Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Alexandria Neonakis. I'm a UI designer and illustrator at Naughty Dog, a video game studio based out of Santa Monica. I wear a variety of hats there right now. I work within the character concept team, illustrating story moments and designing characters based off prompts from the creative director and writing team. I also design, establish the aesthetic of and help implement the user interface in all of our games. Since Uncharted 4, I have been advocating for better accessibility options in games, and creating more barrier free experiences so everyone can enjoy them.
I am also a freelance children's book illustrator, represented by the Bright Agency.
What hardware do you use?
For my home set up, I'm a PC user, running Windows 8. I built a custom setup in 2014. Probably going to do a little update this year. My processor is an Intel Core i7-4790 Haswell Quad-Core, my video card is an EVGA GeForce GTX 770, and I've got 16GB of DDR3 SDRAM. I paint on a Wacom Cintiq 22HD 21-inch with a second basic Viewsonic monitor to put menus and Netflix on while I work. I also game on this PC, so my keyboard is a Corsair K70 RapidFire.
Another tool that I fully rely on is a Hobonichi Weeks planner. I do all of my organization and project planning on paper. I can't handle using software for this, it's old fashioned, but I need this to get my work done on time. Similarly for UI design I use a lot of post-it notes in a regular old notebook.
And what software?
My main painting software is Adobe Photoshop CC. At Naughty Dog I also use Adobe Animate for UI. For complex scenes with lots of architectural elements I use MODO and mock it up in 3D first, then paint over it in Photoshop. I also use a couple add-ons with Photoshop: Lazy Nezumi is a brush smoothing tool, and Kyle Webster's brush sets are the only brushes I use now.
On the iPad I use Procreate and Adobe Sketch. I like Procreate for how powerful the tool is, but nothing has been able to top Adobe Sketch's basic pencil tool - it feels so good to draw with that. I also can't get anything done without Hulu or Netflix running in the background, or good podcasts to listen to like My Brother My Brother and Me or Adventure Zone.
What would be your dream setup?
My dream set up is something powerful enough to handle MODO that's as portable as an iPad. I sit at a desk all day at work, and I'd love the ability to get up and leave and take my work with me. I know Wacom has promised big things with its next generation of Companions and the new Surface line is really nice looking, but nothing ever feels quite the way my Cintiq setup does, and certainly nothing has felt like it could ever replace that yet.
Maybe I'm asking for too much. If I could get an iPad's feeling with the power and adaptability of a full desktop setup, that'd be incredible.