Phew! This is the first weekend I've had in nearly a month to do anything at all. East coast, west coast, I've been a traveling fool lately. PAX last weekend was a blast - if you like video games I can't recommend it enough. Every time I go I meet more interesting and friendly people. While I was at PAX, I was lucky enough to get portfolio reviews from Bioware's Matt Rhodes and Peter Lipman. They were very kind and gave some thoughtful advice. One of the things I bump up against a lot is my issues with perspective, and a couple of friends have been urging me to work more with Maya in my under-drawing, so I am about to embark on what I will refer to as The Autumn Of Maya Block Meshes (I think that's what it's called in the Mayan calendar too, roughly.)
I do a lot of Sci Fi (because it is fantastic and I love it) but I thought I'd depart from it and try something different. At PAX I got to see a lot of The Last Of Us footage and I'm really excited about it, so I thought I'd try something in that direction.
So, I made my base mesh. I didn't want to make the mesh too complicated or I'd end up feeling tied to it. I thought I'd make the focal point a gas station, gas seems like it would be a useful commodity in the TLoU universe. Also gas stations have nice easily recognizable silhouettes.
I modeled a street space, then set my camera at a player POV height (I had little markers in the scene for PC character height reference) and took a number of screen shots around the space looking for an interesting composition.
I decided I was going to work really heavily with photo textures as a part of this process to prevent myself from being too meticulous about the painting. I figured it would also help make all of the surfaces look distinctive and avoid the homogenous painting look.
More photo textures intermixed with painting. I added the traffic light to frame the image.
More textures and painting. I started feeling light the station was getting lost inside larger shapes, so I played with its size as well as the buildings behind it.
At this point I started beating up on the place and adding foliage and a person for scale.
Initial color pass. I tend not to worry too much about saturation when I first build up the colors, more just trying to get a sense of what color each object would be, what general colors look good together for the scene. I don't think too much about color until this phase, just about the time of day in the planning phases. The time of day was supposed to be late afternoon, so I wanted warm late day colors.
After I got the colors decided, I started playing with the temperature and lighting to reinforce the time of day. I added some highlights and nitpicky details. At this point it's done enough, I'll probably put it away for a few days and come back to it and see if there are any major things I want to fix with fresh eyes.
Overall I'm pleased with the results. If I can control myself and stick to the block mesh this seems like a reasonable solution to some of my perspective issues.