Monday, 14 April 2014

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Delta Epsilon - Trading Scene WIP

Codename Delta Epsilon
Description: WIP of a space construction/trading scene above a semi watery planet for a side project codename Delta Epsilon

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mechanical Sketches - Daywalken

Here are some recent mechanical sketches to share ranging from biomimetic robotics, to bio organic walkers and of course scifi spacecraft
starting with the Mars Daywalken


Notes: The Daywalken came about as a love child between stories of the Nephilim and the possibility of a pre Mars civilization which inhabited a planetary system with a different atmosphere, gravity and physical mechanics. Extrapolating this further, there was a temptation to explore an ulterior motive to Curiosity's exploration on Mars - as a front of sorts. In actuality, various agencies have already inhabited and are in the midst of exploring the various planetary bodies for the seed of human kinds ancestors. (NB: this is purely fictional)
The far right shows a recovered Daywalken by an apparent secret space program, reverse engineered for humanities own purposes

Monday, 16 July 2012


After a long while in terms of self imposed Sci-Fi exile, for one reason or another, it is good to return to the roots that started it all in digital painting. In particular, I quite adore the illustration styles of early space illustration styles and thus here is a ode to John Berkey

Notes: In the distant future of Mankind, assuming we achieve sufficient conscious mass  to collectively reach beyond the stars, and put our petty squabbles aside somewhat - I'd imagine there would be all sorts of explorers whereby the seemingly infinite vastness of interstellar "space" would represent what the Wild West and various undiscovered trails of the Classical World equivalent would come to be.

In this instance,  I suspect transport to afford a high level of alternative propulsion systems. This will probably encompass:

  1. interplanetary propulsion (gets you from A to B in a conventional manner)
  2. interdimensional propulsion (A type 3 civilization might be able to start exploring the 11 dimensions theorized. We have to become a type 1 civ firstly)
  3. passive propulsion (a mixture of low energy/laser propulsion method which can utilize in effect the cosmic winds, perhaps some advanced perforated meta material to represent solar sails, or a field device that in effect captures certain particles - far more advanced than say a 50-nanometer beryllium sail)
Lastly, I'd imagine for mankind to afford this high level of exploratory travel - we would require to seek a whole new level of science that is able to explain and understand mankinds biofield and energy interaction, to provide for a sustainable safe future. Perhaps, controversially mankind might not require a organic body in the future, whereby the collective memories are uploaded  onto a storage device, and a cloned body effectively produce via a advanced organic 3D scanner/prototyper device.

All in all, its good to be back!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Uk Games Development & Tax Breaks

2010 - 2011 represented a tidal sea change for Games development in UK & internationally. The closures of traditional studios and AAA content, the rise of digital content and self publishing heralded the change of guard and redrawing of battle lines to win the minds and hearts of the gamer.

Granted the term Gamer, has rapidly expanded to now be inclusive of a large swath of tiered  groups loosely redefined as Core, Casual, Social & Online across a plethora of various platforms and hardware.

Gaming in itself has experienced a massive explosion. When you think back 5, maybe 10-15 years ago gaming itself was seen as a niche hobby undertaken by the core gamer. Then consoles and online gaming changed the scene radically, with the traditional doomsayer heralding the death of traditional PC gaming.  Likewise with the rise in portable gaming and digital distribution, there are some that bemoan the death of traditional retailers (as epitomised by GAME group going into administration), some camps drinking too much Facebook and digital kool aid harping about the death of consoles and another camp evangalising about the future being about mobile smartphones.

The fact is, the GAMING universe is ever expanding and it is a MASSIVE pie, more than enough for every single living human being with opposable thumbs  - from your grandmother to your 5 month old toddler, they are all enjoying interactive entertainment and education so this is truly an exciting time to be in the gaming sphere, with tiers of various game ecologies to co exist (with degrees of overlap)

2012 - The year so far

Fast forward to 2012, and already we have a colourful range of keynotes occuring in gaming history:

  • PS Vita gets launched with a solid lineup of software and modest success. 
  • The new ipad is launched, boasting a "retina display" - although in reality there are no games optimized or built to fully incorporate the upgrades that lurk beneath for higher quality entertainment. In addition, the ipad had a hidden function in the form of a gestural controller to sync with the launch of the eventual Apple TV (launched later this year) - which will further represent Apple's launch into the battle lines traditionally occupied by consoles
  • The eventual sad demise of the GAME group came to fore with GAME voluntarily deciding their stock was now worthless following the withdrawal of stock of all the major publishers, epitomised by the withdrawal of Mass Effect 3  and other EA titles.  The effect of this is still unfolding as GAME seeks to find solution  to repackage valauble aspects of its overall business to resume trading under a new guise (ideally). 
  • Mass Effect 3 faced a large outcry with certain portions of gamers seeking further closure with the game's ending
  • And finally, a first ray of optimism came totally unexpectedly via the UK budget whereby George Osborne announced the formation of a tax breaks for Games, animation and Film industries in teh April 2013 budget. This was followed almost universally by key industry leaders heaping positive praise and cheer (as this represented a U turn from years of govermental rebuttal to the rallying cry to provide a level playing field vs the largely lucrative and immense brain drain of talent overseas)

"Following consultation on the design, the Government will introduce corporation tax reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries from April 2013, subject to State aid approval," reads the official budget report.

The report puts the relief for video games at £15 million in 2013-14, and £35 million in 2014-15.
Tax breaks are a controversial subject and the current cheerleader for its implementation has been the fourfold increase in game jobs, development and economy stimulus enjoyed by Montreal and other related countries eg. France. This in turn stimulates local economy, higher education and R&D, thus pushing forward local technology centres of excellence and future tech.

For now, the report is a welcome potential stimulus of things to come, with some folks even commenting a return to a golden era of gaming renaissance in UK thus putting the great back in great Britain.

For this we have to especially thank TIGA's Dr. Richard Wilson for seeing this through and everyone else involved in this tireless campaign to improve our lot for UK PLC.

UK trade association TIGA, which has long campaigned for tax credits said the news is "terrific" for the regions development sector and help contribute UK GDP by £283 million.
"Tax relief for the video games sector will increase employment, innovation and investment in the UK video games industry," said TIGA CEO Richard Wilson.
By the time these tax reliefs can be set in stone, hopefully they will filter through to the many UK startups and local hubs, that together we can collectively benefit as a nation of carbon neutral, high value networth and exciting interactive entertainment companies, with a few sterling IPs built along the way in the hands of the indies, old guard, and publishers all in it together

Well done folks, this is just the beginning to be great!
Great to be gaming on in UK!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

How to IP design

Hi Folks,
Seeing as I am probably not allowed to share anything commercial for the next ten thousand years, lets go one better than look at the thought that undergoes the design of design.
Hopefully, this can be more of a interactive conversational aspect that may pique folks interest.
Lets start with a look at sacred cows - IP franchises

How to design/re-design on a existing IP 

Above is a comparison of two stills. On the left (Prometheus) and the right (Alien 1979)
When the original film is re reviewed (minus the lens of nostalgia), it stands up to the test of time, admirably well. This is primarily because of good old school basics, good use of live action, miniatures (kit bashed0 built with skill and  a good eye of maximising (the most from conventional means - another great example was the recent movie Moon)
Sometimes less is more, and although Alien probably represents cutting edge VFX in 1979, you could say we have advanced the pioneering front further. BUT, in many many ways we have lost (collectively) our cutting edge eye in the unholy name of digital

Digital, is just like another tool, akin to a a saw or a hammer or a screwdriver. Each has its purpose, although sometimes commonsense seems to be lost - much like trying to drill a hole with a screwdriver, instead of a drills or worse, emptying a bathtub with a thimble

Developing a Good Eye
Some of the great visual artist have a rock solid foundation in basic art skills (be this traditional or being able to sketch down one's ideas effectively) and being able to communicate this coherently to the viewer (client)
What is lacking of late, is the critical eye
There is sometimes a total dis continuity  of practical applied design, favouring wild fanciful aesthetics, or whatever is used to make a image look "pretty". As a illustration that is totally the right approach, but the forethought on design is often missing. And it is this aspect, that can really sell and enhance the believability of any illustration or design further

Much akin to allowing someone to run, without going through the steps of learning to stand, walk or crawl - have you ever noticed that its only toddlers who run around aimlessly with pure joy. but as soon as it confronts obstacles or needs to stop, it becomes hesitant/unsure what to do. This is the fundamental crux that may confront most current artist - they enjoy the flight of painting pretty pictures, sometimes just going into the zone (but this is really painting on autopilot like a mindless zombie, without much active cerebration)
Getting back to design and fundamentals, it is thus vital to instill a sense of practical design and reaching a nice blend of design forethought without getting too bogged down in a illustration.
Once a illustration gets too firmed up, its far too easy to render and noodle details and before you know it, some parts of a image may look great in isolation, whilst other elements languish
So, with that lengthy preamble, let us analyze the idea of tackling a existing IP

Body Suits
The newer Prometheus body suit designs tend to reflect a more contemporary slimline look and feel. The bubble helmets become suddenly clear thoughout, and the more conventional cosmonaut look/feel has been ditched.

For a producer, this can create some creative pains.

Does one stick faithfully to that of old for the sake of continuity, or does one re intepret it totally from scratch eg. JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot and give it a new lease of life (in a new alternate timeline)
Ridley Scott keeps some of the main defining cues, and probably with the lens of experience has decided to ditch that which is clunky (that may look quite out of date) and go with a compromise of new and old

Reintepreting existing old IPs in a new lens is a total minefield, and if one is faithful to the source, there can still be space to produce somethign fresh and liberating as long as one has a skillful hand to curate what is needed to tell a good story

Next time: Old CRT and monitor displays vs newer flat panel displays, sexy holographics and User Interface. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Wacom Cintiq 24HD | Flagship process

Here is a simple developmental process for the collaboration with Wacom's new flagship Cintiq 24HD launch

Monday, 18 July 2011

July Updates

Hi Folks,

We've been busy at Opus Artz and I thought I'd add a small update and thoughts.

inFamous2: Production Design & Concepts

With the launch of inFamous 2, we're finally able to share a load of character concepts and designs over at our Opus Blog.

Now, what I would like to add is these character developments also share a snapshot of how a concept undergoes an iterative design during production, called production design. And as such, one will be amazed and the large combined effort required to produce a sum total better than its parts.
Which is why, one should always remember that the concept artist alone, is not a rockstar or works in isolation. And rather, the combined input, feedback and artistic, creative efforts are what help produce the character, creature, transport or environment into the current end game result that you as a gamer enjoy.


To help elucidate this less glamarous but core essential duty of the game artist, I have penned some aspects of game production at our digital art eduction site to help share and put a spotlight on the challenges and rewards of producing game art.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Google image Ripper 1.5

For those who have gotten used to your reference hunting via Google image ripper/greasemonkey but have been outfoxed by the upgrades of google to the way their image searches work, well some kind folks have upgraded the greasemonkey scripts to version 1.5

And hurrah, full sized images are back again thus leading to a more sane way to search for your image referencing, as all responsible pro concept artist should for your day to day production.

Long Live The Art of Game Design


With the advancement of social games, and networked blogging, folks in the game industry are constantly trying to quantize a gamer's experience via Live metrics. In the unholy quest to improve product placement, gamers experience and thus the overall game - metrics for everything is now available to a large extent....

BUT, this is only a tool.

It cannot replace hardcore experience of making and producing a good polished game.

Just look at the release of semi mediocre sequels of existing titles these days, and you will know personally that rarely do any of these series title improve on its predecessor in general.

SCIENCE - the new religion

There will always be those wanting to quantify an experience - be it the mystical, spiritual, the unknown, commerce, gambling, human behavior and pattern recognition.

To a extent, it can be observed and classified. But science is NEVER absolute. A law is only a perceived truisim. Newtonian physics only works to a certain extent. Gravity is a quantified experience but we still do not really know how it exists...much like electricity (that we were taught in school) we still do not really know how it works at the nano level.

We think we are reasonably good and labelling and categorizing our immediate everyday experience. that we have mapped out the entire known world. That everything can be rationalized and explained.

The fact is, the more we delve into out science, the more we seek to understand our experience. Our journey in live. And thus, similarly with games we seek this unholy grail of how to make a super game with metrics. But this is really not a great way to go about making games.

What was it our forefathers and early legends understood that made iconic games still a great experience to this day and age, re-birthed on portable gaming  and tablet devices.
No one really knows, but they will sure keep on trying.


And then...there is the Art.

Intuition, a gut instinct, human amalgamation of life experiences, anaecdotal, science, humanities, perfect geometry...these all become distilled into the Art that is a greater sum of all its parts.

And thats what is great about being creative about Design. It does not adhere to some law or observe facts (for too long). Maybe it can help fine tune a experience..but it only goes so far. Because at the end of the day, its the individual uniqueness of each designer, each game team that makes a game product unique.

DONT fall for the sheeple sameness mentality.

Be strong, on your own. Design games for gamers.
Even if it means going in the opposite direction. Rules are just tools and with each shift in a game front, are made to be broken.

Metrics can help, but only so much. It should not be evangalised as the way to success or how to make a game good. Thats as naff as using focus groups to make a core character only for it to turn out vanilla 9/10 times (anecdotal evidence).


Players want to enjoy the experiences and richeness we bring to the fold. So, lets just remember that.
Uncharted 2, Bioshock, Mass effect, Little Big Planet, World of Goo, Journey, Sword & Sorcery are gold standards of recent times we can allude to. It says, that in this short (gaming) life, we can achieve greatness by being true to your core audience and with polish, the experience and thus the end gamer enjoyment will enjoy true success.

Monetary gain is a beneficial side effect.

Long live the art of making games!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Game Art Jobs Strategy

Hi Folks,

I've taken time out to write a small topic about Game Art related jobs and how to be strategic in getting a new jobs or move on from an existing one

Check it out at our Digital Art Education blog!

In other news, we've just added additional news & art for the projects we have worked on for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 and InFamous2 !

Have a great weekend!
Next time, I'll talk about photography and having the creative mindset switched on at all times, everyday to better improve your visual database through life experience.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Digital Art Education

Finally, we have gotten down to penning a few words of advice and the start of what will hopefully be a useful continuing education repository for fellow digital artist looking to start a career in the Entertainment industry through to useful advice/scenarios of working on the job as a professional games artist.

In addition, we will have guest editorials from various colleagues, and artist from the whole spectrum of the Entertainment Industry, to better educate ourselves in this ever blurring world of digital media.

Please feel free to add any useful feedback, or first hand experiences at your recent educational experiences or your journey as artist as a shared community.

Digital Art Education

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