Happy Holidays Update

Once again, it’s been awhile, but it’s just been difficult to actually sit down and push out an update.  Here it is:

Here are the final, portfolio-ready redesigns for Elly from Xenogears.  I'm still not sure which one I like best, but I think they all turned out pretty well!

Here are the final, portfolio-ready redesigns for Elly from Xenogears. I’m still not sure which one I like best, but I think they all turned out pretty well!

Thumbnails/sketches of military/Xenogears inspired outfits for Elly.

Thumbnails/sketches of military/Xenogears inspired outfits for Elly.

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Last week also marked my return to life drawing class for the first time in quite a while. I was a little rusty at first, but I eventually turned out something decent.

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I’m Back!

It’s been forever since my last post…been a little busy with life (wife just had a baby!) but I’ve done a little sketching and painting here and there:

Some more robo parts...

Some more studies of robo parts…

& a helicopter study

& a helicopter study.

After the hard surface stuff, I decided to go back to redesigning Xenogears characters, moving on from Fei to Elly Van Houten, the female protagonist from the game.

Some studies of ladies I thought would be a good match for Elly's face and hair.

Some studies of ladies I thought would be a good match for Elly’s face and hair.

Some clothing studies

Some clothing studies

Elly moodboard

Elly moodboard

Some thumbnails

Some Elly thumbnails

WIP: Elly clothing designs; I tried to maintain certain iconic elements from the original design, mainly the bangs, the color scheme, and the somewhat futuristic military clothing

WIP: Elly clothing designs; I tried to maintain certain iconic elements from the original design, mainly the bangs, the color scheme, and the somewhat futuristic military clothing

 

Robot/Mechanical Studies

As I continued in my Xenogears reboot personal project this week, I spent lots of time sketching reference material.   Having completed Fei’s redesign, I thought Weltall, his gear/mech would be an interesting challenge to redesign next.

The original Weltall Designs from Xenogears

The original Weltall design from Xenogears redrawn.  Some key features that I may or may not include in my own design: two giant rockets attached to its back along with 2 large wings, humanoid build, large feet with 3 toes, large head fin facing backwards on small head, birdlike face, broad & heavy shoulders

Weltall's helmet somewhat resembled a samurai mask, so I did a couple of sketches to point my mind in that direction

Weltall’s helmet somewhat resembled a samurai mask, so I did a couple of sketches to point my mind in that direction

Below are just a few mechanical leg and arm studies I did to get an idea of some of the forms I would be using in my redesign:

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ILM Art Department Challenge Results!

So after a looooong loooooooooong wait, we finally got back the results of the ILM Art Department Challenge.  I didn’t win one of the prizes, but I’m very proud and honored to have been one of the survivors who made it all the way to the final round (top 5.7%) of this challenge with such amazing artists!

Anywhoo, here are some of the pieces I put up for the contest:

Vader's Lament - Keyframe from Round 1. This is the moment from Episode V right after Vader walks away from the Death Star bridge after Luke has rejected his offer to join him and rule the galaxy...I tried to convey his sadness by showing him with his head down in his meditation chamber after throwing down his helmet in frustration.

Vader’s Lament – Keyframe from Round 1. This is the moment from Episode V right after Vader walks away from the Death Star bridge after Luke has rejected his offer to join him and rule the galaxy…I tried to convey his sadness by showing him with his head down in his meditation chamber after throwing down his helmet in frustration.

Stromtrooper Interrogation - Keyframe from round 1. This is a scene from Episode IV that was not shown: the scene where imperial stormtroopers invaded Luke's home and interrogated and murdered Owen and Beru Lars. I made an effort to show the intensity of the moment with the intensity of the light on Owen's face as well as the intensity of his stare.

Stromtrooper Interrogation – Keyframe from round 1. This is a scene from Episode IV that was not shown: the scene where imperial stormtroopers invaded Luke’s home and interrogated and murdered Owen and Beru Lars. I made an effort to show the intensity of the moment with the intensity of the light on Owen’s face as well as the intensity of his stare.

Some Thumbnails of various ideas I had for the Moment keyframe.

Some thumbnails of various ideas I had for the Moment keyframe.

Sand Drill - Vehicle Design from Round 2. This scene depicts Jawas finding an abandoned and rusted drilling vehicle on Tattooine, from the same manufacturer as the Sandcrawler, their normal mobile home. They look up in awe and curiosity a they contemplate what to do with it. These vehicles were once used to drill in search of water underground prior to the development of the moisture farms on the planet.

Sand Drill – Vehicle Design from Round 2.  This scene depicts Jawas finding an abandoned and rusted drilling vehicle on Tattooine, from the same manufacturer as the Sandcrawler, their normal mobile home. They look up in awe and curiosity a they contemplate what to do with it. These vehicles were once used to drill in search of water underground prior to the development of the moisture farms on the planet.

A couple sketches of the vehicle itself and the final composition.

A couple sketches of the vehicle itself and the final composition.

Hoth Landing - The other vehicle design from round 2. Darth Vader going out to meet Emperor Palpatine as he arrives on Hoth in his own exclusive Alpha-Class Imperial Shuttle shortly after the Empire successfully captured the rebel base on the icy planet. The bottom wings usually stick out beneath the ship when in flight, giving it somewhat of a stinging hornet silhouette, but here they are shown rotated around and outward as it prepares to land.

Hoth Landing – The other vehicle design from round 2. Darth Vader going out to meet Emperor Palpatine as he arrives on Hoth in his own exclusive Alpha-Class Imperial Shuttle shortly after the Empire successfully captured the rebel base on the icy planet. The bottom wings usually stick out beneath the ship when in flight, giving it somewhat of a stinging hornet silhouette, but here they are shown rotated around and outward as it prepares to land.

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Design sketches. Early iterations/silhouettes were based on letters of the alphabet, like several Star Wars ships.

Design sketches. Early iterations/silhouettes were based on letters of the alphabet, like several Star Wars ships.

Composition sketches

Composition sketches

Release The Wampas! - A keyframe from round 3. I read in the Ultimate Star Wars book that several wampas were held captive at the rebel base since they have been known to attack the base in small groups, sooooo...I figured what better time to release them to do just that (as a convenient diversion) than when the base has been taken over by imperial snowtroopers!

Release The Wampas! – A keyframe from round 3. I read in the Ultimate Star Wars book that several wampas were held captive at the rebel base since they have been known to attack the base in small groups, sooooo…I figured what better time to release them to do just that (as a convenient diversion) than when the base has been taken over by imperial snowtroopers!

Release The Wampas initial sketch

Release The Wampas! initial sketch

Unfortunately in this round my schedule didn’t do me any favors with the demanding requests, so some of my other submissions for the final round weren’t my favorites, but I have included them here for completion’s sake.

The Danji At the Rebel Base – Keyframe 2 from Round 3. Here we had to come up with a new race of warriors who have rescued C3PO ad R2D2 and returned them to a secret rebel base on a cavernous planet. The wheeled vehicle design was based on a ridged circular saw.

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A Dramatic Meeting – Keyframe 3 from round 3. Here we had to redo the previous keyframe, only this time it was on a stark and volcanic planet.

Danji Princess - Character design for round 3. The idea was that this warrior princess was the leader of the Danji race that came to the aid of the rebel forces against the empire. The men in the background are just a crowd of men, I didn't get to transform them into aliens like I wanted to, but you get the idea!

Danji Princess – Character design for round 3. The idea was that this warrior princess was the leader of the Danji race that came to the aid of the rebel forces against the empire. The men in the background are just a crowd of men, I didn’t get to transform them into aliens like I wanted to, but you get the idea!

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The Calm Before The Shootout: Keyframe from Round 3. Here I showed a bar scene in which a bounty hunter is talking to a lady bartender seconds before he gets into a blaster fight with some shady characters in the back corner.

Bounty hunter bar sketch

Bounty hunter bar sketch

Fei Fong Wong Redesign

Here is Fei’s Fong Wong from Xenogears’ redesign.  As I said before, I tried to modernize his outfit and make it less…martial-artsy as the original game designers felt that his original outfit was out of place.  I’m trying to make sure I make design changes and make all of the characters and the world itself more realistic as if it were a modern-day HD game and make sure to keep this an exercise in design and keep it out of fan-art territory.

Fei, front and back

Fei, front and back

Next up: redesigning Weltall, Fei’s gear!  This will be an interesting challenge since I’m not used to designing mechs…

Xenogears Designs and More Clothing Studies

Here are some designs I had come up with for my Xenogears reboot/updated game.  This is, in order, Fei Fong Wong, Lacan, and Kim Kasim, some of the different reincarnations of Abel, aka the Contact from the current day, 500 years ago, and 4000 years ago, respectively.  I tried to base the Fei design the most on the original character from the 1998 game, giving him (a less outrageous version of) the same hairstyle and the same color scheme.  Based on some developer interviews from the time, they meant to change his outfit from the martial arts uniform and it felt out of place, so I gave him a more simple, modern outfit.  Also in those same interviews, they mentioned that Lacan was supposed to have a different outfit altogether, so I gave him a slightly different but still recognizable hairstyle and more historically East Asian clothing.

Fei, Fei behind, Lacan, and Kim

From left to right: Fei, Fei behind, Lacan, and Kim

Below are some more clothing sketches and studies, some were to help me with Kim’s clothing and others are my way of absorbing ideas for Elly’s Gebler/Solaris military uniform.

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Reimagining an old IP

So since last week I’ve continued in my clothing sketches….

Strange Japanese runway fashions

Strange Japanese runway fashions

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Also, I’ve begun working on reimagining Xenogears (one of my favorite RPGs from back in the day) as a modern day HD IP.  They are remaking everything else, so why not?  But instead of just making fan art, I want to actually turn this into a design project, completely reinventing the designs, especially of characters, while keeping the feel/essence of the original.  Something kind of like the 2007 Transformers movie attempted to do.  Say what you will about the movies, but I thought the updated designs were pretty cool.  Some of the designs that looked fine in the old anime/PS1 graphics might look pretty crazy in an HD remake, so that will play a factor as well.

A few man-ponytail sketches

A few man-ponytail sketches…ideas for main character Fei Fong Wong’s hair

Some sketches of Fei from the original game

Some sketches of Fei from the original game

Some early concepts for Fei

Some early concepts for Fei