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GameArt Spotlight #10

"Video Games" by D. Nielsen & C. Seiler

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This picture was made for my Drawing Painting 2 high-school art course and is the result of long hours, hard work, and grisly bloodshed. The project's life can be divided into several phases:

Assignment: Apparently the school system wanted to provide a new means to display student artwork and this means was our assignment. The finished products were to be displayed in the Common's area right where everyone can see them. One nice thing about this assignment is that it was considered "contract work" for the school, meaning that they had to pay for the materials that went into each groups' composition up to a certain extent (Bwahahaha). The class divided itself into groups of 4-5 and each group was given a box roughly 29x29 inches in size to fill with material. The material in question was up to the students, but we were supposed to stick with a given theme. Most groups stuck with what they knew best - one group chose sports as their theme. One group chose music. Our group chose video games.

Conception: After we got the assignment, we got down to the business of planning things out... and playing with our teacher's Wacom art tablet (which we were unfortunately unable to use for the project). This phase of the project lasted around 2 days. We decided that we wanted to include a lot of recognizable video game characters, old and new. To help choose the ones we would include, I brought a huge box of old game manuals to school and borrowed an "EGM" from a friend of mine (Joe) and we started going through them. For all you fans of games we left out, we probably were going to add your characters at one point, but just ran out of time and space, or the character art just didn't meet the required deadline.

The Team: Our group consisted of five members - Tom Sutton, Chris Sutton, Mike Verkruyse, Chris Seiler and myself. But the artwork only has the names of Chris Seiler and myself on it for a handful of reasons. Tom was sick during most of the project and was unable to meet the deadline for character sketches. Chris Sutton was sick during a few of the project days and only finished a few sketches (One of which made it into the final product - the spaceship, after some modifications by Seiler and I). And Mike Verkruyse dropped out of school, apparently to play pool (I haven't had a chance to talk to him since).

Sketches: After we got it nailed down what characters everyone was going to draw, each of us went and sketched them with paper and pencil. This phase was pretty fun, but there's not much to say about it.. Chris Seiler drew about half of the stuff: the Cyberdemon, Cloud, Mario, Warcraft 2 Orc and Sam. I drew the other stuff.

Computer Composition and Coloring: This phase took bloody forever, either because I'm slow and inexperienced, or I don't have a Wacom art tablet, or a combination of the two. I started by taking all of the sketches and scanning them into Photoshop. Then, I cut them all out using the line cutting tool (I had trouble getting very precise with the lasso or the wand) and resized them so they all looked reasonably proportional to each other. Next, I took the object picker and put everyone where I thought they belonged. I had to do a little touch-up work: Gords head was too big (had to be chopped off and resized) and Clouds face didnt look right (I gave him a face-lift). Then, I merged all of the characters down and I was ready to do the coloring. To do the coloring, I used the spray paint and chose the multiply function. I also used the smudge tool to spread some of the color around and to clean up some of the areas where the scanning job was dirty. Once the characters were all colored, I copied the image into a new layer and placed my background (Which I had created in Photoshop months ago and had laying around on my HD) under it. To get the background visible, I took the magic wand and cleared away all the white spaces between the characters, opening up the background behind it. To create the background, I just scribbled in Photoshop with the airbrush, then applied the swirl filter and color-burned the edges with the airbrush. I probably did some other stuff too, but I did it a really long time ago, so Im not sure what.

Fallout: Near the end of our project, probably due to the late hours I had been keeping, I got horribly sick, lying in bed with my eyes burning like someone was gripping them with hot tongs.. I would awake choking on my own phlegm. But it was all worth it. My dad took the project to Kinkos and had them run off a 29x29 inch color copy (After running off a less expensive black and white test copy - to insure quality). You'd think that there would be a great deal of pixelation in an enlargement that big, but its barely noticeable unless you're right next to it.

Text written by D. Nielsen & C. Seiler for GameArt.com