Saturday, October 13, 2012

Specialist Study 1 project

Specialist Study 1 is the first module of my third year studies at Birmingham City University.
The module is set to provide me with the possibility on gaining the essential skills that are necessary in a professional career. The goal is the clearly identify an area of practice I want to focus on and mastering it. This process involves: researching, concepting, refining ideas, improving techniques and methodologies etc. 

Start of a journey (or is it?)

The first step I have taken was a thorough recap about what I would love to do in my life, what makes me happy. I cannot imagine myself 20 years from now, waking up in the morning and having to do something I don’t enjoy. I think it’s worth investing time into resolving these issues and identifying my ambitions in life.
Looking at my desires, doing some self-analysis is very important professional wise as well. Most of the people I have met so far, who are doing very well in their professional life all say that they enjoy what they do. It makes sense: the effort you put into something that makes you happy is unrivaled and unique. Especially today, effort and hard work is valued over any other thing.
Obviously, Computer Graphics is the area I plan my professional future in. I`ve been spending a significant amount of my time throughout the last 7 years learning and creating work in Computer Graphics. I had the opportunity and time to go through its main areas: from conceptualizing to modeling, right down to the final render and finishing touches in compositing.
I can say that I enjoy all of these areas and in a way I will always be a Generalist. I feel that understanding the entire work pipeline and being able to perform on a certain level in all of the areas is an important trait to have.
Despite the fact that being a Generalist is an advantage, I have always wanted to be exceptionally good at one certain area. Specializing in one part of CG is something that I feel really strong about.


I have taken a few steps back to review my experiences during the last 7 years. I`ve looked at almost all of the projects I have worked on so far and have taken notes of what I enjoyed mostly about each of them, what I have learned and how they changed my view on CG, if at all. I realized that modeling is where most of my strengths and ambition lie. If I think back on how much time I`ve spent on the modeling part of each project, I`d say it’s well over 60%-70%. I would always go that extra mile to make sure all the forms and shapes are beautifly created. Not only the shapes, but topology was amongst my main priorities as well. I would completely rebuild a model if I felt that there was a cleaner, a more optimized way of creating it.
I still feel the same passion towards modeling, especially environmental modeling. Creating a setting out of thin air that has its own mood, feeling and atmosphere is astonishing. It is also very hard to master, meaning it involves a lot of studying, which I actually enjoy very much. Well, this has to do with the fact that I am doing something I love, so studying it doesn’t sound daunting at all… quite the contrary.
Environmental modeling is something that requires you to be creative, but at the same time can (and most of the times is) very technical as well. These two attributes and the marriage of them is what results in a good piece of work. I like to be very technical, but at the same time use that to create something meaningful. Your work has to have meaning, a purpose, otherwise you’ve only done it for yourself. (More on this later.)

First conclusions

So, after going through a bit of self-analysis, here is what it all boils down to: I want to be an Environment Artist and a Generalist.
The next step will involve research work. I already have experience and knowledge regarding the matter, but I need to systemize these.I need to learn how to use the information I already poses and find out what I still need to look into in order to get a better understanding about the steps I have to take in order to be successful. As a result, my next task is to:

- Study the history of Computer Graphics with a focus on Environment Artists.
- Research the leading professionals of today and study their work and career-path.
- Find out what the requirements of today are in order to be successful and highly employable.        

In order to learn what is asked of Environment Artists today I will gather as many interviews, articles etc. of professionals I can. I will also look at job requirements of significant companies in the Computer Graphics industry (this involves companies in Gaming, VFX, Commercial, Film etc.) . As the industry grows, the skills to be had regarding a certain position changes quite drastically. I will need to learn what the requirements were in the past, what they are today and possibly draw some conclusions about where this line of work is heading in the future.

Here are a few inspirational work:

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