Working directly with Art Director Carlos Sanchez and Technical Art Director Jiri Bicek I was the Associate Art Director tasked with overseeing Look Development & Materials on Hangar 13's new project, a blockbuster AAA title helmed by Mark Norris from Horizon Zero Dawn.
My contribution to this project was both artistic and technical.One of my primary interests was helping to define the look and qualities of the world through keyart & images, and through this I set styles for the project, working to understand and then visualize some of the esoteric and new ideas the game designers and writers were cooking up.
Above & beyond this, my great joy on the project was in the area of raising the standards of visual quality & expectations, technically. This was accomplished by working directly with the tech and programming teams to identify and define weak points in our systems, features & processes that would keep us from achieving the highest visual quality, and then to help them by leading with images and examples.
For some areas, like the Weather & Cloud Systems or the Vegetation, this meant a pretty deep dive into the previous project efforts and comparing aspects of it to both reality and to other games, and for other areas such as Assets, Materials & Surfacing it meant setting standards through reviews and discussions with both local and remote teams. This was done of course also in direct reviews, emails and wiki pages, and also by reference and images, such as is exampled in this breakdown I made for the original application process Keyframe and reference Look-Dev Exploration.
The areas I was working on were - to set the initial baselines & levels for the studio’s proprietary rendering & lighting engine, leading and directing materials & surfacing quality goals, defining direction for Asset quality and Look Development by implementing tests and setting goals, with the proprietary Weather System teams to evaluate what would be needed to make a great environment & sky, and of course with the art team for concept efforts and defining the qualities of the world.
I was bringing a cinematic mentality and an attention to & understanding of the technical details that form the base of everything, and my main goal in working with these teams was to try to set a standard of ‘quality in, quality continuance’, working on the idea that everything builds from the base.
The project’s Lead Programmer Martin Sobek has written to me: "Having you in the team was just awesome -- someone who can articulate what's needed to improve the visual and is proactive in chasing this”
And Technical Art Director Jiri Bicek wrote: "I was looking forward to use your expertise and skill to push the quality as far as possible. It was truly a pleasure to meet someone who knows what he wants and what he is doing.“
Very sadly, production of the project has been sent to England and Europe.