Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Concept Art Practice: Learning Outcomes

Knowledge & Understanding 

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of business aspects of working as a concept artist including copyright issues, pricing, and the rights of an artist.

From my own experience of working both on this course on briefs set by outside studios and working as a freelance concept artist already, I have found the importance of working to a set of rules that determine how to behave within the creative industry. By using and adhering to non-disclosure agreements, studios protect themselves from concept artists like myself from talking to outside influences about top secret intellectual property (IP) that could potentially damage the studio's current release. Agreements and work contracts like this determine the rights that the artist has when it comes to who owns the work they create by contractually agreeing to take the position of the creator for a client, who will then own certain parts of the work then created. The creator could be paid in any number of ways (per hour, per piece) depending on the agreed form of payment through the contract. Contracts are used in this way to make sure the artist hired cannot then use a company's IP for themselves, to promise payment for a job well done and to maintain secrecy on high interest projects.

2. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of concepts, information and techniques at the forefront of Concept Art.

Cognitive & Intellectual Skills 

3. Synthesise complex concepts and professional practice into the production of original imagery.

All the briefs that were given to us by Atomhawk, Ubisoft and Dreamworks showed a level of complexity that in turn asked us to work to industry standards. 

4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key issues relating to Concept Art practice.

When working within any industry as a concept artist, there will times where one will have to follow and work to briefs set by the client one is working for. This may be in a studio or freelance basis. I feel that for this module I have addressed the briefs given to me by Atomhawk, Ubisoft and Dreamworks successfully, making sure to consider the main tasks and challenges that I was set without deviating from the original art style of the chosen IP that I was asked to base my work around. Being also able to properly understand and communicate ideas effectively as a concept artist shows that you have not only understood what has been asked of you on the brief but that your ideas will (hopefully) be commercially successful. 

Being able to work efficiently to the brief you have been given is also another issue that concept artists have to think about when creating work. When working for clients who need to meet strict deadlines, working quickly and correctly becomes an essential skill that many artist should naturally aim for. Spending hours on a piece that another artist can create in half the time means that the clients would much rather hire the artist who works faster. 

Practical & Professional Skills 

5. Demonstrate a professional and effective approach to the specialist area of 'Pitch Presentations'.

With every visiting studio we had we also took part in presenting the work we were tasked to create to the representative from each place. By presenting my work in a clear PDF format, ordered by task and shown on the big screen, I was able to communicate my ideas in a coherent manner. I then talked about each of my pieces while presenting my development of each brief to the class, discussing the production choices I made throughout the project. 

6. Analyse and interpret challenging client briefs and produce relevant and original work in response.

7. Demonstrate critical understanding of specialist techniques relevant to Concept Art.

Throughout this module I used a number of different techniques to produce work. By using quick thumb-nailing and silhouetting for environment and character design I was able to quickly produce a set of pieces that could be taken forward to a more finished result. By also using a number of model sheets for my character, building and gadget design submissions I was able to present my pieces in ways that would be accessible for 3D modellers to use further along in the production pipeline. 

8. Explore and evaluate a range of visual responses to a brief. 

By creating a number of different iterations of my Assassin's Creed assassin design, Atomhawk clearing design and silhouettes for my Marco Polo design I was able to explore many varying options that could possibly be used as final ideas. By planning, thumb-nailing and silhouetting my designs I could find the most successful pathway to take in a quick and streamlined fashion, not necessarily worrying about minute detail that could slow down development. 

Key Transferable Skills

9. Reflect on practice and recognise and critically appraise strengths and weaknesses. 

I have learnt so much within this module by having a number of outside influences not only critique but also set our course work. By having a different input on the work I created throughout the module from other sources I found that I tried to push my work in different directions than I normally would. In particular, the Dreamworks brief (to redesign a famous character in an old and young form) forced me completely out of my comfort zone to work on solely character design. I feel that the creative process for this really taught me about my own ways of confronting character design problems in the future, allowing me to think through design by using silhouetting and iterative processes to reach a final image I was really happy with. 

The feedback I received from Ubisoft was very clear in that the setting I had chosen was not very successful. This was incredibly useful to hear as the design process throughout this part of the project was very difficult to concept due to the complete lack of planning I had taken prior to starting with my ideas. The idea of using wartime Berlin was not the strongest setting to place a mostly hand-to-hand combat orientated game. I have learnt from this from how I needed to instead take time to hone down to a setting that would allow for the brief to grow into a much more successful set of artworks. The artworks I did create were held back by poor planning on my part.

The Atomhawk brief challenged me to create a set of environment pieces that I felt incredibly comfortable with to begin with,  only to find that my poor planning and lack of thumb-nailing again lead me to having trouble with my final piece. I have learnt from this the importance of trying out a number of ideas first before jumping straight into a final piece that might not necessarily work. I feel that my work was successful in the end, but the time it took to get there was far too long. 

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