Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Pa-Pa-Pa-Paper, please!"

I decided to jump feet first into Unreal Engine 4, so I came up with a small scene. I have no real world, and little sci-fi art in my portfolio so I went with a quai-futuristic bathroom. Not the most exciting of subjects but it allowed me to focus, and easily find reference for surfaces and scale. This was a way more difficult exercise than I thought it would be but I learned TONS about UE4, Quixel Suite, and PBR materials. There are definitely things I can improve but after 2 weeks I'm ready to move on.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to beginning...

Well not really. I've been messing with UDK lately (I don't think there is much of a future for Cry Engine personally). I decided to drop one of my old projects in there and see what I could do.

Not too bad, lots still to learn but man I think I can do great things with this program! :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ghost Ride the WIPs!

Just some stuff I've been working on as of late.

Friday, May 9, 2014


So video game website Silconera picked up on my DKC:TF posts! Super cool to see some recognition for all of the hard work we put into the game! :)

A Glimpse at how Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freezes levels were made

Here are links to all of my DKC:TF posts

It's On Like Kong!
More Art from DKCTF
Last of the bunch

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Puss.... IN BOOTS!

I found this amazing concept on Pintrest and found out it was for Puss in Boots. I've never seen the movie, but I loved the piece. I decided to do sculpt of it in Zbrush. I've never done a full environment piece in the program before and while it's not practical for games, it was fun to work on.

Concept by Todd Gibbs

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Just messing around with some rock sculpting in zbrush. Also diving into more of the features of CryEngine. Figured out detail maps, VERY powerful stuff!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Warm Up

Just an exercise to get the creative juices flowing.


I started this Eat3D tutorial a while back, I really need to finish it as I'm super happy with my progress so far.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Last of the bunch

So here is the last of my art dump for Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze! I hope you've enjoyed taking a look at it! There is so much that goes into the art of a video game. There is even more I wish I could share, but I think it's better experienced in the game! Also I've tried to share the contributes of every artist on each scene, but I want to emphasize that art in video games is rarely ever made by just one person. It passes through many talented hands on it's way to the store shelf. I work with an immensely talented team at Retro and we all worked together to bring the best game possible to the fans!

This is the diorama that is representational of the Autumn Heights level. I worked with an animator to come with the composition and poses for the characters in the scene. The Autumn Heights island is very near and dear to me. I developed a large part of the look for the island and worked on 4 of the levels themselves. In this scene the owl statues were modeled and textured by Sean Horton, and the grass and tree canopy were also created by another artist.

Just a small sample of the props I created for the game. Among my proudest is creating the HD version of Donkey Kongs Rocket Barrel! I also got to create the easter egg of one Bowsers tanks from Super Mario Bros. 3! The barrel was created for use as the Barrel Cannon but we ended up going with a different version. This version ended up just being used as a background prop. 

This level was great fun because it is the only boss level in the game that has 3 different locations! For the main area I used the temple I created for Rodent Ruckus in the background, and fleshed it out. The Owl statues in the background were created by Sean Horton. For whatever reason they weren't used in any of the levels but I loved them so I had to put them in here. I imagined that there was a society of owls long ago that populated the Autumn Heights island. This is why Skowl was able to take over so easily. He used the Folklore as a pretense for the Snomad invasion of the island.

For the Second level (not pictured) I had to come up with a look for the Massive pine tree. It was tricky to make something that was able to run in game, look stylized yet still read as pine needles. The third level has nothing that I contributed to (besides the textures on the platform you stand on) but our technical artist Rob, and lighting artist Brad did an amazing job with the clouds and mood of the scene.

Friday, March 7, 2014

More art from DKCTF!

This level was an interesting challenge. It takes place on DK island but completely frozen over. Each level of the island takes place in a different section of the previous games world. So Aqueduct Assault had a good basis to build off of. However the assets used for DKCR couldn't be carried over. The textures were too low res (and didn't have normal maps) and the geometry was really low poly. So using the previous game as a point of reference I rebuilt the ruins structures. I even got to flesh out the look for the Ziggurat structures. 

Finally my favorite piece in this level is the DK statue. In DKCR there is a statue of DK holding a Wii Remote in the background. However it was only a image mapped to a plane of geometry. I got to completely remake this in 3D, and of course since Tropical Freeze is on the Wii U he is holding a Game Pad! In the screen of the gamepad is a little easter egg of DK's past :)

This level was quite a beast to make and went under multiple revisions. The fact that DK shoots into the background twice meant a lot of art needed to be generated. On top of that while the look for the stucco and the factory pieces themselves were already developed. We had nothing for the factory itself. I came up with the look using the pieces and textures made by other artists. This was then in turn used in other levels. In the end this level turned out really great and I'm happy to say I got the approval to hide and easter egg in the background. Fans of old school Nintendo, and Donkey Kong will enjoy it I'm sure!

This might have been one of the most difficult levels I worked on. There was only a very loose idea for the level and that was plunger based dynamite. I decided to make it a mine of sorts. In my mind this is where the Snomads mined their ice to make their buildings. The level went through a few iterations. I worked with fellow artist Reed Ketcham on some of the ice tunnels. I made the initial block out and he refined them with better textures. Considering the toughness of the level (in terms of creation) I'm glad it turned out as well as it did.

This level was a very interesting challenge. How do you merge lava and ice? The idea for this level is that DK shows up and basically "restarts" the Volcano thus causing the Snomads main fortress to start melting. Coming up with the look for the Snomads structures was a blast. I love architecture and making the Ice castles was some of my favorite work. I also got to come up with a look for the cooled lava. Which unfortunately you barely see in the level due to the lighting. The initial turn around for this level was pretty short compared to other levels I worked on, so the pressure was on to deliver something epic for the last level in the game, and in a short period of time.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's on like Kong!

So Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze if finally on store shelves! I couldn't be more proud of the game and the team at Retro Studios! More than the great reviews we've gotten, the feedback from the fans has been tremendous! So here is some art from the game! :)

This is the first level I worked on solo, it was definitely a learning experience. The birch trees were an especially difficult piece to get right, but finally after working with our concept artist Toph Gorham we landed on something that worked. Toph and I also worked on the Brass instruments used throughout the level and I modeled and textured those. Again this level was pieced together by me, but a lot of the assets were created by other talented artists. Such as the awesome owl sculptures, the pine trees, and even the autumn canopy itself. The level creation pipeline at Retro Studios is very collaborative!

I didn't actually make a level in world 4 but I did work on the template that all levels were based off of. I worked with concept artist Toph Gorham to come up with the look for the ancient civilization seen in the levels. These pieces were then used to great effect by other Retro artists to create some truly incredible levels! I was inspired by the look of ancient japanese jomon dolls for the textures and look of some of the statues.
This is the titular windmills of Windmill Hills. This is one of the first assets I worked on for the Second Island. Ted Anderson and I worked on a couple of designs that are also in the level. This particular windmill went through a few iterations. It was a pretty fun piece and again, served as the basis for a lot of the structures in the Second Islands library of assets.
This is one of my favorite levels that I worked on. It is a massive level and the first one of the Second Island. So first off it has a short intro which I got to come up with. Now this level was built using a lot of assets created by different artists. Things like Pines trees, and certain textures. The owl statues. But the level construction is all me. I also came up with the look for the windmills and the Swiss Chalet style houses. Initially the interior of the giant windmill was going to be a bunch of smaller windmills, but I really wanted to do a DK take on the old Castlevania style Clock tower levels. . Over all I think this level turned out great!

This is one of the very first assets I made for Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. It became the basis for all of the structures in the Mangrove Island, I made the initial textures and then Ted Anderson went over and did a color pass on top of them.
I'm pretty happy with this piece and even though it is an early one and not fully featured in the game (you can see it in a few instances in Trunk Twister). I am happy its pieces got so much use throughout the game!

Stay tuned! More to come!