Life through someone else

In December 2009 James Cameron’s Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time. It was a visual spectacle and brought stereoscopic 3D to the mainstream big screen for the first time.

Due to the size and nature of the project it encouraged research, development and advancement in film making technologies that are now common place across the entertainment industry today. Some of these included full performance, motion capture and facial capture animation technology; lighting setups to light massive areas; advancements in texture painting software; and hardware advancements to keep up with the ever-growing amount of data needed for a production of this magnitude. Avatar pushed the boundaries of what could be and what can be achieved in computer visual effects.

Below are some images from the Avatar art book. Although it doesn’t document each process in detail it does show you some of the concept, sculpting and CG work that went in the development of the film. Once again, if you haven’t seen the film I implore you to do so as it really is a visual spectacle. Feast your eyes!

Painting the picture of war I

With the release of Valkyria Revolution I wanted to make my next art book post about the first game in the series Valkyria Chronicles. The world of Valkyria is set in the fictional region of Europa and is loosely based on Europe in the second World War. The game series has a very distinct art style which ties pencil drawn images and watercolour paintings together in a three-dimensional world. It was first released for PlayStation 3 back in 2008 and was later remastered for PlayStation 4 and PC in 2014.

Valkyria Chronicles: Design Archive is one of the thicker art books I own and comes in at a hefty 400 pages long! With this in mind I’ve decided to split the book between several posts so I can do each section justice. To start, I’ll be showing you the evolution of character designs from the game. This chapter is around 132 pages and features character bios, rough designs, early development sketches, rejected concepts, equipment detailing, in-game models and final press pieces. Surrounding all of these images is notes from the Designer explaining their thought processes and decisions throughout this stage of production.

Although a little pricey now, I do think that this art book is one of the better game ones available. The sheer amount of content and detail that is shown is astonishing and these insights really describe what goes into the development of such a successful game.

A world designed by animals

How do you create a world inhabited by animals but make it feel like it was created by them? One possible answer lies in the art of Zootropolis. This book is jam-packed with beautiful art work! Each page is filled with concepts and paintings that develop the look and feel of the film. All aspects of the world have been thought about and the book provides a really good insight into the evolution of ideas that a film of this scope has to go through.

As an Environment Artist, Zootropolis is one of Disney’s better films for me due to the way the world has been created and shown to us throughout the film. Having so many different animal habitats seemingly flow one into another works on so many levels and I can really appreciate the time that must have been spent planning how it could functionally work opposed to making it work for the sake of it.

I’ve included a handful of images from the art book below but I do recommend purchasing the book for yourself to really get an understanding of what went into making the film what it is. If you haven’t seen the film then I recommend that you stop reading this and go and watch it. You will not be disappointed!

All of the images below were created by the highly talented concept team at Disney. Feast your eyes!

 

 

Journey. The art of game development

Journey is not your stereotypical video game. It makes no demands on the player and doesn’t ask you to do anything specific in order to finish it. It’s a relaxing experience from start to finish as you uncover what your journey is about. If you haven’t already played Journey then I really encourage you to download and play it. It’s available for download for free on the Sony PlayStation Store and can be played on PS3 and PS4.

Before I continue with this art book post I have to point out that there will be spoilers. You’ll understand more about the images and descriptions if you’ve already played the game so I really do suggest playing it before continuing. It’ll take you a maximum of 3 to 4 hours and everything below will make a lot more sense afterwards!

This is in no way a book review just an opportunity to display some of the work that went into such a wonderful game. This book is a very rare and as far as I’m aware the book is no longer being published. Feast your eyes!

This is a fantastic art book and the above images are only a small selection from it. I might revisit it in the future as it really is an excellent look at the amount of work that goes into the development of a game.

Thanks for reading/looking!