Week 5: Art Experimentation

Tuesday 1st March 2022

WEEK 5 -

TO DO: ART EXPERIMENTATION

 

PURPOSE FOR EXPERIMENTATION

Todays task is to experiment with the visuals for the environment. As Art Lead/Director, it is my responsibility to define the look of the game and provide the team with a set of instructions/guidance regarding the games art style. I intend to do this through the use of an Art Bible. This Art Bible should outline the look of the game and provide mood-boards, colour schemes and other techniques to keep the style consistent between us. Before I do this, I want to make sure I have experimented with different materials and surfaces before I conclude on one very specific way of working.

WHAT WILL WE BE DOING?

Today, I will be using my Theme Research to inspire the way we go about the art style for Getaway. During Phase 4 of Semester 1, I created a detailed document regarding our options for art style involving ways we could achieve them. The one we chose to go for (through surveys and personal opinion) was the hand-drawn/traditional drawing style which today, I plan to experiment with by researching and testing different materials/surfaces. This should give me a greater understanding of how we can create our environment in this style, and provide my teammate Kiera with guidance to do so.

GOALS FOR THE DAY

Carry out a series of experiments and tests using different drawing materials and surfaces to evaluate ways we can achieve our intended art style. Research and evaluate inspiration from existing artists such as Alexander Perrin. Tomorrow, I am scheduled to create the Art Bible for the game to progress with Asset Production, so ideally I must spent the entirety of today experimenting and testing.

PLAN FOR THE DAY

  1. Gather inspiration from Alexander Perrin and other artists

  2. Research into traditional drawing techniques/methods

  3. Experiment with my own! - Different mediums, surfaces, pens, pencils etc.

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

I will begin by looking into the works of Alexander Perrin and other artists to inspire our own creations. This will require me to look at traditional art techniques and ways of working such as shading, tone and etching.

TASK 1

TO DO: ARTIST STUDY

ALEXANDER PERRIN

WHO IS HE?

Alexander Perrin is a technical artist, illustrator and 'general interactive media developer' based in Australia. "He has a passion for meticulous dynamics, detailed digital rendering techniques and cats".  He is also known to be the maker behind the game 'Short-Trip'.

Kiera and I fell involve with his game Short-Trip, as a result of its unique art style. The games style is completely hand-drawn using graphite on paper. Each asset is drawn so perfectly and consists of the smallest most intricate details. As Kiera and I are both 2D artists, we share a passion for drawing more than any other art medium. We knew that we wanted to showcase our skills in our Final Major Project and this art style does just that. I also gathered user research from our target audience, who preferred this style of art the most. Working in this style allows us to capture the smaller details within the environment, which we want to draw players attention to, to recognise the more meaningful moments in life.

'SHORT-TRIP' - GAME ART STYLE

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NOTES

  • Most of his general works consist of intricacy and attention to detail.

  • His drawn works are almost similar to architectural drawings/mock-ups.

  • Uses graphite on paper.

  • Scans in his hand-drawn pieces via printer and edits on Photoshop.

  • Consists of tone and shading to achieve depth in the environment, as well as layering of assets.

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MATERIALS USED

  • Graphite

  • Pencil

  • Textured paper

 

EQUIPMENT/SOFTWARE USED

  • Printer to scan

  • Photoshop to cut the assets out.

REFLECTION

This is by far our favourite approach to an art style from what we have seen already. I love the use of tone and shade to create a sense of realism but still remain authentic and unique. I am also impressed by his use of negative space. Although some parts are not fully shaded, like the background for example, our brains somehow still imagine a whole scene. I love the way our minds can interpret this without actually seeing it on the page. Every asset looks clean and the scan makes it look ten times more professional. I love this approach and can't wait to begin testing with this style, similar to how I did in Week 3 - Concepts and Mock-ups.

NEXT STEPS

Next I plan to look a little more into other artists who don't necessarily have a game background. This is so I can gather more inspiration around the style of drawing and understand their techniques, the materials they use and anything else that might help.

DEMI LANG

WHO IS SHE?

Demi Lang is a freelance artist and illustrator with a passion for architecture from West Berkshire, UK. Lang focuses on every detail of her work and 'strives for perfection'. She began focusing on graphic design and later taught herself how to paint and draw. She gains inspiration for her ideas from her favourite places and while travelling! She experiments with a range of different mediums such as ink pen, pencils and watercolours. Every piece she does "takes many dedicated hours" as she builds layers to achieve the desired effect.

I adore Demi Lang's art style and find her pieces mesmerising! In terms of our project, I think a style like this would take too long to produce however, it is definitely one of my main sources of inspiration. I love the amount of detail she captures in her pieces, within each building and line on the page. Her use of colour brings her pieces to life, but surfaces make all the difference! She has experimented on different colour surfaces which I find really interesting. It makes black and white traditional drawings seem much colder and less 'welcoming', rather, using a warmer base makes it seem more homely - if we were to imagine this in the physical space.

'DEMI LANG'S WORK' - PORTFOLIO

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NOTES

  • Intricate line work

  • Use of different materials and surfaces

  • Use of colour to achieve depth

  • Proportions - similar architectural style to Alexander Perrin

  • Warm and textured surfaces

  • Markings to achieve depth and three-dimension

  • Shading extremely important

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MATERIALS USED

  • Pencil

  • Colouring pencils

  • Ink pens

  • Watercolours

  • Textured paper

  • Warmer surfaces

REFLECTION

I love this style because of its attention to detail and 'perfectionist style' although I know it would certainly take too long to achieve. Other than this, I love the way Lang has used small markings and shading to achieve a three-dimensional effect, which works perfectly with her subject matter. This is something to take on board when drawing the ski resort scene. I also admire her use of different coloured surfaces. I am used to working on white textured paper, but brown/grey shades fascinates me and it's definitely something I'd like to experiment with in the future. From this, I'd like to apply near enough the same level of intricacy in our project to achieve an impressive hand-drawn environment consisting of small details that will catch the players eye. I think a combination of Lang and Perrin's style would look great in the environment, focusing on the smaller details and use of negative space to imagine the surrounding scene.

NEXT STEPS

My next task for today will be to document a range of different drawing techniques because in all honesty, I haven't properly familiarised myself with this since sixth form! This should open my eyes to the world of drawing, and remind myself od the different techniques involving tone, shade and other things like composition and lighting.

TASK 2

TO DO: DRAWING TECHNIQUES

"6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Landscape Pencil Drawings!"

- Artists Network

I found this article that outlines 6 ways to spruce up your landscape drawing, which surprisingly seems like it was written for me!

TIPS FOR LANDSCAPE DRAWINGS

  • Create Texture for Realistic Rocks - create realistic textures from rubbings with pencils. Use contrasts of light and dark to create nooks and crannies in the rocks. Pay attention to edges! Lay in hard lines to "denote direction and sharp angles where rock changes like a fold".

  • Make majestic mountains and hillsides - use directional pencil strokes and scribbles to create groups of trees. Smooth out the texture with a paper stump to push trees into the distance - way to create depth.

  • Draw scribbled, not stylised - when drawing trees, draw the trunk then the triangular outer shape. Add branches as the foundation. Fill in the needles with a loose scribble stroke and use contrast! This will help to make design less stylised.

  • Use contour lines for deciduous trees - Trunk, branches and leaves. Fill in with contour strokes and a variety of pencil pressure for darker and lighter tones. Pay attention to the direction of the stroke and follow the natural form of the tree.

  • Use deliberate, straight lines for still water - Use pencil strokes to show direction. Leave a white edge at the spot where the water meets the land and then use short, parallel lines to add 'colour'. Objects in the water are always darker - Reflected.

  • Use fast strokes for foaming, bubbling waterfalls - use realistic texture for rocks to create the foundation of the waterfall. Long strokes to show smooth falling water over the rocks. Circular scribbles for frothy foam. Use pencil stump to add final details.

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"How to draw a landscape picture"

- Art Class

I found this article that outlines 6 ways to spruce up your landscape drawing, which surprisingly seems like it was written for me!

TIPS FOR LANDSCAPE PICTURES

  • "Has to be intuitively drawn".

  • Consider 'natural forces' e.g. the wind blowing tree leaves in different directions

  • Define the landscape - what are you drawing?

  • Consider weather conditions

  • Create moods through times, seasons and weather

  • "Everything covered by snow can seem more peaceful"

  • Experiment to find the best placement of the horizon for your landscape picture

  • All objects are smaller the further they are away from us

  • Understand the perspective in which you are drawing

  • Place 'eyecatchers' on your landscaping

  • Include interesting objects and structures

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PERSPECTIVE: Where to place to horizon?

"Drawing Techniques to Draw and Sketch like a Pro"

- Fine Art Tutorials

DRAWING TECHNIQUES

  • Layering pencil - not the same as layering paint!

  • Start with a light sketch then slowly build in the dark areas to create shadow.

  • Draw to form the first stage of the drawing process.

  • Outline the main features of your subject then build upon this layer with different shades.

  • Hatching, stippling and tonal sketching are different types of shading methods.

  • Hatching method - creating parallel lines to give the illusion of light and shadow.

  • Cross hatching - Parallel lines crossed over. Etching technique - too harsh for what we'd like to go for.

  • Stippling - creating a repeat pattern on the paper. Dotting action.

  • Tonal sketching - apply pressure where you want to place shadows. This is more appropriate for our piece.

  • Graphite and charcoal can be used to blend easily.

  • Use an eraser to reveal white highlights.

  • Vary line thickness and style - create variation. Sharper pencils give you finer details!

  • Use suitable materials.

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SUGGESTED SUPPLIES

  • Quality graphite pencils from H-8B are the best choice.

  • Good sharpener to preserve pencil lead.

  • Eraser - erase 'ultra' fine details. Also very good at erasing graphite.

  • Paper - 'Bristol Board' smooth and thick, good choice for detail work and smooth shading.

  • Thick, quality cotton pages - Etchr Sketchbook

  • Blending stump - Use sharp stump for blending smaller details. Can sharpen with sandpaper to remove graphite marks.

REFLECTION

Familiarising myself with different drawing techniques has brought back memories from secondary school and A-level art! I am excited to begin properly drawing again and will definitely refer back to my notes throughout the process. Luckily, I already have most of these materials ready to begin asset creation, so for now I just plan to experiment with what I know and have already, and go from here.

NEXT STEPS

Before I begin with experimentation, I am going to document a series of inspiration mood-boards to influence the outcome of my tests and to be used as reference. This will help to keep the art style consistent throughout, almost similar to a mini Art Bible. However, I do plan to experiment with watercolours because I think this could be fun and interesting to work with.

TASK 3

TO DO: EXPERIMENTATION TIME!

First I plan to gather inspiration mood-boards to inspire the way I begin to approach the art style and use as reference while I do so.

INSPIRATION MOOD-BOARD: ENVIRONMENT ART STYLE

Board link: https://pin.it/3tNXDSz

To inspire the way I go about achieving our desired art style.

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INSPIRATION MOOD-BOARD: DRAWING TEXTURES

Board link: https://pin.it/84BoVsV

Ideas for textures and particular methods of shading to use.

  • Use of negative space

  • Horizon - perspective

  • Shading to create depth and marks on the mountains themselves

  • Lighter marks to create depths in the background

  • Use of tone and shading

  • Lighter marks to highlight areas of light

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  • Textures in the rocks and trees

  • Use of stippling effect to create shade and tone

  • Different marks to achieve realistic textures in the environment.

INSPIRATION MOOD-BOARD: DRAWING CLOUDS

Board link: https://pin.it/1s1KF2f

To gather an idea of how to approach this.

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  • Light marks

  • Low opacity

  • Could use just a simple dotting effect using a pencil stump to achieve a similar appearance.

  • Simple outline, no harsh edges, mostly soft shading - fluffy appearance.

INSPIRATION MOOD-BOARD: SNOWFLAKES & SNOWFALL

Board link: https://pin.it/4pZoIh5

To prepare myself for concept creation and inspire the appearance of our own design.

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  • Distinct shapes

  • Snowfall can be light rounded shapes, edited to lower the opacity and overlay in the environment.

  • Interactive snowflakes to be more distinct but still light/low opacity.

  • Not too distinct - to avoid them looking to detailed as they are meant to be far away.

REFLECTION

I've documented a range of inspiration mood-boards and have the references images I need to begin with experimentation. More like this can be found within my 'Theme Research' page from Week 3, which I will be referring to throughout the process.

PURPOSE FOR EXPERIMENTATION

The purpose for this art experimentation task is to experiment and test with different materials and surfaces to prepare myself for asset creation and the making of the Art Bible this week. This should help me define the art style for the game and provide me with the knowledge of a particular style of drawing to be able to take notes and provide guidance for Kiera and I. The use of different materials will allow me to make decisions between what I think works best and what doesn't. There are requirements for the art style/visual appearance for our game, so I will be sure to keep evaluating the outcomes of my tests. I don't plan to spend too much time focusing on this as we'd ideally like to have the Art Bible finished by tomorrow and asset creation to begin within the next few weeks.

ART LEAD

As Art Lead/Director, it is my responsibility to define the look of the game and provide reasoning behind our choices. With this role, comes a detailed document outlining exactly how to achieve this, which supplies to use and examples of concepts. I plan to document my findings today in an Art Bible which I will share with my teammate Kiera, to prepare us both for Asset Creation in the next few weeks. It'll allow us to gather the supplies we need and talk things through beforehand. The purpose of this Art Bible will be to ensure both of us work consistently with each other, and so the style we individually work in are of the same standard. Alongside this, I will be undertaking a series of asset quality tests to check things through and provide feedback/changes if necessary.

REQUIREMENTS

  1. Environment must be a still, static image consisting of small animations within it.

  2. Environment will be a mountainscape inspired by Hallstatt, Austria and other findings.

  3. Should consist of mountains, trees, lakes, ski village/cabins, ski lifts and snowflakes.

  4. Scene to be split into 4 different variations - to be projected onto 3-4 individual screens/walls.

  5. Should be designed using a traditional 'hand-drawn' art style, consisting of tonal shading.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

I am going to begin by working with pencil on paper, creating light mock-ups for the environmental scene, and then experiment with different drawing techniques such as methods of shading. I then plan to experiment with watercolours on textured paper, because I feel this could be interesting to compare to the traditional black and white style we have chosen to go for.

EXPERIMENT 1

Materials used: Pencil on paper

PROCESS

I began by drawing simple outlines of different 'mountainscape'/horizon appearances to get an idea of how we'd like it to look. We know that we wanted it to seem as though players were looking out at a mountainscape scene, almost like looking at a painting, so I sketched different compositions of these mountains without detail first.

EVALUATION

I feel the appearance of this doesn't matter too much, because as we have different environment scenes, the composition will vary between the 3-4. I think we should begin with around 2 mountains, with less trees, and as players progress, add more mountains and more detail within the environment. More trees, and maybe a ski village on one screen just for variation to keep players engaged.

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EXPERIMENT 2

Materials used: Pencil B/4B on paper

PROCESS

I then used this same approach but began to use the 'tonal shading' method to give the mountains some depth. I used pencils in the shade B and 4B in my sketchbook to do this. I also used a sharp 4B pencil to create finer details within the mountains, to give them realistic markings as seen in my mood-boards above.

EVALUATION

I like the way the markings give the mountains a sense of realism. I am easily impressed by small details so I think this is a great technique to use throughout the entire environment design.

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EXPERIMENT 3

Materials used: Pencil B/4B on paper

PROCESS

Next, I experimented with tree drawings similar to how I did in my Week 3 concepts. I love this design the most and I believe it fits best in the environment because of its style. I used a shading effect to create layers in the tree, which makes it appear fluffy and full. The lighter areas also look like they have been covered in snow, which I like. This makes me feel cosy.

EVALUATION

I definitely think this is the way to go for the design of the trees in the environment, much better than using line or a more 'sketchy' approach. In my opinion, this works best for the overall feel of the scene.

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EXPERIMENT 4

Materials used: Pencil B/4B on paper, pencil stump.

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PROCESS

I used the same materials but this time sketched some quick concepts for the snowflakes and cloud designs. This is something I don't feel we need to focus on as much but it was good to gather an idea of how to do this when it comes to asset creation. Using my mood-boards, I just experimented with scale and opacity using shading and my pencil stump.

EVALUATION

I definitely prefer the look of the lighter snowflakes, I feel they look more light and airy than the concepts with harsher lines. However, it'll come down to testing to evaluate whether or not this stands out in the environment, because at the end of the day they are the interactive elements and must be visible to players. As for the cloud designs, I did struggle to get my desired effect as first, but I think using a pencil stump to create shading is the way to go.

EXPERIMENT 5

Materials used: Watercolour on textured paper

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PROCESS

For my next experiment I did something a little different. I used watercolours to create the outline of different mountain compositions. I started by using blue hues and grey shades, and then experimented with greens. I started with the lighter tones and gradually made these darker using more paint. I also tried to paint a few different tree concepts, but felt these looked too abstract! I did enjoy the process and found it quite therapeutic, as I enjoy working with water!

EVALUATION

If I were to compare the two styles, I'd say using watercolour was more experimental and fun to do, however, in terms of appearance within the space, I believe we've made the right decision with the hand-drawn style. I think this style is much more interesting and pleasing to the eye, as sometimes watercolour can appear too watery and almost a bit weak.

REFLECTION & EVALUATION

MY OPINION

I was happy with the process of experimentation and I am pleased I did this today. It has definitely prepared myself for asset creation and given me a greater understanding of how to achieve the effect we aimed for. It was good to test with different materials, it almost confirmed that our choice for art style was perfect.

THE ART STYLE

As for the art style itself, I believe the hand-drawn style works best and is most appealing/impressive. In consideration of the amount of time we have, we are also both very familiar with this style and can adapt to different drawing techniques very easily, whereas we aren't very well versed in the world of watercolour! In terms of the more detailed requirements, I feel the method of 'tonal shading' will work best for us in comparison to line work or hatching for example, as these are more harsh and less smooth looking. We aim to draw a seamless environment which people are both impressed by and feel comfortable in. A 'cosy' more welcoming style would work best to achieve this.

HOW DO WE GO ABOUT ASSET CREATION?

Next steps for me involve creating the document to guide our asset creation. I plan to do this in the form of an Art Bible similar to how I did for my previous project, Anima Mundi. This should consist of mood-boards, drawing techniques and descriptions/expectations to outline every step in detail. Kiera and I will both use this document as reference to influence the way we draw the necessary assets. As well as this, we will be distributing asset creation between us as some point to make workload easier and more efficient. For now, it's my responsibility to set ourselves up for this and translate all of my findings today into a detailed document tomorrow.

NEXT STEPS

In addition to this Art Bible, I will be making the necessary documents to carry out 'Asset Testing' and checkups to ensure we are working consistently and to check progress. I also plan to make a document for final assets and comments.

Art Bible

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