ES­CAPE STU­DIOS, PEAR­SON COL­LEGE LON­DON

An academy that prides it­self on cre­at­ing in­dus­try-ready game artists

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Es­cape Stu­dios is a dig­i­tal arts academy that has been train­ing world-class artists for the past 13 years. Es­cape of­fers a wide range of un­der­grad­u­ate, post­grad­u­ate and short cour­ses in vis­ual ef­fects, game art and an­i­ma­tion. Head of games

Si­mon Fen­ton has 22 years of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence and spent a decade work­ing as the lead artist on a va­ri­ety of games at SCEE. What sets Es­cape Stu­dios apart from other op­tions avail­able to stu­dents? Our fo­cus and pas­sion for pro­duc­ing games artists drives ev­ery­thing sur­round­ing the course. It’s a cliché, but of­ten our stu­dents say that they learnt more with us in three weeks than they have in three years study­ing else­where. We visit many de­vel­op­ers within the in­dus­try and can­vas them re­gard­ing the skillsets they re­quire a games artist to know, and our course cov­ers ev­ery­thing an artist needs to learn to work in game devel­op­ment. All of our briefs are in­dus­try based and we have tech­ni­cal artists and FX artists from ma­jor stu­dios teach­ing script­ing and FX work­shops re­spec­tively. We’re also very fo­cused on stu­dents un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of art di­rec­tion and hav­ing strong aes­thetic judge­ment. How does your broad reach across vis­ual ef­fects, an­i­ma­tion and game art ben­e­fit your stu­dents? One of the key strengths at Es­cape is that tu­tors don’t teach out­side of their pro­fes­sional in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence. I have done a lot of an­i­ma­tion, but when we teach an­i­ma­tion prin­ci­ples and tools to our games artists, our head of an­i­ma­tion, Alex Williams, who worked on The Iron Gi­ant and The Lion King, will step in. We make sure that we have VFX tu­tors who have worked in film, teach­ing rigid bod­ies and flu­ids for cre­at­ing baked sim­u­la­tions, which we then take into Un­real. They bring their VFX fo­cus but it’s couched in the needs of FX for games. Are those skills rel­e­vant across all types of game devel­op­ment? We teach games artists a range of ap­proaches so they can work at mo­bile or high-end. But that gap is clos­ing and many games use a mix­ture of both tech­niques. A good games artist should have a large box of tricks to draw upon and know when to use them, and our fo­cus on the dif­fer­ences in re­al­time ren­der­ing and op­ti­mi­sa­tion for both mo­bile and triple-A plat­forms pre­pare them to be flex­i­ble in their ap­proach to cre­at­ing art­work. Which tools do you fo­cus on? We only look at tools the in­dus­try uses or are gain­ing trac­tion in devel­op­ment. On our games art course we use Maya, Sub­stance Painter, ZBrush, Speedtree, Ndo, Knald, Xnor­mal, Pho­to­shop, Unity and Un­real en­gine. And what, ide­ally, do you hope Es­cape grad­u­ates leave with? Es­cape Stu­dios was founded on the ba­sis that no course out there of­fered ev­ery­thing you need to go straight into a games art role. Af­ter our in­ten­sive in­dus­try-stan­dard train­ing in game art tools and ap­proaches, Es­cape stu­dents will have worked on mul­ti­ple in­dus­try briefs to gain the skills nec­es­sary to cre­ate great work and will have a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion of what it takes to be a games artist. We hope that our stu­dents grad­u­ate know­ing they have ev­ery­thing they need to dive straight into their ca­reer, from ac­tu­ally learn­ing the skills to hav­ing a stu­dio-ready port­fo­lio.

“Our fo­cus and pas­sion for pro­duc­ing artists drives ev­ery­thing”

Rare is part of Es­cape Stu­dios’ ad­vi­sory board, with the leg­endary de­vel­oper set­ting briefs for stu­dents

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