Saturday, 22 March 2014

Assassin's Creed V Character Design: Dante

Assassin's Creed Character Design Development

Thought I'd share some development work I did for my latest character design.

I'm a big fan of the 'Assassin's Creed' games and I wanted to create my own character design to fit into that universe.  So this should be fun....hopefully... 

For a couple of years now, I've been wishing they'd focus a game based in Victorian London.  I think the design of the city, the narrow streets and tall buildings will be ideal for the main character to scramble around.  The games are also synonymous with history, visiting landmarks, tweaking bits here and there for story purposes (which I love) and London is obviously embedded with a deep, rich history. What if our Assassin was framed for the Jack the Ripper murders?  What if he has to break into Buckingham Palace or Parliament?  Or scale to the top of Big Ben?  To me, it's ideal.

So, I decided to focus on the character first.  I wanted to create a great sense of believability with my character's costume.  You have to be able to look at him and instinctively know what time period he's from.  So, pulling in from lots of sources, I had a wealthy amount of reference material handy...

 ...a pretty intense amount of research if I'm honest.

One thing I was concerned about though was the fact that Victorian London people wore a lot of dark clothing.  And the famous white hood of Assassin's Creed would stand out.  HOWEVER, I remembered that the character Ezio wore a black costumer (in Revelations, I think??)  and it just looks...cooler.  So, I'm going to maintain a similar style in my character.

Next up was some character sketches...

 I tried to think about my character's costume in a practical manner.  I wanted a lot of his armour and weapons to be concealed for the most part, so I designed a step by of how his costume layers up (more for my own sake, than anything else)  Firstly, just normal clothing.  Second, protective armour plus weapons.  Third, how the coat conceals this.  And finally, fourth, how he looks in 'Assassin' mode.

Similar to how Edward moves in AC: Black Flag, I wanted my character to have his hood down when the player is just walking around, exploring etc.  But he put's the hood on when moving in restricted areas, or during main missions.

 And here's a step by step development of the character painting...

So, yeah, this is a brief insight into the process I took.  But hopefully it will be useful to anyone looking :)

Check the above post to see the completed images!


Saturday, 8 March 2014


Boudica Development

I thought it might be useful (if people are interested) to show a little bit of the development work that went behind Boudica.  Boudica was a personal piece, so I skipped one or two steps that I normally do for professional work, but I thought it might be a handy little insight to anyone who's new to digital painting.

Just a small disclaimer first though; this is just to show you how I went through MY process of painting Boudica.  Please don't assume my way of painting is the 'correct' way (as you'll see below, I actually wound up with a couple of problems with this image from stupid decisions early on).  Every artist works differently.  My methods may not suit your methods and you may not even like my work flow at all.  It's just useful to show new artists (and non-artists...if that's a word?) some of the work that goes behind an image.  This shit doesn't just 'happen'.  So, yeah, just please keep an open mind with this. 

Anyway, let's get to it...

So, the first step I take, with any image, is to do the research.  My idea is to bring Boudica forward and place her in an 'adult fantasy' genre like Game of Thrones, of which I think is an ideal setting,  So I started doing some research and gathering reference materials (see below).  I want to her have a tribal feel but, since she started an uprising, I thought it would make sense she picks up pieces of armour/equipment here and there from slain enemies.  Therefore making here better equipped and a stronger warrior.  So there would be a mish-mash of armour...

One thing that's been bugging me for a while now is how female warriors are depicted in games and concept art.  Not ALL of it, but a good proportion.  You can see in some of the references I have above, that a lot of these females don't wear very much clothing............why?
According to my research, Boudica was part of a Celtic tribe in who died roughly in 60-61 AD.  A Celtic Tribe in Britain.  It would have been bloody freezing!!  Also, what good is a warrior/fighter if over half of their body is exposed flesh with zero armour??

No no no.  My version of Boudica is going to practical.  She's going to be warm and protected.  This is something I feel I HAVE to have in my design.

So, I began my process with doing some fast grey-scale sketches.  I had a good idea of what I was wanting to achieve, so this went very quickly.  When working professionally, this stage generally lasts a lot longer and there are a lot more iterations of the design (with more details) to give the client choice.  However, this is a personal piece and I'm the client who already know what he wants.  So let's move one :)

After selecting my design, I moved quickly into a painting pass.  I like to keep up a sense of pace and momentum with the early stages of an image.  Plus lots of coffee helps...

As I was wanting to keep this quite a 'real' image, I used a heavy use of photo reference and textures early in the painting process.  In hindsight, it was too much and became a huge mistake.  It was bogging down my design and making adjustments difficult, plus it didn't feel like the character was my design any more.

So, fueled by another gallon of coffee, I broke away from this bad habit...

 ...and with the use of textured brushes, began creating a character that I felt belonged to ME rather than relying on the photo reference.  At this point, the lethal dose of caffeine began to wear off, which was good as I needed to calm down and focus on the smaller intricate details that make the image look more believable.

So, kind of a crash-course in painting development, but this was the creation of Boudica.

I hope somebody finds this useful :)