Category Archives: Development
In the end I decided to develop thumbnail number 1 into my Promotional Art piece. I felt it was the most dynamic of all the ideas and showed each character the best, and many peers agreed.
This helped out a lot when it came to sketching and working out perspectives. From this I created the basic body shapes of the characters and warped them into the correct angles and perspectives.
I had already decided on a simple dry savannah setting as this could not distract from the characters too much. To make thing interesting while keeping it minimalistic I layered the environment a bit.
With the composition decided, colours were blocked in. these were pulled directly from my Painted Character Sheets.
I did some quick thumbnails to test out ideas for my Promotional Art’s composition. I wasn’t sure how much combat had to be shown so I looked both at pre-combat face-offs and aggressive attacks.I think the most dynamic are 1, 2 and 5. Each has a lot of movement and aggression within it and clearly demonstrated the clash between the characters. My favourite of these three is 1 however and I believe I will be developing this composition further unless Ryan has disagreements.
For the environment in each I kept it vary basic as the brief asks for. I imagine them battling in Motoya’s home land. Though I have not thought much about it, this land would be a dry savannah similar to the Serengeti in the dry season. I want to keep it very simple and similar to Ashley Wood’s style of sepia tones and rough silhouettes.
Whilst its not in the brief, I felt I should design a logo for the project to tie my sheets together and add a bit of polish to the project. It would also enhance the promo art I think.
Given that the characters both have strong tribal themes I thought it best to carry that them into the logo. The characters also have several runes in their designs which could resemble letters. After a few quick sketches I created this design in Illustrator.
I quite like the runic quality it has to it and feel it fits with the themes I have implemented into this project. It also fits well on the sheets I have made.
With the Painted Character Sheets completely and the design of each character now designed and rendered fully I set about sketching ideas for my Character Pose Sheets. From the design of each character I felt I already had a good idea of how they would move and interact with the world.
Although tall, the Protagonist is very lithe and I imagine would be very agile, favouring quick movements and avoiding opponents. I took a lot of inspiration for the fight scenes in 300, and also the duel between Prince Obyron and The Mountain in Game of Thrones.
I wanted the poses to be striking and dynamic, but also easy to read. For the most part this meant avoiding awkward angles and sticking to front or side. I kept the sketches quite loose and quick, not worrying about fine details in anatomy at this point and instead focusing on the shape and flow of the poses.
I think from these the Block pose and either the Throw or Thrust pose convey her character best. I like the Throw pose, but I’m not so sure the spear she wields is the kind you throw. The Thrust pose on the other hand needs a lot of refining with how the body twists.
The Antagonist is large and brutish. He would be slow and need to gain momentum, but once he does he hits like a truck. For inspiration I looked a lot at the various iterations of the Hulk, as well as other brutish creatures.
For the Antagonist I really like the Crouch pose (not Crouch 2) and the Jump/Smash pose as I believe these poses convey his aggressive nature. As with the Protagonist however they do need refined.
I think the far right works best. The faded red fits with the rest of the colour scheme best and the pattern (inspired by Masai clothing) adds some nice visual interest. However as some peers pointed out it is very Scottish and tartan. So I looked some more at Masai clothing and realised they use more stripes than checks, so more variations ensued.I still like the left but it is too Scottish so I’ll be using the middle one, peers agree that design is better as the right hand one seems too stretched. The angle of the stripes will need to be altered though as I work out how the fabric wraps around.
Colour schemes are hard….
For my Antagonist I tried a mix of cold blue colours and the brown leathers commonly worn by Inuits. It was quite tricky to get a good mix but I think that a larger focus on the blues works better, especially with the lighter tones. Schemes like 2 and 4 are just to dull and boring and the character loses a lot of personality. Number 6 is a good example of colour combination however. Despite being essentially a half and half split between blue on the top and brown on the bottom, the use of brown in the straps and patches helps to break it up a bit. The turquoise in the metal is also a nice spot colour and adds a bit more interest to the character.
With the protagonist I had issues juggling the tones of the colours. On one hand the masai and other tribes I am drawing influence from wear strong/bold colours. On the other hand, in homage to Ashley Wood I wanted the majority of colours to be toned out except for one spot colour. I think I got a good balance however.
For the final colour scheme I think I am going to use number 1 as a base, but take the turquoise scales and pale shield from 6.
As I said before I wanted to experiment with the size of the trophy skull the Antagonist wears, trying to balance size against practicality for an impressive trophy.My peers and I believe that 135% is large enough to look impressive but does not make the character look silly. However many of them also asked a question I had never thought of: does it have to be on the front?
In review it does seem rather strange to put it there. I had decided that was the best place because otherwise he seemed a bit plain on the front, however I decided to experiment with positions anyway. I revised my design down to 3 skull locations: front, side, and back.
On review I think the back might in fact be the best position, primarily because it allows me to make it bigger still. I can also position it on the 3/4 line to increase its visibility. Before this decision is made final though I will talk to my ‘client’ (Ryan) to see what opinions they have.
Looking at reference imagery I noticed the strong elements of battle paint and jewelry in Masai culture. I experimented with a wide range of options for each of these (some based on Masai examples, others of my own design). I think the ones which work best are the vertical stripe (bottom left) and the jaw bone pattern (middle right) which both follow the shape of the face, avoiding a clash in geometry. Opposite to the Antagonist I found that the Protagonist looked better with her face open, it says much about a character’s openness/friendliness.
Again following my method for the Antagonist I had a skull which needed more design put into it. After a bit of searching i decided to base the skull on that of Dimetrodon (prehistoric sail lizards) which offered both size and a unique shape. Most current say lizards have quite small and fragile skeletons (even Komodo Dragons) and I didn’t want to use something as recognisable as a T. rex skull. I think the most effective alteration is the sharp bony ridges on the brow, which are subtle but add menace to the skull.
Finally I moved onto the washed out silhouettes and filled in the details (although I may have made them too small so the faces were tricky).
I like the idea of working more of the Drake into the design, small scales as bits of light armour, hide used on shields, etc. Equally important is all the jewelry featured in Masai culture, but this is tricky to add without creating too much noise, I think tone will be pinnacle to this.
I am again having peers review the designs, but unless I encounter strong resistance I believe I will develop number 5 into my final design.
With the silhouettes picked the next step is to add the details. I like to start with a couple of head shots first before moving onto the body as a whole. I find this a really good method for reinforcing the personality and narrative within the character, and it helps me to imagine how the rest of them might look.
Covering the majority of the Antagonists face with a hood and scarf help to add bulk and intimidation to his character, very important traits for an Antagonist in my opinion. The fur around his head can also be shaped like a maw . I also really liked the idea of facial disfigurement, especially a scar. Combined with the missing arm and skull on his belt there is the chance to tell a story with him. Perhaps he hunted some legendary beast of his homeland, its death cementing his roll as a leader.
Speaking of the skull, my initial idea was just to have a bare basic Polar Bear skull, but with the Protagonist’s Drake trophies it seemed a little plain and boring. Thus I did a few quick sketches to explore the possibilities for adding fantasy to it and transforming it into the skull of some might tundra beast. Extra eyes, no eyes, horns, spines, etc were all looked at but I think the most effective mutation is the one which combine the Polar Bear skull with a Hippo skull to give it a fearsome set of teeth.
With these character building sketches out of the way I felt I was ready to crack on with the full character. Just sketching over some copies of the silhouette I explored a range of possible details and interpretations.
I really like the ideas that rough the character up a bit, like 3 and 5. Taking away the cleanliness of his clothes adds visual interest with the small details and breaks up the large flat spaces of the body. The minimal armour on 4 and 5 also help to build his character and reinforce his up-close-and-personal Brawler style I have been building on. Whichever I pick I want to play around with the size of the skull a bit and make it bigger, doesn’t really look like a beast to be feared that size.
I’m putting it to my peers for feedback but at the moment I think 5 is the best candidate for my final design.
After leaving it a few days to think over, and also getting feedback from peers, I managed to narrow down my silhouettes to the 2 favourites for each character. I then scrutinised each in more detail, reviewing what worked and what didn’t.
I was quite tricky to decide on a Protagonist because they are both so similar but in the end I chose number 2. This was because number 1 had technology in her spear and neither of the favored Antagonists have any tech. Also her high collar could prove obstructing in further development and is quite villainous. Number 2 however has the strong shoulders of a Protagonist but is still feminine enough to show her character (think Lara Croft, strong but still feminine).
For the Antagonist I chose number 1. His ice weapon makes his silhouette very identifiable and when rendered fully should work very well with the spot colour technique taken from Ashley Wood. He also fits the large brawler archetype I had been imagining. I decided the harpoon used by number 2 was too close to the spear used by the Protagonist to be viable. Also, with his moustache and cape he has the look of an old-timey explorer which in my opinion draws him more towards a Protagonist role.
With my silhouettes decided on my next step was to decide how they would be sizes against each other. Given their archetypes of Spearman* vs Brawler it is important that the Antagonist looms over the Protagonist. At the same time however I don’t want the size different to be so exaggerated it looks silly.
I think the best scale seems to be somewhere between 110% and 125%, so that the top of the Protagonists head is level with the Antagonists chin. Such a difference shows the Antagonists power well enough, but doesn’t belittle the Protagonist.
*well… Spearwoman… I think… or Spearelf…