Join Grant Skinner for an in-depth discussion in this video Studio tour, part of The Creative Spark: Grant Skinner, Interactive Developer.
Welcome to gskinner. This is our office in downtown Edmonton. it's actually our fourth or fifth office, depending on how you count it. The first office was, in my condo, just four guys kind of piled around one desk. then we moved into a dedicated condo. We moved into some temporary office space. our last office was custom-built, but really utilitarian, and this is our first office that I think we've really gotten to sort of express ourselves a little bit, spread out and have kind of a cool space.
(MUSIC). So this is our little foyer we have our own fireplace, which is essential in freezing-cold Edmonton. we also have a completely unused reception desk, because we don't have any local clients, so no one ever comes to visit us. this is our little living room, and so we hang out here and have a little pow wows, chat about what's going on. I love this antique radio that we found. We picked it up at a local antique mart. Right now it doesn't work. But we're really hoping to like play around with it, either get it working as it would of when it was new, or sort of tweak it with some modern tech and make it fun. This is our main production area, we have 15 people that's a pretty heavy mix of developers, we have designers, illustrators, and project managers. we like to throw everyone into one big production area, and this way we get a lot of mix between different talent types, different, levels of experience. People can really learn from each other and walk around and talk to each other. (MUSIC) One of the things that we started doing a couple years ago, was we started to create these movie posters that really showcase some of the projects that we've been proud to build.
Naming off the people that have been involved, you know, things like CreateJS, Pirates of Daisies, Atari Arcade. And this kind of lets us like look up and see the stuff that we've built, and you know, are really happy to have created as we're working on whatever's new. (MUSIC) One of the newer things that we're working on here is we've recently spun off a new group, called Tree Fortress. And, it's really focused on creating commercial games that we'll release on our own. In the past, almost all of our work has been service work, you know, we're building things for other people.
We really want to start building things for ourselves. And, So, Shawn here is really spearheading that along with Mike. And Mike's actually working right now on some of the animation for Barbarian, and I'll let him tell you a little bit about it. Mike: I'm currently working on the Ogre who's one of our mini bosses after round five, and we're trying to figure out how his attack patterns are going to play out and how he will effect the environment as he's attacking you. So, I mocked up quickly how his attack will look when he strikes the ground.
Then I'm working in spreader to put it all together and make it look like he's actually attacking. I exported into (INAUDIBLE) of all the assets and Matt made them in spreader and Sean built an exporter, so they animate independently through code there. Male: One of the things we really do a lot is build out our own tools, to facilitate a workflow. So, Spreader is this great existing application and Sean actually built an extension to it, so it'll output the type of content that we need to work in the environment we're building inside of. (MUSIC) This is our Board Room here.
you can see at the moment there's a code review going on. So we have Blair, he's one of our newest hires. Lanny, he's one of our most senior devs along with West, also really a senior dev. Basically what's happening is Larry is showing off some of the codes from the project he just finished off. And these two guys are checking it out, giving some feedback and you know it's something we try and do on a fairly regular basis. We try and get different levels of developers together in one room and have them really checking out each other's work. Another thing that our conference room gets used for a lot is just hanging out.
I mean, people get together, especially at lunch, watch shows, watch you know, horrible old Kung Fu movies. it gets really loud in here, but people have a lot of fun. Other room that we use for that is our games room. right now it's a little bit sparse. We have the Atari arcade system and foosball, which is kind of the national sport of gskinner. (MUSIC) This is my office you can tell because there's a picture of me, very egocentric (LAUGH).
This is where I do most of my coding. and this is sort of my like mad scientist bench where I play around with electronics and you know assemble different more physical things. you know right now I am working on an idea with, this a r drone where I'm basically wiring it up with our (UNKNOWN) tacking a bunch of electronics on to it, and basically trying to turn it into an art piece. The end result is going to be basically a light tracing canvas, so this quad copter will take off, it will have a big, glowing light on the back, some sensors on the front.
And basically a camera pointing at it, that uses computer vision to let me control this, this copter, and basically we'll use long exposure. Let people actually, artists actually illustrate drawings out and this thing will re-draw them using light in a dark room and we'll, you know, super expose that on a camera. you know, so far we have the, the copter taking off and landing which is very exciting, we have some electronics working here. So, this little globe will go on the back, and we can control it different colors, different intensities.
We can have thicker strokes, or thinner strokes of different colors. These are the sensors that are going to be mounted on the front of the quad copter, and this will give me the distance to a wall. And I'll use that wall as a 2D reference point, and so I'll be able to tell whether or not the copter is lined up straight on it, how far away it is. And then I'll be able to use the light, and again, the computer vision to actually tell me where it is in a 2D plane. One of the awesome things about having a company like I have is that, you know, my team builds awesome product, they do a lot of the client work.
And I get to sort of play around, and build new stuff, and look to see where we should be going. (MUSIC) And so I get to focus on sort of R and D. And so this doesn't have any directly applicable client requirement right now. It's just something that I think's kind of neat to work with, something I'd like to learn. And something I think that if we get really good at it, we can continue to do it for commercial projects. (MUSIC).
As the CEO of gskinner.com, a rich interactive design firm based in Alberta, Canada, he loves playing with technology in a research and development role. It was his passion for exploring new frontiers that led him to the Internet, where he began building content that no one had seen before.
Grant first rose to prominence as a notable Flash developer while his growing company delivered projects for agencies, startups, and corporate clients including Adobe, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. He found the opportunity to challenge himself again with HTML5. Grant builds demos to show where the technology could go, and source tools such as CreateJS that enable others to push the boundaries of HTML5. By creating and sharing tools that empower the digital community, he facilitates the spread of creative content around the world.