Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hidden Cache - Star Wars: Edge of Darkness - Process

Back in December I first shared with you the Star Wars piece, Hidden Cache. While this piece was released at the end of 2013 it was in fact painted WAAAAAY back at the end of 2011. This piece was actually the second Star Wars card that I painted for Fantasy Flight Games. This piece is so old that it was created in my previous layer structure and methods. The rest of the steps are the same to create the image. To get things started, here is the final piece so that everyone is up to date...

Hidden Cache
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

I have never been silent about the alien species I want to paint in my Star Wars assignments. Zoe at FFG has been more then gracious to get me the aliens I want or provide me the opportunities to pick which aliens I want. Even at this stage in working on the license I was enjoying that freedom... which is why this piece features a Mon Calamari. The piece just called for a "Rebel Smuggler" and to me that means Mon Calamari. They are one of my two favorite aliens, the other being of course Trandoshans. Now that I had the alien I wanted, it is time to make a pretty image and that starts with thumbnails...

Hidden Cache - Thumbnails
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

I am not sure I had a favorite at the time, I was just trying to do something interesting and different. Up until this point 99% of my work had been high fantasy, so the interior of a space ship was strange and exciting new territory. I also wanted to tell a little more of a story, not just a Mon Cal with a gun... but, in the end, that what this piece is and what it is about.  

At this point in the game there was a lot that was still in flux, including the shape and amount of chrome on the cards and the size of the art. All of these thumbnails were based on the card template at the time... which is very different then it turned out to be in the final game. Production selected a thumbnail and sent it back to me in the card template so that I could get a feel for how the final will look and so that I am aware of context...

Hidden Cache - Mockup of approved thumbnail
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Time for drawing! The thumbnails were kinda loose... especially in that Mon Calamari's face... and a little silly. I was asked to make sure that no one thought this Mon Cal was Ackbar, so I made him all scared up and blind in one eye and it was fun working up some of those aspects in the drawing. The drawing was a lot of fun to work on and came together very quickly and was approved without note...

Hidden Cache - Drawing
12 x 9 - Pencil on paper
Original - SOLD
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Now... we PAINT. Well, we paint in a fashion that I have not painted in for close to two years. I do have some unreleased pieces that may or may not ever see the light of day that were painted in the old fashion, this might be the last I will be sharing on the blog for the foreseeable future. This is the last of dieing breed. So in six easy steps you too can have a Mon Calamari gun runner...

Hidden Cache - Process steps
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Not a lot to say about the process... most of work is done between steps 2 and 3 and there is no value build up under the color. I just would jump in and hope for the best and get down and dirty with the pixels. The rest of the steps were just adjustments to brightness and contrast to help the image read better.

Again, here is how the final piece turned out. You can compare it with the final card as well (below) and see how the game and orientation changed in the two years since I originally created it. The huge amount of possible change is one of the interesting aspects of working on a new game. It can also backfire when your early art just no longer works for the game and is scrapped. So far everything I did in those early stages has survived and in some cases shown up in several place!

Hidden Cache
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Hidden Cache in handy card form

Last month I shared with you my toned paper re-imagining of this piece. Since I can not produce traditional final products due to contractual limitation I can at least explore something more finished after the fact...

Hidden Cache - Toned drawing
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper
Original - Available on my store
© 2013 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

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