Mastering success: Animation alumna Abbey Carter talks about pursuing postgraduate studies with SAE’s MA/MSc Professional Practice

19 Jun 2020

Abbey Carter is an MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) student at SAE who previously studied Game Art Animation at SAE Liverpool. On the master’s course, she is creating a game environment showcasing iconic scenes within Studio Ghibli films to tackle the divide between film and game. We caught up with Abbey to find out more about her project aims and long term career goals, and to learn more about why she chose SAE’s highly flexible online course, with a customisable award title. 

To what extent do you feel that there is a divide between film and games and what inspired you to want to bridge this gap with your MA project?

I wouldn't say there is a huge divide between film and games regarding games being made into films and TV series, however, when approaching it from the perspective of films/TV series being produced into games I believe that there is a large divide. The two industries intersect and share a lot of aspects so why has this crossover not been produced more? Kingdom Hearts is a game series that inspired this drive to challenge the two creative subjects, along with being passionate about the Studio Ghibli franchise.

What made you choose to make a 3-5 minute environment walkthrough from Studio Ghibli films in particular?

Along with being passionate about the Studio Ghibli franchise, I believe the scenery within these films has some of the most beautiful elements within Animation. It is this reason I chose Studio Ghibli specifically, as to why I decided to make it a 3-5 minute environment walkthrough, it is to be able to show as many different aspects and skills in both environment and level creation.

What software are you using to create your environments and how does this build on skills developed over the course of your undergraduate degree at SAE Liverpool?

There is a range of software that I will be using in order to develop a final product within my MA as I’m focusing specifically on Environment Design and Level Creation. The following software will be used; Autodesk Maya, Zbrush (similar software), Substance Painter, Photoshop (similar software), Unreal Engine, Nuke (similar software). These are all software I touched on within my undergraduate degree, with personal preference being using Unreal Engine as opposed to Unity. I am currently developing skills within my current task before my dissertation by recreating a medieval environment from my undergraduate course. 

Undergraduate art comparison 

There are three specific skills I’m currently working on; Hand Painted Textures, Advanced UV Mapping and Post Processing. Although these are all skills I used within the BA course I only used the basic level of knowledge.

How do you foresee this qualification helping you to realise your long term career aims?

I am currently working on my self-employment as a Tattooist which is my main career goal, I am using Abyssal Studios as a freelance studio and aim to be able to develop the growth of this studio. I am also using this qualification to further the development of my game studio, Abyssal Studios. This is a studio I developed during my time at SAE along with two other students. It has now developed into a solo owned company, I aim to start producing more showreels for clients and hiring more staff in future.

How and why will you use photogrammetry and megascanning to help create your environments?

Within my initial plan, I aimed to use photogrammetry and megascans to merge the immersiveness of the environment. After reviewing this and reflecting on this idea, I instead decided to merge PBR textures and hand-painted textures as opposed to using photogrammetry/megascans.

What drew you to the MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) at SAE?

I decided to partake in the MA/MSc Professional Practice course after a year out from my studies at SAE Liverpool as a Game Art Animation student. I specifically chose SAE for my master’s as I was interested in the self-directed element and being able to study while working, due it being an online course. The ability to customise the awarding title was another element that drove me to join the MA/MSc course.

How are you hoping to customise your award title?

Within my award title, I aim to claim an MA 3D Environment and Level Design. These are what I believe my two specialities are and feel a title to showcase these will demonstrate more interest from various companies.

Any links to your work as part of this project so far (ArtStation, personal portfolio site etc.)? 

I base a lot of my portfolio on ArtStation and YouTube, both of which will be updated with all recent work.

Are you interested in learning more about the MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) at SAE? Attend our webinar on 30 June for more information, and be sure to check out our website too