From there to here: Part 1

General / 03 August 2020

My history

From lost, high-school aged gamer with little direction, to ambitious technical artist finally breaking into the industry; this is me.


Woolamai House, Cape Woolamai, Victoria

Education

Secondary School

I went to high school in Wonthaggi. A regional country town known by some for its rich mining history. To me, it was depressing with a culture that very much perpetuated tall poppy syndrome. Any time you stand out from the crowd you'd be shut down immediately. I don't know what things are like there now but I assume it's the same but with more drugs. If I was to say one positive thing about the area, it would have to be the environment. The coastline is stunning, and that's where I found peace outside of gaming and reading.

VCE Media

In my final year of VCE, I really got cracking with my studies. My major project for media was star trail photography and I really got a lot out of it. One thing I really didn't expect was how close to nature it gets you. I found that I ended up internalising the phases of the moon and had a real firm understanding of the weather conditions and if everything would line up, allowing me to get the shots I needed.

Rhyll Jetty, Rhyll, Victoria

VET Multimedia

On top of my star trail project, I also had a major project for a multimedia unit. Using Adobe Flash, my goal was to create a cross-platform game of some kind. The core requirements of the project were rooted in animation, so a fair bit of work and planning went into that. The intro was hand animated in flash and fully story-boarded in my handy notebook. 

I wasn't satisfied with just meeting the core requirements though. I wanted to smash them. I had a plan to create a cross platform game with a few mechanics I personally thought were interesting at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 though and I can definitely see some shortcomings now that's for sure!

The teacher for the unit was very helpful and took care of programming for most of the project (along with all the other students!). Understandably, he didn't have time to fully accommodate the requirements of the project so I took up the reigns in those instances and hacked through actionscript on my own.

It ended up being very popular. It went so well that it got selected to be shown at the VCE Seasons of Excellence Exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. This was a great experience that ended up teaching me the value of doing some kind of playtesting, because every kid I saw playing it got incredibly frustrated and had no idea what was going on. I've embedded a gameplay video below, maybe you can see why?

Melon Runner (2016), gameplay video

Creating Melon Runner gave me a taste of something bigger. I knew I enjoyed making that game, maybe I'd enjoy it as a career? This pushed me down the path of becoming a game developer. I signed up for University and was formally accepted into a Bachelor of Games and Interactivity/ Bachelor of Computer Science double degree at Swinburne University...

Part 2

Part 2 coming next week, this was honestly a lot more content than I expected so I'm splitting it. Got work to do 😅
If you actually took the time to read through this, I really appreciate it. It's personal stuff, and I'm talking a lot about me which feels weird and uncomfortable but it feels good getting some of this out there. Hopefully you are finding my content interesting so far!


New beginning, wish me luck

General / 27 July 2020

Troll fodder

Me and my cats pictured above.

G'day folks, I'm Kkye, a VFX artist with social anxiety ready to push my boundries and try new things. As such, I'm starting my first blog! I'm not mentally prepared for a roasting so be kind 😉.

Purpose

Historically I've been a very closed off person and haven't really ever participated in communities. Two years ago, I made my first step and created social media accounts (mainly Twitter, and it's actually not been too bad! @kkye_hall if you're interested)

My first attempt at social media @kkye_hall

This blog is my way of opening up to the world and showing off what I got. Whereas Artstation main + my website are focussed on "finished" or portfolio pieces, this blog will be more raw and showcase content such as:

  • Works in progress
  • Research and development
  • Things I find that I'm generally excited about (could be new technology or just breakthrough things I've recently learnt
  • Anything else that I feel like honestly, hopefully you find it interesting!

Brief backstory

I studied game development at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. While there, I became familiar with Maya and Unity and dabbled a bit with Mudbox. After leaving, I really started to become intimate with the two packages. I realised that despite learning so much while studying, there is a mountain of knowledge waiting to be discovered.

In 2019, I got my first industry job after finishing my degree. I became a VFX artist at Soundfirm. While there, I doubled down on my quest to gain experience with Unity. Hopefully I can show off some of the amazing content I worked on while there but at this point, it's under NDA.

It's at Soundfirm where I got my first hands on taste with Houdini, and I'm telling you it was delicious! Before I first noodled nodes in Houdini, I didn't really know where I fit in in the industry. I know I love making art, but I'm technical by nature. This line of thinking also pulled me into the idea of shader development but I'm yet to really persue that (I can say though, it is one of those amazing things I've been working on at Soundfirm).

Next steps

My plan for my upcoming posts is to introduce myself a bit, and show my journey to where I am now. As I am just starting out in the industry, it's very much a journey you can follow along with in real-time. You might be a student just starting your degree, a seasoned professional, or someone at the same stage as me. Regardless of the stage you're at, I hope you can find some level of entertainment from my content and maybe even learn something along the way!