Monday, February 27, 2012

Sneak Preview: Box O Zombies

Here is a peek at one of my current projects. In the near future I will have another post with a write up, concepts and fully painted sculpt. For now I'm just painting the sculpt.

This was the first time I sculpted to a pose and it was a lot of fun. Still have a lot of areas to improve on (specifically anatomy, facial expression, unique fabric), but I made a lot of progress with this sculpt. I made great strides in improving my posing, gritty detail and clothe sculpting. I also expanded my level of comfort with new Zbrush tools and render settings. I feel pretty good about moving on to my next game character which will be high res.

Anatomy is still very tricky, especially when rendering to pose. Every project I learn you can never have too much reference. However, it can be tricky finding the matching body type. So it is necessary to pull from a lot of sources and use your imagination to bring it together. Sometimes references are of "generic" body types, so it can be challenging to find reference for creating a unique body type that is unusual but still feels like everything is in place.

Another minor challenge is when working on a zombie is pulling up reference for the damage to the skin. I wanted it to be as effective as possible so that involved pulling up some gruesome images of wounds. It is disturbing at first, but like a lot of things as an artist, you look past those hesitations and focus the artwork.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We Rise (Documentary) - Animated Short Concepts

Last month I worked on an animated short for a documentary titled We Rise. I am not sure the status of the film at this point so I won't go into too many details. The documentary follows a group of music students in Haiti. I worked on an animation that will be coupled with a telling of a fable with in the real life story.

Unfortunately, I was brought in late in production so I didn't get the preferred amount time to really flesh out designs. I had about a week in a half (which was split into two parts do to the client bringing me in on another project mid-production). We also decided to go with a minimalist approach and created a theme of shadow characters which was fun to work through. This made concepting quicker and preparation for After Effects animation easier. I have yet to see the animation, I simply created the concepts and framed the shots. I then passed on the puppet style assets to be animated.

I was given an animated short from the recent Harry Potter movie for reference. It is a great piece, but I wanted to avoid doing something too similar. I started to look for similar styles to mix it up. This way I will still be working in the desired look of the client, but multiple points of reference help inspire something a little more unique. I pulled from the classic known amongst animators, Lotte Reiniger's Prince Achmed. I also drew a little inspiration from African contemporary painting and the shadow demons from Zelda:Twilight Princess.

Although it was a rushed process I like aspects of the design. It would be great to go back and fully flesh it out and bring it to life by fully animating it. There may be some more animations like this down the line, but for now it is on to the next project with impossible deadlines.