ALEXANDRIA NEONAKIS

ALEXANDRIA NEONAKIS

SKETCHES & ILLUSTRATIONS | alexneonakis.com

nickgindraux:

Flamethrower designs I did for The Last of Us.  One of the most fun things to design ever!

Nick Gindraux one of the naughty dog concept artists finally got a tumblr! Go
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Hey there! I just read your piece on Kotaku and firstly, thanks for sharing it - was a great read. It was a very helpful and inspiring look into a position I wasnt sure even existed, eventhough I wanted to work on it. So currently Im a graphic designer with a love for UX/UI and games. I want to work on both - Im coming to you for advice, anything that you think is helpful in getting there. Whats a good way to learn/get into it? Any resources, magic potions? Thanks for your time!

Man I’m only getting this now I’m so sorry! Apparently the phone version of tumblr doesn’t alert you when you get ask anythings?! 

So for stuff that’s useful for getting into UI/UX… It’s really just about showing in your portfolio that you’re capable of iterating and thinking your way through all sorts of problems. Some useful assignments that I think would be good for a portfolio piece would be to redesign the UI of a couple of your favorite games. Come up with alternate solutions to elements that you find in the game and more importantly explain why you feel that would be a better solution. Come up with multiple solutions. Show that you don’t marry yourself to one and that you can think your way through a problem from different angles not just get stuck on one path.

Aesthetics follow the functionality part. In UI design like in most types of design, the functionality is the part that needs the most attention, and needs to be nailed down first. However aesthetics are still very important and different types of games call for different types of visuals. A sci fi game can get away with glowy UI (see Destiny for a good example of some real slick sci fi UI in next gen) Whereas games like The Last of Us would feel a little weird with glowy techy elements on the screen. Likewise, The Last of Us’ stark minimal elements would probably feel a bit out of place in a Zelda game. Find a few companies you’re interested in applying to and familiarize yourself with their aesthetic. When you do apply, make sure you’re putting the stuff that’s relevant to their style at the top and any other stuff towards the bottom. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that many mobile studios and start ups will hire you just based on a good graphic design portfolio. You can get in that way as a graphic artist or a UI artist minus the design part and start working towards involving yourself more in the design portion. That’s how I did it. I started as a “graphic artist” at HB studios in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I just did the little graphic elements that my lead asked me to do, I wasn’t involved in functionality. I learned a lot about the process of design from that job which I was able to bring with me to the next job. I learned stuff from that job and brought it to the next and so on and so on till Naughty Dog :) 

For books and things you can pick up, one that I constantly find myself coming back to when I’m stuck is this one:  http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Principles-Design-Revised-Updated/dp/1592535879/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403286078&sr=1-1&keywords=universal+principles+of+design it’s a great reference book that I’ll skim through when I’m stuck on a problem or when I’m stuck on a certain way of thinking about a problem.

I hope this helped a little? If anything was unclear or if you need more information just ask!

I redrew the first digital art I ever made. The first one was done in MS paint in 1997 for my very dorky dragon adoption agency site that I made… I was a real cool kid as you can probably imagine. 

I redrew the first digital art I ever made. The first one was done in MS paint in 1997 for my very dorky dragon adoption agency site that I made… I was a real cool kid as you can probably imagine. 

I did a bit more work on my first painting of Iluq in the canoe, then I also finished a third. These three paintings are supposed to work as a little story so I put them all together. 

I did a bit more work on my first painting of Iluq in the canoe, then I also finished a third. These three paintings are supposed to work as a little story so I put them all together. 

A few more of the things I designed for Left Behind, the cute Ellie UI elements from the photobooth and a gif of bunnies. Infinite bunnies high-fiving frogs. 

Iluq in her canoe. 

Iluq in her canoe. 

Now that Left Behind is out I can post some of the work I did for it. I was told we needed a shakey fortune ball for Ellie to play with in the Halloween store. The first row were the initial ideas. They liked Skeleseer. I gave him googly eyes because those are way funner than not having googly eyes. I pitched some potential messages for the fortune and then the last one is the final branding that you see on the sign and boxes in the game.

Now that Left Behind is out I can post some of the work I did for it. I was told we needed a shakey fortune ball for Ellie to play with in the Halloween store. The first row were the initial ideas. They liked Skeleseer. I gave him googly eyes because those are way funner than not having googly eyes. I pitched some potential messages for the fortune and then the last one is the final branding that you see on the sign and boxes in the game.