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A picture of Rex Crowle

Rex Crowle

Game designer, illustrator (LittleBigPlanet, Knights And Bikes)

in developer, game, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Rex Crowle, and I'm mostly a game creator. My background is in graphic-design and illustration, but I accidentally fell into the world of video games, and have been mostly working in that area for the past decade.

I was a Production Designer on LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2, and more recently was the Creative Lead on Tearaway and Tearaway Unfolded, which are available on Playstation Vita and Playstation 4. I'm now also the co-founder of a new studio: Foam Sword, and we've recently had our first project funded via a successful Kickstarter - it's called Knights And Bikes, which is a personal homage to The Goonies, childhood, and cycling around on BMXs, throwing Frisbees, digging up treasure and just generally looking for adventure!

What hardware do you use?

Mostly I'm working off a 15 inch MacBook Pro coupled with an old Apple Cinema Display for a second-screen. Up until recently I worked entirely off a Wacom tablet, but I've recently upgraded to a Cintiq screen, and I'm really noticing the difference now I'm directly drawing on the screen rather than indirectly drawing via the tablet (I can draw circles again!). Alongside this tangle of screens is the development hardware for whatever consoles we are currently developing for (currently this means a Playstation 4 Development Kit).

And what software?

I spend the majority of my day swapping between the usual components of Adobe Creative Suite, with particular use of Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere. My Photoshop work uses the natural media brushes from Kyle T Webster.

For game-development I now use Unity as our game assembly tool/engine. It maintains a good balance of power vs. usability, bridging the workflow between content-creation and game-development. So that I can spend most of my days drawing characters and scenes and then quickly composing them together in Unity.

There's a few other tools I use; like Spine Pro for 2D animation, Maya for 3D modelling, TexturePacker for exporting artwork and Cornerstone for version-control backups. Slack for chatting and sharing files and Asana to remind me what deadlines I'm missing. And finally Scrivener for writing, as it feels like software designed for writers, not typers.

What would be your dream setup?

I don't think I'd change anything about my hardware/software setup to make it a dream setup. I guess the only thing I'd tweak was where all this hardware is located (my flat in London), and would take the opportunity to hot-desk myself around the world, as I really enjoy working from new environments, and around other people, as getting fresh inspiration can make a bigger difference than any amount of tools and plugins!