Reflective Journal Week 2 (13/03/2017)

Monday 13th March: What did I do? Today, I was introduced to Adobe Spark by David Walters. Adobe Spark seems like a much more appealing option for a journal than a written book. I spent all day converting work from my written journal into this online one, which took a while, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run as it's both quicker and more aesthetically pleasing!

So what? Using Adobe Spark will allow me to create detailed reflection on my work in a fast and efficient manner. The software allows me to structure my work with images, videos and text so I can expand on what I did much easily. The Videos will help the reader understand the steps I went through to create a certain design, and the images help with reference, inspiration and tools used, as well as being much more visibly appealing for any viewer in comparison to a written textbook.

Adobe Spark tool adding a showcase of images

Now what? I will continue to use Adobe Spark to do a weekly journal which shows progress from every day in that week. The journal is based on a simple principle, what?, so what?, now what? and this principle will be maintained throughout. As I continue to keep up this journal I can relate back to it at anytime if I need to recall any information or any process I forgot about. The journal will also be a key part of my final project as it is a way in which I can evaluate how I did from week to week. If I feel the need to delve into any of these sub-headings in more detail, I may explain it in a different section. These points are just for guidance. (what?, so what?, now what?)

Tuesday 14th March: What? Today I presented my idea to the class and tutor Jason Barlow using a PowerPoint presentation with my team mate Ryan Hodder. Going into the presentation, we had a pretty clear understanding of each other's role, and intended to take it in turns with each slide, explaining each bullet point in more depth. I felt very nervous going into the presentation as I was afraid of messing up due to the grading of the whole thing.

Our PowerPoint was simple with few bullet points that were intended to be a start point for us to expand on answering key questions regarding our concept, such as target audience, base concept, inspiration and our individual roles on the project. Looking at past presentations I realised it's much better to have less text on the slide so the viewers don't get too bored.This also allows you to relay much more information through speech. As a whole, I believe this was a pretty solid game plan for us to follow for a successful presentation.

Leading up to the presentation, we hadn't really done a run-through of the entire thing as we thought it would be enough for us to revise our own slides and know what we were going to say.

Some of the slides from our PowerPoint

Our presentation also featured a clip that we were supposed to have time stamped from 3:00 to the end of the video. The video was to explain some of the inspiration we used when thinking of our concept, which was an oriental village based on Japanese culture.

The presentation didn't have the strongest of starts with my team mate Ryan Hodder not being able to remember what he had revised to say. I noticed him struggling and reading the slides so I quickly decided to take over and say a few points while he recouped. He quickly took back over and gained confidence and was able to successfully finish his part. I was a bit shook up from the previous incident so I felt very pressured in my slide, leading me to repeat some things twice. However, I would say it went quite well. Midway through our presentation, Ryan was supposed to have explained a short clip which we time stamped around 3 minutes but he didn't get across everything that I was hoping for, so I tried to improvise and add onto his statement, but at this point he had already gone off the video so it was hard to relate what I was saying when the video wasn't there for the audience to see. The presentation finished fairly strong with me and Ryan feeling a bit more comfortable, I was also able to show off some of the work I had done previously on Japanese culture before even starting this project.

Oriental Models

So what? Doing this presentation has definitely taught me to prepare more, especially when I have a partner involved as its impossible to know how they will deal with the pressure, and having a back up plan could come in handy.

When It comes to using YouTube videos in presentations I could time stamp them so I find the necessary area straight away, it would also be ideal to use the YouTube feature to slow down the video as it would give me more time to explain and expand on relevant points.

I feel like we did touch on all of the points that we set out to explain, we also answered all questions with accurate and detailed responses to inform the audience of anything they weren't quite sure on. I also think the layout of the presentation was decent, In previous experience I learned having little information but then expanding a lot is the key.

Another key thing I took from this experience is that both me and Ryan will have to learn with each other and help each other out when necessary. During the presentation we helped each other and prevented a disaster.

Now what? I will take all of the previous points into account and improve on all of my faults. Now that we have completed our presentation and cemented our concept we can begin collecting references and inspiration that will allow us to create our desired design. While in the presentation we grasped a good understanding of the process that other teams are going for in our class, and as we learned preparation is key, we hope to be fully prepared come the development stage.

Wednesday 15th March: What? This week we had yet another member of Codemasters join us for another presentation, again this guy worked on the Formula 1 games. The huge difference in this presentation and the one we received last week is that Brad Porter was the lead audio designer while Tiffany was a programmer.

He told us loads about what sort of things he has to do throughout the day as a leader, much more of his work was attending what they like to call "scum of scrums" which is a big meeting so each department knows where they are at in terms of development. He mentioned he has to help the junior designers with their work and inform them on what they need to be doing if they were to want a promotion or pay rise.

The presentation then went into much more depth of what he actually does. He showed us many images of him traveling abroad and outside the studio where he was recording sounds on mainly vehicles. He was able to show us some of the equipment used and how it was used; the microphones are literally taped to various parts of the car such as the engine and exhaust and then all of that sound information is then mashed together and processed when they get back to the studio.

We were able to gain an understanding on how he got into the industry. He started as a QA tester and then he decided to base all of his reports on about 90% audio bugs, he quickly became the guy to go to for any issues with audio and introduced himself to the developers. After they realised he knew what he was talking about they gave him a trial in the audio department where he was successful and was offered a full time job.

He finally explained to us that it really does help to have a degree when getting an interview for a job in the industry, however you must be confident in using the relevant software or it will be really difficult to hold a job.

So what? Having so much time to listen to various people who have actually made it into the industry and thrived is priceless. He made it obvious that hard work and passion pays off and gave a very motivational story to further motivate the students.

Listening to his story, especially the bit where he did loads of overtime for two years really made me understand that if you have passion and persistence you will make it into the industry at some point.

Listening to these presentations has made me realise that there are so many paths that you can go down in the industry so its extremely important to find out what you're passionate about.

Now what? I am going to take the advice of the professionals and really focus in my work, I hope to excel in the things I really enjoy such as modeling and texturing. I will always keep their stories in mind and be persistent even after my education with trying to break in to the industry.

I plan on trying a portfolio and my degree first but if that doesn't work then I will for sure consider going down the path of being a QA tester, even if I have to do tons of overtime I believe it will all be worth it in the end when I manage to land a job.

Thursday 16th March:What? Today I began collecting inspiration and references for my sketchbook which will allow me to create some concepts next week. I collected various types of plants, most of which were found in Japan, however as our village is supposed to be mystical I began collecting plants from all over the world.

So what? These plants will give me a greater understanding on how to model organic things. Organic objects create a unique challenge as they are much more rounded compared to the structures I am used to creating. Having this unique challenge allows me to learn and understand new modifiers that I will be able to implement at a later date.

Now what? Using all of the resources i have collected I will be able to go in and model my own foliage with confidence. I will be able to capture Japanese foliage in my own unique plants and hopefully obtain a stunning environment for a finished product.

I could even use modifiers I learn when creating these plants to further my skills in building inanimate objects. Having this experience will increase my skill as a modeler overall.

Friday 17th March: Took the day off to sort some things out :)

Did I achieve my weekly goals? I did do some research and a few models, but no where near as much as I expected to get done. I didn't account for any unexpected events such as how difficult it is to model some plants without adding the texture onto the model straight away. Another issue that presented itself was that when I researched into Japanese foliage I wasn't too fond of some of the plants and decided to branch out into all types of foliage. So to summarize, I didn't achieve all I wanted to achieve this week and will have to extend some of the work into early next week.

To take steps to ensure this doesn't happen again I will:

  • Stop doing as many side tasks in real life giving me more time to focus on education
  • I will try to go over our idea with my partner and refine our idea should any more problems arise
  • Prepare better and expect the unexpected

Next weeks goals? I will finish the research I started on foliage in the sketchbook along with a few concept ideas for my own plants. I will then start modeling and unwrapping walls so we can begin to create the layout of the level. I may even sculpt some of the map in Unreal so we can gain an understanding of the space we want to fill up with assets. Gaining the proportion of the level will allow me to further refine how many models I make.

To make the walls I will be adding some more inspiration and reference images to my sketchbook and use those to create some concepts I can create that will be unique to our map. This will also go hand in hand with avoiding the modular aspect on such a small map, everything will hopefully be unique and different.


Created By
Jordan Watkins

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