Tag Archives: character art

Joseph Cross pushes the magic border between fashion and fiction

How does our perception change when fiction looks as real as reality?

Joseph Cross,  senior concept artist at American Bungie pushes the magic border with his robotic characters, excelling in tricking the human eye. Originally trained in traditional illustration Joseph bounced around different areas of commercial art, teaching and retail jobs until landing the first job in games as an environment concept artist on Dead Space 2 for EA Visceral. Since then he’s been working on a variety of other projects and games including Dead Space 3 and Destiny.

Joseph_Cross

 What is the story behind these characters?

-All of these are personal works. If you had asked me before I started working as a concept artist what I imagined myself doing in the field, I probably would have said designing characters. But as it worked out I’ve spent the vast majority of my career as a concept artist designing environments and spaces. So that’s what these guys are born out of, years of pent up desire to design characters.

– Aesthetically these characters come from a growing interest and appreciation of fashion, and being inspired by all the amazing character concepts out there. I did all these characters fairly quickly over about a month or so, and I really tried to think of them as fashion designs (as opposed to concept art) and myself as a fashion designer. It really freed me up mentally, and I tried to focus on textiles, materials, trends, color blocking, as opposed to rendering and how “cool” can I make this character.

Joseph_Cross

 

For many of us, it’s hard to grasp that these outfits are actually 2D and not 3D looking amazingly realistic. They are also highly detailed descriptions of textiles and materials. How would you for someone outside of game context explain how you technically go about?

– I always start with a photograph in Photoshop, usually of a figure that has a nice gesture or lighting, and is not too stylized design wise, something utilitarian that will provide a nice “canvas” to work on top of. Then I’ll start searching through my library of photos that I keep of industrial objects, fabrics, textures etc. looking for things might be interesting to combine with the original photo. For example a section of an airplane wing overlaid on a figure in the same perspective might provide an interesting design idea for a helmet. Then I go through that process dozens more times, with each new element informing the next, and painting in areas of the design where the materials or textiles or lighting doesn’t match. It can be tedious, and I never really know what the end result will be, but that’s the fun of it. Spontaneity is really important for me, I love reacting to design decisions that I didn’t know I was going to make.

 Joseph_Cross

When is high realism something to strive for in concept art and when is it not?

– In production art I like to think realism is always ideal and something to strive for, but not always required. As a production concept artist it is your job to provide visual information and inspiration to other artists whose job it is to turn that art into a usable asset or 3D environment.

-Realism=information so the more realism the better in most cases. There are definitely times when it is not required, like if an environment artist has a tight budget or schedule and just needs a couple of quick ideas for a prop or a motif for a room to slam in. Or a quick proof of concept sketch to show a particular size of door will work in a space etc. There are also concept artists who specialize in more illustrative work, and are brought into to create amazing paintings of castles and ships to inspire the story and generate ideas in a more grand sense. In that case realism certainly isn’t a requirement.

 

Joseph_Cross

Your concepts are, as I assume imaginary futuristic. What do you think the actual future will look like in terms of aesthetics. Are the alien like, sci-fi and robotic shapes we use to describe the future ever likely to come true?

 “Predicting the aesthetics of the future” is definitely in the job description of a concept artist. It’s a slippery slope and can do your head in if you think about it too analytically, but it’s also what makes the job so fun.

– The way I see it there are a few key points or rules that I keep in mind when thinking about and designing the aesthetics of the future. These are in no way meant to be a formula for predicting the future of design, but I think they are valuable things to keep in mind if you find yourself in the position of having to do so for a living:

 1: Design is cyclical

2: There are periods of design that are objectively outstanding/superior to others

3: Life imitates art

 

So in practice I try and apply those points like this:

 For whatever point in the future you happen to be designing for or thinking about, it is reasonable to draw aesthetically from some point in the past (or present).

 –Whether it’s art, architecture, graphic design or industrial design, when drawing from the past or present make sure you have educated yourself thoroughly in as many fields as possible, so that you can make intelligent, informed and creative choices for your references.

 –Have confidence in your ability as an artist and visionary and know that artists have always had a profound influence on industries outside of the medium. 

 

Joseph Cross

Bungie

 

Also read about Chris Wells’ work for Gears of War

Sergi Brosa – Punk gangs and bikers in post apocalyptic adventure

Catalan Sergi Brosas’ biker gang illustrations brings you into a playful, punky world after a possible apocalypse. The characters are a part of an upcoming title from Canadian studio Kemojo. As the project still is at an early stage of development, we can only enjoy parts of the artwork so far, imagining the story growing.

–  These are children of the wasteland. At this stage, we are producing my own concepts. So I’m allowed to choose what I want to do with each character. They are choosing if they want more girls or more boys or when we change clan of people. I’m just starting with a new clan, kind of different from the Biker Crew.

Sergi Brosa

Living and working as a freelance artist in Barcelona,  game concepts was not an obvious choice of career.

–  I ended my studies some years ago not feeling professional enough to start working for the industry. I guess that happens to many students. So at that time, I was  working as a freelance artist. I started doing commissions on DeviantArt while I could do freelance work for some companies. The one that offered me a permanent job at that stage was a toy company. I was working on a variety of things; tiny toys, advertisement stuff, cards… Meanwhile I was trying to finish off comic projects for a French company, a project that failed. So, I decided to focus on other areas, like video games. I believed video games wouldn’t get me stuck on the same topic, so I would fall  into a routine. Video games is also one of the faster growing industries where art have an important place. 

 

 How are you proceeding with the material and turning them into 3D characters? How much of your artistic expression gets lost in the transition?

– As we are at an early stage of development, I can’t really say. But I guess we will lose some expression. For example,  in the visuals I am using a strong cell shading style, mixed with dark lines. This gives the characters an attitude that 3D rendered colors will lose. And this is why I love cell shading because I can express this fluent.. this flowing look to the final piece. This final expression could also be achieved with fast and messy brush strokes. Thing that 3D can’t offer at all. I am talking in general 3D terms, not this game in particular. I’m sure that in the next years there could appear some 3D software that would generate this hand made look. I know there is a cell shade look for 3D, like in video games like Dragon Ball. But they still need to be more fluid in the forms.

 

Sergi Brosa
Sergi Brosa

 

Do you see any trends in character art right now looking at game studios around the world?

-I am not sure. If we take a look at the final visual style (color, lines), I think this kind of style is being used for old school role playing video games, and old school fight games. I’m not really seeing too much of this style in modern video game art. Usually everything is looking more painty, in games I like to play, looking very realistic.
-About the topic of the game, this postapocalyptic stuff is hitting big. Many movies have been made on that topic aswell as video games. The game Rage was the trigger that pushed me to produce postapo stuff. I always loved sci-fi, but postapocalyptic is for me on a different level. I love how everything is wasted and I love the freedom of doing what I want to do without social acceptance. Many of the things I have in my head..it’s accepted in this crazy no laws world. 
Sergi Brosa

If I let you predict the future of game production 20 years from now, what would it look like? What would you want it to look like?
-Haha, good question. I imagine an ungravity room where you can wear 3d view glasses and have your whole body covered by a some kind of armour to be able to move your it to control characters. Run, Jump, etc.
If we travel to a more futurist moment in time, directly connecting video games to your brain to feel everything, to make it as real as reality. But watch out for viruses.
Sergi Brosa

 

steampunk – a digifashion phenomena

Are there visual styles with a stronger digital connection than a physical one?

Steampunk might be an example of subculture grown strong in digiculture, a phenomena at the fringes of pop culture.

Steampunk as a term bloomed in the eighties having grown out of a vast referencial system in literature and film. Cyberpunks sci-fi sibling has been described as “what the future would have looked like i it had happened sooner”. It is a pseudo Victorian dream with attributes of industrialism playing with element of air balloons, steam-powered machinery and mechanical computers.

“Steampunk may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk’s first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.

Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century.[2] Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.” (Wikipedia)

Still with cross media popularity it still is mostly appreciated in video games while having a movement like analogue life. It is a popular subcultural manifestation outside the fashion spotlight still evolving finding new visual expressions.

 

The Steampunk Tribune

Casual Steampunk

Steampunk Fashion Tumblr

Demons and Deities by Mike Corriero

Sometimes you come across work that is hard to categorise, that walks on a thin magic line for one to really know if you are looking at a game concept, illustration or an advanced fashion sketch. Mike Corriero’s  project “Demons and Deities is reminiscent of a high fashion moodboard, still being part of a completely different work field.

– I used a very different technique to tackle the specific Demons and Deities for this personal project. It involved fashion design as the base and using a lot of real world tribes and various cultures all across the globe as reference. Runway models helped establish the basic lineup and a few of the general silhouettes.
The majority of the concepts were built upon multiple layers of lasso tool selections and gradient fills. A lot of custom brushes were used as dominant shapes and patterns and most of the designs were created through graphic and abstract shapes with hints of real world armor, cloth and trinkets. This was a very experimental process that turned out to be quite relaxing and fun to explore.”

Mike Corriero Demons and Deities

Mike has nearly 10 years of experience as a freelance Concept artist and Illustrator for the Entertainment Industries. He has worked for companies such as Liquid Development, Radical Entertainment, Applibot Inc., Paizo Publishing and Hasbro Inc among others.  One of his specialities is creature design and his Da Vinci like way of sketching creates interesting tension, considering the computerized context.

“I’ve always been intrigued and mesmerized by all of God’s creatures in this world. Whether I went fishing with my Dad and my brothers or whether we were camping, I was always wading in swampy water, weeds and flipping over rocks searching for “creepy crawlies”. I would collect all sorts of insects, frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, newts, turtles, lizards and anything I found interesting. I always released them but it was fun to observe and study them even at such a young age.

– My interest in animals is what feeds and fuels my desire to create and design fictional creatures. It’s something that’s so natural to me that it’s become second nature. As far back as I can remember I had an interest in films that explored vast and exciting worlds with abundant and believable ecosystems. I love watching nature documentaries like BBC’s Planet Earth, Life, Madagascar, and Africa.

Mike Corriero

What are you currently working on? 

– I’m currently working on world building with an idea about a vast array of cultures, tribes, creatures and exotic environments. It’s a joint collaboration in which I’ve invited a small handful of other artists I respect to join me in exploring this concept. The project will be driven and steered in whichever direction the work takes it, but the current topic revolves around “Demons and Deities”. Exploring the mythological, tribal and biblical beings and using those as a base stepping stone to design a fictional world where these beings exist in reality and remain a mystery to the cultures and tribes that worship and fear them.

– The thing that drives me as an artist personally is the basic principle behind creation. I am happiest sitting down in front of my computer or a sketchbook, with a cup of coffee and listening to music or watching a good movie for some inspiration. I could sit and sketch until the day grows old and lose myself in the world and ideas that come pouring out of my mind. To be able to fill a blank sheet of paper or a digital canvas with creatures, environments and all the crazy thoughts that run through my head is such a great feeling. It’s an addiction that fills my every thought and waking moment.

 

 

www.MikeCorriero.com

Conan inspired Concept art by Christoffer Lovén

Christoffer Lovén studies at Future Academy in Stockholm, an aspiring  Swedish 3D artist. In addition he already works as a Concept artist for Machine Games.

Christoffer’s work has a softness and subtlety to it and the theatrical expression of it reveals a great interest for filmic and scenic art.

What was your inspiration developing these characters?

-My fantasy characters are a part of my creative process in developing interesting individuals for a book. My inspiration for these came from different ancient cultures mixed together and spiced with influences from the fantastic world of Conan.

What are the most important thing to think about when designing a character for a game?

-To let the characters convey their history and culture through how they look. When you have established your character’s back story it’s then easier to come up with designs on how they dress and to find a place for them in the world.

loveus1

Looking at Concept art sketches  it may seem like a world with endless possibilities. In opposite of working with real life, product design it’s a world of fantasy, storytelling and artistic freedom.  However, the technical framework requires a specific artistic mindset.

What are the main challenges transforming concept art into real, functioning 3D characters?

-To create a character which is easy for the player to read in terms of silhouette and colors and that fits within the rules established in the game. It’s also very important to know and understand how the character that you are making is going to move. The animators should be able to get a feel of the motion of the character just by the concept art.

Read more about Christoffer Lovén at loveusart.com