Category Archives: Backgrounds

Seighti Roadtrip Pre Alfa

There is a lot to say about this one. I followed a tutorial by Imphenzia but am more and more convinced I should make the real thing in Unreal. Probably my meshes are a bit rough around the edges, but there are just to many thing I want to do which seem to be impossible.

As a start tho this seems alright. I learned a lot about game physics, mechanics and unterface design. Also I am learning more and more about the narrative for the game, and the level of detail I want to reach….it’s a lot higher than this.

This is a quick and dirty set up. Just see the floating rocks, trees and lack of water. Maybe I will put these later in the scene. But for now I have to move on to the animatics.

Seighti game feel test

I tried to make a first impression video of what a Seighti game could be. The game is not going to be a simple racing game, that would not fit the IP. Nor will it be an openworld game similar to the GTA games (way too much violence). But it’s going to be something with a lot of narrative. A Small-Press comic-game.

Right now I’m testing different game engines. And of course it’s a Unity versus Unreal thing.

The mock-up seen above is all made by Blender 2.82. A very very very cool, free, program made right here in The Netherlands. I learned how to make this in about a week’s time, next to my normal day-job. And by now I found a couple of workflow improvements. It will take me just 1 /12th of the time to make this now compared to when I actually made this.

Seeing what I want to achieve I’m guessing my choice will be Unreal. But I’m not sure yet. Unity is very intuitive. I’ve been looking at Lumberyard and Godot as well. Amazone’s Lumberyard is just way to heavy (it took around 8 hours just to install the beast). And Godot seems to be better for lighter games, or even 2d platforming. See below:

game engine test GODOT

I liked the experience of making this in GODOT. But there I leave it. At this moment I have no intention of continuing this ‘game’. Mostly because I started this without a clear goal.

There are some complications with blender/unity though. For example I don’t know how to keep my Blender colors one-to-one. The roof in this one is simply white.

But when importing the fbx file in unity, The roofcolor shifts to:

Notice that all the white has changed into a greenish color. I do like the grey shift into brownish…so I won’t complain about that. But the roof has to be white, or more of an off-white color.

In the end I hope I can make the low poly version look a bit like this. That will require me having a bit more knowledge of Unity I guess.

Hope you enjoyed my post. And please tell me what you want to see next time.

Catalina Chair 1

Some may know this, but I lost all my files concerning S8i. It bummed my out big time. But It’s a good lesson. Always make back-ups. That’s the reason I didn’t upload as much as I did before.

Anyway….

I remember I had an interior look of the airplane the characters are boarding at one point. It’s a modified PBY-5a (Catalina). My personal all time favorite plane. So; while I was traveling to work (by train) I made a quick sketch, thinking I could make it into a 3D model.

chair sketch

It’s a gritty sketch. But lots of stuff starts out this way….right? In Blender I tried to make the 3D-model. Which was surprisingly easy.

cockpitchair empty rendered

I made this out of a single box. Just extruded…untill it resembles a chair. I wasn’t sure if it had the correct dimensions for a human being. So I used a free model made by Danny Hensley. You can see his awesome work here. Be warned though. There is an abundance of anatomically accurate models (read: naked characters).

cockpitchair rendered1

cockpitchair rendered2

I think it looks to scale. The first image is only to check the dimensions. The second image is actually a set up for my next step. Recreating the entire cockpit…..I know in the real cataline there was only room for two chairs. But this one has at least four (deal with it :P)

Enjoy.

Background designs

I’ve been checking this site: mattepaintingresource. And I downloaded some pictures as a startingpoint for the following image.

HK seighti test 1

It’s still a work in progress. In the end Seighti (the main character) should be going down the ‘river’ in a kanoo/kayak (I never seem to remember which is which). But at the moment I’m not good enough with color. I can add color-flats no problem. But to go on and add textures or make things look like they have volume. That’s not (yet) my strong point.

I think I want to make this one in a 3D environment, but with painted textures. So the image still has a bit of an 2D animation feel to it. I will probably use blender.

Backgrounds paralax-like

My goal is to make 3D backgrounds that feel 2D. I think I should make them by using distinctly 2d textures and overlay them on 3D models.  But before that I think I have to cheat a little bit. So I tried to copy the paralax effect.

I made the following sketch and added values. Just to see some more depth.

25 D test1

Next I made a sort of roadmap. I’m not very good at organizing my work after I started. So good preperations are always important.

In the pictures you can see the different layers. 1 is near to the viewer, and 7 far away. After that I just started to draw the entire piece, keeping the different layers in mind.  I tried to mimmick Moesbius’s ‘ shapelanguage’ . But in the end I want my work to resemble Kazuo Oga’s coloruse/lighting.

The next step was to tweak the colors and values to make a bigger distinction between the different layers. 25 D test

After that I decided to change the color of the moon and ad shadows. I just added an extra layer to all the existing layers, setting the transparancy to 30 and painted the shadows in black.

25 D test4

Below you can see the different layers.

 

And finally a short animation in Blender. But somehow I could not get the ratio of the camera to change. I wanted to get a more vertical composition. Just like my drawings above. But I didn’t succeed in doing so. If you know how to alter the framesize…please let me know.

You  can see this is made with the pre-shaded layers.

Enjoy

Blender test week two

So my tests in Blender are getting somewhat addicting. I can’t wait to get home from work, just to exercise in 3D modeling and sculpting.  The idea of working in Blender was to have a tool to make backgrounds. 3D backgrounds to a 2D animation…of sorts.

Then last week I made a donut…..just to get my bearings around Blender.

So this week I followed another tutorial. Again by Andrew Price. See here to follow the tutorial yourself. I made this….a building. The same building as in the tutorial.

The tutorial is pretty good to follow, except for a couple of small actions he doesn’t explain. But then again, I think this tutorial is for more experienced Blenderers. At one point when making the railing he omits to tell how to disconnect the copied part from the array. It took me over two hours to find out what happened. But in general I’m very gratefull for his tutorials.

Just look at his website for more tutorials in making 3D objects (mostly for architecture).

Now I’m learning a bit more on modeling organic material. But after that I will probably return to modeling buildings and environments. And later on how to use textures, homebrew textures.

When I was in China with my wife I took the following pictures. I think it’s a good idea to try my hand at those. These buildings are a bit more like my concepts.

I like the second last building the best. It has a real feel to it.

Blender test

OK last time I made some buildings in Sketchup, but I wanted to have more detail. So I decided to use a proper 3d-manipulation program…and…..since I don’t have any experience working in Blender I did a tutorial online. A very good one at that.  A beginner’s tutorial made by BlenderGuru. A nine part tutorial in which you learn how to make a still life: donuts on a plate.

donut tutorial

Of course the subject has nothing to do with the S8i story. This was just a way to learn about blender; the User interface, shortcuts etc. etc. The tutorial focused on a photo-realistic render.

But photrealism is not really what I am going for. My goal is to make the backgrounds with blender, but still using hand drawn textures. The overall feel should remain that of a cell animated feature. I want the backgrounds to be reminiscent of the work of: Kazuo Oga (the man is a genius!) and of Jean-Leon Gerome (another genius!)

I’m still in doubt: should I make the characters in 3d or keep them 2d.

Like you see in my (GIIMP) sketch below I work with gradients, shadows, highlights and rim lights. This is possible in cgi (3d). But not as much in 2d animation. I really want to make an animation that remotely looks like this sketch. And I should find out what mix of 2d and 3d would be best.  The sketch is made for a prologue. More on that next time.

uniform try 2

OH……..I noticed I need a new computer.  My computer takes almost 5 minutes to render just one frame (the one with the donut).

Background sketch(up)

After a long break I decided to draw something again. But I wanted to try a new thing. So I made ‘textures’. The goal was to make a background which is easy to modify. Below are my textures used in the scene.

These are some of the drawings for a slum like neighborhood. Similar to Kowloon. I drew these in GIMP. So they are ease to manipulate. Next step was to make it 3D. Or more 2,5D. I wrote down the dimensions made cubes…and started sticking the  textures on sketchup models.

testscenekl

Above are two buildings made from 3 cubes. The 2 for the buildings and one extra for the ‘150’ sign. The 150 has no particular relevance.

And below one with a character. Please don’t mind her face. Like I said, I haven’t been drawing for a long time. Also I put in some silhouettes of buildings in the far background. But it still wasn’t coming togheter.

testsceneckl

Some of my test scenes. In the second one I put in an extra layer, white. I got the feeling the buildings where compeding with the character. Even though S8i (character’s name) was in color. The scenes are okay, but not exactly what I wanted. They are still too much like painted boxes.

storyboard b15

Especially if you compare these to my earlier work on a (very unprofessional) storyboard. Even when I spiced up the scene with multiple buildings and a different viewpoint the scene wasn’t what I wanted. I think I doesn’t look bad though…just not good enough.

2 building test2kl

So next time when I’m going to make a background, I will probably make a model in Blender. With more parts sticking out of the box. Clothing drying in the sun, round waterdrains and airconditionings hanging from the side.

Hope you enjoy, and I’m open for suggestions or questions.

Background check

Here my progress in drawing a background. I really love setdesigns, and wish to get better at it. But I have to make use of cheap trickery to make my work look like anything at all. roadtrip1.4

My initial sketch. A road through a landscape…in case you can’t read my sketch.

roadtrip1.3

Then the actual line-art. I just fleshed out my sketch. Adding detail, changing horizons. Playing god in my own little make believe world.

roadtrip1.2

Then the colorflats. Well, I put some degree of color variation in them. Some speckles and the occasional shadow. And then the cheap tricks start.

roadtrip1.1

I put a lightsource in the scene itself. The sun. Next to that a gradient, red. From top to bottom.

roadtrip1

And then I put in two dark parts at the top and bottom, just to fake some sort of panoramic view.

My work isn’t as good as other backgroundartists….hell. I’m just an amateur. I want to make the backgrounds to be more cinematic. No blackoutlines for example. I’ll put up more.

Enjoy.

F500

wpid-wp-1441884391494.jpg

A drawing I made inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s Lupin III: the Castle of Cagliostro. I’m trying to learn how to draw properly. Have good character models, hard surface models (car), backgrounds and effects like smoke or clouds.

Layout

wpid-wp-1441884391521.jpgBefore trying to draw anything I like to know what I’m making. So I put my rough ideas on ‘paper’. Road, Car, mountains…note that I didn’t think about adding S8i untill later.  Also the billboard is something I added in at a later stage. Her hair fell flat against the background so  I had to frame it somehow.

Fiat Cinquecento

Of course an homage to Cagliostro. The chase scene in that cartoon is marvelous. Full of action, humor and consistent animation. Hayao Miyazaki knows his vehicles; planes, cars and even walking castles.

I used a method I learned from Thomas Romain. Known for the backgrounds in code Lyoko and Oban Star-racers. A couple of very nice animated series, especially Oban. I saw a post on Tumblr where he explained his workprocess. There is also a book on his work: ‘lost in animation’. The moment I know where and how to get is…I’ll update this post.

He had some tips when you want to draw something ‘complicated’ in perspective. He started out by drawing the object from the side.

wpid-wp-1441439691744.jpg

So there ya go, a Fiat500 from the side. Then he manipulated the image so it looked like it’s in perspective. Just screw, warp or change the dimensions. It’s really easy in GIMP, I guess same goes for other drawing applications.

wpid-wp-1441439688771.jpg

So…there ya go again. Of course this still isn’t enough. Next do the same thing with the other side (the backside).  I have to admit; I was too lazy to do so. Besides I didn’t really think the backside was so complicated. So I just sketched the entire car on top of this one.

wpid-wp-1441439702695.jpg

I always lower the opacity to so I can draw the ‘line art’ on a new layer on top, without being distracted too much.

wpid-wp-1441439679812.jpg

This layer is the definitive one. I like to keep my work a little bit sketchy. So much is lost in using perfect lines.

wpid-wp-1441885293014.jpg

In the end all the hardsurface elements will be made in Blender, but I want them to look like a 2d object.  Maybe rotoscoping, maybe some good cellshaders.

Mountains

I really like the work of: Kazuo Oga known for a lot of the Ghibli movie backgrounds. Also a huge fan of the artwork shown in Rime. I’m still trying to figure out who is the one responsible for those great backgrounds.

I can only say I still have a lot to learn about drawing backgrounds. The line-art is no problem for me. But coloring it, making it believable…THAT is the challenge.

wpid-wp-1441884662939.jpg

So this is a learning moment: I know I have to improve the way I draw trees, mountains…well backgrounds in general.

S8i

The character was already designed. I drew these kind of clothes for the first time though, wanted to give her more of a vacation feel. Although it was somewhat difficult to find an interesting pose: I actually wanted to tell a story. Failed of course, and came up with a more traditional position. So here she’s just resting on the car.

(picture of character in outfit, and color choices).

The first version had her leaning like this:

wpid-wp-1441439698687.jpg wpid-wp-1441884662936.jpg

wpid-wp-1441884662937.jpg

But somehow It just doesn’t work. A: she’s too big.  S8i wouldn’t fit into the car. B: it’s a bit boring. I always have the problem that I can’t spot the problem after I’ve drawn something. I have to step away for a couple of hours/days.

A couple of days later…

OK I revisited the picture. And yeah, she’s way too big, and I just don’t like her pose. She just stands there. Being observed. It feels wrong to me. That’s why I gave her something to carry, some idol she’s holding.

But you already knew that. The picture on top is posed different, and she’s smaller.

Hope you enjoyed my stuff.