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Thread: 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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  3. #2
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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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