Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Injustice: God's Among Us - Entry V - Two Fers!

Robots and Weapons

      Things are getting very busy so the write ups will be a bit shorter on these. I figure I have done enough of them. This entry goes over a handful of concepts and some sculpts. These particular assignments were a part of significant improvement. 

 (This sheet shows some of the iterations and the wrong directions I took early on. It needed to be bulky but I had more of a lean look to start.)

      One of the characters I worked on was the robot guard for Strykers Island. I stumbled a bit through the process but it marks a moment that was a bit of a break through. After this character I learned enough to build some confidence and push myself to another level of ability.

     (This is the final sheet on my end. This one was challenging at the time, looking back now I realize I made a lot of unnecessary mistakes that prolonged the process.)

      Eventually I got something close to what they wanted. I handed it off to my lead and he made some adjustments and additions to get it exactly the way he wanted. The final version of the unfortunate robot guard can be seen when fighting at Strykers Island. Any super hero is free to steal his gun or even use him as a baseball bat. Poor, poor robot.

(Production sheet showing the different stages of development.)
     This is a giant, organic, alien laser that Senestro summons after lifting you into space and smashing you between two asteroids. It blasts you back down to earth, where you continue to fist fight as you were. Everything about that makes perfect sense. 
     This was a cool prop that got done quickly as I was able to sit down with the Art Director. The lead was out so he sat down and critiqued one on one. Although it is a bit of a complicated form, I really should have knocked out a version in perspective to illustrate how the rib formations wrap around the barrel. It was simply my lack of a ability at the time, in the future I need to step it up.

(This process was fast tracked so there was little iterations. I was given a concept sword from the concept team, this was used to match the style and speed up production.)

     An axes for Ares. He summons these and throws them at you. It needed to look heavy as well as match the concept of the sword done by the full time concept team. It also needed to be done quickly at the time. So there was little iteration. Single blade turned to double and it was good to go.

 Sculpting Heads for Cops and Citizens

     It was a bit unexpected, but I was tasked with rapidly sculpting a number of heads to be used for modular sets of NPC's. The heads would then be passed down the production line to be prepped for in-game use. The idea is that these heads can be mixed and matched with a handful of bodies to help add variety to citizens and cops.

(I repeatedly sculpted the jaw line right into the end of the ear lobe. This is a mistake, sometimes it makes sense, but often it is a softer form that moves under the earlobe.)

     The sculpts could use a lot of improvement. Anatomically there are quite a few things I would have liked to execute better. Particularly in the neck forms, planes of the face around the cheeks, where the jaw meets the ear and the forms of the lips. Basically, when I look at them the lack the "pop" I see when looking at really good sculpts of faces.

(Although there is no law, there are some general guidelines I messed up when sculpting the faces of woman. The neck shape and softness of the features could have been improved to create more feminine features. That said, texturing and finished hair pieces helped mask those issues.)

      One major mishap I take responsibility for is the lack of extra information when passing these heads to the next guy. I should have included the photo reference in order to indicate the intended range for skin tones and hair colors. Also, I pushed the changes in the head meshes a little too far without making note if it. This lead to a lot of issues due to the sculpts being fitted to the same head shape. 
      I made the assumption there was flexibility in that area. Key lesson, don't make assumptions and communicate any information that isn't being shown. The end result was some of the faces not coming out as clean due to the features being adapted to a different head shape. This was a valuable lesson that not only helped individual improvement, but also improved my ability to work with a team.

(There was a total of about 12 heads, 6 of those were cops. The approach for them was more rugged and square jawed. These particular cops needed to look like bad dudes, in a good way.)

     Every one of these heads started with a generic head. I then pushed, pulled and carved it into a more unique face. In a couple of cases I sculpted these heads from imagination, using reference to fix inaccuracies. For most of them I collected photo reference of actors and actresses as requested. I tried looking for lesser known faces at the time. The idea was to use them as inspiration to get ball park likenesses to avoid any issues with directly borrowing a celebrities face. In some cases I got a little closer, but was careful to still change things up.

(The faces were a little tricky as I was going for a look that was a mix of realistic representation and a comic style realized in 3D.)

     The studio and artists created an awesome environment to learn. It was always challenging, but always rewarding to see how everyone's personal contributions came together in the beast that was the final game. I am currently in the middle of updating my main portfolio site, but I hope to post one last entry of the series. In the mean time keep an eye out the return of the Box O Zombies Series. There will be a couple new entries covering animation and a review of production leading up to the release of the first demo.

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