Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Cityville Work

I've been working at Zynga as a 2D/3D artist for almost 10 months now, and it's been pretty busy! Being part of the launch team for Cityville would do that! The thing I enjoy the most about being there, is the opportunity to be able to draw again for a living. When video games started shifting heavily to 3D artwork, I had to adapt and learn 3D programs and a majority of my work relied less on my drawing skills. But with social games, there's still a large need for art to actually be drawn! On Cityville, I get to utilize both my 3D skills with animation and from time to time, I pinch hit to help out the 2D staff.

If you're familiar with Facebook social games, you'll know the games rely on spamming your friends' walls to get them to keep playing, get rewards and advertise the game. Well, I get to make that spam! The character designs for the game aren't mine so it's a style that I had (and still continue to) wrestle with and try to get down. Also, a lot of these assets have to get pumped out quick, so you'll see me struggle through some of these; there's quite a few mistakes in there that make me cringe now that I see them again. 

Here's a few examples of my process. Not very different for how I draw my comic book! The art on the far right is the final version seen in the game.

I usually work at around 4 times the size of the actual icon, and I use Photoshop, because I'm not that savvy with Flash (yet!). I shrank down some of the preliminary stages just to keep everything uniform. 

Above are some icons for materials that you'd collect in the game. I found these to be a lot of fun (in the problem solving kind of way) to do. You might notice, with these icons I start going nutty on making things shiny! It was kinda neat to play around with effects so forgive me if I went overboard!

Below, I tried to organize the icons in chronological order from my earliest work to the latest ones. It's really interesting to see my progress and what I have problems with or what colors I tend to go with. There's a LOT of iteration that goes into these icons, sometimes even a complete re-do after it's colored in and finalized. And with tight deadlines it can be very stressful and nerve-wracking!  But all in all it's done for the good of the game. 

I sneaked myself into the second icon. I just couldn't resist! Here's a hint: I'm not the lumberjack.

By pumping out so much of these and with so many iterations and corrections, I've been able to learn quite alot and I feel get better at drawing and drawing for a deadline. I have a lot of issues with perspective still, and have learned how to cut corners but still provide an interesting image. And, of course, composition plays such a giant factor. These icons are such a great exercise, requiring me to find new solutions for storytelling, color theory, clarity and hitting deadlines! Some of these lessons I can see are already seeping their way into my comic!

And that's it for tonight. Good night and God bless you as much as He has me! Heck, more!
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