Sunday, September 30, 2012

What I did over summer...

The second year of my degree is here - it seems to be flying by already!

This summer has been a good opportunity for me to take the knowledge and experience I gained last year and use that to develop my focus, which is drawing and creating digital art, specifically for character design.

The main outlet for this was the work I continued doing for the game project I mentioned in the previous posts. I continued working on the scrapper design and getting feedback from the creators of the project, and upon finishing that character, I was asked to also design the "ranger". The ranger is a female member of the team so I looked forward to hopefully taking her design in a different direction to a lot of female characters in video games today.

Here are the designs that the final models will be based upon. Another artist will be working on refining the faces, and another will also be tweaking all the final concepts from the artists so that they look consistent.

For the scrapper, an important aspect of his design was retaining a sense of his cocky, playful personality. His outfit also had to have a mismatched, handmade look whilst having a slight "punk" feel. The main challenge for this character was drawing all the details of his outfit, as I'm generally more accustomed to a loose, painterly style than a technical one. The feedback I received was very helpful and after much mix-and-matching of designs, we settled on this one.

I realise now that for this character, I should have started with rough designs before getting too involved in drawing up finalised outfits. I didn't experiment as much as I should have, and although I think the final design does convey the character's personality, I would have liked to have tried a variety of other outfit styles.

By the time I'd begun working on the ranger I'd developed a more solid understanding of concept creation, so I started with some silhouette designs to get ideas for the general shape of her outfit and how it reflects her personality.

Following some extensive feedback from the guys on the project, the final design ended up being a combination of silhouettes 7, 5 and 10. An issue with this design was that her outfit was a little too bland, so a challenge was finding a balance between reflecting her stealthy, agile class whilst also looking interesting and eye-catching. 

The ranger's concept had to show her tough, "lone-wolf" attitude, but still appear likeable. The main idea of her outfit was that she had made it herself from scraps of material found on her travels. It had to be suitable for the agility and mobility of the character, so no metal scraps, constrictive materials/shapes, etc. I also wanted to make her look attractive without depending on the usual exaggerated femininity of many women in games. 

Outside of this project, I have mainly been working on practicing human anatomy and proportions, as that is a big challenge I've faced in creating these designs - I know very little about drawing in proportion! 


In terms of films, games and animations I've discovered over summer, I've developed a big interest in Bioware games, particularly the Mass Effect series. I hope to play through their earlier releases. 

My experience of games isn't the most widespread, but I found the characters of Mass Effect to be some of the most interesting I've come across - I felt like I genuinely became attached to them (I even cried over some of them, which is a first). This was probably a result of some fantastic voice acting, character design and scriptwriting. I'm very interested in looking deeper into the creation of the game and concept art, as it might teach me some important things about character design.