So space-kid is on hold for the moment as Dominance War V has started up. Dominance War is a contest among a good handful of CG and video game art forums and communities that’s held every-so-often. Basically, the Dominance War world is a very broad distant future dystopian world where cities have been smashed to ruble, there’s constant war, and there’s also magic and robots and demons and soldiers and stuff. This setting is used as an anchor for artists all over the world who are members of these online communities to create original game art to preset specifications and then everyone submits their finished stuff and votes on it and people win fame and glory. Think of it as an online video game art olympics.
One of the main events is the 3d character event. They usually have a pre-game round for fast-deadline, low-resolution pieces followed by the long drawn-out main battle. It’s a pretty well-run and well-known set of contests and if you place in, say, the top 50, it’s not unheard of to put that on your resume.
ANYWAY, D-War V’s pre-war has started up, and I’m throwing down with a couple school friends of mine. It’s a low-poly character that needs to be done by December 5th or something. We were all given 4 different character types: a General, a Technomage, a Scary Ninja Type Guy, or a Disturbing Demon Evilness Thing. I’m paraphrasing. The only one that really interested me was the Technomage, a physically weaker crafter/creater/spell caster-type person.
So I’m trying a few different things with her. Reading the description, I couldn’t get a craftsman or blacksmith out of my head, oddly enough. Since DW has such a weird premise (so as to encompass all kinds of genres), I thought well it’s the future, it’s dystopian, and it’s magic. I tried to touch on all of these things like this chick is a blacksmith-of-all-trades. She crafts with steel and wood, embues with magic, and adds advanced technology to create devices and items that can call down all kinds of crazy stuff.
Additionally, I thought that while regular smiths would have accidents and lose pieces of fingers, I figured a cyberpunk-magics-smith would have accidents and blow off whole pieces of their body, so she’s only got 1 breast and her left ribcage/arm/hand has been replaced by an implant of her own design. The pinky is a welding torch.
Next up is modeling! She will look drastically different as the poly limit is quite low, but we’ll see how much detail I can squeeze out of the polygons. She’ll look much closer to the concept come texture time.
Or kids, I guess. Spacekids.
A bit more about this kid: He’s a genius and old before his time. I tried putting more lines in his face to depict that, but I’m not sure it worked. I think he just came out looking like a really tiny, young, old man, if that makes any kind of sense (it doesn’t). The consensus was that 01 was best, but I stole a couple elements from 02 for the final design.
I’ve got a couple props that go with him as well, such as the sidearm that he’s supposed to be resting his right hand on.
Next step is ortho model sheets and then off into the 3rd dimension!
I have some little projects in the pipe getting ready to post. I need to get a good chunk of new content done for February when my SOE stuff launches and I can update my reel. In the meantime, though, here’s something that’s in its earliest stages:
I know it’s early and ambiguous and whatever, but please feel free to tell me what you think in the comments. Faces are by far my weakest element right now. I can draw a body and make it look like this or like that, but when I draw a face, I’m just struggling to make it look not deformed. I don’t really have any control beyond that, so feel free to comment.
This guy just wont leave. Actually, to be honest, for the past year he’s been my fall-back character. He presents some issues that are incredibly challenging to me, particularly since I’m a huge character design novice. As such, he’s been fun to throw back and forth and sculpt and redesign. I want to eventually get him into 3D and rigged. I’m sure that will be a whole new basket of fun.
This version is his latest iteration. He’s more fleshed out and designed, and I’ve attempted to give him a bit more character: a few more things that suggest what his role is. I’m taking a digital painting class from Sam Nielsen this semester, so I’ll be taking this guy into a fully-rendered painting.
Learning a ton this semester…
That’s my new number. It’s the number of credits I have left to graduate.
SOE was an adventure, let me tell you. I’ll spare the details of how I lived in a room in a house full of Asian college students, rode a bike to work and back (5 miles both ways, and I had to go through a valley each way, so yes, it WAS uphill both ways), spent the weekends in south Orange County with my friends and family from my younger years, and saw Paige for a couple days every 2 or 3 weeks.
Instead, I’ll remind you WHY I was doing all of that stuff. I was a 3D art and production intern on the character art team for Everquest 2, which is regarded is the 2nd-largest MMO game next to World of Warcraft. I worked under a great mentor on a fantastic art team. I was constantly and consistently impressed (for whatever that’s worth, I’m still just a student) by the quality and speed that these guys produced. Frankly, one of the biggest things I learned over the summer was that I need to be much, much faster. I tend to take my time designing and building whereas these guys produced really quality work in hours instead of days. It was humbling. Then again, I think that’s part of the value of an internship.
I was on the character art team, so I spent all of my time dealing with things that pertain to the sentient life of Everquest 2, particularly the characters. I made a couple handfuls of player cloaks. Some of these were meant for their in-game store where people spend real money on in-game items to deck out their character. One of them was given away as swag for those who attended SOE’s fan convention “Fan Faire”. Additionally, I did some slight redesigns and retexures of a weapon set that is destined for the an area in the next EQ2 expansion. This was all about taking a group of existing weapons, adding my own design, color, and touch to them in order to make them completely new.
Finally, my largest project at SOE was designing and building a boss character for a raid in the upcoming expansion. She was so much fun to work with and I hope she turns out nicely. I have yet to follow up on if she imported into the engine all right or not.
Most of my work is still under NDA, so I can’t post anything just yet. Once the expansion finally drops in February-ish, though, I’ll be posting an SOE reel with everything in there. Until then, just know that it was a fantastic experience for me. I learned that I need to learn to paint in a BAD way. I also learned that I need to better polishing the skills I already have in order to get faster at producing within my comfort zone. I also learned that pushing beyond my comfort zones is ok and even necessary even in day-to-day projects. I also learned how to cope with assignments that are beyond my skill set. I learned that I need to be a generalist. The better you can do other people’s jobs in addition to your own, the better off you’ll be. I learned more things specific to modeling, texturing, and designing than I had in the 6 months previous.
I think the most important thing I learned, though, is that I really really enjoy working in this industry. I’ve never had a job that I’ve actually loved doing, and heaven knows that SOE wasn’t always a party to work at for work is a lot of work, even if you enjoy it as a whole. Every other job I’ve ever had, though, has quickly disintegrated into a drudge after a few weeks’ time. Working on games, I never even sensed an inkling that that would be the case. I loved doing it, and with luck, I’ll love doing it for a long, long time.
As for now, I’ve got school to finish and lots of stuff to post up. I’m swinging into my last few semesters and shooting for a December 2011 graduation. I’ll end up with 2 degrees: BFA in Animation and a degree in the Russian Language. Until then, I’ll continue to work my personal projects into my school assignments, and I need to get going editing and supplementing my reel, so expect to see new work in the close future. Better work. Faster work.
Thanks to everyone who helped make my summer of 2010 possible. There were many of you, and you know who you are.
Since I leave for San Diego and SOE on Saturday, I’m having to cram in projects and finals this week. The last day of classes is the day I start at SOE, so my professors were good enough to work with me on that. Thanks, professors.
The final project for Costume Design is 4 character renderings from a production of our choice that is set before 1920 or some such date. I chose “A Doll’s House” at Paige’s recommendation. Here are the initial sketches:
When next I post, I’ll be at SOE!