Monday, 11 July 2011

Digital Landscape painting

Ok so i'm pretty new to digital painting and what I found extremely helpful to my cause was the youtube channel FZDschool based in Singapore. I would definately recommend this youtube channel to all who want to look into digital painting and a massive thank you to FZDesign School for uploading these invaluable tutorial videos on youtube.

 Working in black and white to achieve composition through tonal value.

 A method of working that I learnt from FZDschool youtube videos. The use of reference pictures that help speed up the process of colour selection and it also adds great texture to the image.

 My original sketch drawing for the above image of the 'Cities in the Sands' inspired by a recent trip to Dubai.

Using the above 2 images and a few photoshop hours later I can finally present Cities in the Sands. Although I  wouldn't call this concept quality I think with alot more practice I can definately bring it to that quality level.

Inspired by the view from my flat in Cornwall

Using tonal value to create depth and 3d space. 

Digital painting based from a reference photograph

Digital Figure Painting

L4 Drawing for animation

Using an online figure drawing tool I did some form drawing training. This tool is highly recommended to anyone who is looking to improve their life drawing skills from the comfort of their own home. It has settings that can be adjusted for example only giving you 30 seconds to draw an image before moving on to the next one or you can opt to do 30 minute training sessions.

30 Second Form Drawings:

These were quick 30 second form sketches that I did as a warm up for some longer 3 - 5 minute drawings I did later. This way of quick sketching is a good way of quickly creating form using line. Things such as pressure on the pencil and looseness of the wrist can vary the quality of the line work.

Here are some figure drawings which took between 2 - 5 minutes per drawing:

With these 2 - 5 minute drawings I had enough time to get the form right and begin to add in slight details aswell. The next drawings I did  I tried to add more tonal value and tried to stay away from the line work.

These drawings were between 6 - 10 minutes.

Animating a 3D character

Ok so this is the first time iv'e animated a 3d model and once I figured out how to move each part of the model and bearing in mind that the principles of animation remain the same as 2D/stop motion, it was fairly easy and quite a fun process.

The character that i've animated is the henchman from level 2 which was modelled and rigged by Toby Rutter.

In this scene I have began to animate 2 henchmen, one advancing on a position while the other reloads his gun and provides cover. Bearing in mind the principles that would apply to this scene for example weight on different parts of the model as he slows down his walk and also when he lifts his gun to aim position, I feel that the gun does not get lifted up realistically and as a result the weight of it is not portrayed in this. To resolve this I would have to look at reference of real guns which after surfing youtube I managed to add that realism to the gun being lifted simply by leading the right arm with the gun up first and then followed by the left hand.

In this video you can see that the Ak-47 now appears to have a realistic weighting to it.

The scene now from a different angle.

Game production pipeline.

The game production pipeline is basically the process of how a game goes from an idea to a playable story on a console/pc. Although our team is tiny compared to the teams within the industry we still followed a similar process on the creation of our game.

The idea:

The game was proposed by 3 programming students, the concept and the main giste of the game all being their idea.

The concept/Pre-production:

Myself and the art team had the job of going away and researching the idea as well as producing visual concepts for the programmers. Within the industry this would be an unusual occurence as the game developers usually approach the art team with very specific wants and needs however on this project we took complete control on the entire look of the game as long the programmers agreed.


With a fairly finalised concept we could now focus on who was going to be doing what exactly and the group was organised into each of us working on different assets (characters/environments/low poly assets)

Unfortunately the stage we never got past is the production stage and the game was never put together by our programmers. Although we tried to adhere to the same principles and processes that apply within the industry,   we found that it was easier said then done.

Anyway heres a link to a great article about how the industry pipeline works.


Killuminati - Level Design

With the reference side of things being handled it was time to begin sketching up my ideas and beginning the long process of environment design. Going back to my very first concept, I envisioned a dark futurist looking fortress city amidst the burnt out wastelands with a single motorway bridge leading directly into the heart of the city. When presenting this image to the group, I was very pleased that they took the idea of the motorways leading into a walled city on board however the futurist look was abandoned as the purpose of the city was decided to be a transport hub with a pyramid structure in the centre.

First concept of ruined city.

Original prison concept 

The game starts off with you playing as Clip who is basically the average joe/rookie who hasn't had much field experience. Clip along with Shell have to rescue Barrel (Heavy character) from being imprisoned by the security forces of the city. My original idea of the prison was that it was outside the city limits in an old nuclear power plant that would be connected to this fortress city by the bridged motorway section.

As the idea of the motorway network was taken aboard by the group, I got to work on designing the intersection so that I would be able to fragment areas of the city into different levels as the programmers wanted 3 playable levels.

Motorway network.

In the above design I wanted to work out a motorway intersection that would ultimately play as ruined skyways above the slums from which patrols could operate on. The square in the middle represents the pyramid structure that would be the heart of the transport city. Using this drawing, I could roughly map out level 1 which I was assigned to design and model.

With level 1 roughly mapped out, I knew what kind of area space I had to work with. After showing the team the proposed idea for level 1 they suggested it would add more of an element of game level design if I restricted certain areas and made it so that there is only a limited number of routes to progress. I did this by creating 3 districts. 

The 1st district would be a trainyard from where Clip and Shell would begin the game. The 2nd district would be the slums where the majority of the people would live and the 3rd district being an old coach station converted into a military outpost/prison where Clip and Shell would need to rescue Barrel from.

I first turned my attention to district 1, the trainyard. I wanted district 1 to be an open environment yet at the same time I wanted to make the player feel like they are at the bottom of a ladder and have to climb up to discover the rest of the city. I felt that this would work well in terms of progressive gameplay and it also fitted in very well with the general storyline of the game. The characters would emerge from the abandoned underground tunnels to find themselves in an enormous trainyard/freight yard. They would've avoided all the patrols along the city walls and moved in undetected however the price to pay for that move would be to start from the lower levels of the trainyard and work their way upwards to the street level.

To create this layered almost urban rainforest look I designed the trainyard with layout paper.
Motorway Level (top level)
The motorway level is also layered with 3 different heights of motorway overlapping each other.

The middle layer would be the road level which the rest of the districts would rest on.

The bottom layer being the actual trainyard itself. This layer consists of support beams from the above layers, tunnel entrances and train tracks.

The above image is all layers compiled together on photoshop. The red line represents the route that the player must take to progress to district 2 however the entire trainyard is free to explore and extra health and ammo could be found if it is explored properly.