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David Gibson @PoodleTime
, 25 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
Hi Everyone, meet Bruffles. He's the first NPC character being developed for @linethegame. How did we arrive at this design & how will we get him in-game? Well, gather 'round & watch this thread as I detail the whole process. (Bruffles concept by the amazing @FromHappyRock)
For development, Bruffles is being used as a target for look development & animation/character exploration. At his core he teaches the player how to hill-slide, since that's his favorite way of moving through the world. He also allows us to explore how diverse our designs can be.
The design for what would eventually become Bruffles started with a sketch(attached) from my good friend Scott Flanders: He was helping out by doing lots of character lineup exploration for Line over a year ago.
Once I was ready to start on our first NPC I kept going back to this guy. I loved the proportions & could see having a ton of fun animating him. I felt he needed to be made a bit more approachable, so I did some sketches to see if I could get down on paper what I was thinking.
Now this is when I went to my most trusted friend and colleague @MissJamieKaye. I showed her my attempts and we talked about what we wanted to get out of this character. Here are some of her first sketches:
This exploration phase is really fun, fast, and important. You gotta find out what DOESN'T work as well as what does. It takes a lot of trust and now that I've just blasted these loose sketches out to the internet...I hope @MissJamieKaye still wants to work with me. >.<
Its always really important to me as an animator to see a character in various poses before feeling confident in a character's design. @MissJamieKaye nailed it with these sketches helping us see how Bruffles might move, emote, and his scale compared to Caroline.
This thread is gonna go for a while, I hope its interesting and maybe helpful :D
Next up...COLOR!
I love @MissJamieKaye's art and how she uses color. Here's a sheet of a bunch of color ideas for Bruffles. We'll go back and forth on this, marking our favorites and talking about concerns/ideas as we whittle it down towards our final choice.
So by now @MissJamieKaye and I are feeling pretty good about this design. We decide to go with a more natural green/brown color combo and begin to focus in on details. I'm starting to think about how it will look/function in 3D and how a modeller will interpret the fur design.
We also explore some different color and pattern options for Bruffles' face. Ultimately we decide we like the clean read with just his big nose. :)
After all this exploration we have our character design and I absolutely love it. @MissJamieKaye created this wonderful piece earlier this year that I think exemplifies so much of what this character is about. Now its time to bring Bruffles into 3D...
At this point I begin thinking/worrying about how Bruffles will look in 3D. I love Jamie's art & the design, but I was having a hard time visualizing how Bruffles would look once he's a bunch of polygons. This is when creative direction becomes all about communication.
In order to clearly communicate the character design and desired target for the 3D model we needed a rendering of Bruffles that more accurately depicted exactly how he should look when fully 3D. That's when I remember this crazy talented guy sliding into my DMs: @FromHappyRock ;)
So @FromHappyRock and I began to chat. He’s a busy dude, but was able to carve out some time for Bruffles. The direction was: explore his body shape keeping the essence of @MissJamieKaye’s design and to communicate the shapes, forms, & rendering style for a 3D character artist.
I sent @FromHappyRock all the images I've already tweeted in this thread & he got to work. First pass was body shape & posture exploration. We chose 2 because it simplified some of his shapes, was instantly appealing, & I felt the anatomy would work best for 3D. fluffy!
And here you can watch @FromHappyRock's entire process from sketch exploration all the way to the final color concept. Nicholas is also paying close attention to reference the character work that @MissJamieKaye had already done. #TimeLapse
Being able to see a range of facial expressions is also important to feeling confident about a character's design. @FromHappyRock put this sheet of facial expressions together which will help a ton when modelling, rigging, and animating Bruffles. #characterdesign #indiedev
After the concept is complete a 3D modeler does a speed sculpt to feel out the design in 3D before adding too much detail. This marks the beginning of the "blockout" phase. We'll be using this blockout for a while in-game. #IndieDev #screenshotsaturday #characterdesign
Before I can rig and use this model in-game the amount of polygons needs to be reduced. This is a process known as Re-topologizing or commonly called Retopo. The modeller draws over the hi-res 3D mesh using polygons, simplifying the model & creating the in-game mesh.
And now we're all caught up to where I am right this second. The blockout model is complete and I will start rigging this weekend. This process is great because I can work on animation & implementation while the modeler continues to add detail & begin texturing. Yea! :D
Little update: Rigging Bruffles is coming along great! All his joints are laid out and named. Control curves for each joint are done. A couple more days in tech art land and then I'll paint skin weights. (Simple flat colors applied to make the picture more interesting)
Hi everyone, Bruffles' rig is complete! Here's some of my favorite little things about his facial setup. I'm REALLY happy with the range of expression I can achieve. From here I'll continue adjusting the skin weights as I make poses and do a quick test animation. #indiedev
Now that the rig is done I'm creating a test animation & poses based on the concept art. I'll continue to paint weights on the geometry. What's that you ask? Each vertex needs to know what bone to follow & how much. I like to call it Painting With Math. It looks like this:
Happy Saturday! Bruffles is successfully in engine :) @linethegame
#screenshotsaturday #indiedev #animation #ue4
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