Posted in Unit 9

Unit 9 – Character convention evaluation

When in industry people always expect the same from characters. For most horror games something bad happens to the protagonist, the protagonist then hunting for the route of their problem and put an end to it. A character who goes through this is James Sunderland.

James Sunderland is the protagonist for the game Silent Hill 2, a critically acclaimed game that people still call the father of horror. With James, we see that his wife has gone to a town called Silent Hill, a place where both lovers went for their honeymoon. However, what we don’t know until later on is that James Sunderland killed his wife and is now riddled with guilt, thinking she is still alive. Another character who needs to conquer something from his past is Chris Redfield. Chris Redfield, when infiltrating Wesker at the Spencer house, he saw his partner Jill Valentine die along with Wesker, witnessing their deaths. However, in Resisdent Evil 5 we learn that Jill is still alive, along with Wesker causing Chris to forget his job with Sheva to save his partner from the clutches of Wesker.

Both characters are classed as anti-heroes: don’t want to hurt good people will will do anything to get to their goal. Though some may argue that James Sunderland is not an anti-villain but a villain is not true. He did kill his wife, yes, but he has not hurt anyone else, he actually tries to help these people. That could be because of the guilt he feels due to him murdering his wife, we don’t know.

Heath Quinn was based off both of these characters, following in the path or despair and committing actions he would never do, not until his daughter was kidnapped. Heath Quinn is what you would call the standard horror protagonist, as that’s what I was aiming for but I gave him a little twist. Though I would call him anti-hero myself, it is very clear that Heath could stretch into something much more sinister. There have been times when Heath would sacrifice people if it would mean that his daughter would be saved. The end of the game is the hardest choice as you have to pick either to save Chris, his greatest friend who he knew before he became rich or his daughter who he has spent the whole game trying to save. Either choice will cause Heath a large amount of pain.

How this will help me with my personal practice is it gave me a deeper understanding of what industry expects when you make a character. They want a character that follows a genres’ stereotype: as I mentioned before with both James Sunderland and Chris Redfield as they both have something bad happen to them and they both go and confront that problem.When I go into industry and I become a creative director (that is my dream job) I will know how to make a character that the audience will love but add my own twist on it. As much as I love seeing characters go through the same story (sarcasm), I would like to move away from this and make it more unique to other protagonists you will see in horror games.

This unit has helped me become more passionate within photoshop and make me want to develop my skills so I can make much better looking characters. Other than growing my passion in photoshop, it has also helped me develop my skills in photoshop, finally getting the hang of how to shade skin right, as when we look at my Sarah Quinn character that I made for my FMP she did not nearly look as good as Heath Quinn: proof of my skill development. For my second FMP I am thinking about taking some things from this unit as it has been a big help with how to make characters correctly and talked about the different characters you see in gaming; it has been a very big help.

 

 

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Posted in Unit 9

Unit 9 – Final Evaluation 

For Unit 9 we have been given a brief  “to understand the characteristics and context in which game characters have developed within the industry over time” and to “produce a concept for a character that meets industry expectation” This brief has been the best brief we have been given thus far as I really enjoy doing character design, so having unit where we can just focus on character  — or in my case — develop from an already existing character I have made in my Final Major Project. Having an already existing character makes the whole process much more easier, all I needed to do was focus on the development of Heath from how he was previous.

My overall impression of the project as a whole is a very positive one. The work I have created is up to industry standard as I have made thumbnail sketches to show the environment, the character’s face and a t-pose. These pieces of concept art work are enough to get across how Heath will look if inside a game and thumbnails to show an environment that Heath will most likely go to. I really do love the pieces of work I have created, though some of it needs correcting to look that much better, they are the best pieces I have done. You can clearly see my development from the last time I made a realistic character,  I did not place shading in the right place and the hair looked flat; my character has realistic looking hair and it as if light is reflecting is off his skin, which is a nice detail. What I do enjoy most about my concept art pieces is Heath’s face as I paid close attention to add wrinkles to his skin, making him look aged or riddled with stress; that normally comes when you are the CEO of the Banks Of America.

I asked people in my class for their opinion of Heath Quinn face design and asked them would I need to make any changes to my character to make him look much better than before. Sean told me to add more hair onto the left side of his head as it locked uneven to the  other side, I thought that was good advice and I followed it, adding more hair so he doesn’t look oddly made. When Shannon came in I also asked for her opinion and she suggested that I add wrinkles to show his age and the stress he encounters from his job. It was a very nice touch of detail to my character; even though he already has a lot of detail on his face due the the highlights I’ve added to show where the light is reflecting from, the wrinkles added that extra touch that made Heath more realistic. To create the wrinkles on his face I used a small hardbrush on a low opacity and started to build up where people normally get stress. Shannon gave a tip to do a stress line between his eyebrow as her dad has one (Heath and Shannon’s dad are around the same age). With the highlight of his face I kept changing between lighter shades of his skin colour and use a soft, low opacity brush and began to build up the highlight on key parts of his face (nose, cheekbone, forehead, chin).

However, like all pieces you make there’s always a problem that you would love to change. What I would love to change about my character is his skin colour. I stated in the biography that he was a tanned male but when I came to make Heath I made him very pale – too pale for a man that used to live in Australia. I would love the opportunity to go back and alter his skin colour and make him a bit darker to fit my biography description. What I would also love to change is his eyes; I don’t want to change his iris, that looks detailed and fits the rest of the character, however, the white of his eyes does not match the iris. It looks flat and doesn’t have shading to show reflection of the eyeball, instead it is a bright white. It doesn’t really look bad but me being the creative I can see clearly where I could improve it. The last thing that I would change — and is probably the most important thing — is the lips. If you look at Heath you can see he has the faint outline of lips but no detail. Why this is because I didn’t have enough time. I wanted to make sure all my documentation was up to standard before I made my character look pretty: you don’t need a finished product unless you have the process.
A lot of research went into this unit as I wanted the most realistic depiction of my character. Because I already did research on Heath and looked at the character’s that influenced him for my final major project, I didn’t need to do anymore on that, what I did was search up stories that follow Heath’s own: child getting kidnapped from their father, the father taking it upon himself to find his child. One story I found was of Sean Felton who’s ex wife stole their son and went to Thailand. Sean tried to contact the police but they did not respond due to the kidnapped being the son’s mother, so Sean took it upon himself to go to Thailand and save his son. The last story was about Jagram who lived in a small village in India, his children got kidnapped and took to Nepal in which he got a second mortgage on the house and flew there. He managed to get a job inside the factory and found his son’s slaving away along with some children his village. He contacted the police and had them arrested and saved his sons and the children. Why I researched these stories was because I wanted to get a deeper understanding of how Heath might be feeling in the situation of his daughter getting kidnapped. If I had the time, I would of made a synopsis to really empathise how he feels about the whole situation, but right now all I have is my research.

The key research was searching up the different archetypes of characters you get in gaming and link that with the character I am creating. In my research I mentioned a website that gives the stereotypical background of an anti-hero, which my character fit in perfectly. Heath Quinn has father issues due to his father committing suicide when he was very young, causing him to not have that father/son bond, very similar to that of Bruce Wayne who was also young and witness the death of his father. It also mentioned how Heath will kill anyone who gets in his way – very true when you read the synopsis, he is willing to kill Dara (Sarah’s girlfriend) so he has a better chance of saving her. As being a anti-hero — if following the the archetype that is — he is also a chaotic good character. What I quoted in my research was “chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society” that is an accurate description of Heath Quinn

I decided to go to Clayton Vale that is very populated with foliage and would be useful as inspiration with how my environment would look in my game. The pictures I mostly took were of paths that went through forests as that’s what I would see Heath walking down. These pictures were used for my thumbnail sketches as inspiration as I did not have enough time to make a full level but my thumbnails did get across what my level may look like. I quickly sketched with a custom brush the path and trees and added soft details of fog between the branches with a cloud custom brush, lowering the opacity so it barely visible. I also differentiated with the rubbed tool, using the cloud brush once again and lowering the opacity so I can add depth among the trees.

Overall the process was quite straightforward as you do not need to make the most detailed thumbnail to get across your idea. It does look good, however, even for my first time attempt at doing this process. However, I would change some aspects of my thumbnails, for example add more detail to all three of the thumbnails to really get the visualisation to the audience. Maybe if I get the chance to make my thumbnails again I will make sure to take time with sketching so it does not look the messy and maybe add more detail to the trees like add leaves to show that it is a forest Heath is travelling.

 

 

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Unit 9 – Heath Biography *updated*

  • Name: Heath David Quinn
  • DOB: 12th July 1966
  • Home of origin: New Wales, AustraliaAccent: Australian with a slight tinge of western American drawl
  • Home-town: Beverly Hills, California
  • Weight: Athletic
  • Eyes: Blue with speckles of brown, wears glasses occasionally
  • Hair: Dark brown with lighter shades of brown, shoulder length
  • Appearance: Strong jaw, high-cheekbones, thin lips, well-groomed eyebrows, a pointed nose, slight dusting of stubble, muscular neck.
  • Attire: Typically wears suits with the occasional waistcoat, sometimes wears a sweater with a leather jacket and suit pants.
  • Religious views: Christian
  • Hobbies: Likes to: weight-lift, fish, play baseball, play golf

Heath Quinn is the CEO of ‘Banks of America’. People call him the ‘Ice-man’ because of his cold attitude he has towards the people who work for him. He is a workholic that spends most of his time on his computer, making sure the company is up to standard. He is one of the most successful businessmen currently in America, living in one of the most prestigious areas in California.

Heath does not have a close relationship with his teenage daughter since his divorce seven years ago from Claire. Claire and Heath still talk — keeping a close relationship with her — unknown to his daughter relocation. Though he does not show it, he’s very protective of his daughter.

Heath has been known in the pass to be quite the violent type, punching anyone who disagreed with his views or threatened his family (He has a scar on his lip from when he protected Claire during an attack at bar ‘Sandy’; a man grabbed Claire in a sexual manor, causing Heath to attack the man) Sometimes his outbursts cannot be controlled, making his family unsafe from himself.

People would agree that he is very impulsive with his decision — either his decision or none. That is quite an alpha male mentality, which Heath surely has due to his promotion of CEO of Banks Of America. Before the promotion he did show signs of alpha male to his family, showing he is the boss of the family so now that he has became a CEO, it really pushed that alpha male quality he has to the surface.

Due to the stress of the company and the pressure of making sure everything runs smoothly, he can be quite emotionally abusive to those around him — who only want to help him. The worse case was when he pushed his wife so far that she ended up leaving him with their daughter, which broke him and made him better with his abuse, but worsened his mentality. Because of the divorce Heath has to take weekly therapy sessions to keep bay his suicidal tendencies, which he has always had since a boy. Claire was his rock so her leaving him caused him to go back to how he was before. However, his daughter also helps as he doesn’t want to leave his daughter on the earth alone as he father once did.

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Unit 9 – Proposal

For this project I have done many concept art pieces to show what I want my character to look like, what clothes and accessories he will wear and what weapons he will be using in the game. I wanted the viewer to get a real visualisation of how my character may act in the game. As Heath is wearing a suit, the viewer can see that Heath might be a serious character, along with the cross it really does show that Heath could be following tradition of the “nuclear family” A man, a woman and two and a half children with a dog, but that isn’t true: a misconception. I wanted Heath to be someone people would label in in a negative light without really knowing him; for example, because Heath wears a cross people without even getting to know the character will assume he is bigoted, which is not the case. If they play the game then they will know that Heath has a gay daughter who he cares about; the story is based on that relationship as he will go to any lengths to save her, even if it means his death.

What I want to achieve with this unit is two pieces of concept art of Heath himself, in a t-pose and in a normal stance, two weapons of my choosing, an environment and if I have enough time, a artistic piece that reflects how the game will be. Why I want to do quite a few pieces is because I want to show that my skills in photoshop have not wavered in the slightest and also show how my skills have developed since the final major project. I am going to research different skills in photoshop that I could contribute into my work, getting the highest quality of work I could possibly get. What I definitely want to develop is shading in skin. If you have seen my FMP you will see I did a piece where I shaded Sarah’s face, but as I didn’t have the skills to make it look professional, she looked merrily unfinished. With Heath, I want to make him look realistic — well as realistic as possible — so I can get across what I want him to look like.

For the weapons I am planning to use a mixture of photocomposite and digital painting as I did in my FMP. I did both the skullcrusher and persuasion in my FMP so it seemed only fitting if I did them again but added much more detail and develop them from the old design. This time I will have Heath holding the weapons to show how it would be used when he is battling the creatures. With that and him holding the weapons I got an idea to include animation as that’s a new piece of software we are using.

What I would use this animation for is to maybe show Heath running in third person and attacking and creature to help visual the game more. Then I and so thought about using and animation to show the weapon mechanic. What I mean by that is when Heath uses the weapon, how would he use the weapon exactly: I will be using the axe for that part of the animation as that’s the easiest to animate. If I have enough time I might do a quick animation of Heath using the knife to help with the visualisation of the game that I want to create.

The artistic piece for photoshop will be one that could be used as the front cover of the game or as standard concept art. The concept art piece will reflect how Heath feels or what the game represents. I do have a few ideas of what the piece would be; one of these pieces is Heath and Mr H standing opposite one another, reflecting the antagonist and the protagonist. On each half, the background will show the ideal world of Heath and Mr H. Though the artistic piece isn’t that important as the t pose and character design is, it is still a nice thing that adds story to the game.

Posted in Unit 9

Reflective Practice – Animation Unit 9

Today in class we learnt about the basic techniques of animation. We talked about the 12 principles of animation by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, who were animators for Disney.

What these principles tells you is how to make the illusion of life. For example on of these were squash and stretch. Squash and stretch is the way something — upon impact — changes its form. With a tennis ball and you throw it, when it hits the ground it becomes squished, though out human eyes doesn’t see that. Including it in animation makes it realistic and as I said previous, gives it the illusion of life.

Beth then taught us about the different tweens that are used throughout flash. The first tween we got taught was classic tweens. These tweens are normally used when you want to get from point a to point b without having to add a bunch of key frames to make the animation run smoothly. Classic twin is the most simple one — hence the name — as you use it to move the shape from one side to the other. You would use this for a walking animation, if it was simple like that. The next tween was motion tween. What motion tween does is let you move your object in different points. For example if you was making a bouncing ball you would place a motion tween down and click where you want to make a key movement point. The last tween is shape tween. This tween is normally used when you want a shape to end as  different shape. So your starting object would be as circle and then it would transform into triangle — useful if you was morphing a character into something else.

Another thing we have been playing around with is doing a walking animation. This — to me that is — was quite simple if you know how person looks when they walk. On my first walking animation I did mess up with the stomp as it seemed like he was slamming his foot down, but eventually I changed it to make it more realistic.

I have really enjoyed these animation workshops and is something I would like to incorporate into my final major project.

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Unit 9 report

This unit we have been looking into how characters may be influenced in their design based on their archetype; for example for the anti-hero archetype, the character will most likely be a vigilante who take law into their own hands and use violence on enemies – and to an extreme – death. Anti-hero’s have their own motive and will do anything to see that their ending goal is met, even if it means hurting people in the process. However, these anti-heroes may kill enemies but they want to avoid innocent bystanders as much as they can but if they get hurt they make sure they are saved. This particular archetype fits perfectly with my character as he is someone who will hurt or kill anyone who got in his way, having no remorse until he got to his goal – to save his daughter from Mr H who the player later on finds out is Francis Barnes, a close friend of Heath’s.

On another website that goes into detail about the alignment of characters, be it if they are “good” characters that protect innocent live or “evil” characters that debase or destroy innocent creatures. My characters fits into the “chaotic good” category as his “conscience is the one to direct his mind, meaning he has no regard for anyone else” which is completely true. Heath Quinn is quite loyal when it comes to his family, so if anyone of his family members experience any sort of pain or distress Heath will take it upon himself to protect his family. What the paragraph says about how chaotic good characters “hate people intimidating others” also fits Heath perfectly as well. At the end of the game when Heath and Francis meet you, Heath wants to destroy Francis so he cannot put the fear he put inside Heath into anymore parents. (that is purely choice base however, the player can decide to either save Chris or Sarah an avoid the battle – with a consequence)

We also looked into characters that have changed over the years due to social, political or business issues. The character I looked into and was closely related to my own character was Chris Redfield from the Resident Evil franchise. Why I chose this character, specifically, is because of all the changes he has been through within the course of the years he has been active.  Chris witnessing the ‘death’ of his partner Jill caused his attitude to change completely – just like Heath when his daughter gets kidnapped. However, when both of the characters find out their daughter/partner are still alive they’ll do anything to find them, even if it means hurting certain people in the process. After the events Chris develops an alcohol problem while Heath – depending on the choice you make – becomes dependent on Chris  Samuels, his bestfriend as he no longer wants to lose anymore people he loves.

When Chris Redfield was first introduced in 1996 he had the typical tough guy vibes – spiked hair, cocky attitude, bulging muscles. However, throughout the years they began to change how he wears his clothes, the size of his arms, the way his hair went to fit in within today’s society. The biggest change was in 2009 when they dressed Chris in a BSAA outfit, feathered, short hair and bulging biceps.Why they might of done these changes also is because of the technology change as software would of definitely got better between 1996 and 2009.  Then 6 came, along with a new designer who wanted to explore Chris further and make a Chris that developed an alcohol problem and suffers with paranoia. The muscles that were bulging were now gone due to his alcoholism – a subject you hardly hear in the gaming world.

Lara Croft has also changed throughout the years of being active. In 1996 – when she got introduced to the gaming world – there were only six people working on her in a small gaming company called Core, located in Derby, England. Lara went through many changes before they settled on one that she is most famous for. In the earliest stages she was supposed to be a male placeholder but the designers opposed to that idea as the company seen puzzle and stealth a much better quality to that action. That’s when they decided that those ideas better suited a female than the classic depiction of a male action hero.

Since the 1996 version to the 2016 version, we can see the massive leap in the look that Lara Croft has adopted. Pointing out the obvious, the looks have changed due to the technology development, but her style also changed with her. In this article at the bottom, the interviewer mentions how Lara Croft was quite sexualised back when she first was created, which is very true. She was the centre of attention for criticism due to her large bust and small shorts, but more men played games more than women did back in the day. It was obvious she was made for the male demographic. However, since feminism, the creators wanted to move away from this label and make a “hyper – intelligent woman who is strong and independent” Since more women are playing games than they did back when Lara first started, they needed to make a character that the female audience can look up too – a strong independent woman.

Naughty dog is a very well known gaming company that started when gaming was introduced to the world. Throughout the years they have changed their games genre to fit in with society – first creating an educational game and ending up making a game about the zombie apocalypse. If you look at their earliest games from the 1980’s to the early 1990’s, before crash bandicoot was released they were playing around with different style of games, starting with educational to sport to role – playing to finally stopping at the genre they are best known for – adventure.

 Mark Cerny convinced naughty dog to focus its new resources on creating a character-based platform game that would fully exploit the 3D capabilities of the new systems

Crash Bandicoot was created because Naughty Dog wanted to take advantage of the new technological phenomenon which was 3D gaming. After they used their new technology to create this world know 3D platformer, Naughty Dog was a company that everyone knew. Just from Crash Bandicoot alone they sold over 3 million copies in the USA just alone – Naughty Dog knew they were going somewhere. It also started their buddy system that Naughty Dog are so well known for, having the mask being helpful to crash is bad situations

After a few years of sticking with Crash Bandicoot and still making a profit, they decided to go for another adventure game – this game is Jak and Daxter. Both Crash and Jak and Daxter were games that are aimed at children, so the violence they used in other games did not develop around this time. However, after the first two Jak and Daxter games they started to turn slightly dark, falling into what Naughty Dog are most known for.

As the years went on, so did the technology. When they were releasing Jak and Daxter 3, Uncharted Drake’s fortune was in development. This was a game completely different to games they have made in the past – Uncharted was the first game they created with 3D that has hyper realistic characters. They could make these real looking characters because of the technology and the graphics in gaming systems getting better. Uncharted got released in 2007 on the PS3 and has been in development since 2004. They have spent 4 years making sure to get the perfect game – the perfect game that will change the way Naughty Dog will be for the coming years.

The Uncharted series was a great success, selling over 28 millions copies worldwide. Due to the series being extremely popular, it boosted up the sales of the PS4 and was voted the second best series of all time – which I humbly agree. Even after the first game they created, getting high praise, getting a metric vote of 88%, which is very good. It over took Crash and Jak in sales, which gave Naughty Dog an insight into what their audience wants, what developments are happening in technology, what’s trending etc etc. Naughty Dog decided to stick with their realistic 3D platformer adventures as that’s what gets them the most sales

Naughty Dog has not been without controversy, as Naughty Dog robbed a painting from Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. This caused them to take down the trailer and remove the artwork and to state a public apology. However, this is not the first controversy they have been involved with. When the Last Of Us was released, Naughty Dog got accused of robbing the subway map from cartographer Cameron Booth. Naughty Dog didn’t want to pay a hefty fine for the real map so they decided to rob Booth’s without his permission. At the end both parties came to an agreement. Naughty Dog have quite the reputation for copyright work.

Posted in Unit 9

Deliverables of Unit 9

What I am going to do for my project is do a blog post full of research that looks into real life stories that follows Heath’s own story. I will also collect information about the audience and which part of the audience will strongly connect with Heath. I also will look deeper into the archetype that my character follows so I can get a deeper understanding of how a character belonging to a certain archetype should act like. Finally for my research I will look at the inspiration that will create my character (appearance, personality, archetype…etc)

Secondly, I am going to do some concept art to show how I want Heath to look along with some assets that Heath will have with him throughout the game and make Heath up. A moodboard will help me get the inspiration for Heath and how he will look as some people have the assets that I want Heath to have.

Next I am going to write a new synopsis of the game – if I have enough time – or I might just edit the synopsis to a much better standard. I am also going to write a backstory for Heath so the audience can see how his childhood was like and how he was before the events that happen within the game. Another thing I will do is change the bio to fit his new image or I might create a new one, to show how he has developed to fit a new, fresher image.

Throughout the project I will also be doing S.M.A.R.T targets and doing evaluation at key parts of the project (pre-production, developing, concept art, final piece). These will help me keep track of how I have been doing this project but also tell me if I am far behind in a certain task or if I need to develop it.

Lastly will be the creation of my concept art piece which I am going to do on photoshop. I may do several pieces that include: assets, face, body, location, before and after event, emotions…etc