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)

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