Saturday, June 8, 2013

Injustice: God's Among Us - Entry III - Poisonous Grub Start to Finish

 (This is a quick gathering of some of the concept iterations. There was actually quite a bit more of color and silhouette iterations but chose the landmarks to represent the production.)

     When I was assigned this asset I was pretty excited. Not only did I get to concept the creature which is always fun, I was going to get an opportunity to sculpt it and prep the in-game version. There were a set of paramters given. It was to be featured in part of the fortress of solitude along with a collection of other aliens. So it needed to fit the environment and look as if it belonged to the same planet as the other creatures. I was given further direction and a concept for one of the other creatures to help narrow it down. This little grub was to be designed to look like it could be a larvae or very early stage of the much larger creatures development (I am unclear if I can show the reference concept, so sorry for not showing). That really helped shape what kind of eyes, limbs and body structure this grub should have.
     It had a couple of constraints related to game play. We knew early that it would be part of an intractable object. You can smash the crystal casing it is confined in. It would squirm back to it's feet and fly away. Initially there was the idea that it would release a defensive, poisonous gas. Again, two very informative constraints. It needed wings, needed to look poisonous and have vents to release the gas. I had my orders and a batch of photo reference was provided.

 (When in production, renders for approval are quick screen grabs of works in progress.)

      Daily check-ins allowed my leads and co-workers to provide an outside eye. The "gas vents" were to flat, creating a boring circular silhouette. Protruding them a bit made it feel more organic and changed up the form. I got some help from my co-workers Max and Ashton. We would occasionally check in on each other to see how things were going. We would look for critiques and provided our eyes to each other. That really helped create an awesome environment of growth and learning.

 (A look at the sculpt in it's final form before being painted in Zbrush.)

     A good way to expose weaknesses is to look at the sculpt with no paint. The details and different textures should read in gray scale. Better design would have improved the limbs. The long spiked nail seems a little too simple to me. The structure of the body could have used a little more flowing forms from front to back. Mass distribution is a little to uniform and it looses a sense of weight. A quick fix would be to bulk up the shoulders and chest area a bit and pinch the connection to the bulb in the back. This would create a more exaggerated silhouette and give it a little more movement and appeal.
 (I have grown very fond of doing about 80% of the texture by poly painting in Zbrush. I have received positive results and feedback. I need to continue to improve to really nail down the process.)

       I have mixed feelings about the results. The skin pulling over the lumpy muscle forms in the body could have used a little more tension. It needs more photo reference to tighten up the sculpted detail and really give it an organic feel. The poly paint needs a little more contrast. The decorative color on the head get's lost due to a lack of saturation and contrast. If I were working in it now I would have pulled more reference of my original inspiration for the color, which was the South American tree frog.

 (Final renders for my portfolio. I still need a lot of work on my rendering to really bring my work to life but that will come in time.)

     The final version of the creature changed in color a bit. I am not quite sure if it was a texture change or if it comes from the shaders applied in the Unreal engine. I would have liked to learn a lot more Unreal pipeline but my work station didn't have access since I was technically part of the concept team. That is an area where I really need to take initiative and learn a little more of Unreal or another advanced engine beside Unity. 
(A brief overview at the stages of production. There are a lot of things that I could have done better, but at the time was a confidence booster and also showed my leads I might be able to handle some bigger sculpting projects.)

      So that about does it. This was during the first couple months at the studio, so my nerves lead to a bit of a rushed production. A little more patience and calm would have fixed some mistakes. Overall I'm happy with what I learned and the end result. It is in no way as solid as it could be, but shows my potential and ability to build an asset from 2D to 3D. 
       So if anyone gets a chance to play the game punch someone through a wall and you will end up in Superman's personal zoo. Now that I think of it, it isn't very nice of Superman to trap his native creatures in such tight confines. In that case, this creature with multiple "gas vents" is hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the battle arena. Smash it open and it will squirm and let it fly free!

Referenced Artist
Max Hudetz -

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