Ill do my best to explain everything as thoroughly as possible as I go.
Im also combining this into one fat PDF which Ill upload at the end of the course.
Ill try to give reasons on why Im choosing what Im choosing, or why Im doing something a specific way. Ill also add random notes and bits of info ive gleaned along the way. Forgive me if its a lot to read, but Im going to take the time to write it all, so too bad. I hope to eventually flesh everything out with a lot of pictures as well.
Also here are the links to the other guys and girls that im working with!
Choosing my girl.
Drawing & painting my girl.
Choosing my Girl:
I decided early on, that there were 3 things I wanted to be the focal points of this course for me:
Great final pose, full of great feminine lines, movement and expression.
I also knew I wanted to create an anime styled girl.
Because of this criteria I want to go for a very simple character overall to really draw attention to those 3 main points. I dont want to spend hours crafting complex armor, or epic amounts of cloth when I could spend that time refining the face, hair and executing feminine lines and the simple character as best I can.
I wanted to focus on making a really nice face that I could then pose and present different expressions, because its something Ive always wanted to do.
I also wanted to create a really amazing head of long hair, full of movement and expression, because I think its a very lack luster area of the characters I've created in my personal and professional career so far.
The anime style choice is because Ive recently discovered just how extremely challenging it is to execute simple forms, as well as other reasons:
There are very few details to hide my mistakes behind. Every weakness I have is on display. ie Cant sculpt cloth? Well this simple and plain blouse is definitely going to show that!
The character design and personality is often at the forefront and on display clearly and not hidden behind layers of complexity and noise. Awesome, but again very challenging for me to portray and capture from head to toe.
The colors are bold, contrasty, yet balanced and often very clean. Generally 1 or 2 primary colors with a couple of repeatable motifs (usually a complimentary color).
Too often in my experience with character art so far its been very easy for me to hide behind photos, dirt, and layers of armor detail to make things look gritty, cool and complicated. It has helped me get this far but I need to progress and address my weaknesses!
So with these thoughts in mind, I set out to pick my girl.
I had about 100 girls instantly that I wanted to model hah! So it was very difficult to make a top 10 list and refine that down to just 1.
I sent my top 10 around to a few friends, along with what I wanted to focus on, and got their recommendations along with my own thoughts and feelings which enabled me to pick my girl.
I ended up chosing Hatsune Miku The World is Mine version.
She meets all the criteria, and will help me address many of my weaknesses. Im super stoked and tbh I cant wait until I finish her so I can see the result haha!
1) It should be obvious but its important to find relevant reference for what I want to achieve.
I want ref that highlights and reminds me of the things I want to focus on, nice face, nice hair, feminine lines etc And include as many shots of Miku as possible BUT ONLY GOOD ONES!
When I look at this page, I want to be inspired by the awesomeness of Miku. 2) Alongside this inspirational / reference page its good to have one singular reference point to use as my major / overall direction. In my case its a nice photo of the 'world is mine' version of Miku. I use this to provide the answers whenever I get stuck on something.
My inspirational/reference page for Miku:
My overall directional reference:
For the course, I'm going to attempt to replicate and capture this version of Miku as closely as I can using 'next gen' techniques.
INFO: Theres something Ive noticed in my experience so far and that is, no matter how cool an idea sounds when you first talk about it with people, each step in bringing that idea towards reality in some fashion or another diminishes its original magnificence.
What I mean by that is, say we need a new epic chick character for our game, heres what might happen in the typical course of things:
1) We brainstorm what she might look like with Concept artists & Art director. 2) We find concept art or photo-reference to start the visualisation. 3) Concept artist produce some pieces. 4) We pick and refine a concept. 5) We model and texture the character. 6) We rig the character. 7) We animate the character.
8) We see the final result in the game.
At each one of these steps, the original grandeur will almost certainly get watered down further and further, due to concept art clarity, technical issues, shader issues, rigging restrictions, animation problems, communication problems between departments and many other things. A lot of these can be avoided somewhat by designing within a closed box and 'to the system', but I truly dont believe in stymieing the creative process by technical limitations so early on.
I believe its especially important for unique concepts to start off WAYYYY out there; go for the absolute extreme version of what you want to do:
Dude: We want her to be sci fi and in a mech suit! Me: NO!! We want an epic space bunny girl in an mech suit with 2 rail guns the size of warships and one of them transforms into a giant clawed fist for close quaters melee action! Dude: But our game is pacman.
Me: Too Bad.
Start crazy because no matter what idea you run through that pipeline, its going to be watered down by the time it reaches the game. If you start off mediocre it will end up super ordinary at best. So start with super awesome insane biblical epic-ness and hopefully youll end up with awesomeness.