Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Viktor Fullmachine

This is about a character design for League of Legends.  http://na.leagueoflegends.com/

I've decided to post some of the development work for both his concept and the illustration, to give people an idea of different options to show.


Viktor is a villain type character.  This is a version of him (called a reskin, which is not a new texture but a whole new mesh based on the same rig).  Fullmachine is the "evolved" version of Viktor, in which he has finally replaced his entire body with machinery.

Here is some text from the brief:

After years of perfecting his augmentations, Viktor has succeeded in fusing his soul with an efficient magical humanoid machine. He is made entirely of various metals, and no organic materials. Magic is bursting from within him, and his design is a lot more refined, while retaining the fantasy grungy feel.
    Armour:   Refined, yet grungy. All metal. Keep it fantasy.
    Body: Made entirely of metal, with magic emanating from holes, gaps and generators (No Jacket).
    Cape: Segmented metal armour, like roman scale mail.
    Colour: All dark and desaturated, except for bright green magic.

So the challenge is to make it a scifi-theme, but with more of a fantasy aesthetic.  So... steampunk!  :D

Here are some of the first color studies for him.  It was supposed to be dark and desaturated with green magic coming from within, but the client decided that wasn't the direction they wanted.  Instead they wanted brighter colors and to get rid of the internal glow.  

Here are the next batch:  brighter options, no glow.  They picked C.

Here's color option C as the final concept!  

Here he is in 3D!  (Please note that I did not model/texture/rig him.  This was done at Brilliant Colors.)  Anyway, the colors ended up being changed later on.

Finally, here's an HD video someone made of the character!  It's a hoot to see him animated after staring at a static drawing for hours.


So, the next order of business was the splash.  Splash art is used to promote new characters and their skin variations on Riot's website.  It's also a big part of their store.  They're important because the game makes its money on these microtransactions.  The left side has to be low contrast and somewhat negative space since that's where the character's info box goes.

Anyway, here's the client's brief:
This skin shows the future of Victor, where he has replaced all of his humanity with machinery. He is "complete". He should be portrayed standing grand and majestically, Lord of the machines! In the background is something almost like a throne room made of hextechnological machinery. The technology in the background should follow a similar style to what you see in his costume design, kinda chunky and heavy and not too sleek or hightech.
So again, the challenge is to create a setting that is both science fiction and fantasy at the same time.

Here's the first round of thumbnails sent to the client.  We don't send 6 anymore, just 2 good ones.  I tried to make him look proud, or like "Bring it on!" type of attitude.  And, since he's villainous, we gotta go with the evil laugh (like in C).    
They chose Thumb B.

Here are a couple studies after I got the rough approved (it basically looked like a black and white version of  the top one).  I was learning towards A, but Randis Albion (our art director) suggested B.  That ended up being what Riot picked.
So I ran with rendering up B.

Here's  my result, and what I submitted to them.
After they got my layered PSD, they ended up changing the colors to match the newly-changed colors on the model.  I like the vibrancy and better contrast of lights and darks on their version, but wish I would've known about the new colors in advance. I think the colors ended up clashing with the piece as a whole (kind of every color of the rainbow in there).

So anyway, there you have it.

Bonus:  Here's a rough of Viktor Prototype, another skin variation.  He's a whooole different story!  (The first stage of Viktor's mechanical evolution).  But I won't post since I didn't finish off that one.  But at least this gives an idea of what a black and white rough looks like (the step after the thumb and before the color variations).  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lots has happened...

...since the last post.
I'm still a student at TAD.  Recently,  the first entertainment 2D semester ended.  2 more to go!

I started a paid internship with Massive Black Shanghai (later renamed to Brilliant Colors LLC).  I Just found out that ImagineFX magazine actually did publish a brief interview with me about it.  One of the reasons I haven't posted any updates is because most of the work I've been doing has been NDA.   All the work I've done for them so far has been for Riot Software (League of Legends). I've been doing splash illustration work for them, as well as character design (new characters and reskins).  There are now several people alongside me, most other TAD students.  We've had to learn to work as a group, passing different character designs and illustrations around.  Also learning about working with clients and getting used to making a lot of changes... it's been a tremendous learning experience.

I'm on break from that now, and my latest endeavor is to develop my own world as a mobile adventure game, 3D navigation style through 2D images, like the old game Riven, and release a book at the same time (marketing strategy).  Anyway, it's still in the planning stages.  I want to have a sketch-style working prototype within the next couple of weeks, and have already gotten a good start with the pitchdoc.  I'll be taking a break from art while I learn some scripting and work on some writing as well.

Also I'm catching up on TAD work I fell behind on when doing the Riot stuff, and will be posting that soon too.

In non-art news, I've just started playing Star Wars the Old Republic.  So far, so awesome.

Anyway, I hope all my online friends are doing well and have their own set of exciting developments.


^This is the first splash illustration I worked on for MB Shanghai (Brilliant Colors), for League of Legends (Riot). 
The original purpose of this illustration was to promote the re-designed Gangplank character and replace the old splash art.
I worked in it in a collaboration with Jon Neimeister (http://andantonius.deviantart.com/) and Alex Konstad (http://akonstad.deviantart.com/)  under a tight deadline. Trying to be efficient with 3 people on 1 piece without "too many cooks in the kitchen" is challenging but can also be really rewarding. We all had a hand in it during all stages of the process. When you take out the lack of sleep and a few annoying client changes, it was a "blast" ^hahaha^ 


Another splash, later done for League of legends' "Snowdown" event. This is the Christmas themed skin obviously. I didn't design the reskin
It was tricky because Maokai is a complicated, sort of "messy looking" character. Also, they wanted him in a cozy christmas living room, but since LoL is a fantasy game, I had to make it look recognizable but still not modern. Log cabin seemed to work as a bridge between modern and fantasy. It had to look cozy, but also dark and creepy. I dunno, maybe it's too dark.
Anyway, if you notice the painting on the wall to the left, it's actually Riot's 2011 Christmas login screen
I did this one on my own, though I got feedback from the group, including our art director, Randis Albion.
Anyway, Riot ended up making changes to this before it actually went on the website. This is what it ended up looking like: http://riot-web-static.s3.amazonaws.com/media/snowdown_showdown/skins/Maokai_Snowdown.jpg

I prefer the original better so that's what I posted

Anyway... there's a good bit more Riot stuff where that came from!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recent figure painting work

Unfortunately, I can't share everything I'm doing at TAD.  (Two of the major projects we've worked on, plus my recent internship with Massive Black Shanghai.)  But I do have a great figure painging class with Jon Foster, so here's some of the stuff I've done for it so far.
First project - study of a Jon Foster sculpture.  Had fun chiseling brushmarks with this.

Watercolor.  Decided to add my own environment and scenario to make it more of an illustration than just a weekly homework study.

Another weekly figure assignment, and another time I decided to have fun adding a background.  I discovered how to mimic some of Painter's effects in Photoshop with this one.  And made it sort of an art deco theme - why not?

Based on the photography of Peter Hapak.  Love his series.  (I added the fish though hehe)  This was a combination of mostly acrylic (base), some colored pencil, and some light oil as a finish.  I'm glad I tried it!

This was done almost all in acrylic, with some oil.  We used the Zorn palette (ivory black, alazirin crimson, yellow ocre, titanium white, burnt sienna, and NO blue!)  My own composition but I tried to capture the spirit of Zorn's work. 

Here's my acrylic master copy of Nicolai Fechin.  I didn't stress over exact strokes/proportions as I did in capturing the feel, texture, and brush style.  I think I learned a lot from this!
Process, featuring my monster palette knife - like, favorite tool evar!
Original painting.

30 min limited value watercolor.
60 min limited value watercolor.

Bougereau crop master copy in oil pastel.  This was super-challenging because I only had black, white, and a blender - no gray oil pastels!  Lots of finger smudging!  I may go in and fix some areas digitally, like making it more subtle.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

TAD Summer Workshop 2011 (Catching Up, pt. 5)

Another thing I did this past summer was the TAD workshop!  Busybusy... Anyway, it was a great experience, and brought back memories of the 2009 Illustration Academy.

It was also great to be able to meet some of my classmates (and teachers!) from the previous spring's semester in person.  Though it seems like everyone in my group went to last December's workshop instead...

I didn't really go out and experience Kansas City, due to having no transportation and being busy with the workshop.  But that's OK.

Anyway, the main project we had that first week was to design a new character class for Team Fortress 2.  Much of it was about paying attention to silhouette, making the character unique from the others in shape, but fitting in with them well.  Just like the IMC, we had so many demos and lectures going on, plus figure drawing, so it was hard to get a whole lot done.  But honestly, it's more about learning than producing.

Here's what I ended up with (orthos were done later though):

I had to leave halfway through the workshop, so there were two other projects I missed, but I'll take what I can get!

Here's a totally unrelated Environment of the Week entry I worked on while there too.  Definitely stuff that could be fixed on this though.

So... here are some photos!

Flooding on the way to KC.  Don't remember where this is but I LOVE it.

Anita Kunz paints Michele Bachmann.  Originally done for a news magazine, but you can see it here:  http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/michele-bachmann-iowa-frontrunner 

Jon Foster does a head painting demo in Painter and Photoshop.  Lots of great stuff here.

Demo party:  3 for on1 (George Pratt, John English, Vanessa Lemen)

Ted Kinsella watermedia demo.

Andy Brinkman being... Andy.  Haha

We really have a ton of room, the whole 6th floor of a fairly big building.  Great space!

Figure Drawing

Mark English and Colin Boyer going at at.

John English, figure painting

Vanessa Lemen giving an imaginative head painting demo.  Love the way that red bounce light pops it!

Ron Lemen giving an excellent rush lesson of human anatomy.  He drew out a crapload of boards like this, super-fast.

George Pratt painting his entropy character in a demo.

Talking w/ class

Marshall giving an anatomy demo.

I love this face!  Artists...

Me working on my character.

Boy, Kansas City looks a whole lot like it could fit right into the Team Fortress 2 world.

View from the (unsafe) fire escape outside my window.  I love this ivy place.  Supposedly a waterfall goes down that building when it rains, which is why it's so grown in the first place...

Jason Manley critting our TF2 characters.  Was great to finally meet him!

Marshall Vandruff and Terry Brown just talking with us casually.  I think we were discussing introversion/extroversion here.

Our building used these cool old industrial elevators.  Here's Brent Watkinson coming up!

Terry Brown giving and American illustration history lecture.

Right before our zombie character design lecture.

Hahaha, I knew this would become a common sight...


Awesome building ouside my hotel.  Dieselpunky goodness.

At a rest area on the way back.  Who knew state governments could actually have a sense of humor?