From Concepts to Textures – 7/12/12
My name is Ali Swei and I’m a student at Becker College and the lead artist at 80HD, winners of the MassDiGI Game Challenge. We’re currently working on our game NanoSwarm at SIP.
By trade, I’ve always been more of a character concept artist, and initially, that’s exactly what I was doing. But soon, the inevitable challenges of indie development meant that I needed to learn some new artistic abilities. Specifically, I transitioned into making textures for our models. For those who aren’t sure what a texture is, it’s the pretty stuff that makes a model look like more than a grayscale shape. Textures give color and definition to a model, like the skin on a person.
The transition was easier said than done. Concept art and texturing are two very different roles. To help myself with the switch, I approached texturing the same way I would painting. When you paint, you have to constantly step back to gauge your overall progress; you need to be sure that the little detail you’ve been wiling away the hours on is actually benefitting the whole picture. For a game, this is especially important as most cameras are fixed, just like the one in NanoSwarm. Therefore, by knowing what the player can see, I can ensure that the player sees everything that they need to. ‘Stepping away from the canvas,’ allows me the understanding I need to do the work efficiently.
Because I had no real experience with textures before this project, I’ve had to focus a lot of time and energy to increase my skills. Looking at my textures from the beginning of the project and comparing them to the ones I have now, I can see a marked improvement in my abilities. This is only natural when you spend a lot of time doing something, but it’s really motivating to be able to look at my work now and see how much better I am than I was before.
Unfortunately, that’s all the time I have today. We’re only halfway into SIP, and we have so much work left to do! Still, I can’t wait to reveal more and more of this game; I think you’ll be just as excited about it as I am. – Ali Swei