Mech Design

The focal point of this environment is a semi-constructed Mech that our Cyberpunk mechanic character is working on. I knew that I wanted to take this into 3D and do a paintover, based on the same methods that Peter Konig and Adam Baker utilise.

I had my Mech design, with a variety of different materials that I wanted to render, and I wanted to tackle these using a combination of 2D and 3D.


So here is the base model of the mech with the stomach covering plate removed to show the inner ‘organs’.


I discovered that Keyshot had a function whereby I could assign materials to specific subtools, so I had a ‘cover plate’ section that went over the stomach, which was it’s own subtool and had a glass material assigned to it. Everything else was a combination of matte/gloss metals with colours that matched the scheme of the room.

I then took it into photoshop and used a photo of a leather jacket warped and stretched over the torso to give it the final ‘material’ layer, including a corset type fitting on the back.


I also looked at the possibility of creating a custom HDRI sphere for the correct reflections in the scene, but it came down to a timing issue, and so the lighting I just painted on based on my room colours. As it’s only a concept, and the lighting is not hugely complex within this scene, I think I got away with it.

Room Design

So I’ve teamed up with Lee Devonald and Joe Hobbs for the Live Brief. Although we have agreed early on in┬áthe project that the intention here is not to produce content strictly for any company, rather the main focus is to create solid portfolio pieces for us to have individually.

Working on a project doing ‘live’ concepts alongside the 3D modellers is an interesting and new experience for me, and has opened my eyes as to how I can be useful throughout a project, even though concept art is primarily considered a pre-production stage.

I’ve always loved the work put out by the students in the FZD Design School in Singapore, particularly their approach to room design, and wanted to emulate this level of visual communication in my work as well. It’s clear to me looking at the work that they put out, they have a very strong understanding of perspective and line work in these drawings, and this is something I feel is integral to my style.

This ‘draw-through’ technique is widely used by product designers, architects, and other visualisers years before CG art was around. The artist Scott Robertson popularised the technique in his ‘How to Draw’ book, as well as his teachings over the years.

I had this initial concept in mind for the room – an isolated section of sewer tunnel that had been re-purposed into a workspace and living area for our mechanic ‘Cyberpunk Gal’. I sketched out a room overview before taking it into 3D to find some interesting camera angles.


My process for this project was to start with an initial blockout 3D model of the room, which I used as a base and drew on top of utilizing those ‘draw-through’ techniques. I’ve been striving to introduce more 3D into my workflow as it is such a valuable tool, and so I invested some time at the beginning of the project making this model in Modo:


…and then developed on top of that base


‘Live’ design – sketching on top of the blockout model by Joe Hobbs


Anatomy with Attitude – Taking note from Matt & Tom Rhodes

So, even after blogging about this the other week, I still caught myself designing a character in a basic un-posed position. Whilst I think this is fine for thumbnail and very fast iterative sketches, to get more out of a character, I feel that the post that I put them in must say a lot about them…


So I added some attitude to the base underlying frame…


And then began doing my iterative designs on top of that. I feel it gives a much better sense of what this character is about.


Adam Baker 3D + Paintover

Building myself up and getting back into 3D again is something I have been meaning to do, but am always slightly intimidated by. I think it might be down to a high standard that I set for my artwork, and the fact that I know I’m not yet able to reach that. Still, that won’t change unless I start, so I’ve promised myself that I’ll be doing a series of creature sketch sculpts.


It’s a pretty rough start, but the (one day!) standard I’m hoping to get closer to is the phenomenal work of Adam Baker, who uses a combination of ZBrush, Keyshot and photoshop to create these incredible concepts.



Artist Profile – Matt Rhodes

Matt Rhodes is a Lead Concept Artist at Bioware, what particularly drew me to his work is the prevalence and strength of his line art, which is something that I lean on quite heavily.

I first came across his work in a YouTube tutorial video on his brother’s channel RnD Fantasy


They both have a very similar and structured approach to character design, even though Tom Rhodes is from and Illustration background and Matt is from a concept art one.

This Instagram video layers the process and visually explains it well, but essentially it begins with note-taking about the characters, followed by a rough gestural drawing, tightened up with skeletal structure, then muscle structure, then skin and fat, and finally clothing, before having colour painted on.

It’s a process that I’ll be incorporating into my own pipeline when designing 2D characters.


Big Cat Anatomy 2

So following on from my anatomy studies, I wanted to create a Big Cat ‘Hybrid’, once again incorporating the lessons from Aaron Blaise and Terryl Whitlatch.

I took a look at the genetic reasons behind colouration and patterns in cats and found this website to be a fantastic resource.

Although with design the aim is to produce something that looks semi-realistic at least enough to have a believable basis. So a bright pink and fluorescent yellow markings would not work within a jungle or forest environment.

1 (82)IMG_4782tiger face paint

Big Cat Anatomy

Lessons learnt from the Rhino Anatomy post from last week were to spend some time looking at big cats. Once again, I’m applying knowledge from Terryl Whitlatch, although I went and looked through more of her work this time. She has an entire section on her website┬ádedicated to learning manuals for creature design, and exploring the logic behind that, so this is very useful.

Looking outside of just Terryl, I came across Aaron Blaise, a character designer specialising in animals for animation. His work into the expressiveness of form and motion draws on a wealth of years as an animator. There’s a lot of expressiveness in cats and their fluidity of motion, so just as important as understanding the anatomy is getting gesture and pose correct.

Sketchbook pages: Big Cat Anatomy