Friday, September 18, 2015

Sparkypants Studios

My name is Alexander Nelson and during the spring of 2015 I was an intern at Sparkypants Studios, a game developer located in Baltimore Maryland. I study and occasionally work in pre production as my primary focus of illustration studies, and internships are a fun way to learn a lot. During the prior semester I had taken advanced concept art with David Inscore as a course, during winter break he reached out with an internship offer at Sparkypants where he is an art director.  Sparkypants studios is a medium sized game developer who is new in name, but filled with a sizable number of industry veterans. A lot of prior experience studios members had in the field revolves around real time strategy games, and open world role playing gams. The Studio was in a temporary office in mount Washington, but is in the process of moving to the Centre Building on North Charles.

Dave Inscore was my supervisor, as stated he is one of the art directors at the studio. This role encompassed making sure visual themes meshed well, handing out assignments to artists based on sprint period needs, and contributing his own visual ideas and pieces as well. Dave also is just an energetic guy and lends great energy on top of his art direction.  I worked alongside 2 other interns and close friends mostly, and we shared the same workloadesponsibilities. The work done spanned over many different areas based on need, early on it was a lot of concepting work with stress on icon work for user interface readability. I worked also on creating a minimap for in game use, and worked on making UI borders, with different shape and color treatments. We also focused on game menu item isolation, cleaning of 3d stills, texture capture, decal treatments, map area ideation and 3d exploration with game assets. Toward period end the work shifted toward ability treatments, 3d study and menu concepts.  I'm most proud of designing a few item appearances that made it into the game build and got 3d treatments, they look awesome.


My biggest lessons learned have to be an even better grip on studio communication. Ask lots of questions, and make sure they are on point, saves a lot of pipeline hours. It's also important to be aware of everyones work so that what you create jives with the visual index of the joint project. It's also  really important to laugh and have fun with your coworkers, because you're all working on stuff you love and when neat things happen it's ok to cheer. This work period has not so much clarified my work goals so much as re-confirmed my love of doing this kind of work. Every internship has been like that, it's exciting to see work click together, it's exciting to do work in an industry where you get to learn every day.

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