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Sketchbook: Christopher Strachan (Phroxir)

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Hello Polycount! Quick introduction and then diving right into this: My name is Christopher Strachan and I have been a motion graphics artist for a couple of years now. While it's been fun and pays the bills, the reason I learned 3D originally was to get into Environment Art for film/game. Now that I've finally gotten a sense of stability and a skill set, figured I'd start chipping away at this. Any critiques or comments on workflow and design are highly appreciated! I understand most of the 3D world from a pre-rendered perspective and am still learning about the real-time work environments. You will see Motion Graphics, Environment Art and VFX here. Thanks for stopping by, LET'S GOOO! 🌱

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  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    For the rest of 2020 my main focus will be completing an Environment Art Mentorship. Goal is to have two scenes completed by EOY. Starting on the first scene: An exterior landscape featuring a waterfall main set piece and various architectural elements in the style of ancient civilizations. The story will be a young, new (hunter-gatherer) civilization discovers the ruins of an older, more advanced (agricultural) civilization. Main takeaways will be an animated cinematic and a series of props and building models, something I have precious little experience at the moment. Here is my initial moodboard - Arches, pots, stone and wood buildings, water features and plants. Lots of goddamn plants.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    Starting with a blockout of the scene in Cinema 4D since it's what I'm most comfortable with. Once I get a feel for what the scene requires asset-wise, will begin developing in Unreal Engine. For now, some camera play. Trying to let my mind live in the space for a bit, figuring out how the stills should develop into the cinematic and what the spaces require to feel full.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    More play. On the banks of the river, looking towards the end goal.

  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    End goal. This space will need some of the ancient advanced civilization assets, which will be separated from the newer one via architectural styles. Ancient advanced civilization (Ehstr) will have lots of stone and arches, so this shot may end up with a statue, archways, aquaducts, etc. Thinking to replace stepping stones with a wooden bridge from the newer civilization (Balicht), leading the eye from bottom left to middle right then back to the waterfall.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    Reverse of the previous shot. While the camera makes its way up the river, figured a side shot of the banks could be useful, filled with huts, docks, treehouses, rope bridges and boats. I have no idea if I have the mental capacity to include figures this go round, but they would be nice.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    Balichtian architecture will be based on indigenous hunter-gatherer societies. Very small, intimate wooden structures lined with pots, fabrics and the like. Keeping to themselves, this tribe has set up around the ruins of the older civilization and preserve its remains.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    Reverse shot. Thinking about what can be modular and what needs to be unique. Mostly concerned with forming a design language first and filling out the scene with the barest of minimums and will return to this once I get a sense of what I need.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    Ehstric Ruins. Ancient aquatic civilization channeling the Mayans, Atlantis myths and others. (Sonic Adventure made me a sleeper agent for this). All textures are there still in look-dev phase and modeling in a blockout phase. Trying to find a style for them that is memorable.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    Ehstric Ruins cont. On the topic of memorability and expression, thinking about including some sort of mesh work in the finals. Justification being to act as anchors for aquatic plants but also because I want this part of the environment to be the most fantastical/expressive. Still canoodling on design ideas.


  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    More progress on this. Two structures per civilization to get a feel for each. Next up is smaller props and decor: pots, fabrics, tables, etc. Rendered in Isometric - I grew up on RTS games like Rise of Nations so a part of my brain still has sensibilities tuned towards that. Still want to make sure all my buildings are to scale though, so this is just for aesthetic.
  • phroxir

    ENVIRONMENT ART MENTORSHIP 2020:

    First round of props - containers and smaller wall designs. Not really sure how this will turn out, so I'm just making a list of all of the props I could need and doing a few variations on them. Still no final models yet, just sketching.
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