Tag Archives: concept art

Concept Art Roundup: Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Beyond: Two Souls, Remember Me, and More

Concept Art Roundup: Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Beyond: Two Souls, Remember Me, and More

Aaaaaaand we’re back! After a two-month hiatus, your day is saved with a brand new collection of concept art. Pretty sweet, right? Right?

Hello?

Anyways, let’s get started. First up is Nacho Yagüe (one of the coolest names ever, by the way). He works as a senior concept artist up in Ubisoft Toronto where he did concepts for Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, and Wanted: Weapons of Fate, a game that was way better than it had any right to be.

His personal website (which is pretty slick) houses a portfolio that mixes his professional and personal work, and I’m kind of in love with his style. There’s one called “Punch” that’s fantastic, full of hyper kinetic and ultra colorful streaks. And then his landscapes are so great at imparting a sense of depth, like the world doesn’t end at the end of the frame.

Next we have Geoffroy Thoorens, a concept artist and matte painter. He has worked on a lot of movies like From Paris With Love and Blood: The Last Vampire, but he currently works at Applibot for their game Galaxy Saga. Some of his more recognizable work, though, might be with the recently released Beyond: Two Souls and R.U.S.E.

His portfolio also contains some concept art from Quantic Dream’s E3 PlayStation 4 demo The Dark Sorcerer, not to mention some personal work that is just killer. I’m kind of a sucker for art that shows its raw side, where it looks like you can see exactly how it was painted and constructed.

Fred Augis is a concept artist over at Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind Remember Me. The strongest part of that game was probably the world design and the memory remix mechanic, so that success can at least be partially attributed to Augis.

He’s also previously worked on R.U.S.E. (I wonder if Augis and Thoorens know each other) and does some kick-ass book covers. His Tumblr, which is not necessarily safe for work, is full of character sketches, some weird and psychedelic ish, and some cool environmental pieces.

Last is James Paick. He works as a freelance concept artist and has worked on a whole mess of high profile games like The Last of Us, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Infamous 2, Tomb Raider, and League of Legends. His professional work falls under his brand Scribble Pad Studios and has also worked on Magic: The Gathering and the perennially in-development Prey 2.

Paick’s work is, well, ridiculous. Magic tends to only get the best for their cards, and Paick deserves it. His Prey 2 art feels more impressive than the demo shown at QuakeCon two years ago and Medal of Honor: Warfighter stuff actually makes me want to play Medal of Honor: Warfighter. His scale and detail and atmosphere are pretty spectacular.

And that’s it! Hopefully it won’t be another two months before the next roundup. Also, let me know if you’re interested in seeing any particular game or artist and I’ll do my best to make it happen.

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Concept Art Roundup: Pacific Rim, Epic Mickey 2, God of War: Ascension

Concept Art Roundup: Pacific Rim, Epic Mickey 2, God of War: Ascension

Here we are again. Or here we go again, depending on how much you like to listen to Neon Trees. I personally don’t listen to them all that much because, more than Mumford and Sons, their songs sound really similar to each other. Probably because the singer has such a distinctive tone, but that’s not to say I don’t think they’re good songs. They’re just the same songs, which is vastly different from Nickelback who has the same bad songs all over.

Anyways, enough about that. This was originally going to be a whole thing just about Id Software’s new art director, Hugo Martin. You’re likely to have seen some of his stuff back in the day as a concept artist with Blur Studios where he worked on Dante’s Inferno, Halo Wars, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, among others. But then I got a chance to talk to him at QuakeCon and wanted to break that out into a separate story. My mind, however, was already set on artistic endeavors.

Let’s start out with Martin, though. Before hopping over to the Mesquite, Texas-based Doom and Quake developers, he had a string of jobs on films that includes The Avengers and several soon-to-be-released/currently unreleased films like Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, an on-hold The Dark Tower adaptation, and that ostensibly canceled Snow White Order of the Seven thing from Disney. Where you’re going to have seen his work most recently, however, is in Pacific Rim, where he worked very closely with writer and director Guillermo del Toro.

Just a tease of the conversation I had with him, Martin is a very warm, friendly, and obviously smart dude. He talked so casually about the most astounding things, like how del Toro would take just about anything he got from other artists and modelers and have Martin take a pass on it. Or how he so easily put widely disparate and nebulous ideas into concrete form. Case in point: he designed the Crimson Typhoon Jaeger—one of the giant robots in the movie—after boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and incorporated the American flag, the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, and Georges St-Pierre into Gipsy Danger. Awesome.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two was, well, disappointing. It carried over a lot of the problems of the first Epic Mickey, which I kind of gave a pass because it was the only one of its kind at that point. One of the things I’m glad that continued, however, was the art direction, which was superb. Part of that can be attributed to concept artist Adam Fenton. Based in Austin, Texas, he has worked on Star Raiders, The Bourne Conspiracy, and, in his words, “many many many cancelled projects and pitches.” Whether or not those ever made it to fruition, Fenton’s work is pretty great. His use of bright and vivid colors really draws the eye.

Currently a concept artist for Sony Santa Monica, Jung Park most recently worked on God of War: Ascension, which was decent. A lot of those big, expansive set pieces are largely (is that a pun? Yeah, that’s a pun.) his doing. Same goes for God of War III, which was way above decent. But when he’s not drawing places for Kratos to smash up, he co-runs Red Engine Studios which operates as both a contract art studio and a school for budding artists and designers.

His personal works are also pretty impressive. They manage to feel otherworldly while still carrying a grounded vibe. It’s a hard thing to pull off and can give outlandish tales more gravitas, but Park definitely does it.

I hope you guys like Disney because here comes more Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two art. This also comes from Austin, Texas, but from concept artist Kevin Chin. Most of his stuff for that game is environmental in nature but his personal work (and the cactus enemy thing) branch into character design. He’s worked on Warhammer 40,000 products and the Killspace Entertainment remake of Yar’s Revenge, but seriously, that Epic Mickey 2 concept art. These all should be your desktop wallpaper all the time.

He also drew a cool The Last of Us thing that you should see. It’s pretty cute.

And that’s all I’ve got for today! I suggest you watch Pacific Rim if you haven’t, play Epic Mickey if you haven’t, and continue to not listen to Nickelback if you’re at all a decent person. But do watch the newest Mumford and Sons music video. When Jason Bateman and Will Forte go head-to-head, you’ll understand. You’ll understand everything.

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Concept Art Roundup: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, StarCraft II, Game of Thrones, and More

Concept Art Roundup: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, StarCraft II, Game of Thrones, and More

Hey, we’re back! Or I’m back. But you’re back too, so whatever. We’re back and we’re together again, just like old times. Really old times, actually. Sorry it’s taken so long to get another Concept Art Roundup going, but these are actually quite time-consuming and I’ve had a lot of thoughts about video games I’ve wanted to get out there. But enough about me, let’s get to the art.

First up is Hugo Deschamps, a 2D-3D generalist artist for Ubisoft Montreal. He goes by Chillyo, which 1) I’m not sure if is pronounced like “chill, yo” or “chilly oh”, 2) is kind of a cool pseudonym either way, and 3) is really hard to search for on the Internet. I can tell you, however, that he does have great taste in movies (The Goonies, Batman, Robocop, and The Terminator, coincidentally some of my favorites as well) and he does fantastic art for Assassin’s Creed. He started on Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and has worked on all of the ones after that. The one non-video game piece of art he’s done that I could find, though, looks pretty cool. I’d love to see him stretch his wings on something new, too.

Next is Joe Peterson. Formerly of Red 5 Games for Firefall, he now works as a concept artist for the recently indie Activision Blizzard and has done work on StarCraft II, Diablo III, and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. He has a tutorial up on The Gnomon Workshop about designing mechanical characters, but he also seems like a pretty chill dude if his totally effing metal website has anything to say about it. Also, he did one of the early concept pieces for Kerrigan way back in 2006, long before StarCraft II came out, and the original concept art for the marine. Pretty cool.

Karakter is actually a studio whose work you’ve probably seen before. They’ve had their hands in Killzone 3, designed the cover art for Anno 1404, did some covers for Popular Mechanics, and won an Emmy for their work on HBO’s Game of Thrones. That’s quite the impressive list of stuff. Tobias Mannewitz, in particular, is the guy who got the 2012 Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects as the visual effects concept artist—which means he does a lot of matte painting over photographs and it looks crazy—so pretty much all the visual effects you love from Game of Thrones were originally just ideas in that dude’s head.

For a dude with an architecture degree, Andreas Rocha sure does a lot of matte painting, and he does it quite well. I mean, Wizards of the Coast doesn’t just hire anyone to do their card art, nor does Psdtuts+ interview just anyone off the streets with a drawing tablet in hand. He does have a lot going for him, like his excellent taste in classic movies (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back To The Future, Blade Runner, Willow, and Evil Dead, so maybe he and Deschamps should hang out some time) and his ability to make fantasy seem…endless. His Magic: the Gathering land cards are fantastic, but even his Grid 2 trailer concepts have a boundless quality to them.

And that’s it for now! Hopefully it won’t be another two months before the next Concept Art Roundup, but you never know. Actually, I should probably know, but just think of it as a little mystery in your day-to-day life, perhaps one that you don’t really care to think about until it starts unraveling and suddenly you have a face full of art. Or something.

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Concept Art Roundup: Iron Man 3, League of Legends, Darksiders II, and More

Concept Art Roundup: Iron Man 3, League of Legends, Darksiders II, and More

You’d better limber up because this roundup is going to be a bit of a stretch. First off, one of the artists I’ve got here doesn’t necessarily work on games nor is his work actually concept art. Secondly, another artist primarily works on 3D art pieces, so he’s not actually in the eponymous arena either. It kind of makes me want to rename this feature, but we’ve made it this far so let’s keep going! When we make mistakes, it’s a lot easier to ignore it and just plow ahead, right?

Or something like that.

Anyways, let’s start off with Josh Herman. He currently works as a character artist at Marvel. If you check out his IMDB page, you can see he’s done a lot of damage in Hollywood for such a young fellow. Herman here has worked on Iron Man 3, Total Recall, Real Steel, and a whole bunch of other Marvel movies, mostly as a digital sculptor. He’s also done art for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and pre-production work on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy.

He also tweets in rather sporadic but rapid clumps and just started a blog about learning to draw.

Next up is Joshua Brian Smith, a bona fide concept artist at Riot Games. Riot, if you weren’t aware, develops the incredibly popular League of Legends game, the MOBA that people can’t stop playing. He graduated pretty much a year ago from the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and made the seven-mile drive up to Santa Monica soon after to work with Riot.

While his work there at the studio is impressive, some of his school stuff is also quite good, though also quite different. League of Legends has pretty much locked him in a fantasy world, but I would love to see him branch out. It’s very obvious he has a wide range of influences and passions that would benefit from his grand-scale vision and raw take on lighting scenes.

Tohan Kim works at Crytek’s Austin studio in Texas, though if you’re familiar with the fallout of the THQ bankruptcy, you’ll know that this used to be Vigil Games. Vigil was the studio behind the Darksiders series, a critically well-received but commercially disappointing franchise of games about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse dealing with said worldwide annihilation, and were in the process of making Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium.

Dark Millennium, however, is still under wraps seeing as how its future is mostly undecided after the THQ dismantling, but Kim’s Darksiders work is all the way out there, as are some Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning pieces. Jeez, I can’t believe how long Mythic Entertainment has been making MMOs.

Lastly we have some concept art from Herman Ng for Rift: Storm Legion. Storm Legion is an expansion from late last year for Rift, an MMO from Trion Worlds. If you’re wondering where else you may have heard that name, it’s probably from the inescapable advertising of the Defiance tie-in MMO also being developed by Trion.

Ng, though, has a bunch of cool art up from Storm Legion. He’s really good at giving his drawings a sense of life to where it looks like he actually captured these creatures and people in the middle of some action.

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Concept Art Roundup: Beyond: Two Souls, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rainbow 6: Patriots, And More

Concept Art Roundup: Beyond: Two Souls, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rainbow 6: Patriots, and More

All right, so maybe this Concept Art Roundup thing isn’t going to be as regular as I’d hoped, but after the Weekend Play thing petered out, what did you expect? Well, maybe I should bring that back, too. What if I just did a Daily Grace-style thing where every day is a set theme? Would anyone prefer that to me just rambling almost every single day on something nobody really wants to read about? Talk to me!

Anyways, back to the matter at hand. This collection of concept art is particularly exciting because there are some unreleased games in here. I had a whole slew of Gears of War 3 and Guild Wars 2 pieces all picked out for today, but then I stumbled across these little gems. There’s not much there—just a couple of concepts and promo things—but it’s still pretty neat considering this may fuel whatever imagination engine you have running your head about these games.

There are some old games in there, too, because the art was just too good to ignore. Also, I had to flesh this one out a bit, but it really is because these concept artists are so damn talented. If I could, I would dump everything at once and just let your eyes glaze over like little Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

In fact, let’s start with a previously released game in Halo 4. This comes from a fellow named Nicolas Bouvier, though he seems to much rather go by his Internet pseudonym Sparth. He currently works at 343 Industries and was actually the lead concept artist for the game. He previously worked on Rage by Id Software, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, and Alone in the Dark 4, all of which I consider fantastic games with fantastic art. I wonder if Bouvier has anything to do with it…

This next bit is going to be a tad more low profile. All right, a lot more low profile. How many of you have heard of Asura Online? I see like one hand up, and that’s okay. I only know it by name and almost nothing else, but an MMO fiend friend of mine gave me the highlights: it’s an action RPG MMO set in a craggly-looking fantasy world viewed from an isometric perspective. It’s apparently pretty good, but also it’s also entirely in Chinese, so just know that if you decide to set out looking to play it.

But that’s not the point. The point is that the art is pretty effing rad. All I know is that this guy is named Yang Qi and lives in Shenzhen. He’s also fairly active on Weibo, a Chinese chimera beast of Twitter and Facebook and all the rage over there. Based on Chrome’s built-in translation feature, he seems to love sharing art (natch). But check out this art!

Next up is Geoffroy Thoorens. He currently works at Applibot, creators of Legend of the Cryptids and employer of an odd number of concept artists I’ve come across today, but he has also worked on Sonic Unleashed, R.U.S.E., and, most notably, Beyond: Two Souls, the upcoming Quantic Dream game/experiment/Twitter discussion fodder generator starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. Really, there are just two pieces of the game that I could find, but they are pretty great. The other two are from Galaxy Saga, the newest battle card game from the aforementioned Applibot.

Huddled up all the way over at Ubisoft Singapore is Jan Urschel, a concept designer and jazz lover (or so he says). Despite that, he’s got two pieces of EA’s Command & Conquer floating around out there. I guess he does contract work through West Studio who was signed on to work on the game or something. I don’t know. What I do know is that looking at this here tank makes me want to play the upcoming RTS like crazy hard. The other two pieces are just some great things he drew that I kind of love.

Lastly, we have Xavier Thomas, better known as Seed Seven and one dot of Two Dots. With Two Dots, he’s worked on with Riot Games, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and many other studios. As Seed Seven, he’s worked on Assassin’s Creed III (he did the Game Informer cover and a lot of the iconic marketing imagery), the insanely stylistic Prince of Persia reboot, and now two upcoming Tom Clancy Ubisoft games: Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Rainbow 6: Patriots. Blacklist at least so far looks like a decent game and Patriots has gone radio silent since its first announcement (though it might now be a next-gen game), but with Thomas working on the art, we know they’ll both at least look good.

He’s also got some stuff up for an unannounced sci fi thing called T.Project that looks interesting, one of which looks especially like it’s straight out of Prometheus.

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Concept Art Roundup: BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, and More

Concept Art Roundup: BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, and More

Concept artists are kind of the unsung heroes of game development. Well, so are the programmers. And the designers. Everyone, really, but concept artists are tasked with the nearly impossible on a daily basis: craft something unique and fresh and amazing from nothing. The lead’s idea or whatever conglomerate concept the leads decide on is nothing more than words. “Post-apocalyptic mega city” or “ethereal sandscape of dreams and nightmares” or “cyber medieval space castle” are provocative words, sure, but they elicit a wide range of responses.

All those wildly varied ideas that flit in and out of existence in everyone’s minds have to be simultaneously consolidated and honed through the hands of a concept artist. Given them an idea, point them a direction, and watch them go. They’re like one of those windup toy monkeys with the cymbals except each tinny crash also brings about an amazing piece of art. Both rough and refined, raw and kinetic, these bits of visual magic inspire an entire team of modelers and designers and engineers and other artists to explore a space that was previously nonexistent.

The most amazing thing, though, is that a lot of it is on the Internet now. Code takes years to go open source and design docs rarely make it out in any state less guarded than a GDC slideshow, but art is thrown out into the world as soon as (and sometimes before) the game releases. Portfolio sites, art repositories, social networks: they all house visual treasures beyond measure, and we’re going to look at them. Hard.

I’ve sifted through said sources and dug up some neat pieces that came up this week. There’s a lot of BioShock Infinite stuff from a fellow named Ben Lo, a concept artist at BioWare who cooked up things like The First Lady airship and Finkton Docks. One of his pieces was even selected into the 2011 Into The Pixel gallery, an annually cultivated collection of art from all over the industry by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Next up is Maciej Kuciara. Kuciara is a concept artist currently working at Naughty Dog on The Last of Us. He also worked on Crysis 2, so I’m guessing he’s probably really tired of coming up with wrecked, empty metropolises overtaken by foliage and monsters. Kuciara also works on films like the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending and Sergey Bodrov’s The Seventh Son, so don’t be surprised if you recognize his work in other places.

Billy Ahlswede (portfolio link might be NSFW) is currently a senior character artist at Sony Online Entertainment, drawing up the dudes and dudettes you’ll be playing for EverQuest Next, but his past is probably more interesting: character artist at 38 Studios, the Rhode Island development company backed by former baseball pro Curt Schilling. 38 Studios, if you don’t remember, was the center of the entire May-June news cycle due to its massive bankruptcy and blowout scandal last year. Hundreds of people lost their jobs and their MMO Project Copernicus got canned. Ahlswede thankfully managed to land on his feet and began to showcase some of his work. Sad to see people get laid off, but Copernicus at least looked pretty neat.

Prior to the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, Alex Figini worked almost exclusively on the MotorStorm series. With all five MotorStorm games under his belt, it’s a little surprising to see him branch out immediately to an established sci-fi world like Mass Effect as a concept artist for BioWare, but it fits him like a glove. Illogically luminescent buildings, structures that could only exist with advanced technology or a disregard for safety, and creepily clean-cut environment are all there, so I’d say he nailed it. I guess it’s not surprising given what he draws in his spare time.

This last one isn’t wholly connected to video games, but you know what? I don’t care. I loved Wreck-It Ralph and the Paperman short that preceded it in theatres is easily one of my favorite seven minutes of anything. Part of that can be attributed to Helen Chen, a visual development artist at Disney. She also worked on Frankenweenie but all I really want to do is watch Wreck-It Ralph right now so excuse me while I cut this paragraph short kbyeeeee.

I’m thinking of turning this into a regular thing. What do you guys think?

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