Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mixed Architecture Material Textures - Seamless on Both Axis

Click to Enlarge
I have had these “odds and ends” on my desktop for weeks now as a result of trying different elements for the "Embers Of Caerus" game development or just randomly playing with various textures making them seamless.

Working on making textures tile is like meditation to me (tragic I know)

It is a task I can almost do in auto pilot so sometimes I just do that with no real goal in mind like therapy, if you like, much like some “traditional houswives” claim the same from ironing SOCKS!! (Get a life women)

Anyhoooo, the upshot is I have gathered a collection of seamless textures but none of them belong to each other in the sense of a matching collection.

It seems a shame to leave them gathering virtual dust so I threw them in a pack and set them for sale as a “mixed bag” which is often handier than the same materials if you only wanted one from that pack. At least this offers you totally....wait...why do I feel I am justifying this? lol

OK so all 11 textures are only 400 Linden Dollars ($2.01?) and they can be purchased from:

Within Second Life - TRU Textures Store 

The SL Marketplace 

For use outside of the Second Life environment, such as IMVU.com  There.com Avination.com and other online worlds and games, you can purchase these and thousands of other textures under the Any World License from TRU Textures Ltd website.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Forsaken Studios - Working As Texture Artist For Embers Of Caerus [ EoC ]

It’s been a couple of days now since I became an active member of the Forsaken Studios team.

I work mostly with Lee Perkins the Art Director and one of the founders.

It’s quite a challenge as I am asked to make and send textures “out of the blue” and in real time which is new to me and I can’t help but feel a little pressure.  I guess that’s normal as I am the newbie with something to prove (Or at least, that’s how I feel) I feel I haven’t quite gained a reliable reputation yet.

I am not used to answering to anyone but myself either,  but I am enjoying the appreciation when I deliver what they need and it works well and they're pleased.

In fact,  I find I am looking for reassurance a lot which must be annoying as Hell for Lee as he’s crazy busy with multiple IMs open as he communicates with the other 50+ team members.

There was an embarrassing moment yesterday when I was in a Skype conference with Lee and Si,  the head environment artist.

I had been asked to create a 4096 x 4096 pixel mountain texture. When I sent the file over in Skype,  Lee said it was not seamless.
That’s like basic stuff and I have no excuses but when I ran the texture through Photoshops offset filter, I could not see any seams. In fact I was convinced that Lee was seeing things so I asked him to mark the areas where he could see the seam and send it back, which he did, and I still couldn’t see it.

It was only when I zoomed in that the artefacts left over from my post editing became glaringly obvious. It was terrible. All I could do was admit fault and make sure anything I made again, I would zoom in and double check before sending.

In my defence (lol) I  think part of the problem is I have never worked with 4K textures before so had it been a 1024 x 1024 those massive flaws would have stood out more.

My problem is I have a habit of rushing and more so as I am aware they are waiting on me to send it over.

But this is a life long habit too as I used to be convinced that when I started making a texture collection (for commercial sale)  I HAD to complete it the same day, whilst I was still "in the zone”and could remember the direction I wanted to go in.

But now, I find sometimes it’s good to walk away and come back later with “new eyes"

I managed to gain some self respect back later on in the day after the terrain texture I had made (from an image not chosen by me)  looked terrible when repeated hundreds of times within the games terrain.

The problem was, as a texture image it looked really nice but the shadows and rock formation that made it look pretty were too much of a feature that it created an obvious pattern repeat when applied to the land.
Basically, when it comes to terrain, sometimes “less is more”

I took some initiative and went and found another photo to work with and they were happy with the final result. It ended up looking really nice.
It was craggy like rock but no light gradients or obvious areas of rock formation which would stand out in a repeat.

We got there in the end and Lee was pleased (Which, as my boss, pleased me too.....brown nose that I am!)

He sent me a screenshot of the snow capped mountain terrain (which I can’t display due to legal reasons) and I must confess I am so tragically pleased with myself I have that screenshot as my desktop wallpaper! lol

Then I announced I was “Going to make a brew” and explained to Si that: In the UK that means a cup of tea Si”
When I came back to Skype Si had replied: “lol I am from Kent!”
I don’t know why but I got it into my head he was from the USA. 

Since then, I have made snow flakes and water drops for particle use and a wood plank floor texture for the dungeon map.
I have also just now been playing with carved Celtic wood and stone of which I need to make more of as well as decorative Celtic metals too

It’s unusual to be working “for” someone else and to create textures from the imagination of someone else but I absolutely love doing it.

I have introduced myself to the forum and had some nice replies from other members of the studio about my online portfolio, which I always appreciate, but I am well aware that on many levels I am very much a “junior” artist with lots to learn still.

I am looking forward to the release of the official promotion video which should be released in the next few months and of course when the game goes live.  (Fingers Crossed)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Free Metallic Ornamental Texture Seamless

Click to enlarge and download 
I made this for fun as I waited for some 4096 mountain terrain textures to render for the game I am involved in creating with Forsaken Studios,
Embers Of Caerus

It’s not a texture I would like to build on to make a commercial collection so rather than me deleting it, I thought I could “share the love” and offer it for free.

Do as you wish (Except sell it of course because that’s so 2006!) it can be used in commercial content creation providing the texture “as” a texture is not redistributed.

Its 1024 x 1024 Pixels and tiles on both axis.

Enjoy.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Working As Texture Artist for Forsaken Studios Much Anticipated Game Embers Of Caerus

Concept Art - Embers Of Caerus 




As I detailed in my last post, I was contacted by an Art Director from a game studio enquiring whether I might be interested in joining them as a texture artist in the development of their current game project.

After doing a little research, chatting with the team and watching the test scene above, I decided it was too good an opportunity to dismiss.

Since that time and having begun working alongside the other 53 members of Forsaken Studio on their much anticipated MMORPG Embers Of Caerus (Or EoC as it is commonly referred to) and I can say hand on heart,  I am as passionate about the development of EoC as if it was "my own”

In fact, I feel at least in part, it “is” my own since I discovered and took the opportunity to invest into the game on a small financial level.

The members of Forsaken Studio all seem to display the same level of enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment whilst maintaining a family type working environment. I am really enjoying being “part of a team” something I have not really felt with my own business for many years now.  (I could quote “It’s lonely at the top” but in my case “the top” can be measured in inches rather than feet lol)



The concept of the game will be totally unique and yet comfortably familiar to most regular MMORPG gamers.

The best way I can describe it is that it has all of the best parts of the most popular MMORPG’s all rolled into one massive highly customisable sandbox.

Concept Art Embers Of Caerus
I will focus initially on what I am more knowledgable about and that is of course, the graphics and textures.

Whilst there is no comparison between EoC to World Of Warcraft as a game,  WOW serves as an obvious comparison partly because I have at least played it.

WOW for me at least,  lacks the ability to demonstrate any creative identity.
The builds are preset and non editable, what you see is quite literally what you get, period.

Much of the same can be said for the avatars in WOW which again, like the environment, they lean towards a cartoon style.
Cute, but not realistic and I think most of todays seasoned gamers prefer realism on all levels of their game play from avatar to environment.

After working with Lee for a short while, I have learnt the focus of "Embers Of Caerus” environmental development is most definitely realism,  visually, audibly and in terms of the game play itself.

Photorealistic textures are essential in the development of this game which suits me and my experience of  photo manipulation and the creation of such textures.

As much as I would like to discuss the game play elements of "Embers Of Caerus", for obvious reasons there are things I cannot disclose at this time.
Plus, I feel Rob Steele, the CEO of Forsaken Studios does a much better job at describing the goals and direction the studio aim to achieve.

Here, Rob describes “The Vision” of Embers Of Caerus:

http://www.embersofcaerus.com/forum/showthread.php/40-The-Vision


Concept Art Embers Of Caerus. 
On a personal level, I feel like I have been very fortunate to have been found and involved.

I have a new project that I have been invited to be involved in which is very exciting to me.

The next six months I plan to learn more about game creation on all levels and not just graphically and I hope this is a new chapter in my career and one in which I will be immensely proud to have been a part of in the months that follow.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Game & Environmental Artist Offers

I have had a hand full of emails offering me the chance to work as a texture artist for some developing game an indie studio is working on.
The offer is usually you work for nothing but if the final game attracts a publisher then you will get a pre agreed amount of money for your contribution or a percentage of profits from said game.

Bottom line, due to the huge volume of indie teams all convinced their game will be the next Tomb Raider it rarely comes to anything other than a project that you can include in your portfolio.

Most seasoned game artists, coders and designers avoid these offers because essentially you are being asked to work for no pay (unless the final game is published by a big name and results in financial profitability)

I have read in forums, posts from very talented artists who have been lead down these paths and lost weeks or months of their time and work to a project that never even took off from the ground and as a result refuse further invitations of this type from other studios.

But are all game studios and associated games in development all doomed for non profit failure?

Of course not.

It's a gamble, all business ventures are. If you get an invitation like this the details you should at least consider investigating before washing your hands are:

1) How old is the studio?
2) Do they have any already published games, free or otherwise? In other words, what's their track record like?
3) Take a look at their website. Does it look professional?
4) Take a look at both published games and those in the stages of development.
5) What is your gut feeling?
6) It's a business proposition.
You need to do your homework both on the studio and game and decide whether you feel its worth the risk. Imagine if you decided against it and discovered two years down the line, that very game was a massive multi million dollar Xbox Success?? lol
7) I think you have to fall in love with the project a little bit. If you're going to be working on the basis of hopes and beliefs then there has to be some selfish motivation for you to even want to take that gamble and for most it's the promise of success. To have your name published in association with a successful game is very seductive (Especially when you have an ego the size of a small planet like I do)

I was written to tonight from the Art Director of a studio..the fact the studio even has an art director is a good sign as it indicates the size of the team is big. Its not just 5 sweaty student working from their parents basement.

I will be doing some investigation because if nothing else, its a compliment and potentially great hands on experience which is never a bad thing to have on your C.V.

Bottom line, based on the information provided, they apparently have some big names involved who are confident they will have a financial investment in six months.

You can only take that kind of info at face value initially but don't ever just dismiss these invites without looking into the potential of what could be or you may be kicking yourself in a years time.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Virus - Excruciating Lower Back Pain

I felt so tired last week-end. I slept until 12.30 on Saturday which is insane but I didn't feel ill just very tired and what I thought was a muscle spasm in my back.

In hindsight, I know why now.

I have this strange virus. None of the usual suspects like sore throat or cough, runny nose etc, just feel "sick" little energy and this awful lower back pain. I feel like a donkey has kicked me in my lumbar area its awful, I can't move or even lie down without grimacing in pain.

Here's a blog that I read http://buggeringonwards.blogspot.com/2006/12/flu.html

I know its fairly typical to have aching legs and back when you have flu and I have only ever had real flu once. Trust me, when people say "oooo I have flu" but are up and about they don't have flu, they have a bad cold.

Real flu literally puts you on your backside, you're too weak to even get out of bed and it lasts at least 3 weeks and for me, I wasn't 100% for 6 weeks.

That was 20 years ago.

This isn't flu...it's some crappy virus that is causing terrible back pain for me. I thought there could not be a link between the two but I found this blog and apparently it's very common...doesn't stop the discomfort knowing that but it does stop me obsessing with the "why when and what fors?"

i have been run down for months. Had a standard cold  caught off my partner a month ago, annoying but nothing more. Then I got a root canal infection,  which didn't respond to the two lots of anti biotics that messed up my stomach and gave me oral thrush. Then the dentist had to lance the inflammation from within my mouth (which was nice!) and now this.

We have booked a week away for the Xmas week staying in a beautiful cottage in Anglesey, North Wales and Mum and Dad are staying with us for 2 nights We plan to eat out for Christmas lunch... so that will be nice...

Sorry, bit boring eh? lol

Friday, 4 November 2011

Smallest Elephant - New Born

I saw this photo on Facebook, the poster said it was a premature birth and the little thing was clinging to life.

I have since seen it on blogs were people commenting are saying its a dead foetus from an abortion.

I like to this the first option is the truth.

How sad and adorable is that picture? Look how tiny his trunk is?
And his little feet.

Makes me sad... bless him.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Antique Vintage Seamless Carpet Textures - TRU Textures

Tiling Vintage Carpet Textures
It’s getting increasingly difficult to spot a gap in our texture stock but I thought perhaps some floral vintage carpet textures might be in demand for period house builds from the Victorian or Edwardian era.

We have a lot of external and internal architecture textures covering that period but no floor coverings so I made these.

As always they come in 1024 x 1024 pixels and tile on both axis.

There are 12 different designs and cost 350 Linden Dollars for the collection. (Around $1 .30)

You can get them from the TRU Textures website  for use both within the Second Life environment or as direct download licensed for use outside of Second Life too.

Also, not for the faint hearted, bright bold tapestry paisley patterned carpet textures as below:

Bright And Bold Tapestry Carpet Textures

























Available on the Second Life Marketplace: