As an aspiring animator, Ke Jiang had a personally fixed horizon: "Creating the highest level of artistic visuals for games is always my goal. I was inspired by games like Rez and Half Life 2 while I was at MCAD. Their animation was as satisfying as in a good feature film." In his BFA work, he pushed the scope of his software and assignments to create lumbering yet comical creatures, precisely detailed.
So, armed with a subsequent MFA in animation from California Institute of the Arts, Jiang first worked at the Disney Studio, but then had a solid stint with a distinctive video-gaming studio: thatgamecompany, or TGC. Creators of mysterious, seductive, and possibly plotless structures in games like Cloud and Flower, the company calls them "video game equivalents of a poem."
Jiang thinks of the 'gamers' as more like an audience—"they play for emotional stimulation . . . the interactive aspect allows them to be more engaged. I'd like to combine games with cinema." His work for TGC's newest creation, Journey, set up the game's dune-like world, as well as established movements of the main character. Those in the know about the creative boundaries of gaming see Journey as a "next level" that will inspire other creators.
Jiang moved back to Disney after two years building the world of Journey; now a 3D modeler with digital tools, he looks forward to the modern version of "starting from scratch"—giving life to pixels.