Texturing – Studio 3 – Semester 2

In the previous post I´ve been introducing to the brainstorming and reflection process I want to put into choosing the textures and I´ve been talking about how I was gonna put effort into researching for inspiration.

In the past week I´ve been thinking about all the animations and games that share with my project even the slightest similarity and I managed to narrow my research down to a couple of interesting examples that will be of great help when I will be texturing my models.

1) Team Fortress 2 – Game

Team Fortress 2 is a multi player first person shooter game, released by Valve Corporation in 2007. One of the reasons of the game´s great success other than the interesting mechanics of each playable character it´s the game´s comedic mood and its cartoony and simplistic style. This game has been for very long time one of my core inspirations and the fact that it shares mood and style with my bachelor project it´s not a coincidence, so it felt more than natural to use it as a reference and inspiration.

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The game´s color palette it´s very well thought and each color fits extremely well with the other, although I am gonna prioritise warm tones this is a great inspiration and starting point. The use of the color blue and red as opposites it´s something that has been vastly used in movies and games, for my project however I opted for a different usage of these colors: the indoor scenes are gonna be characterised by colder colors with a majority of blue and light blue to give the feeling of shadow and of a more cold environment, while the outdoor scenes are gonna be full of warm tones which suggest the warm and arid weather of the desert. Why using the opposition between blue and red in this way rather than in the usual bad guys/ good guys way? I really feel like this differentiation has become rather tiring and cliche, but I still want to include the complementarity of the colors, so I figured this will be a good idea to do it.

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Team Fortress 2 is also known for its highly various maps, set in different environments; among these maps there is one that will be particularly useful as an inspiration for my project: the Egypt map.

The Colors of this map and the style of it´s textures show how to combine cartoony style and desert in a 3d environment avoiding a too “heavy” landscape and without being boring for the eye. This map has all I can ask for as an inspiration and it will be fundamental for the building of my textures in Substance Painter.

Although this map will help me I figured my textures will be even more stylised than this, since I figured details in the desert are not really too needed, the bloom of the sun makes you blind and doesn´t let you see them anyways, so it´s gonna help giving the idea of an incandescently warm setting.  Regarding the colors I think I´m gonna use brighter colors than the ones used here, both for personal taste and because I think they fit much better with my models. Why using this as an inspiration if most of what I’ll do will be different? When creating something artistic, having a starting point, a standard is always quite useful, but overcoming that standard and the boundaries of our own inspirations is what makes our own work a growing path.

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As I mentioned before, another really important characteristic of Team Fortress 2 is its characters, but as interesting and awesome as they are they were of little inspiration for my robots since they are all humans. After some reflection though, I remember about the PVE mode of Team Fortress 2 called Mann vs Machine in which the players have to face robot versions of the playable characters. I immediately decided to make a mood board about these characters and noticed that, although they look very different from my robots the style of the textures and the materials used are extremely helpful for the way I will handle my own texturing process; the point is, the setting of the movie is a desert and if there’s a thing Star Wars teaches, sand and robots don’t go too well together, therefore making a clean robot would make little sense and look quite out of place.

After this reflection I came to the conclusion that my robots will have to be worn out and full of rust, as obvious as this thought might seem it is not as obvious to think about how stylised rust and spots will look, so it is here that my mood board plays an important role, among the characteristics that make these robot interesting there is definitely the simplistic worn out spots and rust. When creating my materials and choosing my textures I will do my best to handle dirt, dust, sand and worn out parts the same way as in the pictures, if not even in a simpler manner, by still keeping them interesting and good to look at, exactly like in these characters.

2) Journey

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Journey is a relatively simple game, not too full of mechanics and action, but what hits the player the most is it’s astonishing style, colors and the way they contribute so much to the lighting.  In the deserts of Journey it almost feels like the sky and the sand are one thing, but this continuity of land and sky never gets boring, always remaining so suggestive and pleasant.

The aesthetics of the game are really simple and the colors used are not really too many, but they all fit together in a perfect puzzle.

This game has inspired me in choosing the right colors to give the feeling of a really warm environment, where the sand is everywhere even in the air and where the sun reigns as a supreme king wherever you go. When our viewers will look at our animation we want them to feel the extremely hot weather almost as if it was on their skin ad we want them to feel surrounded by sand and sun even if they’re watching the video on a rainy day.

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As it can be noticed in the picture the game not only succeeds for what concerns the color but also in creating a really simple style of textures, with no blending whatsoever, but rather using definite layers of color in a sort of Pop Art resemblance. Using this style can be rather hard, since it is very easy and quick to slam some color on a surface, but it is not as easy to make the shape of the layers and the forms created interesting and pleasant.

3) Firewatch

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Firewatch is another game where the developers have done miracles with just a few hues of colors and a simplistic style, very often having something simple looking can make your work look really bland, it is really hard to have the artistic sensibility of finding the right amount of “simple” so that it balances with “interesting”.

Firewatch not only has succeed in this, but has obtain a very peculiar style that reminds of theatre scenografies and recalls of the Renaissance technique called “sfumato” where the artists would use lighter and paler colors the furthest their landscape would go. Although I don’t expect my project to have these same characteristics I do see them as an invaluable inspiration that will help me balance each little detail of my models.

Now that I’m done with the research I will start working on the textures, so in the next post I will be showing some work done.

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