I'm Tyler Klimek, an Environment Artist currently finishing his last year in the graduate program at the Savannah College of Art & Design. I'll be receiving an M.F.A. in Visual Effects to compliment by B.F.A. in Game Design & Development, and over the course of 2020 I will be working on my Graduate Thesis. I plan to utilize this space to post updates on the production of the visual component of my thesis. These updates will happen frequently, with at least one a week from now until November, 2020. The title of the Thesis is:
1a. Breaking The Use of Cultural Stereotypes & Clichés in Environmental Storytelling
Clichés and stereotypes are over-utilized today when portraying various cultures in the visual 3D medium. The over-use of these clichés remove many important aspects of a culture, causing it to be miss-represented, and creates a dissonance in the realism and immersion of the story. By exploring the details that are lost by negative classifications and clichés, environment art can successfully allow the ability to immerse a viewer in a more authentic representation of a culture while breaking the stereotypes.
1b. Thesis Written Component
The written component of the Thesis will consist of an analysis of the clichés & stereotypes found in games & film, with specific examples from both industries. The written component will aid in the development of a fully immersive & explorable 3D environment that depicts authenticity and niche thematic elements over clichés.
This research will showcase how the under-represented aspects of a culture & it’s history can provide more accurate storytelling.
Realistic depictions of cultures will be researched for the most authentic knowledge of lifestyles, people, culture, & architecture
Comparisons to other clichés in media (Film and game)
The negative impacts of clichés & stereotypes for all cultures and people
1c. Thesis Visual Component / Scandinavian Case Study
In order to showcase the ability to break-through the common clichés and stereotypes found in media, I will be utilizing a specific case study on one culture in particular, early Scandinavia (9-11th century). While research on general clichés and stereotypes will be utilized to compare to specific research on Scandinavian culture, the visual production and the majority of these blog posts will focus on breaking through Scandinavian clichés & Stereotypes through the production of a real-time unreal engine 4 environment set in 11th century Scandinavia.
The stereotypes surrounding this culture will be broken by utilizing two specific thematic & niche elements of the culture; the religious divide between Paganism and Christianity, and the domestic lifestyles of the women who spent their time in the settlements while the men were raiding.
This research done on breaking clichés & stereotypes will showcase how the under-represented aspects of the Scandinavian (and Nordic) culture & history can provide a fuller understanding of the culture.
Scandinavian culture clichés typically revolve around the constant depictions of the Viking/Conquering aspect of the society. There is significant domestic qualities to the culture that rarely are shown in media
2. Scandinavia Unreal Environment
The creation of my real-time Scandinavia environment will focus on three main focal points;
1. A domestic Scandinavian Village run by a female ruler with emphasis on niche elements of the culture. This is where my focus will be during the early stages of production as it's the most important element of the environment.
2. The exterior of this village focusing on the natural aspects of Scandinavia and depicting a shrine of the pagan goddess Jord
3. The interior/exterior of a Christian Stave Church
3. Brief Storyboards / Cinematic Camera Progression
Here are some extremely brief storyboards I set up to sort of plan out the flow of the planned cinematic I will make once the real-time environment is finished. I plan to start at the village exterior, showcasing a forgotten shrine of the pagan goddess Jord, and from there move into a prosperous, domestic Scandinavian village being ruled by Aud the Deep-minded, a significant female power in this culture. Moving through the village the cinematic will eventually make it's way to the Stave-Christian church, creating that transition between the old pagan religion and the new-founded Christianity-based religion that pushed it out.
Here are some brief blockouts I made showcasing an example of a village layout I had in mind. While things will change in the massout and as I begin building assets, this is a good start to at least begin imagining some cinematic compositions within the environment.
My next steps going into the next week will be the following:
Continue finding and compiling research and learning about Scandinavian culture
Continue finding and compiling research and learning about the clichés and stereotypes in games and film
Begin writing the Thesis paper/written component of the thesis
Push the blockout/massout a little further in the unreal scene
Begin production of the architectural/modular assets of the scene (walls, doors, windows, fences, columns, etc.)