Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crash Nitro Kart - Road to Velo - part 4

Continuing with our journey of retracing the steps to Emperor Velo in Crash Nitro Kart from 2002. Of the next set of concept sketches the middle one below is the drawing that eventually led to the character. Although there were a few more ideas to follow it was the second image presented here that got the affirmative response from Vicarious Visions which eventually established his final look.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Exploring the pose

This past week a student of mine was struggling with posing their character in a manner that would make sense. They were drawing thumbnail doodles of a female with a sword. The problem was that in almost every instance the pose was not working as it didn't make sense. It wasn't in a position that one would realistically see. I suggested that they strike the pose themselves to see it it was anatomically feasible and they quickly found out that it wasn't. 

Then I remembered that I helped a student with the very same challenge back in 2006. So I dug up the files and am posting them here for my student's reference as well as for the benefit of others who may be encountering similar issues with their work.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Direct to digital

A few years ago I picked up Photoshop. I learned it late in my career and thanks to a few friends the lessons I picked up were good enough to get me going. After a while I had enough knowledge and confidence to impart some basic lessons to beginning students. Here's something I did at that time. Drawn directly in the software with a graphics tablet and stylus. No particular reason for the composition other than having fun exploring design through character. Posting it for a nice splash of color.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tint from blue line to color

This is a class demonstration I did in 2007 when I was teaching at Cal State University in Northridge. Some of my students were having trouble getting started with a basic exercise in Photoshop for visual development geared towards enhancing one's production design skills. So I used this blue line sketch as an example of how to move forward in a simple yet effective way.

After scanning the above drawing I created a new layer and used it to color over the original image using flat shapes of tone to define the gray scale relationships of each area of the composition. 

Next I created a transparent layer and used it as a means of tinting certain areas with color.

I took this a step further and added more color tints while softening highlights in her hair.

I could have gone further with rendering the composition but it worked out fine for the purpose of the class session. From what my students were doing afterwards I could see how this method gave them a footing on approaching color in a controllable and confident manner.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey Crash new shoes?

More experimentation and retooling on Crash Bandicoot's original design per request from previous comments. I sketched this out in class the other day exploring a leaner look in his waist along with arms articulated lower on his body and longer hair. Did I mention his new shoes? If you'd like to see the return of Crash in a new game then get involved and help spread the word...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jak and Daxter history - The Road to Jak - Part 9

This phase of the development of the character that became Jak was a cool one for me. I was enjoying the character that was emerging and thought he had possibilities. 

I created studies to explore the design and articulation of the legs and feet.

I continued with the theme making him more mature and changing the style slighty.

I thought this was one of the coolest characters I came up with in the early days of development for 'Project Y'. Too bad something along these lines wasn't used in the game but we still have the image to enjoy.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New do Crash?

Part of the reworking of Classic Crash. Here he is after a visit to the local stylist. By the way...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Friday, September 21, 2012

A pachyderm night at the opera

I was working with a student yesterday who was having a difficult time coming up with a concept for their assignment. So I made the suggestion of drawing an animal character in a top hat like they were going to the opera. He decided to make it an elephant. He drew the head and was having trouble enhancing the appeal of the design. I helped him with it and decided to draw my own version of the character. Here's what I came up.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reworking Classic Crash

I've been thinking about the design of Crash Bandicoot recently thanks to comments that visitors to my blog have been leaving. Mostly along the lines of what I would do with the look of Crash if I was in a situation to be working on the character again. If that were the case I'd like to experiment with some retooling of his design. This sketch of Crash is something along those lines. There's a slight variation in his body mass along with some changes to his ears and the placement of his arms along his torso. The biggest change would be in the way that his mouth is integrated with his head and body. I've been coming up with a few more concepts of Crash with a modified look. This is going to be a fun side project. I'll follow up with more soon.

By the way...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Generic female figure rotation

A few days ago on September 12 my entry was a five pose rotation on a generic male figure. A basic exercise in our program at my school in Burbank. I followed it up with a rotation on a generic female form. This kind of practice really helps in developing core skills. Even if you're an experienced professional it's a great way to keep your chops up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Special Projects

Last year I worked on a special project that was in the development stage with its art. Special projects are interesting to work on mostly because they almost never see the light of day and rarely get produced but they make for a great excuse to generate new art and explore new concepts. The third picture down is a gray tone Photoshop rendering of the second drawing. I did this while the project was in progress on my own to get an idea of how to distribute tonal relationships. Gray tone renderings are valuable in this regard. There's  a good amount of art I created from this project that hasn't been seen before and is waiting to be published.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crash Nitro Kart - Road to Velo - part 3

As I progressed with my journey towards the character of the Emperor Velo for Crash Nitro Kart in 2002 I put down anything that came to mind looking for something that was unique and unusual. When you're in the process you're aware that most of what you're doing will be rejected. What you're looking for is the one sketch that gets a response that clears the path to a final design. First time these drawings have been published.

In case it doesn't read below, this fellow's nose is above his eyes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A little color and tone makes a difference

A few days ago on September 6 I posted some black line sketches in a topic called Girl head doodles. The first sketch intrigued me so I thought I'd work it up a little more in Photoshop.

Here's the original drawing. I took the linework and duplicated it creating a new layer.

Next I dropped a simple shadow layer to help establish dimensionality and form.

Followed this up with some local color and more shadows to push the depth.

I colored her skin to soften the lighting effects.

Lastly I added some design around her eyes and nose for novelty.

For fun I took away the skin tone layer to see what she would look like without it.

A few minutes playing with color and tone enhances a line drawing and gives it more life. A benefit of this approach is you can stop at just about any place in the process and your art will still look good without overworking the subject. Or you can keep going and take it as far as you like.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's in the eyes

I like drawing and exploring eyes. Here's some class demonstrations I created while teaching at the Burbank Adult School here in town back in 2005. I was mixing up illustration methods utilizing markers and pencils and pens and so on. Even a little Photoshop in the first picture below. Eyes are the windows to the soul. They're an important part of communicating the character of the character. Sketching eyes is good practice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jak and Daxter history - The Road to Jak - Part 8

At this point in the development of the lead character that led to Jak I was still somewhat immersed in a Native American feel for the getup and garb but it started to morph in a different direction. Mostly because of the exaggerated hair and also with other aspects of his costume as well as nature of the character himself. I was looking for something unique and what I was coming up with was off the beaten path.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Generic male figure rotation

Continuing with my method of practicing what I teach I joined with my students this week in conducting a fundamental exercise that is the cornerstone of my advanced Character Design class. That is a five pose rotation on a generic male figure. It's used as a foundation for developing more complex character designs based upon the proportions of the human body. 

Here's a look at the rotation as a line up. Clicking on the image will give you a full view.