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"The dancing Dog" - Environmental Concept Art Medieval/Fantasy Project

"The dancing Dog" - Environmental Concept Art Medieval/Fantasy Project

Julian Hartinger
by julianhartinger on 15 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Environmental Concept Art Medieval/Fantasy Project Medieval Tavern Project

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This is an environment concept art project I created for my portfolio. The idea was to create a set dress for a medieval kitchen with turnspit dogs. It started with a just one room - but after that I had more ideas that I wanted to add so I created multiple rooms of the tavern and also the exterior look.

My process works like that:

1. "Ugly" sketches to nail the ideas down for myself.

2. Create a 3d blockout to help me with light, perspective and sometimes also materials.

3. Create a nice and clean line drawing on top of it.

4. Adding colors and light.

5. Create a nice presentation for the images.

While using this workflow I aim to keep the following things in mind for the other people in the game dev pipeline and the game itself:

1. Different materials to create visual variety, give the texture-, and sound artists work and add life to the scene.

2. Light sources to let the player see something, add realism and also mood to the scene. Depending on the setting also the VFX and sound artists can be involved. For example an open fireplace as a light source in a medieval scene.

3. Interesting shapes of the room itself- squares are boring- so cut a corner or cutout a negative space to add more visual interest to the room. 

4. Also add variety with stairs, platforms or ladders to the verticality of the room to make it more interesting to the player.

5. Animation - add things that could move like cats or dogs to the scene. Birds outside the window, curtains or flags that can move in the wind. That gives work for the animators, sound artists and adds life to the environment.

6. Quests- if I have an idea for a quest I write down some nodes and also try to implement the things that are needed to fulfill the quest to the scene. That also help me to establish items In the room without breaking my brain. For example the kitchen I created the idea that the player needed to rescue the turnspit dogs. Or for the taproom I created a quest board in behind the counter. There are also some private rooms behind some curtains that could offer the player gambling with some shady npc´s.

7. I also try to think about which assets can be reused in the pipeline. Don't limit your creativity to it, but sometimes you can save the game studio time which means money by creatively reusing assets. As an example I used some of the barrels as base for some standing tables. 

I asked a lot of different people for feedback to the scene and implemented it. On top of that I learned a lot about the medieval period and how some of the stuff was done in that time. Which was very interesting. For example there is something like medieval "glue" which is made out of pine juice heated up and charcoal mixed into it.

For the prop callout of the turnspit-dog-roller i also asked 3D Artists what they would need to create this asset. The answer was of course turnarounds but also which was much more interesting - sketches how some of the stuff work. Especially which parts move and which don't. 

I also had a challenge which I would avoid the next time or tackle different - I created the interior first and the outside later. That limited me in terms of shape variation of the outside look of the tavern. Next time I would design the outside first or at least parallel to the inner room layout. 

This project was a lot of fun and I also learned a lot and had the opportunity to optimize my workflow in general. For example I try to get some of the line art already out of the blender render to save some time.

Hope you like it and read that far- have a nice day and kind regards,


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