Worlds collide in GTA V photography

Category: 3D Animation, Fine Arts, Game Development, Gaming, Photography

Interesting to see how the virtual world of Grand Theft Auto V inspires artists to some great projects.

The city Los Santos and surrounding wider Blaine Country — the virtual ‘open world’ where the game takes place is inspired by LA and surrounding countryside. It shows a culture in decline with self-help gurus, fading celebrities, cheap reality TV and economic uncertainty. Is this a nicely stylized version of reality or maybe a peek in the near future?

We have already shown a really cool example of a photographer exploring this world, but Canadian artist Benoit Paille takes this concept to the next level.

He uses ‘reality’ and analogue technology to create photographs that blur the line between the physical reality and the game environment. He doesn’t make screenshots, he uses a DSLR to capture the locations displayed on screen. Then he blends in real models hands as they take a photo.

We like how this project explores the basic concept of photography and reality — stating that photography is never about reality, it is a fraction of our own perception.

The real life shots of hands taking the photos are meticulously detailed so they blend in perfectly with the virtual landscape.

During the process he also reflects on the question of legitimacy and the authorship of artwork, and the utopistic concern how the photographic medium will disappear as we know it.

Interesting exploration, well executed. Love the mind-bending aspect of it and the questions he is asking. Worth to have a look at the video and his Tumblr page where he documents the process.

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
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Summer Design Scholarships to Milan & San Diego!

Category: 3D Animation, Accessory, Animation, Architecture, Design, Fashion Design, Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts, Game Development, Gaming, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial design, Interior Design, motion graphics, Photography

Ah, summer is coming… Time to change your travel plans to add Milan or San Diego to the list of cities you are visiting this year! We are giving out two scholarships to summer design courses offered by four top universities. Yes, you get to spend your summer days soaking up one of these beautiful cities AND all the inspiration and knowledge to be gained from these great schools!

And, as usual, there’s some extra icing on this cake. On arrival, Frontier is giving you a shiny new iPad Mini* to boost your creativity — think of it as our welcome present to you. This sleek little device will slide nicely in your handbag while you are busy exploring and creating. All you need to do is have a current portfolio displayed on Frontier and fill in the online application form.

Other good news is that the already broad palette of courses on offer is getting even better. For the first time, you get access to some cutting-edge 3D animation, game design and visual effects courses from the award winning Media Design School in Milan. New Zealand’s school that has nurtured digital design professionals to bring you the magic of the biggest current Hollywood blockbusters like The Hobbit, Avatar and Tin Tin has made its way to Europe!

Whatever discipline are you interested in, we have an awesome short course for it! This unique summer collaboration of four universities (Domus Academy, NABA, Media Design School, NewSchool of Architecture + Design) cover a wide variety of areas, including:

  • Design & Architecture
  • Fashion & accessories design, fashion management
  • Digital Arts (3D, Gaming, VFX, Photography, Graphic Design)
  • Business in Design
  • Visual Arts
  • Design experiences

This is too good an opportunity to pass you by. Read about all the details here. Make sure to submit your application and make your portfolio look hot before the 2nd of May – that’s when we are closing the competition and progress to the judging phase.

Who knows…it might just be you winging your way to a foreign land, armed with a Summer Scholarship and an iPad. So get busy getting creative, spice up your portfolio.

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Domus Academy

Design and Fashion School in Milan, Italy
http://www.domusacademy.com/

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

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Nomad X—space exploration meets heartbreak

Category: Animation, Film / Multimedia, Gaming

To some, this imagery may elicit a bout of nostalgia for hours blissfully spent avoiding homework and navigating the depths of pixelated outer space…Well believe me, you haven’t quite experienced it like this before! Nomad X is a short film by animator Kristian Andrews, that takes on the guise of a classic space simulator game from the 90′s. Heavily inspired by David Braben’s Frontier Elite, a playthrough of Nomad X is narrated by a fictional fan in the manner of thousands of Let’s Plays that can be found on You Tube. All starts off OK despite an intermittent, annoyingly persistent cough. But the narration of the gameplay soon becomes intertwined with a tale of the gamer’s degenerating relationship with his now ex-girlfriend, culminating in physical conflict as the spaceship runs into trouble onscreen.

It’s somewhat of a strange concept, but it works! Nomad X manages to combine quirkiness with moments of hilarious dialogue of a dejected lover. And I love the the colour palette of dusty maroons, navy, and power pink that emerges from the black void. Despite the novel appearance and funny dialogue, an air of poignancy does linger after watching the short. It’s sad to think that this guy’s love for video games probably sabotaged his relationship, and it’s now also the only thing he finds consolation in.

Kristian Andrews has made several wonderfully animated shorts. Stylistically they are very different from Nomad X, being hand-drawn and sketchy. All of his works express small, personal-derived narratives that are universally easy to relate to, which is partly what makes them so successful. He is currently working on Bang, a short developed at a residency last year. When not dreaming up a new short film, Andrews directs commercial briefs at award-winning Studio AKA.

Anna Tokareva

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor Software Engineering (Game Programming)
Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art)
Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation
Bachelor of Arts in Game Art

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Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons game review

Category: 3D Animation, Design, Expert insight, Game Development, Gaming, Interactive

Brothers A Tale of Two Sons, released on multiple platforms in 2013, is a game developed by Starbreeze Studios and published by 505 Games.  Brothers is a third person, single player cooperative game in which you control two separate characters with one controller. The left hand side of the controller allows you to move one of the heroes, while the right hand side controls the other.  Using this unique control scheme the player must navigate a fantasy world which has clever puzzles and tasks that require the player to use both avatars at the same time. The obstacles, while not mentally challenging, are never the less extremely satisfying to solve due to the coordination required to complete the tasks.

Game review by Mike Porter

In the beginning of the game, you see a young boy at the top of a hill in front of a tombstone.  A flashback shows the boy and his mother in a boat, the mother falls overboard and dies, leaving the boy alone and frightened.  The boy is pulled back to the present, where his older brother has news that their father is ill.  Both boys rush to their father’s side where a healer tells them that they must journey to a faraway place to find an elixir to save their father. The player learns these things, not through dialogue, which consists of a made up language, but rather through the actions of the characters.  Expressive acting and emphasis on certain words allows the player to gather the information that is needed to complete a task.  This enhances the fantasy aspect of the game, rather than hindering, leaving the player to sort out the solution to each puzzle.

The art aesthetic of the game is a combination of the Fable games and a Miyazaki film.  There are lovely medieval villages, creepy caverns, dark and dangerous woods and an epic battlefield, which happened to be my favourite part of the game. Having played a vast number of games, I can become pretty jaded at the level design, or tasks that are required of me to accomplish a goal, however I actually giggled with glee during the battlefield sequence of the game. The animation is one of the highlights of the game, as each brother’s personality plays out in how they move and how they interact with other characters in the game and each other.

In regard to the technical aspects, the third person cameras work quite well and allow for the artwork to shine. The camera moves fluidly and cinematically, moving farther away as the avatars are separated on the screen and closer in as they move together. The game is built on the Unreal Engine and makes use of the power of the engine, without going crazy with all the features that engine has to offer. So there are normal maps and bloom, but the use of a painterly palette mutes some of these processes and make it feel as if it belongs, rather than being utilised because it was available.

There are some less stellar points to the game, such as the repetitive type of puzzles or barriers and the fact that some of the characters speak without moving their mouths, while others look as if they are actually speaking. Another shortcoming is the length of the game, which I was able to finish in around 7 hours. However, these minor annoyances can be overlooked since the experience delivers on an interesting mode of play and a visual wonderland of a strange, yet familiar world. I found this gem on Steam during a sale and spent only $7.49 US, however the game is well worth the $15.00 US that is the normal sale price. I highly recommend playing this game and I hope that Starbreeze Studios continues to create more wonderful experiences with an emphasis on emotional storytelling.

Mike Porter is an all-around nice guy and also the Programme Leader of the Game Art course (Bachelor of Creative Technologies) at Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand.
Mike started his game career back in 1995 in Lewisville, Texas. Over the last 15 years, he has worked in several different companies both in Texas and in Seattle, including work for Sierra and Microsoft Games Studios. He has created 3D artwork, level design on various games, for various platforms including Dreamcast, PS2, PC and Xbox 360. His roles included Art Lead, Environment Art Lead, Vehicle Art Lead and Level Design Lead. Mike was even lucky enough to work with the great people at Bungie for a short period to help ship Halo 3.

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor Software Engineering (Game Programming)
Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art)

Get in touch now:

 

NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts in Game Art
Bachelor of Science in Game Programming

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From game to reality

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Design, Game Development, Gaming

There is a lot going on at the NewSchool of Architecture + Design in San Diego these days. For example, turning into the new study hotspot for cutting edge digital design and production disciplines. The institution has teamed up with the award winning Media Design School in New Zealand to launch programs in 3D animation, Game art & programming, Graphic & interactive design.

This already sounds really cool but on top of this — they built a sci-fi space suit! During their first research project their brief was to create a life-sized costume for an Autodesk digital game character, Sven from the game ‘Hyperspace Madness’.

It’s interesting to see how you take something from the digital space and recreate it in the physical reality. This project was a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary collaborations throughout the campus. Worth to watch the video to see the process. Also, you can read more about the project here.

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Study options

NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation
Bachelor of Arts in Game Art
Bachelor of Science in Game Programming

Get in touch now:

 

Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor Software Engineering (Game Programming)
Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art)
Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)
Bachelor of Media Design (Graphic Design, Interactive, Motion Graphics)

Get in touch now: