the student org experience

My first semester at the University of Iowa was Fall 2011. Since I was a transfer student, I had to find a way to integrate into the community somehow, so I joined a student Organization, AIUI, Animation and Interaction at the University of Iowa by the recommendation of my adviser.

At first I didn’t know what to think of the group, everyone seemed so self driven, motivated, and most of all pretty friendly. I was intimidated, however. Everyone seemed to know what they wanted out of life more than I and more focused. It turned out it was a new student org to build a community for people interested in animation and making video games, since it was new this¬†intimidation¬†lessened a little.

I was quiet at the meetings for the most part for quite while. Eventually, about 3/4 of the way through the semester was a game jam for AIUI people mostly. We sat and worked, and worked and worked for a whole weekend straight. During this time I started to find my stride and place within the group. Even though most of my work from that weekend got thrown to the cutting room floor, you can still see some of it in the final assets sheet above.

Sitting and making assets on the computer for a weekend, it doesn’t seem that bad. However, it was one of the most grueling experiences I have had in my life. To keep working and changing and talking and working just to get to the start of making a final product for the programmers to use, it made me realized a few major things.

1. I thought I knew everything about anything, followed by the crushing realization I knew just about nothing.

2. Working on a team project is probably the most frustrating but rewarding thing a person can do.

3. My dreams were going to be a lot more work than I thought.

After that weekend, a lot of things started to change in my life, mostly because I knew how much I had to focus to get the things accomplished I wanted to. Honestly, I went into such a fury of creation and destruction and movement, I can barely remember what happened. The end result was me having pretty awesome grades for fall semester, getting a 6,000 dollar scholarship for the next year, revamping my personal life, getting a kitten, and probably the most important, becoming President of AIUI.

I couldn’t believe it myself when I was elected, on my birthday mind you, but, the group spoke. I still don’t know if I am the right person for the position, but I do know I love the work and love helping my people. I have learned a lot about leading a group, the creative process, and met so many wonderful people, I can’t believe it is happening most the time. Between Bumpf! and our last project kowBoom! not only have I developed, but I have gotten the joy of watching those around me develop.

So here is just a few of the assets I have worked out with the help of all the great folks there over the last year, and hopefully this next year we will continue to excel and push our boundaries.


bumpf! title screen

A gif showing the painting process for the Bumpf! title menu screen.

I am not going to say much about this piece, especially the process to create it, because the gif above outlines that pretty well. I will explain the idea behind this.

Since it is the title screen for Bumpf!, a tower defense game, it had to somehow explain the story behind it. The story for this game is you are toliet paper people defending your sacred golden toliet from the marauding horde of ninjas, pirates, and vikings. Even though the story maybe a little off kilter, I like to think this painting encapsulates this idea.

As to style, I really wanted to keep some structure and realistic value, but also play on the cartoony-ness of the game. I really enjoy painting in this style, and wish to explore it more.

bumpf!, digital painting, photoshop