Well then, another Thursday, another blog post. But this time it’s actually an artist writing it. So here I am trying to come up with a topic to write about. Well I could start with a short presentation about myself and then shortly write about how it is to go directly from school to starting up your own company and what we artists do. Let’s start with the presentation about myself.

My name is Andreas Haij (you may call me ‘Haij’ thankyouverymuch) and I am the Lead Artist here at Triolith Entertainment. I am also referred to as the ‘Ogre’ by the other guys. I started of my art career during secondary school where I studied art for 3 years. Learning the basics in drawing, painting and sculpting helped me quite a lot when later moving on to work more with computer graphics. When I was done at the secondary school I moved on to study Game Art at University of Skövde. It was during these years that I met most of the people with who I would later start up Triolith Entertainment with. When I studied Game Art I didn’t really focus on one thing, instead I learned a bit of everything from 3D modelling, animating, video editing and so on. So I know a bit of everything from traditional art to computer graphics.

The current artist of Triolith EntertainmentIn the beginning when we started the company I was the only artist and this had quite a few problems. First off the quite obvious one; I had to do all the visual work myself and if I couldn’t be at work for some reason it would be a complete stop on the art side. The other thing was that I didn’t have any other artist to discuss ideas with or get feedback from. Of course I had the other guys to talk with but when it comes to discussing one thing and then putting it down on paper it will always look different depending on who puts it on paper. As I was the only artist all the things tended to end up looking quite the same and in the end not so interesting. So when the other artist came along we could help each other a lot more and share all our ideas which in the end I guess helped both of us widen our artistic thinking.  This is such an obvious thing but more artists should show their work more so they can get feedback and see what things they can improve.

Working as an artist at such a small company has both its problems and benefits, but I think the benefits are far greater than the problems. One of these mixed blessings is that you have to work on almost all things visual from 2D to 3D and videos. I’ve been working on concept art, icon design, promotional and feature pictures, 2D animations, 3D modelling, video trailers, the list goes on.  Of course you are probably better at one thing than another, as for me, I feel most comfortable with 3D modelling. But as we have to do so many things I constantly get better at all things that I do as we have to work with it all the time. As we all know if you keep practicing you will get better at what you are doing.

When we first started the company we had to do a lot of 2D work as can be seen in Thunder BANG and Wisp. There were a lot of 2D animations in Thunder BANG which was kind of new to me during that project. This is, as I see it, our company’s trial and error project. We learned how to work with the team, dust off those skills about how to set a project together and so on.  I as an artist had to go back to the basics with 2D sprites and all those things.

Overall we learned a lot of this chaotic project. Then we moved on from the comic cartoon mayhem and cities into the woods when we made Wisp. Here, much of the work went into painting lots of grass, mushrooms, trees and many other things. We still made all the art in 2D sprites and made some use of Unity’s basic 3D assets. And now here we are working on MEGATROID which is set in a sci-fi setting and we have moved away from all the old 2D sprites and animations and are now working with 3D instead.

Haij and KitsuneAfter I left school and started working here at Triolith Entertainment I’ve learned quite a few things. You can learn much at school but actually putting a project together from start to end is probably one of the most educating things you can do in the game industry. Of course you have to keep studying how to improve your skills at whatever you do, but actually working with a team and getting all that feedback all the time is very rewarding and educating. But there is still some digging around in books and tutorials to learn new techniques and refresh the memory.

Not the most informative post but I hope it gives a small insight into working with such a small team and what I’ve been doing and learning here at Triolith Entertainment.

Next week I will elaborate on what you most likely need to think about when creating things for a mobile platform; the restrictions it brings and the solutions we’ve come up with.

- Haij