Sunday, 28 April 2013

Mates Exhibition at Mexico Project Space

Having been to the last Mates Exhibition held in the Corn Exchange, with the theme of dogs, I was interested what this next instalment would be like focusing on scouting.

The exhibition was organised and ran by
Alex Sickling
Rob Goodall
who both are graduates from the Visual Communications course.

I really enjoyed going to see the closing of the exhibition, and was slightly disappointed that I couldn't make it for the opening. However when I went with Chris, it was only us visiting, with Alex and Rob moderating, giving us chance to have a proper look around and have a catch up with them both. I really liked the majority of the work, but again Alex's wonderful ceramics caught my eye. (this one in particular!)

Anime Background Tumblr

One of the people I follow on Twitter posted up a link to her friend's lovely blog focusing on different backgrounds taken from Anime. As these are set in Japan (and sometimes China), it is perfect research for my game module, as I can look at how others give their settings a deeper cultural roots. I am also hoping to look at a few of these films properly.

I then also found this similar blog, which gives an insight into a different kind of animation, but also has a few anime films featured.

Both of these links have given me a great insight into what is expected when looking at Japanese animation, which I can transfer and adapt into game form, adding my own personal twist.

Feast Exhibition at Leeds Gallery

Chris and I managed to make it down to the opening night of Feast Exhibition held at Leeds Gallery, where a few of our friends were exhibiting. Matt Saunders, a friend that we have both worked with for the Ellen and the Escapades music video, was exhibiting and filled most of the space with his log creatures and drawings of monsters and woodland creatures. We also spotted one of out twitter friends Amy from TigerTea had a few prints and vinyl stickers on display. Other exhibitors include Matt the Horse (a tutor on the Visual Communications course), Lord Whitney (a twosome which create set design, and that I have been following madly since I first discovered them last year), among others.

As well as the exhibition, I chose to spend a lot of my time in the shop Colours May Vary, located opposite the gallery, and was able to chat to the two owners about the difficulties in freelancing and their aim to support the arts. I was also introduced to Jay Cover, of NousVous, by Lydia my friend on Vis-com, where we spoke about a talk he is at at university (which I unfortunately missed).

Overall it was a fun night, and great to catch up with friends, and meet some new people.

 Matt Saunders

(Both photographs were taken by Chris Luk, as I was unable to take my own)

Sooo... I met Oliver Jeffers

Before I have a gushy melt down, Oliver Jeffers is my favourite male illustrator, closely followed if not joint position with Scott C. He is best known for his children's illustrated books, but has branched out into animation (as I have previously blogged about), advertising (Kinder) and most recently working for the TED Talks branding.

Chris (3rd year DFGA) told me that he was doing a book signing at Waterstones Leeds, and we both went together on the day and met up with Lydia (2nd year Visual Communications, and fellow Jeffers obsessive). As it was only a signing we only had a quick chat about him previously studying on a Vis-com course, and his interest in animation and the love of fan mail from children. He was a lovely and genuine man, and really took the time to talk to his younger fans often having pictures. What I thought was lovely was that he took the time to draw a quick image in each of the books along with our names, making it more personal.

 (All photographs were taken by Chris Luk)

I am going to keep an eye out for any specialist illustration talks he does, as although meeting him was an experience in itself, I feel I would learn more if I were to delve into his process.

Here is a quite recent video that Oliver Jeffers wanted to make, describing himself as an illustrator and why he does what he does, and how!
Oliver Jeffers Author Film 2013 from Oliver Jeffers on Vimeo.

If you are interested here is an older video (taken from 2010) of Oliver Jeffers and his studio and work process, it is quite similar to the newer video but more linked to his roots.
Oliver Jeffers Author Video 2010 from Oliver Jeffers on Vimeo.

Indie Game: The Movie

I had the chance last weekend to watch Indie Game: The Movie, a film I was wanting to see but was reminded by Annabeth that it would be a good starting point for this module. I found it really interesting to watch how different people coped with the pressures of freelancing and working for yourself, and the success stories of the interviewees. I was able to see characteristics of myself in each person, showing their determination and passion, but also their lack of experience doing anything like this and their fear of the unknown and how people will respond to their work. More and more I am seeing this in myself, where I am becoming too afraid to produce my own work, in the fear that others may look down on me or mock it if it goes wrong. Watching this however gave me the confidence to put my work out their, take criticism on the chin and develop from it. If they are able to make such beautiful, inventive and imaginative games with only a few people in the team, if not alone in the case of the game FEZ, then I can do it too!! Maybe not to the same level, but I can give it a damn try.

I could not recommend this documentary enough. If you like ridiculously talented nerds then you're in for a treat.

Indie Game: The Movie Official Trailer from IndieGame: The Movie on Vimeo.

Japanese table etiquette

It was also suggested during my presentation that I looked further into Japanese table etiquette, as it plays a massive part in their society, and will effect the believability of my game. 

Below I found an image which illustrates what is portrayed as ill-manners in Japan, and if I had characters in the space then I would avoid them doing any of these things.
Picture taken from:

Presentation feedback

During my presentation it was mentioned that I should look at these games/animations for further influence, as people have picked up on elements of my game design and themes which appear in these, and could progress my initial ideas forwards.

Scary Girl game

Tim Schafer - The Cave game

Numskulls - Beano comics

Cow and Chicken TV episode

Little Big Planet 2 - game level

Final concept art

These two images are my final concept sketches for characters reacting to the space, and how it could potentially look. I know that there is still lots of development to go, so this is just a few images to begin with.


As I knew that I wanted to combine the idea of sushi bars with dinosaurs I started to draw different species and how the space would work inside their bodies. I managed to come up with quite a few interesting concepts and spaces, and will combine elements from them all for my final structure.

The image above is a quick sketch of my imagined sushi bar logo for Dino-Sushi. I wanted a simple design, but that shows what the game is about, and what the restaurant would be like.

Game lighting

In Japanese culture lighting plays a massive part of their everyday lives. When doing quick drawings from my mood board, I wanted to experiment with the impact of lighting on a street, by using tracing paper and adding tip-ex to the places where artificial light is being emitted.

I then went one step further and found an image of a Japanese street at night time, where I taped the tracing paper directly onto my computer screen and drew straight off it, in the same manor as the last image. As a quick sketch and a simple experiment as to how important light is I feel this worked.

Now I have established that I need to focus on lighting I began to look at different lanterns and ways that I can use lighting in my game environment.

Japan research development sketches

When I first knew that my game would be based around Japan and Japanese culture, I started sketching interesting places, signage and items from images I found on Pinterest. This started to form my drawing style for the module, and the subject matters I would look into further.

I then did a couple of quick observational drawings of some items that was at a Chinese meal I went to, to focus on the different perspectives of the items in front of me.

Introduction to Unity

I am a little late in blogging this, but the other week I spent my first two days in the software Unity. I was initially really nervous about using this software, under the impression it would be as difficult to grasp as Maya was. But to my surprise I found it easy to pick up from the word go, and really started to enjoy playing around with the software.

To begin with we were taught the very basics of the software, such as the mouse set up (where Alt + left click to move the view point around, and Alt + right click/scroll to zoom), the screen layout (the difference between the screen editor and live view screen, and what each tool bar does), and other small handy hints, such as NEVER MODELLING when in the game mode, and when placing objects into the scene it doesn't automatically go to zero and instead goes to where you click. We were also encouraged to name every asset as we go along and to make sure we don't delete anything unless we are completely certain as you are unable to 'undo' any deleting in Unity.

We then started to learn how to import a first person controller (remember to delete any other cameras!!), a floor for our scene, and started adding simple shapes.

This then led to using the terrain tool to create mountains and coves which we could then fill with water if we wished to make ponds or to create an island. The next key component we learnt was lighting, and as it is a game not to use more than one light source in different places if we are aiming to replicate the sun.

We then progressed to adding ready made trees to our environment, giving it more depth and more impressive scenery. As we have already sorted out the lighting, we could then create shadows, which look really effective on the trees, especially if reflected into the water as pictured above, making the scene start to feel more life like. To start adding to this, we learnt some basic gaming physics which allowed us to apply the effect of wind to the trees, making them bend slightly when blown.

 After this we learnt how to create an object and texture UV map it in Maya...

....and how to bring this model into Unity from Maya.

Unfortunately during the tutorial on creating repeat textures and UV mapping, I had trouble with my computer so missed a few tests but was able to watch Annabeth do it and Betty sat next to me. I have still yet to do my own to catch up, but it is something I would benefit from doing. The next day I had to take the day off from sickness, and missed the session where the class learnt how to create their own crates, so this is yet another thing I still have yet to learn for myself, which needs doing before I can create my own crates and barrels for the set task.

Spur Exchange Exhibition at The Corn Exchange Leeds

The other week I was lucky enough to have the chance to nip down to the Corn Exchange to see a few friends working during the Spur Exhibition. Each day for the duration of the show, a different resident artist spends the day in the space working, with the chance to talk to them and do your own work. When I went to visit two people I know from the Visual Communications course in their third year were residents for the day, Greg and Lucy. Both have quite a similar style in illustration, but chose very different subject matters and ways of working, which was interesting to watch other people doing their work and the process they do it. Although I didn't take any pictures of the event, if you have chance to go to their next exhibition I would recommend you do, if only for a chat with like minded people.

More dinosaurs....

After initially struggling with my dinosaur research, Amy suggested some other people to look into.

Ricardo Delgado- Age of Reptiles
This is a comic series, which is wonderfully illustrated. I like how his drawings are done in a style that still is easily recognisable as dinosaurs, but not in the stereotypical sense of drawing them.

James Gurney- Dinotopia
How have I not heard of this before!? I have to be THE worst dinosaur fan in the history of man! This amazing gem of a website is full of Gurney's imagined world where human and man live together. Although it aims to be photorealistic, it gives a good sense of scale and the world around them.

Actual game

Character- main protagonist
-The main protagonist would be a character that the player chooses from 6 ready made characters, 3 boys and 3 girls. All will have their own unique qualities, skills and interests.

Other characters
-The other 5 characters which the player decides not to play as will always follow the main protagonist, but may wonder off if they become bored (if not included) which leads to puzzle games to try and find that character.

Aim of game
-The aim of the game is teamwork and friendship within the group, but mainly as a fun role-play game like The Sims franchise, but with puzzle games if in that game mode.

Other areas
-There will be other accessible areas in the full game, allowing you to visit the other rooms of the dinosaur (Kitchen, storage room, toilets, four stair cases enclosed in the legs), as well as entering the surreal Japanese Kawaii city. Other area's I have thought about is a submarine which is floating in the sky like a balloon, a woodland area filled with bonsai trees with small tree houses covering most the branches, a Japanese temple used as a tortoise shell, as well as other surreal buildings.


When researching into sushi, and different fillings, I thought the best place to start was looking at sushi bars in Leeds. As I was unable to actually go and visit any sushi bars myself, as it would be far too expensive to buy every type there is to draw, I spent some time on the Sushi Boy (sushi delivering service in Leeds) website where I drew their food on sale, looking at how I can create one model and change it's texture to create different foods.

From this I looked at more complex food, which would need modelling separately, but could be resized to make different objects.

Colour is a major component in this module, and getting the right vibrancy and variation is really important for my game level, so using markers I experimented trying to get over-exaggerated tones.

I then did a few sketches of how these could be turned into chairs/stools.