Friday, December 23, 2011

Orcs Must Die! - Environment stuff

Hello all, just wanted to get a quick post going of some of the environment work that went into Orcs Must Die! I started out on the project helping create all the small assets that would make up the fortress/castles the players would be running around in. I slowly transitioned into helping create the levels and lighting them along with a couple of other artists on the team. We really had a great time working on this project and the game is a blast to play.

Anyway thanks for checking us out,


Monday, December 12, 2011

Knock, Knock!

Orcs Must Die! is Robot’s first original title and IP. Speaking for the art department, this was such an inspirational and rewarding title to create and work on. When Bart started working on the comic, we knew that we wanted a gallery section to go into the back of the book for the artists to explore some different ideas for the characters. That seemed like a perfect opportunity to follow through on one visual in particular that I had about Orcs Must Die since the very beginning of the game. I pictured a huge Ogre splintering the doors to the fortress that the warmage was protecting.

I hope you guys enjoy.


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Orcs Must Die! Lost Adventures DLC Cyclops Shaman model...

Hey all... thanks for stopping by to check out some Ten Ton Gorilla. For this post I wanted to share some of the work that went into creating the Cyclops Shaman model.

Finished "in-game" model...

For this particular character we wanted to create an interesting, unique unit while at the same time creating him efficiently. Given this we decided to have him share the same body type as the OMD! Ogre. Sharing the Ogre's form would save a great deal of animation and early stage modeling time.

Now that we knew the starting point one of Robot's talented concept artists, Nate Stefan, worked up a concept based on the design needs and the Ogre's form. On the modeling side I decided to begin this mission by using the in-game Ogre model created by fellow character artist extraordinaire Chris Moffitt.

Using the Ogre model provided a great starting point to begin the Zbrush phase. Once I have the Zbrush model completed I export the lowest subD mesh from Zbrush and import it into Max. Within Max I will create the in-game model using the lowest Zbrush subD (after some cleanup and optimizing) and then lay out the UV's. Now that I have my low and high poly models complete the normal map baking stage begins. I usually make about 2~3 projections within xNormal set at different influence or distance radiuses... for instance... .05, 5, 20. This enables me to get the best projection for various aspects of the model (between fingers, straps, and large areas such as the torso). Once baked I'll combine the normal maps within photoshop for the cleanest, highest quality map possible. Now that I have my normal map set the way I want it I will create an occlusion map from it within Crazybump. Once my normal and occlusion maps look clean and ready to roll I will go into max and assign the Direct X RTTNormalmap.fx shader to my Cyclops model. Doing this enables me to actively view the model with the normals active to check for any artifacts, unclean areas, or trouble spots in general before fully exporting it to the game. Once I am happy with every thing thus far I will texture the character within photoshop using the occlusion as my guide. This Cyclops uses a diffuse, spec, normal, gloss, and emissive texture map. For final texture tweaks I view the charcter within the game's engine. Once the Art Director is happy with the character it goes off to our animation and FX gurus to be brought to life!

The below image displays the concept, starting point Ogre mesh, Cyclops model as seen within max using the RTTNNormalmap.fx shader applied, and the final Cyclops wireframe.

The Zbrush model of the Cyclops Shaman.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed this post. Stop back soon and often for more tidbits from the Robot Art Staff!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Some very early OMD! Orc designs...

Here are some concepts that I had done for the Orcs before we went for a more light hearted tone.

I hope you guys diggum.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creating a Gauntlet

One of my last tasks on the Orcs Must Die! project was to create a set of storyboards for a logo animation. Unfortunately none were chosen, but I really loved one of the animatics; as, in my mind, it stood out from the rest. So, in my spare time over the span of four months, I was determined to see this animated. Here's how it got started:

One of the art directors at Robot Entertainment asked me to storyboard some Orcs Must Die! (OMD) logo ideas. The requirements and direction was essentially keep it short; keep it simple; comedy via orc violence; get the OMD logo on the screen. Some other logo animations were already complete, but he wanted to look at different options, perhaps a different direction. Six seconds was the maximum length established from the completed logos. Because some artist time had already been spent creating a usable (and great!) logo the time frame for the one I would create was short: Not including storyboard time, this would be done (animation, render, sound, etc...) in a week with minimal effort from the art team; 3d animation and reused assets.

Of course, my mind started blowing up with ideas that didn't fit within that requirement. (Thanks brain, you're awesome.) So, I storyboarded those ideas over the next three working days. Unfortunately, I saw these as short animations rather than just a straight up logo, which is probably why we didn't move forward with any of my ideas. As such, I was trying to tell a small story with some (2), and others do exactly what the art director wanted (3). I finished a total of five. As I said, none of them were chosen and we went with the already completed logo. One animatic/idea, for me, stood out above the rest (above). I wanted to see it to completion. Below are the other animatics I did that aren't going to see any further work.

Here is a video showcasing the multiple stages I went through to get Gauntlet completed. Starting with the animatic and rough animation moving all the way to final animation, color, and effects.

This is the final Orcs Must Die! Gauntlet animation. The animation was created using ToonBoom Animate Pro 2, and backgrounds in Photoshop.

I broke out some of my smear/multiple drawings and squash and stretch drawings from my Orcs Must Die! Gauntlet animation. Smear and multiple drawings are typically used when your character needs to cover a really large distance over a really short amount of time. Much like what motion blur does in live action video footage. The camera stretches, smears and blurs the action if something is moving really quickly.

I use multiple drawings usually if only the limbs are moving big distances but the body isn't. Multiple drawings are also a great way to convey, in one or two frames, the spacing and arc of the limb; allowing for a more accurate interpretation of the movement. I'll use smear drawings more if the entire character is moving very quickly; if I want the sense of a fast motion without the actual direct understanding of how the character got there (which means for me that the movement and distance traveled is so unrealistic, I'll use a smear drawing to convey the character's movement from the start and stop spots.) Of course, none of this means you can't use smear drawings instead of multiple whenever you want or vice versa; use the method that gives you the desired effect that you're looking for in your animation, or whatever appeals to you more. Anything or everything I've said could be completely wrong, this is just how I understand it, and utilized it in my own work.

I must say, smear and multiple drawings are really fun to draw!

Click on the images to see the sequence of smear/multiple drawings.

And finally, I made this nifty little gif animation of the looping portion. Right click the image to save. If you want a higher resolution version, download it here.


Making of the comic book for OMD!

Previous post for the Cover Artwork

If you read my previous post about the process that I followed in creating the cover for the comic book, then you’ll already know the basic steps that I took when doing the cover artwork.  The only major differences when I did the interior pages were that I had to stick fairly strictly to a specific storyline and that in turn helped to dictate the direction that the panel to panel work would take.  Another major difference, and huge benefit in my opinion, was the ability to use 3D models to help maintain the look and design of our game’s characters.  I knew ahead of time that we weren’t trying to stray too far, if at all, from the look of our game.  With this in mind, I made a conscious effort not to push the style too far in any direction and made sure not to make it too realistic or too cartoony compared to our game.  In the images below I’ll show you how I used the 3D models in some of the panel work to stay consistent to the assets that we had in game.

These images outline the flow of how I put together some of the pages in the book.   
1                     This picture is very loose sketch of some of my initial ideas when I wanted to portray some of the various minions that aid the War Mage in Orcs Must DIE!
2                     In the next picture I swayed from the first thought and decided to go with some of the female Weavers in the top panel and have a larger panel on the bottom to showcase the Palidins and the Archers.  For the second panel I decided to use some of the 3D assets that we had to create some cool poses and to maintain consistency.
3                     Here I basically just drew overtop of the models for panel 2 and for the 1st panel I had some fun creating my own versions of the Weavers.  I added a subtle background behind the characters on panel 2 as well.
4                     After some feedback and discussion I made some changes to the Weavers and ‘inked’ in some darker lines to make some areas pop more than others.  I also threw in some effects in there to show some of the Weaver’s magic abilities.

While it was great for this project to use some 3D models, it wasn’t always practical or even possible.  In this example there were no assets created for other War Mages of The Order.  I had a lot of fun with this one because I was able to just go in and create various character designs.  The first 4 pictures show my process of evolving an original idea and composition then taking the loose scribbles to a more polished final look.  The 5th picture is the ‘inked’ page that was colored and used in the comic.

It was great fun working on this comic book, a lot of work, but all worth it.  I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I did creating it!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome to the Ten Ton Gorilla art blog!

The artists of Robot Entertainment previously had a blog on the Robot Entertainment site, ‘Art Bot Central’. But we wanted a space that specifically revolved art. That art will include the great stuff that we pull in a salary to create, as well as the stuff we do that no one in their right mind would pay us for J

In other words, this site will be used as a creative dump for the artists at Robot Entertainment to showcase their wide range of thoughts. We’ll use this site to talk about and showcase a wide variety of artwork. We will cover some of the art and the processes that we have followed to create the awesome visuals that go into various Robot Entertainment games, such as the recently released Orcs Must Die! Additionally we will post current artwork that we are working on outside of the Robot Factory, and since a lot of us don’t seem to have much free time… we’ll have ‘themes’ from time to time to give us a little extra motivation to post some new artwork out here. We’ll start that up in January of 2012!

A lot of us have a lot of history with one another and have worked together dating back to the early days of Ensemble Studios. It’s a great group of really talented guys that I love working with and get inspired by every day, and I look forward to us sharing some of that creativity with you. We will be showcasing everything from concepts, models, environments, characters, to animations, so we hope you guys enjoy the site!

Take care,