Thursday, October 9, 2008

Backyardigans Space Adventure

This was a game produced by Smashing Ideas for Nick's Noggin website. It's pretty typical of the kind of children's content I get to work on at SI. Nick is one of my favorite clients to work with, they have great properties and they're usually very accommodating creatively. 

The challenge with this project was adapting the 2D illustration and design capabilities of Flash to the rich 3D artwork of the Backyardigans TV show. 

I decided to use Flash to create the game logo and user interface elements, but I decided to play with e-on Software's Vue 5 to see if I could produce some decent 3D environmental artwork. The characters were re-rendered in Flash by studio animator Laura Tulio in order to animate as 2D artwork. 

In the game, users progress from level to level by unlocking planets.

The most complex 3D scene I attempted was the creation of an alien village as the Backyardigan's final "payoff" destination. 

In addition to the 3D environments I created a series of vector spot illustrations in Flash that were associated with the spelling words in the game. I used photo references for most of the spots, which helped me nail certain details that I sometimes find difficult to re-create from memory.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Alien All-Stars

For the past 3 years or so I've been helping develop Alien All-Stars with Derek Munson, author of the award-winning children's book Enemy Pie. Designed for 6-12 year old boys, the property mixes science fiction with sports and galactic weirdness with humor, along with an occasional dose of gross. The first offering of the property will be a series of trading cards released in 2009 with a support website. The initial site will be expanded into a virtual community as the AAS universe grows.

My character designs for Alien All-Stars are influenced by, among other things, Alex Toth's Space Ghost, Pixar's The Incredibles and Odd Rods. The first piece I completed for the project was a promotional "Souvenir Guide" for potential investors. The logo calligraphy was hand-drawn, then warped using Adobe Illustrator. All of the final cover artwork was rendered in Adobe Flash, based on original concept sketches created by myself and Jason Medisky, another contributor to the project.

Once I finished the guide I began producing artwork for the initial 48-card series. Most of my cards use the same flat "cartoon" style I used for the guide. There are two other contributing illustrators on the project, Chad Otis and Monte Michaelis.

With a few of the cards, I've experimented with a more painterly style using Corel Painter.

I helped create the design template for the cards, but Chad did most of the heavy lifting.
Here's what the flip side of the player cards look like.