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Creative Cravings Posts

Kiddy Style Exploration

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Chars

Here’s some exploration done on a more kid friendly style. It was really hard to get started, but I actually ended up quite enjoying this. I don’t see myself really switching over to kids illustration wholesale, but I’d love to do a kids book at some point. Lacking focus you say!? I just really love taking on different challenges and not repeating myself. That’s why games are so great, you can start from the ground up each time without being shackled by the conventions you established last time around.

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Marketing Illustration for Paf

bingo_final_web

Here’s something I did for Avaus/ paf during the summer. Not really my usual style, but it was a pretty interesting challenge to find a look everyone was happy with. I do love the kind of retro feel it has too.

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Broken Forest Progress

 

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I haven’t had a lot of changes to do painting lately, with Sproggiwood nearing finish and all, so I was really happy to get my (digital) brushes out for this one! This is an illustration for a story scene in the game depicting a “horrible future”. This picture was actually first asked for few years back already when we started development on the game, but as the story evolved the need was scratched. Through the magic of iteration it made a reappearance this fall, so I dug out my old sketches and promptly scrapped them.

It turns out I have learned something about painting the past two years, because this time I had the sense to start with drawing before jumping to paint.

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This is the thumbnail sketch I picked from my efforts.

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Scanned the thumbnail and added digital values. I probably could have gone a bit further with this one, I had a few problems with the value composition later on.

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Printed out my value sketch at around 20 – 30 % opacity and drew the final line work on top of that. I’ve found this is a neat way to avoid having to use my light table that I paid lots of money for. Honestly though this is a lot faster, and the slight values underneath my drawing help me to visualize the whole thing in three dimensions.

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Here’s the color scheme settled, I knew from the beginning I wanted something that would feel a bit oppressive and strange, so yellow/red/purple was what I had in mind. I don’t usually try out different color schemes for pieces, since my original concept of a piece always comes with color in my mind, then I just need to work at achieving that feeling in paint.

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Continued with blocking shapes out and changed some drawing details. Started working from the background out, so that’s almost final at this point.

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Giving everything a second pass with more detail pretty much.

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Finally added some details, drew the river out and added some line work on top of the piece for emphasis on a whim. Originally when I imagined the piece I saw it as kinda sketchy and scratchy, and the lines seemed to work well to bring that about.

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Sproggiwood Greenlit!

Sooo! We launched Sproggiwood over at Greenlight on Monday, and I was planning on doing a nice blog post about it once I got my current gigs finished, but it turns out I can just tell you it’s passed Greenlight in two and a half days! It feels a bit surreal since we’ve been gathering the material for the Greenlight for what seems like ages now to just finish almost at once. My art got lots of positive comments in general – except for that one guy who said it made him feel greasy like the free-to-play games – so I’m feeling pretty gratified. The game design side of the project still has to prove themselves with demos/ actual launch!

Check out the greenlight page!

We started at 80% yes votes and dropped to 75% by the time we got through, which is apparently pretty good. We had an article appear on rock, paper, shotgun and a few other nice press sites, but there was no major explosion of press associated with the release, we sent the material out a little late so articles mostly appeared on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The release is set to fall 2014 at the moment for PC, Mac and Linux, with mobile hopefully to follow. Now we just need to actually finish the game and integrate it to steam – let’s hope all goes well!

My other posts on making Sproggiwood and it’s art.

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Art for Level Pack: Hell

Another illustration I did for iBear last year, for display on a level pack in game.

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Overtime Rush on Kickstarter

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Almost a year ago I had a fun time making graphics for a tower defense game project, and now it’s finally up on kickstarter! It’s an endless tower defense game headed for ios, with various fantasy villains trying to skate their way to the finish line. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to show off some of the art related to the project, so expect to hear a bit more of it in the near future.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1592452374/overtime-rush-for-ipad

 

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Searching for the Sproggiwood Look

As I’ve been posting the occasional art update on Sproggiwood I thought it might be time to give more insight into making art for a game.

Sproggiwood is by far the largest game I’ve made art for, as I have history of smaller mobile game projects. As our personal indie project, it also came with all new freedom and responsibility. Being the only artist with very accommodating team members I was solely responsible for setting up the visual style and managing my workload.

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Early prototype screenshot.

I started designing the graphics with a few key pointers in mind. First of all, the character art needed to have easily swappable gear art. To the rescue came Spriter, which allowed us to use bone animations with easy to swap single pieces of art. As Spriter was still very much in development when we started using it I had more than a few frustrating moments when the old files stopped working or the ui changed so that I didn’t know how to use the program anymore. Overall though the project would never have been possible without it, and it made the animation workload much easier to handle.

The final animations in the game don’t feature the pixelation that seems to crop up in the exported frames.

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As I wanted to be able to easily add more gear, the animations were designed so that a single image of the item in question would be enough, no different perspectives. For the same reason we also settled on one animation direction with horizontal flipping, no back views.

Spriter also allows for easy combination of frame by frame animation and bone animation, so I was able to do more frames for monsters that didn’t need to have parts changed.

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For the general graphics style I knew there was no way I’d be able to fit in the painted look I love so much, so I went looking for a more simple style. I was kind of fond of the look of many retro pixel art games, but had no interest in actually pursuing pixel art myself so I ended up adopting a rectangle based aesthetic. I’ve long been looking to try out more simple, graphic design in my other work, so I saw a great opportunity to explore it here.

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Early UI mockup.

At first I tried to set myself strict rules to follow, but eventually I just started doing stuff that felt right and good. As time has ticked by everything has been getting more simplified and streamlined, especially the interface.

Final UI in progress.
Final UI in progress.

The game design has also been simplified along the way.

Notice the empty spots that used to have resources/ infiormation.
Notice the empty spots in the UI that used to have resources/ information.

A few lessons I’ve learned along the way:

– Simple things can take more time do than complicated ones, as you cannot hide imperfections in the detail.
– If someone asks you to do a tilable river with animation, say NO.
– Good mockup ui graphics to make iterations easier.
– Tilesets have an unbelievable amount of tiles if you’re doing corners, and making good looking tiles takes forever.
– Things change, and graphics end up obsolete. It’s better to do placeholders instead of finals for big stuff that might change.
– You’ll never anticipate all the little stuff, especially when working with an iterative design.

Overall I’m really happy with the project. I’m proud of the art I’ve created and even though some of the lessons along the way have been painful they will make my work more efficient in the future. Of course the game isn’t quite finished yet, but most of the graphics work is getting there. Soon I’ll be able to count the remaining tasks with my fingers!

We’re entering the dreaded state of game development called “polish”, so in a few more months we might have a completed game.

More about Sproggiwood:

Twitter https://twitter.com/unormal
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames
Webpage http://www.freeholdgames.com/

 

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Sketch

Here’s something I did a while ago when I was still planning on adding more book cover work to my portfolio. I was really happy with this sketch, but couldn’t find a way to turn it into a full painting without loosing what I like about it. Maybe sometime later? Here it is anyway!

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Anatomy sketches

Made from my Anatomy Tools figure, because something you just need to sketch anatomy. Seriously though, I love my figure and feel like it has helped me a ton in visualizing anatomy in 3d.

anatomy

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Sproggi and then Some!

Fresh of the press, all Sproggi! He’s just so adorable I could keep doing these all day. My way to take a break from all the menu work that still needs to be done. Seriously, there’s a lot of menus in this game.

He’s the main good/bad/plain weird guy in our upcoming indie game Sproggiwood. I’m sure you get the idea from the images! These are his dialogue portraits.

sproggi

For more info on Sproggiwood see:

Twitter https://twitter.com/unormal
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames
Webpage http://www.freeholdgames.com/

 

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