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Friday, June 28, 2013

Concept101: A Fresh Perspective

Wizard101 concept art

Normally, the concept art that intrigues us the most is something brand new, or particularly beautiful, or exhibiting some quality that attracts us to it. However, oftentimes concept art from well-known in-game characters, objects, and spells can be quite refreshing.

Everyday this month, I'm offering a new Concept101 post with new art, new sources, and a new look at the concept process. On the first day (Preceding Darkness and Death), I talked about how and where KingsIsle went looking for artists, and showed Xavier Garcia's Valencia art test, and planted seeds about a past or future Valencia.

Wizard101 concept artThe second day (Red Hair and Painted Shields), I talked about textures and building 3D models. I discussed layering and texture mapping, as well as the creative freedom that 3D artists have, and showed some of Isaac Oster's work.

The third day (Complexity by Design), I continued with 3D models, and talked about vector vs. raster images, dynamic shadowing, and display modes in programs used by the artists. I also showed some of the original models of Ambrose and Greyrose. 

The fourth day (Hidden in Detail), I talked about vertex lighting, textures, and gave examples of everything that had to be planned, drawn, painted, and created to go in the game. 

Wizard101 concept artYesterday (Extending A Hand), I talked about FX artists, animators, and finished products. I showed you some examples, including some animations of what seems to be Hawkules's second tier!

Old Dog, New Tricks... Again

I seem to recall using this sub-heading in one of these Concept101 posts. But, as the saying goes (in this case with concept art), these are old works that offer a new perspective.

The concept of the Satyr up top, for example, should be familiar site, but perhaps it's a new piece of work. The same goes for the centaur and Storm Lord above, and the ghost below. All are beautiful takes on classic spells and enemies that we know in Wizard101.

Perhaps that is why I love concept art so much. It's familiar, in a way, yet different.

Wizard101 concept artConcept Outsourcing

When a company doesn't have the resources or artists to complete the work it needs to, it can hire another company that exclusively does concept art. I believe I talked about how selective KingsIsle was with hiring, and talked about Jeff Toney a little bit. With a process like that, it'd be tough to find an adequate number of artists. Even today, KingsIsle outsources for Pirate101.

The concepts that all match the KingsIsle style here are all created by an outsourcing Company called Firemonkey Interactive, which was one of many that helped KingsIsle out... of course, not for free.

Notable "Fresh Perspective" Artists

There are three arts that I've chosen today to show you that should give you that new perspective that we're after. The first is Dasha Bolotina. She used several of these concepts here to create 3D models. Her website is HERE.

Wizard101 concept art
The next is one that I believe it currently working for KingsIsle, Blaze Ferguson. His site is HERE. He created the Wizard concept art shown here. It doesn't look like a Wizard101 piece. Maybe an art test? Nonetheless, the image itself is labelled Wizard101, I we have to assume it's for KingsIsle... and it's a safe guess, considering that he works there.

The final artist is one with more recent work, Ryan Avis, HERE. He has several more recent pieces. One is the raven mount, pictured here, and he has a few Azteca models as well.

Wizard101 concept artYou'll notice in this one that he didn't give it a polycount, but labeled the number of triangles (which I believe is essentially the same thing). He's also included a ratio of 1:256x256. Normally these ratios are powers of 2, e.g. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc.

This model uses relatively few triangles in comparison with the characters he's done. Around half. Much of the definition and shape in the wings is given by the textures, not a physical distinction.

Concept Credits

All of these concepts are created by the KingsIsle art team, with a few exceptions by outsourcing companies like Firemonkey Interactive. Dave Greco is the Lead Concept Artist at KingsIsle, and shares many of his works on his blog, My Electronic Days. You can view it HERE. See more from KingsIsle Entertainment at http://kingsisle.com/. The pieces pictured are by Firemonkey Interactive, Blaze Ferguson, and Ryan Avis. All artists involved are credited and links in teh above text.

Conclusion

Today I talked exclusively about Wizard101 - tomorrow, it's all Pirate101. And it's new items, as well. Things we'll see in the future. Can't wait for you to read it! Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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