Saturday, May 28, 2011

From Idea To Reality: The Art of Design

On Friday, I was invited to a local middle school to judge a game design contest.

A friend of mine teaches art at the school. Another teacher he knows remembered I have experience in game design & development.

I enjoy getting out of the studio to help kids understand the possibilities in commercial art and other creative fields. This was especially fun to see the ideas the kids came up with.

The theme was "Solving America's Energy Problems".
There were several takeoffs of 'Monopoly' & 'Chutes & Ladders', but there were also some good original ideas. Since the games were energy-related, many focused on Green Energy, or the Middle East. Several games used the faces of leaders like Obama, King Saud, and Hillary Clinton on play money. One team made clay sculptures- of a pyramid, the Sphinx & Hosni Mubarak on a mummy sarcophaghus! All the kids, though, put at least some kind of effort into the project.

There were over a dozen teams & the games were set up in the cafeteria. The students were told to get up & move over to a different game at certain points. This way people could try other teams' games.

Meanwhile, the teachers & I walked around observing the teams and their projects. I quickly came up w/ a 3 point system to quickly rate the teams as I stopped by each table.

1) Originality 2) Functionality 3) Visual Appearance

I'd place a dot next to their name for each of the above qualities I thought they met. I made official-looking Winner Certificates on parchment paper for the top 3 teams & the whole event went very well.

Before I went in there to judge, the teacher asked me to make a brief video (posted above) for the students to watch- recounting my experiences in creating games and other products. I used my efforts in producing Da Vinci's Challenge to help describe the process.

My brother works in A/V & film editing so I asked him to help me put together the video. He has awesome editing skills & was indespensible in getting it done.

Since we both also saw it as a cool project to use on his Youtube video page, we put waaaay more voluntary work into it then we needed to.

The result is a basic intro to graphic design & the process of product development that we think turned out well, considering the filming and time constraints.

You can watch it on the MicPros Youtube page for the HD options:

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