Students going into the arts need to build a portfolio, and they need to build it now! Why not build it free? I have created a new site, for free, through Weebly, and I have a guide to getting a site going and posting portfolio pieces. Visit 3dtrip2.weebly.com/ to find a guide to the practical steps to posting a portfolio site for free. Of course, the steps to create a portfolio site are easy, however creating a good portfolio is a completely different subject. This topic will be discussed more in the future, but a good start would be to look at successful professionals in the field you are studying, and see what their portfolios look like. Mimic them, heck copy their format if it is impressive to you, but whatever you do get started!
As the title suggests, I am not sure how to go about this topic. The problem is that many students are afraid to give strong art critiques for a myriad of reasons, but I suspect the most prevalent is fear of others not liking them. Vicarious modeling a term used by Psychologist Albert Bandura, is an important part of bringing up a persons self-efficacy (self efficacy is one's perceived ability to accomplish a goal). Vicarious modeling is how one sees themselves as compared to others. On one hand if someone sees themselves as being at the top of the group, they will tend to go further, try harder and persevere in the face of adversity, while on the other hand perceiving one is at the bottom of the group one can lower their belief in their abilities having a reverse effect. How can I have vicarious modeling within the classroom without lowering self efficacy? Perhaps it is not possible to accomplish this goal, as it is not possible to program every reactive thought and processing of information within the students mind. But perhaps social hierarchies can be limited by anonymous artistic critique. While this process is likely to fail due to students noticing other students work in their common space; it may be possible to get a more honest participatory critique if names are not eluded to during class critiques. But the students still know that the assignments are done by their peers, so critiques might not take a different shape. In fact because students don't know whose work they are looking at they might even be more reserved. Perhaps an online anonymous critique done outside of class would yield better results?
Below is a description of an assignment I would like to test this on:
Assignment: Create 5 PBR materials from a professors list.
A list with a great number of possible materials is presented to the class.
There are many categories of materials and each student is to go to the list and pick 5 materials from 5 different categories (Ex. Rock, sand, scratched metal, snow, glass).
Students go up one at a time and pick one material from one category, scratches it off the list, then sit down (in order of the room). The last student picks 2 materials and then the reverse order commences until everyone has 5 materials.
Critique: Students hand in their assignments as an Unreal 4 (UE4) material to a folder on the schools network.
The assignment will be entered into an online database that allows for voting and tracking of results.
Desired outcome: Students will critique more objectively and hopefully without reservation without knowing who did what.
On another topic, how might this assignment be Spiraled 4 times to keep ramping up the difficulty throughout a semester?
Level 1: make 5 materials, tiled using Bitmap 2 Material (B2M)
Level 2: Make 4 materials: 1) brick tiled 2) one a leaf with opacity 3) one of your choice using multiple blended layers at least 3 layers; a base layer and two additional layers Ex. Metal panel with with scratches and dirt. 4) texture that has multiple layers using masks e.g. wood with paint.
Level 3: make 3 materials, tiled using Substance Designer (SD) 1) organic 2) sci-fi 3) your choice
Level 4: make a material using ZBrush
I have been studying the Montessori Method by Maria Montessori. In chapter, 14 which deals with the teaching of the senses, I have come up with an idea for class examples: Every material we wish to create should be accompanied by their real world counter part. While this maybe unrealistic for somethings like Gold, or sunken pirate ship wood, it is not impossible to ask of myself, the instructor, to build example materials that the student can have a tactile experience with. The importance of this approach is of that described by Maria:
"Education should guide and perfect the development of the three periods, the two peripheral and the central; or, better still, since the process fundamentally reduces itself to the nerve centres, education should give to psychosensory exercises the same importance which it gives to psychomotor exercises.
Otherwise, we isolate man from his environment. Indeed, when with intellectual culture we believe ourselves to have completed education, we have but made thinkers, whose tendency will be to live without the world. We have not made practical men. If, on the other hand, wishing through education to prepare for practical life; we limit ourselves to exercising the psychomotor phase, we lose sight of the chief end of education, which is to put man in direct communication with the external world."
This statement could not be more appropriate for the day and age we are living in now where the virtual world encroaches into and indeed overtakes that which is real. Tactile experience may connect the student to the real material, driving them to appreciate their surroundings; perhaps driving them to go out and experience the real world more (even while creating the a virtual one).
On a practical note, hands on real materials will allow for truly thorough observation of items. The student will be able to see by moving and touching the object, what the reflections really look like, how the smoothness of a surface changes the reflections, how bumpy the surface really is, what is the true color of the object according to their eyes, as opposed to the wide interpretation of the cameras sensor or monitor gamma correction. And they can play!
I cut out the review portion and I have extended (blue) and moved things around to reflect my current progress. biggest things that are changing is I want to be done with the visual prototype one week after break, and I am giving my self a bit more time for research.
These are questions from SCAD's course units asked about the review:
What was the single most important factor in the success of your presentation?
In all honesty I have to say that without the direction to research literature that Professor Gilbert gave me I might not be on the left side of the questions. According to the review documentation I was excellent in the areas of "Relationship to career", "Concept Application", "Implementation", and "Direction". The only area I was below "Good" was an "Average" in "Presentation", in the comments it was clear that this was a typography issue. While I don't typically like excuses for lacking in an area, I have never taken a typography class, so my knowledge in that area is weak; no excuse, but I have been working on other areas that are more closely related to my current role.
What other factor(s) do you feel were strengths that gained positive responses from the review committee?
I have to imagine my work examples end product gained points. My research, organization and execution was pointed out as "Great- a pleasure to view"
Did any specific feedback from earlier peer reviews help you refine your presentation? If so, what specifically?
Sure, people were very unclear about my topic at first. Through many iterations I was able to get an understandable response from peer review.
Did you receive any positive comments from the review committee with regard to the balance of your visual and written thesis development? If so, what specifically?
I was actually suggested to try to make the connection stronger between the two, so I will be looking to do that.
I am currently helping to develop curriculum at Purdue University and I have brought up an issue at almost every department meeting we have, here are the issues: 1) students do not know how to create, or what should go in a portfolio (most don't anyway). 2) even if students did know what to do with their portfolio, they are not required to make one till the end of the 4 years at Purdue! So lets think about this for a second; the goal of going to school is to get an education so that the student can have the skills to work in an area of interest, right? So instead of an early introduction of the concepts essential for building a portfolio, would we rather wait till the end of year 4? Do we then send them to confidence crushing career doom when they lack sufficient focus and content? Since I have been at Purdue I can not tell you how many portfolio reviews I have done where there is no focus, and really no work to show.
So here is my rough proposal: A one week workshop at the beginning of the 4 year bachelors degree. 1 to 2 hours each night. Required for ALL students (if they don't show they don't enter the program). During the 1 to 2 hour lectures all professors from each discipline present information about who they are, what they teach, how it pertains to industry (jobs in that field), and what a professional portfolio for that field currently looks like. Then on the last day, Friday the students have to create a website on Weebly or something similar. The students have to hand in assignments through normal measures, and all assignments must be presented on their website in a page named after the class they are in and in a process book format (with specific requirements laid out by the professor).
Here is the benefit of revising our methods and following this newly proposed model:
1) Students will know what is expected of them in order to compete in the field, from day one.
2) Students will know and understand a number of different disciplines that are possible avenues for career pursuits.
3) Students will know their teachers!
4) Students will have a portfolio already being built through their coursework by the end of 4 years. At which time all they need to do is refine, remove and/or add to what they have, rather than wasting time trying to organize all of their past works.
5) Students can hand in an assignment via URL where appropriate.
6)Professors will be able to review ALL of a students work and make assessments regarding students strengths and weaknesses, allowing for better guidance.
6) Students will be set up to succeed
7) Professors look good and get warm fuzzy feelings when their students succeed.
Researching the Minimalistic Architectural style that my thesis focuses on I found a name that came up often: Tadao Ando. Tadao Ando is so inspirational to me in so many ways; 1) He was a boxer, I studied boxing as well. I know this may be silly and child like to be enthusiastic about this, but that's just me 2) He never formally studied Architecture, he is self taught. How many self taught experts in any field end up winning what is considered the highest honor in Architecture, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995? 3) He is the creator of the Japanese structure Church of Light, which I have seen and admired a number of times, but didn't know of the Architect. This guy is something else! When he won the $100,000 prize for the Pritzker, he gave all the money to help children in Japan after one of their large earthquakes. Needless to say, I want to be this kind of visionary and contributor to society and my field.
I was recently asked by a fellow student how I would be adding to the game industry with my thesis, this was my response:
Imagine you are student with exceptional technical abilities, intelligence and great ideas, but you don't have the visual savvy to show off what you can do in a way that gets you noticed. As artists we may overlook this aspect because we are already good at something that is evident the moment someone sees it. The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" would apply here. For a designer or programmer who is trying to get noticed it is not so easy, but with the right tools and approach the next genius designer might get a gig because he caught someone's eye with the visuals of his portfolio. The visuals being stronger equates to time, more time spent by a prospective employer viewing their work. If I can teach an approach to creating environments that is simple enough for the non-artist to create, yet builds their confidence and abilities, I maybe creating a path for the next great designer/programmer to get a job that will pay them to explore and share their God given talent. I think that might add to the game industry.
Albert Bandura is considered the 4th most important Psychologist in the history of its practice. His influence is far and wide. In my opinion the most important discovery Albert made was to help people to overcome their fears in order to live a fuller life. His techniques of building "Self Efficacy" or perception that a task can be accomplished in people can not be overlooked. Using these effective techniques I believe we can empower people to push through their hangups and mistakes into the realm of accomplishment.
Daniel Triplett, is an artist that worked in game development for over 6 years, and now teaches in the Computer Graphics Technology department (CGT) at Purdue University.