31 March 2014

Dream Worlds - Hans Bacher

Dream Worlds contains some very inspiring images of some of the painstakingly created Disney layouts, spanning most of the Disney renaissance era of the nineties. I enjoyed some of Hans' anecdotes from some of the different productions he worked on but overall the text is a bit frivolous and with some of the advice being about general film making and lacking focus. Aspects of it were useful to my field though, and generally it was a very inspiring book.

This particular area of animation production is extremely useful to environment production, as animation masters have utilised some of the fundamentals of we understand environments in a scene, whether that be games or movies. Composition, staging, lighting, attention to detail (or lack of) were all great sections, with decision making being particularly relevant to me. He briefly mentions the multitude of options that working digitally has provided artists and designers, and how this can lead to overworking your scenes. I can certainly relate to this, as I am now very comfortable with certain applications and feel like I could just keep doing passes on work in some sort of infinite loop if I'm not careful.

One problem that games have in this respect is that players don't necessarily see the view you have created. People play games differently and focus their attention on different things, so we can't guarantee they will observe anything that we create in the game, much less stop and admire. The problem of being unable to control a viewer's composition in a game is sometimes solved by the level designers, by either or forcing players down a certain pathway via a bottleneck or controlling the camera temporarily. Gears of war is one of the games that decides to go down the camera control route at certain points, and I found this to be particularly annoying. It felt akin to the level designer petulantly turning my head for me because I wasn't paying attention to their work. This for me was too much, and I do feel that whilst it's important to place players in situations where they can admire things easier, you should never force a player, they might love your work very much, but they might have different priorities at that point in time.