Thursday, 28 March 2013

Urist Copperbeard and Tulk

Mine and Joe Sparrow's characters from a Pathfinder campaign we recently finished (Pathfinder is essentially D&D 3.5.5). Urist was Joe's lawful-good dwarf cleric/monk, and the healer/buffer of the group. Tulk was my sullen, misanthropic chaotic-good Half-orc rogue (with a level of ranger that never actually did anything before the end of the campaign). They were a bit of a clash of personalities, but somehow Tulk seemed to end up taking alot of damage every fight (I am not a very good rogue) and thus constantly had to submit himself to the indignity of Urist's healing.

We achieved what I would call a "normal end" to the campaign: we'd killed the Big Bad, but we didn't retrieve the artifact it was our mission to get back because all but two of our party died. Urist was one of those, but unfortunately he was stranded in the astral plane, and the other, having acquired the Jewel of Everlasting Gold, was forever enslaved to its power. Yes, Tulk died (he bled to death, a little ignoble). It was fun overall, but I never really felt sure how to play Tulk as a character, so hopefully I'll do better in future campaigns.

Joe's design is his own, of course. He makes him look much more stylish than I do. :( It's a bit of a shame I only actually settled on a design for Tulk after the campaign ended, but I spent alot of time just sort of umming and ahhing over it. I guess I'm reasonably happy with it. Though I think what's meant to be rashes probably just looks like purple blood splats or mud or something. Also I maybe made him a bit overly blue, but the description of half-orcs says that they're green to greyish, and green orcs are too obvious so I just went right to the opposite end of the spectrum.

There were alot of fun moments in our campaign, so I might draw a few more. We'll see.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Rammus: The Armordillo

I've been up to a bit since last time. Here's another League of Legends character reimagining. This one's Rammus. Click for full size plz.

Like the Annie one my aim was to take aspects of the lore and gameplay of the character and better represent them visually. Rammus is basically an armadillo that lived in a desert, then randomly wandered into a jungle, found a thing, and that thing made him an ARMORDILLO (read his original lore here). I originally wanted to represent this chance transformation by making him look really horrid and deformed, as if his mutation was completely random, and it's only by sheer luck that his body is even functional. However, I found it hard because I'm not a very good designer.

So instead I focused on two other things. First, the fact that his original design doesn't actually look like an armadillo, just a generic cartoon armoured thing. So I looked at lots of reference of different kinds of armadillo, including screaming hairy armadillos, pink fairy armadillos, and three-banded armadillos (the only kind that can actually curl into a ball). My second focus was the armour aspect. His lore says that he has crafted a suit of armour for himself. In-game, his innate passive ability gives him bonus attack damage based on his armour, and his Defensive Ball Curl ability, which increases his defenses, also causes him to reflect damage against those who attack him, again based on his armour. Essentially, as you buy more armour items, he does more damage. However, his actual design represents all of this with nothing more than a crappy little spiked plate on his belly. I tried putting armour in the places that aren't already covered by his shell, which makes sense, but it just didn't work for what I wanted visually. Thus, I went with sticking spikes all over his shell to make him really look like something you wouldn't want to punch. I felt showing a progression like this was the best way to get the idea across, and I'm actually reasonably pleased with it. I had some serious issues during the design process, as I got that thing where I fall in love with the first crappy sketch I did, but when I try to replicate it I at first fail, then succeed, but it only makes me realise how bland it actually is. Many thanks to Joe, Blanca, and Ben for encouragement and advice, mostly on colours. I may not have made use of all of your suggestions, but they were all given proper consideration.

Here are some sketches. You can probably pick out the one that I basically just used for the final image.

There were also some much earlier doodles on the Germany sketchbook pages I posted. I don't actually know if I'm going to do any more of these since I don't play League of Legends anymore. I might just do some straight-up fanart for Dota 2 though. The designs in that game are overall pretty good and I wouldn't want to outright change any of them, but it might be fun to illustrate them in a more cartoony way.

Other than that, here's the video I said I probably couldn't talk about last time, again directed by David Wilson.

Tame Impala - Mind Mischief from Blink on Vimeo.

I was lead animator, doing key animation on many shots, as well as in-between animation on a couple of others (chiefly the bit where he walks up her body), and effects animation on others (the comets mostly). It was a grueling nightmare but was also sort of fun (?), and it's nice to be able to put LEAD ANIMATOR on a job for once. David Wilson is also a really ambitious director, so it's always demanding and fun to work with him.

I've got some other projects lined up in the near future which will hopefully be cool when they come to fruition, but I can't say what they are either (I signed an actual NDA for one of them!)

I had my 27th birthday and we went to see Wreck-It Ralph. This image sums up the experience for me.

Everything I suspected from the trailer was true (essentially, that the videogame references would be pretty hollow, that they only had a small pool of licenses to pull from, and it would basically all just be a vehicle for a standard Disney plot, rather than actually making an interesting use of the real characters). However, I actually ended up enjoying that plot and the characters more than I wanted to admit. Unlike Pixar's last two offerings (sequels don't count), it actually became more rather than less interesting once the plot started, and it made me care about the characters enough that I genuinely wanted them to win.

That or I'm just a sucker for cute little girls. Hey guess what, I watched the whole fourth season of Hidamari Sketch recently and I enjoyed it all and I didn't even feel a little bit bad that I enjoyed it.

I have been enjoying playing Pathfinder (an offshoot of Dungeons and Dragons) with Joe and Blanca for the past year or so. Recently our campaign has escalated with the dramatic death of a much-loved player character (though this isn't the first time, just the first since I joined). Right now our party is considering abandoning the current dungeon (as it turns out we're underleveled for it) and attempting to take out the big bad in a non-standard fashion, which might result in hilarious disaster. I might try to do some drawings of our characters in the next week before I have to start my next job.

Oh yeah, the leak in my room seems to have actually been fixed (after one unsuccessful attempt), the mould in the bathroom has been scrubbed off, painted over, and doesn't appear to be returning, and I haven't seen any signs of bedbugs in months. So my life is looking up right now! I've also booked tickets to see The Book of Mormon in June, which promises to be tons of fun (birthday thanks to dad and Myra).

I can't think of anything else to write so I'm just going to end this post awkwardly.