Friday, July 31, 2009

TF2 - Aerialbots 02

Again, a slightly modified F-16, and again, no paint job. Just posting these up, I'm getting annoyed again. I mean, there's not much to talk about without the colors, it's pretty much a straight up illustration of the jet.

Along with the slight mod on the real world jet, I do the same for the missiles and other armaments. The Autobot symbols were temporary until I got a chance to do the paint jobs, so they got left as is.

There was a break of a few hours before I was told to move on to the Stunticons, so I managed to whip these up really quick. In the design doc, it stated they wanted to try air show type paint jobs, so I did one (the middle) that was similar to one they used for reference, and then I of course did a Skydive paint job, and threw in a Fireflight one as well.

So, they're really fast, pretty much flat color over top the finished vehicle, so they're not very well integrated...but I just wanted to get SOMETHING in there to see if I could push them towards a G1 reference instead of something I thought was a little abstract, with the airshow idea.

I see in the game both G1 paint jobs made it, but I wish I was allowed to go back and re-integrate the paint jobs to fit the shape of the jet better - especially the Fireflight paint job, it's a little much in it's current state, I would have pulled more white into the red areas. Of course, I would rather have exact G1 coloring, rather than none at all!

And again, I tried to make the transformation as close to the original Skydive as possible.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

TF2 - Aerialbots 01

An F-16 Aerialbot? I say 'sweeeeeeeeeeet.' So this is what I started with, Skydive, the original F-16 from the cartoon - no more messing around. I grabbed a pic from the gallery at, and a pic from my invaluable Ark compendium of G1 model sheets, and got going...

A series of sketches, all different shapes and sizes, but keeping the main transformation and vehicle cues as close as possible to Skydive, with the tail/engine and canopy merging, to form his upper back torso, leaving the rest for limbs.

Some additional head studies, the original (below) wasn't quite 'movie' enough yet...

And this was the first fault we had to go back, as requested by Hasbro, it seemed they kind of got caught up in the way he was standing. They got the impression that this was an evil guy, more Decept than Autobot, so they wanted me to rework him.

So this guy isn't really too much different, I stood him up like the Breakaway concept art, and JT and I took the opportunity to tweak some details on him. Hasbro approved, and I went on to the final views...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TF2 - Custom Seeker for 'Frogger'

So I know an F18 pilot. Or former F18 pilot I should say, he's now Top Gun, flying an F-5, training new batches of supreme American badasses.

Geoff Hughes, as I know him -the dude I went to Middle and High School with - or as it's written on his old Super Hornet, LT G.D. Hughes, "Frogger". Now it's 'LCDR Geoff Hughes' on his F-5.

The least I could do is throw his name up on the Seeker, (sadly it couldn't be in the game that way, because of the damnable legal department!) so hopefully he knows we're thinking about him, while he defends our country.

He's a real American Hero, and I'm proud to know him. Stay safe up there, buddy!

TF2 - Seeker 03

Seeker incomplete. This is as far as I got, uncolored and untextured like the jet modes. After a year I guess I'm still a little bummed I didn't get to design the color patterns, I was really looking forward to doing a quasi-tribute to the original 3 Seekers. But as far as the artwork goes, I'm pretty proud of him, there are some features I really like. The missiles embedded into the forearms, and especially the relationship between the 'armor' of the vehicle parts, over the more Cyber-mech of the underbody.

Even though it's not almost a movie version of the G1 Seeker like originally intended, I did try to put in as much of the vehicle placement as I could, as I mentioned before about the transformation, stuff like engine heels, wings, canopy in the middle of the chest. So in the end I think it sits somewhere between G1, and the Movie Starscream.

Something I couldn't quite reconcile was the heaviness of the feet; they are intended to be constructed around a fair amount of negative space, but the straight on views needed for production kind of hid that. So when I turned in this final view, I stressed that point, just in case.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TF2 - Seeker 02

So this is a modified F18 Super Hornet, again slightly changed for legal reasons. I got a lot of graphics done for this guy, creating the Seeker Fighter Squadron, numbered SFS-101 through 103. I'm not sure that really came across in the game. I saw in the cut scene a Navy fighter taking off to fight the Decepts had the SFS on it, not quite what I had in mind. I also took the much loved/hated Kremzeek character, and appropriated him for the Squad Mascot.

This is where more of the modifications took place, the lines of the body against the wings, tail wing shape, cockpit shape, etc. Enough to get us out of legal trouble, but not enough to keep it from being completely recognizable as the F18.

I don't know what happened with the graphics. There was talk of making them camoflauge, so this was a first pass at a Starscream color key. I had purple and black, and blue and black camo patterns set up for Skywarp and Thundercracker, but JT told me to hold off until they figure out what to do. And I never was asked to come back to it and contribute to the colors, so I finally stopped asking about it, and didn't know what to expect until I played the game. I don't know where the red and black comes from, I just know I don't like it. However, the Skywarp version looks great.

And the transformation sequence, trying hard to make the transformation as close to the G1 animations as possible.

Monday, July 27, 2009

TF2 - Seekers 01

And away we go with the Seekers. Lots more variations of sketches went into these, but these were the top picks of the bunch. And originally I was trying to get the G1 styled head into the design as well...

...and so this is what I came up with. Maybe I'm trying to redeem the movie Starscream a bit? I've said it to anyone who has asked, I actually love the design of the movie F22, I just don't think he should be called Starscream. So anyways, I thought I'd maybe be able to get away with something here.

Not quite, but JT was pretty excited about going in that direction as well, but again, as the Art Director, he has the responsibility to maintain the movie-verse style, so with minimal adjustments, we sent this one off to Hasbro.

Initially the design was met with a lot of enthusiasm, with comments about it being true to the G1 Seekers, so I went on my merry way finishing the Protectobots, assuming it was approved. But I guess someone at Hasbro got cold feet, and asked for another submission, this time making it more like it would fit in the family of the movie Starscream. So I whipped up these sketches...

...and settled on this one. I added some tone and sent it off, and this is the one that got approved.

So close, kids, so close...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SDCC '09*

I'm off to San Diego Comic Con for a few days, I'll resume posting on Monday.

Anybody attending on Friday can (allegedly) get a sneak preview of my first Transformers cover at the IDW panel at Noon, I believe it is part of the Joe vs Transformers Panel, held in 32AB.

*UPDATE - Whoops, Andy forgot to add it to the slideshow. Sucks for me, but it should be published in Previews for a November solicitation in just a couple of weeks...

TF2 - Protectobot Head Revisions

Fix these, please. As with the Combaticons, I went back in to revise the shared heads of the Protectobots.

I did a series of sketches to get the ball rolling, some crazy ones, but some pretty cool ones, too. After all these heads, maybe some of these other ideas will show up in future designs?

And here are the final turnarounds for the individual heads. Much better...

With that, I'm off to comic con for a few days, I'll be back posting Monday, starting with the Seekers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Sniper 04

Look out! Sniper! Again!

And so here is the final, after all the revisions and vehicle changes, he finally makes it to final. Hasbro requested the tail rotor be up on the shoulders, but I used the tail for the in the transformation, I actually have the tail come through the fuselage, and drop out of the bottom, leaving the rotor behind to fill the space left by the engine components that swing out to form the arms. Not too complicated is it?

The landing skids, plus a few additional elements, make up the rifle.

The back view isn't too hard to explain, these sniper class guys are so skinny, that pretty much every vehicle cue that's not used on the front, is on the back. So it makes it easier to figure out where the parts go.

Again, feet are a little over-sized and clawed. Sigh. It's kind of the nature of the beast, when you have to reconcile approved front and back view. One cool thing to note, is that JT had me flip the doors back and down, originally I had them flared out and up, like the traditional way the cars have them, but this way is pretty cool too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Sniper 03

So after I got back from vacation, the two major revisions requested were the Combaticon Warrior (discussed previously) and the Protectobot Sniper vehicle mode. Hasbro wanted the rotor changed from a jet, to an enclosed blade, like the Combaticon Siper.

Easy enough to fix, I pretty much had the element finished, just needed to resize it to fit the tail, and repaint it in Protectobot colors.

Why you ask, did they want to change the rotor? I think it may have something to do with the Blazemaster figure. With a repaint, and just a bit of additional tooling, that figure could easily become a figure of the Protectobot Sniper.

So anyways, I made a few adjustments to the robot design, and started in on the final bot views...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Sniper 02

And here is the FIRST vehicle submission for final. Kind of combo of two different helicopters, with a jet propelled stabilizer in the back, instead of the normal blade system, with a police deco.

And as I mentioned previously, the color scheme graduating from a white base on the Scout, to a blue base on the copter. Also, 0121-B is a reference to my wife, it's her birthday...;)

Not to much more to say about this vehicle. I had two previous vehicles already done in this style, so the deco and themes were pretty well established - it was mostly just about designing the body. But this copter was a lot easier to do the turnaround views, with it being a more conventional body shape; the Combaticon Sniper was a lot tougher to match consistent lines/forms in all views. This copter is much more like a car, so in that aspect, it was a lot faster to do.

So I turned in all the Protectobot /Combaticon vehicles, and went on vacation. When I got back...this chopper had to go back to the shop...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Sniper 01

The saga of the Protectobot Sniper begins. I didn't realize what a go-around this guy was too...

The beginning of the development sketches, again supposed to be a skinny guy, but these sketches aren't quite 'there' yet. But enought find the basic shape and placement of vehicle cues.

His arms, shoulders, and torso were created from the tail and upper fuselage, and his legs dropped from the rear and bottom of the fuselage.

So this guy was to be the first pass for the submission to Hasbro, but JT and I were a bit at odds with the chest, and the canopy glass being such a big part of the torso. He kept on and on about the fact the a Sniper would never have glass showing at the target, the glare would be a tipoff- and with real world logic, I totally agree. Of course, I knew you would never see that in the game, so the arguments began! From my point of view, the basic transformations for a helicopter would be front facing, so a TF coming would be able to 'drop' right into bot mode. That was my side of the logic argument, and one other thing...

There was a rule during the first movie, that glass couldn't transform, it either showed or disappeared. I believe it was a request from Hasbro to make the toys a bit easier to engineer. So I kept to that standard, but apparently, it didn't matter any more. I thought that the first movie tried to keep to that as well, but maybe by the time the second one got going...well...when has Bay cared about logic...or plot...

So these were a few passes at a compromise - it didn't matter to me if he showed glass or not, but I really wanted to have the canopy element make up the torso/chest. It just made sense to me.

So I went back to the drawing board and created a few more looks for the chest area.

That led to this, which is what we sent in to Hasbro for approval. I changed a bit of the transfomation, and made the tail create the leg elements, while the engine and upper fuselage made up the arms, leaving all the rest for the body.

I drew him in a cooler pose as well...I think this is where some of the problems of impression arise - I know in my head what these guys are going to look like, which isn't very fair to a group that's expected to give feedback to me, and even though I realize the two submission images may give a very different impression, the first being a little dowdy, and the second much tougher, but by the time I get to final turnarounds, they really wouldn't be much different. Why don't I just draw them cool every time? I try, baby, I try.

So while we waited for feedback on the bot design, I got started on the vehicle finals...

Friday, July 17, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Warrior 03

And so, here he is, Big Boy #2. Like I said, I like how this guy turned out, despite the pain in the ass growing pains of the development. And I really do give JT co-design credit on this one - I did the final art, but I would get very detailed feedback on the changes he was looking for, so we really did it together. But yeah, I think it's effective. I like the wheel placements, and the arrangement of all the siren lights...

...and the back is pretty solid too. The main thing, I think was to make him look as powerful as the Combaticon Warrior, but not just like him. I'm pretty happy with the highlight too, the idea that these were all shiny, freshly painted Protectors of the world of TF

This guy is bulky - he almost doesn't fit on the page! And after revising the vehicle's flamethrower, I was happy to go back and finish the original version, used for bot mode.

Jeez, the foot saga. I probably spent an additional day just making feet revisions, here's a taste of the round and round, making these adjustment. JT wanted the back ankles to be freed up for a joint, I kinda thought it was already, but hey. And the If anything I would have made them solid feet, ala movie Ratchet. But I got back this chop-suey-many-toe overylay back, to try and revise the feet. I did the revision, but then dropped one toe element out, because it was just too much. Usually I would turn in on average of 4 work-in-progress files, per view. A block-in, and pre-final (which is everything finished, except for additional colors and graphics, and shading) and then the final, and then maybe an addtional revision.

I did 10 versions on the front view, thanks to those feet.

I understand how some people have the opinion of that they should/could let me do what I want, but you need to understand that Luxoflux as a company, has so much invested into this game, just for their own reputation as a game maker, and a group that is be extremely reliable to create games for big franchises, like TF and Kung Fu Panda. I'm a small piece in the overall puzzle of creating a game, and I'm not even on their staff. They have system in place, and I was an outside hire through Activision, to come in and reprise my role as the character designer, while they have AWESOME artists already working there. So you know, every once and a while, we would butt heads, but it's their game, and it almost always led to a better OVERALL design.

I just wouldn't have had clawed feet on nearly every design. ;)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Warrior 02 *

This was the first pass at the Warrior vehicle, based somewhat on a Bearcat. Obviously, we still hadn't settled on the blue yet, but this is where I found the color for the Protectobots. It was pretty close to what the Bearcat is sold as, but I was asked to go back in and 'Ratchet' it up.* As I did with the armored car from the last game - when in doubt kids, add diamond plate! I gave it lift kit, beefed up the winch on the front, added a step deck to the back, emergency boxes, bigger flashers...

...and so this is the final product. You can also see I was asked to change the flame thrower on top. I didn't necessarily agree with that, but I was able to use the original for the bot mode.

Makes for an imposing opponent when you see this come barreling after you!

*After my breaking away from the approved grayscales kept getting me in trouble with Luxo, I was starting to get gunshy with adding or changing stuff as I went, and so it started with this character, my sticking as exactingly as I could to the approved stuff, but then that didn't seem to work for them either. It kinda sucked for awhile, but laid down a good development system for future characters.

*Update! It was brought to my attention I forgot to add the transformation sequence for this guy - so here ya go!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TF2 - Protectobot Warrior 01

This guy was a bit of a pickle for me. And I really need to give co-design credit the Justin Thomas, the Art Director at Luxoflux for this one. These were the sketches I turned in for review, based on a Bearcat armored I usually don't mention my faves when I turn in these sketches, but I remember it being clear to me that the middle one might have worked best.

But they picked the one that was dotted, and when I turned in this drawing for a pre-final check before submisssion, I got this image reworked into a rough version you can see below. JT did some photoshop magic to squash and stretch elements into this basic shape*, and I redrew it for final.

Normally I am pretty open to making changes, but this time it was a little annoying to have basically this version already in the thumbnails (drop the ribcage armor, and it's pretty close, I thought) and to go to final drawing with another. Time was tight for this, and I had a bunch of these robot grayscales to submit for Hasbro review...though overall, I think it was a great choice to go this way instead.

*I couldn't find the reworked feedback version...stuff like that got saved to a feedback folder, which I don't archive afte projects, so it's lost (to me anyways) forever.