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Amanita Design

February 1, 2017 in Photographic Research

Amanita Design are my absolute favourite game studio. I don’t play a lot of games, but when I stumbled across Machinarium a few years ago I was hooked. Their games are point & click puzzle games, and are very obvious labours of love. Everything is so beautifully designed and crafted and I get giddy just talking about them. Their new game Samorost 3 came out last year and I only recently sat down over the holidays to give it the attention it deserves.

screenshots of Samorost 3 

Their games are always so painstakingly detailed and beautiful. Every single part of it feels deliberate and considered, from the background illustrations to their sound design to their super playful character designs.

machinarium-wallpaper-alley-1600x1200 machinarium-wallpaper-cover-1920x1200 machsongcharacters from Machinarium, in particular I love the bottom personified wrench character

I could literally spend all day going on about Amanita Design and the intricacies of the work they create and the stories they tell. They also designed and made the characters for Jan Svērák’s stop-motion movie called Kooky which centres around a teddy bear who gets lost in the woods. Having an ongoing love affair with sprouting vegetables, overgrown roots and dilapidated greenery (they are my all time favourite things to draw) the characters in Kooky give me a ridiculous amount of joy.

23_778-1030x689 19_113-1030x687 19_095-1030x687 22_157-1030x684 23_783-1030x689all images take from Jan Svērák’s website here 

I have each and every one of their games and I love them all equally. What was interesting playing Samorost 3 after Shaun’s technical Tuesday classes was my new ability to pick up on things like their use of parallaxing in their background to give the impression of depth. It’s really nice starting to be able to dissect and recognise techniques in animation, which in turn informs the decisions in my own work.
As someone whose practice is constantly informed by the discussion between intensely laboured illustration and sporadic loose doodles (I value both on equal footing), Amanita Design’s work provides an insight into how these two things can work together successfully. In Samorost 3 there are a series of books that explain the backstory of the game and provide hints if needed, which are playful and loosely illustrated in contrast to the highly worked setting they exist in.

screenshots of the game showing the difference in styles and how the two morph together in the bottom dream sequence

This combination of styles is something I really want to incorporate into my own work as our projects intensify and grow longer, and I’m glad I found a company who encompass everything I strive to achieve. You can check them out here and I really do envy those who get to play their games for the first time.

Character design: Pirates of Penzance

October 30, 2016 in ENO

Finally, the pitch has came to an end, I was assigned by ENO clients to design the case of the Pirates of Penzance for Anna’s film. To be honest, I was really surprised when I found out Natasha and Christopher wanted me to do the design for it, since the opera I chose was Lulu and the concept art I did had more of a dark and gruesome atmosphere. That also means I will need to redo another completely new style to match the design for Anna’s film. However, I am so grateful that I could work on this project with such talented and nice people in the same group.

In the beginning, I did some rough character designs and tried to play with various colours, it was quite fun, my team get to choose which one they like the most, offering me opinions what they prefer so I could amend it and do the model sheet later. I didn’t mind redoing it over and over again, as I had very good feedback, and in the end we were all happy with the design.

Later on, we went to see Natasha at ENO’s rehearsal studios, we showed her our animatic and design style and thankfully they seemed very pleased with it, what a relief! I do love Anna’s animatic, I think it is really funny and amazing. There are a couple of minor changes they asked for, but that was to be expected.

Character design

Here are some of the designs I made based on Anna’s descriptions on how the 2 main characters are supposed to be like: 2 investors from the Victorian era, a tall lanky boss in charge of everything, and a short one, clumsy and dim. They are both business men, looking to make more money, but they have a good heart (so they aren’t really evil).

The tall one is supposed to look like a business man, they are business partners, money means everything!

I guess I ran out of ideas of how to design pirates, it turned out the tall one is a bit drunk and the chubby one is slightly tipsy somehow…..

For their personalities, the tall one is clever always with careful consideration. By contrast, the short one is sort of dull but rather tough.


Model sheet

After my team picked the characters for the project, I did the model sheet with 4 different costumes and hopefully they would have some fun trying out rigging in After Effect later on.

Dressed in their business attire (in their office).

Outdoor clothing

Dressed up as pirates on the stage.

The wrong change of clothes, victorian women’s dresses.

ENO: Shadow Play Sketches

October 19, 2016 in ENO Project, uncategorised

Some storyboard suggestions sketches from my part to include into the current rough animatic, just to make sense of the Short Film as well as some suggestions about simplifying the main characters and making a difference to their design.






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