri 1 Apr 2011: 10:23am

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New trailer for LA Noire

Even though there’s a few months until its launch, there’s a palpable buzz around Rockstar’s latest venture, LA Noire. A new trailer has just been released, which you can see on Develop, and it looks simply amazing.

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Wed 23 Feb 2011: 9:04am

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Are cheap mobile games a risk to the industry?

Are cheap mobile games a risk to the industry?

According to Nintendo’s president, low priced mobile phone games are one of the biggest risks for the games industry as they are giving the impression that all games should be cheap. Last night I had a fantastic gaming session with my son, not on a Wii, PS3 or xbox but on my iPhone and it cost me 59 pence. The success of the Wii is something that Sony also encouraged with eye toy, casual gaming that is fun and accessible for all kinds of people not just hardcore gamers. It strikes me as a little naive to think that the app generation is the biggest threat to the games industry. Though, the cost of a ds game is huge and takes a child ages to save up their pocket money

The iPhone has opened the Market to small developers, provided a fantastic opportunity for people to break into games and because it is so easy to use, has opened up the world of videogames to a whole cross section of society. My children and I get just as much fun from an iPhone game as well as a ds for a fraction of the price. Epic has produced an amazing looking game for only a few pounds and created a version of their awesome engine specifically to embrace this exciting platform. The biggest threat to the games industry is the CEOs not listening to gamers - they should be encouraging development every where creating internships and fostering talent.

The makers of angry birds have opened an academy, not bad for a little throw away game.  Come on Nintendo Sony and Microsoft, get your act together! Speaking of internships one of our games students Chris Chorley is doing a six month internship at veemee. You also only have to look at the success of Portal to see that Valves approach to internships pays huge rewards.

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Wed 9 Feb 2011: 10:29am

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The Sistine Chapel in 3D

The Sistine Chapel in 3D

For all you digital artists out there this just goes to show that there truly is no school like the old school.

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Tue 14 Dec 2010: 12:21pm

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Ultimate Geek Out

Ultimate Geek Out

At the end of a busy day in the classroom - a day full of complex concepts and software training - conversations with Joe and Flora in our training sales team naturally turned to equally weighty subjects.

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Thu 30 Sep 2010: 2:50pm

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In the dog house

I have just spent two nights in a row playing with an old friend until almost three in the morning. When I say friend, I mean Halo Reach. It has been like catching up with a really good friend you haven't seen in a long time. You pick up right where you left off, except this time my friend is much better looking and has more ideas. Ideas that I said to my wife needed to be explored in great depth. It's my job after all!

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Fri 17 Sep 2010: 10:38am

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Free Webinar: Next Gen Materials & Game Rendering Technology

Free Webinar: Next Gen Materials & Game Rendering Technology

I'll be hosting a webinar on 30th September and wanted to put a quick post together to invite you all. I'll share with you some of my thoughts on next generation materials and advances in game rendering technology. Hope you can make it.

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Thu 16 Sep 2010: 9:00am

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New Limbo Game: Scary, Claustrophobic and Beautiful

New Limbo Game: Scary, Claustrophobic and Beautiful

Following on from our looks or personality blog I wanted to share this game in case you haven't seen it all ready. For me, this game has the perfect blend: an incredible art style, ingenious game play and haunting sound.

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Fri 10 Sep 2010: 11:29am

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Only 4% of UK games industry staff are female

Saw this article in GamesIndustry.biz and was a bit shocked.

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Thu 9 Sep 2010: 2:05pm

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Looks or personality?

We were having a chat in the office about art in games, and it sparked off a couple of tweets from @Escape_Studios last week. Basically, we were wondering how much the visuals, or game art, matter in the whole gaming experience. Does a game really need to look that great for people to enjoy it, or can how it looks be the difference between good and great?

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Wed 8 Sep 2010: 5:17pm

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The Future of Games

I have just finished reading the "Videogames: state of the art" article in this month's issue of 3D World magazine and was reminded of just why I love being a CG artist, and how vain I am seeing my name in print.

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Thu 2 Sep 2010: 9:02am

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Friday Fun - Illusion Contest

Really looking forward to next week because it's the start of the games course here at Escape Studios.  So, before the hard work begins for my students, here is a bit of Friday fun! Check out the impossible motion video.

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Fri 14 May 2010: 5:23pm

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Free Games Webinar

On the 25th of this month I'll be hosting a free Games webinar on Next Generation Asset Creation. We'll be looking at next gen techniques as well considering the part that low-poly still has to play in games art creation. High on the list of priorities for any Games Artist is knowing where to find their sources of inspiration - I'll show you what gets me going and how it helps me approach my own work.

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Wed 10 Feb 2010: 1:49pm

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Videogames violence

I’ve seen in the news this week that Scottish MP Joe Fitzpatrick has been defending Dundee’s videogames industry after the Scottish Parliament was urged to recognise the fact violent games are easily obtainable for children.

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Fri 29 Jan 2010: 10:33am

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Game Course - images

Here's a selection of what our game course students have created. As I mentioned before, I'm really proud of what the guys have come up with, and I would love to show you every single students work, were it not for amount of space it would take up on the blog. So here, as a compromise, is a selection:

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Thu 21 Jan 2010: 11:05am

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Good times for Games

I have just finished teaching our most intense 12-week games course yet and will soon post some examples of the work done by the students during the course.  I am really proud of the work they created.

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Fri 15 Jan 2010: 12:01pm

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Good times for anyone training to be a games artist

Very recently there has been a release of two games engines that you can use at home.

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Thu 12 Nov 2009: 8:29am

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The reality of being a Games Artist

I have just finished teaching the summer games course, an intense 3 days that serves as an introduction to games art production and the many tools that games artists use.

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Mon 24 Aug 2009: 9:05am

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The Artistic Hair Shirt

The artistic Hair shirt

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Tue 11 Aug 2009: 10:33am

Fenton's essential GC and Games websites

I have just started teaching the new Escape Studios' Games Course and thought I would share some book links and internet links that I give to my students at the start of the course. Here we go then...

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Tue 12 May 2009: 11:48am

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