Saturday, January 6, 2007

Some random artwork

I've been doing some rather random drawing lately. None of them are large scale paintings, but they've given me a chance to dabble a lot with vector graphics using Expression Design, the program I've been building for the past year.

Traditionally I've been more of a painterly fellow so it is quite fascinating delving into the much more mechanical world of bezier curves, strokes and fills. The best metaphor I've heard to describe the process is a comment by Aaron Jasinski that drawing with vectors is like "making a picture using cut out pieces of paper." Quite true.

Holiday Couple
This was a quick picture I did for this year's holiday card. I have no idea who these people might be. Obviously however, the lady is incredibly charming and intelligent.

Club Silicon Logo
Here is a logo for a friend that was drawn half in Painter and half in Illustrator. I'm still not sure whether I like the brown or the blue one better.

"Faster than Lite" Space Strategy game graphics
I had a quick idea for a strategy game that used one simple verb: "drag a token to a location." With many strategy games users need to figure out selection, movement, attacking, stacking, managing their stack, etc. Here you move the piece and watch the results. There is actually quite a bit complexity that results. Pieces can attack, build new bases, lay mines, pick up power ups, set up combos, etc and all the user has to learn initially is that simple drag and drop command. This is a design tailored to the "Start playing in under 30 seconds" rule.

The graphics use a simple technique for taking layered 2D vector shapes and squishing them in a group so that they make a faux 3D shape. All you do is:
  • Offset each layer from the previous one on the Y-axis by a short amount
  • Squish each layer in screen space by about 20%
  • Rotate the layers around a common axis of rotation.
Voila, you have a smoothly rotating '3D' object in isometric space. It reminds me a lot of topographical maps. It is a good example of building something interesting with what you have at hand. With a bit of tweaking I suspect this artistic style could be quite evocative. It is also remarkably inexpensive.

(Click image to view at full size.)

Hope the New Year is treating everyone well! My resolution? Release another product this year! It has been over a year since I've had a new version of something I've designed officially go out the door and it feels a bit strange. :-)

Take care