The Final Stretch: Rendering, Shading, and Polish.
Weeks 10-12: Polish Period.
The past two weeks have gone by so quickly, and yet I have achieved so much! Because I was in the midst of the final push for this project, I found I did a lot more rapid iterative practical work, and as a result did not spend too much writing down my reflections. So, this post may be a little shorter than the previous one!
After the critique I received previously from Phoebe Herring, mentioned in my last post, I got to work straight away implementing her feedback.
My first step was to complete the other side and back profiles for the turnaround. This was very much a trial-and-error experience with a lot of references!
I found that once I thought I had finished, I then changed more details on the front pose, meaning these changes had to then be carried onto the other two.
Meanwhile, I wanted to research further into how to properly render my work so that I could achieve Phoebe’s suggested lighting and shading.
I found this incredibly useful video by Marc Brunet which explained the rendering process using Ambient Occlusion in a way that was really accessible to me. In a way, this working from black and white to colour workflow reminds me of the workflow I discussed a previous post, which I was going to work for my environment illustration.
One thing I really took from this video was the separation of different stages into categories that would still result in a piece that is publishable online. This was crucial for me during this final push of this project as once I had finished a stage, I felt like I would be able to publish the piece on ArtStation if I ran out of time. Luckily however, I was able to do the full process!
This previously mentioned Marc Brunet video, combined with a lot of critique from friends and lecturers, such as Phoebe once again meant that I was able to take my character from this:
From a follow up session with Phoebe, I learnt about the planes of the face, and maintaining the definition of these in mind while rendering my character. I found this resource after the session and used these references to ensure my character had more dimension to his face.
In the final days of my project, I paid extra attention to rendering his face, as I wanted this to feel very alive and be a main focal point of his design.
Another workflow that I picked up from a follow up session with Phoebe was using the Face-Aware Liquify tool in Photoshop. This tool allowed me to quickly change key issues with the anatomy of my character’s face, such as his oversized eyes, without disrupting the artwork too much.
While working hard on the rendering of my character, I realised that I had not incorporated the café logo onto the apron of my character!
I remembered when previously trying to include the logo, the text in the logo became very pixilated and unreadable.
To remedy this issue, I decided to create a simplified version of the logo and add some more narrative to its design! I wanted this simplified version to actually be the older logo that the café used before Wynn took over management and renamed the café ‘Déjà Brew’, referencing his necromancer powers!
This made more sense narratively, as instead of the café being named ‘Déjà Brew’ beforehand and it being a coincidence that Wynn just so happened to find it, he instead branded it after the other side of him. This also once again reiterates that no matter how much he tries to hide from the necromancer side of him, it still creeps through.
In order to communicate the age of the business with the simplified logo, I decided to have the logo printed onto his apron and with age, be cracking and peeling off. To do this, I found references, and found a great website which provided textures to re-create this effect! (Merritt, 2021)
By using these, I was able to very quickly recreate the effect I desired!
Here’s a full speedpaint of the process of the creation of the logo:
After completing this detail, I was focused on completing the rendering and the presentation of my sheets! Then it came to submission! My final project can be viewed on ArtStation here:
I am incredibly happy with the outcome! I believe that although I did scope back drastically from my initial plan with this project, I have created something that clearly shows my increased understanding of the fundamentals of art (anatomy, lighting, perspective etc), which was my original aim with this project!
It was also incredibly satisfying taking an old character and re-vamping his design, and I feel almost as if I have done him more justice!
Thanks for reading this journey!
Make sure to check out the full ArtStation post to see all the sheets I created and some more speedpaints!
For Weeks 6-7, I wanted to experiment with focusing on one workflow fully, rather than switching my attention between lots of smaller little tasks, as this previously left me feeling as if I have under-achieved. I chose to focus on character concepting and turnarounds as this as it is an area I am familiar with, and as such I was hoping that by working on something I am more comfortable with, I will gain motivation and speed up my workflows!
To start off the week, I worked on character silhouettes for turnaround and concepted outfits based on the mood boards I had created previously.
I was really happy with how these came out, and it felt nice to create art I felt confident about. I believe this confidence was due to the fact I have more experience concepting characters than designing environments, and so was able to achieve a result of the quality I wanted quicker.
For the colour scheme of many of these outfits, I took inspiration from the previous design of my character in Necromancer form, based on the Green Peafowl, shown below.
I sought and received feedback on these designs and narrowed them down to one design that I liked the most – a combination of a few of the outfits which I could take forward.
As well as working on the outfits, I wanted to redesign the face of my character, as I was unhappy with its design. I was inspired by this Artstation post by Rose Timperley (2020), who incorporated face studies into her development. I decided to do some face studies of my own and gathered a few references which I felt would work well for what I wanted my character to look like!
Here is the result of that work, and a speed paint showing off my progress:
While creating these faces, I decided to try out the black and white to colour workflow I discussed in my previous post, as I wanted to use this when it came to my environment painting. I found this workflow to be quick and with enough attention to detail and polish, I can see this working well, and being a big time-saver!
Later, during the week, I had a supervisor lecture, in which I discussed my work further with my supervisor. At his suggestion I investigated using Mixamo to pose the Unreal Player Character to quickly get 3D reference and posing for my environment painting. I found this super useful, and will use this resource in future!
Here are some screenshots of some poses I considered using:
As I was quite enthusiastic about my progress character concepting so far, I decided the next week to continue developing this aspect of my project. While researching further into how I could improve my character outfit concepts, I came across this incredible video by Knight Zhang which discusses ways of incorporating more storytelling into your costume design through subjects such as historical context.
As one of my main design choices when creating my character’s outfits was bellbottom pants, I researched deeper into when they were most in fashion, discovering this was primarily in the 70s. I then discovered the prominence of deep cut collared shirts and more expressive fashion, which was something I was subconsciously already designing for my character!
I decided to really latch onto this idea and create mood boards surrounding the 70s aesthetic!
To provide more depth to the design decision of dressing my character in 70s clothes, despite him living in the present day, I decided to relate this to his backstory. This idea came from the aforementioned video which discusses deepening a character’s narrative through costume design.
Instead of these clothes being his own, they actually belong to the deceased son of the elderly couple who adopted Wynn after he resurrected that said son momentarily so they could say their final goodbyes.
As well as deepening my character’s narrative through costume design, I wanted to take the tattoos I had roughly concepted in the outfit concepts and elaborate on these further. I gathered some references to start generating ideas.
I liked the idea of featuring symbology from my character’s original Necromancer form, so I included a lot of eye imagery and feathers into my concepts, relating to the Green Peafowl.
When seeking feedback on these designs, one of my friends pointed out that I hadn’t paid much attention to the way tattoo sleeves usually have a flow to them and a consistent design throughout. I agreed that currently these attributes were missing from my concepts, so I created more iterations!
With these concepts, I paid more attention to the meaning of tattoos and researched further into techniques and designs that would have more relevance to my character and deepen the meaning of his design. I learnt about the meaning of armband tattoos from this source. (SPOTLIGHT ON ARMBAND TATTOOS AND THEIR MEANINGS, 2018)
With a narrative in mind that I liked, I decided to do one last iteration of the tattoo designs, this time from another angle that would show off the way the tattoos wrap around the arm better, as suggested by my friend.
I felt these were much more successful and closer to what I had in mind initially. I especially was drawn to the idea of having the evil eye tattoos a different shade to the bands that covered them, in order to more clearly establish the difference in depth and time period between when my character would have had each tattoo.
At a later point I created a rough presentation page which explained my idea behind these tattoos in a clearer way:
The Issue of Scope…
It was around the 8th week of my project where I realised that proposing an overly ambitious project was maybe not my best idea.
Although working on this project so far had pushed me to explore unfamiliar workflows and deepened my skills, it was also quite over-scoped and at this stage of the project, I became overwhelmed with just how much was left to do.
I spoke with my Supervisor and Module Leader and came to the decision that I would focus instead on creating a professionally presented character turnaround with supporting presentation sheets. The below images show the original proposed deliverables for my project, and the re-scoped deliverables.
I chose to focus on creating character sheets as so far during this project this was the area I had made the most progress with, and character concepting is an area I believe I can really display how much I’ve improved upon in my portfolio. After I submit this project, I would like to re-visit the work on the environment illustration that I have done and hopefully in future develop this and create what I originally planned to deliver!
I found that after I made this change my motivation for this project dipped – even though I made a smart decision in rescoping, I felt somehow that I had failed preemptively because I had stopped working on the bulk of my project. However, I was reassured by lecturers that this wouldn’t affect my grade and after time passed, I too began to realise the truth of this.
In reality, I had a much greater chance of improving my skills to an industry standard if I focused on one pipeline/workflow and dedicated the time in needs to really shine!
Another factor that allowed me to regain my confidence was seeking feedback on my work. By getting feedback from peers and other artists, I was able to quickly identify the successful aspects of my work and improve on weaker areas. Having the knowledge of how to improve stopped me from stagnating and getting caught in art block, whilst also improving my own eye to see where I am making mistakes.
One main example of this would be when I was cleaning up the line art on my character turnaround and trying to decide upon the style of 70s shirt I wanted my character to wear. I decided on a silk shirt with an exaggerated big collar and big V dip.
Although I gathered many references, I still found that I was having trouble conveying the lighter-weight silk fabric, and my drawings ended up looking quite heavy.
I remedied this through the help of the wonderful S.Rodyakin, who posed for me very helpfully! Using these video references, I was able to draw something much more convincing and interesting in terms of shape and silhouette.
Now that I had decided to focus on character concepting, it was time for me to really get stuck in and start refining the design of my character. It was around this time when I was able to book a tutorial with one of my lecturer’s Phoebe Herring in order to receive some 1-on-1 critique of my work so far. This was invaluable, as she gave me lots of advice on how to bring my work to a presentable industry standard.
Phoebe assisted me in correcting some of the perspective issues I was having with my posed front-view of my character, as I was struggling with getting the apron to appear three-dimensional, and having the bellbottoms appear to wrap around the leg of my character.
Using what I learnt from this paint over demo, I will be working to improve from this.
In addition to this, Phoebe also assisted me with my presentation sheets. Previously, I had wanted to relate my presentation sheets to the narrative of my character, so I had chosen to create a chalkboard-esque background to relate to my character’s barista form.
However, my suspicions were confirmed by Phoebe that the background being painterly made it hard to distinguish the background from the foreground of the artwork pieces I was trying to present.
Because the artwork was struggling to become the focal point of the sheets, this meant that the presentation overall was weaker. The main piece of advice I received was to keep it simple, and have the artwork speak for itself!
The final piece of concepting that I did during this period of my project was the logo for the café! I got to work gathering some references!
With the name of the café that my character works at being ‘Déjà Brew’ Café, I wanted to incorporate some circular symbology, relating to the cycle of time/repetitive imagery.
This would also subtly refer to his necromantic powers, as it relates to the death and rebirth cycle. These are the designs that I have created so far, each version being an improvement on the last.
Currently, I am most happy with the last design on the page. To create this, I ventured from Clip Studio Paint into Adobe Illustrator in order to warp the text in a way that flowed with the circle. I followed this tutorial to get to grips with Illustrator and the warp effect:
If I have time in the remaining few weeks I have before my deadline, I would like to improve and iterate on my chosen logo further, perhaps by adding some of the weathered details I incorporated on previous logos!
Moving forwards, I have less than two weeks left before my deadline, so I will be spending this time really getting together my presentation sheets and the three turnaround poses I have planned for my character and aiming to get these to the highest quality possible.
After submission I will be updating this blog with my final reflection!
Developing an Environment for My Necromancer Character
Weeks 1-6: Research Period
Beginning my Final Project for my Master’s Year, I knew I wanted to use this final term to create a project individually and tackle a subject area I knew I needed to improve on. One which I felt was missing from my portfolio currently.
Due to the time constraints this project would pose, and the support that I would have access to from lecturers and other staff, I thought this final term would be the perfect time to try out a project further out of my comfort zone!
Having access to frequent supervision sessions on my course will also push me to achieve and hold me accountable!
My aim for this term is to strengthen my 2D Art skills, and demonstrate my improved understanding of the key art fundamentals, such as lighting, composition etc. Another main aim of this project is to increase my employability as a 2D Concept and Visual Development Artist.
During Week 1, I detailed to my supervisor three main ideas I had for my project, all of which were targeting areas I felt weren’t currently visible in my portfolio, as mentioned earlier.
My Initial Three Ideas:
Character Portrait – Historical and Modern Version
Fade between the two to show contrast
Stylized, focused on composition, rendering, anatomy, and lighting.
Take inspiration from royal portraits (ethical concerns with glorifying royals potentially)
Could research portrait painting, portrait photography etc (potentially splash art/promotional art angle)
Example of job requirements – First point would be the one I am aiming to achieve with this project:
Character in an environment – using 3D techniques to block out.
Human and Supernatural version, chance to take an old character and re-paint them.
Human version – normal clothes, coffee shop setting, most likely behind the counter serving.
Necromancer version – same location but at evening/night – dramatic lighting with potions replacing normal items.
Ethical issue in that this character is based on Myanmar and there are currently protests and a coup.
Would be meeting the job requirements I mentioned earlier.
Would show character design from this initial concept to a more ‘human’ version of this character and also prop breakdowns and concepts.
Would be nice to present this piece as a slide between the two outcomes/a gif showing the progress between them, similar to my Rookies 2021 Submission: Thabisa (Richards, 2021)
Create a visual novel entirely by myself – most likely experimental and a vertical slice due to time constraints.
Would involve coming up with an initial concept, script writing, python programming and art creation (background, characters, UI).
Could investigate time-saving techniques etc. Use 3D to model backgrounds etc
Would be using Ren’Py.
Inspiration from Brianna Lei, creator of ‘Butterfly Soup’, created by herself. (Lei, 2017)
Assignment submitted as an itch page, and Artstation page – Want to create one to have a game I am proud of on my portfolio.
Ethical concerns would depend on what I base my visual novel around – any topics that arise etc.
Risky as art will not be as polished and there’s a high chance that it may be overscoped, but there’s a lot to be marked on!
Risky with mechanics too, and being unique enough with this concept to make it engaging to the player.
After discussing these ideas, I decided upon Idea 2 – the re-creation of my Necromancer character, and put him into an environment. By choosing a pre-made character, I will speed up some of the concepting time as I have a design to work from. Additionally, I am hoping that by taking a character already existing and improving them, I will be able to demonstrate to an employer that I have improved and expanded upon a concept.
As I will be embarking on an individual project, it is up to me to keep up my project on track, and this can influence motivation. To tackle this issue, I created a timeline for my project early on, with rough aims for each period of the project.
I split my project into four segments: Research, Practical, Polish, and Finalise.
In order to keep myself on track outside of lecturer contact time, I decided to create a Trello board for myself, in Kanban style. This is because I believe that using Kanban, over a full scrum development style, will allow me to be more flexible during my project. This will allow me to focus on tasks I find more enjoyable or understand the workflow of more clearly, meaning my productivity will be heightened and I will hopefully experience less artistic blockers.
In my Trello board, I used colour coordination to indicate the importance of tasks. For example, red indicates high importance, whereas green is low importance. Additionally, I used time deadlines in order to push myself to keep on track, rather than having tasks open-ended. As is shown in the above image, a lot of tasks are due to be completed on the same date, usually when a new week begins. This is to allow myself a little bit of flexibility during the project.
As mentioned previously, the first six weeks of my project was dedicated to the ‘Research’ phase. This firstly involved a lot of organisation of the project. To begin, I created a smart plan for the presentation I would have to give in the fourth week of this project. By creating this early in the project, I had a clear vision of what I needed to create, which also aided in my creation of tasks on the Trello board.
After creating this, I began to collect a lot of visual reference for my art style inspiration, the café interior, props, and possible outfits for my Necromancer character in his undercover barista form. In these mood boards I noted down what I liked about each image I had created, and although this was very time-consuming, it also helped to focus in on what exactly I wanted to achieve and create in my work.
All references of images on the moodboards, can be found in a description next to the image!
Below are the mood boards I created:
ART STYLE INSPIRATION MOODBOARDS
PRESENTATION SHEETS MOODBOARD
While creating my project, as part of the requirements for the assignment, I had to consider the ethical concerns.
One issue with my Necromancer character, is my initial inspirations I had to when first creating this character. Initially, my character was inspired by Green Peafowl from Myanmar. I decided that this character would be a Necromancer, as his original concept was centred around taking an animal and a DnD class and combining them. Peacocks are commonly seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal, which links them to the theme of Necromancer.
However, currently Myanmar is undergoing a coup and there have been hundreds of deaths. By taking a character from an Asian country currently undergoing so much violence, and then associating that character with death, as a White person this feels incredibly distasteful. As a result, I decided that my piece would not have any graphic depictions of gore, death, or other sensitive material. I have also decided to separate him from reality as much as possible, only focusing on the visual similarities between the green peafowl, whilst still maintaining his appearance as an Asian character.
I additionally decided to change the narrative of my character, rather than him being evil or having any negative connotations in relation to death, he instead is cursed with these powers, and chooses to try to control them and use them for good, never using them to harm anybody.
In order to flesh out my character’s story I created a character biography during this research phase, this can be found here:
By creating this, I was able to identify some of his interests, and then think about which props or interior design decisions I could make to reflect this.
Speaking of interior design, I decided that this would be a relevant workflow avenue to research. I found two talks on GDC by Dan Cox which discusses Interior Design and how it can be used to influence Game Design.
Although these talks were more focused on 3D spaces and game levels, I still learnt about some interesting ways interior designers use contrast and repetition etc. I will be keeping these in mind and re-visiting this information when refining my environment.
As well as this, I strengthened my knowledge around environmental thumbnailing. I found a tutorial on YouTube by illustrator Lee White, and his process on creating thumbnails.
I could relate this to my own work and found it very useful.
I felt particularly reassured to see that he started off with very rough sketchy thumbnails and then worked these up to more solid drawings. As someone who is not familiar with environment concepting, as much as character concepting, this gave me hope that even though my initial sketches may not be perfect, this is okay, and that I should not be discouraged but instead push the ones that are working the further.
Encouraged by this video, I began creating rough sketches of the composition of my environment.
After narrowing down the composition I liked the most, I researched more into tonal thumbnails, and found an interesting tutorial by Trent Kaniuga:
After watching this, I created a tonal version of the thumbnail I felt was most successful, and through doing this I was able to understand more clearly the depth of the image and the positioning of some props.
However, I knew I had to improve on this composition, as it is very basic. Additionally, I will need to focus more on prop design before I can concretely know where to position some props, and really refine the illustration.
In order to make the composition more interesting, without worrying too much about perspective, I decided to use Maya and 3D model some of the environment in order to establish more interesting camera angles.
After taking a few screenshots of the rough blockout at different camera angles I put them together in a document and asked for feedback from a friend.
I received help, and I was able to enhance the 2nd thumbnail into something a lot more interesting and closer to the atmosphere I wanted to create for this piece!
I will develop this further moving onto the next phase of my project: the Practical phase.
WHAT WORKED WELL THIS PHASE
In depth research means I have a detailed pool of references to draw from.
2. Because I defined my narrative and created a timeline early on, I have a clear idea what I should be doing at each stage, meaning I am not aimlessly creating, for the most part.
HOW TO IMPROVE MOVING FORWARD
Focus in on a workflow for a longer period, rather than flitting between tasks: higher chance of developing something more fleshed out and therefore I will feel more motivated.
(Although the flexibility of choosing what I want to work on was nice and kept me interested in my work, I began to feel demotivated as the weeks went on as it felt I wasn’t creating anything I could show off or be proud of as the quality wasn’t up to my standard just yet.)
2. Might be better to research workflows as I am creating – can put it into practice straight away rather than re-visiting.
Thank you for reading and keep tuned for another update at the end of the practical phase, where I’ll be showing off a lot more of the art I’ve done for this project! You can check out the Pitch Presentation I did for this project in Week 4 here:
Link to Laboratory speedpaint featured in presentation:
This video shows a black to white workflow that I would like to try out further down the line when developing my environment piece! There were many other videos I watched that inspired me during these past six weeks, but I will mention these once they become more relevant in future blog updates!
During the guest lecture we had today, and afterwards, I worked on the angry sprite of my character. I am prioritising firstly on doing the rough line art of the human version, then if I have time, I will do the fairy version. Previously, I thought it would be achievable to finish all the lineart before the lecture tomorrow, however now I know I was over scoping for the time period I had left to do this. I did not consider how travelling home and the change of working from home would affect me. I have always found working from home to be difficult after coming to university, most likely because I associate my home environment with relaxing and unwinding after term has ended.
Because of additional distractions, I have found it harder to work at home. Having a positive and productive working from home environment is crucial, especially this year as with Covid, there is no other option. I will have to be strict with myself, especially if I want to keep creating and finish my GART702 work before January.
However, I do think I have been harsh on myself recently regarding my GART702 work, as although I am behind on the schedule I proposed for myself, an important part of the creative process is reflection. It is just as important to think about what I have done and let those ideas ruminate as it create.
I believe that taking the time to focus solely on finishing all my GAM701 work will benefit my GART702 work. This is because as I am working on the other module, I can think about my personal work and allow new ideas and solutions to problems occur. Then, when I feel more prepared, I will be able to tackle the work!
I have created a week plan to help this.
Monday: -Attend guest lecture. – Work on GART character
Tuesday: -Work on character more.
Wednesday: – Hand in work!! (this has been moved!)
Thursday: – Attend lecture. -Work more on essay and blog.
Friday: -Continue essay and blog work.
Before the lecture today, I continued working on the line art for my character. This is what I was able to create for critique!
Our regular lecturer Ady was unable to attend the lectures, however, another lecture, Phoebe, was able to take over! I showed her my work so far, and she gave some really useful feedback! She created this paint over while explaining how I can improve my work.
She told me I need to change the perspective of the legs, and keep in mind how certain areas overlap and how I communicate this. I thought myself that the perspective of the legs seemed wrong, but I did not know how to solve this, and nobody else mentioned the issue before this. I believe the mistake came from the incorrect angle of the reference photo that I was using, and me basing the drawing too heavily off this rather than knowledge of anatomy.
Moving forward, after I have finished all my work for GAM701 I will focus heavily on my GART702 work and make sure the proportions and perspective of my character is accurate before moving onto later stages.
Lastly, after looking at Phoebe’s paint over of my character, I have decided that I would also like for my character to have flowers in the pockets of her toolbelt alongside the tools she has already.
I believe it would be nice for her to have the flowers that she uses for each of her different emotion sprites. This would give the impression that she grabs the flowers from her toolbelt each time her emotions change, which I thought would be a funny detail.
This relates to the inspiration I got from the Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright games that I have mentioned previously, and how each character is very exaggerated and unique. That fun kind of character design is something that really appeals to me and something I want to communicate in my own work!
Originally, the GAM701 assignment was due in today, however because of the travel window the government has provided students, my University has extended deadlines that take place during this week. This is to ensure we have enough time to complete them to a good standard. The new deadline is on the 16th, a week later, and I intend to use this extra time to perfect my blog posts and ensure that my final reflective report of this term is of the highest quality I can make it.
Because I will be mainly focusing on writing my blog and report, my reflections over the next few days will increase, however I worry that I will not have too much new to write about. I have noticed, after looking back at previous posts, that I have become more confident with writing these posts and open to the reflective process.
As I have progressed throughout the year, my blog posts have gotten longer as I have created more work and been able to reflect on more. It certainly has helped to curate this blog as it has given me clear picture of my progress each week, and this has been a real motivation booster when I see how much I have been able to achieve in a short period of time!
Additionally, being able to break up my work into week chunks more clearly has helped to make each week refreshing and alike starting anew. Instead of the thoughts from the previous week lingering and being messy in my head, I have been able to write them all down and have them saved for future reference.
Worked on essay and blog. Today we had our last GAM701 lecture, in which we played games together which was really lovely, and a well-deserved break from all the work! Because of this I did not do any further work in the evening.
Today I worked further on my blog and the essay. Once I have finished updating my blog, I would like to go back through it and then take notes on key reflections and pieces of work I have done each week, and this will help me structure my essay. For example, looking back on my first post recently I remembered that one of the earliest tasks we had was to write a written reflection on what themes and skills we will focus on during the Masters’ course, and how these will change our work.
I wrote that I wanted to improve my storytelling in my character designs and create a character that people feel represented from. While I hope the latter is true, as I have taken care to reference as accurately as possible Black features, I know that my storytelling ability has been pushed and strengthened a lot this term. This has mainly been because of the weekly peer reviews that have taken place on the GART702 module. Receiving critique inside this, and also seeking my own outside of this has allowed me to quickly work on advice given to me and strengthen my character designs substantially because of this!
Additionally, I have also noticed that this has carried through to my GAM701 work in the latest sprint game. By conducting a playtest I discovered that my main character did not communicate as a female gang member as I had intended, so I needed to add additional visual cues to show that she was tough and not just a schoolgirl.
In future, I do intend to continue to keep seeking feedback with my art wherever I can, as it is incredibly useful. However, at times I do feel like I rely on feedback a bit too much, and sometimes I go against what I feel is best. For example, a few weeks back I had created a colour scheme for my character which I really liked.
I liked this colour scheme a lot as I had put a lot of my identity into this, as I identify as Pansexual. The main colours of this design are pink, yellow, and blue, which are the colours of the flag. I would like to change the colours that are featured in the current colour scheme I am going forward with to make them reflect this part of me.
I would like to replace this greener tinted yellow with a brighter yellow. I believe this will work a lot better and retain that initial part of me that I incorporated into my work.
Speaking about this, it reminds me of a quote from my favourite book, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde.
“every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter…”, “…it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.” (Wilde, 1890.)
To start the working day, I decided to create the divider for my blog finally! Because I have been working solidly on writing my reflective report and blog posts this week, I felt like it was a good time to do some art to break up the work a bit!
I knew that I wanted the divider to either be related to flowers or frogs. Flowers, because a lot of my work has revolved around them this term. Frogs, because not only do I love them but my very first piece of work I created featured my frog statue, and I felt this would be a nice throwback!
I knew also that I wanted to include yellow in the design, perhaps for the divider lines, because it would match my colour scheme of pink and blue nicely. I have mentioned previously, but I identify as Pansexual, and these are the colours on the flag. Incorporating this into my blog design means that it reflects me more personally. I began working on the divider for the blog, and the first iteration incorporated a frog into the design.
However, I did not think it was successful as I was working on it, and imagining it on my blog, it did not feel like it would fit.
Instead, I decided to make the centre illustration a lilypad instead. This still has relation to frogs, but there is more influence from flowers and nature, which I feel like is a much more prominent theme on my blog.
This is how the first iteration of the lilypad looked like on my blog. I liked this, however I felt like the yellow wasn’t bright enough, so I experimented with it further.
The second iteration was better, but still not what I wanted.
The third attempt was much more akin to what I had envisioned, and this is the one I chose! I then worked on replacing all the previous dividers for all my posts with these lilypad ones!
I spent the day updating my blog, and finally finished doing so, meaning I can spend the rest of my time working on my essay before the deadline next Wednesday.
On this note, I do not plan on making further posts on this blog until I have finished all this essay, which I will post on here!
I also plan on creating one my big master post of my GART702 artwork! This is so I can show the rest of the development of my character, as it seems a shame to not post her fully. However, this will be posted sometime in January when I have handed in this work.
Before submitting the game today, I helped the team by playtesting the build and giving feedback on features that needed to be altered or improved as a final quality assurance.
Unfortunately, I do not believe we were able to achieve everything we wanted with this game due to time constraints, however I am still very proud of what we strove to achieve, and I am especially proud of the amount of art I was able to create! In total, I was able to create 8 whole characters, 4 of which were completely unique designs, and 3 backgrounds! All of these had animations added to them as well, which is a new skill I have acquired and strengthened during this project.
Additionally, I also made many UI assets, another area which I am not familiar with but gained lots of skills while creating the game!
Although all of this art was unfortunately unable to be fully incorporated into the game how I had envisioned, I still believe we achieved this very ambitious 2 week project very well, and I had so much fun making it!
In the evening I created a plan for the rest of the week.
Monday: – Submit game. – Return IPad.
Tuesday: – Work on GART. – Attend Lecture.
Wednesday: – Matt meeting. – Work on blog.
Thursday: – Playtest game. – Attend lecture.
Friday: -Attend Lecture.
I feel today that I am very much still recovering from the past week of intense working on the game project. Because of this, I had not been able to do much for my GART702 module.
The previous day I returned the loaned out IPad to the Games Academy, so I am no longer able to use Procreate to continue my work. Instead, I have transferred my work to Clip Studio Paint.
Before the lectures today I worked on the lineart for my character, keeping in mind the previous video tutorials I had watched. This is what I was able to create before the lecture.
As you can see I am making sure to use references for key areas I am uncertain of. I am currently roughly drawing in the human form clothing on top of the poses and then after this I will use brush that has more line weight difference to re-draw the lines but more expressively!
I am struggling a bit with the perspective of the head of the happy pose, but hopefully this week I will be able to focus on this work a lot more and by the review next week I will have all line art for her human form and fairy form hopefully finished!!
I had a meeting with Matt about work on my blog. We discussed changing the title of posts to add more detail. This will help readers understand some of the subjects of the post without going through a lengthy block of writing. This also makes for easier navigation.
He also suggested to change the title of the blog, so that it encompasses the master’s course rather than just the GAM701 assignment.
After this meeting, I continued work on blog and writing personal case study. As this week is focused on building and perfecting a personal brand, I want to customise my blog further. Currently there is a template image on the blog page.
To me, my blog does not feel like an ‘artists’ blog from first glance, so I plan to choose a piece of work that I have created this term to use as the header image of the blog page.
In addition to this I would like to replace the dividers I have in my blog to drawn dividers that I will create featuring my own art. This is how they look now before I have changed them.
Because this is not essential work, I will be prioritising it later on and focusing instead of catching up with blog posts and making sure the overall blog looks good. (Although, most likely as you read these posts, all the dividers will already be updated, so I apologise for any confusion!)
Today, together with my team, I worked on playtesting all the games submitted by my peers previously this week. We then gave our feedback and ratings before the lecture started. This week’s lecture was focusing on building personal branding, we had a guest lecture from Waving Bear Studio, a local indie game company. (Waving Bear Studio, 2019)
It was interesting to learn about how they are curating their brand and planning to produce merchandise to make further money outside of the sales of the game itself. They mentioned this is because after the initial sale of the game there would be no other revenue. Creating merchandise creates longevity and a brand image what will keep players engaged.
I am aware that the way I present myself on this blog will also be viewable by future employers as my name and professional profiles are linked to this blog. For this reason, I have tried my best to stay professional on this blog too and show while I enjoy creating fun work, I am also passionate and contemplative while doing so.
Attended the lecture today. I did not have time to do much work today as I was packing and travelling home for Christmas!
After getting settled from moving back home for Christmas I was able to continue my work! I replaced the blog image to a GIF of the nighttime background for B-S-Zoku and edited title of blog.
I believe this makes my blog look a lot more professional and personalised. Now I feel like it is beginning to look a lot more like an artist’s blog. I still would like to add more personalisation through working on the dividers on my blog to add my artwork and personality throughout the blog. This will help break up the heavy text and keep it bright and fun!
Today I focused my time on updating blog posts. It is strange to think there is only one more week left of term. Because it has been an incredibly busy term, knowing that it is over is quite jarring. However, I will need to keep working until the beginning weeks of January on my GART702 module as this is when it is due in, and I want to ensure it is of the best quality possible.
Attended version control refresher lesson, that happened at the beginning of the day. This was really useful to refresh my knowledge of Sourcetree, and also gain some confidence as this week I’ll be doing lots more implementation into the engine as its the final week of the second sprint.
In the afternoon, I attended the lecture, which was shorter than usual to allow us more time for work.
I took this time to create the plan for the week:
Monday: – Attend lectures – Do GART work
Tuesday: – Attend lectures
Wednesday: – Focus on GAM701 work; character animations
Thursday: – GAM701 work
Friday: – GAM701 work – Try to have all character animations finished
Afterwards, I researched flower symbolism and emotions in order to finalise all the research for my character.
Flowers and Their Meanings – Flower Symbolism | Interflora – Learnt about daffodils having a connection to happiness. According to this website, they represent ‘rebirth, new beginnings, and good fortune.’ I originally wanted to use sunflowers for the happiness sprite, however, I felt that was too obvious a flower to use. Daffodils, I believe, suit my character a lot more as she has begun anew as a florist after her kingdom was destroyed, as I wrote in her character background sheet. (Flowers and Their Meanings – Flower Symbolism | Interflora, n.d.)
The Language of Flowers | Archives | Aggie Horticulture (tamu.edu) – Learnt about purple hyacinths and their meaning: ‘I am sorry, please forgive me, sorrow’. I believe that the colour suits the theme of sadness well. To extend this further, I wanted to make my character hold some withered flowers to further communicate her sadness, and also suggest that her sadness has caused them to wither. (Martin Anderson, 2020)
After completing this research, I decided to work on layouts for my character. I wanted to make sure I created some work to get critique on tomorrow during the GART lectures. As I was still tired from working hard on the weekend, and struggling a bit with the line art, I thought it would be best to focus on some work I could do lots of quickly.
To define the layout of my presentation sheets further I arranged the posed silhouettes I had done previously according to the rough designs I created last week.
I am quite proud of the variety of these sheets, and I personally really like the 6th one I created. To me, it feels the most complete and themed towards her. However, I know that once I have drawn the lineart and added the clothing, wings, and details that some layouts will work better than others.
Today, while attending lectures, I worked on clarifying the flower choices I had made. In the critique I received last week, some people were confused about the crossed arms pose for the sad pose. This, I believe, was an issue because I had not drawn the bouquets in the hands of the character yet, so the positioning may have felt off.
I showed these and the new layouts to the class. A lot of people really liked Layout 1, without the dividing line, so this is one I will look closely at refining in future.
After this, I moved on to continuing my character work for the game. I created the tutorial character who will show the player how to fight at the beginning of the game by working from the base of the main character design and then altering it.
This is how it turned out:
I thought she was missing something, so gave her some laces on her boots which felt like it completed the design!
I received positive feedback from my teammates so I implemented this into the engine and then I started work on the run cycle of the main character. This was quite tricky as I have never animated a run cycle and they are quite a challenge to get right!
I started off the day a lot more optimistic than the last few previous days and I am glad to finally be back to feeling better. Today I want to focus on finishing as many animations for the main character as possible. Once I have done this, it will serve as a template for the rest of the characters’ animations!
Today I was able to finish off the run and dash animations.
After this, I created all three version of these animations too (neutral, angry, extreme). Here are some examples:
Then I moved onto working on the attack animation. I gathered a few references to help guide me.
Before attending the lecture, I read an article I was assigned by Matt to read. ‘Not A Boy, Not Yet a Gamer’ by Christopher J. Persaud (2019).
We were told to bring out thoughts about the following things to the lecture:
What you thought were the key insights from the writing
What you thought about the ideas presented
Were there aspects of the writing that you disagreed with?
What is the viewpoint of the writer of the article – do you think they had a particular position?
These are the notes I took:
I could relate to losing a game console and lots of games – In the article he mentions losing a gameboy on a bus in Paris, I lost my 3DS and loads of games on a train to Llandudno.
My interest in the article was piqued near the end when the author discussed the abuse he got as a member of the LGBTQ+ in this community. This struck a chord with me as previously he was discussing his enjoyment and excitement about e-sports, and then suddenly that viewpoint changed. He discusses growing out of it, and it felt like the rose-tinted glasses lifted as he discussed this.
Didn’t disagree with anything, thought it was a balanced article.
After attending the lecture, I continued working on the character animations. I created the second punch frame which would create the second attack. Here is what both the attacks look like together.
After sending this to the team and getting approval, I also created the uppercut animation to create a full combo.
I was proud of how this turned out! I now only have 3 animations left: ultimate attack, knocked out, and revive.
I plan to finish these tomorrow!
Magazine, L. (2019). Not a Boy, Not Yet a Gamer. In Magazine, L. Play (Logic #6). Logic Foundation, pp. 211-218. Available at: https://logicmag.io/play/ [Accessed 26 November 2020]
Today I felt a lot more motivated and determined to do work, and I believe that is due to the fact I have 3 upcoming free days to focus solely on my work for the GAM701 game. There is a lot to be done for Monday at 7pm, but I am determined to get as much done as I can.
Unfortunately, this does mean that my progress for my GART702 work is stifled, and this is concerning to me as I am at a crucial part of the development of my character where what I am creating is hard to accomplish and will take a while on its own, without any other interferences.
Therefore, I want to make sure I do as much GAM701 work as soon as I can, so I can hopefully on Monday spend some time working on my character before Tuesday’s lectures. Although the deadline for my character is in January, I want to make the most of the Tuesday workshops to get feedback from Ady and my peers.
Today I worked on the Ultimate Attack animation first. For this animation I wanted the main character to hit the enemy with an overhead strike from a bat. However, as I was working on this, a teammate suggested I instead focus my time elsewhere
I agreed that he made a valid argument, so I instead moved onto working on the knocked out and revive animations. To develop this, I looked at how River City Girls animated their defeated sprites. I found this video which displayed both characters being defeated at this timestamp:
I watched the footage slowed down and was able to create this knocked out animation.
I wanted to make this sprite quite humourous, as our target audience isn’t strictly adults, so this silliness will appeal to younger audiences!
I took additional inspiration from how the characters in River City Girls also stand up again and I created this revive animation.
With these both done, this means that the full animation set is done for the main character! I can now base all further character’s animations on this, which should speed up my workflow a lot.
After creating these I put all the animations, and the variations (eg neutral, angry, extreme) into the engine. This means that the main playable character and all her variations are completely finished!
Here is a gif of the full animation set:
After this, I worked on finishing the secondary player character animations. Here is the finished result:
For the design of the second player character I changed a few details so that she would be discernable from the other character, but not so much that they did not look related. This is because both player characters are sisters. We decided on this as a team not only for narrative purposes, but also because it speeds up the concepting and creation of this additional character as it is practically a re-skin.
After putting all the second character’s animations in engine I rested.
To start the working day, I decided to create the UI that we needed for the game as this is essential and quick work that I can do. By doing work that is speedy and essential this would help me feel accomplished early on and push me on to creating the further characters!
I started by creating the loading icon for the game. I wanted this to have a clear narrative connection to the game, so I decided to make it into a motorcycle wheel to fit the girl biker girl narrative.
After this, I created the health bars for the game. I wanted the health bars for player characters and enemies to be discernable from each other, so I changed the colour of the health gauge to reflect this.
Lastly, I created the text box for the game. This was the UI that went through the most iterations to get right.
The continue arrow was received well, but the box needed more iteration. It was suggested that the box should be rectangular instead.
This iteration was closer to what was needed, but to improve it my team suggested making it longer and changing the colour of it back to black.
I decided to create one more iteration.
This final iteration was the chosen one by my team! I believe this was the strongest too, as the red reflects the gritty tone of our game and the setting of a neon bright red light district in Tōkyō.
I then moved on to creating one of the main antagonists for the game: The Ex-Boyfriend. His design was inspired by the Yankii style. This is a Japanese style that resembles the American rock’n’roll style. I first became aware of it in the game Yakuza 0, by SEGA, that I have mentioned in previous posts.
After doing more research into the origins of this style, I found an interesting article. There was line, in particular, that stook out to me:
I knew from this, I wanted the Ex-Boyfriend character to have a very comical large pompadour. This would show off his egotistical personality, while also making him quite easy to be hated.
I decided to exaggerate his pompadour even more!
As mentioned previously, I planned based his animations on the previous ones I had created for the main character sprites. This sped up the process as I did not have to do a lot of guessing work and I did not have to come up with completely new animations either.
I was able to finish his full animation cycle and get it into engine! Here is how it looks!
After this I wanted to continue on to creating further characters, and I concepted a generic yakuza enemy, which I can create two other versions of by doing a re-skin eg changing of colours.
Once again, the design of this character was inspired by some of the designs of the characters in Yakuza 0, as the game is a big influence for me.
I also created a design for the mum character.
Her design is based on the older uniforms that female biker gangs would wear, as shown in my moodboards.
One big inspiration for the design of her character is the outfits shown in this Japanese movie, Kamikaze Girls (2004).
While waiting for feedback from my team, I decided to move forward and start working on the environment for the game! Here is the progress I made before going to bed.
I am particularly proud of the motorcycle I included with the title of our game on.
This was a challenge for me to do, as I am very not used to creating industrial art, especially vehicles, but I am really happy with how it came out!
Today I continued working on the art for the game, and I aim to finish all art fully today. To start, I continued working on the designs of the generic enemies. The designs I sent previously were approved by my teammates, so I created 3 versions of this enemy in total.
I created the full animations for these characters, here is an example of the full enemy animations:
After putting these into engine, I then moved onto working on the mum character. In the first iteration of the character, I created her with ‘writing’ on her cloak, in reference to the designs of the biker girl outfits typically worn. These usually had the names of their gangs and their mottos.
However, I realised that this design was flawed as there was a possibility it could have been interpretated as mocking the Japanese writing system by creating this gibberish pattern. Additionally, I did not feel confident writing anything on the cloak of the Mum character, as the gangs we are representing in our game are fictional. To ensure there was not a possibility of any resemblance or relation to any real gangs I removed the ‘writing’.
Here is the final design:
To communicate to the player that the Mum character is older than most of the other characters I made her taller. Also, to fit the storyline of the game, I made the Mum’s scar less apparent, as she is meant to be a secret member of the girl biker gang which the daughters find out later.
Here is the full animation sequence for the Mum character.
After finishing the animations for the Mum, I put them into the engine and then started working on the environments.
Using the references, I had gathered previously I was able to quickly create an environment. I decided to focus on completely flat 2D shapes in order to create a convincing background quickly. Although the final design is simpler than I had originally planned from the initial concepts I created last week, I believe that it is still very successful!
To add some life to the background, I added some simple animations. For the daytime version I added flies around the bin bag.
To create the other backgrounds needed I used the Photoshop feature ‘Colour Lookup’ to change the colours of the piece to a evening and night time colour scheme. I had also previously used this technique during the last sprint when creating the backgrounds for ‘Mr. Fluffypaws.’
After I had done this, all I needed to do was take these PNGs into Aseprite again and add the neon lights and animation variations. Here is the final results of both backgrounds.
I am very happy with how these turned out and I believe they are really successful! I implemented them into the engine, meaning that all the art for the game was now done! I am incredibly proud of myself for finishing everything and pushing myself hard! I had some well-earned sleep after finishing this!
Today my team and I had a meeting with Matt to discuss our current project and how we were getting on. Although I did not intend to spend too much time working on the game today, as I wanted to prioritise my character work, I did do some concept sketches for the backgrounds. This was to give my team a clearer understanding of what a potential background could look like and to form a clearer idea in my head on how I will go about this.
I quickly made these sketches in Procreate and based them off the environment moodboards I had made previously, as mentioned in previous posts.
Before moving onto any other work, I created my plan for this week.
Monday: – Do concept backgrounds – GAM. – Do character expressions – GART.
Tuesday: – Attend lectures.
Wednesdays: Work on game – create art.
Thursday: – Attend lectures.
Friday: – Work on character animations.
After this, I worked on my character’s expressions. I used the poses I had created to inform how to position the face. Before working on any of the exaggerated expressions, I first created a neutral face that I could base the rest on. I used the references that I had gathered and drawn over, as mentioned in my previous blog post. These helped me identify the key facial features I wanted to include, as well as similarities between Black facial features.
After creating a neutral face, I then moved on to creating the happy, sad and angry faces. For this, I got a lot of inspiration for the concept art of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. Especially, the expressions of Miles and Gwen.
I also was very inspired by the Tangled art book, and the reference photos previously in the term.
Here is the result of this:
I am proud of how they turned out! For having never drawn expressive faces like this before I am very happy with my progress! I found that while creating these faces, that subtle changes made drastic differences to the face. For example, if we look an older image of the happy expression:
Then, if we compare this to a newer version:
As shown above, the differences in how the brows arch and sit on the face change drastically the feel of the expression, and because I want my character to seem very sincere and friendly, the newer version achieved this a lot more successfully.
Kurtti, J., Howard, B., Greno, N. and Lasseter, J., 2010. The Art Of Tangled. San Francisco, Calif.: Chronicle Books LLC, pp.61
Between the lecture and the workshop, I decided to very quickly do some flat colours on my character expressions in order to sell them more successfully.
I believe that by adding this it really helps to bring her to life and realise her design a lot more strongly!
After the workshop, we had a peer review session! This was to ensure we received a ton of more detailed feedback on our work. Here is the feedback I got!
“Great work Adele. I really like the colour palette, would be nice to see the pastel green(if that’s what it is) a tiny bit more saturated. Great expressions. Presentation could be a bit tidier, but I’m sure you are not done with it yet :)”
“Really nice development in the design and facial expressions for the character. It would be nice to see a turnaround of the character to see her from different angles. and I like the colour scheme you have chosen as it is very eye-catching and stands out well. As for the final piece, I would like to see the character in different poses and angles as well as maybe place the character within an environment so it can give her more place within a world and show her origins as well. Overall I like the process and development work you have done so far.”
“i think you have smashed the look you wanted, the colours work really well together and poses are great with the whole fairy character. there really isnt anything i could that needs improving :)”
“You’ve demonstrated not only a clear aptitude for iterative design but also communicated it very effectively. The character is very creative and really well presented and I think the range of emotion plus the way you’ve incorporated her nature as a fairy into the way she presents those emotions to be very interesting and unique. I’d really like to see more expressions if at all possible, as that would really help in a visual novel and I’d be interested to see what you could do with different lighting passes. Overall very good and hard to flaw, here’s hoping the final piece lives up to expectations.”
“The artwork looks good and well iterated on. The expression look strong and shows the emotions really well. The sad expression body language might need some changes. The arms crossed show more embarrassment then sadness. Otherwise the line art just need some clean up and the characters need another shading pass.”
“I really like your art style its very fitting with your theme. Your poses work well as they express obvious emotion. It would be great to see some of these poses with your different clothing attached to see how the fabrics flow depending on the pose. Your character expressions are great, they show great emotion whilst keeping up with your stylised aesthetic.”
“I love the amount of emotion you’re able to put into the posing and expressions of the character. The clothing reads nicely with some very interesting and original design details that make it stand out, especially in the first design (4D). The color palletes compliment each other nicely and the choice in materials really shine in the first design. The poses really work nicely in conveying the emotions of your character, along with the expressions to go along with it, I feel you’ve really captured her well and shown how human she really is! The only small detail that I would give feedback is on the happy pose. I love the slightly turned back head and I feel it works nicely, however the happy expression seems to not share the same perspective. It would be great if you could see about drawing that expression as it is show perspectively in the poses. Besides that I think you should be very happy with the work and I look forwards to seeing it finish! Good job!”
“Main comment I have is that it looks flat so maybe working on having a grey scale version of the character on a neutral (grey ?) background would really help with getting the final render (volume, shadows, transparence, textures, etc). Design is lovely and you have a lot of iterations so great work !”
“Great design love the colours and the way you have merged the nature theme within the fabrics and designs of the clothing, particularly that of the fairy designs, the petal style dress and hair combined with the vibrant colours work really well. The expressions are really good and I like how the petals and butterflies change colour or wilt depending on the emotions shown the aura idea could work really well and you could have a look at bioluminescence within nature to help tie that aura glow to nature theme of the character. You could even have this effect seep onto some of the petals of the clothes and onto to the wings of the character as well. Great work.”
“I think that the colour palette is good, especially playing the darker skin values against the lighter tones of the clothing, the only part I dislike is the yellowy green colour – I think this may need to be adjusted to be more in line with the other colours as it’s standing out but for the wrong reasons? Also the fannypack (?) has a slightly different shade of pink and i feel this is clashing with the lighter more pastel pink as its not close enough to feel the same, but also not far enough away to feel different. Perhaps just revisit this slightly. I really like how the petals change depending on the mood, however, I feel that the expressions could have been explored further and iterated upon more as exploring more subtle facial expressions could have added a bit more depth to the character. I would also look into presenting these in a more professional way, as this will mean that you have less work later on when you’re trying to put all of your stuff together instead of having to put things into professional-looking sheets then.”
I agree with a lot of the feedback I received, especially about neatening up the presentation, which is something I plan to do next when I clean up the lineart of my character! After doing this I will be able to arrange them on a sheet and start visualising my layout a lot clearer.
I do not agree with one comment, however, about creating a turnaround for my character. Due to my character being created for a 2D Visual Novel context there is no need to do this, as the back will never be viewed. This work would be very time-consuming and as it is not necessary for what I hope to achieve, I would rather spend the time making sure my character sprites are as strong as they can be. As I mentioned earlier, moving forward this week I plan to fully clean up the lineart of all three poses ready for next session. I believe that alongside my other work from the GAM module that this is achievable.
Today I focused fully on creating the main player character for our pixel art game. I found the tutorial below which suggested first blocking out the silhouette of your character.
I did this quickly in the morning in my notebook before going into Aseprite and doing the same with pixels.
After creating a silhouette I then followed the previously linked tutorial and added in the colours and adjusted the design as needed. Then, once I had a base character done I sent this to the team.
I then progressed on to add further detail and a face to my character. I found that the previous work I had done for GART702 and expressions helped me here! Similarly to that work, it was about conveying emotions using simple lines and the very subtle change that can make a lot of difference. I actually noticed that when adding a face that my sprite was too small, so I scaled it up in order to make sure that the important face details were able to be seen.
This was something I learnt from this tutorial:
These are the changes!
My team loved this! I also showed them a possibility for the design of the 2nd player character.
To save time this would just be change of the colour of hair. My team suggested that the second design potentially having glasses, and I agreed that this would be a nice distinguishing feature without too much extra work! I would have to take care to make her still look tough with glasses on however!
With the team’s approval, I continued on to start creating a simple idle animation for this character. I ensured that I gathered some reference before starting and I took a video of myself moving in the way that I wanted my character to move and also, for future animations, did some punching movements as well as some overhead swings as I plan to have the main character’s ‘ultimate attack’ be an overhead swing down with a bat weapon.
For this animation, I plan to reference not only the video I had recorded but also these images from Senshi Stock.
I re-visited a previous tutorial I had linked earlier to start creating the idle animation.
Here is the first iteration of this:
I was happy with this, but I showed it to my partner who is an animation graduate and they offered some really good critique and advice!
“I would suggest doing a few more frames and aiming for the character to move in a circular motion so they go up and down but also round, but make an emphasis on the up and down movements. And I would try not to move their feet (which tbh would make animating easier) since this is an idle position so if the feet move it may look like they are sliding along the floor. A bit of movement on the feet is fine tho”
I tried out these suggestions and instantly I saw an improvement in the animation! It now had the desired bopping effect that I wanted to achieve.
This is the final result:
I showed the team and they loved it, so I then implemented it into the engine. I was going to use this tutorial I had mentioned in previous posts, but it did not work because my Aseprite was downloaded as a steam game and not from the Aseprite git itself so the file directory was invalid. (Rowe, 2017)
I had never used Unity for 2D work before, let alone sprite animation, so I searched further and I found this tutorial which helped a lot with the process.
After I had successfully implemented the animation I did a little bit more and started a very rough run animation.
Moving forward, I would like to develop all the animations roughly in order to gather an understanding of them while also implementing enough art into the game so that we make progress. This will ensure I do not get caught up in perfecting each animation as afterwards I can always iterate and improve upon them!
Today I attended the workshop where we play tested everyone’s games and also gathered feedback for our own game. In the morning, I created a questionnaire for the playtest, focusing the questions mainly on combat as this is what we were focusing on for this demo. However, I also asked about the sprite that I had added so that I could get some feedback on it! We received a lot of feedback during the session and I plan to break down this feedback for the team tomorrow.
After the lecture we agreed to meet tomorrow to discuss the playtest and how we will proceed with the game!
I spent the rest of the evening catching up on blog work! During the lecture today we were advised to create a segment of our blog focusing on Communities of Practice.
Here is what I have written:
Communities of Practice
There are many communities I am interested in, but I believe I most interact with the illustration and webcomic community. I will be inspecting to major platforms for webcomic reading: Naver/Line WEBTOON and Tapas.io.
The tone and language used by members of the community.
With webtoons, there is often discourse between readers and the author of the webcomic. Depending on topic of webcomic and the community which reads it, this can vary very drastically. This also depends on platform too. For example, with the free Line WEBTOON app there is a very large audience that can be reached and because the app keeps a record which webtoons you have read, it is easy to keep track of this and also receive recommendations of other comics of the same genre.
On the other hand, on the Tapas platform, there seems to be a big focus on diverse work and allowing monetisation for creators. I personally have less experience with this platform as I use the website rather than the app, however, I have noticed that a lot of creators have switched over to Tapas from WEBTOON as they enjoy the platform and audience more. This may be due to the nature of their comics being more mature in tone and themes, and the fact that Tapas has a whole mature section that caters to this. When inspecting the difference in the audience for both platforms, this article notes the large difference in audience base. (Harper, 2019)
Notably, they mention the fact that Line WEBTOON is backed by the large South Korean online platform NAVER. This means they have a large capacity for advertisements to gain a larger audience.
Activities and behaviours such as social gatherings and events.
On the WEBTOON app, there are regular reading events that encourage users to read a few chosen comics of an established period to earn coins. This is the in-app currency that can be exchanged to read upcoming chapters not yet released. Additionally, there are also contest ran for creators to win, such as the 2020 Short Story Contest (Short Story Contest Winners, 2020) These events seem very content focused and both the reader and content creator are very concretely set in their named roles.
On the other hand, Tapas.io takes a different approach to events, which are discussed here. (Events | Challenges, n.d.) As evidenced by the fact that these events are discussed in a forum format, there is much bigger community emphasis. By looking at the nature of these events, they also seem more collaborative and creation focused. For example, there are many giveaways alongside art challenges.
Tapas seems to be focused around creating artwork, whereas WEBTOON seems to be focused more on the storytelling aspect.
In terms of social events, I did not discover any events ran by either platforms, however, the success of creators on these platforms has allowed them to gather a fanbase which has then allowed these creators to attend events such as New York Comic Con, as was the case with Fishball on WEBTOON (Fishballishere, 2018)
Both platforms allow creators and readers communicate in the comment section and readers can also give hearts/likes to each chapter. Both apps also have a coin system where readers can unlock future chapters of the comics, but in addition to this, Tapas also offers a way for readers to tip creators with coins. More details of this can be viewed on this webpage (Tapas and Creators, Part 1: What Can Creators Do on Tapas?, 2018)
Additionally, creators can also optionally create paid stories where readers must pay to be able to read the full story. This usually seems to be used by creators of stories that are more mature or explicit in genre. This differs from WEBTOON as to my knowledge, all stories are free.
Another behaviour I have observed on both platforms are Q&A chapters where the creator invites the readers to ask questions in the comment section. The creator then chooses which to answer, usually the most upvoted comments, and creates a chapter centred around this. For example, Heartstopper by Alice Oseman holds annual Q&A chapters. (Oseman, 2020)
These chapters allow the readers to feel more connected to both the creators and the story by giving them some control over the content produced.
Furthermore, Tapas does allow further engagement with readers and creators through the ‘Wall’ feature. Here is an example of Alice Oseman’s Wall. (Oseman, n.d.) This area allows readers to view the creator’s profile and the series’ they have created, liked, and comments they have made. Readers are also able to post comments directly to the creator and view images that the creators have uploaded separately from their comics.
Patterns and rules of the community.
Both platforms have community guidelines that warn against the posting of, both by the creator and the commenter, explicit and offensive content. However, while Tapas allows comments to be deleted by the creator (Wish webtoons let you delete comments, 2019), WEBTOON does not have this feature. This means that the creator is unable to tailor the community they want to create and often are unable to control potential toxicity. This has caused significant issues for some creators, such as ‘@byelacey’ who eventually stopped posting on WEBTOON and moved permanently to Tapas. (Warning: Mentions of Sexual Abuse) (webtoon i am begging you to give creators basic control like deleting comments, 2020)
As mentioned earlier, there is not much of a breach of the ‘creator’ and ‘reader’ roles that both platforms employ, other than for the occasional Q&A session.
Regarding patterns, creators usually display upload schedules for readers to see and this encourages the growth of an audience through consistency. Notably, there are some creators who choose to upload on both platforms, and as it is free to do, it seems to be down to preference of the creator whether or not they do this.
Starting the day, I had a little more to do on my blog so I did this quickly. Then, after this, I had a meeting with my team. We briefly discussed some of the feedback we had received yesterday after the playtest session and ways we will improve our game. Here is a link to the document where the playtest feedback is stored.
I, in particular, got feedback relating to the character I had created. A few people were reminded a bit too much of Japanese schoolgirl uniforms, or Seifuku, as it is known. This is because Bōsōzoku clothing can be quite similar, and the only big difference is the length of skirt. However, I do agree I could definitely push the toughness of her appearance, especially if she isn’t coming across like that to players.
I discussed this with my team and we came up with solutions like giving her lipstick, earrings, and scars. Indicators that she is more mature and tough. I also had the idea of having blood on her hands and shoes. After the meeting I worked on these changes!
This is the result:
I am really happy with this and I believe it’s a big improvement from the last version! My team agreed, and so I continued on to altering the idle animation to match the new design.
I showed this to the team, and one member, Tom, suggested we have variances to match the plot of our game!
I agreed, and made a more neutral sprite and angrier sprite. These didn’t take too much time at all and turned out really well!
After doing these I rested.
Over the weekend I got the three new idle animations into the game engine and I also gathered some references for backgrounds for the game using Google Earth Pro. I wanted to get more images of storefronts in Tōkyō, and I also researched which areas have big Yakuza and gang activity.
One area that was mentioned is Kabukichō, a red-light district in Tōkyō. I know of this district because the popular SEGA game franchise Yakuza (Ryū ga Gotoku) contains a fictional version of this place and calls it Kamurocho.(Kamurocho, n.d.)
It is a relatively faithful recreation of the real world Kabukichō throughout different time periods. In particular, ‘Yakuza 0’ explores Kabukichō in a 80s setting, and I have noticed that when compared to the other games, elements like pavements and storefronts are quite obviously from the 80s as they are less modern and developed.
This is something I will need to keep in mind when creating backgrounds as our game is intended to be set around this time period. If I have time, I will make sure to reference how the streets looked during that time by inspecting how Yakuza 0 designed the streets.
Here are some images that I gathered from Google Earth of Kabukichō and a few of Shibuya.
Over the weekend I also intended to start developing cleaner lineart for my character. This is a task that is quite intimidating to me, so I made sure to find some videos which will give some useful tips about how to create successful lineart. I found these to be really useful and reassuring.
During the GAM701 lecture today we discussed ethics which was really interesting to me, especially when we looked at some case studies, as I studied psychology during my A-Levels. Having this lecture reminded me to consider some ethical concerns with the game I plan to make with my team during week 9 and 10.
After the lecture, my team and I met, and we discussed some of these issues further. As we are making a game based in Japan, we need to make sure that if we include any kind of Japanese text in the background designs that we double check that the writing makes sense, as we do not want to include nonsense unknowingly.
Additionally, due to the story of our game relating to criminal activity in Japan of outlaws, we need to ensure that we respectfully represent these groups, which will come from detailed research into real accounts of Bōsōzoku girls. Furthermore, I noticed when collecting references for the character mood boards that a lot of the bikes and clothing included the rising sun motif. I will absolutely avoid using this motif in any of my further work as it is incredibly offensive to those who suffered because of Japan in WW2, such as China and South Korea.
For this week, we have been given the task of creating a presentation about our game outlining the ethical concerns and further details about our concept.
I will be contributing to this presentation by adding the moodboards I created and also the game influences for our game. I will also be making sure that the presentation looks good!
For my character work, I started iterating further on the wing designs I made. I was able to narrow down the wings to 5 designs. I added detailing on these to further them.
Here is a speedpaint of the full process from the creation to the detailing of the selected five:
I began painting in the details on the wings and working some iridescence into them, but I realised this was taking way too long and I hadn’t yet worked any colours into my character designs. I dropped this work on the wings and then developed the colour passes for the fairy and human form.
The colours will correspond between each form so that she maintains a consistent colour scheme and her two forms don’t look too different so that she looks like a completely different person.
I sent this off for further feedback! Once I have narrowed down to one one colour scheme I will develop the wing designs to incorporate these colours and then send them around for feedback.
This was all I was able to complete today. I am proud of my progress, especially for the character colours. I believe previously what was holding me back from doing this sooner, other than other modules’ work taking up my time, was the fear of it being bad. Adding colour felt like a big next step that I wasn’t confident enough to make, but I found it was actually relatively quick to do and it was very satisfying to see my character design become more realised! In future I will try to prevent myself from being reluctant to continue by diving into the work and not allowing time to doubt myself.
During the break between the morning and afternoon lectures I quickly added the wings onto the final designs for my fairy character to test out what they would look like.
Additionally, I did a very quick layout design, based on this piece on FZD School.
I would like to come up with further layouts in future, and after discussing this with my lecturer Ady during the lecture, he recommend to move the design iterations to another sheet and have more room for the different expressions and material callouts, which I agreed with.
Moving forward with my character, I now plan to start developing her different emotions sprites and expressions for my character. I am excited to start developing her face, as it is something which I feel I have left a little too long before working on. However, at this stage, I now feel confident that her design is strong enough to then move onto this stage. I rested for the rest of the day after the lecture ended!
Today I worked on filling out the contents of the presentation with my team. I filled in the contents relating to moodboards and our inspirations, and I also filled in the details explaining what our game is about, which was taken from my teammate Phoebe’s design document she made. As well as this I organised the slides so that they look presentable and also changed the theme to more clearly reflect our concept visually.
As well as this I bought and briefly tried out Aseprite. Although I did not do much, I found the software to be very intuitive and easy to learn and this reassures me that it will not be hard to pick up at all! While looking a little further into Aseprite I was reminded of this useful tutorial online about importing Aseprite work into Unity! I will send over this link to my team in the future and get their opinions on it! (Rowe, 2017)
Before the lecture, we met as a team to discuss our presentation today. We discussed our future plans for the game and what direction we want to take it in. I plan to create some concepts for the environments and characters over weekend to then present to the team and get their opinions. This will give me a much clearer vision of what I am creating before I dive into creating pixel art. By concepting in a medium I am familiar with, I will be able to quickly come up with ideas and iterate on them before tackling a new medium, pixel art, which I have not tried before.
During the lecture today, we presented all of our artifact ideas. As always, it was interesting to see what people had come up with! Our game was received particularly well!
After the lecture we were given a new tasks.
My team and I decided to meet again tomorrow to discuss these new tasks in more detail.
This morning, in light of the new task given to us yesterday, I made a short list of audio and art assets we will most likely need to include that we might not have thought about straight away.
Track for menu
Track for first level
Track for second level/boss battle
Sounds of punching/fighting depending on weapon
Sounds of enemies getting hurt potentially?
Different sound for when you get hit too.
Health bars – could have a special attack bar too – different for own and enemies – colours
Text boxes with continue icons
Potentially loading icon? – Could be a motorbike wheel spinning!
Continuing from this, today I plan to work towards preparing to create some rough concepts in procreate of potential background environment for the game. To do this, I took the moodboards into Procreate to have reference and colour swatches on hand.
While doing a bit of further research into Aseprite and pixel art I found this really useful youtube channel and video.
Additionally, I found out through this video that this creator has also created a whole playlist on basic tutorials for Aseprite! I will be watching these in order to become more comfortable with the software.
Before moving forward, I wanted to make sure that I was still making time for my character work for GART702. I decided to begin work on the face of my character and I downloaded all the images I had collected from Pinterest and collated them into a moodboard using Photoshop. I cropped out any unnecessary details and arranged them.
While organising the reference I had collected I came across this website that has good reference for puff hairstyles! I may return to this when I am adding detail and refining my character further. (Pony Puff Set, 2020)
Had meeting with team. Discussed the tasks we needed to do for next week and started filling out the document I created! I was able to find a few free sound sources for video game style fighting styles. (Punch Sounds | Free Sound Effects | Punch Sound Clips | Sound Bites, 2020)
May look into this to inform how I can speed up the creation of backgrounds in Aseprite. (“Repeat cels” (looping backgrounds) Concept, 2018)
We began filling out our Trello board in a Kanban style, as mentioned in the task image shown earlier.
After I had drawn over the face images, I decided to take some reference photos for the poses my character will be in for her different emotion sprites! Currently I plan on making drawings of three emotions: happiness, anger, and sadness. This is to ensure I have scoped this project suitably for the time I have left, while also covering the emotions I believe are most important. It would be nice to do more, however, I want to make some really strong final pieces, so I believe it is wise to limit myself to just three.
I dressed in the most similar clothes I could as my character’s fairy form and took some photos with a bouquet of fake flowers as a prop! In order to progress from these, I plan to draw over these using a similar method to how I created the initial body silhouette for my character.
I will be re-watching the speed paint of this to refresh my mind on how I did this. I will start by blocking in the poses in a solid colour and then I will draw the stick figure like construction lines over it to establish the key areas where the body is placed. I will then refine the solid colour layer and finally draw over some rough lines of the details.
Once I have a solid base for a pose, I will send this for feedback. Once I am confident that the poses themselves are good, I then plan to roughly draw over the outfits for my character.
I will need to research further into the meanings of flowers in order to establish what flowers my character will be holding for the human form emotion sprites. I will also need to decide how the butterflies will be acting for the fairy emotion sprites, but I believe that this will be quite easy to rapidly concept and get feedback on. Today I also created a few more layout options for the final presentation of my character. Much like the one I created previously this week, these are very rough concepts that I will then narrow down and test out later.
Today I worked on the colour blocking in of the poses from the reference images I took yesterday. While doing this, I realised that the images I had took were not suitable! While it was good that I had dressed up as my character for later stages of concepting, I was unable to discern where certain body landmarks were because the clothes were too obscuring! To remedy this, I dressed in more suitable clothing for reference taking and took some more photos.
I actually found that the images that I had took turned out a lot nicer and expressive than my previous ones, so I am excited to work on these!
I struggled quite a bit with this stage as getting the proportions to look correct took a while. I found myself held back a bit by the fear of getting them wrong, but I soon realised that the quicker I completed these forms, the quicker I could seek critique on them!
I managed to finish all three happy, sad, and angry forms!
I then sent this off for critique and then rested for the day as I waited for responses.
Today I took a look at the feedback I had been given so far. I had received positive responses for the happy pose, but it was suggested that I look more closely at the shoulders of the angry pose.
In addition to this, Ady gave some really useful feedback on how I could exaggerate the poses further!
This reminded me of a resource I had discovered in the very first week of the course, and I will be using this to influence my work as I had intended to!
I began to iterate on the happy pose. Firstly, I went over the initial form I had drawn in an exaggerated way.
Then I exaggerated this further, keeping a close eye on the shape language I wanted to convey with this pose.
I wanted her to seem very round and flowy as to convey a happy and friendly state to the viewer.
I then drew over the top of this.
I liked this, but I felt like it could have been pushed further. I tried using shapes more akin to the ones Freddy Ulate used in the blogpost above.
I then drew over this, which I thought was a lot more successful at exaggeration!
I decided to fill this drawing in to get a better understanding of this exaggerated pose.
As you can see, I also erased areas where the features of the body were so I could understand them better. I liked how exaggerated I had taken this pose and it was quite fun to experiment with this workflow and not worry too much about proportions at this stage.
On a funny note, the pose did remind me a bit of the Happy Mask Salesman from the Zelda franchise.
Although perhaps my character isn’t as creepy as this one, she is very passionate and enthusiastic about her wares as the Happy Mask Salesman is!
While discussing this alteration with a friend, she suggested that I add some other details to the final design such as hearts surrounding her when she is happy. This reminded me of the reactions in the Animal Crossing game and how the ‘Joy Reaction’ involves the player being surrounded by a halo of flowers!
I will consider this later down the development line when I am filling in the details on these poses!
I continued to iterate on the sad pose for my character. I wanted it to feel a lot droopier and like she was more curled in on herself. Here is a gif of this process.
As shown in the gif, I was torn between two sad poses at the end.
I decided to move onto angry poses in the meantime. During this, I was sent some useful links to visual novel references by a games academy student! These designs in particular are ones I really liked! (Code: Realize ~Sousei no Himegimi~ | vndb, n.d.)
I found that creating the angry poses was a lot easier! I created two variants of an angry pose.
Although I do like the pose with crossed arms, I believe the front facing angry pose is more successful and more in line with what I had in mind originally.
To further develop these poses I took more reference images so I could then make them more proportionally and anatomically accurate! I drew from these, and here are the results!
For the angry pose, I got advice to tilt her fists outwards instead as this would extend the details out from her body.
I like this a lot more and agree it is more successful!
Today we received all the feedback for our game from last week! I collated it all together and here is a link to it! I am happy with the feedback, and I think most critiques of the game are very fair!
I also created a plan for the week!
Monday: – Finish character bio – Make hairstyle breakdown – Collate feedback for game
Tuesday: – Attend lectures – Work on blog
Wednesday: – Attend rep meeting – Work on GAM701 Tasks
Thursday: – Attend Lectures
Friday: (I believe I left this free, as at this stage of the week I was not sure what to do on that day.)
After doing this, I planned for the week and began working more on my character. Today I want to finish the character bio I was creating for my character and also make some notes of possible hairstyles for my character. Additionally, if I have time, I would also like to create the outfits based on hydrangeas today too. I would also like to explain some of the thoughts I have about how she could show her emotions more, so making a few sheets on this would be good too if I have time.
I started work by continuing to develop the character bio for my character. I am quite excited to do this, as I plan to hopefully take this character forward into a visual novel of my own in the future. So, doing this work also doubles as me developing the plot and story of the visual novel further! I was able to complete the bio, which can be read here:
After this, I moved on to create further outfits from hydrangeas specifically, as I felt inspired to do this first. I took influence from past outfits and hairstyles I had created in Week 4 and combined these with the more recent designs I had made last week.
As shown in this image, I was able to incorporate in the research I had done on traditional natural hairstyles. I think the idea I have for incorporating bantu knots is really fun, and I really love the shape language of the double puffs.
I sent this work over to my peers for feedback.
‘WOAH THESE ARE SO CREATIVEEEEE. I love the idea of the colour changing butterflies! Personally I’d prefer her having one butterfly companion that changes colours bc the thought of a whole swarm of red angery butterflies terrifies me. The hydrangeas is so her flower, it’s so round and soft looking.’
‘I don’t know if I have much crit besides that I’d be inclined to start moving into more colour & colour variations now to help better sell things?’
‘Ooooh I love 2 and 3! I like the idea of the flowers in her hair being able to react to her emotions, it’s like a friendly version of Medusa’s snakes?’
‘number 2 and 3 are lovely although more normal looking than outright fay as is with n.1, i really like the butterflies’
‘So if you want to go more elegant, i would say 2 or 4 (if long) could be very chique, 3 is more casual imho, although could still work as a cocktail dress, 1 then reads very arts and crafty’
‘1. I like inclusion of traditional natural hairstyles because they sadly fall out of what is considered beautiful by mainstream media and representation of black characters in media, that being said i like the bodice but it reads a bit too bulky perhaps, and as cute as the shoulder straps with leaves are, i really dislike the skirt, maybe because of this rendering now but the shorter darker leaf just draws unnecessary attention to the crotch area’
‘2. I like a sheer cape and the hairstyle is cute if a bit instagram -like i love the butterflies and the waistline, i would just do a few iterations of the tulip-like (?) Or blue bell like skirt. I like the design just make sure to make it delicate and floral and fairy if that is what you’re going for rather than i am a cottagecore witch and i rolled around in leaves (i apologise if i am rude, just trying to convey that the dress can look elegant , just now the cape + stringy hair makes it less)’
‘3. Is cute from the get go and i like the dress a lot, although it reads more casual, the way to remedy that might be figuring out a way to make the bodice flow into the skirt more naturally? Or that it looks less like a tank top and a skirt and more like a royal getup that fits her. Once again heir hair is more casual and the only person i can remember pulling hair like that off and looking sane is helena boham carter, as pretty as it is it just doesn’t read royalty to me, i also prefer the version with butterflies’
‘4. I do like the hair and the sweet empire waistline the dress has and how the flowers seem to sculpt around her, but i would propose to make it a longer dress, i don’t mind the appliques on her body but i would opt in to make them less contrast-heavy maybe’
During the break between the morning lecture, and the afternoon workshop I worked on my character further. I created a brainstorm which went into a little more detail about the different ways I can express the emotions of my character. I did some brief research into flower symbolism relating to emotions.
From this webpage, I solidified my knowledge that sunflowers have a relation to happiness. (Flowers and Their Meanings – Flower Symbolism | Interflora, n.d.)
Additionally, I found out from this article that petunias symbolise anger and resentment, so I made sure to include them in my brainstorm, especially as their shape matches the shape language I want to use for this character! (Calyx, 2014)
After showing off my character during the lecture, Ady advised us to start working towards a more finished product and to finalise the designs of our work. At this stage in development, I feel much further behind where I would like to be. If I look back at my initial plan for development that I created myself, I am behind schedule.
I must speed up my work and iterative process, similar to what I have been able to achieve during the latter of the work, to ensure that I keep on top of GART702 work. I have made another list of work I would like to achieve for GART702.
For the rest of the day I worked on updating my blog.
Today I worked on the GAM701 task for tomorrow, shown below.
This week we have been instructed to research into 2 systems which will influence our work for the next few weeks. We need to decide on 1 cultural/societal system and 1 technical/aesthetic system.
I decide to make a mindmap based on the ideas I have.
I chose to look into Breath Of The Wild’s artstyle and how that relates to both the story of the game, and the mood they wanted to convey, as the influence of a traditional artstyle reminded me of the work I did for Mr. Fluffypaws the past few weeks. I found this really interesting article that discussed Breath Of The Wild’s influence further. (Dyle, 2017)
Particularly interesting was the link between the French Revolution and the Calamity in Breath of the Wild’s story and how the artstyles relate to this, as I have discussed in my mindmap.
For the cultural/societal system, I looked into girl biker gangs in Japan. This was inspired by my discussions with a coursemate, Phoebe, who approached me to work with me! We were brainstorming about potential game ideas for the upcoming sprint for GAM701 and we came onto the topic of female gangs, and I mentioned Bōsōzoku biker gangs, as I remembered coming across them right at the beginning of the course when researching different Japanese fashion styles for my characters. (Voicu, 2020)
In my mind map, I discussed how they are rebelling against Japanese society by not confining to the role of a woman in Japan.
After completing this task, I had a SSLG meeting, which is a Student Rep meeting where we discuss how to improve the course. Because of this, I did not do any further work today.
Before the lecture, I worked on another blog post, as I have fell behind slightly in keeping my blog itself up to day. Thankfully, I have been making notes everyday which I can then copy and paste onto my blog, so it is quite easy to catch up. I was not able to complete this blog post fully before the lecture, but I got close, so I will continue it after the lecture. In the lecture today, we put up our ideas onto the Mural website so we could share with the class which systems we looked into. Here is my board.
We were then put into groups of 3 where we discussed our ideas with our peers, after this everyone told each other about what they had learnt. It was really interesting to hear the variety of different systems and topics that people looked into, and I was surprised to hear that quite a few others also looked into Breath of the Wild as well!!
After the lecture, Phoebe and I were able to find two other teammates to work with us! I am not in a team with two designers and a programmer alongside me! I am excited to be working in a larger group as I am hopeful this means we will be able to create something really impressive! We agreed to have a call tomorrow at 5pm to discuss our ideas all together!
After this I worked on completing another blog post, and then rested. I was able to finish the post, which means I am fully up to date with all blog work! I am happy about this as it means that I can now focus on my current work without distractions.
Tomorrow I plan to work on GAR702 as much as I can, beside the team meeting I will be attending, so that I have a clear course of action for the weekend.
Today I plan to reflect a lot on my progress in the GART702 module. I plan to use the ‘ICEDIP’ method to assess my work so far for GART702, as I have mentioned wanting to do in my Week 2 post. Additionally, I plan to look back on the past post-it notes I have created which detail the tasks I could do for this module to enhance my character.
I – Inspiration
C – Clarification
E – Evaluation
D – Distillation
I – Incubation
P – Perspiration
In order to solidify what each of these steps means, I found further definitions on this website.
‘Inspiration – research and generate ideas
Clarification – focus on your goals
Evaluation – review your work and learn from it
Distillation – decide which of your ideas to work on
Incubation – leave the work alone
Perspiration – work determinedly on your best ideas’
On this website ‘Inspiration’ is described as the research phase. As I have done a few of these steps throughout my process already, I will focus on reviewing my inspirations so far and I plan to create a brainstorm/mindmap of the key inspirations and features of my character.
This was inspired by one of the old post-it note tasks that I made, but had not completed yet. By doing this, it allows me to ensure that whichever design I choose to take forward will be the right one for my character, as I will be able to refer back to this brainstorm. Almost like a character reference sheet, without the art. I believe this is important to create as I am very passionate about reflecting narrative through my characters and this will ensure I do it correctly.
After creating the mindmap, I decided to look at all the silhouettes for the most recent fairy form silhouettes and compare them to the previous ones I have created. This will help me decide which of these to take forward and work on further. I made sure to also take into consideration the human form silhouettes, as both designs will feed into each other.
I took a screenshot of the silhouette sheets next to each other and made notes over the top of this.
Out of curiosity, I researched florist aprons, as mentioned in the bottom left of the image, to start gathering reference. I found this image.
I plan tomorrow to action these changes and then decide finally on a design for both the human and fairy form of my character. After deciding, I would like to do a quick colour pass before then sending it to people for critique. In order to complete the designs of the fairy form, I must also add wings, so I will create a few options for this and test them out on the decided-upon fairy form.
Today I also had a meeting with my team for the next upcoming sprint. We discussed the idea we had been thinking of working on which is to create a 2D Pixel Art Beat-em-up game using Unity! I have never done pixel art before, but I will be purchasing and using a programme called Aesprite to create the art for this game. https://www.aseprite.org/ I have been told that it is easy to learn how to use and easy to also create art that looks good! I am very excited to try it out. I have also not used Unity in a while, so it will be a challenge for me to get back into it, but I am hopeful as my team seems really supportive to help! For example, one member of my team Rita helped me set up my sourcetree and was very understanding!
To make sure I understand the workflow a bit better, I made sure to seek out any tutorials or articles I could find to help, and I found this one in particular which may be useful. (Rowe, 2017)
One of the main inspirations for our game, alongside the research into Bosozoku girls, is a recent release called River City Girls. (WayForward, 2019)
I have decided to start working on moodboards for the game over the weekend, ready for the lecture on Monday. I want to gather some images for the environment and character designs, so I added these tasks to the trello board and then made a Pinterest board with these images on. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/bosozoku/
I would like to try out Aesprite early next week to get used to the software before diving into it fully.
Over the weekend I plan to work as much as I can on my GART702 work. Ideally, for Tuesday’s lectures, I would like to have a cleaned-up character sketch of at least one variation of my character, whether that be the fairy or human design. This cleaned up sketch will have basic colours incorporated, be presented nicely, and maybe some material callouts too. I do not think at that stage it will include a face or expressions unless I have time. However, this will be what I will be moving onto next after completing a cleaned-up character concept.
Over the weekend I continued work on iterating to create the final designs for my character. I worked from the reflection of previous designs image I had created yesterday and applied the new features to the fairy form of my character. Here is the result.
I sent this off for feedback to my coursemates and peers, and it was received well!
Here is some of the advice I got:
‘It’s some lovely progress Adele! The only think I can point out on the b version is to keep strong shapes in mind when progressing, as they might get bit less pronounced on the bodice under the cape. Visible difference in texture maybe? And therefore, contrast, that way?
Also always remember to bring focus to the most important part of the design so maybe the button holding the cape could correspond with the belt to bring it more together?’
Another person I showed the change in design to suggested that the hair was too distracting and busy. I will keep this in mind, and if this is the case after adding colours I will return the hair to being normal hair and not hydrangea flowers. If I did this I would make the flower crown she has on change colours with her emotions instead. I believe this will work well, and it will be fun to have the glowing light reflecting on the hair! One friend suggested that I try out a capelet with the design just to see if it would look more youthful/cute. I tried this out quickly:
I like this, however I think I prefer the previous version because it looks more regal and that is an important feature I want to communicate.
After finishing this design, I decided to iterate further on her human form, once again following the reflection of previous designs image I created.
I used these dungarees as the main inspiration for this outfit! (‘Easton’ Organic Heavy Cotton Twill Oversized Dungarees in Blush Pink – New Sizing, n.d.)
Once again, I sent this off for feedback.
‘I really like B as i think it does show off the florist in her and also keeps the femininity with the hair and shoes’
‘I love the idea of having dungarees, but it’s so different from the top it’s kind of throwing me off? Maybe if you had the same value for the shirt it would match a little better?’
One friend suggested that I add a toolbelt to her design to further emphasize her job as a florist, and I agreed this was a great idea!
He also suggested that the butterflies on her shoes could be a trip hazard, but I do personally like them a lot and I also got positive feedback from other people, so I will just keep in mind that they shouldn’t be to big!
I got some really useful feedback from one friend, who helped me out with the way the clothing was interacting with my character’s body and how to improve it.
I sent over a lowered opacity image of my character, as requested so that they could understand the anatomy of my character better.
In order to make sure my iteration was more accurate, I took photos of myself dressed in similar clothing to my character. I found this helped, especially for getting the shoes of my character more accurate.
This is the improved version!
Moving forward, for when I clean up this drawing when moving towards creating a final version of this outfit, I will make sure to more closely reference the kind of sleeves the top has. For example, I found this top which I think will work quite well as a reference. (White Woven Short Puff Sleeve Crop Top, n.d.)
After creating this iteration of my character’s outfit, I took a break, and then worked on lots of iterations for the wings of my character!
I sent this around and asked people to pick a few and then I would take those forward and add veins/patterns and iridescent details.
I decided to create moodboards focusing on characters, and others on environments, as mentioned previously.
This was all I achieved this weekend, I am proud of the progress I made, but I know I still need to do more for Tuesday for GART702. On Monday I would like to work on my GART work further and do colour passes of the outfits, even in their unpolished state, just so I have an understanding of how to move forward with them. I would also like to incorporate material call-outs into this, and also sketch up a rough template for the final presentation so that it is ready.
Additionally, I will develop the wings I have created further and create various designs for the ones I have narrowed down to. I will then put these behind my character’s fairy form and seek further feedback as to which ones are most successful, after which I will decide on one.