One of the great things about SLCom and other conventions in general is a that they allow goers to gain insight and an inside view into their favorite industry.
Smart Bomb Interactive (SBI) brought a team of six people from their production to demonstrate and explain the process of creating a character in a video game.
The process is explained using a little jargon as possible, but remained as educational as possible.
For the sake of the presentation the team used the character Sir Gilbert from the National Geographic game “Animal Jam.”
The process starts off with a writer and artist creating the initial concept. Adam Hunter and Taylor Maw explained how they started off by making small sketches of tigers before deciding on a concept of James Earl Jones, the voice of Mufasa from The Lion King.
Maw further explained how the character goes through revisions on what’s practical or not before ending the image to the 3D artist, in this case Dave Hilden.
Hilden shows the process and uses the 2D drawings as reference before sending the model to Mac McCann for rigging.
McCann makes a joke about how rigging, a term for giving 3D models a skeleton, is also a nautical term and says that rigging “probably has something to do with boats.”
McCann provided more humor by showing that the skeleton is needed or else the model would warp rather than bend, showing Sir Gilbert be distorted by stretching him out.
Nathan Riddle and Steve Fox explained the next steps which were animation and clean up.
The SBI team then allowed audience members to ask questions.
Questions involved working with Snoopy for “Snoopy Flying Ace” and why they use 3D models for sprite creation.
The most notable question and response was if they looked for a degree or portfolio when hiring. The reponse was that they laughed at applicants who brought in a bad portfolio, or no portfolio, but exclaimed the fact that they had a degree. They look for a great portfolio, or even just potential in a portfolio and artist.
Overall this was a great and informative panel from local game studio Smart Bomb Interactive.