914 325 4791 5 Bedell Road, Amawalk NY

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Making of Nectar: A Honey Bee Quest (Part 2)

Modeling


Malachi and I have spent a great deal of time on the creation of Bella, the star of our game.  Malachi supplied me with an amazing 3D model he created in a program called Z Brush.  Using Z Brush I was able to draw in more detail and apply color.  The finished Bella is now ready to be plugged into the game and for us in promotional materials.


The Bee Tree


Now that we have our main character, it's time to develop home base - The Bee Tree.  Above is an example of Malachi's original sculpture.  It's up to me to add the bark texture and paint it to the best of my ability. If you look closely you can see where I already began playing with brush types and textures.


In the end it would require a combination of Z Brush tools, some additional sculpting, and a paint job.  Above you can see how I used a rake tool to further subdivide the form and lay out the foundation of tree bark.  I also experimented with new features such as moss and mushrooms.


Building up and carving into the digital clay was necessary to achieve a realistic oak tree bark texture.  Further manipulation of the model may be necessary once it's put into the virtual world Malachi and I are inventing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Making of Nectar: A Honey Bee Quest (Part 1)


I am pleased to have begun work on Nectar: A Honey Bee Quest, an interactive game app conceived by Malachi Bazan of Nevada City California.  Mal approached me over a year ago about the potential of collaborating on a fun, educational game featuring honey bees.  My job is to render background art, create textures, model characters/assets, and work closely with Malachi on game play and story lines.  Mal is a gifted animator and programmer.  He's also a skilled character modeler and 3D designer.  Our goal is to create a game with a strong mood and attention to detail, to put the player in the world of honey bees.  In doing so, we hope to create empathy for these insects, and educate young people of their importance.

The first step is to design the world our honey bee character (who we call Bella) lives in.  Below are some samples of various textures for leaves, trees, and ground.  This 2D art will be melded with 3D assets within the game to create the environment.

TREES

Apple Tree

Maple Tree


Pear Tree

This game will require several types of trees for Bella to fly into.  The leaves and tree branch art will be fixed to three-dimensional structures within the game, sort of like placing a skin over an object.  The leaves and twigs on these branches are all separate assets and can be moved, flipped, and rotated so that they can appear random. 

Apple Tree Branch
Maple Tree Branch
 
Pear Tree Branch






Pear Tree Leaves


I gave particular attention to the details on the leaves.  From Bella's perspective, these leaves must hold up visually when players fly in close.  Several variations of each type of leaf are drawn up, and with the help of some tools in Photoshop they can be manipulated further.  Everything put together and you have any number of trees all of which will be unique.

Tree Bark Texture

What about the big parts of the tree?  Like the trunk for instance.  For that I have to design bark texture that can be wrapped around a 3D model placed within the game matrix.  

 Apple Tree Bark

 Maple Tree Bark

Pear Tree Bark

I enjoyed drawing up these textures.  Every species has unique bark patterns and coloring.  I look at several samples of bark in order to get a feel for each type.  In order to cover large areas that can wrap around a 3D tree trunk the artwork has to "tile" as seamlessly as possible.  So they must connect top to bottom and left to right.  If any details stand out too much or aren't spread out evenly, a pattern can emerge.  The Pear Tree sample below is an example of a texture that still needs a little work.  Of course there is only so much you can do.

 Apple Tree Bark (tiled)

  Maple Tree Bark (tiled)

Pear Tree Bark (tiled)

Ground Texture

It is especially important for ground textures to tile comfortably because it has to cover a large area.  3D assets such as trees, bushes, rocks, etc will break up the monotony and a believable world will emerge.

 Dirt

 Mud

 Stone

Dry Grass

Dirt (tiled)

Mud (tiled) 

Stone (tiled) 

Dry Grass (tiled)






Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making The Mouse & The Meadow

Here's a peak into my process for The Mouse & The Meadow, due for release February, 2014.


The first thing I had to do was create the main character.  Here's how the mouse looked at first.  I quickly determined the mouse was not cute enough or young looking like he's supposed to be in the story.
Here's the revised character in a comp.  I shortened his snout which made him look more childlike.  I also began to work out the setting.
The finished spread.  I wanted the first page to be bright and cheerful, to set the tone for the rest of the book.

When I first wrote The Mouse & The Meadow I did some experimental illustrations to see how it could look.  This is an early interpretation of the box turtle scene.  It also happens to be one of my earliest attempts at digital painting.
I had to rethink the illustration to fit into a double page spread.  At first I tried to salvage some of what I accomplished the first time around and combine it with new sketches.
After doing some research and digging through my sketchbook, I was able to come up with this finished comp.  The background elements are mostly based on drawings I've done in the past involving meadows.  Three paragraphs of type and the center gutter made designing difficult.  At this point all my values have been established and it's ready for color.
The finished illustration.  Based on the fact that these box turtles have warm coloring, I knew having a cool background would help the characters pop forward.  This is one of four pieces selected to be in the Illustrators 56 Annual and Show at the Society of Illustrators, NY.
Take a look at the early sketch for the bunny scene.  I had a great deal of trouble balancing the text with seven bunnies, one mouse, and one adult rabbit...
This is how it wound up.  Flipping the whole scene was a start, and repositioning the rabbit and bunnies this way makes more sense and there's plenty of room for type where the light is filtering through the hole.  I did my homework to get the anatomy and details right.  I'm looking forward to the interactive app version of this page (you can wake the bunnies up by touching the screen).
Another early digital attempt from when I first wrote the manuscript.  Fortunately I was able to preserve the spirit this piece always had and reformat it for the double page spread.


The revised art.  I was glad to be able to add other fireflies flashing in the background.  And more contrast adds to the drama.  This piece was also selected for the Society of Illustrators show in February.








Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Zebra Family



One of my favorite places to draw - The Museum Of Natural History.



Dear Friends of Nature,

As we all know, honey bees need help! And kids need to be inspired by nature. Both of these goals come together in NECTAR: A Honey Bee Quest, a game app for kids. This game is the inspiration of Malachi and Chad, two artistic and technically savvy young people. It’s a game in which kids “become a bee” and gather nectar, pollinate flowers, do the waggle dance, and much more. Along the way, kids will have lots of fun as they learn how very important bees are!

Mal and Chad are doing this on their own—an enormous undertaking—so they launched a Kickstarter campaign. We at Dawn Publications are so excited by it that we have pledged to match a successful campaign.

Can you help NECTAR: A Honey Bee Quest become a reality? Check out their proposal at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1696576220/nectar-a-honey-bee-quest

BTW – Mal and Chad are offering a bunch of incentives
—and you’ll get a free game with a pledge of only $15.

Thank you!—from all of us at Dawn Publications.



Friday, December 28, 2012

The Meadow Mouse

Today I was informed that I'm a children's book I wrote is going to be published by Dawn Publications!  Here is an image from the story.  Due for release spring 2014.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Overlay Demo



The transition from digital, to oil, and back to digital...

On the left is a digital under painting I drew in Photoshop.  The middle piece is a result of printing out that under painting and glazing oil color over top.  I guess I just wasn't ready to put the brush and paint away.  On the right I took out the middle process and did a color overlay in Photoshop.

EARTH Feeling The Heat - 2010.