Monday, 10 March 2014

Failure Leads to New Stylistic Approach

I want to talk about this failed production piece, because despite it flaws, the discussion regarding it resulted in a wake up call on style:

This piece depicts a Marauder confronting a Sons of Iron member in a war torn street. Although the colours are quite dramatic and moody with the polluted green sky and the damp looking brick road, there is something off firstly about the Marauder's (left) pose. The anatomy is off, and reference should have been used in hindsight. Also, the scale is off as the Marauder seems too large in the frame, as I wanted to make the subject big and clear. The result is an image that just doesn't look right to the eye. It did however spark discussion:

This is true, at the start of the project we did cite 'Hewlett' as a potential influence stylistically, and his work did feature in some of our moodboards. Unfortunately, to this point his influence hadn't come across in the work being put out.

A few other potential aesthetic approaches came up. Tim suggested we look at the sort animation backwater gospel: 

This is an interesting approach, as it combines a bleak gritty mood with a stylised comic book look. Adam however, did show concern when we spoke about a potential cell shaded approach, feeling that it is too easy to apply the illusion to a game and pass it for stylised. The above animation however does use a technique where the outlines are drawn on to the textures appose to the toon shading effect which attempts to make the 3D assets look flat:

The game 'Borderlands 2' uses a technique that combines both, using both textures with painted outlines on top of a toon shader. This video highlights the approach quite well, showing game both with and without the shader:

Following this discussion we looked through the concept art in Tim's Borderlands art-book. The artwork is interesting, as it takes a vibrant colourful approach toward a post apocalyptic environment:

This piece bellow that I produced tries to communicate a more stylised Jamie Hewlett approach. There was a large focus on colour here, throwing in purples and oranges for a vibrant almost neon effect:

I also experimented with strong black outlines for the comic art effect. A few things I'm not too happy about with this piece: Firstly, as also raised by teammates, the background abruptly stops at the end of this tent hangar. It's almost as if the scene is in the sky. I waned original a blown out look, as if the intensity of the light coming from the sun creates a wall off light blue hue. The strong lines however, counteract this intention, making everything look sharp and crisp. Perhaps I could have kept the background more painted and outlined only the key subjects. Also, the orange light hitting the tank is a little too bright and overly saturated, making it uneasy on the eye. The idea of this piece is that it is set in a large tent hanger where a female Resistance soldier is servicing her Mech. Adam also pointed out that the hanging metal platforms to the top left of the image would likely cause the tent to buckle and fall under the weight. This is an example where I overlooked a design factor.

Overall, We are considering different stylistic approaches with our game. The ultimate goal is to create something vibrant and 'fun to look at.'

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