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Game Art Competition 2012

Spring 2012, is the first year I am giving out awards for the Game Art program at RMCAD.  It is an experiment  to honor the tradition I was exposed to in art school, where by students competed each year for the coveted Gregory Battcock award.  In my mind competition is a good thing, and it is a mirror of this industry which is very competitive, but also serves to celebrate the student work by having them work hard to present their work.

So after carefully considering the entries this year I am going to announce the award winners in this blog.  Before doing so I will explain the categories, and some of what we are doing in the Game Art program.    This is the first year this award is being handed out, and students who qualify are in the Fall-2011 to the Spring-2012 terms.

In order to encourage students to finish work and present it, awards are based on what is submitted for the competition in time for the Student Exhibition.  Work not presented for the student exhibition is not weighed in the competition. 

RMCAD Game Art : Best New Artist  Award – 2012 :    $50 award

This award is to be handed out to students in the Fall 2011 to Spring 2012 Previsualization and Scripting class.   This Sophomore level class is one of the first classes that students hit as they leave behind fundamentals and enter into their major.    The class is set up to teach students how to create games using the Unity Game engine and may likely in the future include Unreal.   Students make three games in their time in this class, a First Person Controller, a Third Person Controller and a Side Scroll game.   

The award goes to the student who displays an excellent grasp of the game engine, and shown dedication and creativity in making games. The game should display artistry, game savvy and should go beyond the minimum requirements of each assignment.  

RMCAD Game Art :  Realistic Modeling with Zbrush Award – 2012 :  $75 award

This award is open to anyone from the Game Art and Animation majors who has gone through the Realistic Modeling class.   This demanding class challenges students with sculpting creatures in Zbrush learning a variety of techniques students come through the class with anywhere between 5 and 7 creature sculpts as well as having re-topologized and posed work.  Admittedly it can be a grueling gauntlet that I refer to as boot-camp.

The award goes to the student who shows excellent sense of anatomy, creativity, character or creature design, and an inexhaustible ability to work at their craft.   

RMCAD Game Art :   Best in Show Award – 2012 :  $150 award

This award is presented to the individual who shows excellence in creating their game Thesis and is restricted to students within Thesis I & II, in the 2011-2012 year.  

In the game art program students are encouraged to come up with a “pre-thesis” in their sophomore year and to stick with this concept that they can create characters, environments, animations and game play around.  The overall goal is to get students to focus on a cohesive body of work which is not attainable in the short time in Thesis without having this time to do pre-production on their concept.  A concept which again mirrors the industry.

The award goes to the student for creativity in game concept, execution of assets and overall finish presentation.     


The award winners for the GAME ART department 2012 are as follows :

Best New Artist  Award – 2012 :    Brandon Jenks :  Brandon displays an inexhaustible enthusiasm for creating games.  As a student who did extra work to make it into the class over holiday, Brandon has challenged himself to create cut scenes, extra levels and spends his free time researching outside of class and trying to understand what makes zombies tick.   If Brandon were making games in the 80’s he’d likely be challenging Atari and other entrepreneurs of the Game industry.  I suspect that Brandon is currently engineering a quantum wormhole device that will insert players directly into the grid.  Let’s hope he stays ahead of Google on this.

Realistic Modeling with Zbrush Award – 2012 :   Ryan Kehoe.  Ryan is from the 3D Animation major and wrestled his way into the Modeling class often fighting off people to get a seat in the front row.  Ryan’s work shows creativity in his approach to creatures, gesture, weight and anatomy and an excellent handling of the sculpting tools.  With humor and determination, Ryan consistently has gone beyond the assignment minimal requirements, challenging himself to do excellent work.

Thesis Game : Best in Show Award – 2012 :  Tyler Snell.    Tyler consistently thinks outside the box creatively.    Tyler began making animated films in his parent’s basement when practically a toddler when he figured out how to use match-sticks, glue, parts of his father’s car, and Greek Mythology to create work that is dynamic and thoughtful.  

Now that Tyler has figured out how to tell stories with game engines, there is surely no going back.  His work is inspired and thoughtful and he consistently has gone deep in presenting a game with mythological overtones, and mysterious undercurrents.  Tyler has also shown resilience in tackling the technical challenges associated with programming his game engine, creating creatures and animating them, creating environments and presenting his work.  


As part of my on going mission to organize our Game Art program and present our work I have linked to student pages to the side bar.   This is the first year students have been required to present online portfolio presentations as well. Some of their work is currently up and the rest will be there by the end of the spring term.  

Congratulations to the first winners of Game Art 2012 Student awards!


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