Archive for the ‘Storyboarding’ Category

Storyboarding Recap Part 2   Leave a comment

In the previous post, I covered my Discussion Board project for Storyboarding and Storytelling. The other half of the class, the Individual Project, was much more focused on the core subject matter. Unit 1 began with an assignment to write a short 2-3 page story. The idea was to create a story suitable for the opening cinematic of a big-budget, ‘AAA’ game. I didn’t spend any time trying to come up with a game idea for this, I just tried to build an interesting story.

I’ll try to let the images tell most of the story. The thumbnails only go about halfway through the main story, though, so if you’d like to read the long version, click here.

The assignment for Unit 2 was to draw a 3-pose turn-around of the main character, along with a full-color action shot. I simply wanted him to be tall, pale, thin, and subtly unnatural. I did a quick sketch of Rob to try and get the proportions right and try out the pose I was considering.

Unit 2 - Individual Project - Sketches - 7 May 2011

After a few adjustments, I re-drew the 4 poses at full size. He was intentionally lanky but his head is still a bit too small. At some point in the process I had to just continue and maintain the same size for the sake of consistency.

Unit 2 - Individual Project - 3-Pose Turn-around - 8 May 2011

Unit 2 - Individual Project - Action Pose - 9 May 2011

I’m relatively happy with the 3-pose turn-around. The features and proportions are consistent from one image to the next. The action pose is a bit painful for me to look at, honestly. It makes the character look painfully awkward and lanky, well beyond what was originally intended. The arms look almost twice as long as they should be and the positions of the legs just aren’t quite natural. The version from my original sketch is much more dynamic and believable. Something was clearly lost in translation on this one but it’s not such a bad start, as rough as it is.

Unit 3 - Individual Project - Thumbnails 1 - 16 May 2011

Unit 3 - Individual Project - Thumbnails 2 - 17 May 2011

Unit 3 - Individual Project - Thumbnails 3 - 17 May 2011

It was an interesting process to replay the entire story in my head and map it out frame by frame. I had a pretty clear vision for what I wanted to do with the camera but a few changes had to be made along the way. For example, in the opening sequence, I had to mirror a few of the images to put the camera on the opposite side of the bed to avoid crossing the line and for better flow. When I went into more detail in the next unit, I further refined this same scene into a single shot, which you can see animated, below.

Unit 4 - Individual Project - Storyboards 1-5 - 16 May 2011

Unit 4 - Individual Project - Storyboards 6-10 - 17 May 2011

Unit 4 - Individual Project - Storyboards 11-15 - 17 May 2011

In unit 4, I chose three of my strongest sequences and redrew them larger and in more detail. The hardest part for me was drawing the character consistently enough to make it seem like the same person in every frame. I’ve never considered myself very skilled in drawing the human form and this certainly isn’t one of my better attempts, but I’m still satisfied with how it turned out, overall. The second frame of the third animation is a good example of how I got the character completely wrong, making it look like I used some sort of stunt-double. Beyond that, I think the sequences are effective in conveying the mood and movement of each scene.

Unit 5 - Individual Project - Storyboard 5 - 28 May 2011

Unit 5 - Individual Project - Storyboard 9 - 25 May 2011

Unit 5 - Individual Project - Storyboard 9 - 28 May 2011

Unit 5 - Individual Project - Storyboard 14 - 28 May 2011

In the final week of the project, I chose the most interesting frame from each detailed sequence to add color and shading. I found myself trying to be too subtle or ‘accurate’ with the shading and had to keep going back to give it more depth and variation. On the two versions of Storyboard 9, you can clearly see the effect of making a few adjustments to color and pushing the shading and shadows further. I started coloring with the very boring assumption that bricks are red or tan and merely toned them down a bit for the sake of contrast and focus. However, making the building more monochromatic turned out to be much more effective on many different levels. Now the focus of the piece is the character, standing out against all that green. The dull olive of the stairs gives weight to the ground while the bright green railing guides the eye upward. The higher contrast shadows really give the whole thing more interest and mood.

In the end, it was an interesting project to follow through on. I find the results of my own work a bit amateur in the grand scheme of things but I learned a lot through the process and it’s a pretty solid base to build upon.

Storyboarding Recap Part 1   Leave a comment

My Storyboarding and Storytelling class consisted of two separate, concurrent projects. The Individual Project (IP) and the Discussion Board (DB). In this post, I will focus only on the DB project in order to make this project easier to follow.

As an online class, the discussion boards seem to be an attempt at replacing or mimicking peer-to-peer interaction. In previous online classes I’ve taken it was also used for writing assignments that seemed to exist mostly to legitimize the course as an academic endeavor. Those previous classes would have a 1-2 page paper on a topic related to the IP and require research with footnotes and sources. In this case, it replaced the classroom participation but skipped the academic writing element in favor of more practical practice.

The assignment for Unit 1 was to write a short story for a simple flash game. Every DB assignment afterward was based on this initial story. I think I switched between descriptive prose and simple statements a bit too much but I think it gets the main idea across. The short version is that a lower-class miner, named Ungrok, achieves his dream to become a leader when humans attack the mining camp and he’s asked to lead the evacuation. That’s the general intro leading into the rafting-themed navigation game. The ‘full’ version of the story is here.

In Unit 2, we were supposed to create a character design based on the main character from our Unit 1 story. I drew a couple pages of sketches to get the main idea down. Please disregard the creepy guy on the far right of the first sketch, he’s an early version of my character for the IP project that I’ll go over in part two. The original pose was meant to illustrate his leadership role by the way he’s pointing. It was a bit unnatural so I dropped his arm to the side in the final version. I think the way he stands on the rock and remains forward-focused helps to portray at least some small glimmer of leadership in a more relaxed and natural way.

Unit 2 - Discussion Board - Sketches 1 - 6 May 2011

Unit 2 - Discussion Board - Sketches 2 - 6 May 2011

Unit 2 - Discussion Board - Character: Ungrok - 8 May 2011

Starting in Unit 3, the DB project deviated from ‘Storyboarding and Storytelling’ and became part of a series of courses working toward the same project for students following the Online-only curriculum. The DB for this class is intended to be the foundation or head-start for the IP in Interface Design, even though the on-campus courses are taken in exactly the opposite order. In any case, the assignment in Unit 3 was to draw the environment for our flash game. Having already taken Interface Design, I had a good idea of what needed to be drawn. However, I used this assignment as an opportunity to create an extended level design and explore ways to really push some variety into the game play.

Unit 3 - Discussion Board - OrcRaft Environment - 11 May 2011


In Unit 4, we had to draw a Prop Sheet to conceptualize the in-game assets required to build the game ‘in future classes’. This time around, I simply drew many of the assets I had already built in Interface Design. I couldn’t think of a way to push the designs much further. I think I drew a much better fish this time around, though.

Unit 4 - Discussion Board - OrcRaft Prop Sheet - 18 May 2011


Finally, in Unit 5, we were supposed to design the interface for our casual game idea. I found my first design to be pretty simple and streamlined, though a bit plain. So, I redesigned it for this assignment. I wanted to add an actual fraction to make it easier to see exactly how many Orcs are left on the raft without needing to count. I like the addition of the progress bar in the upper right corner. It’s not an actual map of the level, just an indication of how much distance is left in the current level.

Unit 5 - Discussion Board - Interface Design - 25 May 2011


That’s all there was to the Discussion Board half of my Storyboarding class. I was thankful that it felt less like busywork and jumping through hoops, even though I was forced to revisit something that was already ‘finished’. There is always room for improvement and that certainly held true in this case. I think these assignments helped me to refine my vision for the game.