Archive for the ‘Digital Art’ Category

What is an Animation Technical Director?

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

People with these job skills can fall into several different categories – Lighting TD, Character TD or Shader TD – but all require artistic sensibilities, technical savvy, a good eye and good problem-solving skills. Other TD’s focus more heavily on the programming side of the industry but still need a basic understanding of the art process.

Quite a few of Cogswell’s Digital Arts Engineering graduates have gone on to work as the more ‘technical,’ Technical Directors while some graduates from our Digital Art & Animation program have followed the lighter and character TD career path.

This concise article in 3D Renderer offers a good overview of the job.

The Rise of the Indie Games

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

An indie game company founded by Cogswell Alumni

Here’s a thoughtful video offering insights from a number of European indie game developers about the success – and the reasons behind the success – of the indie game industry. One of the secrets is the agility these smaller companies have to address the needs of niche audiences and to try something that flies in the face of mainstream thinking.

But there are challenges to being a small, indie developer and they talk about these as well.

Let us know what you think is the biggest benefit of being an indie game developer.

Ideas that Form the Core of Arts Education

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Cogswell students learning the fundamental techniques needed to create realistic characters for games and animations.

In a recent article for the Digital Art Guild, Edward P. Clapp, discusses the 1960’s era guiding principles of the art world and whether or not these ideas are still relevant today. At the end of the article he suggests that the future of the arts lies in what’s possible, not in what has been the status quo.

Mr. Clapp in his recently published anthology, “20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education in the 21st Century,” challenges the core assumptions of the field by publishing twenty essays about the future of the arts and arts education from the perspective of young arts professionals under the age of forty. His goal: to find the most radical ideas about the future of the arts from the perspectives of the most innovative emerging arts professionals.

Do you agree with his assumptions?

Small Game Developers Can Take on Goliath

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Yes, small developers can take on Goliath but don’t expect to beat them if you play by Goliath’s rules. In an article by Chris Gray for Gamasutra, the author talks about his experience as a small developer and what you can learn from for four small developers (Supercell, Mojang, Imangi and Plague Inc.) who managed to out-maneuver the big guys each in their own way.

One interesting fact from the article – a political scientist named Ivan Arreguín-Toft looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. He found that when the underdogs acknowledged their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy, the “David’s” won in 63.6 percent of the cases. So, when underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win, even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.

Which strategy do you think will work best for you?

The Hidden Meaning Behind Doors in Video Games

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

As a game designer, you’ve probably figured out that humans are pretty interesting creatures but we have a few idiosyncrasies both individually and collectively. Lots of these behavioral tendencies were ingrained in us back when we carried clubs and were still waiting for the magic of fire to warm our little toes.

In this fascinating article in Gamasutra by Dale Dobson, it turns out that the human mind has a reset button when it comes to walking through doorways or other portals. The piece goes on to examine how doors were used in several games (Zork I, Venture, Mystery Fun House, The Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, Super Mario 64, Grand Theft Auto III, Shenmue, The Walking Dead episode 104, and the aptly named, Portal) and how our brains respond to each situation.

Dobson concludes the article, “Buried deep in our evolutionary history is a belief that opening a door moves us forward into new places and experiences, but our brains also tend to get a little bit lost when we do so. Game designs that recognize and accommodate these basic human needs and tendencies are more likely to provide rich and rewarding human experiences.”

How does a door or barrier in a game make you behave?

Interactive Comics – The Wave of the Future – or Not?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Artwork and Design by Amelia Davis

One of the panel discussions at Comic Con 2013 focused on how comic book artists and publishers view the new array of devices their fans use to view their favorite comics. With more readers switching to mobile devices, should comics stay static or look at alternative ways to present the material?

As reported by Digital Arts Online, the speakers looked at a number of tools to produce “motion comics” and how this trend might change the art form. One question posed by the article was: Is adding sound and motion to comic-book-style art really a new form of storytelling, or is it an attempt to jam a static format into someplace it doesn’t really belong?

The panelists looked at Madefire’s Motion Book Tool, Smith Micro’s MotionArtist and Comixology .

How do you think adding animation and sound to traditional comics will change the art form?

Wisdom from SIGGRAPH – 10 Men of Steel Facts

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Jerome Solomon, head of Cogswell College’s Game Design & Development program is currently at SIGGRAPH as Chair of the Computer Animation Festival Production Committee, so we thought it might be fun to highlight one of the talks that took place this week.

Five VFX supervisors talked about their experiences working on the film and shared some little known facts about the making of the movie. For instance, can you answer any of these questions?

Which company did extensive previs for the film?

Where did Weta get a lot of its source material to create the Kryptonian environment?

Was Superman’s cape real or fake?

Check out this article in Studio Daily to find these answers and more.

Interview with Creature Sculptor for Pacific Rim

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Concept art for Leatherback for the Pacific Rim movie.

David Meng, sculptor behind the awesome Leatherback-Kaiju in the film Pacific Rim, was recently interviewed by Sculpt Club about his work on the movie. In this wide-ranging interview, Meng covered his childhood fascination with developing creatures – one of his early influences was Jim Henson of the Muppets – how he got started in the business and the creative process on the film.

If you are interested in concept design or sculpting, you will enjoy learning about David Meng’s experiences.

Rapid Concept Visualization Special Topic Class

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

If you would like to move your design skills into the stratosphere, then consider taking DAA 106: Digital Imaging Concepts. In this class faculty member, Jared Gross who works at Juice Box Games in San Francisco, shows students how to go from loose, freehand sketches to final presentation quickly. The course focuses on rapid sketching techniques using tablets and Photoshop, material and rendering methods, rapid visualization of forms in perspective and portfolio presentation and development ideas.

Students will also gain valuable experience using conceptual tools for creating unique and visually interesting forms for hard-surface models, vehicle designs, environments and characters. The goal is to learn to use digital and traditional media to quickly describe elemental and complex forms and then use these forms in the creation of assets for game and film.

Jared has a degree in transportation design and began his career as a vehicle designer in the automotive industry. He is now following his passion for character design by moving his focus to the game industry.

Visit Cogswell’s website to register.

Common Mistakes Made in Concept Art Portfolios

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Concept Artwork by Cassandra Matteis, titled Pixies.

Chris Oatley, a Character Designer with Disney, shares his tips for creating a great concept art portfolio by suggesting what not to do. In this short article – with accompanying illustrations – Oatley boils it down to 5 common mistakes that artists make when putting together their portfolio.

His advice includes thinking about the message your portfolio gives, does it fit the company you are showing it to and is it professional looking?

At Cogswell, students take several portfolio classes so they can revise their material over time. What are your favorite portfolio tips?