The Project and What I Created
One of the requirements of Studio units is that you need to do cross discipline work. This could be a multitude of different things, however as an animator you find yourself more than likely working with a games student creating assets. This Trimester I worked on a games project called Shared House, which was a VR game created to give the feeling of being at home, and what the thought of home was for the lead designer. The project was similar to one I worked on last Trimester (talked about here) in the fact that they both have the same starting theme, which is home. I wasn’t involved in any other cross discipline throughout Studio 2 as I usually lost interest after discussion post pitch.
For this project we were giving an asset list and had free reign on what we could make. Instead of the game designers assigning assets they instead let us sign up for the ones we wanted to make. This actually worked out really well as we could choose what assets were best suited for ourselves and essentially get it done quicker. I myself signed up to make a whiteboard + Accessories (Eraser and markers) as well as multiple sets of drawers. Thanks to the low poly art style these really weren’t difficult to create, and at the same time allowed for creative freedom. This was the perfect project for me as it allowed me to save a lot of time and at the same time meet the learning outcomes required for Studio 2.
What Went Well
This project as a whole ran really smoothly. Being able to pick and choose what assets we wanted to make made the whole process fairly seamless. The visual style was very clear, and allowed for easy assets and minimal texturing. Thanks to the fact that the assets were flat colours it wasn’t difficult at all and was made primarily out of basic 3ds Max materials with the diffuse colour changed. UV Unwrapping was only really necessary just in case they needed them for lighting, and even then because of the simplicity of the models it was just a case of flatten by polygon angle in the UV editor. Thanks to the nature of the project there wasn’t any collaboration needed between other animators, which is usually the cause of problems in the majority of projects. There really wasn’t much to fault in this project as it was pretty clear cut what was expected, and almost all the work was individual which helps a lot.
What Didn’t Go Well
Like with everything, there isn’t any project that can’t be faulted. While this project was one of the smoothest things I have worked on, it did have one fairly large fault, that being communication. There wasn’t any sort of medium set up for communication (such as Slack, Discord, etc) which meant that all communication was either done in person, or through a big chain of emails to the game designer. This meant that when there was an issue it would often take a few days to get it sorted. Back and forth emails was the go to for this project and caused delay in communication, even if just to figure out the smallest of issues.
An example of this was when the game designers had requirements for the model that I originally hadn’t taken into consideration. It took a few days for the thing to be fixed simply due to emails back and forth and the delayed time it took for responses to be seen/sent. Luckily this wasn’t a huge problem in the scale of it all, and it is more of a case of me nitpicking.
What I Learned
Due to the simplicity of the project I really didn’t learn much at all. The project was more of a quick modelling practice than anything, and even then the models are fairly low poly in style and weren’t difficult to create at all. If I learned anything though it is that I need to jump into cross discipline projects as fast as possible. When it comes to cross discipline it is kind of a dog eat dog world in terms of animators scrambling at every games designer that pitches a project. The whole thing can be a bit of a mess.
What I Would Do Next Time
Next time around I will definitely jump on cross discipline projects a lot earlier, even if the work is pretty minimal. This project was super relaxing to work on, and the more I look out for means the less stress I have to deal with near the end of Trimester (the scrambling for a project to meet the learning outcome). Worst case scenario is I don’t commit to a project after the pitch, which is no harm. Another thing I could do is possibly recommend/sort out a better way of communicating if there isn’t one in place, that way feedback can be easier to get and problems get solved a bit quicker.