It seems to be the story of my life: falling into ruts and not getting anything done. It amazes me that I can sit in a work atmosphere and get about 7 hours of solid work done everyday, whilst thinking about all the things I want to accomplish when I get home, only to arrive and do absolutely nothing. And then I go to sleep...
I wish I was back in school again. Somehow, when I was in college, I could go to class for sometimes 10 hours a day, go home, and work like mad. Maybe it's because all the work I did were projects that needed to be done. But for some reason I can't convince myself that all the personal projects I have before me today are important enough that I need them to be done. My mind says I am more than content just leaving all of these unfinished projects lying around. Well I'm fucking sick of it.
I see peers who have moved on and are achieving great things. I know people who are either still in school or have graduated and are pumping out so much work it's ridiculous! I figure they have to work nonstop all the time in order to get stuff done, but then I find out, they are also further along in Skyward Sword than I am as well. It's frustrating and I am so jealous of their work ethics.
So I have decided I need to reboot myself. I believe I have done this before to no avail, but it will never truly happen unless I keep trying, so here goes...
I keep this blog as kind of a way to track myself for future reference. Hopefully in the future I can look back at all of these pathetic journal entries and laugh. Hopefully....
But this post is going to be the starting point of a new initiative. That gun up there is something I started AGES ago, and I'm going to finish it here soon. I have also started a new game project with a fellow graduate. I'll probably be talking more about that later.
So here's to working! If I start to slack off, I expect someone to kick my ass back into gear. If that someone has to be me, than so be it.
My Flaming C fan art from my last post made it into the Flaming C gallery in LA during this years ComicCon! Someone snapped a photo of it here http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/07/24/conan-obrien-flaming-c-art-gallery-comic-con-san-diego/?a_dgi=aolshare_facebook
I can finally say I've been in a gallery (sans the one or two times from high school). This is cool though!
Anyway, I'm still building up the portfolio. I have a plan and have been scratching through it, making a little progress here and there. I'll post more stuff once I get it done. I'm also in the middle of a job change which will be extending my morning commute from 6 minutes to 20; and on 95 degree days like we've been having this summer, driving 20 minutes with no AC could be pretty unbearable. But I'll finally be making a fixed salary and have DENTAL!!! PRAISE THE LORD!
I'm involved in a lot of project right now. Probably too many. I'm starting the design phase for that flash game I mentioned in my last post. It needs an art style and concepts for everything. I also started working on YouTube again. My first partner channel is still making money but I'm working with a friend to get my second channel partner ready so we can continue making videos and get even more cash. Then there's my internship which I only really ever have to worry about when I'm actually "at" their building. But then of course there is the local animation group that has started a video project that also needs concepts for. And finally the mod projects that I've been making 1 or 2 small assets for but can never find the time to work on. All of this is caked onto all of the personal projects I want to make and for some reason I manage to sit and do nothing for long hours while a home....
It amazes me because I work I can sit and model something for 8 hours straight, but once I get home, I'm hard pressed to have any inspiration to work on anything. Maybe it's the detraction of playing Pokemon White or all of the peanut MnMs, but who knows. But I at least know what I want to do. I have my next demo reel all planned out. All I need is to make everything on my list while dodging through all of my other projects.
Here are some things I've made recently:
Tonight is the last WWE pay per view at the local bar that I get to watch with my friend Brad before he moves away and gets married... Hopefully John Cena doesn't go and win or anything.
Anyway, I never updated all of you non-existant followers to the results of the Polycount contest! Welp: I lost.
But don't worry, the amount of crazy good entries was ridiculous. Suits me right for going up against a bunch of seasoned professionals. My only gripe is that the game industry judges only got to vote for the winners out of the top 5 entries chosen upon by the general polycount public. So even though the contest was to have the most creative redesign of a character, they let everyone just vote for Cammy from Street Fighter because people love Cammy from Street Fighter. And then she ends up winning! (it kind of helped also that that entry landed the front page of Kotaku while the contest was under way) I'm not saying the winning models weren't bad. Because they weren't. They were absolutly astounding! But just the fact that a lot of other people with actual "creative" ideas got over looked because they didn't make super popular (or sexy) characters is what seems shitty about the whole thing. Even the industry judges commented on every winner about how it wasn't "the most creative idea", but it won, so who cares.
Here's my entry for anyone who cares:
Like I said, not the greatest, but still a cool idea. You can see more renders of it on my site.
ONTO OTHER THINGS! I've started a flash game project with a couple guys I knew in college. It's sure to be the next greatest game of all time. But modesty aside, it's going to be a side scrolling, platfomer/puzzle game similar to Limbo, Braid, and maybe with a few Portal elements. It should be interesting. I'm working the story and soon to be art style while my friend Bryon roughs out gameplay mechanic designs and puzzles and Nick conjures up magical programming. It's probably the greatest team ever assembled. More info on it when we actually make something.
Hey folks! A few updates. I am currently working on a character model for a PolyCount competition. You can see my thread here: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=82636
The idea is to take any character used in any fighting videogame and "re-imagine" them. I took Captain America from the newest Marvel vs Capcom title and an making him into a homeless war veteran. The poly count is 12000 tris so I have removed his legs in order to make room for the wheelchair. I have until May 17th to finish it up. These are some renders of what I have so far! In other news, I landed a part time, paid internship at a local advertising firm. I am doing 3D modeling for various projects and it's pretty fun. I'm still not sure if this is the kind of job I would want to have forever, but I feel if I was offered some kind of full time opportunity, I would be foolish to turn it down.
The problem is, I LONG to work in a bonafide game studio. Working on assets for video games in an actual game studio is something that I've been dreaming of all through college and to accept an opportunity working solely for an advertising company feels like short changing myself. NOT that this current place is bad by any means! I love the people that work there and they have some amazing stuff in their portfolio, it's just a very different environment from what I had prepared myself for.
I'm just kind of stuck at the moment. I really have no idea where I'm going. I know where I WANT to go, but I don't know exactly where to find it or how to get there. I suppose if I have to hang around here for a little while until I can figure all of that out, so be it.
I wanted to write my last blog article about this, but as I started writing I forgot because I got caught off guards by Kotaku. Ironically enough, it was Kotaku again that reminded me of this point. The best videogames (or at least game stories) are made by either one person or a team of very few. I can explain why this is because of the experiences I've had going to school for my bachelors degree Game Art and Design:
I've worked with numerous design projects, game mods, what have you, and the usual outcome is not great. A bunch of people will get together, all with their own ideas of what can be good (this is especially bad if you are all trying to get together 'just to think up a winning idea') and they all go at it. One person pitches and idea, and then another person pitches something and that gets added, and then another person changes that for a new idea. It sounds reasonable, but as everything starts to morph along with every new addition, the original idea gets beaten into obscurity.
I enetered into a design club while in school and they were looking to create a really ambitious mod project. Everyone had really nice ideas at the start, but then as everyone plugged in their own ideas, it became the same old game you see 100 times on the shelf at any store. It's kind of like when the WWE reinstituted ECW for the last time. One night for ratings they had 4 of their top guys face eachother in a 4 person matchup. The problem was, all 4 guys were so egotistital that they had to hit their finishers before the match ended. So these 4 guys go out of their way to throw people around, setting them up for these moves, which they all eventually hit. The match just became a huge mess because no one wanted to let the other man come out on top in the audiences eyes. If one of those wrestlers however would have just held back, took one for the team, and got hit with a finisher and rolled off to the side to open the stage for another, the match would have flowed so much more smoothly.
The same thing occured in this design club. If we would have just took somebody's one idea and ran with it, making minor changes here and there, but sticking close to the original concept, I think it would have been a better project.
If I had a team of 6 working to create a game, and all of them had really good ideas, I would rather we take the vast amount of time to make 6 original games than spend time making one big convoluted one.
This is the same reason I feel uneasy in a game studio where the head states that every employee has a voice in the game creation process. The entire company meets in order to give their two cents in order to make the games. I think it should be the opposite. I think they deisng heads should be the only ones that put the game ideas together, and if another artist really has a good addition, so be it. But the head designers should be forced to have to change a lot of things just to fit that one artists idea into the game.
This is my opinion based on past experiences I've had. They could change once I land a job in a higher end studio, but for right now, this is how I see it.
That is a picture of a new character I'm working on. I actually made that the other day after a couple hours of screwing around in Zbrush. I haven't had a chance to continue working on it, but it should be pretty cool when it's done. There are a lot of new ideas for stuff I want to model and things around me are starting to change which is giving me a boosted work ethic.
I've started making a LOT of prop models for Vteractive's Facebook game Questinations. They are all up on my website on the props page. We're breaking into the Easter stuff now so I have some eggs and baskets to make next. I also finally finished that mobile crane for Flaming Brain studios. Speaking of which, Flaming Brain has just redone their site and it's looking pretty snazzy, so check that out.
I'm going to spend the rest of this entry venting about the gaming news site Kotaku. Kotaku is a site that I love because it gives gaming news in a fun way. It "was" easy to read, very simple, and had people that are passionate about what they are writing about. But in recent months, the site has gone through a lot of changes. The visual changes to the site are very different, but that kind of thing I can get used to. What I'm a little upset with is the changing in the actual articles. I don't know if they have always been like this, or if I'm just getting older and starting to think about things more. I'm going to make mention of a couple in particular that bothered me.
The first comes from the writer Stephen Totilo and the article is called 'A Plea For Games To Grow Up". Stephen was at GDC this week and he walked into a presentation by David Cage (founder of the company Quantic Dream and creator of Heavy Rain among other games). Totilo explains how he started listening to Cage before dismissing the speech as "information he already knew" and so he moved on to another presentaion across the hall that interested him more. This is perfectly fine in my opinion. I probably would have done the same thing if another panel interested me more, but Totilo explains how he returned to Cage's presenation and found that it was a pretty moving speech. People were all abuzz on Twitter about how great it was, and so Totilo felt he had made the wrong choice by skipping out on the speech. He tries to make up for the fact that he missed it at the end of his Kotaku article, but honestly, there is no reason to, and I don't really care anyway. I understand that you are upset and a little embarassed that you missed the speech, but then why even add any of that to the article? Why not just report on what it was that Cage talked about and leave the rest out? Is that so hard? You shouldn't be so hard on yourself anyway, Totilo, because I think you were right in your original accusation: that the speech was all information you've heard before. I think you are just overcome by peer pressure.
Another article that I read just this morning is called "Why All The Call Of Duty Hate?" and it's written by Mike Fahey. This article takes the cake. The last one was just a little irriating, but this thing just angered me. Fahey talks about Call of Duty (CoD) and how people "hate" on it for no reason. He even goes as far to say that "In my honest opinion, I think these comments are because, well, they are horrible at the game." Fahey actually blames haters of the game because they "aren't good at it". Are you fucking kidding me? That is a response that a 14 year old would make. The fact of the matter is, everyone has their opinion, so Fahey can say whatever he wants, but belittling the people that play games, people who don't like the games that you like, and the readers of your own articles is a pretty shitty way to be a journalist.
People like Mike Fahey are the reason I don't like to play shooters. Not because I'm "not good at them". Not because they are or aren't "the same thing every time". Because assholes like Mike Fahey are fans of them and then spout off on professional web blogs about how shitty everyone else is because they don't like the same things he does. Grow up, ya big poop face.
And while I'm on the topic of poop-faces. Go to my friend Reuben's blog: http://reubnick.wordpress.com/ This kid is about 6 years younger than me, but he writes like a pro (and not really a poop-face). I only wish I could write blogs well as he does.
Maybe then someone would actually read this one........
The past few weeks I've been rambling on here about how much I hate the video game industry and how everyone who plays video games are dumb and how I hate everyone. But the truth is, I really don't HATE everyone. The video game industry is my passion. If I didn't love it, then I wouldn't have studied it for 3 years in college. The game industry is kind of like family to me. You love it, but you also hate it. You have fights and think it's stupid, but you always love it at the end of the day. I still believe there are real idiots out there that make gaming hard to support from time to time, but it's best not to think about them.
The important thing to remember is: the video game industry is still very young. And no matter how many pea brained, annoying little fanboys and fangirls there are ruining the image of videogames for contemporary society, there is still a strong backbone of hardworking, creative minds that are working diligently to push this medium further. Games are still evolving and although they currently consist mainly of people punching blood out of each other, soldiers shooting rivers of bullets into mutilated alien corpses, and pretty boy/girls fighting off zombies with swords bigger than their bodies, it's only a matter of time before something truly new and revolutionary reveals itself and changes how people look at games forever. I'm not saying it's going to happen soon, and I can't even tell you what that change will be, but I have faith that it will happen.
Here is a render of the mobile crane I've been working on for Flaming Brain Studios. This image depicts the low poly model with the normals, AO, and base colors applied. I've had a rough go with the normal map projections, but I believe they are cleaned up well enough to work. I'm sure by the time the initial diffuse map is completed, I will have fixed up the normals as well as the AO more thoroughly. I expect this model and all of its maps to be completed in the next few days. At the same time I am working on a handful of models for Vteractive's current Facebook game, Questinations. Once I get the next set of those completed, I will throw up some renders of them as a group.
Other than modeling, I have been doing some digital painting as well as reading. If you may not know, the new season of Power Rangers debuts this Monday on Nick. They are trying to promote the new series using Facebook and have been holding fan art contests as well as other ploys to draw attention to the new show. And considering how every single piece of art submitted has either been a poorly photoshopped version of an image, a copyrighted piece of artwork, or just a really bad fan creation, I've been trying to make something pretty cool. I have about 14 hours into this painting and it's sure to be bad ass. However, by the time it's done, the new show will have premiered, and for all I know, the facebook page will cease with all of its promotional antics. But oh well.
My last post was about my hatred towards the videogame world, which is ironic because that is where I'm trying to succeed career wise. I don't want people to view me as a hater of videogames or something like that, I just hate the way ALL of the media portrays the genre. Last night on the Colbert Report, they had Jane McGonigal come on and talk about the state of the videogame world and how it should be viewed by the public. She attempted to "enhance" the image of gaming in the public eye, which is understandable. She wrote a book and talked about how videogames make people more productive, give people confidence and have better lasting effects on a person than most would think. Ultimately she told the world that she wanted more people to be playing games and playing them for longer periods of time during the week. She spoke about how they are making games to teach problem solving, games that work towards solving world crisis, and games about working to cure cancer.
I understand the whole problem solving thing, but I really have no idea what she is talking about when it comes to curing cancer and that kind of stuff. I probably have to read her book in order to fully grasp what she was saying, but what it all comes down to, is that she (as well as others) are trying to change the image of videogames in a more positive way. And although I like that idea, I don't think making videogames about curing cancer is the right idea. Video games are FUCKING GAMES. They are made for entertainment. They are made for fun. You can talk about how videogames are helping to solve the problems going on in Egypt all you want, but the other day I watched a video of a 10 year old falling off a subway platform because he was playing PSP and wasn't looking where he was going. No kid is going to purchase a cancer curing game. They want something fun. Sometimes, mindless entertainment.
Videogames are a form of entertainment created for the enjoyment of people. Nobody needs to make them into some world saving tool. They are GAMES. Let them be GAMES. Society is going to hate them regardless and I'd rather have people hate them for being violence inducing weapons then think they are some kind of life changing tool created to help the world, because that's just dumb. The fact is, any videogame is bad if you spend a majority of your day sitting on the couch playing it. It's the same with television. It's the SAME THING. Don't make it into something it's not. Comic books were under fire when they first arrived on the scene, but i don't believe anyone strove to make them into manuals on fighting cancer. They are stories with pictures. Just like videogames are stories with controlled movements and flashy graphics. It's all the same.
That's not to say games and comics alike can't have stories that push people to think about world events or science, because they can and have. But they are created for entertainment first. It's all entertainment. Society needs to just deal with it, and I belive that they will. In about 30 years, videogames will take their place as just another entertainment medium alongside movies, music, tv, comics, and theater. I don't really think we have to fight it. We just need to stand up and reassure people what videogames actually are, and keep reassuring them over and over and over and over again.
The reason why I might dislike the video game industry is because of its target audience. What pop culture classifies as "a gamer" is really upsetting to me. I hate the kind of gamer that is portrayed on TV or in the news. I hate the kind of people that are playing shooters on xbox live and screaming "you just got head-shotted NOOB!" into their headsets.
This fact is something I've known for a while: Society's "gamers" are annoying as shit. But what pissed me off most about the the whole video game spectrum may be that those "gamers" are what defines the genre. If you look at movies, you think of great films, shot composure, music, going to a theater; that kind of stuff. With music you think of instruments, beats, and the artists that record it all. With video games you think of the god damn gamers.
That's not to say that actual games and graphics and stuff don't come into your mind, but when I think of video gaming, I think of the people that play games and that bothers me. When you think about music, you never think about the people that actually listen to it, or the people that go to movies; but with games, those "gamers" have become part of its definition.
The more you think about it though, you realize it has to be that way, because video games are a social medium. You are actually having an experience and it is such that in many cases you can share your experience with others in a multiplayer environment. So when considering that kind of a situation, having the "gamers" be part of that overview of the genre makes sense. Regardless, that doesn't mean it's any less annoying.
Maybe I'm just crazy and that isn't how things are at all. This was just a little revelation that I had which helped me understand my own point of view.
Ok, this is just a quick update. I finally finished this character. He's fully rigged and skinned. 6708 triangles with 100% hand painted textures.
So, now I can move on to more important models. Top priority now is to finish the mobile crane for Flaming Brain studios. I have the high poly mesh started and the low poly mesh is all unwrapped, so it shouldn't take too too long. After that, my portfolio needs props. I'm going to be making a lot of guns and probably some blades and shit too.
Also, after looking at my characters, I need a hot chick, and a big ugly monster. I technically have those already, but I need "good" ones. I also need some cartoony characters, but that stuff comes after props.
Let's see how much I can get done as fast as possible!
I'm getting my character done. I should have all of the texture maps done tomorrow (technically today). The BIG goal I have in mind is to actually master the Reaction Manager and have the character rigged by the end of the next day. I have a long history with the Reaction Manager and have groan to dislike it a lot, but I feel if I can master it: I can master anything. This character really needs to get done too because I need to move on to more important things link the mobile crane. If I don't finish this character now, I never will, so I have to hit things one at a time. After this is done, the rest should just start pouring out.
I finally obtained a second monitor today. Hopefully this can help my performance down the road.
All I know is that I really need to get my shit in gear. These models need done, my site needs updated, and I need to land a fucking job. The only way I see this happening is if my portfolio gets a drastic upgrade. I need more and better, FAST!
I'm kind of stuck in a rut right now and I'm having quite the time trying to crawl out of it. My site sits online pretty much the same as it was when I graduated and I am still without a job. I know that it's practically impossible for my to get picked up unless I have new and better work in my portfolio, but it's so damn hard when you have no motivation.
Today I worked on my character model for about 3 or 4 hours, which is good considering. The new year hit and I made a couple resolutions. 1 being that I will open up 3Ds Max on my desktop at least once a day. Even if I just move a pixel, I have to do it. If I start to work on something, I'm more apt to actually "work" on something. I'm also telling myself to do at least 1 sketch a day because my 2D work has gotten kinda sloppy. If this keeps up, I should be back on my feet and ready to start applying to the big places again.
As far as the progress on my self portrait model, I have the high poly completed (although I'll probably go back and tweak just a few minor things) and I have the retopped, low poly mesh completed as well! Now I can unwrap and start projecting. The entire model SHOULD be done, textured, rigged and skinned before the end of the month. I have spent WAY to fucking long on this model and I'm really pissed off at myself. But it should all work out soon.
I'm also working on a vehicle for Flaming Brain studios, but I've been slacking on that because of my character model. Everything's just kinda backed up right now. However, it will all get done. Especially now that I've kicked into overdrive (even though my current version of 'overdrive' would have been considered 'lazy' when I was still at school). Regardless, I have faith that I can get back to my 'work horse' state of mind and actually start busting ass.
It's weird. I am free. I don't have to work, and I'm out of school. There is nothing for me to do and yet I feel more stressed than I ever have before.
I'm ready for a change, and I think that this is the year.