Workdump: Summer and Fall 2015

Although I was highly productive the past several months, I ended up neglecting to publish any updates. So here is a condensed version:

June – August:

I spent my summer months producing my comic “From Greatness to Dust and Back Again” and uploading it to tapastic. My process was to produce at least 2 pages a week, from storyboard to final illustration. I feel like I had decent success with this project, but it is currently on hold as I finish my last semester at Columbus College of Art & Design.

September -> Now

I have 18 credit hours this final semester, and it’s really busy.

Despite the workload, I’m enrolled in a few different cool class projects.

The Body House: Oculus Rift Project The project my team is working on in the Real-Time rendering for Oculus Rift class. It’s a rather grotesque concept for virtual reality, but it should be really interesting to experience. My responsibility in the team is directing 3D texturing/material production, scripting, and 3D asset integration into Unreal Engine 4.

(A screenshot of my 3D work featured in our project.)

CCAD: General Motors Drone Concept Design This is a really unique opportunity I was able to get involved in. We are designing drone concepts to accompany a GM vehicle brand. While GM isn’t planning on actually building the drone, they want to see our design process and skills for internship opportunities. We get to present our concepts at the GM design center in Detroit at the end of the year.

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(A small selection of concepts I drew up for my team’s drone design)

Independent Animation: Sachtberg

Under instruction of my professor, have taken the Sachtberg storyboard from last semester, and I’m developing it towards an animated short.

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(a character model sheet for one of the characters in the animation)

Experimental Animation

Recently, I completed a particularly strange paper cutout animation

Personal Work

Yes, my schedule is loaded with school and work, but I’ve been able to find a couple hours a week to push my 3D character model as far as I can. I treat this model as a testbed for learning new 3D techniques and workflows, so that’s why you see her so often.

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I learned how to use Substance Painter to create all the textures for this model, with the goal of making it ready for real-time applications (such as Unreal Engine 4). She’s not complete, as I still have to texture the hair and add “fur cards”, or planes with transparent fur fluffs to give the illusion she’s covered in fur without destroying the computer’s framerate. I should publish a full review of my process on this character once I’ve completed the texturing and make adjustments to the rig.

Long Time, No See

Yo it’s been a bit. I’ve been busy working on school stuff and while I have been posting things, I seem to have neglected this blog. Let me catch you up (if you still follow me, that is).

First and foremost, I changed my logo recently after feedback that it looked “straight out of the ’70s” and “I wonder if this business card is current or if it’s ancient and I should toss it”.

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I also redesigned my Sachtberg characters, as I am working on redoing an animated storyboard (animatic) for a potential short film.

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I experimented with a new painting process which involves using a “Digital Maquette”. I use Blender Cycles to make a 3D render of the subject with lighting and materials. I then use this as reference for painting. It’s the same as making a maquette (miniature posed sculpture) out of clay. The results are good, but rendering the maquette takes almost as long to do as it takes to paint the final picture.

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Here is a sample of one of my render trials for a painting. I used spheres to gauge the lighting from all directions as well.

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Both of these paintings were completed using digital maquettes for perspective, lighting, and material reference. Yes I know it’s obnoxious that I continue to paint these characters but whatever. Read on to find out my thoughts on this subject.

I have made the decision to focus my character design work on creatures, animals, and humanoid animals. Personally I feel more interest in designing such characters as I believe humans are “boring”. Not to say I won’t design human characters any more, but they won’t be my “preferred area of work”. Humans are still artistically “beautiful”, and the human figure is a wonder of nature. However, I find it more entertaining to apply these human characteristics to something non-human, and to invent new species through all kinds of “Genetic combinations” and biological research and what not. My drive as an artist is to create a new world. I apply algorithms and research and extensive effort into new cultures, new histories, new ways of life. Perhaps a mockery of this world, or a reflection of what could be possible out there in the mess of universes. It may be my personal opinion, but I find animal characters fundamentally more interesting to look at- especially if human qualities are cleverly applied. In addition to creating sentient animal-people characters, I also think Artificial Intelligence a fascinating subject rich with designs to explore.

An interesting perspective to the question, “What is it to be human?”

FROM GREATNESS TO DUST update: My comic isn’t over, I’m just pulling back and reconsidering my approach to delivering the content. The comic page format looks nice, but it takes a long time to produce. The rule of comics is “show, don’t tell”, and I find this rule disappointing because it makes describing things deeply a challenge. I am aiming for a more “mixed media” approach- including comic formats, novel-like text with illustrations, and even animations. Keep your eyes out for the next release.

Romy Design- Silhouette

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I played around with the stylization of Romy. Here, I tried an angular design. My friend mentioned the silhouette was a bit “squareish” and then he and his roommate hacked it around with me to produce the following:

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It could be done many different ways, but here was what we ended up with. I wanted to try different variations of scarves, so I redrew the silhouette.

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I plan to do many more silhouette trials. My friend told me I need to keep redesigning her until I get sick of it, then do it twice as much more.

Fun times.

Romy Redesign Run #2

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For those unfamiliar, this is the second redesign pass of my Romy character for my game Sachtberg. I tried her with a longer neck and a more defined jaw (at least on the side view). I also threw some eye styles around to see what I liked. I don’t know how I feel about the wide open eyes I keep doing. It makes her look terrified.