Monday, 26 January 2015

Karol Week 2: The Forest

The forest is where the story of Iron John begins, so we both felt that we should design it at an early stage of this project. When I read it I had a pretty clear image of this forest in my head. However, I wanted to explore different ideas instead of going with the first one that popped into my mind.

I started by coping fragments of forests and parks photos that I took in the past. Then, I pasted them all on one layer in photoshop, creating a chaos of leaves, rocks and branches, which I divided into nine  equal rectangles. In each of them I looked for cool, random shapes and patterns that I could use as a base for my landscape sketches. This process, resembling finding shapes in clouds, helped me to come up with some nice compositions and ideas that I wouldn't have thought of if I painted these from scratches.

I really liked the idea of those humongous trees from the the third thumbnail in the upper row. However, I felt that the atmosphere in this sketch was too peaceful in comparison to the forest described in the story. After all, people have vanished there. So, I decided to gloom it up in the series of next sketches by making the forest more swampy.   

I chose three that I liked the most and I explored them a bit further, still playing with different ideas and ways to make the forest appear as a dangerous place. 

In the end, I decided to go with the swamp idea for my final:

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Finn Week 2: The Forest

For this week we tasked ourselves with designing what the forest from the story may look like. In the story, a Huntsman persuades the King to let him enter the forest after years of living in fear of it. Not long after the Huntsman has entered, his hound runs off. The Huntsman gives chase and soon comes across a pool. A hand reaches out of the pool and pulls the hound under. The Huntsman then rushes back to the King with news of what he has seen.
Once again, this week I began by exploring some ideas in my sketchbook.
When doing this I almost always include a figure as I feel it adds more story to the image and gives a sense of scale. I also attempted some compositional thumbnails in photoshop using some techniques I picked up from a tutorial. Here are some of my better doodles.

To help further explore my ideas, Karol recommended a tutorial for environment thumbnails which involved finding cool ideas through different shapes and colours. It involved blurring, stretching and playing with different overlays in photoshop to find the base of what could potentially be a cool thumbnail. You would then paint over the top. Here are some of the better examples I created.

I ended up choosing the thumbnail below after recieveing some feedback. Although I played around with the idea of a forest that we are not used to seeing, I eventually decided that I would create a forest that most people would be familiar with.

I wanted to push the composition of the piece and so I created a small whitebox in 3dsMax to block out what I had in mind. For my final piece, I wanted to showcase the environment as best I could but also have the image tell a story. By adding the pool and the dog to the final piece I felt it added that extra element of story. Here is the process that went into the final piece.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Karol Week 1: Kings

In the Iron John story there are two kings, so in the first week of our FMP we decided to design one of them each. The description of both is quite brief and lacking details which gave us plenty of room for our own interpretations. In situations like that I like to start my design process by drawing many silhouettes. That allows me to explore a lot of different ideas in a quick way by focusing on overall presence of the character rather than details.

After I finished drawing those silhouettes I chose a few which shapes stood out the most against the others, and I explored them a bit further by adding some values on top of them. I also started one more elaborate sketch with intention of adding some background, however I wasn't really happy with it so I abandoned it.  

I still couldn't decide which direction I wanted to go with this character so I did some quick additional sketches. I used my sketchbook and pencil instead of Photoshop which helped me to concentrate purely on ideas instead of what type of brush or layer mode I should use.

  These sketches as well as reading the story again helped me to finally make up my mind. In the Iron John the second king was fighting in the war so I decided to shape my design around that. He needed to be a warrior, to look strong and wear an armour instead of fancy robes. Knowing that I came up with a few more ideas using photobashing. I was a bit sceptic about using this method of work as I like to create my designs from scratches but Finn talked me into trying it and I must say that I'm glad he did because I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. After I decided on one idea I turned it into an illustration.  


Monday, 19 January 2015

Finn Week 1: Kings

For our first week we decided to tackle the Kings in the story. There are two kings in the story, one at the beginning and one closer to the end of the story. I was to do the first and Karol was to do the second.
 I started off with some silhouettes  trying to find some interesting shapes that I liked. I enjoy this method as it allows me to imagine what would be inside that shape. It also allows me to think of the outermost shape and not have to worry building from the inside out. It frees your mind to make the outer shape interesting and unique.

After this I started sketching. Karol and I both wanted to go back to trying some traditional methods for parts of this project as it's what got us into art in the first place and we spend a lot of time using digital methods. I began with some head studies, looking at head pieces the King might wear. These were great as I could come up with lots of elaborate, random shapes and sizes. I didn't have to worry to much about proportions for now.

I then began sketching some more full bodied kings, the whole time thinking of some of my prefered head studies. What appealed to me the most of my sketches were the one's where the King looked a bit mad.

I imagined that after years of living surrounded by the forest that the king would slowly have started to lose his mind. He lives in constant paranoia that the forest surrounding his castle will swallow him and his people up next as it did his huntsmen. After my explorations I thought it would be cool to have the king dressed in pieces of the forest, trying to show that he controls nature when in fact it's always the other way around. His crown is now full of feathers, twigs and plants, and he wears the skins of the animals his huntsmen have brought back from the forest to try and convince himself the he rules over the forest. I wanted to try and make him look more imposing than he actually is. Maybe he wears bigger cloths and sits in a massive throne made of sharp and twisted wood from the forest to give this impression?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Proposal for Iron John, Visual Development of a Grimm tale at DeMontfort University

We are Findara McAvinchey and Karol Nowak, studying Game Art at DeMontfort University. It has been both our long time goals to become concept artists in the entertainment industry and were hoping our final major project will steer us both in the right direction to getting into the industry. This is our FMP blog which will show our development of our project over the next 4 months.

FMP Title
Iron John, Visual Development of a Grimm tale at DeMontfort University

Brief Introduction / Overview
For 15 weeks we will be guided by our instructors to create original design solutions for environments, characters, props, vehicles and creatures found within the story Iron John. We will be applying all we have learned from visual design and some of game production from the past 2 years and applying it to our FMP. We are making sure to use 3D for a good portion of the project as it is widely used throughout the industry today. Some finished characters, environment, props, vehicles and creatures will have a strong 3D base to work on top of.

Brief Story Overview:
A young prince is captured by a wild man known as Iron John and taken into a great forest. He is raised by Iron John until the day comes where he must leave the forest. He travels the world looking for work and finds a job in a royal garden. The land is ravaged by war but with the help from Iron John the Prince defeats the opposing army and wins the heart of a princess. 

Key Images:

By the end of FMP we would like to have a printed book which showcases all our best work from the duration of the project. We are hoping this book will demonstrate that we will be capable of working in games or films as concept artists or as entry level concept art positions. We have looked at the specifications behind the position of a concept artist job role and we hope to hit these points with our project:
  • World Class concept art ability (environment or character)
  • Strong sketching, illustration and painting skills
  • Expert knowledge of Photoshop (or other industry standard)
  • Experience of working in a professional creative environment (games or film)
  • Developed understanding of art fundaments (space, form, light, surface, line, colour)
  • Self-motivated, great communicator, group focused, tenacious.
  • Insatiable visual appetite and awareness

 We hope it will showcase our ability visual problem solve and to create unique and interesting designs.

Visual Specification
The story Iron John will be our constant reference throughout the project. Each of us will have a different interpretation of what we visualise from the story and hopefully this will reflect in our designs.
We are fortunate that we have The Skilful Huntsman book as a visual style guide to reference for the duration of the project. It is also a perfect example of what we want our finished project to look like.

Project Structure, schedule and documentation/evidence
We plan to break up each thing we concept into 1 week periods and in order of their appearance in the story. We will be doing a weekly blog reviewing what we did that week. At the beginning of each week we will gather reference and proceed to produce various iterations, siluettes, sketches, studies and whitebox paintover’s depending on each other’s prefered techniques. By the end of each thing designed we hope to have produced a final image or various designs showcasing our ability to produce unique and interesting designs.

Development Schedule
We are hoping to take approximately a week for each asset that needs concepting.
We have also considered setting up a Facebook page for people to visit and look at the work we produce on a weekly basis. It might hopefully get us some increased attention and increase our internet presence, possibly even landing us a job.
Weeks 1-12 will involve concepting
Weeks 13-15 will involve preparing and organising the book and then sending the work off to get printed. We are allowing 3 weeks for the book to be printed and delivered in order to make sure it’s ready for hand-in.
This may differ slightly as we both have different work flows and other commitments during the week.
Once we have reached the project's deadline, we both hope to continue with the book in our spare time and produce a second book with more finished pieces.