Creature Design process 101
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    Creature Design process 101

    Creature Design Process 101 :

    This activity will be set up similar to an Artist/Client relationship to simulate real world freelance industry job experience. The reason for this thread is to prepare you for the business world of a concept artist, to improve your designing skills, to provide a client relationship experience and to boost your portfolio. You will be asked to stick to a schedule and the details of the topic for each activity which may be based on video game or film related designs.
    When dealing with a client, you are often asked to produce preliminary rough sketches to relate as many ideas as possible with as little effort as possible before moving on to a final design. It’s customary for a concept artist to provide the client with a page of rough thumbnail sketches. This will be the first step of this activity and the most important step. I will expect that the thumbnails stick to the guidelines and design brief as well as promote as much originality and creativity as you can while sticking to the limitations of the brief.
    Once the thumbnails are completed, please post a number next to each one so that they can be clearly identified individually. The thumbnail sketches should be no larger than approx. 1 x 2 inches with just enough detail and form to illustrate the idea clearly.

    Topic Brief: Video Game Design - Next gen consoles
    Title: Triple Falls
    Triple Falls is a vast third person video game title based in a modern fantasy era, so elements such as houses, industrial plants, vehicles, advanced weaponry and magic will be involved in this world. This should be kept in mind when designing your creature so that the style will fit the theme of the game.
    The look and feel of this title will be colorful and exaggerated with the use of low poly models, so try to keep the amount of individual segments to a minimum: ie; ( lots of limbs, small hairs, separated fingers. ) Keep in mind that the amount of bones used to rig the creature and it’s animations will also have to be limited to approx 12-18 segments, try to design around the fact that animation will be limited to rotation of the shoulder, moving the arm up and down and flexing wrist and rotating the waist side to side and bending over up and down and bending the neck etc. Exaggerating things like the size of the muscles, facial features and details is what were going for here since we want a very stylized fun looking game, not so much realistic or extremely detailed.

    Creature description:
    Name: Waterlope
    This creature should resemble an antelope but remember to keep the features exaggerated and stylized. The Waterlope is an amphibious creature used as a mountable beast by halfling races. This creature should be in the realm of a hippocampus with both mammal and amphibian characteristics. Try to keep it original, exaggerated, and unique rather than just combining an antelope & fish body. This creatures animations will be limited to a gallop/run/swim movement, a jumping movement and grazing movement, they will not be a dangerous species, but rather a more beautiful and exotic creature. Think of some colorful amphibians such as salamanders, frogs, and tropical fish. Since the creature will be mountable, it is up to you whether or not the creature design warrants a saddle. Keep in mind though that the saddle should not be too complex since that would eat up the poly's. A possibility for the saddle would be to create natural protrusions out from the animals back which would save time in modeling and texture mapping. The time era should also be evident in the design if possible. The animals skeletal structure is open for possibilities so it is not necessary for it to have two or four or six limbs, it’s up to you.
    As far as the design is concerned, try to push the limits of creativity, I'd rather not see your average hippocampus or antelope, and remember this design should be exaggerated. If you happen to bend the rules of the creature description a bit, you can get away with it as long as the design is interesting and still resembles the overall idea. You have to remember that making the client happy is the most important thing, but I also want you guys to design what YOU would like to see in a game like this, so push your imaginations.

    Details & other Information:

    Hippocampus reference links:
    Hippocampus photo 1
    Hippocampus photo 2
    Hippocampus Photo 3

    Antelope reference links:
    I think the Pronghorn Antelope is a good basis for reference for the Waterlope
    Antelope photo 1
    Antelope Photo 2
    Antelope photo 3
    Antelope Photo 4
    Antelope Photo 5
    Antelope Photo 6
    Antelope Photo 7
    Antelope Photo 8
    Antelope Photo 9

    Schedule:
    You will have approx. 11 days from start to finish. You will only be permitted to move on to the next step after you have been given approval of a sketch by me. Each step should be completed by or before the deadline. I am based on USA, East Coast so the time zone will be GMT Eastern Standard Time: New York, that only applies to anyone who would be a day ahead or behind. It's not completely necessary but just incase.
    Time Zone definitions
    Step 1: Due Dec. 6th : 10 thumbnail sketches
    10 rough 1 x 2 inch thumbnail sketches presenting variations in overall concept design. They should be presented in b&w on an 8 x 12 sheet of paper and individually numbered one through ten. They can be digital or pencil sketches.
    Step 2: Due Dec. 9th : 3 rough color variations
    Once a thumbnail design Is approved, design 3 variations based off of comments given by myself. These should be a little more detailed than the thumbnails and they should be presented in color. The color does not need to be detailed, just enough to get the general idea across. These should be numbered one through three.
    Step 3: Due Dec. 12th : 1 honed drawing posed
    Based on comments and the approved version of step 2 you should present a cleaned up detailed drawing of the creature design.
    Step 4: Due Dec. 17th : Final color design
    Based on comments given and the approved hone drawing, make any necessary changes and present the final detailed color version on a white background - Shadows and minimal texture or colored backgrounds are acceptable but should not take away from the creature design.

    If you have any questions, concerns or comments feel free to post them here. You guys are more than welcome to post helpful suggestions for one another but I will be playing the role of “Client/Art Director” so I will have the final say and approval for each step in this design process. This is a basic introduction into how a freelance job might be handled. If you do not meet the deadlines for any reason you will be dropped from the activity. There will be no exceptions since if this were a real job and you were bound to a contract, you would not get a second chance. I will be strict about this and I’m sorry if it sounds harsh but this is to teach people how to be professional and meet deadlines.

    Participants:
    The list:
    1: Avatar<---added last minute
    2:Gloominati
    3:Inkfish
    4:Floris Didden
    5: PHATandy
    6:MindCandyMan
    7:Evil_Sloth
    8:dCept
    9:Interceptor
    10:ngnorden
    11:Craig D
    12: Scumgrinder
    13: Profil

    If you are going to back out and you know ahead of time, please let me know so I can fill a spot incase someone else is interested.

    Last edited by Mike Corriero; December 6th, 2005 at 09:30 PM.
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    could you give us the sizes in pixels and dpi? because hosting the files could be an issue if the sizes are too large

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    When presenting steps 1-2 the size should be approx 8 x 12 or 12 x 8 ( 1200 x 1800 or 1800 x 1200 pixels) and can be at either 150 res. or 300 res.

    When you present the final design though it should be at least (2400 x 3600 or 3600 x 2400 pixels) at 300 resolution. The standard size for detailed clear printable images is at 300 res. and approx 3000 pixels as a minimum. It's up to you though, depending on what your machine can handle, but those sizes are the best optimized for printing professional work in my opinion.

    edit: When saving images for web, they should be at 72 dpi and approx. 8 x 12 inches ( 850-1100 pixels should be fine), the final images can be larger if you like.

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    Good stuff, Mike! Very detailed description! Makes it easier to relate to the stuff we're gonna create.

    *goes off to do thumbnails*

    peace

    d-C

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    how are we presenting them? obviously for online purposes they have to be optimized to 72 dpi. what about the original large files with the requirements you ask for? Should we send them to you?



    Also just to get this right: step one requires 10 concepts in a single image, and the image has to be 1200 x 1800 and black and white. right?

    ARgh: i just saw your edit

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    Scum - yea, as far as presenting the files, it's best if you guys host them yourselves. If you have an issue with that, you can e-mail me the saved for web file and I'll host it on ca.org's server. mikecorriero@gmail.com
    The larger files though should be kept for yourself for portfolio purposes, so they can be at whatever size you like really.
    edit: This thread is for the learning process so post the images whenever you finish them, but make sure you post what is due before or on the deadline. I may make a Final image thread once everything is finished if you guys would like. I also may make a logo based off of the thumbnails and or final honed drawings if you guys give me permission to do so. It would be the main logo for the activity if this continues on to other rounds.

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    yay all cool, ive heard wha can help aswell is references to current games and their styles and umber of polygons, are we think in world of warcraft type terms here? and just to make it clear, "modern fantasy era" would be, current level of technology with fantasie elements thrown in? Alright this will be interesting

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    Red Rook@- Yes a perfect example of the poly's and exaggerated style would be world of warcraft. Think of this creature as fitting in with that genre of games and you'll be on target.

    Modern Fantasy era = Modern day technology mixed with Fantasy elements. Basically if you took NYC threw in some creatures, cultural references from around the world and elements of magic and creatures that's the style this creature should fit in. So creatures walking around with modern horse saddles, a character dressed in a college students clothing with a blue glowing sword and floating modern buildings and skyscrapers surrounding them all with an exaggerated stylized look would fit into this category.

    Edit: On a side note; Texture mapping and Bump maps will make up the majority of minor details so keep the overall designs low-key sticking within the limits of low poly models but remember that bump maps will take care of minor textures like scales, grooves in the skin, skin textures as well as minor protrusions and details in the face and other similar areas.

    Style, exaggerations, low poly references:
    World of Warcraft 1
    World of Warcraft 2
    World of Warcraft 3
    Low poly model wireframe references:
    Low Poly 1 Texture maps and Bump maps make up this guys chest and six pack adding depth without having to actually model it. Hope that's clear
    Low Poly Wire frame
    Low Poly Wire Frame
    Low Poly Wire frame

    Last edited by Mike Corriero; November 29th, 2005 at 01:57 AM.
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    Wire frame stretch test, animation test on the movement of the bones of a low poly model.
    Check out the AVI animation at the bottom of this page
    rigging joints and skeleton
    Rigging Joints
    This site explains pretty clearly about the rigging of joints and the skeleton of a low poly model.

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    Mike, I'm curious about the tone of the game. Is it a more serious type of game? Or something whimsical? What's the target audience?

    And does the creature fully submerge itself or does it tread water?

    -Loren

    Last edited by Interceptor; November 29th, 2005 at 03:25 AM.
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    The Game is meant to be colorful, fun, exaggerated styles, it's meant to portray serious story lines in some scenarios with emotional dramatic music and vast eye opening scenes. The overall feeling would be the equivalent of "Monsters Inc." and "What Dreams May Come" oddly enough
    Don't get toooo worried about those kind of things. Just base the thumbnail ideas off of the brief, and I'll direct you guys toward the best suited designs for this topic. I will provide more info and such as we go along, which is often how clients handle things. Half the time most of them don't even have a 50% clue as to what they want and the descriptions are rather vague.

    So just go with it..have fun, and hopefully we'll all learn something from this.

    Edit: The creature would/could be meant for both land and water. Think of it in terms of an amphibian. It will have traits of water animals as well as land mammals... it's your choice and your job though to present ideas to me, to sell your designs. You have the freedom to make suggestions with these thumbnails such as suggesting that the creature swims while being fully submerged and never leaves the water, or that it only uses water to tread on top of and spends more time on rocks and land. The basis of step one is to experiment.

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    cool idea...just wanted to let you know I know about the thread...just found it today...thanks for makin sure we knew!

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    Cool, just found the thread. I'll get started asap.

    EDIT: quick question, do we have to keep in mind the point of view of the player, wether he will be viewing the model from topdown RTS like, or from behind while he rides it, for example?

    /fd
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    Awesome Mike, I found there thread. Im In. And working on some stuff now

    Can we work like slightly ahead of schedule.. so get to the bits and pieces before the deadline. Because i might have some thing coming up like next week.. and be busy. So can i work on it now (while iu have the time) then jump in to finish before the deadlines. Ie. Get onto say the 3 colour drawings etc. as fast as possible , im gonna have lots of free time this weekend.

    Hopefully ill be bale to do it anyways, but just incase

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    Floris Didden@ - Yes, it will be a 3rd person view which are almost always shown from behind and just above the player, which means you will see your characters whole body and about 5 feet above him/her as a slightly overhead view. So keep that in mind when designing the Creature, that's part of the reason for exaggerations. This creature might be a possible mountable creature for both the player and just as an in-game background extra. So the creature will need to look interesting from all angles, and if he were viewed from the back overhead he would need to look interesting enough and identifiable as well.
    We'll get into that a bit more once the sketches start to get posted.

    PHATandy@- Yes, you can submit the thumbnails as soon as you finish them and once you get approval and comments from me you can move on to the next step. You can work at your own pace as long as your finishing before the deadlines, just don't RUSH it too much because this should come out as best as possible in order to be used as a portfolio piece.

    edit: btw thanks MindCandyMan, Floris Didden and PHATandy for letting me know your aware of the thread. If anyone can contact the remaining 3 people on the list please do, or at least let me know if they are aware this activity has been posted.

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    OK awesome, thanks Mike..

    IM doing some thumbies now (procrastination of homework is good right ? )
    But jees... coming up with like 10 really cool varied ideas is way harder than it seems.....

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    PHATandy@- Try thinking of things like amounts of legs, types of legs, lengths of neck and horns, no horns, 3 horns, long horns, varied shapes of horns, length of face and type of body, size of exaggerated areas, how it moves etc. You can look at references other than what I posted to help you come up with ideas, so take a look at other types of animals but just try to stick to the basics of the brief

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    hey mike is this going to be an ongoing thing?

    Mainloop- man i must be dyslexic.. cuz i thought you asked how many people are on lsd

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    And is it going to open up to more people? I can only assume, since the first post included a participant list, that this was felt out in a forum I rarely check, like the lounge...

    Definitely sounds like a fun and interesting project.

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    Vigostar@- It depends, there is already a list for a second round set-up. It may not be on-going because I have a lot on my plate and a full schedule currently involving a freelance job that will be full time and possibly run until mid December and then another job lined up directly after that plus the Last Man Standing Thunderdome on top of this activity now. I will keep it going as long as I can, but I couldn't say whether there would be a third, fourth or fifth round.

    Bdfoster@- Yea I apologize, I wish I could have allowed over 30 people at once but it would be hard to keep everyone on track, to comment on every individuals sketches and to answer all their questions. I actually limited round 2 to 8 people which is already full, but if people back out I will fill the open spots with reserves. I posted it in the lounge because usually that's where it would have gotten the most exposure, but it's also the only place I could have really discussed the idea before actually implementing it. If you would like to be on a reserve list for round 1 or 2, let me know.. and if nothing opened up I would add you as a possible participant to round 3 if that occurs.

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    The schedule deadline for the "Final color design" step 4 has been extended by an extra 2 days so that the Final can look as good as possible. I really want these to be top quality designs, plus I want to make sure that the Honed drawing critiques and comments are finalized and that you guys would have enough time to work on the render/paint/colored version and really polish up any flaws.

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    deadline extensions are one of my favorite things in life.

    Mike, you mentioned you posting some example thumbs to indicate level of detail etc. Are you still thinking of doing this? (please)

    Craig

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    Mike--

    A lot depends on timing of the rounds and whatnot, but I'm certainly interested. Thanks for the feedback.

    It's funny you talk about exposuer in the lounge. That's one of the few places on these forums that I hardly ever go. I guess it's the lack of relevance for a lot of stuff to what I want, but I guess I'm in the minority!

    Keep me on the back burner if you have any openings.

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    hey mike, are sketches like these acceptable or are they too rough?


    Last edited by scumgrinder; November 29th, 2005 at 03:03 PM.
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    wow... they look sexy scumgrinder. Dont wanna post my lame ones now

    anyways... Heres my stuff... Ill update this thread with my thumbnails.


    ADDED FURTHER DOWN


    - EDIT : i forgot the numbers etc. Ill add them when ive done all of them. Illl put like descriptions etc if u want em aswell.

    Last edited by PHATandy; December 3rd, 2005 at 02:06 PM.
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    Im here, better get crackin at those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig D
    deadline extensions are one of my favorite things in life.

    Mike, you mentioned you posting some example thumbs to indicate level of detail etc. Are you still thinking of doing this? (please)

    Craig
    I will really try yo actually participate in this myself, especially the first round so that people get the idea of what I have in mind. I'll have to see when I can get around to the thumbnails as quick as possible, maybe at least just to post 2 for an example. I'm kind of booked with actual work so I'm trying to fit this activity in with any spare time I have.

    Bdfoster- cool OK

    Scumgrinder@- yes the quality of details is OK, perhaps suggesting a bit more might help to better illustrate the ideas but this is pretty good for a start. When you guys post the thumbnails, they should probably be half this size, and Numbered, fitting all 10 at once on an 8 x 12 sized file at 72 dpi.

    Make sure each has a number next to them.

    PHATandy@- Interesting ideas for a start. Like I mentioned to Scumgrinder, post the thumbnails at about half this size, with the numbers next to each all 10 at once on one sheet at approx 8 x 12 at 72 dpi. Don't post descriptions on the sheet with the drawings, but if you have ideas and suggestions or comments about some of your designs, post the comments separate below the image like so:
    #1: I was going for a design with larger horns
    #2: I think this one would look interesting if he had 4 fins instead of feet
    etc.

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    ok so here are my thumbnails:



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    Nice Work Scumgrinder
    I'll post critiques and comments tomorrow/today since it's almost 6 a.m. here and I haven't slept yet
    I was working up my 10 thumbnails so people would get an idea where I was looking to head with the first step.
    I will provide comments for your thumbnails, as well as choose the one that will be taken to step two and give you some suggestions and advice on that specific design chosen, so that you can produce the 3 rough color variations.


    Making the thumbnails clean, presentable, labeled individually with numbers and evenly spaced will help to show professionalism when dealing with a client. It just makes it more presentable and easier for them to view the designs.

    This really isn't about me; so it's not important but if you guys like, you can feel free to suggest which thumbnail I should continue with. I will only really be doing this to motivate people, and to demonstrate how it should/could be handled in a professional manner.

    Last edited by Mike Corriero; November 30th, 2005 at 06:10 AM.
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    scumgrinder: I like the shapes of 8 and 7, would love to see more detailed versions.
    PHATandy: I like 1 and 4 ( ? ) with the orca pattern. You could push the contrast a little, add numbers, and use the page format requested.
    MIKECORRIERO: I like 8 and 9, but I would go with 10, because of the more horizontal shape of the creature, and practical saddle. I would change the horns though, use the horns of 8 or 9.

    I hope it was allright to post that
    Just my thoughts

    Last edited by brokk; November 30th, 2005 at 10:16 AM. Reason: forgot to include PHATandy
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