Today’s dev blog focuses on the design and color and is written by our concept artist, Jan! Many of you have seen his beautiful concept arts so be sure to send him a message on twitter @janofalltradez
It’s been an interesting 2 years and we’ve come a long way through the Vis Dev process creating a visual lexicon to best deliver the lore of TUG. As the game progresses, it’s important for us to convey the mood and tone. One way that helps us in our process is to visually abstract environments to simple shapes, colors, and pools of light. By doing this, we are able to see how different elements may affect storytelling in the future. In these color keys we’re able to define hue and saturation distribution. This also helps us map out color shifts and transitions from biome to biome. Each biome is unique and how you perceive aspects of our world is very important to us.
eg: Overwhelming expanse of land + Moody lighting/Vibrant color = Wonder and Adventure. It’s a pretty awesome sight to behold seeing our visual language translated.
In contrast to the long shadows traversing the sexy curves of our bodacious biomes, the disruption of light in our jungles and forests give an added sense of danger. Pockets of light and glowy plants supply a perfect stage for you to be clawed to death by creatures. 🙂
In the last blog, Sir Inkmech talked a bit about the changes we’ve made to existing assets as TUG evolves and gave a tutorial for modding communities on how to get their own cool ideas to match our style. Design principles of our style guide are relayed in the explorations we generate all though the world of TUG from rocks to complex structures.
Just like the hope that our lore will guide you along down the line, we hope the visual language we’ve developed gives you a platform to make an awesome experience.
Our artist are always creating beautiful art assets for TUG. Today, Inkmech takes a few hour from his busy day to write a short tutorial about painting textures in photoshop.
*In this tutorial we extensively use photoshop!
Hello, it’s Inkmech again, here to tell you about how we paint and texture! So there are a couple of ways we approach textures in the studio. Many members of the art team serve in different roles or functions, but because we are an indie studio it often becomes important to be able to jump specializations and help out. Since we can suddenly have people with different styles jumping into the same task, we had to find some way to combine our powers and create
voltron awesome textures.
First lets look at some high concept snippets for painting the textures pull from the Art Style Guide!
“The environment designs should pull from predefined aspects already in the game as much as possible. Reuse of tree silhouettes, bark shape flow/patterning for paint strokes, or overall use of the S shapes. It is important to maintain a contrasting balance in the details, places for the eye to rest, or larger dark areas that pull from other game objects silhouette.”
Ok, so there you have it. This little snippet is more of an overview of what we think about when we paint and when we get a chance to go back and grab some older art to fix up for the new standard of goodness! For some team members and modders, this may not be enough though. So we also came up with a cheat process to get to the ideal texture quickly. Here is another snippet that explains this a little.
“For actual texture information you can source photographs (free license or personally taken) and run them through the filter tree. There are also brush resources for maintaining the look and feel. Always remember the paint strokes and the way they terminate and blend. An example of the filter tree can be found in the technical info section”
Wait what! Filter Tree? Technical info? Don’t worry, we’ll go over that now with some images!
First you need to paint in some basic colors and maybe even add in some shapes. In this instance we’re going to update our rock textures with some sediment banding (send me a message if this is not the proper term!)
Next use zbrush to get some texture/shape deformation or render to texture in max or grab a photo. We’ll now use this image or images and create a new layer in photoshop. This new layer needs its blending mode set to soft light (this gives it some sublte values without blowing out the texture beneath it). For this demo I went outside and shot some pictures of rocks near by……mmmmm outside
Next we merge these layers into a new one; you can do this by selecting your layers and pressing ctrl+shift+E, then we run through our Filter Tree.
Filter > Filter Gallery > Dry Brush (0,10,1)
Filter > Unsharpen Mask (30-40, 5-8,0)
Now paint into the texture using a rough brush (I personally use a chalk brush) and use outlines for focused detailing (I use a hard round brush here or I remove the transparency from my chalk brush). Rough in other colors to make blends and remember that too much noise leads to realism! This final process is more about removing the noise and replacing it with straight strokes than trying to get things to blend. Cleaning up small little specs and adding larger broader strokes help to make the “look” at this stage.