Sunday, March 24, 2013

Getting Ready for GDC

Just a short update today, I've been pretty much consumed with getting my portfolio and materials ready for the Game Devlelopers Conference this week. If you're in San Francisco and want to say hi, I'll be the girl with the short hair running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But seriously, if you see me you should come say hi!

Here's a painting I started while at the lab sitting in on a class Friday, I liked it so I brought it home and put some more effort into it:

And here are a few recent one hour paints:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Warhorse one went 10 minutes over, two faces and two hands was a bit more than I could chew in an hour.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Guns, Swords, and Men with no Shirts On

Wrapping up a few odds and ends today. I did a final polish on my sword design from earlier, reverting to a different design that I felt was more successful but with the same ivory color scheme:

I designed a new sniper rifle:

And I've been pushing to finish the male character from last week. He has some crazy hereditary tattoos that glow cyan when he's enraged. Somehow I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that:

The little jacket thing is what he wears to cover them in populated areas. I also did a back version in flat colors.

Here are a couple of one hour paints from the the latest batch that I like:

Gangs of New York
Doing them every day, I've noticed that some days it's just easier than others. I think it depends on my disposition. Also perhaps the amount of coffee I've had.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pointy Things

Since my last posting I've been working on a variety of things, but my most interesting project has been to come up with a pair of blades for the female protagonist of one of my projects, the Blue Guardian. In the story she's a wanderer, and her bloodline possesses some pretty fantastical properties. As such, I needed to design a pair of swords that "activate" when held by her, kind of like how James Bond is the only one who can use his particular pistol in Skyfall. (Man, wasn't Skyfall awesome?)

It was decided that the metal the swords were forged with would have some sort of reactive qualities based on the user and this metal would also have a semi-transparent look. The setting for this project is a fantasy one, but more a Star Wars technological fantasy than a Lord of the Rings style fantasy. I came up with the idea that she would use twin blades (kind of samurai style, she's a warrior class) and those blades would have the option of being fused into a greatsword. Here are the process drawings:

First I did some hasty thumbnails, then I mirrored them and played with the shapes to see how best they might fuse together to make a fantastical greatsword. I picked the three I thought were most successful and did some variants on possible detailing.

I thought of the three, the top most one felt a) the most "real" and b) had the most practical and identifiable greatsword shape, so that is the style I went with. I used a lot of reference when coming up with the swords, but ended up being drawn to Persian style blades the most - they feel exotic with their embellishing and interesting curves, and I felt the elegance of those weapons suited the regal qualities for this character.

Here are three skins I came up with:

And here is my favorite of the three, showcasing as well the merged look for the greatsword:

 I named them Erryl and Entis and invented a legend from which the names for the blades were taken. Overall it was a lot of fun. I might end up polishing them a little more, but I've stared at them for so long now that I need to leave them be for a bit.

Here is the Prince character from the same project:

Not your typical prince, that's for sure. I'm leaning toward the right-most one as far as costume color.

And a few more cinematics from the last couple days:

Ben Hur
Tron: Legacy

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Give Me Some Skin

Today I invested a chunk of time on skins. Making a cool prop is just one step, coming up with additional textures/ skins for it is both a fun and important conceptual step. Skins are often used as unlockables for the player or can be alternated to reuse the same 3D piece in different ways within a level. First, I revisited a gun from last week, the Eviscerator:

Ideally I'd like to offer a few more options, preferably one with a pattern but there are only so many hours in the day I guess. More work for the future!

Next I came back to the box prop from yesterday, revised the original one and did an additional two skins for it as well:

Skin 1

Skin 2

Skin 3

When I do skins for things like the service kit, I try not to simply just change the color. This isn't a color study. The great thing about applying a UV texture to a 3D object is that as long as it matches the geometry it can be different in a lot of ways, you can add or remove seams and detail elements. So I do my best to change things up but still get it all done reasonably quickly, not spend hours noodling away on something. I'll probably try to do additional skins for my other guns from last week when time allows.

I also did this hour cinematic today, Mr. Willis from pulp Fiction:

...I love that movie.

Moar Props!

I got a lot of positive feedback on my post last week, thanks everyone. I enjoy it when people read and have thoughts on the blog. I've been working on a lot of half-baked things since, but here are a handful of more or less finished things.

First, a new gun:

A lot of people are asking me how I do these - there is no 3D, it's a composite technique coupled with painting in Photoshop. I've been messing around with Camtasia Studio and I'm looking into making some process videos. Probably coupled with campy techno music. And flash animations of unicorns. People like that sort of thing, right?

I wanted to work on some boxes today and broke into google sketchup this morning. It's been a while since I used it and honestly I don't remember it being this much fun. I'm something of a veteran of the Maya Wars and I find it incredible that google distilled 3D software into something so simple and intuitive. For simple geometric iteration it's perfect.

Google Sketchup mockup of the box
Paintover of sketchup model
I usually like to do multiple skins and this was just the first one, I was interrupted by some errands I had to do this afternoon, but this was fun times. It's a pet peeve of mine when boxes in games are boring, I really have fun with them and I love seeing nice little props and well filled out rooms in a  game. I think Deus Ex: Human Revolution had great boxes and props, every time I look through the art book for it I dwell on the page of boxes and drool a little.

^ This is a little for fun doodle of the characters I've been posting previously.  It was super quick, drawn in between some large-scale environments this weekend as a break.

And it wouldn't be complete without a couple new 1 hour paints:

Skyrim screenshot from Dead End Thrills
The Patriot

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Kitchen Sink

I've had a lot of struggles defining myself as an artist because throughout my development people have told me that you need to specialize. Heck, I've told my friends that you need to specialize. I mean in an industry as competitive as ours people starting out need to compete with 20 year veterans, and how can you possibly do that if you try to draw everything? You need to draw like a mad man, it boggles the mind.

The problem is, concept art is about ideas. At its heart I don't believe it's about beautiful rendering or fine art finish. And anyway, how can you tell a concept artist to only be interested in one thing? "I am only interested in vehicles." "Oh no, I care nothing for people, only buildings." I mean, to a point I get we have preferences, but who says that? I can't design the architecture of a fantastic world without imagining the culture and fashions of the people who live there. I can't do a character without imagining where they live, the props and philosophies that define them. It goes round and round.

In this spirit, here is a load of all sorts of things I've been working on since March 4th. So... the last 3 days. I define myself as an environment concept artist, but there really aren't any environments in this dump at all. I just love to draw and design.

Above is a new gun and a heavy duty polish on the gun from earlier this week. I plan to do some more guns ramping up for GDC to round out my portfolio. The top gun I started Tuesday evening, was busy all day Wednesday and finished it Wednesday evening while listening the episodes of Extra Credits. (If you like game design at all, you're insane not to check that show out.)

Further costuming investigative thumbnails for the Blue Guardian visual development project. I did some new thumbs while in the lab helping with a class on Wednesday, then did the tighter line right when I got home, mixing and matching costuming elements.

Further costuming investigation of the Prince character from the same project as above. The methods were the same as well, only difference was I haven't finalized the hair style on the Prince yet, so I keep mucking around with options.

A couple of new 1 hour cinematic speed paintings. I do these every day, usually in the morning for warm up. You can view every day's painting along with the paintings of my friends who are also doing this at our blog, Cinematic Speed.

Mmm. Drawing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New environment, movie stills

I've been working on a new interior environment for my thesis, a cantina meet up place that serves as a hub for time travel agents:

It kind of serves the same function as the End of Time area in Chrono Trigger. It's not done yet, I want to populate it and make some more tweaks. It's coming along, though. I'm working to have a specific color set for each time period, this stage is red and cyan.

 Here are some new stills from my ongoing daily 1 hour movie still project:

The Dark Knight
Kill Bill Vol. 2
Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince