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Live Stream Recap – New Stream Info

Skaarj_Final2We had our first weekly Unreal Tournament live stream on Twitch.tv last week and we want to thank everyone for posting your questions and stopping by the stream. After a few audio hitches and sharing of hashtags to go along with the hitches things went very smoothly ! Thank you to everyone for your patience.

In the stream we made mention of Our first Unreal Tournament Contributor on the forums. We thanked user “TimEh” for his hard work on the Unreal Tournament jump pads which we have integrated into the main build. TimEh is already at work on another mod, “UT Bots“. The purpose of the bots are to “give Level Designers a very rough idea on how their map will play out until we have a stable build where we can play together.” TimEh gets a new image under his name recognizing his contributions and he’ll see his name in the credits of the game.

If you have questions for the Art team for the next stream, be sure to post them HERE on the Unreal Tournament forums! We’ll get to as many of them as we can. We hope you can join us at 3:00 PM EST this Wednesday, June 18th at https://twitch.tv/unrealtournament

We will be uploading all of the live streams to YouTube after they air. It could take up to a day for them to go live and you can watch the latest here:


Chris Perna on the Gears of War: Judgment Key Art

We recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Epic Games Art Director Chris Perna about the just-released key art for Gears of War: Judgment. Do you have any questions for Chris about the Gears of War art direction? Post them in the comments and we’ll follow up with Chris in a future interview.

Raczilla: Could you describe the collaborative process of creating key art?

Chris PernaChris Perna: Well we usually sit down with some internal marketing folks, ad agency folks and some Microsoft folks to chat about what we’d like to see. Initially we discuss the feel of the game and what we’d like to portray.  Do we want to play up the action, the story, heavy mood?  Once we decide on an initial direction then the ad agency does some rough comps visualizing the various directions we discussed.  Then we get together and discuss again, this time trying to narrow the focus and zero in on one key idea.

Sometimes I’ll do my own comps and send over to illustrate a certain point, this can help narrow the focus faster.  We’ll repeat this process as often as necessary until we’re all happy with what we have and then we’ll enter a polish phase.  This is where we’ll get nit-picky and really fine tune the image and idea.  In the end we’ll have a piece of key art we can all be excited about.

R: How many artists worked on it?

C: We had a few guys work on it internal.  Chris Wells, Alex Whitney and Kevin Lanning did some posing during the comp phase.  The final image is actually a composite from images I created in Unreal Engine.  I posed and lit the characters and rendered them out of Unreal Engine at high enough resolution so that we were able to use them as final art.  Every piece in the final image was worked on by multiple artists so it’s almost impossible to say how many.  The weapons were modeled by an artist, then textured by another one, the characters and enemies were all modeled, textured and posed by artists.  The architecture and background objects were all modeled and textured by artists.  Also the ad agency used their own internal artists to create elements like the flag, composition, lighting, post process, etc.  Twenty or more artists probably touched different assets at different times as we pulled this together.

R: How is it different creating art for an established series as opposed to when Gears was a new IP that wasn’t familiar to fans?

C: In an established franchise such as gears we’re not concepting new things as much as we would when establishing a new IP.  There is more fiction to pull from and models, characters and artwork that have already been established.  In a way it’s easier, but that’s a blessing and a curse.  It’s easier, yes, but you still have to make it fresh and exciting for people playing the games.  As the IP grows and ages it gets harder and harder to do that.

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Free Art Tool Released Thanks to Epic Friday

At Epic, we have a fun monthly tradition known as Epic Friday, which gives employees a break from ongoing tasks and provides a platform for us to work on pet projects. One day each month, we’re encouraged to be creative and productive solely within the context of “making cool stuff” that benefits our games and technology development process.

Epic Games Senior Environment Artist Warren Marshall recently set out to refine his manual drawing skills. While Warren is both highly technical and artistic, he felt the need to revisit the basics and learn more about perspective.

“Gotta grind those fundamentals,” he said. Voicing how making perspective grids by hand can be frustrating, he continued, “The programmer in me wanted to do something cooler. Enter Epic Friday!”

Warren describes the app he developed, Carapace, as “a simple program that lets you place vanishing points around an image placeholder to flesh out the shell of your drawing. Shell, carapace… Get it?”

Carapace enables users to place up to nine vanishing points or as few as one. One-, two and three-point perspective grids are possible along with some extras to accommodate any weird angles in a scene.

Here’s a video of Warren setting up a simple three-point grid:

• Once the grid is in place, click CTRL+C and to place the grid on the clipboard.
• Paste it into Photoshop and use it as a guide!

“Carapace can also determine the perspective of existing images,” said Warren. “Say you have a piece of concept art that you want to paint over or add something to it. If you can’t work out the perspective, you can use this program to load the image and lay down trace lines. With two trace lines on the screen, hitting a hot key will place a vanishing point at the intersection spot. This saves you trying to figure out where to place the vanishing points by clicking and dragging and guessing.”

See it in action again here:

Today, we’re very pleased to share Warren’s clever app with the community.

Download Carapace here for free!

* Requires .NET 4.0        

Have questions or feedback? Check out this thread on the Epic Games Forum.

Epic Gamer Artist: Blake W

Welcome to a new issue of ‘Epic Gamer Artists’. Tim here, to bring you a feature this week from the Epic Gamers on deviantART.

We have Blake W. from Charleston, gamer, traditional painter. He has a few words about how he went with his Gears acrylic painting.

Tim: Tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you do.

Blake: Well I’m 30 years old, I live in Charleston, WV, and I spend my days working a day job, spending time with my fiancé, painting, and playing a video game or two.

T: Are you a gamer? Do you play Gears of War?

B: Yes I’m a pretty avid gamer, I started playing video games with the Atari and I haven’t really stopped since. Over the past couple of years I haven’t had as much time to play games as I would like, but the big releases (like the Gears of War games) I still buy on day one.

T: Do you work professionally, are you in school for art, or is this a hobby of yours?

B: I discovered I love to draw as a kid around kindergarten and I have continued to draw/paint since then. I have a BA in fine art from West Virginia State University, but I work at a full time job where I don’t get to do what I really love which is make art. Although it isn’t yet my main source of income, I do get take on some freelance gigs/commissions as well as sell my artwork online. The goal is to eventually be a full-time artist, and have my art be everywhere; comics, book covers, video game covers, that’s the dream.

T: Looking in your gallery, you seem to favor traditional mediums. Would you like to tell us a little bit about the stuff you use? You certainly use acrylic for most of your pieces!

B: I do in fact favor traditional mediums, acrylic paint being the one I use the most. I have used oil, watercolor and gouache paint in the past, but I prefer acrylic because of the quick drying time. I like being able to do a painting and scan the painting in the same day. I use a earthy toned kind of muted and limited pallet for all of my paintings to keep a consistent look.

T: The Gears entry you had for the “Gears United” contest. Tell us a little bit about that. What inspired you to create something so awesome? You have an interesting style, very painterly.

B: When I first read about the Gears United contest I knew right away I wanted to enter a piece. I looked at a ton of screenshots, watched all of the trailers that had been released and did a ton of sketches to nail down what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted the painting to feature Marcus in a kind of us vs. them moment and have some of the other cogs behind in the background. I just wanted it to be this very tense second right before everything goes down. I used some pretty broad paint strokes around the bottom of the painting to kind show this action/movement as well as paint the background to be very contrasting to Marcus and his lancer.

T: Have you taken a knack at digital painting at all?

B: I do have a wacom tablet that I use from time to time if there is a project I’m working on that requires a digital drawing/painting. I just would really prefer working on a traditional painting rather than digital. My feeling is if I’m working on a painting for hours and hours I would like something tangible at the end to show for it, prints just don’t really do it for me. I’m definitely in the minority these days working traditional, but I think there will always be a place for it. Or so I hope.

T: Do you have any words of inspiration you want to say to the Epic community?

 B: Just to keep doing what you love!

If you want to see more of Blake’s work, check out all of his acrylic paintings on his deviantART page. And of course, be sure to visit the Official Epic Gamers group on deviantART. If you have Epic fan art, show us!

Epic Games Podcast: Episode 7 – Fortnite With Pete Ellis

In this PAX Prime edition of the Epic Games Podcast, Fortnite Lead Artist Pete Ellis talks about what inspired Fortnite’s stylized look, how to make it as an artist in the video game industry and more.




Do you have more questions about Fortnite? Post them in the comments and we’ll follow up with Pete in a future podcast.

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