Monday, 25 March 2013

Glen Keane Disney animator - Little Mermaid

Sooo... Glen Keane is a god. Want proof I hear you say? Watch these videos and try and argue with me why he is not... Good luck trying!

ps, one day I want to animate like him, for now I can longingly watch him animate and keep on practising!

Game Environment research

As well as looking into games and illustration artists to influence my work, I spent time looking at real life references to help aid my design work. I am hoping to base this game space around the streets of Japan, using as many quirky real life references as possible in a stylised way.

Here I created another mood board, but this time of reference photographs which I will start drawing from, before stylising and adapting the images to create my own piece of work.

Gaming Illustration styles

I decided to make a mood board on Pinterest of illustrations which have started to influence me and the style that I am aiming towards with this game.

These images hold the strongest influence on me so far from my mood board

 Kay Blegvad- Concept, detailing

Aaron Meshon- Environment, colour tones, illustration style

Leslie Hung- drawing style, application of colour, colour tones

Tahra - Environments used, colour, texture

Visually beautiful games

These are games, which focus more on the style rather than the narrative. Out of all the games I have looked at (and have planned to look at) this section is by far my favourite, and that I find the most inspiring.


The first of this category is an indie game called Journey, created by Thatgamecompany (which have also created Flow and Flower, the next two games I am going to look at). This wonderful game is just created to allow the player to explore and get lost in this lovely world, and has no other storyline or concept behind it. Although the gameplay may seem a bit too simple or even boring to people, I love the idea that it has been created simply for people to enjoy playing. The style and design work is also right up my street, especially the simplicity, and how the gameplay is created to look like it is 2D by the texturing. The concept work is equally appealing to me, as the line work and style is really nicely done, and what I aim my own work to mirror.


Flow is a slightly abstract game, as you control tiny micro-organisms, creating interesting patterns and combining them together to create larger creatures. 


Flower is very much like Flow but this time the character that you are playing as is actually the element of wind, where you go around blowing the grass and collecting petals. This is another visually stimulating and calming game to play, but doesn't have a strong narrative core like other games.


At Bradford Animation Festival I was introduced to this game, by the incredible and quirky creators at Amanita. This game and its design is right up my street, and the concept art matches the way in which I best work, where initial drawings are done by hand in pencil and then more finalised concepts are digitally painted to give a fuller picture. I really like have the characters interact and work so well in their environment. Although I won't be using sound in my game, another key point I love about this game is their soundtrack, as it is as vibrant as the game itself.

The Unfinished Swan

I actually had not heard of this game until Annabeth showed some of its concept art in her presentation for this module. The concept is unusual as you travel round an invisible white world, which you need to throw black ink bombs around to give depth to the landscape and your surroundings. What I find most funny about this concept is that you could throw so many of these ink bombs that your whole surroundings become black, putting you in the same situation that you were in before. The creators however have thought about this and ensured that you could look up to the sky and still manage to navigate your way around the world without using the ink bombs. I found the two videos posted really insightful into the game, as they discuss further the game play and overall concept. Again the artwork for this is very visually and stylistically driven, with a very limited colour palette. 

Action games

Although these games are not really my usual 'cup of tea' as it were, in recent years I have really enjoyed watching friends and flatmates play on these sorts of games. Not only for the game play, but for the increasingly beautiful environments and characters.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is my all time favourite game to watch other people playing. Last year I spent a long period of time each weekend watching my (then) flatmate playing it. When he first got the game I was not interested in the slightest, but when I actually saw the visuals I was hooked. The concept art that I have chosen to show really gives the game justice and vice versa, they really are both as good as each other/ As I had no previous knowledge on the line of games before Skyrim, I was surprised at the drastic change and development in the characters, as shown by the last image, just showing how drastically technology is advancing to allow more complex design (in both the modelling and texturing) to be used. Out of all of the concept art, I really enjoy looking at the primary pencil sketches, but can obviously really appreciate the later more finished pieces of digital artwork.

Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed is another game that I have watched my flatmate play. Like Skyrim, I was amazed by the environments more than the character. All of the concept work I found for this game was digital and none done by hand, which contrasts to how I work best when generating ideas. Even though I am often put off my overly digitalised pieces of artwork, the detail and sheer beauty in these images is out of this world. I particularly like the last image as the tree house with all the moss hanging off the branches and roots is incredible, as well as the tiny figure showing the scale. I also like the detail in the foreground, adding further depth to this image. One thing which I hadn't really considered is reflection, as it makes such a difference to the believability in this image, and is something I need to ensure I do in any water, even puddles, and windows if light is reflecting off them.

The Tomb Raider Trilogy

Tomb Raider is another game which is really well known with a massive fan base as it has been around for years and adapted and developed with the ever-changing technologies. I have posted a few examples to show the development of the games increase in realism. My favourite images though are the two landscapes, where a simple silhouette is used to show the scale of the space and give a better indication on what the game will be like best. Although they have both been digitally painted, a medium I still feel uncomfortable using, I would be interested in trying to make my concept art the same standard as these.

Heavy Rain
Although I hadn't heard of this game before researching into different Playstation 3 games, I really liked the last image when looking for their concept art. It looks realistic and believable as a building, but still looks as if it has been drawn. The choice in colour palette and dark shadowy areas, with the added detailing of rain) really create a dreary atmosphere in this image, and sets the scene of the game perfectly. I also couldn't believe how lifelike the characters are modelled and textured, even though this is not the direction I want to take my own game in, I am still very impressed!

Anime inspired games

Many of today's games are choosing to use a Japanese/Chinese Anime drawing style, as the 2D animated series' all around the world are gaining such popularity. Even if only using small influences from this mass popular culture, in these games below you can clearly see it's influence. As I am hoping to base my game on a Japanese city, I think it is important that I focus on this style of gaming. 

Heavenly Sword
This game is aiming for photo-realism in the landscapes used, but still has a slight stylistic slant. I really enjoy the concept art which shows the characters interaction with the space, especially in the last image with the main protagonists hair flowing. Although most of their concept art is more like a finished piece of art work, I really enjoy the third images rough sketchyness, with added detailing in the key sections of the design. Although it has been created digitally it looks as if it has been drawn with pencil on paper, which is something I wish to improve on when doing my own design work.


Although overly feminine (in the way I don't enjoy), Folklore does have some interesting concept art for their environments. I find it interesting that all the environment designs I found were very very similar, with very limited changes in scenery or style.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Wizard's Edition

This game has been well awaited by all Studio Ghibli fans, including myself. The first from the franchise has definitely not been a flop, and has sold out after every restocking in almost every game shop in the UK. This game is just as beautifully created and animated as Ghibli's films, and allows fans to really be in the magical world that the studio have managed to make. Although the last image of the strange characters the main protagonist meets is a little bit lacking in substance contrasting to the rest of the design work, the finished game works really well. One of my main concerns is that Studio Ghibli is known for their 2D animation and I was sceptical on how it would translate into 3D for their game. They manage to retain their style and substance however in their 2D backgrounds, and the models are exactly modelled to their 2D visions, and then textured in a way to still look 2D.

Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy is such a massive franchise that I simply couldn't ignore it for this section. Loved by many, this ever adapting and improving game (in terms of visuals but also the game play and narrative) is gaining more and more players. I really like their character sheets which show the initial design compared to the final 3D version. I am thinking of doing something similar for my own work.

White Knight Chronicles (1 and 2)

Although this is a bit too elaborate and 'epic' for my own game, I am in owe of the amazing concept art for this game. I really like the dull pastel tones used, but don't think I would use them in my own work, as I enjoy using bright colours. I may use their cheat to give depth to the concept art by limiting the colour and detail as you go further back, until the house rooftops blur into one colour.