Hello all. In this art content update we’re going to present a small walk through of the process used to create the SFC bomber. The first part, focusing on the concept stages, is written by Jan. The second part is written by myself.
Developing the Concept
When drawing, the first thing you do are warmup exercises. Simple straight lines, ellipses, circles. Good line work is a fundamental skill so always keep practicing. Sketches are the next step. As many as possible. The sketches are usually unrelated to what I’m working on at the time.
Usually I have a good idea of things I want to try out, if not smashing common house hold items together works well. These two images were based off combining 2 hair clips and a Lego rubber ring.
Sketches vary in detail. They range from object line drawings to full shaded drawings. Here are some examples:
Now on to the bomber. It started out as a fighter concept created by Andre. Kristian and I then created variations.
More exploratory sketches and variations were made:
Amongst the devs there was a preference for a more detailed version of the bottom right flat version, only with a different style cockpit.
For some sketches 3d mockups were made to better visualize the designs
The flat version felt too boring and with little room to add flavour asymmetry. More volume was needed to account for various internal components. A hump was added to create room for these components and to have space for two similar but different halves, satisfying the need for some asymmetry and a less boring ship. The rear landing gear was moved back to create a better balance since the rear of the ship was now too heavy for the original placement. Finally a more final concept was created:
Creating the Model
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Dan, (many of you will recognize me as “Hutchings” from the old contributions forums) I’m one of the Modellers on the I-Novae team and it’s about time I shared some work.
When starting a new model I spend some time gathering references, and discussing the design with the concept artist. Rough landing gear placement, animated objects, cockpit design, etc, are all things to consider. Polygon budgets and texture requirements are also established.
Using the 3D Mockups provided by Jan, I roughed in the main shapes and features of the primary Hull. At this point I didn’t worry about the details, instead I focus on the silhouette and proportions, to ensure they stay true to the concept.
Now that the proportions have been established, it’s onto the rough detail phase. Cutting into the hull, adding new detail objects, and working out the distribution of details across the surface.
Using the blocked out objects as a guide, I now focus in on individual elements of the ship. Creating Subdivision Meshes for curved and circular parts, and refining edge details on the hard and sharp surfaces. I’m constantly referencing the concept to be sure my details are true to Jan’s original vision. This part of the process took the most time, and on more than one occasion parts were discarded and remodelled.
The original concept included a very industrialized cockpit design, that once modelled felt out of place for a military craft. Working with Jan and the rest of the team, I came up with an alternative design that still embodies the brutal industrialized SFC style, but gives the pilot a wider field of view.
Using the HP mesh as my guide, I construct the LP game mesh. Keeping in mind the level of detail, polygon budget, and optimal shape(s) for the texture bakes.
Below is a preview of the game mesh with the current normal and AO maps applied. This is still a work in progress, but you can see the higher resolution details translating to the low polygon surfaces. I was hesitant at first to show this image, as it’s quite early in the mapping process, but it demonstrates the purpose for modelling the high resolution mesh. I still have some work to do optimizing the model, and tweaking the Map Bakes, but it’s coming along nicely.
Normal Map and AO Preview, Followed by Normal Map Only
Each asset I produce will follow a similar pipeline, utilizing I-Novae tools and an array of software to achieve the high quality visuals we’re aiming for.
I’ve included some Additional renders of the HP mesh below. Enjoy!