Thursday, 21 May 2015

Bordering Fishes + Live Demos Trent Kaniuga

Long time no read. I have been pretty busy with a lot of things that happen in my life right now and kinda paused my artistic growth for a while. With only a few weeks left to work and major life changes coming up soon I now start to look for new plans and challenges for the rest of 2015. 

The motivation to write this blog post today came from some very cool seminars at work these days and I'd really like to share this experience and sum up what I personally took away from them.

We had two 4 hour live demos with Trent Kaniuga. Trent is a freelance concept artist for the games industries where he has been working for over a decade now. Originally he started out as a comic book artist (the Creed), later he worked with Blizzard on titles like World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade and Diablo 3. He also worked for Riot games on League of Legends. He definitely knows a thing or two about arts in the industries and was nice enough to share some of his wisdom with us. 

So on Tuesday we had an introduction presentation where he showed us what he did in his career so far. It was really nice to see, lots of eye candy. I especially enjoyed the artwork for Diablo 3, especially the designs of the Caverns of Araneae, which was one of my favorite levels in the game. It was crazy to see/hear how many iterations of the same thing are done by one single artist. I am not sure I could do 30 designs of the heavenly gates and still be motivated. 

There were two live demos in total, one about environment and one about character design. I won't get into detail since he has awesome tutorials online, so if you want to know what we saw there you can check out this video (there is a total of four videos)

Things I took away from the two days of workshop were more motivational/perspective changing than really learning techniques (although I did pick up a few new approaches on things, i.e. really liked the Gradiant Map adjustment layer --> Tutorial Painting with Gradient Maps)
- It is beneficial to combine whatever you are designing with something unexpected to make it stand out more 
- If you see pixels on your screen you zoomed in too much (or your resolution is to small)
- Plan your personal projects like you would plan in time for a client to get things done
- Learn about what you are interested in and find a way to combine your interests and things that excite you with your jobs
- "I wanna work on things people get excited about" - a simple sentence that expresses what I have been feeling subconsciously all my career long
- Albert Einstein said: “The most important question a person can ask is, "Is the Universe a friendly place?” Trents interpretation on that was very good and a philosophy I also already live by, but again, put in word really well. Basically it is to assume that there is good in people and don't hold grudges. If you think the universe is a friendly place you will be open, hopeful and trustful. If you think it isn't, you might be shut off and distrustful. People will pick up on that. The first option will open a lot more doors for you.

Funny enough I am really motivated to start on the Unity 3D course on Udemy I bought a while ago now ( For forever I felt bad doing other things and not improving artwise and after hearing that Trent is just  pursuing things he is interested in I got the push. He was talking about enjoying talking to other departments, learning about game design and liking psychology and for the first time I had the feeling that I am not the only artist thinking that way. Often I have the feeling that artists like to be shut themselves out a bit, are often a bit introverted and are hanging around with other artists, but for me, although I do enjoy being with artists, I always found it best to talk to game balancing, game design, community management and code to learn about the whys and how of the project and the thoughts on all these aspects. It is nice to know that I can still become a very good artist with enough sweat and tears and don't have to change my interests and my way of being. I guess that is the biggest bit I took from the two days of workshops and I am truly thankful for that. 

Trent has a lot of cool tutorials on his channel, make sure to check it out Trent Kaniuga on Youtube
You can also find some tutorials plus files and some of his graphic novel Twilight Monk here Trent Kaniuga on Gumroad
And he has a nice blog as well which you can see clicking here Trent Kaniuga on Blogspot

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