Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Legend of The White Buffalo II: Environments

This consisted of close to 50 individually layered pieces that were displayed together as a two screen scene in the Unity Game Engine for the "Legend of the White Buffalo II", a slot machine game from AGS-Cadillac Jack Games. Most of this scene was digitally painted in Photoshop, but the distant star field was taken from a Unity Sky Box screenshot. For those that don't know, the Unity Game Engine is a 3D game environment. My 2D painted images were placed in Z-space by the programmer/game developers, and it was a huge trip to see the "camera" move in and out of my painted scene. 

The large empty spaces were left open to contain Logo and other graphics related to game play.

This is part of the top screen art for "Legend of the White Buffalo II" from AGS-Cadillac Jack Games.  The bison, clouds, etc were all digitally painted in Photoshop, and the distant star field are from a Unity Skybox that I partially painted over. 

All rights to this art belong to AGS: Cadillac Jack Games, an Apollo Global Management company.

To learn more about the Lakota Legend Of The White Buffalo: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-whitebuffalo.html

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Legend of The White Buffalo II: Characters, Creatures, and Props

The first Legend of the White Buffalo game was a break through success for Cadillac Jack Games, and they wanted to create a follow up with new features and art. See my archives for art from the first version of this game. These are casino games that display in adult spaces, so they wanted something a bit racy for the goddess character design. I heard them loud and clear, and my have enjoyed it, too...

The Wild bison symbol frame stacks similarly to the frames in Flight of Icarus from a few posts back. The electric bison head on the right is still only concept level. The final head was created and animated in 3D for the game based off of my design. It head-butts the "glass" while electricity arches all around it, and shakes the entire frame.

Below is the final symbol with a final paint and two GIFs. The first Gif Shows the 3 head states that I painted for the animators to work with (they made it look a lot smoother than I can), and the second GIF shows around 20 stages of the digital painting process for this symbol.

Ah, object design. I love it sometimes. Below on the left, the pipe is not only a Lakota/Sioux tradition, but it shows up in the actual creation legend that surrounds the Goddess Woope and the White Buffalo. Part of the fun of what I do is learning the design language of a given culture and attempting to create an object that seems like it belongs even if it never existed. This is one of those instances. I found reference for similar items all over the web, but nothing quite like this. Additionally, casino games usually call for high value surfaces (like gold) that would traditionally never be used to make a pipe.

On the right, this particular drum never existed, but similar instruments can be found all over the web on tribal-ran sites and I simply added my own twist to something that could easily exist in the real world.

My hope is that I honor the design aesthetic of the cultures I portray in my own designs, and to learn from them. Our primary customers are Native American casino owner/operators. The Legend of the White Buffalo series of games has been fairly popular with them, so I'm hoping that means that I accomplished my goal.

All rights to this art belong to AGS: Cadillac Jack Games, an Apollo Global Management company.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Flight of Icarus: Top Screen Art

Before I dive in please take note of the nifty, new "ArtStaion Portfolio" button located below my header art above! As of the writing of this post, I'm just starting to get my gallery put together there, but it will soon house all the art you see here and much much more in an easy to surf gallery. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program:

This is the final post from this game. Here is the original (unused) art for the top screen of this slot machine cabinet, but they decided to go in another direction. The wings would have been added in 3D in-game. This was painted in Photoshop on many many layers to prepare it for animation in After Effects. I'm loosely planning a tutorial video showing how I prep images for animation, but for now just imagine that each part of their bodies and armor are on their own layers.

When the decision was made to change direction on the top screen art we were in crunch time, so I decided to try something I've never really done before. I asked Brandon Moulton, of our 3D team, to render out some 3D figures and wings in the correct poses with loose lighting reference, and I painted over them in Photoshop. Imagine gray mannequins with no hair. Icarus was already built in 3D, so Brandon was able to give me his armor on separate layers, but the girl was a nude, bald figure that I detailed out and painted from there. This was a fun thing to try out, but I think my preferred method will continue to be an all 2D method for now. The following is what ended up on the top screen along with logo art and ads.

All rights to this art belong to AGS: Cadillac Jack Games, an Apollo Global Management company.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Flight of Icarus: Symbols

I hadn't tried any SciFi art for years. One thing I've noticed, looking at the history of SciFi art, is that there is a lot of crossover between SciFi design and the industrial design aesthetic of the day. Meaning, that cutting edge industrial design looks always show up in SciFi art of any given decade/era. So, I not only looked at a ton of games, movies, etc, but I also turned an eye to current day industrial design for inspiration.

The frames for these game symbols are an amalgam of current day SciFi shapes and modern car fascias... that's right. Do a quick google search for Honda or BMW cars and look closely at the front and rear bumpers and light assemblies, and you'll see these shapes.

The symbols almost always need more at than what you see in the frames for when we animate the figures. Here is an example of the full art that I did for Icarus' girlfriend... Oh, wait, I didn't mention this before, but in this version of Icarus, he ditches his dear old dad and makes off with a soldier's daughter instead.

Speaking of soldiers... this is where I think you can really see the Greek/SciFi aesthetic that I was going for in this game.

Notice the difference between the frame above and the frame in the final art. It was decided that the frames would connect and "stack" during game play. This was an additional design challenge, but I felt like it made the task and the final design more interesting.

Here, again, I looked closely at current day automobile design, specifically dashboard digital displays, to come up with the design for this Wild Symbol, which has compass-like dials that spin and initiate game scenarios.

All rights to this art belong to AGS: Cadillac Jack Games, an Apollo Global Management company.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Flight of Icarus: Character Turns and Designs

As I mentioned in the last post, the game concept started out to be "Icarus/SciFi" or "Icarus in Space". Here are the turnarounds for the main character from the game.

I wanted him to have a classic athletic look without being superhero huge, and his face is inspired by a few of my favorite actors. His outfit is an amalgam of greek armor and current day SciFi inspirations (that I'm sure you can identify if you are familiar with the genre). For example, look closely at his boots, which are intended to emulate both SciFi armor and classic Greek strappy sandal boots.

I learned a lot from the 3D team about designing characters that can move realistically in a 3D model. They don't always require a full set of turns to create characters, but in this case they requested it and I really enjoyed doing them.

The Wing Control Headset (helmet) is based off of Greek laurel wreaths. I didn't want him to look like a soldier, because he's supposed to be running from soldiers and the client wanted his face to be visible.


I had a TON of fun designing the wings. I have a drafting background, which came in handy. I don't, on the other hand, have any training in industrial design or engineering, so it was a heck of a challenge to figure out how to fit all the parts together so that they move properly in 3D. I had a lot of input from our 3D team, and we got it all worked out.

All rights to this art belong to AGS: Cadillac Jack Games, an Apollo Global Management company.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flight of Icarus: Icarus' Digital Paints

Flight of Icarus is the game I've had the most fun producing in the four years I've worked with Cadillac Jack Games (now AGS: Cadillac Jack). I'll be uploading a lot of concept art and final art from this game over the next week or so, but for now heres the full image from my current banner.

The game concept started out to be "Icarus/SciFi" or "Icarus in Space". The idea was to create a SciFi look that borrows aspects from Greek clothing/armor and architecture. If you look closely, yes, there are a ton of different influences for this design aesthetic, but I'd like to think that I put it together in a somewhat unique way that doesn't just rehash everything else out there.

This sort of thing is not done very often in the Slot Machine/Gambling industries, so I have to give it to my management at CJ for taking a risk, and letting me and the rest of the art team have some fun with this one.

With the exception of the wings, this was digitally painted in Adobe Photoshop in meticulous layers so that it could be animated in Adobe After Effects. The wings are my design, but they were created in 3D and added here for the full affect.

All rights to this art belong to AGS: Cadillac Jack Games, an Apollo Global Management company.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Learning Production Values: First YouTube Video

This may be off topic (if this blog actually has a topic), but I recently uploaded my first ever YouTube video! It's part of a series of videos (ironically enough) about learning to make videos. My goal is to start making art tutorial videos some time later this year. Check it out, give it a like, a favorite, or even subscribe to the channel if it's a topic you're interested in. Thanks in advance for watching:

I've got a ton of new art that I'll be posting here in the next few weeks, and don't worry, if making videos isn't your topic of interest I won't post much of that sort of thing here in the future because I'm going to make that into it's own blog.