VALDOSTA – The local art scene consists of theatre, painters, photographers and musicians – all of whom may be considered typical mediums to most people. 

Art also comes in less traditional forms including game designers, digital graphic designers and billboard designers.

This report explores the artistic aspect of those chosen careers.

Visual Virtuosos: Design experts talk artistic expression

Derrek Vaughn | The Valdosta Daily TimesTim Drexler, instructor at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, teaches students how to design characters in gaming. 

Game Artist

The popular games “Fortnite” and “Call of Duty” have made their way into people’s homes but students at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College get first-hand experience designing games.

Instructor Tim Drexler teaches animation, three-dimensional modeling, motion capture and game-level design.

It all begins with concept sketches which designers draw on paper. The sketches convert to a three-dimensional model which is then “broken down into a flat surface,” Drexler said.

The model is textured, painted and brought into a game engine, he said.

These models represent characters in a game.

Drawing can be considered a traditional art form but gaming actually applies another medium – sculpting.

“(Three-dimensional) modeling is essentially sculpting,” Drexler said.

The gaming artist said all three-dimensional models are created from polygons.

Developers must think of conveyed feelings when creating settings such as capturing the heat in South Georgia.

“You would first want to showcase very bright light and then you can use the colors of the environment to showcase heat,” Drexler said.

He recommends reds and yellows and using ambience and radiosity.

Similar to painters, game artists have their own brushes.

These aren’t brushes that can be dipped into paint and put on canvases but they do range in size and strength and are used in computer systems to manipulate physical character traits.

Drexler recommends game designers have traditional art backgrounds.

“If you go into the art side of game design, you’d probably need something because if you don’t understand color theory, if you don’t understand the basic color wheel, that’s going to be a hindrance when you try to get a job," he said.

The sole difference between traditional artists and game artists is the tools utilized.

Visit wiregrass.edu to learn more about Wiregrass’ game design program.

Visual Virtuosos: Design experts talk artistic expression

Amanda M. Usher | The Valdosta Daily Times Jeremy Johnson is co-owner of Fourth Wall Visions. 

Computer Artist

Graphic designers possess the ability to be visual storytellers.

Fourth Wall Visions creates video testimonials that allow clients of local businesses to share their stories.

But the brand-new company does more than video production.

Fourth Wall designs pamphlets, brochures, letters and business cards all reflecting its clients identities.

Co-owner Jeremy Johnson said graphic design is no different than traditional art in terms of establishing ideas.

“It all starts with a vision in your head. You have an idea in your head, you just have to be able to get it from there to whatever form you decide to put it out with,” he said. “Some people use a brush. Some people use a mouse.”

Johnson uses a digital draw pad.

After speaking with clients to determine their personalities, the artist said he begins to “doodle” on a sheet of sketch paper.

He draws out concepts, a process he said can last for days.

“You just start doodling until something makes sense, until you go, this is what I’m looking for,” he said.

When trying to design the perfect logo, Johnson said he can draw 100 different sketches before discovering his favorites.

He’ll send them to his clients once he makes at least four finalized versions in the computer by sketching on the digital draw pad.

A program allows him to “draw” on the pad which translates to the computer.

“The program automatically has certain shapes we can use and we'll just start piecing stuff together to design the idea we have,” Johnson said.

Johnson owns Fourth Wall with Alexis Johnson. Visit fourthwallvisions.com, or call  (229) 444-4748, to learn more information.

Visual Virtuosos: Design experts talk artistic expression

Amanda M. Usher | The Valdosta Daily Times Steven Heddon is the owner of Fusion Creative Marketing. 

Highway Artist

Billboards line highways and commercial roadways nationwide but what travelers don’t see are the visionary minds behind them.

Locally, Fusion Creative Marketing designs a number of these billboards for area businesses. The company also produces marketing materials such as logos.

The profession considers shape, color, contrast and proximity to meet client preferences and needs.

“It all starts working together in design to make the personality of the product or service or the company come through and it speaks to us,” said Steven Heddon, Fusion owner and creative director.

He noted billboard contrasts are extremely important.

“If you take an ad – and it’s a color ad – and you change it to black and white and it looks muddy, that means there’s not enough contrast,” he said.

“If you do that on a billboard, you’re not going to be able to tell what’s on there.”

Fusion utilizes a color wheel to assist with design selection. Color lends itself to portray a client’s brand identity, Heddon said.

Red possesses a few meanings such as romance and caution.

“It depends what you put with it, what shapes you put with that red,” Heddon said. “That’s going to change the whole meaning of it.”

Other considerations marketing artists must keep in mind are lines; Heddon said only two types exist – straight and curved.

“If you talk about the Renaissance period of Renaissance art and those artists and how they work with light and shadow, they still work with those two lines,” he said.

A straight line signifies authority disallowing marketers to be able to be whimsical in design while a curved line has soft, caring associations, Heddon said.

He referenced Spanish painter Pablo Picasso who Heddon said utilized straight lines in his cubism work.

Visit fusioncreativemarketing.com/, or call (229) 460-0479, for more information about Fusion. 

Art in August continues Sunday, Aug. 17, with a focus on culinary arts. 

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