After the first run of Harley Quinn props it was on to some awesome creature and concept work. Before I cover that, I figured I would get through all the props and build up to the bigger assets. Plus it helps me review how I improved in quality and efficiency as far as prop building goes. So this brings me to a set of props for Deathstroke and a Harley prop I forgot to include in the last post.
I got to concept and build some of his weapons which was fun. His sword was a concept created by Ashton, whom I worked with as an associate artist. It was fun to collaboratively build a set of aesthetically harmonious weapons with him and concept Lead Pav.
(Next time around I want to start working more interesting perspectives into my props. It helps 3D artists visualize the object better and provides a better sense of size, weight and shape. I should have also included a hand for scale.)
One of the inspirations for this pistol was provide by Pav. The cut in the barrel was interpreted from an airsoft gun. It created a nice silhouette for the pistol that made in stand out from what an audience is used to seeing. That along with the unorthodox, hard edged design in the trigger and handle. When working on this concept I made sure to have an image of the character and his sword up to keep things in synch.
Unfortunately, the pistol never made it to 3D. It was approved for production but in it's place was a more standard looking pistol that was easily adapted to the characters militant feel. I assumed the change in pistol was a matter of saving time and resources. Although it could have been a change in direction, I was never informed. During production most of what you make goes through development and once final approval is made you toss it in a folder and move on. There is no time for post-production critique which is why this blog is time well spent for my progress.
(Knowing I was going to make a 3D version ahead of time, I did a version of the concept with a mock wireframe painted over it. This did wonders in helping me figure out topology before evenn opening Maya and sped up the 3D construction a great amount.)
The rifle stock was a focus for this prop. It would be the most visible aspect as it would be seen sticking out over his shoulder during battle. So we wanted to make sure that it created an interesting and unique silhouette. That would help define it a little more and make it aesthetically pleasing. Initially the first direction was to go with an open window frame stock, but after going through a bunch of real world reference I found a very unique stock to pull inspiration from.
Since the government is really into collection all our communications, I sure hope they don't get the wrong idea when they see all the Googling of heavy weaponry. It was just for the game I swear! There, now when they collect this they will get their explanation.
(When playing with Deathstroke these props get quite a bit of screen time which was exciting. I was able to create a few more things that stay on screen longer than half a second.)
When I began at Netherealm I had a bit of tunnel vision. When building characters all I cared about was their story and appearance. I always treated props as an after thought and quite frankly didn't put much time into them. This lead to a lack of some basic hard surface modeling and modular techniques. Fortunately this gambit of props that I was put through solved that issue. I quickly picked up a batch of techniques for building props. It also taught me the importance of giving proper attention to extra accessories that seem secondary at first but can be just as useful for telling a character's story than any other aspect. A character isn't just a face or body. It is a collection of puzzle pieces that build a narrative of varying depth depending on the universe. The face, clothes, scars and props are all just puzzle pieces. The big challenge is creating an interesting puzzle that forms an interesting story.
Now Deathstroke isn't the deepest character nor are his puzzle pieces that complex, but working on pieces of him lead to this understanding. It helped improve my technical ability and allowed me to grasp a deeper understanding of how I could use the theories behind character development.
I had finished a run of assignments that included props, creatures and characters. I was hungry and looking for something bigger and more important to work on. Here came the reality check. I was assigned a Bat Biscuit. It's intended use was very cool and an entertaining sequence but not very challenging to produce after sculpting an alien bug. I had to make the most of and wanted to do my part. So I set out to build the best damn biscuit this generation of consoles has ever seen! I knocked it out same day and got a lot of detail without going over my limitations. Ultimately there was life beyond Biscuits and I was given plenty of very cool challenging work afterward.
The next entry will go over some of that work and have a bunch of letters arranged in a certain order that it recreates a perception of a passed reality in your mind.
Thanks for reading.
Below are links to the work for the artist mentioned in the blog:
Ashton Gallagher - http://ashtongallagher.com/home.html
Pav Kovacic - http://pavsketch.blogspot.com/