Improved Headshot

A few months ago I designed a character. She is a waitress. I enjoyed the way my pencil sketch looked more than the digital work, and now I have had more practice digitally painting I felt I could do a better colour headshot.

Last time I painted with all brushes and layers on 100% opacity; since then I have learnt a lot about changing opacity layers, and that the blending brush is not the only way to blend and shade.

I learnt to do this recently and it was difficult to learn as someone who can spend hours blending colours as if they were paints. I definitely treat my digital painting like acrylic paints for the longest time (something I would always use in traditional media) with the bold unforgiving colours and difficult blending for a vibrant result. I am only now learning to sometimes treat the work like watercolours too.

For this I actually painted on top of the pencil lines in Photoshop, with low opacity layers being built up, letting the original sketch show through. I am learning that not everything needs to be smooth to have the right effect, and that often that can subtract style from a piece.

This version is more muted, and more rough, which I like. It also meant I could follow my original line art and not start from scratch.



Key to the Puzzle – Bleak Manor

I’ve produced some keys concepts for the Synoptic project. Nikki is modelling them, and I have been working on some final designs.

I firstly came up with some quick ideas. I then Worked from that to create a final key I like. Now I have re-drawn that concept as a final concept; a golden-metal key.

Today I drew a darker rendition of the key with some different features as another key for the game, possibly a decoy. I know they need multiple keys, so for now I have made sure to design a working key and a decoy key.

Additional Sketches for the Frame and Desk – Bleak Manor

I finally came up with a frame design I would like to go over the portrait for the room. It is bronze-gold in colour and very large, to cover the safe.


I also completed my concept for the desk, as I have drawn a sketch of the back corner. I wrote on the dimensions from that angle too.

Adam had the idea to add detailing into the edges of the desk. I wasn’t adding extra details into models because I didn’t know how long the modellers wanted to spend on each model, and didn’t want to add unnecessary tasks to the model. As it turns out they are welcoming details in the concepts and want to add more. They’re already doing cool stamps etc. so I will take that in for further designs.


Art Book Sample – Bleak Manor

Today after I researched art books for reference, I did a sample of our own for Bleak Manor.

The team thought about it a lot, then when I asked their ideas on it they said they would love a brown paper background with ink spills on the edges.

To achieve that I used a brown paper texture, then painted- with varying opacity- a dark blue spill on the edges. I also added a subtle vignette and a yellow glowing the middle as though a small amount of light is hitting the page in the centre.

After that I decided to use my smoking chair as the example, because I had access to drawings of the whole process on hand. I put the initial concepts on the page and tilted them, adding shadows being to simulate the pieces hanging off from one pinned point. I think it looks realistic on the page this way.

I then used my chair concept, deleted the background colours and shadow, then overlapped it slightly on the page as a final, eye-catching object. I added a new shadow and set it in a large space. I think it looks good to have it with no background on the page.

Also the team wanted some fancy handwriting as a font. For the real thing this can either be neater or messier, but I tried to use neat but quick handwriting for this (with extra swirls). I was told it filled the space well, and it ties in the spilled ink with the page itself.


So far everyone seems happy with the layout. I was going to do multiple examples, but people said it was what they pictured, and the rest was what I pictured to look good; so this will likely be the sample we give to Matt next week.

Digital Desk Design – Bleak Manor

On Tuesday I used my desk sketches to come up with a concept for the writing desk. I chose my favourite aspects from my original designs and used them to create a desk I was happy with. It is old, wooden and glossy. It has gold tinted metal handles on the drawers and cupboard compartments.

It has the same dimensions as the desks I designed before (The most important of which being the fact it is 60 inches wide). I will have to sketch this desk from a diagonal-back angle I think, to show how it looks behind and to give more of a look at the scale itself; so at that point I will write the final measurements on the concept before handing it to the modellers.

I actually used the dimensions Adam researched and put into Trello for reference. Before even searching for images I had decided to do a desk this style, and the sizing he came up with allowed me to use that.deskfront
I also decided to play around with a few undertones for the wood colour for the modellers who end up texturing this desk. I think a reddish undertone would look classic, but the desk chair doesn’t have that, so I think it can be the modellers decision for what works best for them, and for the team to decide if we should match the wood colours for the chair and desk, or have them bought separately and look unique. Neither has been made yet so that can be decided whenever, as my concepts are mainly for the shape and design, I don’t mind what gets changed, if it means it works better for the room.deskcolours

Portrait – Bleak manor

Yesterday I finished a portrait to go on the wall in Bleak Manor for my synoptic. I Used Photoshop to do this. It is a painting of the former owners of the house on their wedding day. Based on the woman’s makeup and hair, and the way they’re posed, we can imagine it was around 1920. The sinister looks in their eyes are because the painting takes time to do, but also they are mysterious people.

I drew the people from scratch and used Matt’s advice of using a bookshelf photo in the back, burring it and adding overlays. I also them drew in a vignette. I didn’t make the picture too dark or gloomy because this is meant to be a happy occasion documented, but there is contrast in their facial expressions of that.


I originally drew my idea for this painting on paper. The girl looks quite different, but I think I kept the style similar for the man.

portrait concept

I think the drawing looks a bit too smiley, and I had put no research into the dresses of the era or anything yet. I also think the flowers were too much of a colourful idea.

I am happy with the outcome of the picture and hope it looks good in the room.

Desk Concepts – Bleak Manor

One of my tasks in the synoptic project is to create a desk for the room. I have to come up with a concept quite quickly. Firstly I got some research images.


Then  I picked some of my favourite attributes from these desks and applied them to my own designs. I was insistent on the two sides of drawers like the majority of references. I prefer my second design as it has more character I believe.



It has to be 60 inches long. I have included a variety of drawers and compartments where a key (or decoy) could be hidden. I also think it would be fun for the player to have different sizes and styles of compartments and doors in the game to work and play with.

The next step will be a digital design of my desk, and then for it to be reviewed and (hopefully) modelled; if not I will make changes to the design until the team is happy with it.

Completed Chair Concepts – Bleak Manor

As an update to my last post about my chair concepts, this is the final picture I have to show the chairs from any angle you would need to see them to model, and the simple colour charts that go with them.

I am happy with the outcome and hope the team are too. I can’t wait to get really stuck into designing other individual assets now!


Early Layout Concept – Bleak Manor


Using the Group Trello I looked at the list of assets (and people’s concepts) and decided to draw a room layout idea with the assets in to see how the space would look in game.

Kelly made a white-box game and we saw it in VR. The room was rectangular and had a starting spot (the small square of flooring on the right) where the character spawns in. We discussed extra space for the desk and desk chair, so I didn’t include them in this version of the concept, but will be doing more of these in the future to explore ideas for that.

This drawing helps me get a feel for the room. An idea of where things will be and how the player will be walking around objects in VR. What I am trying to do, when drawing these concepts, is consider how the player would interact with the environment and be able to complete the puzzles.

Final Chair Designs – Bleak Manor

Today I completed 2 final designs for my chairs for my synoptic project. I will include the process in this post for each chair.

I still do need to draw the chairs from other angles so they can be modelled, but these are the full colour finalised ideas for the smoking chair and the desk chair.

Smoking Chair:

Firstly I used research to sketch some chair ideas. Then I drew some on paper based on my favourites. I drew up an initial colour concept, also, of an early idea.

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The final Smoking Chair looks like this. I believe the height and red leather fit a Gothic living room very well and think it looks like a lot of classic smoking chairs, with my own personal touch.



Desk Chair:

I used the same techniques for this chair. I designed a few chairs on paper and on Photoshop. Considering the modellers, I decided to stick to a 4 legged chair, which most of my designs are, with Gothic carvings in the back.

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The final design came out like this. It is wooden and I opted for no cushion. It is a simple chair with some intricate details. There is a slight dip in the seat (something I’ve seen on a lot of wooden chairs) and swirls down the centre of the legs.



Both designs came out quite nicely and I know they are my favourites because I used my initial sketches to whittle my concepts down into ones which had the best features from my experiments.