Thursday, April 2, 2009

Being Environmentally Conscious

So I've a great post today! I had one of the artists for the Dossier series tell me about the process they use to create environments for the game. I've got to give a big Thank-You to master-artist Cody for taking the time to help write this post. Check it out below!

I’m here to talk a little about how we go about creating the environment paintings for the Dossier games. It is a collaborative process requiring the efforts of many people.

First of all, our designers come up with the idea for the environment and what they want to happen while Nancy is there. Then, the art director works with an artist to create an initial drawing of the scene. We call this drawing the layout. Here is an example of a small bit of an environment from our next game in layout form:

Once the layout drawing is complete, it is passed along to the background artist. Their first task is to figure out the basic color scheme and lighting of the environment. At this stage the artist keeps the painting very loose and works quickly to get an idea for the feel of the environment. We call this stage the color comp.

After the art director approves the basic color scheme and lighting, it is time to move on to creating the painting in finer detail. The artist lays in the basic colors for all the objects in the scene, adhering to the color scheme decided upon in the color comp.

The final stage is where we really push the lighting and add texture. For this scene, this was the stage where the rug was given a pattern and the wood grain for the wall panels was painted in. All objects must be rendered to appear as if they are lit by the light source. This is where the “mood” of the scene really comes to life. At this stage the art director makes final suggestions and all the last minute tweaks are implemented. The environment is now complete and ready to be transformed into an interactive scene by the programmers!

And that's it, we're on to the next environment. Keep in mind however that this process can take several weeks just to complete one environment. It's quite the task, but as you can see, the finished product is well worth the effort.

Thanks a bunch for the information! After all that hard work, it's no wonder the games come out looking so stunning.

Till next time.

-Novel [return=true]


Phoenix Star said...

Cool screenshot!

Alex said...

The process is so interesting! Thank you for sharing it with us :)

Anonymous said...

It's very interesting how things come to be. I am looking forward to the day the game is released. drewfan112

Anonymous said...

awesome! i always wondered how they did that. nancy drew games rock \,,/

Katharine Yuan said...

How many of these are they working on at a time? They must have a handful going at a time if they ever want to get the game done!

Novel_Sleuth said...

@ Katharine - Yeah, they usually work on quite a few at a time. In addition each particular artist may only do one or two of the steps in the process. This allows for a high amount of efficiency to achieved. There is a lot of scheduling that occurs to help everything come together in a timely manner.