In September 2023, dBs Institute welcomed its first cohort of Game Art students! Here, they give their insight into the process behind their first major submission; what they’ve learnt and what they’re proud of.
Last autumn, we welcomed two brand-new cohorts through the doors of dBs Institute - our BA (Hons) Game Art and BA (Hons) Game Development: Programming students!
A few months on and they have now submitted their first batch of practical work for the course - a 3D modelling and sculpting project in which they had to produce a realistic Wild West saloon which featured texture, furniture, lighting and a sense of space. Check out some of their work here and find out how they have been settling in at dBs.
What did you find most enjoyable about this project?
Rob Ciobotarasu: I enjoyed the whole process of making those assets. I had no previous background in Maya and I am really happy with the results.
Kayleigh Perry: My favourite part was conceptualising design ideas, as I love anything to do with drawing.
Denis Goldan: The most enjoyable thing for me was that I got to really delve into the Western era. This was awesome because I’ve always really wanted to explore it but I’ve never really had the motivation to follow it through.
Clara Uhlendorf: For the Character Art module, my favourite part was the 3D modelling and experimenting with different materials and textures. For the Environment Art module, I really enjoyed playing around with lighting and different rendering settings and styles. In the Concept Art module, I found experimenting with different styles and themes outside my comfort zone particularly enjoyable.
What was the most challenging aspect?
RC: I found working with Maya challenging at first but as I got used to using it, I’ve realised how powerful it can be alongside the other programs I use. Generally, the project was challenging but I was really happy with the results at the end.
KP: The most challenging aspect for me was modelling assets in 3D as I didn’t have much experience before. However, I felt I learnt a lot through the process and was great to familiarise myself with new programs such as Maya.
DG: The most challenging aspect of my project was to create a realistic final scene. This was the first ever project where my main goal was to reproduce a traditional Western saloon, so I spent hours and hours every day researching what wood was used, what metal was used and what other characteristics they had implemented in their infrastructure in the 17th century.
CU: The most challenging part of this project was learning quite a few different programs all at the same time. Especially some of the 3D programs, such as Maya and ZBrush, which can be quite complex.
What specific techniques and skills did you learn throughout this project?
RC: I developed my hard and soft modelling skills in a variety of programs which I think has taken my art to another level. I used a combination of modelling and sculpting to add detail.
KP: During my 3D environment project I learnt many new tools and functions such as bevelling, mirroring around axis points and extruding objects; this helped me a lot with my first time at modelling furniture. I also learnt about shape language for sculpting humanoid figures which helped me portray the character I created.
DG: Throughout this project, my multitasking skills have improved significantly. The need to switch between software programs seamlessly has been essential in producing my final product. In the gaming industry, being proficient with a variety of software tools is essential and the wide range of skills I've gained from this experience is helping me to produce assets of a much higher calibre.
CU: We learnt all the basics of 3D modelling with Maya, Zbrush, Substance Painter and Unreal Engine 5 as well as using 2D Programmes like Photoshop. We learnt how to create, texture and render 3D models and also learnt all about perspective and proportion in concept art.
What are you most proud of from this semester?
RC: I'm proud of my assets from the Wild West saloon project. It was my first time making something in a brand-new environment. I thought the piano and barrels I made were the best and I’m particularly proud of those.
KP: What I'm most proud of this semester is my time traveller 3D model. It came out really well, much better than I expected, and I feel I have improved my sculpting skills since my last attempt. I know I have lots of areas to improve on, but it’s great to see the progress.
DG: Overall I am really proud of the work I produced in this project. I think I’ve managed to create a really realistic, traditional-style saloon and I’m happy with the results.
CU: I am proud of how well I managed my time and how well I operated under the pressure of the deadlines. Also, one thing I am particularly proud of is how well I am handling the language barrier. Going to university in a different country worried me at first because I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep up with the professional vocabulary that is used in our materials and the programs we use. But I am handling everything very well and even if there is something I don’t understand the tutors are more than happy to help anyone that has questions.
How has the teaching on the course helped you turn this work around and was there anything specific that was particularly helpful?
RC: The teaching on the course was interactive and fun. My environment teacher was great and I learnt a lot of techniques and skills from him which I will develop myself and try and master in the future.
KP: My lecturers have all been very helpful and given me insight on how to improve my projects and how to use specific tools. The advice I was given on how blockouts work for 3D sculpting was particularly helpful.
DG: The course has really helped me because the teachers have encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone which is a really important skill that everyone should have in their personal and professional life.
CU: One thing I have really loved is that the teachers are available almost 24/7. They give constructive feedback that helps you to improve your work. I remember a specific time when I was struggling to do a certain task in Maya and Jasz sat down with me and went through all the steps together with me until I understood it. I felt very seen and like the teachers really want to see us succeed - it is very motivating.
What have your initial thoughts been about studying at dBs?
KP: My initial thoughts about the course are that it has allowed me to explore various styles of game art and use industry-standard software to create game-ready assets in a professional environment. I have also been able to easily speak with others in my class, and hopefully, I can collaborate on projects with them in the future!
DG: At the beginning, I was a little bit nervous to start my journey with dBs because it was something new for me - something different from what I’ve experienced before. Right now, I am happy here. I get to share my work and improve my skills in every session.
CU: I have been wanting to study game art for quite some time so I was very excited to finally start my studies. I was nervous about not being able to keep up, especially being a mature student and having been out of education for a while. But I knew that the game art course at Falmouth University [dBs’ university accreditation partner] had a good reputation so I was very excited to be able to start at dBs and get my foot into the industry soon.