TO­BIAS MANNE WITZ

KARAK­TER’s cre­ative di­rec­tor de­scribes his job, and dis­cusses why AAA games are un­der at­tack

ImagineFX - - Studio Profile Karakter -

What is the story be­hind the com­pany name?

We be­lieve that cul­tural her­itage plays an im­por­tant role in how we cre­ate and per­ceive things. Char­ac­ter – mean­ing fea­tures of per­son­al­ity – is un­der­stood across all western coun­tries, be­ing global and lo­cal at the same time. This is what we hope to give to the projects that we work on.

How long have you been a cre­ative di­rec­tor, and what’s the most re­ward­ing as­pect of your job?

The first time a client booked our art di­rec­tion ser­vice on a grand scale was in 2010, when Cry­tek had dif­fi­cul­ties find­ing a per­ma­nent AD for Ryse. We flew over to Bu­dapest with a small strike team to work lo­cally for six months, de­vel­op­ing a stylis­tic vi­sion for the fran­chise and work­ing to­gether with the team to im­ple­ment it. The most re­ward­ing thing is to see when you and your team make a dif­fer­ence.

How has your pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try helped make KARAK­TER a suc­cess?

I started with a weekly comic strip for a lo­cal news­pa­per at the age of 15. Grow­ing into a tra­di­tional il­lus­tra­tor for pen and paper RPGs, I even­tu­ally moved on to video game art and dig­i­tal work­flow around 2003. At the same time, I was study­ing graphic de­sign at Pots­dam’s Univer­sity of Ap­plied Sci­ences. I have ben­e­fited greatly from my cor­po­rate de­sign pro­fes­sor Bey­row’s sys­tem­atic and an­a­lyt­i­cal ap­proach, which still can be felt in my own work, I hope.

What’s the big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing the in­dus­try at the mo­ment, and what’s your so­lu­tion?

The spi­ralling de­vel­op­ment costs and the rise of small apps and in­die games threaten our favourite projects, AAA games. We try to make an im­pact where we can: on the con­cep­tual side. By ask­ing a lot of ques­tions and chal­leng­ing our clients, we help to bring fo­cus to the pro­duc­tion. The other thing that’s help­ing is our 3D pre­viz block­outs. These are rough 3D block­outs of scenes and sce­nar­ios, which can be thrown into the WIP level to see if it works. This en­ables faster re­views and a bet­ter anal­y­sis of what’s still needed. It nar­rows the bridge be­tween 2D con­cept art and the fi­nal in-game ex­pe­ri­ence. This en­ables our clients a bet­ter tool­re­source al­lo­ca­tion, but it also helps with level de­sign and vis­ual de­sign.

KARAK­TER cre­ative di­rec­tor To­bias worked on con­cept de­sign on sea­son two, three and four of Game of Thrones, earn­ing two Emmy awards.

www.karak­ter.de

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