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Blog » Shawn Woods - Art Director/Senior Artist

In the Blog

Barack Obama – Presidential Speech

What a wonderfully, inspiring speech! Visit www.barackobama.com.

Some people have asked why I would post a political statement?

Well, that’s another story I am not about to get into on my blog. I’ll leave that to the politicians. What I did like was how powerful and inspiring this speech was. It was history in the making and he delivered a message that I would compare to John F. Kennedy and even Martin Luther King. But again, that’s a story I am not about to debate.

Let’s move on to Barack Obama’s website. I have been following Barack’s career since about 2006 before he was even on the scene running for President. He was promoting his book “The Audacity of Hope“. For a long time he has been using the Internet and his blog as a way to reach out to the public without spending a whole lot of money (let’s face it, the web is cheap). He is the first politician I know to fully utilize the web to send his message and took viral marketing to a new level.

Since his presidential campaign, his website has been given a major upgrade. It is beautiful! The colors are vibrant and clean. It gives a hopeful message. The entire site fits well together from his images in the top banner to the icon set on the people page. The mixed blue on blue gradients are subtle, yet attractive and I have always been a fan of white on white with the Apple style of reflective icons.

He also led the way with my.barackobama.com, a tool on his website used to connect people, organize events, and respond to the media creating an experience of inclusion and accessibility.

The Conversation

I’ve had this article in my archives for years but can’t remember where it came from. I like it because it really speaks in the “internet” language.

The Conversation

So, a conversation has begun. This is still a new medium. Communication channels are re-aligning. People are discovering new ways to hear and be heard and the space between the two actions is getting shorter and smaller.

Markets are getting smarter – smarter than you think.

Most corporations, on the other hand, are dumbing down in the name of smartening up.

Looking for the one-liner and the killer application that will take them to the top. Flipping out over trying to keep up with the Dow-Joneses. Relying on technology to take them into the future. They speak in a one-directional, this-is-what-we-know, aren’t-we-clever tone.

Same old tactics, same old hooks; possessed of a growing ability to take the same old same old into people’s lives in new ways.

But that’s not a conversation.

Conversations are the oldest interactive medium in the world and they function on one thing alone; two-way communication. It’s no surprise that markets are skeptical.

So, you have a choice. Same old actions. Same old results. Regardless of the medium. OR No More Same Old Same Old. You choose.

Alright, you’ve chosen… What happens next… How do you make it work…. And, equally important, how do we?

This kind of interaction is tactile and fragile; and if someone on the team, somewhere along the way doesn’t get it… it’s game over – the market knows and loses trust.

So what do you do? You think. You decide. You do. You conceive it and you birth it. From start to finish.

You deal with the fact that sometimes groundbreaking work isn’t always slick, edgy, and full of bells and whistles. But sometimes it is. That’s not what people need every time.

Sometimes they just need information, sometimes they need to be convinced, sometimes they just need to be connected.

Sometimes they don’t need at all; they want… and you must make something worth wanting.

That’s why you continue looking for chances to create fresh, shiny, full of bells and whistles things but you keep your wits about you and you look to the needs of the user.

Great ideas are great because they are do-able, make-able, attainable, effective, dead on or simply imaginable.

Sometimes you need straight, sometimes you need straight out of this world; but you always need to be smart and creative and you have to have the experience to draw on.

You think. You do. From beginning to end.

How do you do it? You live it. You imagine it. You build it. You don’t do something just because everyone else is. You dissent. You discern. You embrace. You ask the right questions, you check the right boxes, you take an idea and you roll it out across technologies you have mastered. And then you make new boxes. You own your market and every channel in it. You hire the best and the brightest and you set them up in teams that can solve the problems.

You take a good idea and you take it to the street.

You don’t repeat yourself and you don’t fall in love with the vision of the day.

There, we’ve got the exchange going. We’ve started the conversation… the rest is here if you need to know more… strategy, technology, creativity, intelligence.

We think. We do. We succeed. For you.

And if you don’t use our expertise all the way through the process of think and do… we all lose something. Some of us like to believe it’s about purity; but it’s really about credibility and results.

Any problem, any platform, any time. It’s all in the way we think about it.

Do you think?

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Character Art – Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (PC)

Character Art - Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (PC)

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (PC)

Expansion Pack to the highest rated RTS game of all time.

I was the Art Supervisor for the Characters team on Opposing Fronts. It was a fun project and great opportunity to work on the expansion to such a highly rated video game. The standards were set very high and with most of the original team moving on, we had a challenge ahead of us.

The Heroes Team (character artists) was filled with 4 people; Melanie Caron, Kristian Bourdage, Stephen McDonald, myself, and Cheol Joo Lee on concept art.

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UI Design – Dawn of War Games (PC)

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (PC)
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Winter Assault (PC)
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (PC)
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm (PC)

I designed the original HUD and Frontend for the PC video game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. This was actually my first “official” video game to ship although I did assist on the pre-vis UI Design for Homeworld 2.

These screenshots illustrate how I created the Head Up Display (HUD) for the Space Marines race. I started off by setting up a scene in 3D Studio Max using a camera set to Ortho view (I didn’t want any perspective since my measurements had to be precise). After roughing out the shapes in 3D, I rendered out the interface design using Global Illumination to give me a nice, soft render.

I then used these layered renders and brought them into Photoshop, where I continued to color and texture the pieces. You can see a screenshot of the UI Editor I originally used for Dawn of War. At the time, we had no tool to create the interface for our game. Working with two programmers, I designed the look and feel for the UI Editor itself, and helped get the functionality working as well. It ended up working similar to tools I used on a regular basis; Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and Dreamweaver.

Today, Adobe Flash is being used as the authoring tool, along with Scaleform for the UI Design on Dawn of War 2.

Since the original HUD was not real-time 3D, I could paint textures onto the display as I pleased. The near-finished result is posted below. I’ve also included screenshots from Dawn of War: Dark Crusade where I created the HUD for the Necrons and Tau races.

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Website Design – DuaneWoods.com

Website Design - DuaneWoods.com

In the summer of 2008, I designed my brother’s professional website. He’s a videographer and editor and wanted a site relating to film/tv. He is also very technical and familiar with various lighting rigs and cameras. So I combined the two ideas using concrete lights and cables with the “filmic” background to give the appearance of Northern Lights we saw so much back home in Manitoba.

He uses a Mac, therefore the Coverflow navigation was a perfect fit for his website. It is easy to use and expandable to display more movie clips in the future.

Visit Duane’s Website at http://www.duanewoods.com

UI Design: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (XFire Skin)

UI Design: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (XFire Skin)

Dawn of War: Dark Crusade
XFire Skin

XfireTM is a free tool that automatically keeps track of when and where gamers are playing PC games online and lets their friends join them easily. It works regardless of game type, server browser, or gaming service that a player is using. Xfire eliminates the hassles of running multiple programs like IRC, instant messengers, or in-game friends lists to keep track of when and where a gamer’s friends are playing. It supports the best and the latest online PC games including server and non-server-based First Person Shooters, Real Time Strategy, and Role Playing Games.

This was a custom skin I made for Xfire using key UI elements from the game.

You can download the skin here.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog! I have decided, after much deliberation, to switch to a blog format. This will allow me to update my website a lot more often. I also plan on writing some industry-related articles, and post links to information that interests me.

Thanks for visiting!
- Shawn

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