Mars Structure Art Study

This is a study I did to get some time in with Substance Painter 2.5.

Rendered in Unreal 4

mars_painterRendered in the Substance Painter viewport.

ih_martian architecture_08d The exercise was a lot of fun, particularly painting in Substance Painter.  It has it limitations, esp in regard to “standard” bitmap operations like cut, paste, transform, etc. However, it is incredibly fast for material assignment and procedural effects, like edge wear.  The resolution independence was very nice too.  I’ve never painted an asset so quickly.

It is based on an old Red Faction Guerrilla Concept.

I hope to find some time to play around with Quixel soon.

Unity Demo01

This video is a WIP of a demo I’ve been throwing together in Unity to explore and better understand its capabilities and use of c# scripting and shaders.

This has been my first real foray into Unity “hands on” and I estimate I’ve spent between 60-80 hours over the course of about a month working on it so far, having started during the Winter holiday.

It has been a blast and time permitting I will get back to the missing aspects and polish soon.

(art test) – Heist Animatic

I recently took one of our old internal art tests.  I do these from time to time to evaluate the validity of the test in terms of our instruction, time required, usefulness of the result, etc. On a side note, we generally do not administer tests with applicants unless there is a compelling reason to do so.  However, we do use work such as this from ramping up exercises for newhires or employees interested in learning about or moving into a new role.

This test was fun.  It incorporated some PS2 generation art assets from an exploratory project that we never made at Volition.  The characters with simple FK rigs, the rooftop set, and the audio voice clips were provided. For those unfamiliar with animatics, these are used to pace, time, and scope a full cinematic.  From here, motion capture, fx, and other custom work would be scheduled for integration later in the process.

In terms of evaluation (click to expand…):

Instructions: Cinematic Artist Test (click to expand…):

Quick Anatomy Study

Here is an anatomy study that I made over the weekend.  It is based on following the Zack Petroc Human Anatomy DVD published by the Gnomon Workshop.  Like the DVD, I started with a box model created in Maya and then sculpted the rest in ZB3.

The muscle forms are a bit exaggerated and I rushed the hands, feet, and head.  I particularly like the torso area.

This was a fun exercise and I recommend others to give it a spin.

(be sure to click on the image to see the turntable video)

vArt Test – RFG Character

Here is my work-in-progress from a Volition Character Artist test that we abandoned some time ago as it has proven to take too much time for the applicant to complete to a quality result.  It looked like fun and I wanted to validate the findings myself.

The basic approach I took was starting from scratch with a box in 3dsmax and then leveraging the Graphite modeling tools to build the base mesh for sculpting and possibly for the final result as it was weighing in at around 9k polys.  I left the test at the point of doing a gross Zbrush pass on the arms and head.  The next steps were to be completing the sculpt on the softer portions of the costume, moving into fine detail, painting the diffuse & spec, and then baking it all down to a game res mesh.

The hair turned out to be a particularly troublesome area due to trying to author to support the limited alpha support\sorting that we have in our game engines.  I left the test at the point of favoring an interpreted sculpt rather than opting for a series of planes on the head.

To see the Zbrush turntable, click HERE

To see the concept used for the test, click HERE

3dsmax viewport screenshots

vArt Test – Towtruck

This is my result after taking our (Volition’s) “Vehicle Artist Test.”  It is incomplete as I attempted to stay within the time recommendations we provided (20 to 30 hours).  Granted an experienced Vehicle Artist should be faster at this as it is similar to something they would do repeatedly whereas it is the first wheeled vehicle I’ve ever made.

An outcome of  both my and other internal vehicle artists experience with this test have concluded that too much time was necessary for candidates to create a high quality submission and the current test has been simplified as well as updated to current game specifications.

Were I to complete it, I would of course finish the diffuse texture.  Then I would create the normal and spec map followed by a shader that would leverage them, dialing in the shader properties appropriately.

Test Specs:

  • 5000 polygon limit
  • (1) 1024×1024 texture map (currently a 2048 in the screenshots above)
  • (1) 1024×1024 normal map (absent from my result)
  • Interior needs to be modeled/textured, but emphasis need to be placed on exterior.
  • Doors need to open
  • Wheels need to be able to spin.
  • Please make the truck’s base paint color white or off-white.
  • Be sure that the truck is scaled appropriately to a human.
  • Optional(encouraged):
    • Reflection\Spec\Bump maps (should be kept at or under 1024×1024)
    • Texturing the underside of the vehicle is optional for this exercise.
    • Hood does not have to open unless you have time…if you do, you’ll need to model\texture the engine compartment.

3D Self Portrait

Self portrait made in 3dsmax from photo reference and rendered with Mental Ray.  Hair is done using the standard plugin that ships with 3dsmax.

This was just a quick weekend project.  I think I spent about 8 hours on it start to finish. Never did get around to the glasses or a shirt. Still, it was a fun little test.

Right-click to save .mov

Female Character Concept & Model

Female character concept Female Model wipThis is a concept & model that I created for a character that I was going to use in an animation study.  I wonder if I’ll ever get back to it and finish it.

Summoner2.Level Art

Here are some screenshots from levels that I made for Summoner 2.  Unfortunately, I don’t have shots from all of the levels I worked on.

Isle of Teomura

This was the second level in the game and the first one that I built for S2.  It essentially was the piece that I used to develop my workflow and what prompted me to develop the Vertex Color tools scripts to help assign and manipulate vertex colors.

Munari City

This city was inhabited by an aquatic race, the Munari.  I used Frank Lloyd Wright as the primary inspiration for this level.  I was particularly interested in creating a wide amount of parallax and constant movement via cloth and water.

City of Masks

Summoner.Level Art – “Liangshan”

Here is a shot of the Liangshan level that I created for Summoner. It is sort of a undead forest. I found this to be quite a bit of fun to put together. I leveraged a serpentine pattern to maximize walkable geometry within the level’s data footprint. As I was to leverage a consistent palatte throughout the sky, terrain, and objects in this level. Unfortunately, I don’t have a shots of the lair, shrine, ruins, or oversized bone landmarks of this level.

This specific shot, is one that I composed for a magazine screenshot using the riders (a boss battle that occurs in this level).

Summoner.Level Art – “Lenele Palace”

Here are some shots of a multi-leveled palace interior that I made for Summoner.

Summoner.Level Art – “Wolong Caverns”

Here are some shots of the “Wolong Caverns” level that I built for Summoner. I really enjoyed working on this level, getting to create some interesting views including steep dropoffs, ruins, under rivers, underground lakes, and stalagmites/stalactites. Additionally, I created all of the lighting and vfx in this level. Unfortunately, the colored light maps were removed for the PS2 version of the game…I don’t think they made it back into the PC version either.

Summoner.Level Art – “Random Encounters”

Summoner had a concept of random encounter levels that the player would trigger while traversing the world map.  I cut my teeth on the project with one such level, called the Orenia encounter level.

Next I created a general purpose forest encounter level.

FS2 – Cinematics

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Sample of some of the cinematic shots that I am responsible for in FreeSpace2.


I’m creating this entry some 10 years after the work was completed and I don’t recall all of the details.  However, here are a few:

  • As a Cinematic Artist on this project, I was responsible for story boards, layout, modeling anything required that wasn’t already in the game, camerawork, lighting, vfx, and final composition.
  • My cinematic partner on the project, Matt Flegel, and I created approximate 13 minutes of footage pre-rendered at 640 x 320.
  • Created using:
    • 3dsmax r3
    • Cebas Pro Optic Suite
    • Photoshop 6
    • Image Alchemy
    • Pentium 5 200mHz w/256mb RAM, 40 gb hdd, & nvidia TNT card.

FS2 – Box Cover

I designed and created this image with the intention of it being a magazine cover for FS2.  Instead it ended up becoming the box cover.

My concerns in the design were leaving room for titles and copy on the top and shoulders while maintaining a strong rhythm and visual flow to guide the viewers’ eye around the piece.  Additionally, “beam weapons” were a big new feature in the game and I made an obvious effort to showcase them 🙂

I remember being amazed while working on an image of this size back in 1998, some 6600×8400 pixels. That’s the equivalent of a 55mp image today, but on much more primitive hardware.