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3D Toon Shade

G.I. Joe Renegades DS was definitely a fun project to work on. Admittedly, we haven't had a chance to watch a single episode of the show, however we do like the character design a lot. Kudos to the creative talent for injecting freshness into this long running franchise. The first thing we realized when we were trying to capture the look and feel of the show - we needed to put texture on the surfacing for fine details while still having hard shadows wrapping around the characters at all times. Believe it or not, doing this in runtime engine is actually much easier than doing it in Maya. If you assign a surface shader to your mesh, you can add a ramp node to get the shadow. Problem is, we als

Utilizing 3D in Digital Painting

The use of 3D is not to everyone’s taste, but in this digital age when so much painting is done on computers, the rift between the two disciplines is getting closer. More artists are finding themselves embracing both in order to achieve better results. This is true especially in production art, where quality and efficiency are equally as important. These days, I start most of my paintings directly in Photoshop. I create a rough sketch to frame the composition, and to see how proportions work together. In this example, I started blocking in the rough shapes, using a one point perspective, focusing on the positive and negative space. Once I am happy with the layout, I go into the 3D software,

Character Study

We thought we'd showcase some of the work that our artists have been up to. Here's some recent work that our character artists created collaboratively in Z-brush and Maya.


This is a little video capture from the runtime playable in Unity. Yes…it’s painfully rough around the edges…but it was an interesting experiment to see how fast we could create something and cobble it together ourselves…a couple of guys, part time hours, and some hacking and scripting in the dark….

Shader Glow

Every now and then we'll be documenting how we did something - sometimes it's to share a 'behind-the-scenes' and sometimes it's just so that we can keep a record in case our short term memories fail us... Shader glow adds the appearance of the blooming of light due to high contrast or strong intensity. By default, when you enable glow in Maya, the entire surface of the object glows equally – not too realistic. In most cases, you only want the specular area to glow and you can do that by going into the Hypershade or Multilister -> Pick the Shader Glow Node-> Locate Threshold in the Attributes panel. A larger version of the above image can be found at this link: widgetGlow Try increasing the v


For our hero ‘Widget’, we settled on a few that we liked. We tend to incorporate 3D into the design/ concept phase once we’ve settled on a few options. We like to be able to tumble around our designs…just to get a better feel for them. These are a couple of ‘finalists’….

On the side...

We’ve been working on a bunch of different projects lately of different types and scales. It’s interesting since one day we could be learning about development on the iOS, the next day on Facebook, and then it’s back to working on something for a console. As fun as it has been, we still wanted to try and carve out a little time to work and experiment on a few prototype projects of our own. We thought we’d share one of them with you. We’ve heard alot about the Unity game engine and decided to give it a try. Everyone talks about how easy it is to develop for it so we thought we’d dive in and see how good (or bad) we’d do. Having had experience working in much larger production environments, we


We did a qhackload of quick design thumbnails for some of the characters we were going to build out. This is just a sample...

Wiring it All Together

One of the interesting things about setting up a business of your own, be it creative or otherwise, is the pure number of hats you have to wear. The last few days we’ve been wiring together all the little widgets and pieces that make ‘Hey world, we’re here!!’ all work in some kind of thing you’d call a ‘social concert’. After a little research, we managed to string together our website (www.ncubate-studios.com) with this WordPress blog , Twitter, Facebook, and for good measure, we also created an account on Ping.fm. At the risk of making a shameless plug, Ping is an easy way you can post once in order to display across all your networks….just in case you’re lazy like us.

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