With over 12 years experience in the interactive entertainment industry Andrew James has worked in a range of different artistic roles including technical art, 2D user interface design & 3D character and background modelling.
Creating engaging and visually compelling experiences is what drives Andrew, tackling technical problems along the way just makes it more enjoyable. Having worked for six years on games console titles and six years creating mobile apps, Andrew has experienced working on large teams over long timeframes, but also working with a small dynamic team shipping titles on a regular basis.
As well as holding a First Class degree in Creative Visualisation BA(hons), Andrew has picked up many different skills over the course of his career including: maya scripting, rigging, desktop scripting, website design & creation, 2D art, 3D rendering, 2D & 3D animation, video production, photography and many more.
Andrew has experience in a number of different areas under the banner of "Technical Art" such as creating apps in Unity, writing python tools to auto generate web pages, creating python scripts in Maya to automatically build Jigsaws, building responsive webpages for the National Gallery and much more. A selection of work can be seen below.
As the sole creator on this free to play iOS game that launched as companion to the award winning book "My Brother is a Superhero", Andrew completed all the programming, graphics and sfx. It served as a vauable experience creating a piece of software from the beginning to deployment on the App Store.
This app combined characters and locations from all of Nosy Crow's award winning fairytale apps, allowing you to create your own mixed up puppet shows. It allows you to pick the location, characters, costumes and then record your performance with multiple scenes and using your own talents to voice the characters. Andrew was the primary programmer on the project, and it allowed him to get in-depth knowledge of building a complex piece of software.
As part of the app creation process, each app has an information page, with tips, information for parents and the credits. These are hosted online and linked from the apps themselves. As time went on each new info page had it's style tweaked and updated which created a dissparity between apps. A script was developed in python that allowed the contents of those pages to be seperated from the style and template. This allows us to update whole sections, add in new ,or change the style of, the html and then generate all the pages at once. It is also used to create pages for foriegn language editions.
As part of an app called Nosy Crow Jigsaws, a quiz/information webpage was displayed after the completion of a puzzle. All the copy for the webpages existed in a large spreadsheet and this script would extract the text and generate over fifty web pages. It allowed non-technical but skilled copy writers to write the text and the script would easily pull it all together. It saved many man hours of editing static html.
Below are three examples out of over 30 tools written for Maya to aid in the creation of apps.
This tool was written to generate jigsaw puzzles in Maya. A selection of jigsaw piece sections were created and correctly uv mapped, and this tool allowed for the creation of a totally unique jigsaw of any size, setup and ready to be used in the app. This tool saved many man hours of tweaking and rebuilding, and was eventually used to batch generate over 50 jigsaws.
This tool is used to build scenes on a 45° forshortened grid. It allows precise snapping, and dropping objects accurately onto the grid. A companion tool was also created to help UV map the tile pieces used on the grid. These tools acted like a level editor, allowing rapid but precise creation of scenes.
A tool that allows scenes and character to be exported for use in the app or exported into a temporary location for easy testing. This tool also takes animation data setup inside the Maya scene and exports it as a text file for use in our custom built engine.
A number of websites were created for various different uses. Many were used inside our apps as information pages or as an in-app store page. Some pages were created to be supplemental to educational books published in conjunction with the British Museum. All were built to be responsive; scaling to different screen sizes and catering for different devices.
An app was required to be released on both mobile devices and the web. After determining that Unity's WebGL output was inadequate the app was ported from Unity to HTML5/JS using a game engine called Phaser. The code was all written in typescript which was helpful due to its similarity to c#.
A tool was partially written using web technologies that would have allowed us to sync up sfx to the animations, allowing us to output the timings in a game friendly format. In the end it wasn't required but it showed the possibility of building tools using web technology.
In addition to the areas outlined, other techniques and skills possessed include:
Below is a gallery displaying a selection of artwork created for games and apps, as well as personal artwork created for enjoyment and learning.
The videos below showcase character animations created by Andrew in conjunction with a colleague.
These stop motion trailers were created to promote 'Goldilocks and Little Bear' app and a series of colouring card books produced for the National Trust. All filming, editing and post production was undertaken by Andrew, the scene setup and animation was done in conjunction with a colleague..