Visual decision making

This week was our one to one with tutors and after a conversation with Paul we managed to highlight a few areas that have been possibly overlooked or just not considered enough. I have made the decision to go back to basics and address the importance of good visual decision making.

‘Another body of web user experience research shows that website users are powerfully influenced by aesthetics, and that positive perceptions of order, beauty, novelty, and creativity increase the user’s confidence in a site’s trustworthiness and usability.’

This statement only backs up the importance of making the correct visual decisions otherwise it will affect the users perception of your work, either it be a website or a game. This does not mean that visuals should come before making work function, but visuals should enhance what functionality your product has because there’s lots of evidence that beauty enhances usability.

I thought I would address this matter by looking at how people critique art as the process would be the same as when choosing out designs, creating sketches and helping in my development of a project.

  1. Technical Skill

How good is the technique? Is the style suited for the target audience e.g. Cel shading, Realistic?

In art there is a lot of experimentation in which the results do not achieve the goals desired for example Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” used an experimental technique when mixing the pigment and plaster and because of this the artwork began decomposing. It takes a lot of practise for the skill to meet what your dream results but as you grow so will your art so that you will be able to achieve the results you want with study and practice.

I feel technical skill when designing games is important as we follow a design process and each stage of this has to be correctly applied meeting with good skill in order to produce effective results. This is why we should not ignore drawing or other important parts of the process but challenge it and in time the end result will be worth it. Reflecting over my work, I have felt like my technical skill is still in need of development but I know this, and I feel that with every passing year this is continuing to improve. I do not feel as if I compromise as often anymore, although sometimes it is present I try my best to apply the skill and expand on what I know to avoid this in the future. An example of this is my work within UE4, I feel as if Blueprints has been a struggle for me although I did pick up some skills within it, it is not where I would like it to be. I have intensions of tackling this issue during summer so that when addressed with the dilemma again I will be able to tackle it with less issues.

  1. Composition

Composition is when we look at how elements interact with each other. For example does the colour, shape and texture work together or do we need to make changes for it to do so. Did the artist just throw this together or did he do his research and made educated changes? Does the result appear awkward, if so, why?

We have to remember that not everything is perfect and as humans we notice these things but fail to notice why or if it had been done intentionally. I feel composition can be researched and applied effectively, and no matter the result of this as long as you have points to back up your decisions rather than making uneducated choices then your work will have its own stability. In games design, we must make decisions on things in things such as the development stages of our projects and if we cannot get the composition right then there is little point in developing this into a final product otherwise it will fall through for many reasons, for example it may not meet the target audiences needs or fit the brief completely as you are compromising decision making.

In reflection to my composition, I feel this is the thing that I have compromised the most as I feel I have researched only generally and have not considered things such as if the colours are working correctly or if I am using the correct text and images for my project. A clear example of this has been within my ongoing gamification project. Yes, I did research into this in regards as the app itself and its target audience but I did a fragment of research in regards to the visual side of it and because of this it has made the app look visually poor. Due to this being a project I have intension of completing over summer I have every intension of approaching the issue and having a complete do over in regards to the visual side of things and consider things such as correct fonts, effective colour pallets and a better interface. With all these together, plus the recent adaptions to the project such as having it appear more realistic by having an animated hand using the app. I feel as if it will bring the gamification project to its peak and will be able to distinguish itself as an application rather than an animation.

  1. Content

In art it is important that we have a feel for the message that the artist is trying to convey to us as the audience. It is important that we can see how well the artist transfers this message to us and how effective they have been at doing so. For example if we were looking at biblical art showing Hell then we would expect harsh colours as Hell is portrayed as the worst place to be. We would expect Heaven to be perfect with light colours and perfect in every way possible.

As a game designer we would also want to convey a particular message to our audience, this could be about the pains of war to things such as the struggle of managing our own farms. Game designers have the opportunity to show games in fully immersive 3d and even more so with equipment such as the Oculus rift now readily becoming available we can show our content in a more dynamic environment. In comparison to other media, we have more ways to express ourselves than ever before and to not use this as a way to bring home our message to the audience would be one of the worst decisions that we could make.

When considering my project work, I feel as if this is something that I have managed to do rather well as I have always made sure that the application meets the requirements of its audience and thus being portrayed in the correct way. I have tried to make my projects engaging although I do know improvements can and will be made in the near future I am satisfied with how I have dealt with the content side of things. Although, I do feel like my considerations with the composition may have affected my content side of things, I do feel as if my overall message or idea of my projects have managed to come through.

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