INTRODUCING: WERKFLOW @ PROGRESS BAR
05 July 2016
In the run-up to our special games edition of Progress Bar in Brighton on 16 & 17 June, we’ve asked our line-up of talented industry insiders to give us a little insight into what they do and what we can expect from them at the event.
Here, James Stringer tells us about the artists and musicians he works with in his role as creative director at digital arts studio Werkflow, and how games engines can be used to explore more meaningful ideas and narratives.
James will give a talk on Thursday 16 June and host a workshop on creating virtual artwork for Unreal Engine on Friday 17 June with fellow Werkflow co-founder Tom Wandrag.
What do you make at Werkflow, and who do you make it for?
We work on projects with artists that we like, developing and fabricating digital works with them. Our practice is quite varied, from creating music videos to live visuals to VR installation work. In some cases we have created physical objects from designed assets, there are many possibilities with the digital technology we use. Artists & musicians we have worked with include Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Kuedo, Parker Ito, Amalia Ulman, Rabit, Artie Vierkant, TCF & Quantum Natives to name a few.
Most of all we like to work with games engines. We are currently developing what could be considered our first studio developed game project using the Unreal Engine.
What is Unreal Engine, and why is it so important for artists and music producers right now?
Games engines render in real-time, meaning we can adjust a lot of visual elements on the fly and create very immediate results without much post production. We can also simulate real-time events using increasingly accurate physics and lighting. The Unreal Engine looks really nice, it has great cinematic logic within its in-built camera and editing software. Real-time rendering is very exciting as it saves us time and allows us to explore new avenues such as interactivity, VR and live visuals that look and feel very realistic. Unreal Engine is also free to develop with, which is great because we are often working on very low budgets!
What’s inspiring you at the moment?
I’m re-visiting Jan Švankmajer [a surrealist Czech filmmaker and artist] and Harold Pinter right now!
What can we expect from your talk and workshop?
The talk will explain elements of our studio practice whilst exploring games design in relation to traditional animation and puppeteering techniques. I will also discuss the potential to see games engines as a digital theatre space in which we can explore more meaningful ideas and narratives.
Our workshop will demonstrate stages in an unusually hands-on pipeline we have devised to develop sculpted digital art assets for use in the games engine. We hope to engage participants in thinking about the interplay between physical and digital art making practices.
PROGRESS BAR: GAMES EDITION
This two-day special edition, co-produced with University of Brighton, presents a mix of talks and workshops that focus on game design, storytelling, visuals and sound. Plus, you can try out some experimental and visually stunning video games in the pop up arcade and watch a demo of Google’s incredible new VR kit for artists Tilt Brush.
The event is for anyone with an interest in games development, from industry professionals to students and creatives – including filmmakers, sound recordists and designers, scriptwriters, musicians, theatre makers and visual artists – wanting to find out more.
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