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.
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.
My goodness, it’s only January but for games and scifi fans dare I say it, Christmas is coming early.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a bit of Friday eye candy for you...
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
For all you digital artists out there this just goes to show that there truly is no school like the old school.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
Very recently there has been a release of two games engines that you can use at home.
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.
The artistic Hair shirt