Saturday, 24 April 2010

Cartographer Video Trailer Draft

I captured a video from the Cartographer environment in Unity complete with the audio as it stands. Bringing this into After Effects to combine it with the intro and tidy up the beginning, end and audio levels and hey presto I have a draft trailer.

Though my hope for the final SOMA9002 submission is to run it all through the game engine, this is more like machinima, drawing on the audio-visual content from the real-time environment.

Upload to youtube coming soon...

Jason Chan Covers and Cards

Jason Chan's artwork and concept work is always inspirational. His blog has a suite of new book covers and Magic the Gathering artwork he has been doing and I cant resist showing a few here. I just love the level of idea and depth we get from talented fantasy artists.

[Jason Chan book cover art via his blog]

[Jason Chan Magic the Gathering card art via his blog]

Plus, I still love this one:

[Jason Chan art via his blog]

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Cartographer Unity Progress

You cant see here the fun I had in After Effects creating a short text-centric intro that is intended to kick things off, giving a little exposition regarding the world, the maps and the journey. Video of that to come soon.
Here are a few screenshots of where things are upto in Unity. Being stills they are a little static feeling obviously, but just imagine the maps flowing along with the grass and various sound elements playing around the scene.

Pretty much every step along they way required exploration, testing, scripting and initial torture followed by joy on success. Here are some of the things I have working/done now.

Maya rigged map created and imported as Unity asset (using FBX).
Flowing animation for the map also brought across.
Script to randomly wobble a map.
Prefab of a map with various scripts - one allowing a chosen map texture to be applied.
All new map placements across the environment.
Landscape and grass enhancements.
Heartbeat audio at drop points.
Array of various wind audio elements placed where the player may walk.
Placeholder elements for holding concept art with attached audio.
Script to manage under-map audio based on player elevation.
Grassy footsteps playing when moving.
Fade in to environment from black GUI

Things I cant do because they are Pro version only things (cant do yet at least): movie playback; shadows beneath the maps (dynamic).

The TODO list in the short term looks something like this:
Make a trailer from the current landscape and cinematic intro.
Add GUI/overlay map & compass elements.
Update the Project Plan and destiny.
Create deep-maps audio elements.
Create 'darker feel' below the maps (GUI if necessary).
Create concept art monuments for the Cloak Priests, Skep and the flyer.
Create animated sketch placards.
Import the concept sketches (animated GIFs or multi-textures also).
Create a Skep audio theme.
Animated Skybox.
Create published version of realtime environment.
Rebuild the grass, add several trees.
Different footsteps for 'on maps' & fix downhill errors.

Compass Sketching

One of the fun things about the emphasis in the Cartographer for the map landscape that flows through the world is exploring some map imagery and iconography. Here are some sketches of various compass pointers and other related pieces:

Skep Sketches

As I continue to work on the audio, cinematic and Unity real-time 3D elements of my Cartographer project - more and more sketches of Skep (the Cartographer) appear. Here are a few of them compiled together that show her evolution and some level of experimentation. I like her new hair and the asymmetrical nature of her shoulder and shin bags.

I am still aiming for several of her key personality traits. She is an explorer, she is curious, she has a youthful exuberance that differs from more conspicuous teenagers. She is a mixture of naieve tomboy nerdiness and growing powerful womanhood. Growing from a playful youngster to a force for change bursting with that responsibility.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

A slick and truly funny ride from Sony Imageworks, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this little CG film is super fun. Watching this with the kids on the weekend for the first time, all of us laughing away, it was clearly a successful film. We were engaged with the characters and their antics, and the clever dialog and physical humour. The visuals were immediately stylised and gave the characters a very cartoonish quality. It isnt until we get the weather and effects layers on top that things really fill the visual range. The score and sound is great and gives some emotional depth to whole thing.

[Promo images from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs via the official site]


Armand Serrano
We can see some of the concept art that went into the creation of the film via the blog of Armand Serrano who works for Sony. I loved the Jello sequence, so it is nice to see some of the thought that went into it. I like the studies below, somehow even these drawings seem to quiver, wobble, quivobble...
There are heaps more than that for us though, check 'em out.

[Concept art for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Armand Serrano via his blog]