Is 'it' green?: what is the project and what has it got to do with design? 

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned on our blog an exciting new project we are working on - Is IT Green? Our resident 3D/2D Artist Nicky Rhodes has wrote about her experience on this project. In the coming weeks she will be giving tips and advice, discussing her process and more on the creative side of game design! 


Nicky Rhodes

Nicky Rhodes

Hi, Nicky 3D/2D Computer Artist here! Welcome to my Character Creation posts. You might have guessed already, I create 3D and 2D assets, environments and characters. It’s my aim to enlighten you on all things fun and creative, here at Totem Learning.

It’s not often we get the opportunity to work on a creative focused, artistic, stylised project. When the opportunity arose, in the form of the project ‘Green IT’, I jumped right in! I’m sharing all my findings with you lovely artists, I hope this will help on your journey of becoming even more awesome! It’s not extra rules to learn. Simply a collection of guidelines I use that have helped quicken my process and improved my work. I will be posting daily, so watch this space!


Here’s what you can expect over the next couple of weeks:


Introduction Into Research

  • Starting Out
  • Gathering Research
  • Refining your Research
  • Defining Styles and Stereotypes (Or ‘Choosing a Style?)


Introduction Into Design And Development

  • Artistic Freedom and when to use it
  • The Design Process
  • Silhouettes and Line work
  • Quick Tips for Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Optimise


Process, Define, Refine

Starting Out: Approaching A Project And An Introduction To Research

At the beginning of a project, it’s often hard to choose a style you are satisfied with. There is so much choice out there! As an artist we all have our favourite styles we like to use but this can lead to some cosy comfort zones. It’s a good exercise to challenge yourself and try something new.

At this early point in the project, it is important to look at lots of different styles. Don't limit yourself, instead challenge yourself and your range as an artist. Limiting yourself or sticking with that 'one great’ idea which hit you straight away, can lead to mediocre, uninspiring and ultimately stagnant work.

When gathering research, question its merit; ask yourself:

  • What impact does this style have on you?
  • How does it make you feel? Does it generate a certain emotional response?
  • Will this style allow you to improvise, exaggerate or tone down? Essentially, can it be adapted if needs be?
  • Will this style suit the demographic and purpose of the project?
  • Will it clearly convey the message required?

Be wary and question…

What specific aspect of this style are you drawn to? Are you attracted to the art style as a whole? Or is it only one aspect you’re drawn to, the appealing colour palette maybe? For example, maybe you like the warmth of a painting and the inner response it provokes. But you have failed to give the art style appropriate attention. 

Asking these questions in the early stages will save you from heartache later on. You know that stage when the project is failing to come together and you can’t put your finger on why it’s not working. Setting up mood boards for future reference and adding your own notes to these will help to keep you focused. Moodboards act as important reminders of your goals whilst you work.


Is IT Green

What is Green IT?

Green IT is a short and interactive Serious Game, developed as part of the Is It Green project. Its purpose is to help improve the capability of IT experts and managers of SMEs across Europe. Encouraging preliminary energy assessments of IT and IS (information systems) infrastructure. Empowering lower energy consumption; enhancing opportunities to save resources and encouraging eco-friendly behaviour.

Dispatched by the government to bring local companies into new eco-friendly regulations, the protagonist is a self-assured individual (a trait that often backfires). He grapples with the realities of being an energy assessor, often dealing with the most tragically incompetent or eccentric cases since getting on the wrong side of his boss. He will have to produce some brilliant results or risks being fired!

Humorous encounters with quirky characters introduce the player to several, beautifully crafted 2D scenes. The player will need to search for items of energy inefficiency in these IT environments, all while being entertained by the protagonist’s remarks and interactions with other characters. He will have to use the knowledge obtained to reason through a logic-based assessment; players complete tasks to progress. Tasks require selecting the right item or using a combination of items to solve more complex problems. However, the process becomes even more involving as environments differ depending on the timing of the visit and equipment being used. This gives greater depth and layers of interaction with each setting.

Now we know the plan come back next week for how to make it happen!