Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Stylised Noir

Going into June, I set about redesigning a couple of characters from my third year project. I took the main character and tried to design the character to fit into the similar sort of "stylised realism" that both BioShock Infinite and Dishonored have.

After doing these initial sketches, however, I found myself unhappy with the outcomes. I found it difficult to strike a good looking balance between looking slightly cartoon-ish and looking realistic. Outside of life drawing, trying to make something, that isn't real, look realistic is quite challenging. That's why I've always preferred doing something completely stylised because, as long as the world and the other characters maintain the same visual aesthetics, I can push body shapes, features and movement without worrying whether it's real or not.

I ended up going back to the initial designs that I did in third year and, instead of taking a more realistic approach, I looked at some artists that have done work in animation and comics as inspiration for my next set of sketches. Specifically, Bruce Timm and Mike Mignola.

Batman by Bruce Timm.
Image source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/d08cc57c9c8144bb9b7173d6e5e9aabf/tumblr_mvsrr7iVI41sl3wgio1_1280.jpg
Last accessed: 5th December 2013

Hellboy by Mike Mignola.
Image source: http://tri-stateoriginalart.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/mignola-hellboy-1998.jpg
Last accessed: 5th December 2013

Having looked at the work of Bruce Timm and Mike Mignola, I decided to use their stylised work as inspiration and set about redesigning that initial detective character again.

In addition to redesigning the main detective character, I fancied having a go at redesigning one of the third year project's female bosses, both human and demon form.

After designing these two characters, I decided that, if I were to model one, I'd go for the lust demon because the silhouetted form and the glowing parts would look interesting with all that lighting painted directly onto the texture.

I think that, if I were to use glow maps to replicate some details often found in comics, like eyes and highlighted objects being clearly visible in complete darkness. It is possible to replicate comic book composition and lighting this way as there are examples of this technique being used, such as the example shown in this link, but I have yet to test it out myself.

Also, while researching this technique of using glow maps to replicate comic book aesthetics in 3D, I stumbled across this fantastic test animation from "Super Rune" with replicate's Mike Mignola's art style almost perfectly in 3D: