And with that, my second term and, thus, my second year has come to a close. I’ll take some time now to just reflect on the last four months as a whole.
I chose Image and Narrative because I feel it plays to my strengths. A lot of people were surprised that I didn’t go with motion, but I didn’t want to be pinned down to just creating motion pieces, and ultimately I believe it’s story-telling (which has become a fairly cringey term) that I enjoy most. While I still love making lo-fi publications, I never had much interest to go beyond that into making professional publications, and Type and Print feels as though it’s closer to a science than an art at times – at least within the graphic design sphere.
I couldn’t be happier having chosen Image and Narrative as my focus for the term. Again, it’s placed the focus on my work, not on the technical ability of it, but on the storytelling core. I’ve adored breaking down aspects of narrative, how to convey parts of the story, grip the reader or audience, and all the different ways this can be achieved. It’s also really allowed me to draw on my own inspirations, which tend not to be pieces of design, but often movies, music, video games, history and (exclusively down to my previous study of English Literature) writing. I’ve enjoyed exploring and applying tone, feeling and moods to my work than the work of other designers – it’s greatly widened just what my inspirations can be, and so I think my work is far more rooted in influences this term than it has been before.
I really enjoyed last term’s bombardment of small, weekly projects, because it meant you could commit and week to something and then forget about it. This term, being given an eight week project did feel a little bit like being thrown into ice-cold water, having only done smaller projects for nearly a year. That said, once I got into the rhythm, I found it extremely rewarding to contribute something toward a bigger picture each day, and as a result I’ve got something that I might not have pushed myself to complete otherwise.
I’m sure whenever I look back at last term, the eight week project will be the flagship brief. It’s been a long time since I’ve been given that amount of creative freedom, and while I might usually be overwhelmed by the number of possibilities, I think I’ve been itching to create something for myself for a long time. Sure, I had target audiences, but ultimately it was for myself, to prove to myself I could create the art, the animations, the story, the music and the coding all for one project. Every project you complete for yourself can be a milestone to your ability at your craft at that one point, because you can shape it entirely to your strengths and tastes – and that’s exactly what I chose to do. Whether or not the game is good doesn’t entirely matter (it never feels good to create something crap) because I thoroughly enjoyed my time creating it, and it’s been a huge confidence boost seeing what I accomplish if I’m given the time and the creative freedom. I feel I work better alone, it’s a cold thought but I’ve found it to be the case. Had this project been in groups, I feel like there would have been a large amount of time convening and planning, whereas I feel much more comfortable just getting on with something, knowing the only person I have to please is myself.
So I’m glad it was a solo project, but with that said it was great actually interacting with other people again when my group for the ‘Beyond Place’ project came together to do the final touches. I need that reality check from time to time, because while I know what direction I would take if I worked solo, when you begin to throw ideas around with other people you often get something much better, not true-to-self, but often better. I find group work tends to simply take longer, which seems contradictory, but when there’s pressure to balance the workload and appeal to everyone’s tastes, it can take time. ‘Bug Hotel’ was great fun, I just wish we all weren’t so busy toward the end with our solo projects so that we could commit just a little longer to properly realizing it. Maybe the two briefs’ time spans could be swapped, I’m not sure.
It’s been a surreal few months. My mind has been so set on finding stories that the real world is honestly beginning to feel less and less tangible. It’s difficult to describe, but I’m looking forward to taking a break and just grounding myself over the next few weeks.
This blog will be going on hold for about a month as it will be used to grade my work, but I’m hoping the habit of updating it almost daily won’t disappear – it’s a good habit to have (but it will most likely be gone).
Very finally, I created a short trailer for Crossing to the Cold Valley with the spare hours I had today. It’s quite difficult to make a trailer about a game that’s basically just walking to different places and talking to people, but I think it highlights the game’s world and tone quite well.
I’ve sent a copy to a few friends and had surprisingly positive feedback. One friend was frustrated that there wasn’t more, that there was so much of the world that wasn’t explained, and it made me smile because that’s exactly how I wanted my audience to feel. Unfortunately, my friend Sam wasn’t quite so impressed..
That was great man, beautiful art in the backgrounds. I like how the world seems to die as it goes along, with the gardener and the body at the top disappearing, it’s like it gets more bare bones, adds to the pretty depressing theme. The one thing I noticed was the area when you go down from the start, there’s a bush or something on the left which has the eye icon as if you can examine it, but there’s no text when you do. Pretty minor thing, but art is about perfection so 2/10 sry