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Effective Art Directors: Gaming’s Something Something

Effective Art Directors: Gaming’s Something Something

By Ben Cammarano

[In a detailed feature, Microsoft Game Studios' Cammarano documents the five major traits that make the video game art director truly effective, from partnerships through unlikely inspiration.]

The game industry has reached a crossroads, where the demand for creative, unique IP and immersive experiences is becoming a priority for many studios, rather than your classic tech demo or iterative, licensed project.

“Quality” is the popular (and somewhat ambiguous) term to help measure a franchise’s success, and a number of teams have done a better job of defining it than others.

One of the key roles important in making this happen is that of the art director. It’s a relatively new role when compared to other creative industries like advertising or film.

It’s even defined differently among game companies: art lead with technical experience, lead artist who can script, art director but must be hands-on, publishing art director with program management skills, etc. Art director turnover is high and it can be hard to find the right mix of creative, technical, and management experience.

I’ve had the privilege of working for, with, and managing effective (and not-so-effective) art directors. I’ve also learned the hard way that those lacking certain qualities will make developing successful experiences that much harder.

The goal of this article is to share my perspective on what separates the average Art Director (AD) from an Effective Art Director (EAD) in this challenging, evolving and exciting industry. Let’s take a look at five of the most common traits:

1. Proactiveness

2. Building Bridges: Forming the Right Partnerships

3. Less Detail, More Big Picture

4. You’re Only As Good As Your Artists

5. Look Outside the Norm for Inspiration

Continue Reading Article…

 

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The Art of Magic Word Party Game

The Art of Magic Word Party Game

The Art of Magic Word Party Game

iPhone App

Magic Word Party Game is a social iPhone game you play with friends and family.

What is Magic Word Party Game?

  • A party game you play with Friends and Family.
  • A trivia game you play by yourself.
  • Must have “word” and “party” in the title.

Iterative Design Process

  • Focus on User Centered Design – Anyone can play!
  • Early Designs
  • Sketch > Mockup > Final
  • Color Research
  • Fonts – Hiero Font Editor (bitmap fonts)
  • Fonts – Standard iPhone fonts for most

Rapid Prototype Development

  • Using Flash for proof of concept, quick animation demos, and flow.
  • PhoneGap for early working demos.
  • Decided not to use it due to performance issues we could not overcome at the time.
  • Cocos2D for final development.

Refined Design and Polish

  • Use Apple template for standard sizes and placement to stay familiar with apps and lingo.
  • 32-bit PNG files – no sprite animations.
  • Animations are coded.
  • Learning to develop for the iPhone over time.
  • Exporting final assets.
  • Sharing folders.

Organic Main Menu

  • Main Menu changes depending if the app is free (supported by AdMob), logged into Facebook, Friends, or Resuming a Game.

Key Features

  • Connect to Facebook – Story Feeds
  • Post to Twitter
  • Email-a-Friend
  • Single Player Trivia
  • Multiplayer Party Game
  • Customize Game Length & Win Conditions
  • Multiple Game Types

Download the entire Magic Word Party Game Design – PDF Document

Facebook – Search for Magic Word Party Game
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CONCEPT ART OF: Warcraft

From the author of the original post:

Welcome to our periodic spotlight feature where we take a look at the concept art and design of a game or film. The intent here is to get the creative juices flowing, remind people what’s out there and what’s being done, and to not lose sight of the quality of professional work. We can also discuss what works and maybe what doesn’t, what you dig, or what you DON’T dig.

—————————————————————–

Game: Warcraft / World of Warcraft [link]
Release Date: 1994/2004
Company: Blizzard Entertainment [link]
Lead Concept Artists: Sons of the storm [link]

You KNEW it was coming! It is impossible, you might even say disrespectful, to study the art of concept design and not acknowledge the art of Blizzard Entertainment! Ignoring the titan in the room with the six-meter sword at our tea party would be.. dangerous.

Continue reading…

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Myers-Briggs Personality Type – ENTJ: The Leader

Myers-Briggs Personality Type – ENTJ: The Leader

Profile by Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jean Kummerow

ENTJs take charge quickly and deal directly with problems, especially in situations that involve confusion and inefficiency. They provide structure to the organizations to which they belong and design strategies to accomplish their personal and organizational goals. They are ‘take charge’ people who organise their own and others’ external environments. They use their resources to find a way to meet the challenge. They are at their best in using their analytical and strategic thinking.

Living

ENTJ children need to have goals for everything. These goals may be related to achievements such as swimming the fifty-yard freestyle on second faster than they did the previous year, getting a straight-A report card, or winning the school math contest. They seek power and control. They want to have an impact. Because of their desire to take charge, they are often leaders.

ENTJs enjoy an active and diverse lifestyle. They are likely to be in extracurricular activities and often function as the team captain, the president, or the leader. They pursue leadership roles very directly and have difficulty following others unless those individuals demonstrate more competence than they themselves have. Even then, it may be tough for the ENTJ to follow long.

ENTJs are likely to commit to a career goal early, often in their teen years. They determine their overall goals and objectives and what it will take to accomplish them. Whatever ENFJs do must make sense to them according to their logic or they have difficulty doing it.

In mature adulthood, ENTJs are often in leadership positions in their work organizations. They go after what they want with fusto. They set their sights high and work hard. Work and its related activities may become their lives. They may find retirement unsettling, boring, and difficult because it may bring with it a loss of the power that they had during their working years. Often they make arrangements so that they do not have to retire.

Learning and Working

ENTJs see education as one of the major ways of getting ahead. They are willing to learn about the past and what is but always with the mind-set of how that information affects their future. They particularly enjoy critiquing and solving problems. They apply their logical systems view to the issues they deal with. They want to change things to fit their concept of what should be. They learn best through a variety of instructional methods, including lectures and group activities. Without variety and action in the classroom boredom sets in.

ENTJs like to debate and view problems from all sides. They are comfortable critiquing and analyzing. and do not mind intellectual conflict in the classroom. They like challenge. They may have a general study plan laid out, with test dates and paper deadlines noted. They set up a schedule and work to attain the goal within that time.

At work, ENTJs contribute a wealth of energy directed toward the goals and those of the organization. Their sense of identity is closely tied to how they carry out their responsibilities. They are curious about new ideas and theories, evaluating them in terms of their goals. They are very efficient, competitive, strategic, and task focused.

Occupations that require tough-mindedness, goal direction, and a global perspective tend to attract ENTJs. They use logic and analysis to form conclusions, to organize themselves and others, to give direction, and to take charge. Some occupations seem to be especially attractive to ENTJs: administrator, attorney, consultant, credit investigator, labor relations worker, manager, marketing personnel, mortgage banker, personnel professional, systems analyst, and other occupations that allow them to use their strategic sense.

Loving

For the ENTJ, love needs to fit into the overall picture and may become subservient to their larger goals. Love is always within the context of what the relationship is. One ENTJ stated, “I don’t allow love to course freely through my body. God forbid that it should control me rather than I control it!” Love means a match between the ENTJ’s needs and what the partner provides. The loved one is, in a sense, an extension of the ENTJ’s vision, preferably acting in a supportive, not competing, role. ENTJs tend to make rigorous demands of love. While they may fall in love easily, they maintain that love only if the other person is willing to accept the ENTJ’s directness and need for independence.

Because attractiveness is a part of our culture and an initial standard for many relationships and because ENTJs like to do better than the standard, they particularly take note of the attractive people. The often wonder if they can ‘win the heart’ of the attractive other. It becomes almost a game for them.

The partner of ENTJ can expect a hard-working and industrious provider who may use the fruits of his or her labor as an expression of love. They may not be as verbally communicative of their loving feelings as others types.

ENTJs expect to have their needs met in relationships, while maintaining their independence. When the partner can no longer do that, it is logical for them to sever ties and to move on. However, when ENTJs are scorned by others, they may feel a passionate devastation and a strong sense of loss that is seldom shared with others. However, this sense of loss and gloom generally lasts only a short period before they are ready to move on.

Profile by David Keirsey

If one word were used to capture ENTJ’s style, it would be commandant. The basic driving force and need of ENTJ’s is to lead, and from an early age they can be observed taking over groups. This type is found in approximately 5 percent of the total population. ENTJ’s have a strong urge to give structure wherever they are-to harness people to distant goals. Their empirical, objective, and extraverted thinking may be highly developed; if this is the case, they use classification, generalization, summarization, adduction of evidence, and demonstration with ease. They resemble ESTJ’s in their tendency to establish plans for a task, enterprise, or organization, but ENTJ’s search more for policy and goals than for regulations and procedures. An ENTJ’s introverted thinking (analysis and conservation) may be less well developed than the extraverted thinking processes, and the ENTJ leader may turn to an ENTP or INTP to provide his kind of input. ENTJ’s are similar to INTJ’s except that the former places greater trust in empirical thought than in intuition; it is the ENTJ’s own intuitive sense of coherence, however, that augments and supports their empirical thinking.

Career

Although ENTJ’s are tolerant of established procedures, they can abandon any procedure when it can be shown to be indifferent to the goal it seemingly serves. Inefficiency is especially rejected by ENTJ’s, and repetition of error causes them to become impatient. For the ENTJ, there must always be a reason for doing anything, and people’s feelings usually are not sufficient reason. When in charge of an organization, ENTJ’s more than any other type desire (and generally have the ability) to visualize where the organization is going and seem able to communicate that vision to others. They are the natural organization builders, and they cannot not lead. They find themselves in command and sometimes are mystified as to how this happened. As administrators, ENTJ’s organize their units into a smooth functioning system, planning in advance, keeping both short-term and long-range objectives well in mind. They seek and can see efficiency and effectiveness in personnel. They prefer decisions to be based on impersonal data, want to work from well thought-out plans, and like to use engineered operations-and they prefer that others follow suit. ENTJ’s will support the policy of the organization and will expect others to do so.

ENTJ’s will usually rise to positions of responsibility and enjoy being executives. They are tireless in their devotion to their jobs and can easily block out other areas of life for the sake of work. They will be able to reduce inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and aimless confusion, being willing to dismiss employees who perpetuate such behaviors. ENTJ’s tend to work in organizational structures of some sort, tend to be in charge administratively, and rise to top levels of responsibility, whether in the military, business, education, or government.

Home

ENTJ’s take charge of the home. When an ENTJ is present, there will be little doubt as to who is in command. Because their work is so important to them, however, they can become increasingly absent, especially if male. Male or female, ENTJ’s expect a great deal of their mates, who need to possess a strong personality of their own, a well-developed autonomy, many and varied interests, and a healthy self-esteem. A career wife, however, may not be appealing to an ENTJ male, who is apt to view his home and family as a part of his professional background, a resource, and adjunct to his own career development.

As a parent, an ENTJ will be thoroughly in charge, and the children will know what is expected of them and will be expected to obey. When this does not occur, an ENTJ parent is not apt to make a scene; rather, there is more likely to be a low-key, firm issuance of reprimand and a taking-for-granted of immediate obedience. While both mating and parenting are roles of importance to the ENTJ’s, they are to some degree preempted by the ENTJ’s strong career interest. The romantic dream and the quest for the ideal mate is usually not a characteristic of this type. ENTJ’s generally do, however, expect a home to be attractive, well-ordered, with meals served punctually and maintenance accomplished on schedule-all these in the service of the larger goal of creating a family system where children can be reared to be productive and healthy and establishing a devoted, harmonious relationship between man and woman. An ENTJ male might expect his mate to be active in civic and community affairs, to be socially sophisticated, and as well educated as he. The ENTJ female may find it difficult to select a mate who is not overwhelmed by her strong personality and will.

Midlife

At midlife the ENTJ’s tendency to be somewhat unaware of the feelings of others, including those close, may be an area that could be given attention. But perhaps the most important midlife task of the ENTJ is to begin to allocate time and energy to pursuits which are not work-connected and to begin to develop a larger repertoire of play skills. Putting off vacations, travel, hobbies, and family should be avoided.

Mates

The ENTJ is a natural “fieldmarshal,” that is, he’s itching to get his hands on several “armies” so that he can marshal his forces and conduct the “war” as it should be conducted. If our ENTJ is in charge of any kind of enterprise, however small, his temperament dictates that he run it as he would his armies-with an eye to long-term strategies and their derivative tactics, logistics, and consequences. In startling contrast to this, the fieldmarshal is enamored by the “flower child,” the bucolic artist ISFP, tranquilly ensconced next to Walden pond! Perhaps the ENTJ wishes a spouse who will share with him or her the quiet of the forest and field far from the madding crowd, thus separating home from work by a great, insulating distance.

The ENTJ is attracted also to his opposite in the Appolonian camp: the monastic and questing INFP. What in the saintly or knightly (St. Joan of Arc, Sir Galahad) INFP calls the ENTJ fieldmarshal? First note the outward similarity of the INFP and the ISFP. Perhaps it is this, the underlying missionary outlook of the INFP. In a sense, both INFP and ISFP have great missionary zeal, the former enlisting the spouse in the quest, the latter in the tranquil respite of nature?

What’s your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?
Read up on the sixteen Myers-Briggs Personality Types here.

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Dominance War IV Entry – 3D

Dominance War IV Entry - 3D

Dominance War IV Storyline:

The two heroes in the third Great War for Dominance foresaw what would happen if Machines were allowed to continue their hostilities, but it was too late. 5 year’s after their sacrifice to end Machines’ disruptive means for war with unstable dimensional travel, the sinister threat they foretold, emerged!

…Reality collapsed.

Everywhere, dimensional tears opened to hellish realms and everywhere, nightmares emerged! In the first wave alone, Machines were struck down with such ferocity that for the first time in any war, Machines had to take a more conservative stance. Norms were clearly outnumbered on all fronts and had to withdraw to their great magically protected cities. It was a new era and everyone soon began to realize, including Machines, that it might very well be the beginning of the end in a new chapter of the Epic Dominance War Series: The Rise of Demons!

But there is still hope. The tears in reality are not normal. Something is keeping the dimensions destabilized. Both machines and norms have the mystical power or technology to correct the crisis, unfortunately, to find the source of the problem and to revert everything back to normal requires a luxury neither Norms nor Machines have… time. With death beating down on their walls, and darkness looming around every bend, the missions are as follows:

Norms:
Your mission, again, armed with a powerful magical weapon, is to protect the cities, lead an assault to other worlds and destroy the mysterious force that is keeping the dimensions destabilized.

Machines:
Your assigned tasks: Protect homeworld, destroy all resistance, terminate the dimensional rifts caused by a yet unknown source, and reclaim your rightful dominance over the entire planetary system.

New Race: Demons!
Your purpose: Destroy every man, woman, bot, alien or child. Leave nothing unscathed!

Topic:
Choose and create a character class from one of three races: Norms, Machines and an all-new class – Demons!

Time period:
Post-apocalyptic futuristic fantasy where magic exists.

Dominance War IV Races: Demons
Demons are a new race in the Dominance War universe. Unleashed by Machine’s dimensional tampering, Demons are the shadows from untold nightmares made real. Pure evil in nature, they only care for chaos, feeding and destruction. Demons cannot manipulate or wield magic, but they do possess a single fusion of power with one of the following elements: Fire/lava or Ice/cold or Death/Darkness.

Demon Prince – Demon Princess
Demon Princes are human sized demons with human-like or alien-like characteristics. If not for a few demon-like body traits (bat wings, horns, tail etc), they could easily pass for a natural intelligent human, alien, elf etc of that kind. Demon Princes, like Demon Lords, can manipulate their inborn fusion of power.

My Dominance War Entry Thread on CG Society:
‘Demon Prince Maluum Ex Nihilo’ – Evil Out of Nothing

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=282&t=744261


Your creation’s budget:

Up to 10 000 tris max for everything (everything = characters, laser beams, shield effects, glows, other special effects, magical weapon, gear, steed(s), pet(s), twin(s), multiple characters, summoned monsters, personal equipment, etc).
1 x 2048 Color Map
*1 x 2048 Reflection Map
*1 x 2048 Specular Map
*1 x 2048 Specular Color Map
*1 x 2048 Normal Map
*1 x 2048 Bump Map
*1 x 2048 Opacity(transparency) Map
*1 x 2048 Glow map
*1 x 2048 Glossiness map

*Optional

Important – You cannot break your 2048 sheets into smaller sheets.
2-sided tris are permitted.
Shaders: All shaders from any game engine or 3d software package on planet earth, is allowed.
Lighting/rendering: All lighting/rendering solutions from any software package on planet earth, is allowed.

Your Presentation Pedestal’s Budget:
ALL 3d entries must include a pedestal in their Presentation Image. You have unrestricted polygons and textures to create a pedestal with the following guidelines:

A pedestal is NOT a floor and/or it is NOT a room. It’s a block, pillar, coffin, box, crate, stone slab, etc. Pedestal Examples: Hela by Chang Gun Nam | The Mole by Rémi Monier
No additional weapons or gear that your character can pick up and use can be put on the pedestal.
No additional characters, pets, animals, pieces of characters, dead characters, etc, can be put on your pedestal. Only Bones and skulls are fine.
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The Outfit Game: The Chief Signature Vehicle

The Outfit Game: The Chief Signature Vehicle

In the video game “The Outfit” we had a number of “Signature Vehicles” that could be unlocked and played in the game. Each Signature Vehicle was a custom texture over the original. I thought it would be funny of the tank flame thrower was painted like a fire engine, shooting flames out of the barrel. If we had time, it would have been cool to see water FX shooting out but as it was, the game was already in crunch time!

I also created the texture set for the Axis version of “The Chief” and the Allied “Death from Above” shown in the thumbnails below, as well as rendering each of the tank variations for the Front End Design.

View more screenshots.

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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Wallpapers

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Wallpapers

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Wallpapers

Here are a collection of wallpapers I had created for the Dawn of War franchise. Every single character in the original series of games (excluding Soulstorm) were rendered using their texture maps and model from the game with the Brazil Renderer.

Most characters in the original series used one 512×512 diffuse map. A few characters had additional reflection maps or glow maps and sometimes another small diffuse map. Larger units like the Squiggoth and Greater Knarloc used two 512×512 maps.

Additional Texture Maps:
Specular, Raytracing, Reflections
Lighting using Brazil

I create 90% of the Orks, the Kroot Warriors, Squiggoth, Krootox, Greater Knarloc, among others. Click here to read more about the Making of the Greater Knarloc.

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African Safari Calendar

African Safari Calendar

African Safari Calendar featuring original photography by Andrea Woods and Shawn Woods. A beautiful set of African wildlife from the Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Masai Tribe.

We visited the beautiful country of Tanzania. It is filled with some of the most exotic tours in the world and the game viewing is amazing. We camped in the middle of the Serengeti surrounded by laughing Hyenas at night, had afternoon tea beside a pride of Lions, and even witnessed a Cheetah hunt down it prey (unfortunately she did not catch the Gazelle this time).

The photos below are high quality and print beautifully.

read more | digg story

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