Saturday, 30 March 2013

Mortal Engines

This is one project in which I was excited about from the outset: Character design, across both visual design and game production, to characterise ourselves in the style of the setting of the novel, 'Mortal Engines'. I started out by reading the book itself, so I knew what style to work on, while at the same time creating sketches of self portraits to get my features down. Once I had finished with the book, I had an idea of modelling my character in the same style of the 'sky pirates' mentioned in the book, as airships were a major form of transport in the apocalyptic world between the moving cities. I researched clothing styles, looking at Victorian fashion, as well as great coats and dusters often worn by characters in the book, as well as other military style outfits, all compiled over a few mood boards. 
Once I had gotten the self portrait down that I was happy with to base my characters appearance off, I began editing various styles on top of it, using the original sketch as a template. 
*Looking at various clothing variations for my character, combining some clothes with others .. wanted a combination of stylish and practical.... if my character is going to be an airship pilot this needs to be obvious in the clothes he wears. 
I took the inspiration of my character from the air pilot Anna Fang, who had her own airship and wore a great coat and wielded a sword... it was this buccaneering style I wanted my character to have, so I carried across several of these elements into my own character  while trying to not be based directly off her. I made my character a pilot for the Anti-traction League as well, even creating a crest for the organisation to be depicted somewhere on my character to show his allegiance. Also as the League is based around a part of the world that has Arctic weather conditions (Tibet?), I leaned my characters clothing style towards someone who would live in these cold conditions. 

*Digital Sketches of developed attires for my character, also looking at a combination of styles and colour schemes. Decided on a practical burgundy/brown for most of the costume, though all colours are worn to show the practical nature of the characters job as an airship pilot. 

*Working from a developed sketch I created he final design for my character digitally, making the line art first, then reversing that to edit it into a back view, to show off my character from both angles, as a turnaround image. 
I made the decision to keep the line art for my final character artwork prominent, even after I had shaded and coloured it, as I think it helps to convey my own style and the characterised aspect. Also making the final character image as simple as possible, means it'll be easier to nail the basics down with my 3d version.

*The overall turnout of my 3d model I was pleased with, in particular the mesh itself I think was particularly strong, though I think that maybe dedicating so much time to that gave me less time to focus on the texturing...which I think lets the whole thing down a bit. 

*When I rigged and posed my character I was going for a quite heroic stance, but from various angles it looks more camp than anything, hahaha! rigging showed some weak areas on my mesh that didn't move as well as they should, notably around the elbow joints, which I noticed after my feedback... something to work on for future character projects. 

*The modelling around the face I was particularly happy with, especially from profile view... you can really tell its me! (quite proud of that ^_^). Though there are a few flaws when viewed from the front, such as the nose shape. 

My final airship pilot character  both the hi poly and LOD alongside each other. Annoyingly the file that I had created my lower poly version in corrupted in all version I had of it, so wasn't able to take any better screenshots than this one.... something ill most likely try to redo, as there were some areas I wanted to add to the texture, such as buckles and straps that had to be removed to get the tri limit down. 

This was definitely one of my favourite projects thus far, and only strengthened my love of character design (regardless of how ill the amount of work I had to do made me), and I think my Good grade I got for the 3d side of it reflects my hard work I poured into it. There are still many areas I need to improve on, but I think this project was good in highlighting both my strengths and things I still need to learn and perfect. 

*Below: Final piece depicting my character on board an airship, during his patrols of the mountainous regions the Anti Traction League is stationed*

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