Creative solutions, I feel was a huge learning opportunity this semester, not just for myself but also for the rest of the team. It was a chance for us to develop our skills and gain experience in working in a professional manner.
Working for a client was very different to doing the usual university projects. There was a certain level of professionalism that was expected of your work, it needed to be of the same standard (or as close as possible) to the standard of the work being produced by the company, which added a little more pressure – well that’s what I felt anyway!
Black North are currently developing a game to be played on the Oculus Rift for which they wanted us to model, texture and light an environment to a hyper realistic style. The level of realism that was expected in our work worried me slightly, more so in the first two weeks, as during that time we would be creating concepts. Firstly I had never worked to a photorealistic style before so this was going to be a new challenge for me to take on and secondly I wouldn’t be as confident in my skills when it comes to digital painting. However I feel that I produced work that was of a higher standard than I had expected from myself, so I was rather pleased with the final set of ice environment concepts.
I was much more comfortable when it came to the modelling, although I didn’t have much experience of working in Mudbox, this provided me with the opportunity to develop a new set of technical skills. I found mudbox was easy to grasp and a much more efficient way of working. It was a lot easier and quicker to sculpt the models to a high level of detail within Mudbox and then retopolgise using Maya.
When it came to building the scene there was a lot more teamwork involved than compared to the previous couple of weeks, the environment had been split into seven parts – there would be a different set in front and behind your own, or in my case just behind – so there was a lot more discussion happening between group members to make sure the environment felt like one piece, although this was a lot more important when texturing. The textures for each set needed to flow together to make it seem as if one person had created it. I feel I worked well within this group of people, as a team there was good range in skills meaning that we were able to learn from one another. Personally, I didn’t have much experience with texturing, so when it came to that stage I benefitted from the knowledge and experience that other team members had which they were happy to share, I now have the skills and understanding to be able to say that I am comfortable with texturing to a hyper realistic style.
I enjoy working within a team, I am quite a competitive person and I find that working within a group motivates me to work just that little bit harder – there’s a level of friendly competition that pushes us to be better.
We also had the chance to experience the pressure of deadlines. After packaging up and handing over our set, we were contacted by Black North and told that the game had in fact been changed and we would have to model, texture and light a new level by Friday – giving us four days to complete it. With Friday also being our semester two deadline we were all feeling a bit stressed but nevertheless as a group we managed to complete the task, still to a high standard, getting it out of the way and allowing us to concentrate on the other deadline.
Outside of the client work I had been pushing myself to develop my technical skills to create work suitable for my showreel. I found that I really enjoyed experimenting with Maya’s dynamics and discovering what they are capable of, even managing to experiment briefly with Houdini. This semester I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone to gain new skills in areas that my knowledge was lacking and I am pleased with the progress I have made.
Through the module of Creative solutions I was able to gain an insight into working within this industry. Hoping to have a placement come September, I feel this module has helped prepare me for the incoming year; I have gained experience in working in a professional manner and the standard required. Even with the problems that we experienced which were overcome through communication, teamwork and research, I really enjoyed the work I was creating.