I now have a Gumroad site setup for tutorials, which you can access from my main website navigation too. Check it out! www.gumroad.com/johnderiggi. My first one is called Texture Pipeline: Mobile Game Characters. This is from the mobile characters in The World of Lexica, but the pipeline can apply to many mobile and online games, especially those with many characters on screen at once. Hope it's useful!
I recently shared some thoughts in this post on the Schell Games blog about the basics of creating characters for games, and some differences between character art in high res console games versus lower res online games. This was meant for folks who are unfamiliar with 3D graphics or game creation. I also copied the main part of the post below as well! Hope it's useful!
In the video game industry, 3D characters are sculpted in the computer on digital clay with very similar techniques used to sculpt physical clay. This digital clay is made up of many geometric triangles. Each triangle is made of three points in 3D space. When you connect these points with edges, you create a triangle. With this in mind, more triangles allow for more detailed characters on screen. In addition, textures are painted on top of these triangles to create believable materials like skin, hair, fabric and more. The characters you see on screen are the result of these many triangles combined with painted textures!
Now that you understand how characters in video games are made, you should also know that the hardware on which a character appears also influences how it is created. Many PlayStationⓇ or Xbox games in the first person shooter and action adventure categories use characters with 40,000 triangles or more, combined with highly detailed textures, since these platforms can dedicate memory more efficiently. If you and I both buy a Playstation, we have the same hardware on which to play the game. Since our hardware is the same, our characters will be shown in the same manner regardless of where we play.
In contrast, online streaming games with simultaneous players like Diablo, DOTA, Torchlight, and League of Legends are dependent on varying PC hardware resources. You may not have the same computer as I do! So when millions of people around the world with different computers are playing the same game online, the characters still need to look the same regardless of the hardware the player is using. In addition, large online multiplayer games like these usually showcase many characters on screen at the same time, and therefore, require lower triangle budgets with smaller textures to still run efficiently. It is the character artist's job to ensure that players still enjoy interacting with a smaller, less detailed character competing heavily for screen space.
As an example of these differences, more triangles allow the character to bend more believably at his joints when animated. In contrast, fewer triangles force the artist to be more creative when placing each triangle edge to achieve the best bending possible at the joint. Check out the images below for an illustration. These illustrations show the leg of the wild dog from the previous image.
Very much work in progress of a semi-stylized sculpt of my grandpap. Had this one in the works for a while now. Hoping to finish it soon! Using Zbrush and Keyshot.
We just released Water Bears from Schell Games, and it was featured on the iTunes App Store! Check it out here! This is a fun little game about systems learning for kids...I think older people will enjoy it too though:) I sculpted/painted the little guys in the game, with the rig by Noah Alzayer and cute animation by Kyle Kenworthy
I'm super excited about my first 3D printed character ever! Schell Games had the Gryph from The World of Lexica 3D printed recently as a studio copy. It is really a great feeling to hold your work in your hands. Thanks to Ryan Yee and Zach Coe who worked together on the concept art for the Gryph as well. I'm hoping to get into more 3D printing myself soon!
The educational iPad game we've been working on at Schell Games for the past 3 years has finally launched! It is called The World of Lexica, and is an action-adventure educational iPad game aimed to help middle school kids with reading and writing. It brings together characters from literature throughout the world, from classic books, short stories, poems, and we're now starting to add some more current books as well.
You can check it out here on the iTunes App Store! You can also see the trailer for the game here which may help provide more context. It is only available for schools at the moment.
Since the game is released, I have also posted the character art I've created as well, which you can see on my gallery page. I also added these to my Facebook art page, and my Art Station and CG Society pages.
Thanks for checking it out! Happy New Year!
The 6th session of my CG Society workshop, Rapid Character Dev for Online Games, is under way now! It's great to once again see students having so much fun with characters in Zbrush while noticeably improving each day.
These are various sculpting exercises created during Scott Eaton's Digital Figure Sculpture course. This is a great course that I highly recommend! I'll be working on a full figure sculpt for the next several weeks.
I was asked to be a judge for a 3D mini challenge on CG Society to help promote Verold's new browser-based interactive 3D display tool for artists. Myself and Sony Santa Monica's Katon Callaway will be judging this portfolio upload challenge. Verold's new tool is now integrated with CG Society's portfolio options, and it's an awesome addition to the ways artists can display their work in real-time. The challenge concludes on January 20th!
I'm excited to mention a new CG Society package course that I'm teaching with Kyle Kenworthy and Brian Evans called Rapid Character Pipeline for Games! You can also see it in the main course listings as well here.
This is a new 11 week workshop bundle on the character pipeline for games. I will be teaching the modeling/texturing portion with my current course, Rapid Character Development for Online Games; Brian will be teaching the rigging portion; and Kyle will be teaching the animation portion. Students can take all 3 as a bundle or any of the 3 courses as a individual workshops. Each course part is 3 weeks long, with a one week break in between.
This is the first course bundle being offered on CG Society ever, so we're pumped to be debuting the package idea there!