'Future of creating'

No updates for the recent months due to studio relocation and renovation while trying to keep up with all the current projects. Quite a feast. Fortunately, all's good now and AK-ART is back in full swing.

In October, AK-ART was present at a conference 'Future of creating' held in Wroclaw, Poland to touch base with the latest technologies and software. It was a good opportunity to hone 3D skills at in-depth workshops with Autodesk specialists, check the newest 3D printings and CAD tools. It was interesting to see AK-ART's logo during introductory presentation as one of the official users of PCC's software (Autodesk Golden Partner and the conference organizer as well as providers of the latest software and hardware for my studio). Who knows, maybe during the next edition, I'll drop by as one of the presenters to share some workflow tips.

Networking in progress

Networking in progress

Checking out the newest Maya tools

Checking out the newest Maya tools

'Beyond Human' entry

Submission complete! Here are several cinematic keyframes created for the ArtStation's challenge "Beyond Human". Since I typically work in some sort of context, below is a simple story I came up with to ground the artworks a bit.

In III millennium, ‘Arkadia’ is the nickname of a newly discovered planet where humans can move; leaving polluted and overpopulated Earth behind. It is advertised worldwide as a new paradise, perfect for a fresh start. All of this thanks to a giant corporation, Warp-Gen, that created a space warping technology, called Warp Bridge, allowing ships to travel to Arkadia from near-Earth orbit. The catch is, the time of journey is scale-dependent: it takes several years for large-scale transportation vessels, like those that would be used to transport selected Earth population, to get there. Small ships, with few people on board, can arrive there in a matter of days. These are currently used to quickly send engineers, terraformers and parts to Arkadia, so they can build the colony, which will be ready to welcome the first colonists. They are also used to transport winners of the ‘Arkadia Contest’ – a global lottery allowing lucky few to go there already.

The main character, in order to avoid trouble with the law on Earth, steals ID of one of the winners and manages to leave Earth. Upon arrival though, he learns the truth – in reality, Arkadia is a hostile planet with nearly unbreathable air full of mysterious and fatal radiation. Warp-Gen couldn’t detect it while building their Warp Bridge and what appeared to be a perfect planet turned out to be a deadly trap. The company, however, upon spending almost all of the investors’ money, couldn’t afford to build another Warp Bridge. Having at least several years before the first colonists will arrive, Warp-Gen decided to fake the news about the discovery and take the matter into their own hands.

The lucky contest winners are, in fact, Guinea pigs, forced into special mechanized suits during a gruesome process called ‘fusion’ where their bodies are permanently embedded into an air-tight pressurized gear along with a local specimen, pumped into the suit along with breathing fluid, acting as a natural air purifier, prolonging the survival on the surface. Needless to say, the whole experience is less than pleasant. Collectors (as the prisoners are referred to by Warp-Gen) are then set ‘free’ onto the surface of the planet to gather biological samples, radiation data and in general, to test the limits of human survival outside the fortified Warp-Gen outpost. The ultimate goal is to find the true source of deadly radiation, so it can be analyzed and, if possible, neutralized.

Frame 1

Frame 1

Frame 2

Frame 2

Frame 3

Frame 3

Frame 4

Frame 4

To check out the complete entry (including initial sketches and some thumbnails), head directly to ArtStation page here: https://www.artstation.com/contests/beyond-human/challenges/21/submissions/18959?sorting=latest

 

'Minotaur' founded!

A couple of news:

1) ‘Minotaur’, mixture of adventure game and visual novel, with AK-ART behind majority of its graphics, has been successfully founded on Kickstarter, reaching over 120% of the campaign goal! Now on to finishing the game and polishing over 150 animated backgrounds for the game itself and the cutscenes. Quite a task. The game is expected to arrive at the end of this year, in several languages and be the first installment in U7 game universe.

2) As promised some time ago, apart from the work on the game, two new tutorials will appear within the next couple of months on Gumroad, both currently being in production:

CG illustration with Shade3D - vol. 2 – the second part of a handy Shade3D overview, this time focusing more on environments – how to create custom terrains, atmosphere, clouds, rain, procedural forest, etc., all entirely in Shade. Final result will be polished, as before, in Photoshop.

Concept art pipeline with Clarisse – in this tutorial, we’ll take a look how to develop a bit more advanced concepts, using mainly combination of Clarisse 3.5 and Maya. Clarisse is a powerful lookdev, compositing and rendering software and we’ll see how it can be used to create a high-end concept art.

Trailer for 'Seam' online

Sometimes ambitious personal projects take years to develop. This is certainly true when it comes to 'Seam', an in-house endeavor of a small production/VFX studio Master Key Films. AK-ART provided concept sketches for this project back in 2010, when it was in the initial planning stage and just recently, the studio revealed an actual trailer for the film. It certainly looks interesting, so check it out below:

'Minotaur' on Kickstarter!

‘Minotaur’ is live on Kickstarter!

After long preparations, the project is officially kicking in. Have a look at all the new information, eye-popping art (prepared by AK-ART and a very talented character artist), behind-the-scenes clips (including time-lapse video where I create one of the game backdrops) and the newest version of the demo. And, of course, don’t forget to back the project up to grab some awesome rewards. See you all in Nova!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/u7committee/minotaur-a-point-and-click-visual-novel

Several artworks from the game have been added to Projects page, so don't forget to check them out!

 

Lost Earth 2307 unveiled

Time flies! German institute Fraunhofer IOSB (Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation) has presented a game AK-ART provided concepts 5 years ago, back in 2012. It's a mixture of strategy game in space and some serious science (data gathering, analysis of satellite imagery, etc.). Here is a short presentation of the game with some of the concepts visible on display at the Learntec 2017 expo booth (trade fair and convention for vocational education, learning and IT).

Coming up in 2017

2017 has started for good, so what's on the plate? Several things are lining up at AK-ART in the coming months that you may want to look forward to. What exactly?

- new artworks: that's pretty obvious being an art studio but it's about images developed in-house both, to become newest additions to ever-growing Licensing Catalogue and to test various new techniques. Teaser image attached below, more will be popping up in Showcase section throughout February/March. Get ready for some eyecandy!

- new pipelines: AK-ART has upgraded its software arsenal with several new high-end 3D applications, to meet new challenges, which will result in more craziness and complexity when it comes to cinematic keyframes and impressive environments. Time to push the boundaries! A sample concepts will be coming your way soon via AK-ART's Behance, so stay alert.

- new tutorials: apart from a couple of tutorials available already on Gumroad, more is scheduled. We just scratched the surface, so hopefully you're ready for more.

- new VR section: since Virtual Reality is becoming more and more popular and it's necessary to meet growing market demands, AK-ART will soon have an additional sub-page devoted to VR and 360 design, with various examples and available options. Time to get that headset!

- "Minotaur": the ambitious visual novel/adventure game is well into the development process, with AK-ART doing bulk of the art content. Very soon more artworks and info will be released via the official website as the game is scheduled for release in Q4 of 2017.

Efficient workflow available

Hope you enjoyed recent Gumroad tutorial and picked up a few new tricks. You probably remember a couple of strange scripts used to generate some of the complex geometry. If you were wondering what were they exactly, well... wonder no more.

'Efficient workflow with Shade3D' goes over tons of scripts (almost 30!), their installation and usage as well as a bunch of tips and tricks to make your work with Shade faster and more efficient. Get it here: https://gum.co/qYwP

Mars vacation? Not exactly

'Solstice Chronicles: M.I.A.' is an upcoming spin-off of a popular shooter 'Red Solstice' for which AK-ART provided a couple of key art illustrations for promotional purposes as well as for Gamescom 2016 expo. If you think you've got what it takes to face waves of monsters in extremely hostile environments with just your fellow drone by your side, then prove it. You can sign up for beta of the game right now at www.solsticechronicles.com

Here's a glimpse at Ironward's 'Solstice Chronicels: MIA' display at InfoGamer 2016:

Epic trailer music

Another album cover, this time created for an epic collection of trailer scores released by Sauce Music. So, buckle your seat belts and go for a ride! You can check the track list and listen to the samples here: http://www.sauce-music.com/sm021/the-big-screen-coming-soon

Below, one version of the final image, which went through a number of iterations due to the amount of craziness combined. Well, when stuff goes down, it goes down big time!

Escape Velocity

AK-ART is hitting some exhibitions. Several sci-fi themed artworks were recently featured at Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC an an event called 'Escape Velocity'. (http://www.museumofsciencefiction.org). Along with various other selected artists, every visitor could browse through the artworks and display them on several interactive touchscreens throughout the 3-day event.

'Minotaur' and 'Red Crown'

The first installment in the 'The Universe of Seven' will be a mixture of adventure game and visual novel - 'Minotaur'. Rich graphics, great characters and mysterious plot guarantee hours of exciting game-play and a great introduction to the U7 lore. The first dose of information, game screenshots (with the exception of anime-like characters, all done by AK-ART) and teaser trailer are already up on the U7 website, so check them out at: http://www.uof7.com/minotaur

Along the game, as an additional source of U7 knowledge and fun, the first chapter of 'Red Crown' has been published as well. Thus time, AK-ART provided illustrations in a different style, resembling style known from Japanese manga comics. So, take a deep breath and dive into a shady world of conspiracies set in the most technologically advanced city in Kyos. The chapter can be found here: http://www.uof7.com/red-crown

Also, make sure to follow the game development, either through the official website or through Indie DB (http://www.indiedb.com/games/u7minotaur) where news and articles are published on regular basis.

Music time

Not only movies, games and advertisements require some catchy artworks. How about music albums? Here's a quick example. Chicks with swords? Check. Big monsters? Yep. Post-apocalyptic environment? Right on. This album cover was created for a heavy-metal band 'Raccoon City Massacre'.

Houdini unleashed

As a concept designer, your toolbox has to grow since you never know what project you may need to tackle. Recently, I decided to add Houdini to the collection, especially since it will play an important role as a VFX engine in one of AK-ART's IPs, SimRa. From concept art standpoint, it's also invaluable in VFX design, since it's procedural pipeline gives you fast and intricate results that would be very time consuming with regular 3D modeling.

After several weeks of an intensive course at CGSociety, I just scratched the surface, since there is sooo much more to this powerful app. But you have to make the first step, right? A small "demo reel" made out of short animations will be posted soon and in the meantime, here are some caps.