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Shaun Mooney shared the workflow he used for the production of this amazing Wipeout fan art.
My names Shaun Mooney. I’m a concept artist working in the UK games industry currently based in Manchester. I have been in the games industry for around 12 to 13 years and worked on 24 published titles. I started out as a designer and 3D artist working at TT Fusion, working on the handheld versions of LEGO Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones and Harry potter. I always wanted to work in Concept design as I had a love for drawing, so I slowly moved into that role working on Aragon’s Quest and LEGO City Stories.
I then left TT to work at Atomhawk Design as an in house Concept designer. This was were I cut my teeth as a concept artist as you were asked to work on many different projects simultaneously. One day I would be working on a lord of the rings game like Guardians of middle earth, the next I would be doing rough character concepts for Mortal Kombat 10, then switch to working on Thor 2 for MARVEL, then onto a sonic the hedgehog game. Was tough but a great experience.
I then did some work for a company called Playdemic, working as a concept artist, illustrator and flash animator on a number of Facebook games. After that I worked a lot with Sony, contributing some concept art for Rime, a Little big planet project and Wipeout Omega Collection. I got to design the new Tigron ship for that game, which was something of a career highlight for me, I’ve been a huge fan of those games since I was 13 years old.
I have now come back full circle and am working for TT Fusion as a concept artist on their latest project.
Approaching the concept
When is started to work on this latest ship design, I went back to the first two games for inspiration. I always loved those larger, cool shapes with little smatterings of detail. I knew I wanted the ship to have a simple shape with a complex looking detailed engine at the rear. I think that balance is important. You need to understand when and were to put detail, to much and the design becomes to visually noisy. You have to have those places were the viewers eye can rest.
Other things to consider are things like understanding the art direction and style of the Wipeout series. If you stray to far from the established rules, it stops looking like Wipeout. If your ship looks to heavy, boxy, too thin, too round, it just doesn’t look right. They have to look like they go fast and are agile. I tried to make mine look like a spear tip to suggest that forward, powerful thrusting motion, like it cuts through the air.
With that in mind, I started in 3D. I find with hard surface stuff and vehicles, working it out in 3D is a big help. It allows you to work out some nice shapes and always have correct perspective. After I was happy with a basic shape I then took a few screen grabs from various angles. Over these low poly models, I started to work out some of the design in 2D, sketching over them in Photoshop. An added bonus of using this workflow is that there is a consistency to the shape and design of the ship, no matter which angle you view it from.
When it came time to do the livery design, I again looked at some of the older games. I always loved the blue and yellow looking Feisar ship from Wipeout 2097. I decided to pay homage to that classic design. A key aspect of Wipeouts art style is its incredible graphics design. Luckily I know a few of the guys who worked on some of the games and they kindly supplied me with some of there graphics work so I could place them over my design to really give it that authentic Wipeout look.
Working on digital concepts
When it comes to painting a concept like this, I tend to use the airbrush in Photoshop. I just add a little bit of noise in the brush settings and start to render out the basic forms so they pop. My goal for this image was to make it look like it came fresh from the factory floor, so was aiming for a clean, shiny look to the materials. Once I have a base render done, I start to apply photographic elements and try out different blend modes. When I get a good result from that, I use that as a guide to paint the rest in. I can colour pick from it and get ideas about how reflective a certain surface should be. Its a great technique to get your painting kick started.
I would go back on fourth with this technique for the first quarter or so of the painting process, and once I feel I have enough info I continued to paint the rest free hand using air brushes and textured brushes. I also make a lot of selections using the pen and lasso tool to help render tight clean looking edges. I used a large texture for the floor, just to add a sense of place, but didn’t want to have to much going on in the background. I wanted all the focus on the ship. I did use some special effects brushes for the engines and used a few layer effects like outer glow, then painted back into it to add more texture to the Plasma jet trails.
Lastly, I added some atmosphere to the scene, bits of smoke and noise, added some heat haze effects, adjusted the levels slightly and voila! Ready for here first race.