Sunday, 26 May 2013

Learning Outcome 8_Exhibit strong communication skills

Torture scene, Alien Prison key moment.
I believe the above key moment is a good example for communication skills

I think its successful in that its clear the Alien is getting tortured and that hes possibly dangerous. As well as this its clear whom the torturers are and whom the victim of the torturing is. Lastly I believe the illustration use of composition helps to sell the Alien as the focus of the piece.

I would not consider it very strong though in the sense that my figure drawing as point out previous is lack in anatomical knowledge. Which takes away from the scene, and I've inadvertently captured the moment after the action rather than the key moment of action which does not help communicate the point as well as I would of liked. And it also makes the scene less interesting.

However I do feel the piece has communicated its point, therefore I believe it successfully addresses this learning outcome.

Learning Outcome 7_ Demonstrate independent learning and continued personal development.

Here are 2 of my final Key moment illustrations, they both display very poor use of anatomy in general, for example the main characters face in the second image. In order to rectify this I have been and continue to do figure studies, gesture drawings, and anatomy studies. Moreover I initially had trouble with the perspective in all of my key moments, as a result of this I am now going back to basics to refresh my memory on the subject.

And finally I am also planning to work on my rendering of form and work on more consistently translating my work from strong value foundations into the finished colour work due to my current tendency to loose my sense of lighting and colour in the finals.

Learning Outcome 6_Operate ethically demonstrating critical understanding of the issues governing good practice.

The following are practices that should be abided by when operating as a concept artist. Do not plagiarise others work ie taking someone story for instance a changing it only slightly. Do not claim work that is not your own is yours, for instance if you have work that is down as part of a team clearly labelling which parts you did and didn’t do is very important in an industry where you are very likely to have multiple people work on your art.

Not infringing on others copy right or claiming that work your have done is for a commercial product. For instance the brief that we were given by Ubisoft Reflections Art Director for Assassins Creed is not for a product to be made in the Assassins Creed brand, and as such we would not claim it is.

Some other issues seen as good business practice are abiding to contracts, keeping to non disclosure agreements and so on.

Learning Outcome 5_Evaluate and defend own work in the context of contemporary practice.

Establishing shot for the Alien Prison. This is the second version of a final key moment illustration.
The above illustration is one of my final 'Key Moment' scenes for the Alien Prison brief. My goal here was to show an establishing shot of the prison and give an overall feel of the world and setting of the story.

As a reference point for a professional comparison I will be using the Key Moments shown in Atomhawk games portfolio page:

The Key Moment illustration has a strong use of composition which helps to establish the main Alien Prison in the background as the major point of interest. With the perspective, and contrast, and value grouping helping to pop out the prison from the background. Moreover the use of design elements such as showing different vehicles, various types of architecture (old and new for instance) give the illustration give some sense of technological and cultural setting of the piece.

The use of colour is fairly saturated, with a primarily warm tone for the majority of the city, this helps give a sense of invitation to the city. Which helps towards enticing the viewer to find out more about the world.

Compared to the professional works done at Atomhawk studies the work lacks that dramatic feel that many of the key moments appear to have, and some of the energy seems lost through the use of a more painterly look to the work compared to the looser brush strokes of the Atomhawk work. However use of composition and colour is closer to the standards on display.

Looking at the key moments on the Atomhawk portfolio page appears to show more use of contrast and mood in the overall pieces. Whilst attempts appear to have been used in the above piece to show that it could perhaps be exaggerated more to help with the dramatic feel of the key moments.

Comparing to the contemporary work done by Atomhawk games and the work displayed above the illustration does fit into a contemporary workplace however the work shown would not be up to the same level of quality on display without addressing the issues mentioned above.

Plan and implement appropriate skills in the creation of visual work.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Learning Outcome 4: Integrate and synthesise research into design solutions

This is a selection of the some of the references I used to inform my designs in the Alien Prison brief.

And below a selection of designs for the guards and the aliens.

I have used the various elements of the uniforms in my reference to help inform the designs of my prison guards, initially my designs were much more militarised similar to my reference however upon feedback from tutor these were deemed inappropriate in the context of a prison. As such I toned down the design elements to go for a medium between the two designs.

With a lightly armoured guard who was slightly unique in uniform design between each character but had enough uni-formality between the group to hopefully show they are all part of the same guard outfit.

With the alien designs I used my deep sea creature reference in order to inform the designs, I also had pictures of panthers and other large cats to inform the first alien design. My goal was to have 3 unique creatures that had amphibian or water dwelling traits to suggest they are different species that are present in 1 world that was perhaps primarily made of water.

Learning Outcome 3: Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate techniques and methods

The below storyboards were based on a script written for the brief by our tutor. They demonstrate how to visualise a story using composition, perspective, characters, and other art principles.

This is one of the shots of my revised storyboard:

In my revised storyboard I have changed the layout in order to have the story flow in a more natural manner and to match the script that it is based on. I have got to this stage by creating multiple iterations of the storyboard, using thumbnails, being flexible with styles in order to find a balance between quality, quantity and clarity. And lastly as with all of my work I believe it demonstrates listening and reacting to feedback.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Learning Outcome 2: Analyse Industry and professional requirements

The visual storytelling requirements for industry professionals in the field of concept art are:
  • is the artwork sensitive to the audience in question. For example a 3+ game is unlikely to show characters with sharp teeth or claws as it is not appropriate to that audience. Moreover a hugely colourful artwork is not really appropriate for an audience whom is expecting a dark and gritty style of work.
  • As a follow on to the above is the Age group in question. If ask to design for a horror game for instance. Creating scary creatures, with bits falling off, and exposed body parts is not going to work if its a game for young children. However doing stylised Studio Ghibly style horror creatures that are more 'cutesy' is much more acceptable as they are not overtly scary but are appropriate in the context of the horror game.
  • Cultural Sensitivity, an example is the recent furore over inappropriately placed religious icons in Call of Duty.
  • Cost – ex. Voice overs, Cinematic's etc. are very expensive both in man power and resources
  • Art Direction can effect storytelling significantly, for example a really vibrant colour palette would compliment a fun, humour filled story, and also help to aim more towards a younger audience.

Learning Outcome 1: Appraise the issues relevant to visual storytelling in various contexts.

Games are interactive forms of storytelling in contrast with a movie in which you will not have an effect on the story telling. Whilst a game the designer has to decide if the player will have some kind of impact on the story or if they are just playing through the game to get a predetermined outcome no matter their choices.

For games in particular here are some examples of the issues that are prevalent:

  • Audience – young, old, sex, race - in this case I am referring to cultural sensitivity, core gamer/casual gamer etc
  • The type of game, for example an RTS (Real Time Strategy ex. Age of Empires) has different requirements for storytelling to a TBS (Turn Based Strategy ex XCOM).
  • The type of control – ex the Wii controller is very different to a mouse and keyboard.
  • Payment model, for example if a game is free to play is the story going to be told in a episodic way where the player has to pay to find out what happens next in their story.
  • The hardware the game is on. A PC has much more freedom for storytelling methods in games compared to a 3DS for instance. An example would be cinematic, you could have the whole game told through cinematic in a PC game but there simply isnt enough space to do this on a hand held game system.
  • Mobile or Stationary? It is much more necessary to have short to the point storytelling for a mobile app game compared to a long drawn out storytelling method of a PC role playing game for instance.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Storyboards And Final Key moments

Abstract storybeats start

This is my initial start for the storyboards using a collage approach to generate some quick interpretable ideas for the storyboards, concentrating on the main storyboard moments.

Initial Storyboards

These are the initial storyboards  that I worked on for the Alien Prison brief. I initially went for a fairy clean line drawing style with an animatic approach to the storyboard. This proved to be impractical as the drawings took too long to do and did not allow for the quick changeability and the fast turnaround of my later storyboards

Version 2 of the storyboards concentrating on a quick drawing style in order to get the idea across of the whole board.

 These are my final revised storyboards, I decided to the lose the value as I like the simple line drawing approach and believe they are easier to read. From this point I believe Ill go in and add some expressions and refine the poses a bit more before a final hand in.

And finally these are my Key Moment scenes.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Further Alien Development and Start of Prisoner Uniform designs

Here is the development for the first Alien prisoner. I decided to make him more panther like with similar muscle structure around the legs to suggest he is a fast runner. I also wanted to give him an opposable thumb on his feet in order to suggest he is able use his feet to similar effect of his hands – I was thinking along the terms of prehensile but I believe that applies to tails lol.
I actually started sketching this picture via pencil in order to try something different and then used a digital camera to take a picture for painting over in photoshop since I dont have a scanner. In retrospect I could of saved an hour or two by sketching in photoshop.

With the costume I am thinking along the lines of a graphic design approach of 4 simple tones and geometric shapes. My idea was some kind of suit that has the 3 injections they give death throw inmates built in. Therefore if the alien prisoner is unruly/violent etc he can be given each of the injections in turn. In the second thumbnail I played with the idea of a bomb detonater attached to the handcuffs so that if the alien tried to raise it arms to attack a guard etc the pins would come out and thus blow the alien in half. I plan to design the the costuming more fully indepentelly later. For now it helps me to think of how they fit on the form. Each of the aliens are on separate layers so its a case of simply playing dress up doll with them lol

Here are the second and third Alien designs and a line up of all the designs minus their costumes. Ive decided to just stick with 3 Aliens 4 seems unnecessary since each of these aliens is completely different from the other.  With the second Alien design I was thinking along the lines of a squid like creature with sharp claws and possible clawed hands. As such with the prison uniform I was again thinking along the 3 injection idea but also now with a lean towards some kind of mobility infringement in the design.

Ive carried this line of thought to the final alien design whom is a translucent creature based on a deep sea shrimp creature that I saw. I thought it would be interesting if he had a somewhat translucent suit as well, perhaps anything the alien where is like that? or because he has some kind of chemical reaction in his body that needs to be monitored visually. I was also thinking along the lines of a skin tight suit that when triggers constricts cause loss of circulation, mobility, pain, etcetera

I’ve decided that because these are all unique creatures they would have different constraints placed on them to deal with their various traits. With the next designs I plan to take these initial ideas and thumbnail unique constraints for all of the alien designs that all hopefully appear as a set designed by the same prison. Which is sort of what I was doing with the graphic design approach to the initial thumbnails.

I decided to go with a high viability jacket design which I will have the constraints showed in a previous post over them to create a layered look to alien prisoners given them some uniqueness/personality as well as unification in their design. Since the forms of the Aliens are different I decided it would be best to pick a few colours and keep the patterning relatively similar throughout the thumbnails which will hopefully keep them feeling like a set.

Further development of prison guards and the start of the Aliens

Here are my final concept sketches for the prison guards with a line up to see how they all fit together.

The executioner – with this one I decided to make him more heavily armed, and stand out a bit from the others because of his main role of executing prisoners. My friends suggested I add some form of respirator to the designs or some sort of equipment due to bacteria infection from the Aliens. I decided this character best fit this in the sense that when they have this spectator sport they would be in the Aliens own atmosphere perhaps due to some kind of 1 sided battle. I was thinking along the line of the cells having specialised atmosphere for the particular species of alien so the guard. Another reason for his coverings is due to all the blood flying around, which would make sense he wouldn’t want it in his eyes or mouth.

The New warden – I decided it would be more interesting to make this character a strong female instead of another male as it was getting a bit boring line up cast. I didnt realise until after I had finished this one shes actually meant to be a he in the brief, oh well hopefully it wont matter too much. Will have to read more carefully in future. I wanted to try and make this character parallel the Head warden posted previously with a strong pose and a commanding presence.

This one is a watch tower type guard, I wanted him to be a fairly standard security guard look minus the high powered rifle. So perhaps this base design could be used for guards with various duties/grunts. If it was for a video game they would be the base character essentially for the player to overcome.

And here is a line up of all the characters. I tried to keep the characters looking like they were in a similar firm by having a standard logo on the uniform and keep the designs fairly similar in terms of how the clothing is designed. The colours are different and some of the characters have different items like furry hats or basecaps etc but hopefully they all look like a group.

In terms of size I wanted the head warden to be slightly bigger than everyone else due to his importance and to make him more formidable. I wanted the new warden to be of similar height to the other characters so she didn’t seem weaker and I matched the pose btw of the warden to give her a confident and strong feeling to the character. I felt the executioner would be better suited to similar height to the head warden but more lanky to suggest agility and slightly shorter as he isn’t in charge. Whilst I felt the watchtower guard should be the shortest and bulkiest as he is essentially a grunt.

After this I started on the designs for the Aliens, initially doing some more thumbnails that have no clothing on so I can design more suitable costume for them later. I am thinking of either designing the characters in a similar prison suit or give them raggy looking versions of clothes they could of be caught in to suggest they are mistreated perhaps. Ive narrowed down the designs to the 4 at the bottom. I will be iterating further on these designs to narrow down a tighter form and silhouette and then design the costume around them. I decided to do just 4 to match the prison guard numbers. I decided to not make them the same species but have them all evolved from the same aquatic world so that they seem like a set but are all unique species.

Development work – Visual Storytelling

I started off my development with no real idea of where I wanted to go with my project. As such I decided an abstract approach to start thinking of different directions would help. The first picture shows the result of a process where I created abstract icon shapes then sort of Mishmash them together to create something recognisable. I noticed a lot of the initial designs where leading me to think about body armour so I went the rough of making abstract body armour designs with the intention these might be for the Guards or Aliens. I was then planning to break these down into simple shapes, similar to how body armour for mountain biking etc looks.
From here I decided to do some thumbnails for the Aliens, looking at a lot of reference for deep sea creatures. The designs were not really working as there were no real links to the guards, prison, armour and so on which was reinforced after speaking to my tutor. Id essentially gone off on a tangent.
At these point I decided to start the prison guard designs and leave the aliens for later, possibly incorporating my initial abstract designs in some way. I started off by creating silhouette thumbnails for the guard characters which can be seen below. Eventually a few stuck out to me and I started quick sketching inner detail for them to come up with some designs.

 With the designs I was thinking along the lines of mercenaries whom have been hired to work at the prison as specialist guards. Once I had a set of 8 initial designs for each guard character I moved onto creating some concept sketches. I started designing for the warden first concentrating on fleshing out the design. Which led me to the below sketch.
After speaking to my tutor again we came to the conclusion that this character was far to militarised for instance the camouflage of the costume which doesn’t make much sense in a prison setting. And that In general all of my characters where becoming unique characters and didn’t really seem like a unit. As such I have been working on toning down the character to make him seem more like a security guard you would expect to see in a prison. I liked the idea however that they were still reasonably well armed as such I’ve kept the idea of having straps buckles etc attached to the legs with a few side arms and pouches for various things.

This is the current concept for the Head Warden character.

Ive tried to give him more of a set uniform, plain greyish black trousers with a light grey shirt – which ive added lots blues and yellows to because of my background and light source. Ive also added hints of logo which you can see in the original size at the top right hand corner of the page. I converted this into a smart object so that I could distort it onto the uniform without pixelating it. (Wish I had discovered smart objects sooner than this week so many headaches I could of avoided lol) Ive added some scaring on his face to give him some personality and history, as well as making him a bit dishevelled to reflect his unhinged state of mind which I assumed he would be in due to the traits mentioned in his character description. Ive also decided to keep the sunglasses motive as I think covering the characters eyes makes them appear like they have something to hide.
I plan to design the other characters shown earlier in this sort of fashion so that they all seem like they are members of the same prison guard unit – Ive just named them The D.P.D which stands for Diablo Police Department. Diablo off the top of my head is a name associated in movies, television etc with aliens/the unexplained/evil etc so I felt it fit. Id come up with something better but the focus is only on the characters so this feels good enough to design from currently.