Monday, September 30, 2013

Other Infinity Monsters

For the really early work for the monsters townspeople, we tried a couple different toy types. That was back before we knew we were doing Monsters University
I had to design the final townspeople so their limbs and parts were swappable.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Infinity Lone Ranger

I didn't do a ton of work on the Lone Ranger, but here's some of what I did with characters.
Very early in the playset we were testing whether to introduce toylike mechanics to the villains to soften the fact that you were going to be shooting a lot of people with a gun in a Disney game. They ultimately solved this problem through the sound and effects.

The first version of the dynamite bandit had a cigar for lighting the dynamite (which they made me put in his hand instead), but he had to be redesigned so you could recognize him from a distance, so I did the middle version. Red Harrington a tricky problem as well because she had so much detail and patterns, and she bounced between multiple artists up until her model was finished.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Infinity Vehicles

I always enjoy designing vehicles but I don't get to do it often. Which is probably just as well since I'm not a technical artist.
How do you design a dinghy with paddles? That's what the team asked for, since they didn't want to add a rowing mechanic to an already huge game. I think after seeing the top concepts they realized that the idea didn't work, and asked for the bottom concept, which was a tag-team between me and Ben Simonsen.

Very early in the Pirates playset, we brainstormed things that would be cool to do in hopes of inspiring the design team. One of those ideas was making the ship customization change the behavior and gameplay of the ship. The idea didn't gain any traction, though.

I don't think the magnet helicopter made it into the game. The top right ambulance was from a sketch by the amazing Scott Gwynn.

As you can see, I did do a lot of helicopters. The top and bottom right helicopters are the ones that were approved to go in the game.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Infinity: Captain Jack Sparrow

Jack Sparrow went through just as many iterations early on, but I didn't do as many this time.
I included my (slightly) touched up version of Jason's awesome drawing, as well as Jon Diesta's final design.
Here's where the final model ended up for comparison.

Schoolism Sale

Friday, September 13, 2013

Comments Tally

Thanks to everyone who commented about the things that make you decide whether to leave a comment. I had some feeling about why it was for most people, but I was surprised the result. So now that I got a hundred responses (a few via e-mail), I feel like the sample size is just large enough to draw a conclusion which probably doesn't mean anything. Especially since there were around 7000 people who viewed the poll since I posted it without commenting on it.
So, for your information and pleasure, here are the results:
Keep in mind that people could give more than one option, so these numbers wouldn't fit into a pie chart.

20% Said that they didn't have time to comment.

17% said that blogs are dying and they spend their time in places where it's easy to "like" posts
14% said signing into blogger and proving non-roboticness is too much of a pain
9% complained that blogger just isn't set up to communicate (due to other factors)
3% tried to avoid commenting outside of their native language.

29% didn't comment because they couldn't expect a response.

57% felt like there was no point in commenting because they felt like they had nothing useful to add.

A couple new categories popped up as I read the 20 votes for "other."
6% felt that leaving a comment to public scrutiny is frightening.
5% felt like they were butting into a conversation where they were not welcome.

And finally, only 2% said they followed a link here only and didn't care to comment. I'm pretty sure that's wrong; I'd wager that a good number of those 7000 other people are coming links on other sites.

So what does this all mean, if you have a blog?

It seems like people have a lot of problems with blogger's comment system. If you combine the related categories, then 69% don't comment in part because the system isn't set up to communicate in the way that they want. That's 69% who would forgo all the advantages of a connected community because it's a pain to interface with that community. That's significant.

However, if we combine the other categories, we get 91%. 91% of the responders said they don't comment because they don't have time, or that their comments aren't worth giving, or because of other insecurities. That's a pretty big overlap with the number who say they aren't commenting because they don't like blogger's system. That's not including any people in the 29% who don't comment because they don't expect responses---something that is made worse by blogger but not always caused by it.

So does this mean there's still hope for the blogger faithful? Or is it time for all of us to move our gallery updates to facebook or Tumblr?
Obviously, people don't keep blogs for the sake of comments, yet I get the feeling that the poor ratio of comments to views is an indicator of the health of the blog community as a whole. Are likes, favorites, or reblogs indicative of the good health in other online communities? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Infinity Evolution

Our early efforts toward finding the style of Infinity met with some interesting results. We didn't know how we were going to unify such diverse properties and I think our first attempts were pushing unification to the detriment of character. Keep in mind that there were tons of sketches being done by other artists also, this represents only a small part of the total effort in this search.
I included our final version at the end of the lineup, then the original Mr. Incredible on the right for comparison. The final version is a combination of artwork done between Jason Kim, Jon Diesta, myself, and lots of support from the rest of the team. 
I thought I'd include this here---we had the idea early on to animate the faces on the maps  (with animated brow as well) rather than a full facial rig, to get them to feel more toy-like. I liked the effect but we ultimately scrapped it. I painted these expressions over the in-game model to see how far we could without the jaw moving and such.
Sully went through a similar transformation. We didn't know at this point that we were doing Monsters University, so our figures reflected the older versions of the characters. The Sully on the bottom next to Jon's sketch is an amalgam of Ben Simonsen, Jon Diesta, and myself just like the Mr. Incredible above.
Once we had reference from the new Monsters Film, we were able to zero in on the characters fairly quickly. Jon Diesta did the sketches for Sully and I painted over them. I drew and painted Mike here. I included some of the 3d support we did as well: we often sketched over the models to solve more specific problems such as fur.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Comment Poll (Just this once, then you can go back to lurking!)

I was looking back at the data for old posts, and something interesting stood out to me.

Back in the heyday of blogger (2005-2009 or so), the ratio of visitors to comments on a post was approximately 50:1. As in fifty people would visit before one would leave a comment.
It started dwindling in 2010 until now, and now the ratio averages around 1000:1. A thousand unique visitors before one person leaves a comment. My conversations with friends who run blogs seem consistent with this trend.

So I'm curious to know what happened? Not that comments are the reason you run a blog by any means, and while I liked the feeling of a big blogging community interacting in the past, I'm asking mostly because I'm curious about the psychology of someone who decides to comment vs. someone who doesn't.
So if you don't mind, please take a moment to answer in the comments (just this once :) ). I'll make it multiple choice, so you don't have to elaborate if you don't want.

Pick one of the following reasons why you usually don't comment on blogs you visit/frequent:

A. TL:DR. I skim through a giant blog and tumblr feed these days, and with my limited time, comments are definitely out of the question.

B. Blogs are dying. I spend my commenting time on other sites like Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.

C. No faith in responses---I've been ignored too many times, so I no longer like putting a comment out there when there is no promise of a response.

D. Followed a link only, not going to waste any more time here. (I probably won't get many people giving this answer, but I'm guessing this is one of the big reasons.)

E. No point. I'm usually just telling people "Good job, your art is cool!" and that eventually seemed tiring and useless.

F. Typing is hard. For some people, it is.

G. Some other reason. It's okay to simply answer "G" if that's all the time you have, but if you know the reason specifically, I'd be very interested to hear it.

Depending on how people answer, I might do a follow-up post assessing preferred ways to communicate with other artists, whether more meaningful communication is necessary, and whether you feel like we're losing something by checking blogs without interacting.

Thanks for your time!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Pirate stuff we didn't use in Infinity

Infinity started out as a sequel to the Toy Story 3 toy box mode, but we always wanted to do a pirate-themed area of the world. This was all before we got approval to use the Pirates of the Caribbean so our exploration didn't have much to do with that.
Some of the most early stuff was suggestions for gameplay, because we had nothing from the designers yet.
We had to come up with our own Pirate toys, and making the characters funny monster fish seemed right. Definitely inspired by the second movie.
Toy story was way more about what type of toy they are and how that affects the interaction. Sadly, we abandoned a lot of that once we switched to Infinity to support the collectible style of the toys.
The world and gameplay was a lot different back then. A lot simpler, actually.
At some point (even pre-Infinity) we moved the style over to something more realistic for the environments.
An attempt at the overall layout of the main pirate island. This was all built and in the game, but nothing translated over to the final game.
We had other islands back then, but they were very simple, like some of the smaller islands in the current Infinity Pirates playset.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Inifinity: Designing Hector Barbossa

All images below are under the copyright of Disney.
The Barbossa on the right was the first one I designed, and after our art director told us to go for the Barbossa from the first movies, I drew the one on the left. I still like a lot of things about the original face though.
This is the last step I took on the character.

Our 3d guys have to do a lot of redesigning in order to make the character work in 3 dimensions. The sword was not meant to be bent, that's just a result of the flexible material the toys are made out of.
A comparison to the original.