Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Luce Umbra Final Concept - Lineart

Do I have to explain how much I love lineart? I do, and it's a shame that more people don't do it. While it's a respectable skill to do without, good lineart is just as hard to achieve. Years of practice have maybe gotten me half way there. The hardest thing is controlling line weight and keeping a good flow.

All I can say is thank god for the rotate canvas feature. Makes those harder lines a lot easier to deal with.

Anyway, the character is all but drawn out. I'm quite happy with the details and the design, though I worry a little that it looks too busy on certain sections. With that in mind, I kept the face and dress relatively simple so the eyes have some resting area before moving onto the next detailed area. The wings sorta throw that balance off, though I'm keen to keep them as I've never modelled anything like wings before, so it's a good learning experience. I had the idea of maybe getting rid of the wings and making the crown floating above her head more dynamic to replace them... but I think not.

My goal is to have concept and colours done by the end of March, and then during April I can work on the 3D sculpting stuff, then during May until the end I work on textures, effects and a rig/pose.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Luce Umbra - Further Designs and Ideas

So, here are a few more designs for the Goddess of Equilibrium, now aptly named Luce Umbra. A name borne from the need to stop typing excessively to refer to this one character. Generally, the idea for her design is to mix heavy/strong armour with soft cloths and fabrics. Which is a sort of balance in itself, and proving tough to crack. Beside balancing light and dark, which is a bit harder to show off without colours (I suppose I should get to those now and not when I'm painting textures) but regardless of that, I think I got some decent designs here. Now to find a direction and go with them.

I generally like the idea of the pauldrons, along with the gauntlets and greaves but it's hard to decide a direction to go with generally with it. Should I emphasize the light and dark aspects more on each side, or focus more on a balance which could shift tonally (is that a word?) I'm growing on the idea of giant angel/devil wings, no matter how cliché it might seem.

The idea for the weapon was originally scales, but it has been done to death (by that I mean by basically anyone else who choose balance as a theme). So, with the help of the think-tank, which is more like a think-pod considering it only consists of one other person (thanks Steve), I decided to go with a spirit level for a weapon. This goes along with the pebbles you can see in her hand, the idea is that she can always balance what seems impossible to balance, and the pebbles change colour. If this were a game, the idea would be that the pebbles represent which side is winning, and if all the pebbles turn black she has to fight for heaven, and if all the pebbles turn white she has to fight for hell.

Along with that mechanic, her powers and appearance change depending on how much light or dark energy she's using. More light means a more angelic appearance, and more dark means something more devilish. I really want to get that across in the design, but with the limits on the contest it might be a bad idea. However, now is the time to experiment, so I might just see what happens from that.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Dominance War V

So it's finally started. It was supposed to start weeks ago, but I guess stuff happens. I've been looking forward to it for a while, every since DW III I've wanted to join, but many things have kept me from doing so. Now I can focus on it, I hope to have a decent entry.

Of course, this is a world wide art competition, and when you start going to places like Russia and Korea (as countries with nothing better to do than solely devote yourself to a craft, whether that be drinking vodka, playing Starcraft or making awesome art) you start to see some amazing artists and ideas.

Seriously, these guys have some wicked imagination. I doubt it's the kind of thing you can learn, as most of my characters are pretty down-to-earth, but DW requires you to make giants. The scale of some of these characters is immense, even if they are humanoid type characters. But ultimately, this is about keeping up with the art-thing, which I haven't done in a looooong time. It's fun, but I forgot how tiring it is... the Russians have no problem with this, their blood is made from ice and vodka giving them unlimited energy, and the Koreans need a way to get out of Korea... that would be motivation enough for me to be awesome. But what do I have? Nothing really, a few Red Bulls and perhaps some fleeting illusions of grandeur. What can I hope to achieve? Something that I won't hate 20 minutes after it's complete.

As this is a character design and art blog, let's move onto the character.


The idea behind this Goddess is equilibrium, which is a fancy-pants way of saying balance I guess. But there are a few God/esses of balance, so here's me trying to be different. This Goddess uses both light and darkness to maintain balance in the universe, possibly some other magic that combines them both. She does this so that one side doesn't grow too powerful and take over, which would be bad for most people.

Oh yeah, before I forget, the theme behind DW V is to make your own God or Goddess. Last year it was robots, the year before it was demons. Or was it demons then robots? Whatever, the point is, every year they have a theme, though this one seems less broad than the others.

Essentially this means she's both evil and good depending on her mood and who she's fighting for at the time. If light is winning, she'll fight for darkness and vice versa. The idea extends to heaven and hell, though the concept of a traditional heaven or hell bores me - however it isn't a big deal or something worth thinking about since this is just a character design challenge. But... maybe I'll give the "game" some thought so that might help influence the design.

Originally this Goddess was human, and after a rough stint in life was sent to "Hell" for her crimes. In the pit she saw chaos and anarchy, and longed for order and peace. These feelings helped her escape from Hell and reach Heaven, where she was rewarded for her persistence as long as she be faithful and serve obediently. However, she found she hated Heaven as much as she hated Hell. The lack of freedom and individuality was driving her insane, but with no outlet she had no choice but to bottle it up. The cruel things she endured in Hell she was now inflicting on those who defied Heaven. She couldn't simply see things as black and white, there had to be a middle ground that was better, and in defiance she abandoned Heaven.

Her power and experience in both Heaven and Hell allowed her to act against both forces - this earned her worship from humans who needed a gentle hand to guide them against darkness, or an outlet to release their sadistic whims on another. She swore to keep balance and ensure that no side wins, and in that way she perpetuates constant war behind Heaven and Hell. When things get quiet, she fans the flames to stave her boredom.

The idea behind the design is to infuse classic light and dark elements. Angel and devil wings, halos and horns etc. Though I don't want to be that obvious with it. She's a fighter, and balancing of light and dark leads me to the obvious (scales) which I'm trying to integrate and use as weapons. I also liked the idea of representing those elements with objects - so far I'm using flowers in her hair. There's a creepy-ass flower called the bat flower or something, that looks like it's been chewed up and spit out by a dog. And some lilies for good measure.