Monday, November 19, 2012

Final SS1 project - Summarizing before start

My aim was to limit my final project to a short working period. One of my biggest aims throughout the last couple of months was to use the experience I have gained throughout the last 6-7 years, combine that with the new knowledge I have gained through the SS1 module and produce something that would have taken me months in the past.

Usually, an environment with decent quality took me 3-4 months to finish. This is mainly because I always push myself to the absolute limits of my capability, combined with a huge desire to pack my work with as much detail as possible. What can I say.. I`m somewhat of a detail freak.
The last couple of months I have watched video tutorials from absolutely wonderful artists, like David Lesperance, who produce absolutely amazing work in an incredibly short period of time.
I realized that his efficiency was based on his very deep understanding of both theoretical and technical elements. Not only that, but he has huge experience when it comes to using the software like 3DSMax or ZBrush. 

Total work time was around 3 months.

The tests I have undertaken recently were meant to take me through that frustration period of adapting to these new workflows and understanding how everything fits together.

Because of the ongoing transition from software to software, you have to know early on in the production stage EXACTLY the methods you are going to use. This involves planning, researching what your end result needs to be.

In Environment Art there can be a variety of products that are required of you to make. These can be:

- quick 3D concept images : these are like 2D concept drawings, but in 3D instead. This is like blocking out your scene, but you quickly add some textures and lights so your team can have a better grasp on how that typical environment could/should look like. 3D concepting is not the easiest task, because you have to be swift and still produce something that looks very good. This requires a thorough understanding of both theory and technical elements. 

- game assets: these have to be objects that can be used in a game engine. Creating a game asset involves a lot of technical elements. You need to do low poly modeling, high poly modeling, texture baking etc. All of these stages of production have to be of quality, which involves a lot of technical tools and understanding of silhouette (modeling) and color (texturing) etc. Creating game assets involves being fluent with a lot of different workflows.

- cinematic assets: the workflow on creating such elements can be similar to that of game assets, but you are not as limited. The poly limits are much much higher and you don't need to worry on recreating triangular low poly meshes etc. That said, the assets you need to create for cinematics have to look insanely good. Depending on the project, you might have to be creating fully realistic elements or very close to that but with a certain kind of style.

For this final project, I will attempt to touch all of these three areas to better prepare myself for the future. Alongside 2D sketching, I will create some 3D concepts to better understand and know the area I am creating. Some of the more important elements of Silvermoon will be created using a cinematic quality approach and the rest with game quality. 
There's going to be a challenge of balancing the visual style of these assets out, as they might look obviously different if I'm not careful enough.

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