Friday, 12 October 2012

Refining our Chosen Direction

Now that we have a storyboard, our approach to producing concept art has now become much more focused. I suggested that we begin to figure out what exactly is required to move forward and assign tasks to each member. Joel was happy to focus on developing the Ninja style protagonist, whilst Dan is happy to take on the security guard character design process.  

My focus will be on producing the exterior of the ship, and then focusing in on the set (interior) where our cutscene will take place. We are also aware that the camera will need concept art behind it as well as the explosive device the protagonist is attempting to plant. Joel has agreed to take on the camera, whereas Dan is happy to design the bomb. There is also the matter of the Ninja's small getaway craft, which at this stage may or may not be included in the final product. I will gladly put myself forward if the requirement should arise.

I feel that I am beginning to understand how to function within a team, as I feel have the rest of the group. As we all have strong ambitions in concept art, there is a desire within all of us to design characters, Levels and props in a very generalised manner. I enjoy character design, despite taking on the environment aspect of things. I see this not as a pit fall in my development, but as a chance to work outside of my comfort zone and develop my abilities. This is something I can relate with when we think of SWOT analysis, and consider areas for improvement as well as areas of strength.

I began the second phase of my concept art process by considering how the exterior of the ship could look. Working from our moodboard as reference, I began creating silhouettes. Something I found with the shapes I created, was that I could relate certain designs to that of particular animals. I am always interested by the idea of 'morphing' particularly when creating vehicle concepts. This is where features taken from living organic creatures can be applied to create unique structures. You can see from my annotations how some of my silhouettes can be related to organic forms:

One of the links I liked was the relation to a wasp, with it's lower stinger bearing abdomen. I thought this could make for a very unique looking vessel. I developed this idea further, creating a ship concept working from a source image taken from the internet:

I like the result, however,  for the scale required for our vessel, this design perhaps is more fitting for a smaller pod based craft. Firstly, it looks exo-skeletal and lightweight. One can't really imagine long corridors running through the structure. Perhaps I could translate the key elements of this particular idea, and translate them into something much larger and less fragile.

Still, one element I do like about the design is it's organic living feel. I am reminded of the reapers from the 'Mass Effect' game series, a very organic looking machine race. They seem to take there design from the squid, with torpedo-like bodies and arms resembling tentacles. 

I would very much like to keep this living element with the vessel where possible. Perhaps studying larger subjects such as the whale family would be more fitting. This more exo-sceletal design could be used for the Ninja's stealthy getaway craft instead.

Taking a moment to analyse my progression with working in Photoshop, I feel I am gradually improving. If there's one thing that still concerns me it's the speed at which I work. I see my teammates beside me developing ideas at a rapid rate, and I can't but feel I am lagging behind. I am hoping to start working with layer masks to speed up the process of creating concept art. This will help particularly once I've blocked out my image, when adding detail and highlights, eliminating the need to constantly tidy up edges.

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