No response, Jun 18, 2011

Having a job that requires drawing is oddly enough a fantastic way to get one to draw more. I can feel one of those periods of sudden and rapid improvement that come after long, long periods of stagnation. I guess the new environment and new challenges have a tendency to spark those.

Here are a couple faces I’ve doodled in as many days.

Second Car.

No response, Jun 15, 2011

My plans for this environment involve 2 cars: one that you drive (which if I have my way I’ll have to rig and script in Unreal, which will be fun) and one that you see as part of the landscape so to speak. Both of these cars are involved in a lengthy race of sorts, so hence the road-warrior-esque modifications and additions they’ve added, most notably obnoxious antennae used for communication between cars. Also, as stated before, the period is “hyper-70s” so they also need to look the decade. Here’s car number 2, which uses the Lamborghini Miura as a base.

This is obviously nothing more than a doodle, but it allowed me to scribble about and try some things. It’s been hard for me to look at a picture of a car and then draw something totally different but still give it the essence of what’s in the picture. You can see where I’m fiddling with giving the Lambo Miura either Porsche or Jaguar headlights, police interceptor-style bumper pads (for rugged-icity), and a Countach-style spoiler in the back. I also got to fiddle with the shoulders and hips of the car as they are the base of the Miura. I drew all of this on there and either covered one side or the other to compare looks, or erased and re-drew various elements to try to kit-bash an original but derivitive 70s supercar.

Here’s the ortho I then drew based off the above doodle. Drawing and designing a car has been a completely different experience so far than drawing people. With this guy, it felt much more sculptural, laying down a line, and then shaving off edges and finding various corners to slice off in order to streamline. Many, many 70s sports cars had that tapering backend as I’ve drawn here and in the previous car. I’ve retained the rugged bumper pads and added a ridiculously large intake as an element. I also changed the spoiler from a more modern wing to this retro one. I found that much of the car looked relatively modern so adding that olde timey spoiler hopefully knocked it back a couple decades. It worked for Pixar in Cars, anyway.

More to come as I get into blocking out the actual landscape!

On Internships, Portfolios, and Being Paid to Improve.

1 response, Jun 12, 2011

At Avalanche (Disney Interactive) they have a fantastic intern program for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the “personal project”. At most internships, they have you only work on company work, which is awesome. Unfortunately, if you’re working on a new game, you wont be able to show your work until the game is out. In fact, you don’t even get to say what you’re working on until the company officially announces it. Neither of these things are good for the portfolio, especially if you finish your internship a year+ before the game ships and you just have to tell future employers “No, I swear, I worked on a game there and it was GOOD WORK, just take my word for it…”

To combat this, Avalanche has integrated a personal project as part of their internships. Essentially, it is part of my job description that I will need to produce, on the clock, a 3D art project of my own design and art direction that I completely retain the rights to. As a part of this, I also am required to submit my work in progress to my department head for critique at least once a week and I am encouraged to send my work around to the various professionals in the office. Essentially, they say “Take at least 1 hour a day, on the clock, make a project that will meet x criteria, and use whatever resources necessary to do so and then you take that with you when you leave.” This is, of course, awesome.

So I’ve got an idea simmering and we’re into the concept stage, so expect the next handful of posts to showcase some of the work in progress. The most I’ll say for now is that it’s an environment-based project, I’ll be building it in the UDK, it’s set in a “hyper-70s” world, and it involves cars.

Thus, cars and roads:

This was the initial sketch that accompanied my idea pitch. It’s way hard to read, but it is just a sketch after all…

I’ve never attempted to seriously design a car before, and it is definitely different than drawing people. This was my first attempt at the “hero” car. Remember, the period is 70s, and I’ve compiled a ton of 70s car reference photos, but I don’t want to just model up an existing car. That’s boring, sterile, and uncreative, and if this were an actual game, I’d have to pay tons of money to the manufacturer in order to use it. The idea is to steal the design elements that all of these cars have that communicate the time period it’s from and make something new out of them. I scrapped this version as it has many problems, not the least of which its proportions are much to fluffy for the style I want.

This design is more on the right track. The proportions are sleeker and more inline with an actual sports car. I’ve also played with some different elements like the bubble window, the spotlight, and antennae that add character and make this look like it isn’t just some boring sports car that just rolled off the line. The cars in this project (there will be 2 eventually) are essentially the characters of the world I’m creating, so they need to be designed as if they were individuals.

More to come!

CG Doodles.

No response, May 24, 2011

Sometimes in my travels on the internets, I come across wary travellers who are trying so very hard to produce some sort of visual for whatever their current endeavor is, but try as they might, they just can’t bring the image in their mind’s eye to fruition. We all have the ability to picture EXACTLY what our end result should be, but in the follow through comes the disconnect between abilities and desires. What this means is we all dream big, produce crap, get frustrated, and go home.

Or someone who’s a little further down the path sees what you’re trying to do and either helps you or thinks its entertaining enough to fiddle with himself.

Someone on the Internet released a little compilation of modifications to Minecraft, and named it after the NOW series of compilation CDs that are always being hocked on daytime tv infomercials. His attempt at a logo was going in the right direction, but not quite there, so I took a couple hours and doodled this in Maya. Procedural textures, rendered in Mental Ray.

Internship II: This Time It’s Local

No response, May 05, 2011

I can finally announce to the 3 people who follow my terribly neglected blog that I’ve been picked up for another summer internship! That’s 2 summers in a row! My secret plan is to remain a student for as long as I can in order to amass up 3 years industry experience in summer student internships. That way I never have to compete for employment on a professional level!

Ok, so maybe that wont work.

This summer I’ll be staying put right here in Utah and I’ll be working at Disney Interactive Studios, Salt Lake City, otherwise known as “Avalanche” (that’s their internal name and was their name before Disney picked them up). Click on the logo above (or here) to get an idea of what they’re all about. As soon as find out and can tell you what I’m working on, I will, but you should be able to get a good idea of what they do from their website. I’m proud to be a part of the Disney machine at least for a few short months.

The art team there is phenomenal, and I’ll be sure to link some of their personal blogs throughout the summer, but for now, take a gander at the art team art blog where they try to come up with a new weekly theme at LEAST once every other month!

Another summer gaming adventure awaits!

Recent Work!

No response, May 05, 2011

So the thing about having a portfolio website and a blog is that if you don’t update your blog very often, then people land here and see a bunch of old work and think you suck more than you actually do. There is a link to my portfolio in the upper left, but in the interest of non-intrusive design, it doesn’t really stand out. THUS, here’s some of my most recent work, more of which can be found here:

As usual, click for huge versions.

On mines and crafts.

No response, Mar 04, 2011

I felt I had to get this out of my system, but now that it’s done, I feel compelled to make more…

The colors are messed up because the the Photoshop color profiles are WAAAAAAY messed up here at work.

Edit: Ha! I fixed the colors by taking a screenshot of the image open in Photoshop and then pasting it into a new Photoshop document. It messed up the color of the screenshot in the other direction, so when I saved THAT out, it gave me the right colors. PROBLEM SOLVING!


No response, Feb 25, 2011

I drew this today. I’ll probably stick it on something at some point.

Portfolio MADNESS!

1 response, Feb 09, 2011

Well, another year’s gone by, and that means I’ve long ago fallen out of love with my portfolio. So I made a new one! There are a couple of placeholder slots on there, and plenty of things to fix up and finish, but all should be pristine by month’s end, and then it’s onward to MORE AND NEVER ENDING PROJECTS!

Check out my portfolio by clicking in the button in the upper left of this blog!

More new stuff to come.

Meeting your character.

1 response, Dec 15, 2010

Building this magesmith girly, I had an interesting experience. I had drawn a version of her in the concept stages, but I didn’t have long to spend in concept (Tyson Murphy gave me like 3 days to go from start to final model), so I didn’t expect the end result to look much like the concept. I just threw a face on there with a few aspects I thought I wanted to carry over into the final character and used that to block in local color.

Then, I started painting her from the bottom up. For no particular reason, I started with her boots and worked my way up, and as such, her face was one of the last things I painted. It was interesting to throw some eyes on, and some of the major lines and all of a sudden there was a person staring at me instead of a polygon mesh. It was like meeting her for the first time after spending a couple weeks on her already. My initial reaction was that she looked like Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter movies, or possibly Laura Bush, but maybe not.

Another note: The less lines you can see on a face, the more we perceive it as attractive. You can see where I started to go heavy into the folds and lines of the face and then had to pull back. Also, people keep telling me she’s cross-eyed, and she is, but I kind of like her that way. This may be a mistake, but oh well.

Here she is in chronological order:

And the final: