Friday, 8 May 2015

Who is Eris ?

I really wanted to talk about Eris, I think she is a character that has gone through so many iterations, even though the broad design was okay, she had to be tweaked so much which actually really tested me in a way that I haven't been before. Spending nights staring at the design thinking, ' what can i do differently ?'

Before delving into design lets talk about who is she and where the inspiration came from. As per the idea was born during my down time playing games, during my re-living of the gears of war franchise A character that really stuck out to me was the locust queen, Myrrah. And it was mainly due to very good writing in gears of war 1 that made me see just how big of an influence she is, you spend the game fighting General RAAM, the big ugly bad-ass. He is the the seemingly huge threat, but after you defeat him, you just hear a monologue from a cold, commanding female, and you know straight away RAAM was nothing but a puppet, and you cant help but feel the puppeteer is someone to fear, so without who actively doing anything you straight away have a realisation of who is in control.

In addition to playing the games I was reading the books again, during which you find out Myrrah is completely human, a descendant of scientists who dabbled in the effects of immulsion. From this you can not help but respect the fact that she is a frail women, yet commands the undisputed obedience of the locust horde, purely through strategy and leadership. I wanted Eris to embody the strengths of Myraah, commanding an army of mech like cyborgs, simler to the aliens from crysis 2, a frail fleshy base with bio-metric armor shell.

Now some of the fine points of Eris's psyche, she is cold, cruel and likes to make a point that prevokes fear in the audience. Nurse Ratched was about as cruel as they come. She doesn't care if what she does is in humane, if it makes all over subjects stay in line she is not afraid to make an example of one. I anted Eris to draw similar comparisons, public humiliation those who stand against her cause, and anyone who even voices an opinion against her efforts will be made short work off.

Lastly is black widow, now Eris in skilled in combat, both CQC and marksmen , that is a given considering her military status, How ever the movie version of black widow doesn't get across the personality traits I like about her, in the comic books she is quite literally the least trust worthy person in the universe, everything she does is a calculated chess move to help her gain leverage somewhere else, nothing is done for sake of doing. These traits instantly add a level of depth to Eris, a seemingly pointless action will have a reaction down the line, it is about figuring out what that is is !
So delving into my first design for Eris, technically I stuck with my normal drawing process, drawing the pivots then filling in with cylinders to give her the general frame, throughout this blog I am only showing the construction phase once, it doesn't look great and I think showing it once lets everyone know how my process goes about. I thought about how I wanted Eris to have the ability to be acrobatic in CQC, so I wanted to give her relatively muscular legs, nothing too big, just enough to let the viewer know there is power in them.
Attire, let the statement show, I royally screwed this outfit up, I concede that. But hey ho may as well go through my crazy thought process at the time. 

So in my head I wanted to show a cross over of two worlds, the old world before the cybernetic age took over, personal memorabilia and items of clothing Eris holds onto from the 'good old days'. And in contrast metal / scifi features that show the new age side of her new life. 
I am fully aware how far astray I went from this vision, I can't explain why I think I just got tunnel vision during the piece and cant explain why . the only thing I carry through to future designs is the English rose complexion, the red hair with pale skin, It gave me a cold vibe which I liked, and the other two females I have designed are blondes so I thought a red head would contrast nicley ! 

I mark this as a vast improvement ! I kept the interesting leg bindings, I thought they was nice feature, however added some leaver bottoms to go underneath, give a little more coverage, I loved the leather jacket and again I carried this forward into future designs, but there was an over riding feeling of she doesn't look like she suits her job, she looked as if she belonged to the rebels not the military so again...back to the drawing bored  !

I went slightly left field with this, A complete change was tried and failed, I wanted to try a more wild style Eris but again, just doesn't fit the era or status she holds in the world, I do like this design just not for Eris. 
This is by far my favourite design, not only do I love the attire and the jacket, I think the bottoms ground her to the world she lives in, But I also love the pose, for some reason the whole piece feels alive to me, I think it is just a happy accident and is what I end up settling on as the Eris design !

I also did this version, the only thing from the previous drawing is that Eris looks slightly too 'warm'. so I tried to add a level of menace & cyberpunk with the change of leg design. But I stuck with the previous design and allow the animation & actions speak for them selves.

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

I dabble too much....

So I havn't posted really in months, I have been crazy busy with all sorts of projects, most of which unfortunately I have to keep hush hush....
I have also been trying to get to grips with different bits of software such as zbrush, in addition getting into typography, so instead of talking about each bit like I would usually do I am just going to stick them all up on here for you to see !

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What I do for a living....kind of !

So I created some material for my studios website, just to help people get an idea what the studio can help with without using too many words, using some of the screen designs I have done for projects.
I wanted to post it on here because I thought it was a nice piece of graphic design !

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

It's Izzy !

It feels like forever since I did a blog, and I apologise for that....crazy amounts of work ! 
Since my blog post about the inspiration behind Arcavious was so popular, I thought I would go through the Izzy process since she is finally finished !

So when the client in question came to me and asked for a female anti hero that is twisted, manipulative and a bit on the crazy side, as an artist who at the time mainly did male forms I kind of laid a brick....
But when said client gives me complete creative freedom to not design her ascetically but emotionally and spiritually meant the process was far more personal !
After a few weeks in the wilderness exploring characters and trying to pin something to base the whole character off, I was watching the BBC Sherlock series and we was the introduced to Irene Adler...the Dominatrix...PERFECT !

Irene being a women who is manipulative, devious and bends Sherlocks thoughts & opinion with misleading flirting & gestures. I am not sure why this character clicked so well with me, I love the idea that she is cold, ruthless yet towards Sherlock shows this twisted tender nature towards. On top of these traits she has this misbehaving nature which is borderline playful makes for and interesting basis for a character. A women so assure of herself that she will happily 'flaunt' her assets to manipulate peers leads to a character with layers, to the dim witted she is nothing but a loopy flirt, but to Sherlock...a trained detective and a high functioning sociopath he see's she is far more intelligent than most. 
After talking to my client he watched the episodes that caught my attention. and loved where I was coming from, except for 1 point, Irene Adler is upper class, he wants the character to be more far more crazy & rough. So those traits I thought would be shown through appearance which will then clash with her deeper more honest traits she possesses.

One character sprung to mind, Jinx from MOBA game League of Legends. She is bat sit crazy, playful, blood thirsty and still slightly glamorous. When she was released as a champion she came with a music video, and it was pretty much a template in terms of surface personalty and traits I wanted for my character. You see all the nice little traits I want in my character, graffiting her weapons, dancing with dying enemies and being in general very childish 

Before talking about the drawing, at this point I named her Izzy, I liked the idea of her true nature being smart and manipulative, and a name like Isabelle fits her. now the story I developed around her is she doesn't settle down,. she just roams around picking up mercenary jobs, and in terms of arsenal and gear she uses, I took an idea form an odd source, the game Dayz. When playing it you use what you can find, until you kill someone and take their gear to use instead. Hence she just uses what she can find and make use of, from this I thought since no one actually knows her on a true level she would adopt the name Izzy which then suits her slightly more crazy / mischievous nature.
Now back to the drawing I did this sketch  to try and show the contrast between Izzy and the protagonists sister, Billy. Izzy being this open, confident female her dominates those around her, Including Billy's brothe Charles. Leading Billy to dislike Izzy, the close up portraits showing the emotions between the 2, Billy shooting sly glances but never forwardly, always passive aggressive, and Izzy showing an over the top yet sarcastic gasp. Later in the story she slowly gains Billys trust and shows her how to be more independent instead of relying on her brother all the time for safety, food and shelter. The full body sketches are showing the clash in personalities, Billy being nervous, closed up and holding her hair like a comfort blanket, in contrast Izzy is open, strong, with her pose mirroring her personalty in being curious and over the top.

What about the relationship with Charles, well it actually follows a very similar script to Irene & Sherlock. Charles being an up tight guy, who only cares about his sister and his job, until Izzy comes along during a small job. She finishes the job before him and takes the payment sending taunts Charles's way. Whilst he trys to play it off his sister can see Izzy is on his mind, Izzy then finds a hobbie of pissing off Charles by interrupting him during jobs, ruining his clinical stlye of working. She was inside his head, so much so he threatens to shoot her, which she then loads her own gun and puts it in his hand and stands nose to nose daring him....using childish remarks such as 'double dog dare you'. in the left drawing I wanted to show how both of them show signs of weakness in a job gone wrong, where the marked hit was actually a trap to kill them both due to them taking all the big jobs in the mercenary market. Charles shows true compassion to try and save Izzy, and she shows true fear not seen before by many. Only to be saved by Billy, showing her strong side to save them both with some creative explosive skills, The right image I wanted to show the over the top nature I liked from the Jynx character, so I thought one of the guns she may use is this giant LMG like gun, I wanted to give a nod to one of the strongest female characters in games, Boss from MGS3, using her Patriot barrel from her gun in Izzys gun design just to draw the link.

Now was the time for me to go into attire design. I started in the most obvious place for sexy female characters, leather corset stlye tops. And even I think it was just OTT, and borderline JRPG which is just totally the wrong way for me to go with Izzy. It was hitting you int the face with sex appeal which wasn't necessary, though I love the pose, dangling a grenade off her pinky really showing the playful yet chaotic nature. 

With the second design I looked at Gears of war 2 a bit, how they designed Anya, with her wearing full Armour and covering her assets up completely. Again I went too far the other way, I think this style just doesn't fit her, she is a on the road mercenary, I just cant see her wearing full military gear on jobs, and I do want some sex appeal in there because as I heard once, 'Sex sells !'

This design seemed a lot more on the money, I like where I was going with it, a leather jacket looked good on her and the crop top showing some cleavage and stomach worked well in my opinion.  From design 3 I created the right piece, I used a much larger leather jacket, ( almost like a boyfriend sized jacket) and a tyed up plad shirt, It gives her the look i was after. the scene is Izzy waiting for Charles on one of his jobs where he was asked to hack a corporation. She had got there first and she did it in good time, frustrating Charles. 

After a big brake from Izzy, when I was working on other characters I cam back to her with fresh mind and fresh ideas. I wanted her to have some sort of carrier with her to carry what little possessions and this led to a golf bag carrying her most important item, her LMG. I tryed to add a more post apocalyptic feel to her, with a bowling shirt with leather bottoms and steel boots. The purpose of this painting was more of a practise when trying o paint multiple light sources which turned out to be a really cool piece !

This leaves me with the final design, I had a meeting with my client, and some home truths were said, a lot of the stlye I was going for was brilliant, and a lot just wasn't what they were after, So i had to loose the pig tails which I had grown quite attached to. Basically the thoughts where, they want her to be far more edgy, pale and proportioned slightly more realistically, and I am so glad they made me make these changes because the final design turned out to be one of my best yet !

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Past few months !

Not blogged in ages ! been very busy with commissions and work, but thought it best to throw out there what I've spent the past 5 or 6 weeks doing.
Lets start with the 3D work, basically my current computer can't even begin to run Unreal engine 4. So currently I am just trying to churn out tons of 3D assets that I can just drop into the engine when I get the chance. These 2 assets sort of belong together because they will both have a similar look and feel of damaged concrete & a lot of iron supports. I Think the tone of these assets will truly come through until the normal maps have been created, the normal will have lots of cracks and damage to really give everything an earthed feel. I spent a lot more time on these 2 than I usually would because I would like to use these a lot and have them repeated through the environment, I think that justify the poly count and time spent !
The next piece was this transport platform, I want to link up multiple environments and thought a big platform on a magnetic set of rails would be a cool way of doing it. Anyone who has played half life, I love the part at the beginning moving around the facility in a tram, it helps tell a story of the environment and is a good chance to drop little hints and clues to future events. Hence deciding to create this piece, I want to generate the same thoughts and responses using a similar method. I have been working on a big scene using this piece, but due to my current rig being piss poor and waiting for my new GPU to go into my new rig....I have had to stop......

Another piece was this helicopter pad, made up of a few modular pieces, the aim was not to make the most killer looking pad possible, it was meant to be versatile, so that i can take pieces of it and use it to fill space within the environment. killing multiple birds with one stone !

This was crazy fun to make. a rag tag revolver, which is stupidly big and heavy, want this to feel like it has some serious stopping power ! When we was talking about the character for the project this is for, we thoguht it would be cool if he wakes up with amnesia, and this gun. As he walks streets if the player pays attention to the news reports in the windows the reporter mentions crazy guy stealing weapon from military, show the image of this gun....hitting towards towards the audience that you are playing as a crazy killer !

Another fun project was this, I wanted to test a new art style, so thought what would be hard to draw, well myself ! I know me better than anyone else so any faults I will spot straight away, so this image on the right is what I drew from and a rough sketch to see if I liked it.

The final piece I really love, I tried to have a level of detail focus, I.e the detail being in the chest up and lower having less to draw the eye to the face. But all in all this test went well I really love this design and it strangely reminds me of me even with the block jaw line.

So this has been what most of my recent time has been invested into, believe it or not this is Charles, to anyone who hasn't read previous posts, Charles is a character I'm helping some guys develop, he belongs to the same world as Billy & Izzy. 
So who is he, well Charles is a mercenary sniper and a cyber punk world where the old world ( 21 century) is abandoned and apocalyptic and the new cyberpunk structures are simply built on top of it, symbolic of the hierarchy from poor to rich.

So lets talk about the old version, and I quote, ' looked like a posh git born with silver spoon up his A**.' So obviously some work needed to be done, I tried to give him a look of normality but the guys think there should be 2 Charles's, normal when he is around Billy and when he is on a job. So I really wanted to go for a technical look on his militant gear.

So some places I looked for inspiration, well multiple games, MGS serious, Crysis, Splinter cell and kill zone, I wanted to build a sense of layers with this guy, but also being one with his armor. Stuff like having his nervous system wired into the rifle. I had few people talk about the 3 eyes, the thought behind this is that he is never physically looking through them, they are cameras which he sees a feed into his helmet, the top one also acting as a range finder to help him locate targets and zero his rifle. the sort of visor I had in mind for the feed is a Crysis 2 style.

So here it is final painting and environment sketch . I love the dramatic lighting and really wanted ot get this across in the piece, the story of the piece is that he is scouting and Charles hear's gun fire in the area then foot steps in the halls around him.  

I hope you enjoyed reading please let me know any feedback about my work. It is always appreciated !

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