Sunday, 13 November 2011

Texture Painting (Part 2)

Moving on from blocking out the colours...

1. Here I've collected various texture files from the internet that I feel will work well with my characters. I start applying them using a mixture of the multiply tool and transparency to achieve the best effect for my model. Once everything is in place my UV texture map is complete! I save as jpeg and prepare to apply it to my model!

2-3. After applying it to my model I see that there are some slight issues like with the hair not quite matching up. After I've fixed the hair I do one last quality check, there are some minor things that I can't quite figure out but as it is I feel the model is a success.

4-5. I do the same process with the Xangdra map, blocking out colours then adding details and finally textures. Obviously this one goes much quicker due to experience.

6. I apply the texure and everything is working fantastically but there's a hand missing for some reason. So I'll be speaking to my tutor tomorrow as I have no idea of what to do about this situation.

Overall I'm happy with the textures, I feel that if I can a little more time I could have made them better and Xangdra really does look the better of the two due to my learning experience of making the UV maps. Overall this project has felt like a re-introduction to what I learned last year and I can say that my work has improved from then. The textures are better, the models have less polygons but just as much shape and to say the bulk of the hard work was done over the course of a week due to my bad time management I feel this is some what of a good turnout.

I think for my next project I should take a much closer look at 3d models and the textures used there so that I may improve my skills in this area as whilst I have got better by looking at professional's work and learning/seeing their methods I'm sure I can boost the rate at which I can improve. I'm almost a little bit giddy to start my next project so that I may improve my skills even futher!

Tomorrow I'll ask what can be done with my hand on my Xangdra model, create the show reels and finish this project! :)

Texture Painting (Part 1)

With the UV maps made it's time to start painting my textures for my characters. I'll be using photoshop for this step with a wacom tablet and obviously custom brushes. I will also be applying textures that I found from Free websites as I didn't have enough time to source my own textures, but for my next project this is something I'm definitely going to do. Any who, one to texture painting!

1. I import the tiff file into photoshop. I prep it by inverting the colours so that it's a black mesh on a white background rather than it's original state. From there I begin painting on new layers.

2. I being like with the concept art just blocking out the main parts of the mesh with the the select and paint bucket tools, making light work of the job. To make sure the colours match the concept art, whilst I had the texture map open I also had the concept art file open to pull the colours from.

3-4. I make sure that where I'm ainting is going well by importing the texture so far back into maya. As you can see I got mixed up along the way and the back of the hand has ended up on the palm.

5. Back in photoshop I open up the file and re-adjust the hands. From there I start adding details such as the darker trim around the edges witht he pen tool. Again this doesn't really take too long, it's really more about getting the lines right.

6. Here I've finished all the details such as the face. I made sure that everywhere with an edge has a dark trim near it as this makes the model's textures pop out a little more.

With the texture's painted it's time to add the texture files to them to give them that realistic look!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Presenting Work (with brief evaluation so far)

Before moving on to texturing my UV maps I took a quick hour out to put all my concept work in a more presentable state for the exhibt coming up. I plan to present three-four of these sheets along with the turnaround movie files I'll be completing on monday.

I think the design for the frame works well. It's simple and gets the point across, I may have to add some more annotation just to translate my thought processes to the viewer but beyond that each little step is bringing this project closer to and end.

So far in my project I've managed to design and model to characters successfully. Along the way I've realised an art style that really works for me that I plan to develop so that it can be my niche in my portfolio, as mentioned previously part of the reason for going with this artstyle is that many games these days are realisticly styled and there arn't that many graphically stylised games out there in the spot light. I'm hoping that if I develop this style more I can land a job and a help create a fun game that's all ages but becomes a triple A title. I also feel that my skills in drawing and painting in photoshop have increased, there's a definite sense of emotion in these new stylised illustrations and the quality of the colours is a vast improvement on my previous works. I can't wait to start doing some more concept art in this style.

My previous experience with modelling has also been a huge help with this project as I knew the potential problems that could arise and how to deal with them. Without this experience I don't think I would have been able to complete the modelling stage as quickly as I did, on that note as well this is only the second time I've modelled something seriously and I feel that my skills have improved from last time as I can make the geometry look more like the image plain with less faces. I feel I've also learned when to be a perfectionist and when not to be (when not to be is when you have a week to your deadline, heh). Overall the progress I've made on this project has been substantial and I feel that I can do even better on my next one!

With this little side step done, it's time to get onto texturing, till next post!

UV Mapping (Part2)

Here I am carrying on with my UV map creation.

1. With most of the body done what was left to do was just the head. I tried unwrapping it in a similar method to the arms and legs but this wasn't working out as well. There were several issues with it so, I opted to use the cutting method that's used for hands and feet luckily this worked wonderfully. All I had to do once I had the seperate parts was pull the vertexies apart so that they can be painted fully.

2. With the head done, I then completed the hair in the same method but cutting and moving the vertexies. I then moved all the components into place so that painting would be easier. There were several points where I had to use different camera angles for different parts of the geometry but overall this process was quick and painless with good results.

3. I then did the same for Xangdra, creating a UV map for her. Mapping her set was slightly different due to the geometry but used the basic methods I had picked up. Key points are the sleeves and the shoes which have amost been taken apart completely to allow for the best job on the painting side of things. The hair and face process when much better as I had obviously completed the previous model and found what works best.

4. UV maps complete! I then export then as tiff files at 300dpi to begin work on painting them.

With the UV mapping stage complete I'm nearing the end of this project very quickly, I'm behing slightly on my new plan to get it done but nothing that staying up a few extra hours won't fix!

Next is onto the texture painting, much like the Clone Wars cartoon I'll be using real textures on top of painted colours to give them a very stylised look hopefully this should go well and as planned as I don't have much time to fix problems that may arise but, I've managed to do everything competantly so far, I think things will run smoothly from here until 4pm Monday afternoon.

UV Mapping (Part 1)

Now that the modelling has finished. It's time to start preping my characters to be textured. Before that can happen I first have to make a UV map so that maya can understand and place the textures in the right place.

So before officially beginning the process I go into the front camera view and select the whole model and go to create UV map> Plannar map. This projects a wireframe of the model onto the UV map to start editing.

1. From there I begin seperating the geometry by cutting along the joints and using the detach component and seperate tools. I do this to all the parts thats will be unwrapped. Essentially cutting the model into seperate pieces. Once all that's done it's time to start unwrapping the UV Maps.

2. For pieces like the hands and feet a method of cutting and re adjusting is used. First I cut the UV texture along an edge which could be considered the middle. In the Map editor I move one of the new halves now created to one side, flip it so that the faces that will be painted face towards me and join them along a seem using the sew uv seem tool. This method is best for hands and feet but can come in handy for other pieces when theres no other way.

3-4. Once the texture has been successfully unwrapped I scale and place it in a better position for the UV map. The great thing about Maya is that you essentially only have to do half the work as by simply selecting the item with the unwrapped UV map and then selecting the same shape on the opposite side of the axis and pressing the transfer attributes does all the work for you. Bare in mind that this only works on geometry that is exactly the same build as the one you've unwrappped.

5. With the Hands and Feet unwrapped I now move onto unwrapping the rest of the model. This is much easier than the cutting method. First I select and edge (preferably an inside seem, ie: under an arm) and cut the UV texture. I then select an edge on the opposite side and convert it to a UV edge. In the UV Map editor start finalising the unwrapped piece by first making sure the the edge selected in straight and then going to the unfold option in the Polygon menu (after adjusting directions for which way the uv texture will unfold) and selecting it.

6. Here you can see I've unwrapped and placed quite a few textures already. The process is going fairly well, with the llegs and arms done it's time to start moving on to some of the more trickier parts to unwrap.

Half way through the process for completing the Map for Barong I had a huge hiccup, after saving my work I had to restart my computer. Upon opening Maya back up I found all my geometry for the model gone. Luckily I had inadvertantly backed a previous save of the model on my HDD, without that I would have been completely screwed. Since that small incident earlier this afternnon I've been backing up my maya project file every 30 minutes.

With this much done so far all that's left is the fiddly sections like the hair and the face!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Modelling (Part 7)

Carrying on the modelling of Xangdra I begin working on the face.

1. Unfortunately the side profile didn't quite match up with the geometry I was trying to create. My solution to this is to model free hand and look at the image for reference. Using the extrusion tool I build the face.

2. Luckily this method seemed to work well and I had a face I thought looked better than the one for Barong. I extrude the face back to form the head and attach it to the neck.

3. I start building the hair through the same method of the face by extruding polyplanes and shaping it to the desire length and design.

4. I form the back of the head through extrusion as well.

5. I finish up by forming the ponytail out of simply polygon tools and placing them near eachother, using the same method as the armour. I add the necklace made of the ring and cylinders.

6. finally I soften all the normals and the model is complete.

Overall the completion of this model was a little smoother. There where a few problems such when the normals where all duplicated and I had to delete the duplicates by hand, but besides that this process of making a model was much quicker and in fact completed in one night. The model could do with some work as there are little details that could be better but I'll just have to save that for my next project.

All thats left to do is create the UV maps, the textures and the show reels. Ideally if theres time I'll be rigging them as well but I decided that if there isn't enough time it's probably the best thing to drop out of the process.

Next on to UV mapping!

Modelling (Part 6)

Unfortunately my plane of using a base model didn't turn out as planned as the base template had too many faults and considering the time it took to do the last body surely this one would be just as quick or even a little but quicker!

1. so I start by uploading the image planes and building the base model from the waist and extruding the torso from it shaping it from both the front and side views.

2. Next I extrude the legs from the waist and delete the left side of the body just so it can be made symmetrical later on.

3. I then work on the foot through extrusion shaping it corrctly to the design. The heel made things a bit different as I had to extrude that outwards aswell.

4. I work on the arms next, using the same method as Barong, this time though i form the creases and the cuffs of the coat. I finish up shaping the arms.

5. I make the hands, again I use exactly the same method of extrusion.

6. I then mirror/duplicate the geometry, sewing them together through merged vertexies and then create the tail fo the coat by creating single polygon planes, extruding them and shaping them around the form of the character.

Overall I think this second model is going alot smoother as I've refamiliarised byself with Maya but also because I'm learning techniques and quick short cuts from the previous model. Next to finish the model!

Modelling (Part 5)

Carrying on modelling Barong I begin to work more on the face.

1. I finish the head by extruding the side of the head backwards forming a very cubic shaped head. I then begin joining the head to the body by merging vertexies.

2. Once the head is joined onto the body I then mirror/duplicate the whole thing to make the body whole again. With the head and the body complete it's time to work on the hair.

3. I start making the hair by creating the a polycube and extruding and shaping it around the head in accordance to the image plane.

4.-5. I continue shaping the hair and cut in half to then mirror dupicate it. I join up the seem and place it on the head. Much like the armour it'll be just be easier to paint the piece as it's not attached main geometry should make it easier when it comes to uv mapping.

6. With all the main parts made all that's left to do is complete making the necklace which is comprised of a ring and several spheres.

With the necklace complete the Barong model is complete! Overall I think the quality of the model when faced with the time is quite admirable as I'm happy with how it looks and the time I spent on it. I can't wait to work on a new project to do a better job on my next stylised project but for now it's time to press onto modelling Xangdra!

Modelling (Part 4)

With the base template complete it's time to start work on Barong and the details in his model.

1. I start work on the legs first. I put edge loops in where they'll be needed and start molding the geometry into place, making the creases in the pants and the shape on the boots.

2. Here I start work on the foot by extruding the ankle down then extruding from there forward. once the most basic shape of the foot is made I shape the foot more closely to a more appealing shape.

3. I next move on the the lip in the arm, This was done by simply adding in and edge loop and taking time to pull the vertexies out.

4. Here I'm working on the armour for the arms. This was done by creating several polygon cylinders and shaping them to match the image place. Once the shapes are made I don't adde them to the existing geometry as considering time, it would be easier to rig the armour with the rest as it's easier to unwrap the geometry in it's simpliest form.

5. Next I'm make the armour for the legs, first creating a cube and changing it's shape to fit the means necessary. I then duplicate the geometry and scale it down to place below it the first piece.

6. With the rest of the design modelled it's time to start work on the face. Using the extrusion method I begin molding the the face by creating a polygon face around the eye and extruding the shape of the face from there.

next on to finishing the head and hair!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Modelling (Part 3)

Here I'm carrying on with my step by step process of how I modelled the base template body.

1. I finished Modelling the hand, shaping them to an ideal level of quality, but not spending too long on them. Making sure each finger was the right length is key. Edge loops are added and things are adjusted to make the hand look as good as possible. I then delete the half of the body I've not been working on for the next step.

2.-3. I duplicate and mirror all the geometry so that the geometry matches up and I've got a body. I double check to make sure everything is in place and set about joining the vertexes along the seem.

4. I then delete the faces on the top of the neck and begin building a base head.

5. Here I've complete the base head by creating a cube with several divisions and molded it into the basic shape of the head on the plane map.

with this base template made I save the mdel under two files, one to use for Barong and one for Xangdra. First I'll be working on Barong as it's easier to work from the template. So without further ado let's get to work on Barong!

Modelling (Part 2)

Carrying on my work on the base model, the same principles apply, this will be a basic model from which I will adjust my two characters from (and maybe any future characters that get developed in future projects) with image planes in place I modelled the waist chest and legs. With those done it's time to move onto the arms and hands!

1. Here I prep the area on the side of the body for the arms to be extruded from. Ideally it's best to have as sound shape as possible.

2. Next I extrude the arms from the shoulder. I extrude in several places to have edge loops where I'll be adjusting the geometry to form the arms.

3.-4. In these two panels I'm adjusting the shape of the arms in accordance to a basic form from the image plane making sure that the arm is fairly non-gender specific.

5. Here I've continued with the extrusion method and began to create the hands. as you can see i use the same method as the arms. Extruding where geometry needs it for the rigging. I've also extruded the thumb from the hand.

6. In this image I've extruded the fingers from the hand in the same way and have began adjusting it to match the image plane.

Overall I'm pleased witht he process and the speed and which I'm doing it. I also feel that body is being modelled fairly well...

Modelling (Part 1)

Now with all the design work out of the way it's time to start modelling, it's been a while since I've used maya but luckily I've got a handy text book and memory. I've also updated to Maya 2012. So i'll refer to each step with the number in the picture (seen to the left).

As I'm having to create two models my plan is to create a base model that could be change to form either of the two characters and save it as a new file and create the two characters from the same base model. (sorry if that sounds jumbled).

1. Here I just imported image plains and adjusted them accordingly so that they would match up with the proper view allowing me to model carefully and correctly, keeping the model in shape with my design.

2. Here I started to work on the penvis area, first I made a polygon cube and added several divisions into it to allow be shaped by adjusting the vertexes. After which I began to mold the cube into the correct shape according to my design on the image plane. With the base hips done it was time to move to the torso. I also activated the reflection option on the move tool so that any work done on one side would be mirrored on the other creating perfect symmetry!

3. The torso was completed by simply extruding from the top of the waist several times to give mupltiple edge loops to help with manipulating the geometry into the right shape.

4. This is where I began shaping the chest, as you can see it's coming along nicely. Making sure that I have space for the arms to be extruded from. Here it must be noted the body is shaped using Barong's body but done in a minimalist way to allow for easier adjustment when it comes to Xangdra.

5. At this stage I've extruded the legs from the waist. I've extruded several times at key points such as above and below the knee and at the ankle.

6. I've molded the legs to the image plain design but in a more basic sense, since the two characters will use the same base body I thought it'd be best to try best to try keep it as neutral as possible. I decided not to mold a base foot as the characters have feet that are far two different to eacher other.

So far this step has gone quickly, it seems like my skills with maya have improved or atleast stayed at the same level. The quickness could also be attributed to the fact that the design is considerably less complex than my last attempt, over all though things are going perfectly to plan so far!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Megaman Legends: Developer Blog

Last year I did a project that was based around creating a character and I found this article of a developer's blog as he modelled and skined a character. I thought this would be useful, below it mentions it took the developer 10 days to complete this with animation and rigging, where as I won't have to animate the my character it does make some what cautious of my work load, never the less I read through this guide again and found it to be incredibly useful so here I am posting it up again as I feel it's still relevant.

Check This Out: Megaman Legends 3 Modeling

Whilst checking on Video Game News sit: Destructoid, I happen to come across a link to the Developer's blog for Megaman Legends 3 in which there are several entries from Mr. Koike of Capcom (famous for modeling characters in games such as "Monster Hunter" and "Zack & Wiki") taking us through (a basic) process of 3D modeling.

What's hard to believe is that the image to the right is actually a 3D model for the game.

Currently Megaman Legends 3 is being developed for the Nintendo DS so by that nature the model it's self will be made of a fairly low polygon count. Just looking at the process and taking into consideration the speed of Mr. Koike's work shows a inside to the industry standard.

I suggest that anyone who is interested in making video games check out these blog posts: I've posted them below:
Megaman Legends 3 Modeling part 1
Megaman Legends 3 Modeling part 2
Megaman Legends 3 Modeling part 3

What I really like about this model though is the stylised texture map and the simplicity of it, but it really makes a powerful effect, game character wise. What's truly impressive though is that to get a complete and finished model it only took Mr. Koike 10 days to complete, currently I'm on day 8 of my model, If I can get my own model completed by Monday 4pm that means work speed I can match industry standard (but not necessarily quality).

Looking At: Star Wars The Clone Wars

For the modelling stage I thought it'd be wise to take a brief look at one of the most successful CG shows out there at the moment. Analysing how it's characters are modelled and textured.

Firstly when looking at these promotional images for Anakin and Obi-Wan the first thing you notice is that everything is made up of fairly basic shapes most notably the hair is made up of one geometrical shape. As with most models where the real beauty lies in within the textures. What the clone wars does is blend cartoon/stylised graphics with fairly realistic textures to create this really interesting blend of a stylised cartoon that still fits into the visual aesthetic of the Star Wars Universe.

Ofcourse half the work was completed design wise as the production team clearly took work from the previous Clone Wars cartoon which was a 2D flash based beauty and just added another dimension, but I feel by folowing this cartoony build, but real world texture approach I can create a fairly good looking pair of characters.

New Time Management

With a week left of my project to complete the practical side of things I thought it'd be best to write up a rough game plan to help me keep track in this coming (frantic) week of hard work and deligence. As already stated I opted out of going to Baf game to prioritise on completing this project. (to be fair I wouldn't be able to concentrate as I'd be panicing about this through every talk and seminar) any way my plan for the following week will pretty much look like this:

  • Monday 7th – Finish blog posts up to date, install necessary programs

  • Tuesday Through to Thursday – Complete Maya Models

  • Friday Through to Sunday – Complete Texture Skins

  • Monday 14th – Create Show Reels for submission.
Through this time I will also be documenting my progress with blog posts. With this I feel I can confidently complete my work on time by generally working 9am-6pm on models and texturing. I will also be uploading maya and photoshop onto my laptop so should I need to be anywhere not near a desk top I can complete my work as well.

Overall I'm confident that I can complete this project on time.

Self Evaluation

I thought at this point it may be a good time to stop and think about how far I've come on this project. Firstly there's the time management, whilst I have fallen behind my initial projection, there is still enough time for me to pick up the slack, sure I'll have to work hard but ultimately it'll be worth it. I feel that this ability to put in the extra hours when they are truly needed is a good skill to have when it comes to employment as I'm able to recognise when I've fallen behind but immediately know the solution, this said it's not come without a sacrifice, I gave up my ticket to BAF game to make sure I completed this project on time and it's this sorting of priorities that makes me feel I've matured more as a professional worker.

Then theres looking at my overall work progress, through this project I feel I've finally found an art style that works for me and theres a vast improve compared to previous concept work I've done over the last two years, theres now a sense of action in my pieces and the qualitity has vastly improved, this has made me feel more confident about my work as my style is something I've not really seen in the video game industry but in other media areas such as tv and comics so perhaps there's a market for this cartoony style? Regardless I feel my work ethic has improved aswell over the last two years and the level of quality of my work has improved.

Regarding this project I feel that the design are strong but don't entirely adhear to the back stories I had set out for them but I feel that the art created gives the sense of character when you look at. With the bold colours and experssionate faces and bodies I feel that I'm developing more as a concept artist and that my ideas are beginning to range much more, especially with the design of Barong, I hope to create more designs of at least this level and hopefully surpass it.

Overall I feel my work on this project has been of a high level, whilst I've fallen behind slightly I'm already well on my way to fix this. This project I feel has given me a create deal of experience and I feel that with the amount of R&D that I've completed uptil this point have been of a level that would show my commitment to an industry level project.

From here I'm ready to enter the modelling part of this project and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Character Turnarounds

After completing the Concept Art I went on to creating the turn arounds to use in the Maya.

These were fairly easy to complete and didn't really take that much time. What I will not though is that after my crit' session from tutors several things where brought to my attention. Firstly that my characters are only in the orthographic view on the side shots, where as on the front and back their in a perspective view. Ideally all turn arounds should be in an orthographic view for the ease of modelling, fortunately for me I can 'think on my feet' so to speak and develop the foot from the side view, this shouldn't cause too much of as the feet aren't complex by any means. Another issue that arose was the placement of the hands on the turnarounds, ideally the hands should have the palms facing the floor but, like the feet this is easily fixed by first modelling the hands and then adjusting them after wards.

Besides these small issues I feel that the turnarounds will be very useful for the modelling and the quality is of a high enough level (despite the hiccups) to place in my portfolio.

The process for making the turn arounds were fairly simple, especially because of nature of the characters being siblings. I first drew the front for Barong, then whiting out everything but the outline I drew the back. Witht he front and back complete I then make guide lines for where the various markers such as chin, top of shoulder and kness go and then drew the side view. This method proved to be a huge time saver as I knew exactly where everything was supposed to be going.

To save even more time I used the base of the turnarounds to complete Xangdra's, essentially tracing the base shape and adjusting it accordingly to the design. Overall I feel this works great at time saving but admitantly the turn around for Xangdra could be touched up a little more.

With these turnarounds done it's almost time to start modelling. When I begin I plan to use a similar approach to the one I used for these turnarounds, creating a base model to develop the two characters from then adjusting each one accordingly. Deatils such as the protruding armour will be modelled sperately and attach to model later through careful rigging. Overall considering the time I have left and what's eft to do, I feel I can complete this project confidently.

Style Reference

When it comes to future projects I've decided that when it comes to developing characters I will be drawing them in the same fashion as the project for the benefits that I can draw the characters in dynamic poses more easily and that due to the cartoony style the faces can be much easy to portray emotion with large expressions.

With that in mind I thought it would be wise to look at styles that are similar to mine. One such artist whom I've always admired is Mexican comic artist, Humberto Ramos. His style has always been very expressionate and stylised, in his earlier work it's clear that he's influenced by manga/anime styled art but ultimately has developed his own unique style from that, evolving over the years.

When you look at his most recent work on titles such as The Amazing Spider-Man and his various cover for Marvel, there's definite sense of fun, action and style. Whilst there are exaggerated features in the illustrations it really works to the benefit of the style adding weight to villians or a sense of agility in a hero. His style really does help give personality not just to character's faces but their whole body.

When it comes to future projects I plan to help along any design issues I may have by looking at Ramos' work.

I also feel the art style found in the cartoon series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is another great point of reference, especially for when it comes to creating 3d models. With it's stylised with angular features and real-world textures this may be just the style I'm looking for when it comes to developing my own characters for three-dimensions.

Before I start developing my own 3d models I plan to take a further look into the exact details of the clone wars models to help when it comes to modelling my own.

I feel that using Ramos' art and the art found in Clone wars cartoons as references for future projects and sources of influence can prove to be massively beneficial since my decision to stick to one style as these a pros doing what I hope to one day achieve as a concept artist. With this in mind I'm already a little excited for the next project to see how I can better my work.

Concept Art Process

The process for creating my final concept art pieces worked as simply as using a flat matte brush and painting over the pencils.

First I would scan in the pencil drawing, from there using the photoshop brushes I fill in and adjust the design, for example with Barong, I drew in the armour of the opposite arm and the legs. Next I block colour in the shape of the character, essentially creating a silhoette.

From there I begin to block in the main colours of the various design elements, boots, armour, hair. These are all blocked in on one matte colour. From there I start to add in the details, using Barong as an example again; the black lines between the plates of armour and the face etc.

Once all the details have been added I then take a shade slightly darker than the blocked out colours and add an outline for more clearer definition of the shapes. With the outlines done thats the concept art complete. For future projects I'm going to work to add shadows the further develop a sense of the dynamic and depth, but overall I feel this method works well for me and can help develop my portfolio substantially.

Final Concept: Xangdra

On the left here is the final concept piece for Rangda.

Compared to the previous design not much has changed except small details such as a lack of tie and red trim of the coat. You can also see that the ring present on Barong is also here to further cement the connection between the two.

I feel that the design for Xangdra whilst is a strong solid design here falls short of the mark for the back story I develop. Whilst there are nods to her archetype such as the use of red for a villian, there really isn't much else and the design overall doesn't really make her stand out much as an important character. It's also a shame as I feel that her new design has lost some of her sexual appeal which is something I wanted the character to have where as now she appears as a basic scientist which is a bit of a disservice to the idea I had in mind for her.

This little let down doesn't really effect much but if there was more time I would definetly return and adjust the design to make it appear more unique and important. Still as I noted in the Barong post, I'm still happy with the style that the character is drawn in as it really does make the aesthetic difference and sets it apart from others.

The lessons learnt here are to always re-evaluate designs before completing a design, unfortunately time is crucial at this moment but in a professional environment it would be best to re do the design. That said I still feel that this is a strong piece of concept art that I plan to use in my portfolio.

Final Concept: Barong

Using my previous sketch of Barong, I built upon it to create my final concept (seen to the right) Firstly there have been a few changes such as the armour on the right arm and the legs.

Firstly the decision to have the same armour on both arms as opposed to the previous design was to make things easier when it came to modelling, because of this I've cut my work load in half as I now only have to model and texture half of my design, then I can just copy and flip it and marry it up to the original.

The designs for the legs was a fairly simple choice of plain boots, mainly for ease of modelling but to also not complicate the design, as most of the detail is found on the armour and in the face. By having a relatively plain look for the foot wear creates a kind of balance to the design.

Overall I feel the design works as a hero character, by looking you can tell this is a character thats a fighter, the choice of colours also give a sense of a (medieval) solider to the design but the little touches such as the use of matte orange in some places and the tight black under shirt and form fitting armour (hopefully) seperate it from a traditional medieval look to create something that looks like it belongs in a game. I feels that the colours work well together too following my rule that I discovered during my research of there being two main colours (here, Black and grey) and a third minor colour (brown). The design doesn't have any features that are being overpowered by another and fit well together.

Whilst it looks aesthetically pleasing, does my design match the backstory I had written up? In some ways yes and in other ways no. Whilst the design with the other character does indeed create a connection between the two and create the image of a hero character that players will (hopefully) want to control and play as elements of the back story such as being a demon-human sympathiser and being a lion like demon have been slightly lost. I tried to convey Lion like qualities with the hair but I don't think it's that obvious. That said I think the design it self is fine and these little botches are things to look out for during future projects, overall this design is ready to be turned into a 3d model.

Developing Designs: Xangdra (Part 3)

After completing the final design for Barong I was prompted to go back and re draw Xangdra to update her into the new style I had developed.

Whilst re-drawing Xangdra I took the oppertunity to add more similarities to her Brother in the design. Firstly theres the hair, the shape of the ponytail on the side has become much more angular and her face has become more similar to Barong's.

Then looking at the design of her coat, whilst the design hasn't change the presentation has become much more angular and more like a cartoon. I feel that this quick re-sketch fits much better with what I'm wanting to create. I also went back and drew a few more head shots to better get a feel of the character and already theres a much bigger burst of emotion.

The results from this new style are really pleasing and only cements my decision to work in this style for future projects as I conveys so much emotion and really gives much more interesting look to my images which I feel will help me get a leg up against the competition.

With this redesign done it's time do final concept art pieces and move onto creating the turnarounds for use in the 3D modelling stage. Whilst doing these new skteches time has become increasingly more valuable so with that said and done I'll be cracking straight onto the final concepts.

Developing Designs: Barong (Part 1)

After the feedback of my concept art looking stiff I decided to try add a more dynamic visual to my representation of characters. The result was this new verson of Barong, appearing much more kinetic and stream lined.

I found that this new version breathed new life into the design making it almost pop out of the page. This became a huge turning point for me as I immediately decided once this sketch was completed that my model will be designed to look similar to this new stylised Barong as I felt it would seperate my work from others both in the class and in the industry where most games are going for a realistic look.

This stylistic approach is also easier to draw but I feel also gives me a sort of trademark if I can build a portfolio with similarly looking designs. This style also helps convey a character's personality more.

Looking at the design there's not much of a difference between this and the previous version except that the design has been simplified more and little details have been deleted, but overall it's the core design. With this new style realised I will be going back and re-doing Xangdra's design to just kind of update it to match. I feel totally energised for the next step though!

Below are some head sketches for Barong.

Pre-Liminary Design: Barong (Part 3)

I decided that after my last sketch to develop the character further by using a base template then drawing the design of the clothes/armour over the top. My first result was this piece to the right which is heavily inspired by the armour designs from Final Fantasy XII and Monster Hunter.

The idea of having the armour be form fitting was the try make it appear more like it would belong in a world where lab coats and medieval armour co-exist, blending sci-fi and fantasy together. I also added in a ring on a chain, which will also be added to the Xangdra design to show more common ground between the two.

Ideally I still had it in my mind that the characters were ultimately going to look similar to works like Dante's Inferno or Devil May Cry with semi-real graphics and highly technical designs.

Whilst working on this design my tutor came in to check up on how I was doing and noted that my work was looking a little stiff, upon stepping back it was clear this was the case (and even upon looking back at previous projects) most of my concept art is quite stiff. I plan to remedy this for my next design iteration!

Pre-Liminary Designs: Barong (part 2)

Here I've started to develop Barong from those head sketches I completed the other day. As you can see Barong's design is more warrior orientated and I feel that this gives a good contrast to Xangdra's Design but the trick is to develop this further so that it doesn't look like a far cry from the counterpart design.

You'll also see that I've decided on the face of my hero. I tried to make the connection between the two characters in the way of hair with them both having 'curtain' cuts with three strands that fall in front of their face. Whilst this is a good idea I feel it doesn't quite knock home the idea that the two characters are related. I also feel I may have to develop Barong's face more as he looks to similar to the main character from the Xbox RPG Odyssey.

I feel I'm making a good start with this character and it's just a matter of thinking about design choices logically which will prove to be the game changer when it comes to modelling as I can't be too complex in my design as it will cost me time in the modelling Department, time I may not have later.

Pre-Liminary Designs: Barong (Part 1)

Much like with Xangdra I started with just head sketches, trying to define my hero's face. When sketching I was trying to go for a strong chin/stereotypical hero. Whilst developing the look I was drawing heavy reference from mass Effect concept artist Matt Rhodes for the style as I felt that his stylistic renditions really give a good sense of characterisation in art but can be translated easily into semi-realistic 3D models.

Overall these sketches were to just get my head working on a male character (something of which I've not developed for modelling). This stage will prove to be interesting as there are many elements that can go into creating an iconic/recognisable hero. Next comes more pre-lim designs that should help cement Barong's look.

Developing Designs: Xangdra (Part 2)

This is the final concept for Xangdra. As you can see there are three main colours, black, red and white. These were chosen as to not immediately suggest a villian but more hint towards it. Little details have been added like the tie, trim on the coat and smaller details on the skirt. These were added just to try make the base design look a litttle more interesting from being too plain.

Overall I feel this is a strong design, as in a game environment you would recognise her instantly but also modelling and texturing should not be to difficult as her design is also relatively simple with little amounts of 'fiddly' bits to work with.

This has been one of my key focuses when designing characters. Develop something that is good and strong but also relatively easy to model and work with once it's off the page. Looking back it does seem that it's not obvious that she's a villian and that the main concept has been side stepped slightly but overall I'm happy with this design and I feel I can push forward from here.

Next I'll be developing the look for Barong. Keeping in mind that the two characters are siblings I'll be trying to develop his look based off Xangdra's to create that connection but, since Barong will be the player character in this Third-Person action adventure I want his design to be more Hero/warrior focused. Well, better get on it then!

Developing Designs: Xangdra (Part 1)

With the base idea of how I want the character to look in my mind I set about trying to visualise that on to paper. The first results was this fair plain secretary look. As you can see the hair has developed more and the overall feel of the character is that she has a range from polite to cold, giving a nice suggestion of duality to the concept.

Overall this design consists of three main pieces, the labcoat, shirt and the skirt. The design is meant to look slightly sexually appealing whilst not being overly explicit, this is to suggest how she has manipulated the men in the corperation to reach the position she's got to.

The colour pallete for this design I'm thinking is a fairly plain and startard one but with the use of red in places to indicate that she's both attractive but also a villian

I did think about an alternative design which is more battle orientated. This rough design was based on designs found in The Art of Monster Hunter.

I was hoping that this would show here demon side, ergo the head shot with the horns but in the end I felt that this didn't fit in with the overall game and world I had in mind and that it was also beginning to verge to close on my previous design of my warrior character from my last project.

With a design decided upon it was time to draw up one last piece of concept art which found finalise the details of the design.

Pre-Liminary Designs: Xangdra (Part 2)

After the rough sketches I completed in my sketch book (on a train to or from Manchester) I got a chance to sit down and start developing the look of my character to be. I played around with different eyes and head shapes including hair types but I felt that one sided twist hair worked well.

After sketching for a while I settled on a style that I thought worked well (the bottom head circled) and would work from there.

Previously I had created a female character for my last project and I didn't want to create something to similar to that so my remedy will be during design try keep the idea of Xangdra being a plain kind of character as she's disguised as a Human.