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Two recent college grads with major's in Applied Computer Graphics. This blog has been created to show off works in progress, while hopefully receiving feedback from fellow digital artists.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Obligatory GDC Experience and Portfolio Post

Author of Post: Captain Rara

I had the glorious stupendous amazing wonderful opportunity of being a Conference Associate again this year at GDC, Game Developers Conference. It was my second year as a CA, so I found myself a bit more mentally prepared. Last year, as a firstie, I did more panicking than actually having a good time. This year was an AMAZING experience. Aside from the obviousness of making new friends, I had the the chance to meet Tim Schafer. Tim FREAKING Schafer.

My job as a CA is to wander the conference halls and make sure everything runs smoothly. We're the people in the back of the session that wave our hands wildly to make sure the speaker knows that his time is nearly up or the people who so politely ask to scan your badge before entering a session.

So, I had made it a point to work the Double Fine Production's Session "Creative Panic: How Agility Turned Terror in Triumph". Prior to the beginning of the session, each CA has to prep the speakers. Although I'm just reminding them to repeat questions and ask if they'd like to be reminded on time, it was an opportunity to speak to Tim Schafer (and get his autograph)!

The signed Meta Card for Secret of Monkey Island.

As cool as an autograph is the best part of meeting "The Schafer " happened after the session came to end. Sean, another CA who was also a big fan of Double Fine Productions, had been talking to Lee Petty [Art Director and creator of Stacking at Double Fine]. When in his brilliance, asked if  Lee Petty would fulfill a childhood fantasy of letting us have a tour of the studio. And much to our surprise said yes.

He. Said. YES

I don't think my writing can express the insane amount of fangirling that suddenly went through my head. :fangasm:

... Anyways, that led to trading business cards with both Brad Muir ( the mind behind Trenched  Iron Brigade) and Lee Petty. All in all, it was a pretty awesome moment. Most people who know me could probably tell you that I'm a Double Fine fangirl. Therefore, the awesomeness of this moment isn't really being justified. You really just had to be there...

So, I left the Double Fine Session pretty happy with myself. Got some business cards from a production house I'd love to work for, my meta card had been signed by Tim, and I'd managed to get myself invited to a tour at Double Fine.

Which why it's pretty depressing to think about how my sudden joy intake was dissolved by one simple sentence.

"Your work is very student like."

Prior to attending GDC, I had applied to a studio that had rejected me. I'm not unfamilar to the feeling of be rejected, so I took the rejection letter in stride and wished them well on their future endeavors. However, it had been known to me that this particular studio was going to be at GDC. Well, GDC Play to be specific. 

With this knowledge, I had made it a point to visit this studio's booth and wish them luck. Upon seeing their booth, I was mildly surprised to see that the person at their booth was the person who had sent me a rejection letter [ His badge told me his name, so I knew.].  

The conversation went as follows:

"Your [Insert Name]?" I ask. He nods his head in an affirmative manner as I continue with "I'm Rachel Levine".

"Oh! You're Rachel. I remember your work, it was very student like." 

End of conversation. 

I kid you not. 

There are two different kinds of criticism. This was the latter of them, destructive criticism. I get that I'm a recent grad, my work isn't going to be quite up to yours. However, there was nothing kind nor informative about this statement. 

This was harsh, blunt, and just down right cruel. 

So picking up my shattered pride, I walked back to the CA Lounge with a horrible sad cloud over my head. I found a couch there where I attempted to sleep the horrible depression away, but when Miss Jolly decided to show up I ended up just sobbing on her shoulder.

Later, I took my portfolio over to Activision, who basically told me the same thing. But there was a difference between Activision and the person who shall not be named. Activision provided a constructive critique. What I could do to improve, what I should do if I'd actually like to apply to them, and not to give up. It was a morale boost even if it wasn't what I really wanted to hear.

So, I got over the petty words. 
Other interesting moments at GDC included watching the PonyCorn session, dinner shennanigans[which I shall not be getting into], the ridic parties, and tons of new members to the CA Family.
[[For those who don't know what PonyCorns is you can click [Here] and I shall redirect you to quite possible one of the best games on the market.] Created by a five year old and her dad at a Game Jam event, it's literally a point and click adventure about a unicorn that poops marshmallows and rainbows. Whatever money is donated to the game actually goes towards the young girl's college fund. So, I'm all for helping these guys out.]
Friday was my tour with Double Fine. And it was probably one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. I can't exactly talk about the workings of the company or anything I saw, NDA and all that. But I will say that Double Fine Productions is by far one of the most creative inducing studios I've ever seen. 

The picture that proves I was there!
And that pretty much covers most of my GDC experience. Well, I mean the interesting parts. There were tons of other things that happened, but my overall experience was probably defined by these few things described.

I wish I had more pictures to post, but phone was like NO.

So I leave you, dear readers, with an updated portfolio. Of course, my portfolio makes no sense to me at this point. So, my most recent work for a couple of mobile games can be found on my Behance Page.

Which can be found  ↴
            It's mah Behance Profile!

Till next time!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bust-n-Rush Space Trailer

Author of Post: Miss Jolly

For the last month or so Techtonic Games has been working on the new Space level for Bust-n-Rush, Here's the newest trailer!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SCI Projects and Life...

Author of Post: Captain Rara

As mentioned in my previous post, I had been working on some contracted stuff for Smooth Curves Interactive. I'm in the process of creating three different mobile apps: Muzicube, ZombyPop, and an unannounced project currently.

I'll post some updated work from them here.

From Muzi: 

New Icons are Highlighted

From Zomby: 


Unannounced Project:

There will be more in the future! No worries.

Till then!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bust-n-Rush Reveal Trailer

Author of Post: Miss Jolly

For the past six months,  Techtonic Games has been working on Bust-n-Rush. We've recently submitted it to the Independent Games Festival, and here's the trailer!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Author of Post: Miss Jolly

Author of Post: Miss Jolly

Hello! I apologize for my abscense, but I'm really excited to share what I've done in the past six months. 

During the GDC, both Rachel and I got a lot of good feedback on Grungy Bathroom. But almost immediately after GDC, I was given the opportunity to take an art test for a start up company. I was completely distracted from Grungy Bathroom, and to Captain Rara I apologize sincerely. :(  This start up was a result of my roommate and his uncle combining their talents to create a company made up of Chico graduates. The art test consisted of several parts, but my favorite (and all consuming) part of the test was the pixel art. There were five images requested. A tree, a sheild, a chest, a bottle and a sword. 

I started with the tree, due to the fact that best tutorials I could find were all foliage based. This took more than a few hours, but I was really happy to be doing such a zen art form. This also lead to me taking much longer on small things. Like leaves.

Next I tried the shield. I continue to use really dark outlines which is pretty consistent with my drawing style as well. I used some basic texturing practices with the design and stone on this piece.

This bottle was probably the most exciting one to work on out of all the pixel pieces. Trying to make little squares into a round shape is all kinds of fun. Tutorials were very useful in the making of this one.

I had to use some references, but I think the shading is a little off.  I watched a lot of Bones doing this one,

This is my favorite one. I love horror movies and I love gore so I decided to do some sort of demon living blade thing. I'd like to animate the heart beating some day. 

After the pixel part of the test, I was asked to do a UI for the game of Tetris. 

Now, I'm a big sucker for rust and grunge. I decided to play to what I know, (Which is grunge, if you couldn't tell. :) ) and do a rusted down machine look. I really enjoy combining photo textures with photo realistic painting. Coincidentally, I had been obsessed with Tetris the entire time I was taking the test. I would literally start to dream about falling blocks. 

After completing the UI, I was fortunate enough to get the job. The day after I graduated CSU Chico, I moved from Chico to Santa Barbara CA. Since June, I've been working full time for Techtonic Games

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Onto Bigger and Better Things...

Author of Post: Captain Rara

I can honestly say that I've officially graduated college. My diploma arrived in the mail about a week ago and now I'm officially living in the real world. My summer class had me doing about five different projects. However, they didn't actually pan out quite the way I had imagined. Initially, I had been really excited about the prospect of creating a lot of new portfolio work. Yet as the summer progressed it became apparent that I would end up focusing on just a one or two different projects.

Project 1: The Fruit Bowl Lighting Challenge from 3D render. [Fruit Bowl Rant / Lighting Process and Final Render]

Project 2: Grunge Bathroom. [A project that had started way back in February and has recently just ended. Rant/Issues/Problems will be discussed below.]

Although, I probably could have gotten another one of the other original discussed projects done; I sort of ran into a whole other completely different project. I had some how managed to become a freelance artist through the process of the summer. Under contract from a start up called SCI (or Smooth Curves Interactive); I got the opportunity to create art for mobile games. 

Currently, I've been working on 3 different projects for SCI: Muzicube, ZombyPop, and an Unannounced Project. 

Muzicube Icons


Unannounced SCI Project

Unannounced SCI Project

Each project has had it's own individual challenges. Ranging from teaching myself pixel art to making low poly character models, these newer projects are something that I've never really had the chance to do. Everything abut each project is something new, we~ll except the unannounced one. My skills in texturing are put back to use in creating these rusted/old/worn/used keys.

But, I digress. Seriously digress. 

Grunge Bathroom! (The Return)
Until I can find an animator who may be willing to help animate the camera for me, Grunge Bathroom is hence forth done. Check out my failed attempt to slightly create an animation.

It's short. I get that. But it took nearly 10 hours for my computer to render that scene. The entire scene is incredibly high poly, and my render settings are probably not helping. While the original idea of using high poly models seemed like a good idea at the time; that decision may have come back to haunt us. 

The majority of my work was focused on the lighting of grunge bathroom. To call this scene a challenge would be an understatement. To be honest, I really hadn't though it would be too big of a challenge, but I was proven wrong. Most of my projects have had an off-screen light source or indirect light which is usually from outside. Because of those facts, I spent a good while on just the lighting because I had never really just lit an indoor scene. I found myself looking up grungy looking bathrooms or incredibly horrible tacky fluorescent lit rooms that make you want to cringe.

I had issues with the scene just being too neutral in color or it was just a bit too dark and a bit too hard to see in general.

Earlier Attempts:

 Things weren't just working quite right.

I probably restarted the lighting about five or six times. In the end, I decided to focus the light in one particular area. And ended getting the final result as shown below. 
Final Stylized Version
I ended up stylizing the scene a tinge -- a lot. But I like the final result. The previous post had an even more stylized version of the dust particles floating around. But based on some anonymous critiques, I decided to take out the dust. It was distracting and took too much away from the scene.

Lighting Layout:

As also mentioned in the previous post, I attempted to learn how to use Mental Ray lights. To an extent I understand them yet they're still something I've yet to truly understand. I'm not even going to get into that discussion. =|

So I think I'm winding down on this post. Oh! Although a little late, I meant to attach the lighting layout for the Fruit Bowl Challenge but totally forgot. So--

Here it is!
I'll also edit the final Fruit Bowl Lighting Challenge post and attach this. =]


Friday, September 30, 2011

The Return of Grunge Bathroom: Part 4

Author of Post: Captain Rara

Grunge Bathroom is nearing it's end. This will be the final post on grunge bathroom for awhile. The project itself started way back in February, with the intention of actually applying for an internship. But as many people know, life tends to get in the way. 

It was a learning experience to say the least. Laura did the modeling and a good majority of the texturing, while I did some texturing and all of the lighting. The final plan for the scene was to do a fly-through of the bathroom, but animation isn't really my forte. I'll probably go back at some other point in my lifetime and re-do a lot of the lighting. 

I'm starting to get a better understanding of lighting but it'll be a long time before I really truly understand a lot of the mechanics of it. 

I stuck mostly with maya lights, but I experimented some with the mental ray lights.
So for now he's a render.