Dev : Pior
Rôle : character artist.
june 25th 2006
Long time no blog. The character team has been busier than ever these last few weeks, on top of which, some things have to stay hidden, to be found out later :P
For this fifth entry I will focus on one specific aspect of my job in the Spellborn NV development team. I'll avoid technical terms as much as I can.
This character is a Quarterstone inhabitant. TCoS'art style evolved quite a bit during development and this character was in need of a redesign while still keeping the original's attributes. The same, but different. I started off by taking one of the stock bodytypes as a base and shaped it into the desired character, with fitting clothes and accessories. Then came UV mapping (see devblog #1 for details), and ready am I for texturing.
My canvas is a wireframe render of the character. Imagine a 3D model made out of wire mesh -that thing you make boxes with to put chicken into- ; then unfold that volume and flatten it. That's basically it.
I started by laying down colours to define hue and values. Each texture monkey has his own technique for this. Some prefer to get the values (blacks, greys and whites) down before colouring ; I personally enjoy having fun with colors, but it really all depends on the material to be described.
Some volume information added. I try to imagine light coming from top-down, and also global light bouncing in all directions. Sometimes it fails :D
Adding brighter highlights and hotsopts. It is important to know where to stop with this - which means working with a consistent, limited color palette. Otherwise lighting can go too dark and/or too bright, which can look okay on the texture alone, but horrible on the model.
Final skintone details and global color tweaks.
Need hair? Notice I also knocked down the eyes' highlights. The white of the eyes is never really white.
Final. Teeth and neck hair are on a separate part.
It has been said in some interviews that each TCOS texture is handpainted. True. Even if it is possible to get photorealistic textures for characters, but also for wood, stone, grass, whatever, this is not the goal we are after for the game. We follow a specific art direction that emphasizes on a strong ornamental style you may now be familiar with. Hope you enjoyed that sneak preview - see the final result soon!