Write From The Heart

"Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back."

Visual Studies Seminar Post #11: Final Reflection and Closing the Semester

December8

Part 1: Faculty Presentations

I think I’m pretty biased on this one because Mr. Bryant is actually my History of Games professor, so I do know more context regarding his career and his thoughts about the video game industry. I think he did an excellent job personalizing his experiences while also providing an insider’s look into the industry. He was able to make the presentation emotionally engaging and informational, which I appreciated a lot. Plus, his sense of humor and comedic timing makes him all the more entertaining to see on stage; it adds in a touch of personality that suits the topic.

The other presenters were odd to me, though. First off, I don’t know if they coordinated their presentations to focus on children and development of family over time, but it was weird to say the least. The first, regarding the “downfall” of artistry to motherhood, then back to artistry again wasn’t as resonant to me. There was too little explanation to the current art the presenter makes due to her children’s influence, and what stuck with me instead was how she felt no qualms with blurting how her child was “an accident” and effectively destroyed her career. I appreciate honesty, and certainly empathize with people that have doubts about parenthood, but this is kind of on a whole other level of being brutally honest. It was very distracting, especially during her rants about how cute her kids were in the photoshoots, since I couldn’t get it out of my head that the same presenter a few minutes ago essentially condemned her same infants for wiping out her livelihood and crushing her dreams. It’s too mean-spirited to off-handed-ly mention as she did. None of the art pieces, to me, were able to communicate her change of heart and new creative outlet, however. I don’t know if it’s just not my style of photo-taking and editing, or my discomfort at the beginning of the presentation, but it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as Mr. Bryant’s was.

The final presenter’s art was intriguing, but, again, there were some points that left me uncomfortable. It’s a nitpick, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the theme of family using a CONSISTENT element of teenage pregnancy and motherhood. That issue has been a huge cause of stress for me, and being unprompted to watch girls younger than me pose for empty, monochrome shots holding their baby made me feel very sick. And it certainly didn’t help that the presenter made a comment about a few of the subjects that looked young being dead now. The photos stopped conveying family over time and instead made me think about tragedy, destiny, and societal expectations. It was very clearly not supposed to be a critique or a particularly sad piece, just an observation of some people over time, but it rubbed me the wrong way that teen mothers were a part of that message and intent. It was very unnerving to me.

Part 2: Final Reflection

This course has been a source for lots of well-needed information regarding Austin and its inhabitants for me! All in all, that’s also how I felt about this semester: I learned a lot about this new city, the new people, and new situations that I would have to adapt to. This course provided some resources to help me fulfill my aspirations in the IGS department to top it all off, too! I got some decent looks into the careers offered by the major, presenters showed what can be accomplished at St. Edward’s in the major, and I was able to have the opportunity to look at the works of local artists.

Sequence Pt.5- Completed Edits

November27

Included in this post are all the final pictures for the sequence book, with proper editing and cropping in InDesign. The pictures all have appropriate coloring and moods to match the sequence of young, dream-like states to a more grounded, familiar environment. All that would need to be done now are prints.

Sequence Pt.4- Demo Book

November20

The first draft of my book includes both work in progress and finished background pieces and fully integrated fonts for page numbers to represent a change in age. This book making progress truly is very laborious, I understand the pain that plagues most other content creators when creating their works, now. The actual printing requires so many steps, messing up the page indents requires a LOT of backtracking, the In-Design program can be archaic at times, and on top of that, there’s still tons of editing that I will need to do over the next few sessions to fully perfect the aesthetic of the book. Some edits were made from the drafts again, namely cutting out the first two pages since the book’s page count was not a multiple of four with them and further abstraction of the final few years to represent a mental development, plus cutting some character sketches needed.

The final steps are to draw the sketched characters, scan them in the pages, touch up existing backgrounds, and finish the remainder of the non-edited pages.

Visual Studies Seminar Post #10- More Presenters All the Time!

November16

Part 1: Wildermyth Developers

The presenters for local game developing were a duo, a game artist and coder, presenting the development process and assets of their game in the making, Wildermyth. In their presentation, they specifically introduced their game to the audience, showed how the game’s aesthetics were created, showed both the problems and epiphanies made during the arduous development process, then discussed pieces of advice regarding their industry, focusing mainly on the differing qualities needed for working individually versus in a group versus at a corporation. While the great majority of their presentation was, well, presenting a game, seeing the actual thought process behind the creative decisions and the steps made to come to a natural conclusion was a learning experience in itself. It’s always beneficial to know the insider’s point of view in game development since they’ll be the most direct source of information regarding what one pursuing that field will do.

Part 2: Some Questions

  1. What students projects impress you the most?
  2. What do graduate students, students from previous years, etc. reflect on the most as their favorite part of learning at St. Edward’s, or more specifically, your class?
  3. Do students often come up to you asking for some help making connections in their respective field of study?

Sequence Pt.3- The Final Photos and Some Revelations

November13

These are the final photos needed for the booklet project. I originally said I would focus on the sketches, but due to some time constraints regarding other classes, I had to focus on tasks that were more readily available for me to be able to work on, so I chose to knock out the rest of the scenery that would appear in the project. The weather really agreed with me, ironically, since the earlier stages in the book are more dream-like due to the nature of young adolescence feeling like a distant memory, something that feels fake but is presented as reality.

Additionally with this week I’ve made a final decision to cut the poems out of my project. It was an ambitious idea to be able to pull off effectively at my skill level with the other Adobe products and it would just clutter the page when the message gets across just fine enough as a textless picture book. Next week will hopefully be some drafts and final designs for the title page and some additional sketches of other characters.

Visual Studies Seminar Post #9: More Alumni and Internships

November10

Part 1: Alumni Presentations

I personally found the presentations very inspirational! The speakers really did highlight how their personal experiences at St. Edward’s contributed to their successes in the working world. Mr. Ura’s work in SXSW was a shining light to me as an IGS major since it proved that the games business can be both fulfilling and plausible, plus he was very charismatic. I got a recommendation from another professor to attend the convention and I remembered about it because of him so it had a lasting effect on my mind. Mr. Zubia’s art was appealing, I enjoyed the simplicity of the designs and the effective shading on the pieces. It’s both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally impactful. Ms. Valle’s work was the most breathtaking for me though- I was captivated by her anecdote and felt the passion in her work. Social justice is important to me, so is striving for detailed art, so her works resonated with me on both a personal and visual level.

Part 2: Internships

  1. Say Sí– Media Arts Studio Intern
    • http://saysi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SAY-Si%CC%81-MAS-Intern-2016.pdf
  2. Blizzard– Software Engineer Intern
    • https://careers.blizzard.com/en-us/openings/ome75fww
  3. SXSW– Digital Media Intern
    • https://www.themuse.com/jobs/sxsw/digital-media-intern-bd2056

Sequence Pt. 2- Photo Assets

November6

For this week of the Sequence project I mainly focused on gathering as many of the photographic backgrounds and other assorted assets of the book I would need in Austin. There are some photos I will need to go back to my hometown to use properly in my book, which I will be doing next week. This week is mainly a warmup for myself to get back on track with my artistic vision so I can fully dedicate myself to developing the project’s key aspects in depth later. Taking these photos is also useful in that it gives me a better idea of what tools I have to work with for setting up tone in some of my pages.

Next week I’ll focus primarily on getting the last of the photos and writing the poems for my book, hopefully get some more concrete character sketches to scan in or experiment with colors in the various programs we worked on.

Visual Studies Seminar Post #8: Alumni Presentations and Beyond College

November3

Part 1: Staff Presentations

Each of the staff presenters had some art or pieces of work to showcase, such as theater production, photographs, pencil media, multimedia artworks. I was enamored with the presentations as a whole, they truly did show that there was work and great talent coming from St. Edward’s education. I found myself engaged with Tuan’s presentation a lot; I resonate closely with his work on sort of an abstract, yet personal portfolio. Bill’s presentation was cryptic, especially with his unending silence, but it was atmospheric too due to his eclectic style. The pieces of drama shown provided a lot of insight into the medium I hadn’t discovered or found interest in before, so it was a new, unique experience for me. I enjoyed the presentations, overall! The speakers were all confident, (hopefully… you’re all staff here at a liberal arts university), and had visually interesting presentations.

Part 2: 5-Year Plan

Admittedly, I haven’t gone into too much depth about my 5-year plan as opposed to my 4-year plan. I’ve gone into detail about my academic plans during college, such as becoming an Interactive Game Studies major and Fine Arts minor, with brief mentions of utilizing resources around Austin. Yet, I don’t have a solid idea of what job I’ll take up after I graduate. One of my first options would be as a game tester, since it’s usually considered an entry job into the industry and grants people experience in recognizing faulty code. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll probably start with internships or small-time instructing courses offered at various artistic organizations. There’s a particular organization for teaching students about fine art back home in San Antonio that offers both these positions, so it’d be a great learning experience both in artistic ability and in educating kids about my passion.

Sequence Pt. 1- Initial Sketches

October30

Here are the initial sketches for the blank book. My plan for this is to create an auto-biography of sorts with juxtaposed hand-drawn figures on top of collaged or otherwise digitally edited backdrops, scenery complimented with poetry. The order of the narrative is chronological, with the title of each poem representing my respective age portrayed in the words and image. I also wanted to highlight a thematic shift as well as a narrative and visual one as well- while my persona ages. obviously meaning the body type and content of each poem change to suit the age, I want the theme of the poems, and in conjunction the content of the imagery, to change as well. From early years to middle school I want to focus on solely conveying emotions, since concrete events are fuzzy at that point in time. From late middle school up to sophomore year, the focus is on anxiety and epiphanies. Finally, the last few years are completely based on psychological reflection- thinking back on my worries of the past and recovery from them.

Visual Studies Seminar Post #7: The Future

October27

Part 1: 4-Year Degree Plan

My four-year degree plan so far for college is to follow Interactive Game Studies as my major. I was able to skip most of my core classes due to excessive AP credit acquiring so being able to immerse myself into a work-intensive creative major feels like it would be the most fulfilling to me, so that’s why I mostly plan to follow my major/minor during the course of these four years. Being located in Austin, Texas, practically the biggest center for video game development in the United States outside Silicon Valley, is another perk to the major- it lends itself to prospective work more easily. I could take up internships with the companies nearby, going indie, while still arduous, would be more successful around a community centered around individualism, and the creative atmosphere would benefit me greatly. Plus, I have connections back home in San Antonio, only an hour away, consisting of professional game developers and an organization prioritizing showcasing new creators’ work.

However, I do have numerous backup plans in case Interactive Game Studies doesn’t work out for me. My artistic abilities lend myself to creative categories, so I could always join Graphic Design or Advertising since I do also have an eye for creating things that pop out to people. I’ve expressed an interest in acting before, so the drama club might have opportunities for me. And, I also have a passion for teaching people about my interests, so I’ve highly considered dropping the fine arts altogether to pursue Education.

Part 2: Minor

I currently already have a minor that I plan to keep for my plan, Fine Arts. I chose Art for two reasons, one, that it’s another one of my major passions, being able to express myself in a creative fashion while also making others around me happy, and two, that it greatly benefits my major. As a game developer, it’s a note-worthy skill to manage multiple departments of the game- including coding, developing sounds, writing dialogue/story, and, relevant to my minor, designing the visuals. Of course creative writing is another field of expression I enjoy heavily, but I mainly focus on developing my art since I feel I already have the skills required to write an effective game story, but feel less confident with art. I want to grow the skill more, so it’s natural to choose it as an area of study to learn more about a field I carved my life around.

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