The Vallake Guide: Luminos Casino – Bar Art – Character lines finished, and flat colours

So far, this week has been busy, and I have been working in most of my free moments to try and get more of this bar scene done to get us back on track.

My Progress

Last blog post, I had finished the lines for Enilias and Melody. Ren was a challenge, because the reference that I was given for her was more obscure than the others. It has been a while since I was last shown the reference, and I had not realised that Ebonny missed out putting her reference into any shared folder, so my interpenetration of Ren, for now, is based entirely from a vague recollection of the reference. I really like what I have come up with, but if it is too far from Ebonny’s concept art, I will happily make edits. I remembered that she has a bun, and the rest was guess work, but I figured that she would probably wear her uniform more neatly than the rest, and I think she looks great.

ren-screenshot

As you can tell from this screenshot, I also coloured the white layers for the characters so that I could easily get started on the flat colours!

This was a relatively easy process, just repetitive. Ebonny uses clip layers attached to these white fill layers so that getting the lines smoother is easier, and it makes shading easier later on. So, I spent a few hours colouring in the flats for these characters, and it really has made a world of difference to this art!

Luminos Casino Bar art flat colours

My next step is to shade, which I plan to do with the same lilac colour that I used in the lanterns so that it looks more realistic. As for group progress, at this moment in time, I’m not even giving it it’s own paragraph, because nothing has changed since I last wrote about it, so I’ll hold out until Monday, when hopefully I’ll have something positive and informative to say!

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The Vallake Guide: Luminos Casino – Bar Art – Environment complete, and character time

Excuse the long winded title, however the last few days have been very productive for me! Lets talk about it!

My progress

So, in terms of art progress, I spent the last few days motivating myself to work on the bar art for the Casino, which is one of my biggest tasks. As you can see from last week, the frame work has all been set up, so a couple of days ago I started working actually painting the environment. It took me a few days, but I stuck to the style guide as closely as possible. I looked at how Chloe makes her amazing environment art, and tried to look for techniques to follow in order to make an environment even slightly close to how her’s look. Chloe showed me that a lot of her work is colour picking and blending, so I tried to stick as closely to that as possible, and I’m quite happy with the results! I also tried to consider how the purple lighting from the fairy lanterns would bounce, which currently only effects the environment, but I will also try and consider that while shading the characters later! This took me more days than I expected, and I only finished it yesterday.

Luminos Casino Bar art environment.png

Today, I focused most of my attention onto working on the lineart for the characters! I was only able to finish two, because it took me quite a while to work out perspective and faces, but two out of three isn’t bad! I drew Enilias first, because he seemed like the most intimidating one to start with (based solely on the fact that I struggle to draw dudes). I didn’t really give myself the best place to start, because those placeholder bodies aren’t well detailed, so I first sketched out a better scaled body. I then drew his face, and spent a lot of time considering how his clothes a) Looked, because the reference I was given was torso up, and b) would fall on his body, because sitting down creases clothes differently. After a couple of failed attempts, I was finally happy with how it looked! I then moved onto drawing Melody, and followed the exact same procedure to draw her lines. I would have liked to have drawn Ren today too, but simply ran out of time, so here is what I have so far!

Luminos Casino Bar art Eni and Mel lines.png

The lines may not look super great without shading, but my hope is to get them coloured and shaded as soon as possible! Overall, I am very happy with my recent progress, and am trying to keep it up as best as possible! This whole scene was absolutely nothing this time last week, so I’m very happy with my individual progress!

Group progress

As for our group progress, everyone seems to just be working away on their tasks. We haven’t really communicated much outside of college, which I keep trying my best to change, but never really get anywhere with it. Our burndown chart seems to show that we are on schedule, so we are no longer falling behind, which is a relief. Everyone, to my knowledge, is working on their important location art, so hopefully everyone will be on track to having their priority pages done by the MVP deadline, which is another massive relief.

Everyone seems to be keeping their time really well, so I don’t have much to complain about! My only complaint is the usual one, a couple of members aren’t super communicative, so my hope is that they are getting the work done. As long as the work is getting done, I can deal with them not talking to me. My only fear is that the lack of communication might cause everything to come together weirdly at the end, so I’m going to try and pull that back together.

The Vallake Guide: Luminos Casino – Bar art – Photobashing

The last few days have been busy, mostly occupied with other project work. However, with the small scraps of time that I have had left, I managed to pull together some images for “photobashing”.

My progress

Recently, I talked with Chloe about how she makes her environments, and what makes them tick! She said that her pipeline usually consists of finding png images of things that she wants to include in her scene, then accumulating them all together and painting over. She showed me some of the technical skill involved with how she paints the environments, and I have to say, she is a wizard. Seriously, she is too good for us. It is unlikely that I will 100% match her painting style, because she is super good at it and has had a lot of practice, but hopefully I’ll be able to do it justice with the useful techniques she showed me! So, I went off and collected as many images as possible, and gave it a shot!

 

Luminos Casino Bar art photobash

I slightly messed with the amount of lanterns that are in the scene, because it felt busy and was obscuring Melody’s head, however I feel that I am happy with this! Obviously, I didn’t quite manage to get a background, but I’ll improvise that when it comes to painting! So far, I like how this looks, I have a feeling this will work out well with the golds and purples! Chloe is a lifesaver, her skills are amazing, and I am super grateful that she showed me some tips, because this was daunting to start. My next steps will be to actually paint this bad boy, which I hope to have done by next week, providing that my schedule doesn’t screw things up too much.

Group progress

To be honest, again, things are literally no different to how they were at the start of this week, so this barely feels worth talking about. Again, the hope is that everyone is working to the best of their abilities, and that everyone is making steady progress so that we can catch up and get back on track. The bad communication is still testing my patience, but I have faith that everyone will be managing their time as best as possible. For now, I am just going to continue what I am doing and making art so that I can at least try and fulfil my tasks.

The Vallake Guide: Luminos Casino – Bar Art – Environment Sketches

Okay, so for a while my blog has been on a somewhat downhill spiral, and this is something that I am determined to change! I fell behind on keeping things up to date, purely because of bad time management and personal reasons. This has to change. So, I am going to start structuring my blog posts slightly differently, and try and make this content better quality. Anyway, now that this has been explained, lets talk about my work!

My progress

This week has been a slow one, because some things have happened that has halted my progress immensely, but I am somewhat back on track now! This really isn’t a lot to show, but I sketched out my quick plan for what I want this first piece of Casino art to look like. I have decided to start with the bar first, because it had a clearer description, and I had a vision for what I wanted to make. I want to include most of the staff in the bar, because according to Ebonny, that is where most of them are! Here is my sketch!

 

Luminos Casino Bar art sketch

This might not look like much at the moment, but it took me a while to get across what I was thinking! That curtain on the right hand side might not make it to the final iteration of this art, but I felt like something tall needed to be there to make the image flow better with the rule of thirds. If it feels too busy later, I’ll scrap it, but for now it can stay. I also added in a plant, which I decided to add to bring in some greens to not only compliment the purples, but to give the bar a 1920’s Kit Kat club sort of feel. My next steps will be to look for some images to mash together, so that I can start creating the environment art as closely to how Chloe does it as possible!

Group progress

To be completely honest, I haven’t got too much idea what is going on with our group. Communication is poor, and I’m starting to lose my patience a little with how little some members communicate. I try talking to everyone, but it seems to take a while to get responses from some people. Since communication is not great, I haven’t the clearest idea of where everyone is, and this has caused me to seriously lose motivation to ask, because I know I’ll be ignored. I know for a fact that my time management hasn’t been great lately, so I will understand if everyone else’s hasn’t been great either, but if that is the case, then we need to get back on track asap because this is just not a pace that we can work at if we want a finished product before the deadline.

The Vallake Guide – Finishing pre-production, and Luminos Casino Maps

So posts were scarce last week because I finished all of my tasks early in the week and didn’t want to move onto production until pre-production was finished, however since last week, everyone pulled together to finish off that work. Ebonny has finished the style guide, meaning that the artists should be able to get on with their art now, and yesterday Brandon made as much of the audio plan as he could. The only reason that this task isn’t marked as finished is because it is an ever expanding task until the animation is finished. The only other thing that isn’t marked as complete is the blueprints, and for us this counts as the maps. Everyone has to make maps for each of their locations as a feature of the final pages, so this too will be an ongoing task, meaning that we can finally start production.

I’m going to try and stick to schedule as closely as possible, so I have spent the last couple of days making the maps/floor plans for the Luminos Casino. Even though I made 3D looking maps as my concept art to get a feel of how things look, Ebonny said that she wanted top-down maps for the finalised pages, so I am classing the old maps as concept art, and making new ones for the final piece. It didn’t take me too long to make these maps, and I am hoping that they are good enough to justifiably be finished. If Ebonny decides that anything needs to look different, hopefully it shouldn’t take too long to remedy the problems.

I plan to spend the rest of the week making “Art 1” for the Casino, which I plan to either make as some perspective art of Ren working at the Bar, or perhaps as some detailed art of the tables downstairs with cards and dice. I plan to post again later this week with the finished piece of art, so that there will be at least two posts a week.

In terms of teamwork, I feel like people still aren’t communicating as well as they should be. I think I need to start bugging people more, because not everyone communicates about task progress. Everyone looks like they’re keeping busy, so hopefully tasks are being done.

The Vallake Guide – Fixing up the *most* of the pre-production paperwork

So, since receiving the feedback last week, there have been a few tasks that I have been dreading starting, and I am glad to report that over the last two days I have finally got them done!

The first thing that we really needed to do was to work out how many tasks we are dealing with, and Ebonny delivered the last of what we need for this yesterday, so I got to crunching the numbers as soon as I could. I worked out that there should be 3 pieces of art for each location, one is the overhead map, and the other two would be feature drawings. The idea was that if you make two feature drawings, you have enough if you make a two page spread, and if you only make one page, you can chose the one you like the most. From these calculations, I was able to work out that each page has at least 4 directly related tasks, and worked out an estimate for how much would need to be made for each location. I updated the asset list with production tasks added underneath the pre-production tasks.

Today I made a burndown chart based on the total number of pre-production and production tasks. This number feels painfully high, but I’m sure most tasks will be written off quickly somewhere along the line. Since everything was organised on the asset list, making the production schedules was slightly easier, because I looked for which things each person had to make, and organised the schedules so that everybody’s high priority tasks would be first so that the important things would have time to spill over if needed, then scheduled other things in order of priority. I made the general one for the project overall, and then made a rough production schedule for everyone in the group, giving people the option to mix things up incase they were inconvenient for the group members. As of this moment in time, I feel like it is probably worth asking everyone if this stuff looks okay, but no one come back with negative feedback on it, so this feels like a victory.

So far, this is everything that I can do. I can’t make any production art yet because the style guide is a work in progress, and until the other pre-production stuff is done we aren’t supposed to move onto production. Teamwork wise, I feel like our project is going okay. I still feel like people should be communicating more about when tasks are completed, because yesterday and today I had to go around team members only to find out that something that was marked as not even started was finished weeks ago, so I think I’m going to make more of an effort to bug people and ask what is going on with things.

 

Gustave Dore, and the Imagined World of Dark Souls 3

For this essay, I would like to talk about the art of French Illustrator, Gustave Dore, and how I think it has shaped the world of Dark Souls 3. Some of Dore’s best known work consists of illustrations inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, and it is this dark, Gothic work in particular that strongly mirrors an abundance of imagery from Dark Souls 3, a game about cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

The first art piece that I would like to focus on is “Dante’s Inferno – Canto 13”, sometimes known as “The Harpies’ Wood” or “the Suicides” and how it links to the imagery for the High Wall of Lothric. “Harpies” is a piece of art that Dore created as an interpretation of Dante’s Wood of Suicides from the Divine Comedy, “in which the souls of the suicides are altered into twisted, thorny trees, surrounded by Harpies”. This piece of art shows imagery of people who have become one with trees, and is somewhat unnerving to view because of the screaming faces in the trees. This imagery of dying souls in trees also exists within the world of Dark Souls 3, in the early game section of the High Wall of Lothric, and gives a similar chill down your spine to look at. In Dark Souls 3, the trees look less aggressive, and less tormented, because the trees mostly seem to have grown around the skeletons, however the imagery is so similar that it is hard not to compare.

Gustave Dore

Dore, G. (1861). The Killing Trees from Dante’s Inferno.

High Wall of Lothric

Polygon (2017). High Wall of Lothric.

I would next like to talk about Dore’s series of illustrations named “London: A Pilgrimage”, and how it links to the Undead Settlement in Dark Souls 3. Dore’s London series is inspired by his interpretation of the overcrowded and overpopulated streets of Victorian London in 1872, which was created as a statement about the unhygienic living standards of the time. Dore’s art depicted squalour and deprivation, which wreaked havoc through the streets, and it was Dore’s harsh use of dark and light shading that was celebrated for driving home how awful the living conditions were. The imagery in the Undead Settlement reminds me strongly of Dore’s depictions of London, because both show scary living conditions, and the lighting in the Undead Settlement is really dark. The shadows are dark inside the settlement, and looking at the settlement from a distance atop the High Wall of Lothric feels like you are looking at a void that barely looks survivable. Even the locations parallel each other, because both Victorian London and the Undead Settlement have poor hygiene and poor living conditions, along with really overcrowded populations. The Undead Settlement is populated by countless undead that keep on coming back to life, and the citizens of the town don’t know how to deal with the overpopulation, so the city is full of corpses that keep on reanimating, more hollow every time.

jerrold william blanchard london c13856 04

Jerrold, W. and Dore, G. (1872). London: A Pilgrimage..

wallhaven-393751

Wallhaven (2017). Undead Settlement.

The next piece of Dore’s art that I would like to talk about is “The Descent of the Spirit”, and how this mirrors the Deacons of the Deep. In 1866, Dore created a series of wood carvings for the French translation of the bible, and among the many art pieces that he created, one is named “The Descent of the Spirit”. To the untrained eye, the robed figures depicted in “The Descent of the Spirit” look very similar to the Deacons of the Deep from Dark Souls 3. In Dark Souls 3, there is a religious following of clerics dedicated to sealing away the horrors of “the Deep”, donned in red robes that symbolise their blessing of fire. The Deep became a final resting place for many bad things, and it is symbolised by darkness and abhorrent beings, things that are profane. The Deacons eventually succumbed to the Deep, and dedicated their life following to aiding their leaders it in destroying the Gods of the land to bring in the age of the Deep Sea. The similarities between Dore’s “The Descent of the Spirit” and the imagery surrounding the Deacons of the Deep feel strongly connected, because both, at a base level, depict holy figures wearing robes that are surrounded by darkness. However, there is one big difference between the imagery shown here, and that key difference is that “The Descent of the Spirit” is an interpretation of the Holy Spirit guiding holy men, with the beams of light shining down on them, and the dove is there as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, however, the Deacons of the Deep don’t follow divine holy figures anymore, their focus is no longer to the light and holy, but to the dark and profane. The arena that you fight the Deacons in is a big, dark, circular room that contains a crypt in the middle, with any light coming down from above. This, ironically, mirrors the environment in “The Descent of the Spirit” with the imagery of light shining down from above, and the watery deep ground beneath.

the-descent-of-the-spirit.jpg!Large

Dore, G. (1866). The Descent of the Spirit.

Deacons of the Deep

Souls Lore (2016). The Deacons of the Deep

In conclusion, the art created by Gustave Dore is work that heavily uses light and darkness. It is speculated that he was colour blind, because most of his work is created in black and white, with heavy emphasis on shading and shadows. Dark Souls, as a series, also uses light and darkness as key story elements and themes. Few things are ever just black and white in Dark Souls 3, because it has characters and storylines that don’t file under good or bad, but are morally grey. The main character can be another fated undead to kindle the flame and feed the cycle, or they can usurp the throne and kill the cycle to bring in the age of man, no longer depending on the flame. The other Dark Souls entries focused more on black and white, darkness and light, but Dark Souls 3 was a final game that allowed more greyness and tone, it didn’t just have to be “kindle the flame” or “usher in the age of darkness”, and it really reflects through the art and tone of the game, which is why I wanted to compare it to Gustave Dore and his dramatic shadows.

 


References

Dark Souls 3 ► Lore of the Main Bosses. (2016). Available at: https://youtu.be/8ma-l-9zC3M

Dore, G. (1861). The Killing Trees from Dante’s Inferno. [image] Available at: http://www.estherlederberg.com/EImages/Extracurricular/Mayhew/Gustave%20Dore.jpg

Dore, G. (1866). The Descent of the Spirit. [image] Available at: https://uploads0.wikiart.org/images/gustave-dore/the-descent-of-the-spirit.jpg!Large.jpg

Jerrold, W. and Dore, G. (1872). London: A Pilgrimage.. [image] Available at: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/london-illustrations-by-gustave-dor#

Polygon (2017). High Wall of Lothric. [image] Available at: https://www.polygon.com/2016/4/12/11412746/dark-souls-3-high-wall-of-lothric-walkthrough

Souls Lore (2016). The Deacons of the Deep. [image] Available at: http://soulslore.wikidot.com/data:deacons-of-the-deep

Wallhaven (2017). Undead Settlement. [image] Available at: https://alpha.wallhaven.cc/wallpaper/393751