Week 2 Reflection – Character Concepting, Remediation, and Beginning of First Sprint

28/09/20

GAM701

To start the week, I watched the presentation on ‘Nurturing Your Imagination’ – a creativity lecture on Learning Space. During this I was reminded of the ICEDIP model by Geoff Petty (1997) – I would like to use this to inform my GART720 work.

I – Inspiration

C – Clarification

E – Evaluation

D – Distillation

I – Incubation

P – Perspiration

After completing this, I watched the recommended interview with Ian Cheng – ‘A portal to Infinity’.

(Louisiana Channel, 2017)

I was instructed to note down any thoughts I had during this interview, so here is a transcript of what I have written. I recommend watching this interview first as these are my random notes without context.

  • ‘as early as 3,000 years ago’ – Doesn’t seem that likely, the human consciousness only developing within 1,000 years? – we are in 2020 and we haven’t developed much since Roman times – at least not mentally I would argue. Humans are described as very primitive in this video, but how then could they go on to write books such as the bible or philosophise to the extent they were unless their minds had developed earlier? However, it could be argued that we are a very rapidly developing species.
  • It is true that the gods were relied on and that stories were created in order to explain their own lives, but I’d argue that this in itself is very creative!
  • Very interesting that he combined different game models to create his own AI system. Almost like the ultimate simulation.
  • Very interesting simulation does achieve the ant feeling he was going for, but it is also disturbing to see the humanoid characters act like that – most likely because we know what humans are capable of. Interesting to ponder why we don’t share these feelings for animals? Maybe because we don’t understand fully the capabilities of their minds/see them as inferior intelligence.
  • Shiba simulation is sad – tragic, very cool that you can create varied stories and emotions from these simulations.
  • ‘Jesus would become an enemy of the state’ – He already was portrayed as such, that’s why he was killed by the Romans, due to the unrest at the time.
  • I appreciate that he took inspiration from Miyazaki and wanted to make unique assets. Agree that it does make it feel more life like in a way.
  • Agree it is a lot like looking out of a window
  • Interesting he chose nature as a location – almost a bias towards a capitalist society where those who live in developed cities are more developed and civilised – could also absolutely be my own ingrained bias speaking though.

Later on that day, I had my GAM701 Lecture. We worked in pairs to discuss the avatar gifs we made last week. I was paired with Jacob Gill-Donald, and it was interesting to learn more about his though process behind the gif! I learnt that he likes plants and cooking, which is why he included a basil plant in his gif. He told me that he collects a lot of greenery, both fake and real, as this keeps his workspace fresh and less clinical feeling. He draws a lot, despite being a 3D artist, so he included some pencils. Finally, he included a rabbit statue as a major feature of his piece as he likes animals and is a creature artist.

During this lecture, we were assigned a task with the person we had previously discussed our avatar gifs with! We were told to create a remediated artifact by Thursday, and during the lecture we had the chance to brainstorm together for 20 minutes using a site called Mural. During this time, I called with my teammate, Jacob, on discord and we both voiced our ideas and wrote them down. Below is an image of how this turned out.

Van Gogh image: (Van Gogh – Starry Night, 1889), Cityscape image: (500px, 2019)

I enjoyed using this site as I found it was very effective to visualise the ideas using virtual post-it notes. I am very proud of the variety and quantity of ideas we originally came up with! We decided to wait until tomorrow to think on these ideas and then discuss which ones we would work on then.

This evening I made a plan, as I had done the previous week, of work I would do each day. Here it is:

This plan was made, before learning about further tasks, so I did not follow it exactly, as I had to adjust to accustom extra work! I am finding making these plans very useful as it keeps my mind concentrated!

Transcribed version:

Tuesday: – Attend lectures – Chat about GAM701 task

Thursday: – Attend workshop – Blog work

Wednesday: – Work on GAM701 task

Friday: – Catch up on learning space

References:

Louisiana Channel, 2017. Ian Cheng Interview: A Portal To Infinity. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO6Luilc4Bo> [Accessed 28 September 2020].

Van Gogh Image on Mural: n.d. Van Gogh – Starry Night. [image] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg#file> [Accessed 28 September 2020].

Cityscape Image on Mural: 500px, 2019. Final Image After Blending Exposures With Luminosity Masks. [image] Available at: <https://iso.500px.com/cityscape-night-photography-tips/> [Accessed 28 September 2020].

GART702

I spent the rest of the evening putting together a PowerPoint of the character concepts I had come up with for the hero asset assignment. I came up with three characters in total, all of which had a mortal and supernatural form, as I felt this would be interesting to explore.

Here is an example of one of the fairy mood boards I created.

Pinterest board for this image can be found here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/fairy/

As I want to broaden the diversity and inclusivity in my character designs, I made all three options POC (people of colour), taking care to gather reference images that are accurate. This was especially the case for the fairy character I concepted, who is a Black woman. I decided on this because fairies are typically portrayed as very fair skinned, as is the case for a lot of fairy-tale beings, and I wanted to subvert this. I want her to be dressed in Fairy Kei clothing in her mortal form, which is a Japanese fashion. I collected references of real Black women in this style, rather than finding Japanese references alone. This was to ensure I had an idea of how the clothing would look on a darker skin tone, and to show that it is a style not only by paler skin tones.

I am also aware, as a White woman, there are some topics and features I cannot accurately represent without proper research, and some which it is not my place to speak on. Throughout this assignment I will do my best to stay respectful and informed on the art I create, as it is my responsibility to do so.

After compiling my reference images together, I used the website icolorpalette.com to get colour palettes from the images. I then swatched the ones I found most appealing and added them to the mood boards, as shown above. Here are some examples of the colour palettes provided.

Smaller palette they provide next to the image you upload
Full colour palette is provided also, and this is the one I sampled colours from.

Additionally, I also took notes on some of the mood boards which explained some of my key thought processes behind the images I collected to whoever views them. The PowerPoint I created can be viewed here, and the Pinterest boards are included in the notes below for references. https://falmouthac-my.sharepoint.com/:p:/g/personal/ar202356_falmouth_ac_uk/ERXH3Td2DZVLhet7DRDPQTsB2jAoQpbx0OShKxMk_-iFjA?e=qfJK7O

29/09/20

GART702

Today I had a workshop where we all presented the ideas we had come up with so far. I decided to go first in sharing my ideas, and they were received well! I am very happy with how it went, and I got some useful feedback from Ady on how to present my work. He agreed that the references from FZD School on how to present my end results of this assignment were ideal. I also asked specifically about my project.

I am aiming to present characters in a visual novel context, so I enquired if I was able to include expressions and poses on my presentation sheets, rather than turnarounds. I did this because it is very common for the back of a character to never be shown in visual novels, therefore it made more sense for me to instead focus on the character’s expressions and design, as this will be the key visual narrative tool. I got the approval to do this from Ady, so this is what I will be working towards!

I think currently I am leaning towards furthering the development of the fairy character the most. This is because her visual style interests and appeals to me a lot, I enjoy bright colours, especially pink shades, and this is a style that is currently missing in my portfolio. I think making a very feminine character that embodies this style in a cool way will be a very fun task, and my interest in it will keep me motivated.

Additionally, I have a lot of interest in the language of flowers and have incorporated it in past projects before. For example in the 1st year of my BA Game Art (Hons) course I took before coming to Falmouth I created a 3D shop. It was a flower shop that was also a dating agency, and I wanted to include flowers in the exterior that communicated this. Two of the flowers that I chose were Gorse and Clovenlip Toadflax, below are the IDs I made for both of these while texturing, and the meanings of both of the plants.

Gorse ID. Gorse has the meaning of ‘Love in all seasons.’ (Plant symbolism | Wikiwand, n.d.)
Clovenlip Toadflax ID. Clovenlip Toadflax has the meaning of ‘Please notice my love/feelings for you.’ (Plant symbolism | Wikiwand, n.d.)

In addition to this, in 2nd year I created a 3D room that was supposed to be the bedroom of the grim reaper. I decorated the wooden bed with carved in lilies and marigolds, as both have symbolic relations to death. Marigolds, in particular, being related to Día de Muertos.

The marigolds and lilies I created to be stamped into the bedpost, as shown above.

As the fairy character I have concepted this year is a florist, this will allow me to research into relevant flowers I can include in her design, and also help me become more skilled at drawing flowers when it comes to the later stages of development.

Ady advised us to carry on developing the mood boards and designs we have created further, to start sketching, thumbnailing and blocking out. He also mentioned that next week we would be looking at production pipelines, so this is when I am aiming to really start developing a good idea of the workflows and timeline I will follow. I have noticed that I have found it hard to keep up with GART702 work, so next week I would like to focus on this module a lot more.

References:

Wikiwand. n.d. Plant Symbolism | Wikiwand. [online] Available at: <https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Plant_symbolism> [Accessed 29 October 2020].

GAM701

After Ady’s lecture I had a call with Jacob about the remediation task we had been assigned to work on together. We both agreed that we wanted to work on collaging extinct animals and creating new creatures from them, one of the ideas featured previously in our brainstorming session. We both immediately set out to find articles on interesting extinct animals and collect reference images, and then we made a collaborative PowerPoint together.

Jacob came up with the idea that we could record our creation of the collaged animal, so it would seem like the extinct animals were reappearing. I really liked this idea, and agreed we would do this, suggesting we use the app Procreate on the iPad, as this feature is built in. We agreed to work on the project tomorrow and add both the images of the resulting piece and a time-lapse of it to the PowerPoint.

30/09/20

GAM701

Today I mainly spent my time working on the remediation task, and I managed to finish the piece! Below are some images of the final creation, plus the timelapse of the piece.

Version in colour, I really like the bright blue colours that came from the Guam Flycatcher bird.
Version in black and white. Although I like the colours of the piece, I felt it wasn’t very unified, so I tried making the image in black and white. I feel like it reads a lot more like a complete solid animal.
30 second timelapse made using Procreate

Here is a link to our final PowerPoint, featuring all the finished work, and the referencing for the images used in this project, which can be found in the notes of each slide. Jacob’s work can also be viewed on this slide, but you can also check out his blog here.

01/10/20

GAM701

Today we presented our remediation. I believe ours was very well received, and it was also very interesting to see everyone else’s work! I find it really interesting how everyone interpreted the task differently, and it was very cool to see what people could create within two days!

As I said to our lecturer Matt during the session, I felt that after creating the collaged animal, that I could make many more, and that it would be a fun way to quickly concept creatures, just by piecing together a bunch of different features of various animals. Of course, if I were to do this, I would have to have a much better understanding of creature anatomy, as I think my creation is not believable from an anatomical point-of-view. Despite this, I am very happy with the final result of this task, and it was nice to work on something quickly, prioritizing getting it done on time, rather than worrying over little details as I tend to when doing art.

In a later workshop on this day, Matt revealed that we would be moving onto another task, this time our first long term investigation, spanning over the next few weeks.

I have been paired with another peer, and this time we must ‘Build a Text Driven Game’. During the lecture, Matt suggested an interesting game called ‘A Dark Room’ (Doublespeak Games, 2013), which I enjoyed playing a lot. It demonstrated nicely that a lot of storytelling could be done just with words and simple timer mechanics alone.

Below is a list of deliverables for next week:

After the lecture, I contacted Louis, the person I would be working with, and we agreed to think on the idea overnight, and contact each other tomorrow to brainstorm about it.

02/10/20

GAM701

Before speaking with Louis, I did some research on the words ‘Call’ and ‘Response’ to get a better idea of their meanings. Below is an image of the notes I took, plus the ones I took during the call I had with Louis. During this call we discussed our own interpretations of the word and how we could combine that into an interesting idea.

Transcribed version:

Call – Verb – give a specified name.

  • Cry out (a word or words)

Noun

  • A cry made as a summons or to attract someone’s attention.
  • The characteristic cry of a bird or other animal

Response – noun

  • A verbal or written answer
  • A reaction to something

Brainstorming

  • Calling out to an animal – cat, mind of their own. Player should be the cat. Lighthearted game.
  • Could look into how cats perceive the world – base artstyle around this.
  • Artstyle ideas – stylised abstract.
  • Should think about 2 outcomes – good and bad? Good – cat returns to owner, bad – new owner (alternatively loyal and selfish endings)
  • Cat is in charge of the situation
  • Cat has gone outside, owner is trying to call it back in – countryside setting
  • Cat encounters many things when outside – rat, danger eg fox or other cat.
  • Cat could encounter a mirror and fight its reflection.

We also discussed how we would make the game, and I suggested using Ren’Py. This is a Visual Novel programme which I have used previously, it is free to use and also has a guide online to follow, and this will speed up the creation process. It uses Python programming, and is very kind to visuals as well as branching narratives, something which we both want to use. We decided the Louis would programme and help with writing the story, whereas I would work on the art for the game and the writing too.

We both discussed many suggestions for the story, such as the cat being at a farm and leading a revolt of the other farm animals, as suggested by Louis.

With this information, we were able to come up with an X-Statement and a few paragraphs to describe the game, as required.

We decided to gather some references for the mood board, such as pictures of Louis’ own cat, which we could base the cat in-game after. I looked further into how cats view the world, as noted above, and found an interesting article by Business Insider detailing just this, featuring some very useful images.

An example of what a cat’s vision could look like. (Spector, 2018)

Here is a link to the reference gathering we have been doing, including other visual novels we have looked at, all reference links included in the notes section. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1exbwa0qFMCNalPyqNRMcRR3u-fn20b-DfA_1jKXhjl4/edit#slide=id.p

This made me think about having an autumnal countryside setting as I could incorporate lots of yellows and warm, desaturated colours, as present in the images above. I started making a moodboard on pinterest after the call, and I will finalise this on Monday.

We decided to call again after the weekend on Monday, and in the meantime think about potential names for the game and more narrative points we could include. I am excited for this task, I was initially quite worried, as I had just finished the previous task, and this made me concerned about managing my time for GART702. However, knowing that we have a longer time to complete this task has reassured me.

As mentioned earlier, next week I would like to focus a lot more on GART702, so this is what I will be working towards, and hopefully my next post will include a lot more of my own artwork!

References:

Spector, D., 2018. How Cats See The World Compared To Humans. [online] Business Insider. Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.com/pictures-of-how-cats-see-the-world-2013-10?r=US&IR=T> [Accessed 2 October 2020].

Posts so far:

Week 1 Reflection

Week 2 Reflection

Week 3 Reflection

Week 4 Reflection

Week 5 Reflection

Week 6 Reflection

Week 7 Reflection

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