Monthly Archives: August 2013

Another background step by step

I make virtually all interiors by constructing a 3D model in Sketchup. I find it extremely useful, since I can change perspective and move around stuff as I want. Tip: Use 2 point perspective camera when capturing the scene, so you don’t get the skewed 3d-esque angles everywhere (seen below).

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This kind of perspective would work better in a hi-res game, but in 320 x you want all lines to be as straight as possible.

I usually just use the screenshot button to capture the 2d view, and all the lines will be perfect, non-antialiased, single pixel width, suitable for quickly filling areas with paint, etc.

After importing the picture in PS, I resize it, and spend lots of time fixing the scaling artifacts (going down to 320x resolution will create plenty of blurriness).

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I usually reduce brightness and saturation a lot, since that gives me better control of the lighting. I then decide where the light sources are, and I start increasing saturation where the light hits objects and surfaces.

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A pub interior is usually rather dimly lit, with spots of light here and there.

There’s a basic bluish hue thanks to the window, and the light sources inside will have a nice complimentary orange-ish hue. This is an extremely common way to light scenes (often over-used, imo, probably due to early MI backgrounds, where the only colours are superblue and bright yellow).

This is not your typical cozy irish pub with wooden panels and antique decorations, but a cheap, plastic, fake-marble Swedish pub/pizza place. The jukebox is traced over a photo that I’ve skewed to get the proper perspective. The pillar made me a bit uncertain – since this is a top-down scene, there’s no ceiling to connect the pillar to, so it’s just left with a black top. I hope it still looks like a pillar, and not some giant trash can.

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Enlarged, so a bit blurry. I still consider it a wip, as there’s some more refining to do.

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Gothenburg scenes

 

 

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Ok, so I’ve begun painting some real Gothenburg locations. There aren’t many exterior scenes planned for the game, but I felt that having some “famous” places featured was kind of necessary (and probably expected), if only for cutscenes.

I’ve postponed painting these, since it’s rather tedious work – city scenes aren’t my favourite type of backgrounds to render, with all the repetitious details and textures, and getting the right balance between photo-realistic and cartoony is actually very difficult. While there’s a lot of tracing going on, you can’t be too exact or the picture won’t look handpainted, but if you simplify too much it will look flat and cell-shaded. Which isn’t what I’m looking for.

I want all the Gothenburg scenes to convey the cold, damp autumn feeling you’d probably hate this city for, weren’t it for some other redeeming qualities (which I can’t exactly pinpoint now). So there’s this constant overcast, and the patches of snow will appear to risk being washed away by rain any minute, I think this will make the contrast between the real world and the book world much more palpable.

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