3.31.2016

Disney Infinity 3.0 - Concept Pt.2

Some more of the good stuff! 
There's more, but it's still under lockdown for the time being. Until then, enjoy...


When I was first hired at Disney we were still waiting to get the scoop from Lucas. But as a new hire they wanted to get me up to speed as fast as possible, getting familiar with the Infinity style, and how to apply that to Star Wars. So they started me on some Mos Eisely environment pieces.

With environments as iconic as this it's a challenge to gather all the hits all in one place; Jabba's palace, sand-crawlers, the city, etc. We're also always looking for opportunities to address the outer context, maybe insert something fans haven't seen before, but fits within the established fiction.



Han and Chewie's freighter that 'swallows' the Millenium Falcon. 



Corridors and crates are the bread and butter of a game. Even though you're just taking them to get from Point A to Point B, they've got to look right. 



When we're working on organic locations it's often pretty hard to make sense of the chaos. Jungle scenes like Takodana come across as walls of green. So I do a lot of these type of vignettes to break it down for our world builders, how to structure and re-construct topsoil, ground cover, small, med, and large foliage, etc. with purposeful design.

Unlike the hallways and corridors that a player takes at face-value in directing gameplay - where to go and how to get there, the natural worlds can't come across as overtly contrived. It takes a lot of finesse to place boulders in just the right place where they obscure a line of sight or control a direction in movement and still feel authentic, as if they've always been there.



Big set pieces like Maz Kanata's castle are always a blast to work on. To maintain Infinity's fiction of being toys, these kinds of things are where we really get to have fun. What would the giant toy playset version of the castle look like? Flipping trap doors? Boulders that roll out? A button that reveals a secret compartment? Yes please!




3.16.2016

Disney Infinity 3.0 - Concept Pt.1

It's been a long time coming, but I can finally share some of the art I did for Disney Infinity 3.0! 

It was such a blast to work on the Episode 7 playset. Most of what I did centered on Jakku, as it was a large expansive exterior space that needing filling. Even though we get the inside scoop on these projects, the depth of reference we get varies. And the Jakku stuff was pretty thin, maybe 2-3 keyshots, from which to infer everything else. We don't see the movie 'Art-of' books until everyone else does, which is after the fact that the game has been made.



Yes, that's the rear of a derelict star destroyer. Concept is the very beginning phase where we start from nothing. Level of detail is kept to a minimum, just enough to straddle that balance where the 3D guys know where to start from, but have plenty of latitude in leveling it up and really bring it too life.




There's always a lot of filler, those little details the player will run right by in the game, but set dressing that needs to look good enough not to stick out as something odd or misplaced. A lot of design discussion goes into created emergent interaction that doesn't feel contrived. Things need to be believable in that they really do belong in the world where the player finds them. 

And we're always looking for the fun. I imagine myself as a parkour master running around the set looking for things I can jump on/flip off/slide along. As well as things that are more specific, like switches for doors, vehicle jumps, bridges, etc.  



More to come, stay tuned!

3.02.2016

patternscape after Inness


This time trying to restrict the marks to lines and squares juxtaposed with a rough canvas texture.

2.12.2016

draw wars of 2015 - pt.6

Alright!! Finally done with the list. 29 in total. There were doubles of Luke, Han, Leia in different costumes, but since I was going in a different direction that straight up depictions... I skipped those.

But now that I can see them all together, I was thinking of doing prints for cons later this year. Some of these seem strong enough to put a little more polish into and print. Something at the level of the Easy-Rider Speeder-Bike.

Any favorites? What would you like to see?

check em' all out HERE 




1.29.2016

~scape

this is the 36th study of these kinds of things, evolution. I don't even know what to call them anymore, all the experiments of color/light/pattern are starting to be less distinctive and actually becoming tool in the artistic utility belt. what will the the next 36 bring?!



1.04.2016

draw wars of 2015 - pt.2


I'm slowly getting through the list of 30 characters to do, just going at my own pace. I'll catch-up posting the ones I did in 2015, then onto the ones I need to finish up this year.

Also, I completed the only New Year's resolution I made last year: getting more posts up! 2014 was an all time low of lackadaisical @ 39 posts, 2015 weighed in @ 50! Maybe 60 for 2016? We'll see... 

12.17.2015

draw wars 2015 - pt1


I don't usually do a lot of fan art, but this has been going around and wanted to give it a try. There's a list of characters, and you're supposed to do 1 a day as a countdown to the Star Wars Ep.7 release. I'm just doing them when I get the chance, more as a morning warm-up type thing. So it'll be like mid-Feb to get them all done. Here is the first batch...

12.10.2015

Minions! Concept - Pt.2

A lot of people ask 'What does a Concept-Artist do?' They look around online and see the amazing fully rendered paintings and they think that's the ticket. Well not quite, those images are 1:100 of what we do day-in and day-out. For the most part those images are created for marketing, or early on when no one has a cohesive vision of what the heck we're building. So, we iterate: that is we come up with a variety of ways to visualize and implement an idea, gag, or concept.  

So this post is going to show examples of that from EA's Minions Paradise

The funnest and most difficult aspect of working on a recognizable brand is that you need to come up with stuff that feels like it belongs to the aesthetic and fiction of the world, but doesn't exist yet. Its all about getting the feel right, about expanding the variety within some very narrow parameters.


A casual/social media game typically known as a 'content furnace.' There is tons and tons of crap you can get, from costumes to props, specific buildings, decorations, etc. Everything you see in the store, that endless scroll of items, needs to be designed by someone. Even in AAA games, every crate, doorway, lightswitch, valve needs to be addressed. There are only so many heroes and bosses in any game. And the specialists that tackle them are VERY good. The rest of the concept team fills in the gaps. 

Which can be hard when suits want to see what the game will look like... when the game doesn't exist. Often at the very beginning, at the figuring-out stage, you have to design a facsimile of the whole game from thin air, just so a simple decision can be made, like: "yeah, on a beach might be nice."


Images like this might look pretty, they're designed to sell the idea to internal decision makers, but that is the only purpose they serve. Selling something nice off like a piece of art is only secondary. What we do is help decisions get made. That means the art is disposable to that end. For the majority of the time we prove what bad ideas look like, to prove that they're bad. And we whittle away at a pile of bad ideas until we've got a few good ones. All that art goes in the can along with. 

The rub is that even good ideas can be executed poorly, and be mistaken for bad ideas. Sometimes it takes a lot of polish to get at the gem. And for artists under a deadline its easy to throw something at it and move on. But the first idea is usually the worst, most cliche' option! So you've got to get it out of the way and move on, force yourself to look at things differently and put something more on paper than a knee-jerk reaction. 

Iterating on banana carts...




As you can see, these aren't nice finished drawings. They're just enough for someone to recognize what it is and be able to so, "I like it," or not. 

Iterating on stationary bikes...




And some early exploration of what a Minions Lab/Lair would look like.
See? Almost non of this went into the game as is. Even an approved concept gets altered substantially in the translation to 3D and workable game play. All in a days work.