Monday, 31 March 2014

Art Direction - Ukraine Riots Photos

In this blog spot on the subject of Art Direction I'll be writing about the photos of Ukraine Riots taken last month.

Last month anti-government protesters stormed the capital of Ukraine and fell into conflict with the police and other armed forces resulting in death and devastation. In this blog I'll be focusing on photos taken during the riots showing the conflict at it's centre and describing what makes them really interesting.


Taking pictures in really tense situations is difficult, being in a place which is practically a warzone means a person would have to be quick to get the shot they're after so some little tricks are used in these photos to get a really good image while still keeping themselves alive.

To create an effective composition in the circumstances the 'Rule Of Thirds' is used. Rule of thirds can be displayed on most camera viewfinders and makes identifying a focal point quicker and easier.

The composition in the following image also uses rule of third to an extent and a strong focal point created with the fire, it guides the eye around the image from the left fire of the Molotov to the centre focal point. There is also strong depth in this image which is created by the cold, foggy and depth of field effect of the background compared to the sharpness and warmth of the foreground.


The colours in these image are just enhanced, since they are photos they try and capture the colour accurately. The colours though still convey a mood despite being a photo; the unsaturated bluey-grey of the background with two flames in the center just popping from the rest of the image. This connotes that the red-hot fire could represent to tension and anger in the capital.

In this next image the colours are almost entirely hot but the image still has a great contrast. It is extremely moody and the colours support that, it gives the image an appearance that is almost hell-like.

Content, Shape and Form

In this image a clear difference in look can be seen between the protesters and the law forces. The police can be seen uniform and very focused; they are all looking in one direction and have a collective look, this demonstrates the authority and power the police force have.

On the other hand, the protesters are more chaotic in their efforts. They wield improvised weaponry and shields hard hats and baseball bats, they have in general a more random appearance.

The forms in the photos demonstrates Chaos vs Order and this is shown through the destruction of the environment to the garb of the protesters and police.

How can this art direction be utilised in games?

On next generation hardware a lot more is possible because of the increase in memory. More realistic sized crowds can be achieved which means scenes akin to the riots are feasible, huge numbers of NPCs can be shown on screen with crowd based AI and with no slow down.

Another area that could be pushed is particle effects; Smoke, Fire, Ash and Snow could be more dynamic and create more of an atmosphere, with the particles reacting to the changes caused in the battle.


I find these images great and I find there is overwhelming potential for adapting the art direction for use in a game world, I always find that adapting ideas from reality yield the best concepts and this serves as source of inspiration while also opening my eyes to current affairs. I urge readers the check out the news on what is happening in the Ukraine at the moment if you haven't already; there is some fascinating stories and it looks like it could be going on for a while yet as Russia has got involved and has sent in troops to the Ukrainian city of Crimea.

I may do more examinations of art direction in the future, as well as stories I find interesting as source of inspiration so I hope you look forward to those.


Friday, 7 March 2014

Job road map

For a task we have been asked to search for jobs in the game art industry that seems relevant to the kind of position we want to be in so I have posted some which sound quite appealing; some more realistic than others at this stage.

I am very interested in designing levels and game mechanics, however one thing I have noticed though on these types of jobs is that they look for more people who have came from a computer science background or something similar. With this course focused on mainly artist roles I would have to learn extra in order to work towards a designer role, this in turn though would benefit me as I would have knowledge on how environment artists fit their assets into a level template aswell as an artistic eye for noticing issues within a level like composition of elements in the scene.

Obsidian - Level Designer

This job seemed quite appealing and serves as a stepping stone to larger design roles as level designers have an influence on gameplay through level creation.


  • Level/Area design experience on at least one shipped AAA title.
  • Exceptional attention to detail.
  • The ability to evaluate and understand the mechanics of a game and create 3D layouts that complement and enhance the experience.
  • Proficiency with a modern game editor such as Unreal 3, CryEngine3, Source or equivalent.
  • Love of computer and console role-playing/action games and MMOs.
  • Able to adhere to tight schedules and possess the ability to assist others in meeting deadlines.
  • Skilled with Microsoft Office, level layout programs (SketchUp, Visio, etc.), bug tracking software, and source control software.
  • Experience working closely/hands-on with other developers in a collaborative environment.
  • Exceptional creativity.
  • Excellent communication skills including communicating and receiving feedback from others.

In order to be able to have a chance at this job I need to get to grips with the game engines, learn more on game theory and mechanics and also learn more about the other software the requirements list like bug tracking software, Office and source control software. 

Some other things I might need to learn is better timekeeping and keeping to deadlines. I need to do things faster and more organised so I can get twice as much done in the time it takes me to do things now. 

Fortunately I am already comfortable working in sketchup but still need to brush up my skills, also I am a big fan of console RPGs and they are the one genre of game I really want to work on. 

I would like to hope I am also good in a team environment as I usually cope quite well in group projects, I acknowledge though that my communication skills need to improve as I have never had a place in a proper working team before, this is why I imagine that most of these jobs ask for more experienced people.

Quantic Dream - Lead Game Designer

I included this as I thought it sounded like something I would want in the future. This and a few of the other jobs I've listed are more aimed at people who have experience and have had successes at a similar level in the past so this is a job to maybe think about as something to achieve later down the line. The job description at Quantic Dream is attractive though as they are looking for a designer who is looking to push narrative through gameplay which is an area of personal research that I am quite passionate about.

"For our next ambitious AAA game, we are looking for a Lead Game Designer.

As Lead Game Designer, you will work to create the basic concepts of the game and you will be responsible for the design and implementation of the gameplay. You will work on an ambitious and innovative project based on interactive storytelling on a next generation console.

You are creative and enthusiastic, you are good at communicating, you have had a successful experience showing your ability to imagine game mechanics and implemented them, you are able to manage a small team in collaboration with writers, and work within a AAA studio.

Experienced, you are curious and want to progress in a challenging environment and you are willing to tailor your experience to the specifics of this project ; working on an ambitious and original project is something essential for you."

  •  You have had at least one successful experience in a similar position in a AAA studio.
  • You have a creative profile, you are attracted by innovation through experiments emphasizing narrative and emotion.
  • You are able to clearly formalize your ideas and communicate your enthusiasm.
  • Current written and spoken English.
  • Excellent communication
  • Good at working in small teams with writers and other designs and with larger teams
  • Passionate, curious about pushing the game.
  • Not afraid to experiment


Judging from these job descriptions I need to improve my communication and general team working going forward. Proficiency at using games engines and other software also are an area to focus on, maybe during the holidays it might be good to work in UDK to get used to the software and maybe create some basic mockup level designs to get going.