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Interview with Erin Stevenson

Interview with Erin Stevenson of Puny Astronaut.
Coming into university, I really wanted to be an animator. I always loved the big films, like different Dreamworks films and Ghibli and things like that. But it never really seemed an option to me to go into games. They just seemed to exist by themselves. I don’t know. It was more film and cartoons that I was interested in. I came to kind of focus more on game art in my studies through a second year entertainment design course. We were kind of [INAUDIBLE]. Then I kind of realised the rules were broke down a lot more, working on character art and environment stuff. There’s something really fulfilling about creating something that other people could actually interact with and have a say in.
I found myself coming into the games industry through the Dear competition, which I think is called Data Academy now. I came into a team called Puny Astronaut, who are working on a game called Sky Stories. And I’m the character artist and a 3D animator on the project. And we get a lot of freedom since it is our own IP as well. I do everything from the concept right through into the rigging and the animating of all the different characters and NPCs in the game. Being a character artist, I find that I have to be quite adaptable, and always have to research and figure out– can [INAUDIBLE] work with different styles, and I’m always learning new programmes and things like that.
So – it sounds like a strange, kind of vague thing, but just being adaptable is really important. Some kind of characters that have stuck out for me visually, I always loved Beyond Good and Evil growing up. And I’m seeing it again at E3. The characters just have– they’re so much richer. I love that sort of graininess, and that anything to do with the character’s culture isn’t like it’s drawn in your face. It’s maybe just a little rag that’s on their belt. So that’s sort of– we were kind of immersed in culture, but it isn’t thrown in your face. I love them.
When I’ve gone to conferences and different exhibitions and things like that with our game, people tend to approach me and ask me what is it that I do, or what advice can I give to actually get into the industry as an artist. And I think it’s something that does actually apply to different fields as well. You have to– any game or anything like that you are interested in, break it down and figure out why you are interested in that, what is it that’s cool about that character, what is it that is even really good about the films that you enjoy. And maybe you’ll find that actually, you don’t like that. Or– even looking at games that you don’t like.
Why do you not like them? It’s just sort of looking at it a lot more and realising what maybe even you could do better about it.

In this interview, we hear from Abertay University graduate and Puny Astronaut character animator, Erin Stevenson.

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Video Game Design and Development: Video Game Character Design

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