Last weekend, Plymouth College of Art opened their main campus to the public for a huge exhibition of work by their students. The college holds a Summer Show every year to show work from the students who are graduating that year. I try to go and see as much of the Show as I can because it is great to meet the artists and talk to them about their work, to learn about what the courses are like, and to see so many different styles and forms of artwork. I will be trying to cover as much of this year’s Show #BreakingThrough17 as possible this year but as there is so much I will be doing it across different blogposts. This one is about the Game Arts room on the first floor.
The projects on display range from interactive VR prototype games to character design work and projects with more focus on story development. I wore a VR headset and experienced being in a virtual spaceship as it flew around a space station and dodged meteorites as the creator, Jake Kay, piloted it using the keyboard. Jake’s simulation of being in space felt realistic and I could look at stars and a planet and asteroids all around me. I felt a bit unbalanced when I took off the headset but I would like to try out more VR projects because they really can give the sense of being in a different world.
Jake said his project took around four months to model and code and was inspired by other games he enjoys like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen. He said he had “lots of fun” on the course and he hopes to find work as an environmental artist in the future.
There are other environmental modelling projects on display in the room. One is an interactive VR experience called House Vr by Lucy Kisielewska, where the player is able to move around with teleportation (in a similar way to Google Streetview) and pick up and throw objects like cushions and cans using handheld controllers which show up in the VR simulation as a pair of hands.
I also watched video of a 3-dimensional courtyard built by Amy Watson complete with houses, wagons and a well.
One of my favourite projects in the Game Arts room is Sarah Damo’s Wonder Seekers. She has some beautiful concept artwork on display as well as a 3D printed model of a robot, an art book, and a video of short animated scenes. Sarah told me that Wonder Seekers is about “the story of a girl and a parrot in a post-apocalyptic world full of marvels” and that she wanted to do something “a bit different” by creating a post-apocalyptic world that “isn’t dark”.
Sarah explained that her work is inspired by many things, including Romanticism, Impressionism and 90’s cartoons. She works using Photoshop and creates short animations with After Effects. She showed me how she had deliberately placed a three-dimensional robot character on a two-dimensional background drawing in order to make the character stand out.
Not all the concepts on display are for video games. Jack Challoner has created bright and colourful artwork for his card game design project The Art Of Restrict. I read through his detailed explanation of his decision making and artistic process designing monsters. He thought about real creatures in our world and incorporated some of their anatomical features into his invented creatures to make them more believable. He has thought deeply about colour, shape, environment, movement, and behaviour.
Another project I was really impressed by was Hero Brawl by Andrew Cole who has designed characters for a “team brawler” video game. Andrew has carefully explained every stage of his character design process in an artbook, including how he attempted to emulate the style of Norman Rockwell’s character paintings and how he has combined elements of Steampunk, Samurai, Medieval and Nazi armour and clothing to create his character designs.
The artbook for Hero Brawl really showed how much work goes into character design – Andrew identified an aesthetic style that fits the concept, did lots of drawing and painting exercises using stock images to get a feel for that style, studied history for ideas and inspiration, and painted characters and costumes from all directions. I would like to see more books like this one published regardless of whether the games are made or not as they are a really interesting insight into how the artist works and into character design. I hope that PCA is able to keep copies of these Artbooks for their library because I would like to have a much longer look at them.
There is lots more in the room to see but unfortunately I can’t cover everything and some of the work is interactive so it is best experienced for yourself! You can visit the PCA Summer Show until the 22nd June and the Game Arts room is on the first floor. The Tavistock Place campus is also having an Open Day this Saturday 17th June so if you are interested in their Foundation, Undergraduate or Postgraduate courses you should go!