Ah, that time of the year when a mass of coders, designers and all kinds of creative geeks emigrate for 3 days to the lovely city of Brighton to attend Reasons to be Creative – a conference that has something for everyone.
This year, out team took turns to head down to the seaside and get inspired. Day 1 was the turn of our fairly new designer, extraordinaire Sam Fox, et moi.
First off was Tony Harmer, from Adobe, giving an insight into the latest news on the Creative Cloud front. The talk was mostly aimed at designers, showing them the capabilities of the Cloud, how all the Adobe products are truly connected, and how we can collaborate through it. What I found most interesting was some of the tools and apps that Adobe have created or acquired lately: Adobe Color CC, to create colour palettes on your phone based on photos or images you have in your gallery, Adobe Shape CC, a very useful tool that quickly converts hand-drawn sketches into vector objects, and Mixamo, a tool to easily create 3D characters for your games.
Next was Tom Platten-Higgins, and his seagull-filled talk on Making Fun of Games. This was packed full of tips on what makes a game fun, or even what makes it a game. The best advice was to present an opportunity for failure, so never make it too easy, but also not impossible to beat, and always have a well defined goal. Tom showed some of his half-cooked experiments involving physics-defying cars and sword-wielding dummies – both with added balloons. By the end of it all he talked about his experience creating the highly addictive Half-Inch Heist and how it became a Leap Motion experience; and all about Yak Dash, including how, even if they tried, they could never meet a live yak in person.
Belgian-born Wouter Verweirder had a talk called Building Bridges which was packed full of experiments using webcams, Xbox Kinect and web sockets. That might not mean much to some of you but the result was mostly a game in which people wave their hands to repel the attack of, what I can only guess were, evil digital Belgian pastries.
Dublin Designer Annie Atkins was Sam’s highlight by far. She is a trained Designer, from Dublin, turned Art Director, turned movie and prop maker (I know right). She studied Graphic Design, which involved a lot of type setting and hand crafting visuals, before going on to working in agencies for a few years until she stumbled upon a Design job for a movie. She’s worked on all sorts, especially the tiny detailed graphics needed for filmmaking. Which means, as well as creating artwork for movie posters, she also makes graphic pieces and gets to create worlds and characters such as “prison escape maps and telegrams to help create Wes Anderson’s fictional State of Zubrowka; or neon shopfront signs and fake passports for Spielberg’s new Cold War spy thriller”. Oh ja, did I mention she’s worked with the amazing Wes Anderson, I mean come on!
Last but not least – my favourite from the lot: Israeli illustrator Noma Bar. He is one of those whose work I’ve seen around in the cover of countless magazines, and even browsed his book Chineasy, but I never put a name on his work. His illustrations play a lot with negative space in the most clever ways. He uses shapes and iconography alongside the most diverse materials. In ‘Cut the Conflict’, Bar’s composition was made up of objects from conflict-torn countries. The most amusing thing for me though was how, based on one of his works, he created a machine to cut out prints of his work from paper, wood and even rubber.
Two big highlights, and some tips from the other talks, made the first day at Reasons to be Creative an interesting mix, as every years it proves to be.