By: Janani Hariharan (Art Director and 3D Artst)
This quarter I served as art director and lead 3D artist. My role as 3D artist consisted of creating 3D models for assets. Specifically, I created the retaining walls, large trees, square streetlights, big truck, fire hydrants, garden lamps, watering pails, garages, main gate and gazebo. I also textured these objects in Substance Painter to apply in the level. As art director, my goal this quarter was to make sure that the assets, materials, and aesthetic of the level was similar to the references we had gathered. At the beginning of the quarter, I created a google document consisting of photo, color palette, and image reference for the overall design of the level. The references consisted architecture, 2D concept art, level design from other video games, and shots from some short and featured films. This established the overall theme and storyline for each level, giving designers, 2D and 3D artists specific and accurate references to work from. Once deciding on a space, we prepared an asset list for all of the 3D models that would go into the level, this includes all architecture, props and environment assets. While modeling process was happening, I had separate meetings with the artists creating materials, teaching them Substance Painter and Substance Bit2Map and showing them the process of creating PBR materials in accordance to the references gathered. As a model was finished, UV mapped and scaled, the asset was passed on to texturing, to initiate a smooth and efficient workflow. Additionally, I worked with 2D artists in conceptualizing stylized art that could be used as concepts for the game, and would be shown in the form of posters on images on the website and other social media. The focus of this process was to capture the main themes of the game in one image while not giving away too many details. This was an interesting process of straying away from the realism present in the 3D textures and creating something that would be an abstract representation of the game’s themes.
My favorite part of studio and this experience was the fact that the environment felt like an actual industry job. It was very useful for me to experience working in a large group in which every single person’s role mattered. This process not only emphasized communication between teams and other peers, but solidified how important it was to complete tasks, as everyone’s task was dependent on each other. I also really enjoyed the freedom to just create. If there was an asset I wanted to create and add to level, I was given he freedom to do so as long as it was consistent with the aesthetic and design. Because of this, I was able to create a lot of assets and practice with textures and improve my modeling skills. As a result, I was able to put together my own asset pack of props I created for the level to use for my portfolio.
For the Future
Personally, I would like to work on my collaboration with the level designers. This quarter we had a few issues with art assets closing off potential gameplay spaces and not being ideal for certain quests. I feel that I may have been a bit too focused on the aesthetic and environment of the level that gameplay was a bit of an afterthought. As a result, I would like to create every single asset and organize the level with level designers to ensure that both of our visions are in sync.
Next quarter, we have decided as a studio that we will be breaking off into teams to tackle each of the three levels individually. We predict that this will be an art heavy quarter, as our goals are to make the space as polished as possible with higher quality assets, full textures and passes on lighting. However, while the art content is important I would like to ensure that every prop and texture is in the scene with the purpose. We would like to only create props that we really need and attempt to modularize our assets as best as we can. Additionally, I would like to have perfect communication with level designers and quest designers so that their visions for gameplay are thoroughly integrated into the structure of the level.