Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Livin' in the Fantasy Kingdoms

It's time for another post on Fantasy Kingdoms. Again the stuff is major fun because I had to become accustomed to the style and it's always fun to try something different. I think my absolute favorite thing to work on was the dragon pup. It was supposed to be an ultra cute baby dragon that would have six different skins for holiday seasons and promotions. Unfortunately only the original and the Mother's Day version were ever made. I was going to make one unique animation per cycle for each variant. So you can see from these two they are slightly different, with the Mother's Day version emitting hearts:

I think these guys ended up selling pretty well. I'm very fond of them myself. Here's the original concept I sketched before deciding on the final on the bottom right:
I also ended up creating a statue of the grown up version of the dragon with plans to have it also be an animated characters with multiple versions, but unfortunately I was placed on another project before that plan was carried out.
 There was one other character I created and animated for Fantasy Kingdoms and it was the Harpy. I don't think she was very popular with the audience in terms of sales, but I still had a lot of fun drawing and animating her:

And last, here is the concept I did for the Harpy:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Monster Island XI Tokyo Drift

I think this will be the last Monster Island post for a while. I animated so much there's a lot to throw out there. But I wanted to make a post about two more of the characters I did the art for and then animated, since I wasn't always able to create characters on the project.

First up, we have the "blood monkey" and the "blood baboon." Originally we were provided baboon art from an outsourcer for the monkey, which was somewhat confusing, so I was tasked with making the monkey. But then we still had some baboon art, so why not? After drawing the monkey, I then used elements of it to create the baboon with some of the facial parts I cleaned up the the outsourcer. I'm fond of the look and animation of both of these:

After that we have "lab chicken," who I guess is some mutated chicken escaped from a lab. It was sort of a rare miniboss that gave good loot if you were ever to fight it. This one was a lot of dumb fun to create. He shoots mind rays!

Here are some of the concepts I did before arriving at the final chicken beast:

And last I want to show the Mothman, because it was one of my favorite bosses to animate as it was a change of pace and kills through psychic energy. Mothman art done by Alicia Andrew:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Animation for Rewind This

So last year I was contracted to make an animation for the great documentary Rewind This! and it was an amazing experience. The basic outline was to make sort of a timeline to show the different video formats throughout the ages, from initial to today. I didn't touch upon all of them, but I covered major ground.

Since I had a limited time to work on this short outside of the hours of my day job on the video games, I decided to use elements of UPA cartoons and Terry Gilliam style cut out animation, but of course in my own style.

So here we go! (Also ignore the buffering time out it's going to do at the end, it's an intentional joke on streaming video)

So on that note, here's some initial sketches I did for the characters I would use:

Also there's a complete animatic I had turned in ahead of time:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fantasy Kingdoms

I did some work on the Facebook game Fantasy Kingdoms with a few assets as well as some creatures. It was always a great experience because when working on assets it was a very individual thing where it was yours from start to finish. Also it was very foreign art style to me that I had to get accustomed to, which is always a good challenge. The other great thing is that you get a lot of direct feedback from fans whenever an asset comes out because one of the main draws for the players is getting something new to place on your isometric playspace.

A few of my best pieces I think were the clockwork doll and the spider carriage, both supposed to be within the steampunk sets:

Eventually I was tasked with creating creatures and animating them. I tried to bring a new precedent and add value to the creatures by having them go through a longer cycle of movement since in general creatures in the game were assets that just kept a constant idle motion going. So first we have the Fae, which is a kind of magical deer version of the centaur with nature elements:

Then there's the Valentine Pegasus Carriage which was a very good seller I hear. Really not my favorite but it was a bit complicated to put together a carriage and flying horse for tween animation and I am proud of it:

And if you are interested, here are the concept sketches I made for the two:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Uncommon Scents

Uncommon Scents (Episodes 2 and 3) is about the strangest game I've ever worked on. It's an adventure game that takes place in the future but the purpose of the game is to teach prevention of huffing paint and the effects it has on your body if you do choose to do so. It's a very strange mix of things but despite how bizarre the project was, I managed to have fun on it and find little touches to add. It was all Illustrator work and I was to sort of fit a style going on in the game, since I was brought on for episode 2 and then further more in episode 3. I tried to push away from the initial flatter style and give the vector art a feeling of more depth.

 So the game consisted of a lot of rooms, like this panoramic lab where you do tests and minigames to find out the specific effects many of these chemicals have on your brain. A lot of the things in this room I brought into Flash and gave them many specific animations and transition scenes:

 Here's another room of the lab which holds a lab rat that I ended up doing many animations for a minigame in which you have to shock him (!):
Another background I made that I like is the bedroom of this paint addict where she has this cocky roomba and a floating mattress for a bed:
Besides some of the background most of the work entailed making a lot of random UI, Icons, objects, and other various assets for the minigames. Here's a few:

Yes, a talking glial cell.

If you are truly interested in playing these, they are on the Rice University site for them. You can't save though, and I only worked on some parts of Episodes 2 and 3 (Some of which is already here :)).

Sunday, April 21, 2013


So there's this children's flash game called Pyramid Pile Up that I worked on sometime in 2009. I created and animated the main character, which is a strange squirrel type monster that thwarts your attempts to balance your daily food pyramid with healthy things. It's part of the Playnormous branding where the company goal was the usual edutainment where games were made to get children to have the notion of health but not being hit over the head with it, so what you end up with on Pyramid Pile Up is just a fun puzzle game. I feel like it was pretty successful and for sure it's one of the projects I'm most proud about since I started working in video games.

Unfortunately the game has become somewhat irrelevant because the USDA changed from a Pyramid altogether to a strange plate set up for proportions, but it's still up there for play at any time!

So one thing that made this project a great challenge for me was the push of an art style I was not used to by my art director McKee Frazior. He generally has a very good iconic graphical sense that floats towards a more minimalist nature. Everything I had been working on with him before had been somewhat of a push in that direction on my part, but Pyramid Pile Up was very much a game where he was the lead in everyway: he did all the sounds and music, the majority if not all of the game design, and had this great idea for an art style with a paper cut out feel.

So he set me out to work to start concepting the monster:

It's pretty crazy, but I basically went from stranger concepts that were too detailed or silly for the look of the game to a more iconic and rounded character that would fit the detail needed for the size on the screen and not feel out of place in the game. I was way out of my comfort zone, but it was fun. McKee then me start with finals in Illustrator as we did vector for most things in the Playnormous universe, then exporting it all into PNG to get the shadows and not bog down Flash with vector and filter information. Here's some color passes I found lying around:

Oh yeah, his name is Chompy. At some point someone dubbed him that during a meeting but I don't necessarily recall who. Here's a test swf I have for all of the animations I did for him in game:

So this has been a very wordy post since I loved this project. But it reminds me why I love working as an artist. Also I ended up doing some unique animations for some of the Playnormous monsters where they move across the header of the website in various ways. So I'm going to end with an awesome swf of Chompy sneezing:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monster Island IV Yet Again Intro

One of the major contributions I made to Syfy Monster Island were the boss intro screens. The boss battles lacked any kind of notification for a while and I suggested a flashy intro to create excitement upon landing on a boss. So I designed a sort of template that had could rotate palette depending on the boss and then have a snippet of animation of the boss before doing that slow motion thing. Here's one with Megacroc (A Drew version of the Syfy creature):

It echos a sort of 60/70s horror film look with kind of rough paint splotches but since it's for a Facebook game, it retained an amount of color and cheeriness. Here's my test image using Pterodactyl:

And speaking of Pterodactyl, I think the animations I did for him are one of my favorites in game.

Pterodactyl was more Drew Johnson art, so on that note, here's another one of Drew's characaters I animated, the disgusting Corpsewalker:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dark Scavenger Characters

Here are some characters I created for the indie game Dark Scavenger dating back to about 2010/2011. I worked on the project when I could for about 9 months contributing characters and backgrounds. The game is a little rough looking in general because there were many artists besides myself who were contributing in different art styles, but it was pretty amazing to see some artwork I did appear on the front page of Destructoid one morning.

These are a few of my favorite characters that I have cleaned up recently for blog consumption. They were originally meant to be half size for in game.

First we have an escella, which is sort of an androgynous alien race:

Then we have Fayne and Gualdi, who are part of this clan of lizard ninjas:

And last we have Gevvis, who I think was an evil shaman of some sorts. I sort of forgot his role in game:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monster Island Returns

       Reposting a few more of my animations for Monster Island. I did not draw or create any of these characters but I did some redrawing and touch up work on Mandrake, who I think is from one of those Syfy monster movies before Sharktopus.
       Next boss for the game is SS3, who I think was originally supposed to be SS Doomtrooper from another Syfy movie, but we didn't have the rights to make that character exactly. Later SS Doomtrooper appeared anyway, but I like SS3 better somewhat, with his tiny third arm and all, which I put a little bit of subtle animation on.
       Then we have Bio Octopus. There were three Octopus designs, including just standard Octopus, but this one with it's six eyes and strange gills has to be my favorite, so I'm putting this one up. I made him floating because we had no underwater level. Art by Alicia Andrew.
       And last we have for this post another piece of character work by the outsourcer who shall not be named. He's not particularly interesting, but I was told around the office that the shoot and reload animation I created for him was amazing. I suppose it is? I don't see it, but it goes here for good measure.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Here's the partner to the other ballpoint pen picture I posted earlier (months earlier). It was originally done about the same time, May 2011, and prettied up in Photoshop just a little bit for internet consumption.