Thursday, 20 October 2011

And This Is Considered Work..... Awesome

I had one of those moments yesterday when you look at all your past work and decide it's all unbelievably sh*te, spit on it then fall to the floor crying. As most of you know this happens to any artist at least twice a year. I decided to give drawing from reference a real crack, obviously I've done this before in life drawing but it's always quick work and you can't elaborate on what's there, also it's boooorrrring. Of course like most boring things it's totally useful. So I decided to go outside with my lovely assistant Chrissi and we took pictures of each other in a totally non-weird way, here's one of me looking so good.

...So threatening. So yeah I pulled some standard fighting game poses, it's mainly legs and feet that I've always sucked at drawing so I was looking at the weight distribution and the foot placement. I took this picture then drew a basic body outline using the pose and stylised it slightly. Here it is.

   I was pretty happy how this turned out, this reference stuff really works. The feet are still a little off but I love the legs and i think it looks like the character is actually standing. This was kind of an a-sexual outline but I decided I wanted to make myself, mainly to fill a life long fantasy but also I keep reading that one you can draw girls guys are easy. Why are they always more complicated??
Next I did a rough sketch over the top.

So as you can see I basically just made some areas, *ahem*, stick out a bit further and there you have it, one emo babe. i really think that I'm getting close to the design i want for my whole project. This is a cleaned up version. 

This was the most fun ever and I.m totally happy with how she came out. I actually think this is a pretty rad costume, will have to refine a bit though. Next I'm gunna try to ink and hopefully colour her, I think she deserves it. 

I'll keep ya posted.  

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Strokes Of Genius...

Part of this project was to learn some tasty rendering techniques (that's colouring in) and to get used to my graphics tablet so that I can get to a professional level by christmas...... easy. So I got started this week by watching a few tutorials online about various ways to use photoshop to ink pencil sketches to get ready for colouring. There are two main ones that I attempted to see which I prefer but first i needed a drawing to ink.

I quite like this sketch and think I might look pretty cool rendered so I shall experiment on this handsome chap. 
First I tried free hand tracing just by drawing directly on top of the sketch, it's pretty hard but it's quite quick and the lines have a sense of movement to them.

It does look quite nice but some of the lines are quite wobbly and because of my lack of experience I had to re-draw most of it until I got lines I could put up with, also I would like a lot more line thickness variation. This is all stuff that can be worked on though and it was quite fun, heres without the sketch in the background. 
For a first go this is pretty good, I think out of the two techniques this is my favourite but heres the other.

This is the pen tool method which uses vectors instead of bitmaps and the quality is immediately noticeable but as you can see in the layers section in the bottom right each line is a separate shape. This means that each line takes a while to construct and even this small amount of inking took nearly an hour. Also to be honest even though the lines look clean and have nice thickness variation there's not much character in them, plus i kinda feel like I'm cheating.

Mind you those lines are tasty............ no Joe, takes way too long. And I definitely want to get used to drawing lines free hand with my graphics tablet, It'll improve my work in other areas as well. This technique would be good for a simple character but mine would take hours.
I'll keep you updated with my progress.  

Where The Wild Things Are...

So no one can ever say that I don't put enough effort into my projects, this particular piece of research should be worth a first on its own. The other day I once again ventured into pigeon park in search of Emos, this time with full battery on Chrissi's camera and a killer thirst for knowledge. Here's a few choice selections from my grand day out...

One thing I quickly noticed was how freaking happy they all were, Im guessing this is because they seemed to be surrounded by around 300 hundred of their own kind. I don't know whether i should stick to the stereotype of being suicidal but I guess my characters always gunna be on his own which would probably bring out the real Emo in him. The next thing I learned from them was that one stereotype was bang on the money... They are fuc**ng obsessed with their hair. Seriously, I was being lead by two particularly friendly ones and whenever we went up to someone they hadn't met before we were discussing hair within seconds. There were enough of them to form an army if only they were capable of talking about something else. 
I did get one idea from them though, they said it would be cool if they had like a 'powered up' mode with, wait for it, bigger hair. Which I think might be cool, if the characters each have a different form that reflects their personalities.   

Next up.................. CHAVS!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cheer Up Guys

So after collecting a few pictures of the dark ones, of course I mean Emos, this isn't a racist blog, I messed around with a few designs, just experimenting with style and character traits.

This is a great way of working, seeing things i would normally of missed also it's helping with my drawing in general. Still not sure about a style but the reference helped no end. will keep collecting and sketching.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Aaaghhh! It's Horrible...

So yeah I'll be designing a handful of characters based on the teenage groups of Birmingham. This allows me to work heavily from first hand research which I pretty much suck balls at. This does also mean however that i'm gunna have to get my 'Attenborough' on and bravely walk into their respective territories and photograph them in they're natural habitats, and when it comes to Chavs and Emos this is a very scary prospect.
Heres a bit of preliminary research I did for the Emos.

The top left image was from 'Pigeon Park' in Birmingham which is where a lot of the Emos hang out and look miserable much like this gentleman hear. I want to carry on like this and collect images for all the groups, the more I take the more ideas i'll get for characters and not just rely on stereotypes.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Finish Him!

I've decided that the best way to fit in several different characters, all based on young people of today, would be to have them as a roster for a fighting game. This means that the characters won't have a story line to worry about but all of they're traits and backstory need to be portrayed purely in they're design and stances. Also because they will be beating several shades of shit out of each other the design of all the characters needs to look cool so people belonging to that particular group want to play as them but also slightly ridiculing so that others have fun beating them up.
Other fighting games do this but usually with different fighting styles instead of groups of teenagers.

Here are three good concept designs for characters from the Soul Calibur series, now by no means are all the designs like this but you can get a clear idea of what these characters personalities, fighting styles and backgrounds are like just from looking at them. This is exactly what i will be striving for with my designs.
Heres a few examples of bad design that give almost no information.

First of all we get nothing about either of their personalities, the only reason we know either of them like fighting is because she's holding a sword. Everything about the lower design was crafted purly to show off the large chesticles and arse. Nothing wrong with boobs and arse but at least try and make them relevant somehow. Must try to avoid this.

Friday, 7 October 2011

We Got A Lotta Catching Up To Do...

So I've decided i'm gunna design some characters based around teenagers and the different groups they belong to, movies caught on to this idea a long time ago that for a young person to relate to a film they're gunna have to see young people in it. Sounds obvious but for some reason the video game industry has completely neglected this fact.

I know that we couldn't exactly have a 'Breakfast Club' game without some serious innovation but this is the sort of thing we should be striving for, even until then we have movies like 'Scott Pilgrim' where young people are action stars which would make for an easy transition into a high end video game. It doesn't even have to be teenagers, we've always known that a good story comes from a normal person in an extraordinary situation or vice-versa but at the moment in video games it just seems to be extra ordinary people in extra ordinary situations. This is basic story telling knowledge that a whole medium is ignoring. 
Take films like 'Shaun of the Dead' or 'Zombieland', both zombie movies, a genre that video games have embraced with open arms, but what gets lost in the translation is that instead of a nervous teen or a pair of slobs in the games it's always men built like brick shit houses and women with huge boobs. 

Surrounded by zombies = scared
Surrounded by zombies = horny
I mean what the fu*k??

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Beginning Of The End

So, here we are, it seems we have reached the delicious desert of our three year animation feast. Although I must say the main was a little tasteless and the entertainment was lackluster. Stop watching 'Come Dine With Me' Joe.
So anyway it's the third year which means we do pretty much whatever we want with very little help, those who know me will find this idea laughable, never the less, i'm looking forward to it. After months of soul searching, yes it was that dramatic, I've decided my true calling lies in character design. I've been doing some intern work for 'Oop Studios' in this area which has been going well, will post some shortly.
So I needed to come up with an idea of what to work on for specialist study 1 which is our first project, again it has no brief and the learning outcomes were especially "helpful" this time with sub sections such as
"Reading List: ...How do we know? It's your project"
Like I said, I knew I wanted to design characters but it wasn't until I saw this amusing display that I noticed what a stagnant pool of sh*t most AAA video game design had become.

I mean can someone tell me why a medium mostly used by twenty something male nerds but also increasingly women and young children as well is only being represented by men who look like they shave with wood chippers and wash their hair with gravel. Video games are so far behind when it comes to representing their audience it's unreal. I want to come up with something that is actually relatable for young people and make characters they can identify with even if only slightly. More to come folks, I can tell you're intrigued.