Sunday, April 22, 2012

AotP: Hense Take 2 and Designing the Pantheon

So, like I'd mentioned at the end of the Mass Effect commentary, I've managed to come up with a way better design for Hense. I'll be sharing that, but first I thought I had a pretty good opportunity to discuss my own criteria for designing the Pantheon.
Okay, so for all of the first-takes, I took an index card (4"x6" is the size I believe), cut it in half, and then folded that in half again so I had a 2"x3" window to work in. I like having a small space to work in originally, though once I get onto the computer I'll expand the canvas infinitely. Anyway, so I take the little piece and start drawing. Usually I have an initial basic idea in mind, though I'll often just start from a base human head shape. Sometimes I'll go in with a full idea in my head too, like I did with Jevel and Pyth, while other times I went with just a basic idea and let it evolve (like Garmuth - I drew the mirror and knew he'd only be in the mirror, but taking away his face came partway through). Eventually, when I think I have a decent enough base, I go through a few checks. They aren't finished in my mind until they fit the checks.
1) The God represents their Title. Every God has a title, given in their Shrine description. For example, Hense is the Veiled Widow. Their title should be somehow represented.
2) The God represents their domains. Every God has two domains, and they're always a positive concept and a negative concept (Micia and Olak are exceptions). For example, Hense is the Goddess of Pain and Pleasure.
3) The God represents their dialogue and description. Every God has a blurb in the shrine that I want to adhere to. Several also have other dialogue mentions in the game, and while I'm not so insistent about these, I'd like to go after them. Pyth in particular has a lot of imagery in the game, and I want to sort of represent that (though my version's third eye is frequently unrepresented).
4) The God is not human. Most look human-like and have humanoid shapes, but they must in some way be obviously inhuman - more specifically, they must be godly or divine in some way. I think in the first post I referred to them needing to be special.
Not every God needs these to be in equal balance, as long as the requirement is even a little satisfied.

Let's scan through and see where I'm at so far.
Hense: I'll come back to here, since I made a new version already. On the old one, I barely satisfied piece 1, and that's it.
Acobi: 1 is mostly complete, though I'm not sure "maid" comes off well. I might be switching that to Maiden though, it makes more sense anyway. Besides, maidens can be maids. For 2, I got the oath part alright (though suddenly I'm thinking tattoos of words or promises could be sweet as hell), and I guess you could stretch to Abandon. Abandon isn't exactly an easy one to represent though. 3, I got, though again I might add a lock. 4 is alright, but would be even better supported if I did those power tattoos. Maybe they glow a dull orange. That could be neat. Oh man, chains made of promises. Now there's an oath concept. Maybe it won't come off very well, but I want to try that, at least as an alternate.
Lemaign: 1 is pretty good. The dwarf look and tough guy build, plus the hammer, says "yes" to Mason King. 2, I don't think I got Hope or Despair across. 3, hell yeah soldiers pray to this guy. 4, nope. This guy looks normal so far. Need something else. Pretty empty on ideas here.
Pyth: 1 is fine, he's the Wakeful Bull alright. 2 came off half right, the Commotion could be there. Maybe make his features a bit more angular to get "order" across. 3 is satisfied, as is 4.
Jevel: 1 is my trouble spot. I think the crown could work, but I'm not sure how to make him the Tower Keeper really. 2 is filled, 3 is filled, 4 is filled.
Yudrig: 1 works alright as long as I get some light into the image. 2 is fine, but not great. 3, I don't even know how to do 3. 4 is an issue on paper - when it gets into color and such, it should be a bit better.
Roathus: 1 is alright, though just barely. 2 I've got down I think. 3 is met, but should be more obvious, and the tears need to get actually added in (those were just added in, I'd forgotten them). 4 is good.
Micia: Weird one. 1 is satisfied if you know any of the lore I wrote, 2 is satisfied by the lore, 3 is fine, and 4 is completed by the old face on the young body (and by the eventual torn-out heart). However, I'm not satisfied with the design itself yet. I need to tie Olak in somehow and just make her more interesting to look at. White hair forever though.
Olak: 1 is good, though he might need to look even more youthful. 2 is good. 3 is good in the lore. 4 is not all the way there, gotta think of something.
Garmuth: 1 is there, what with the no senses things in the fine clothes. 2 is there in the lore. 3 is in the lore. 4 is achieved. I think Garmuth is the best at achieving everything I wanted, and he's my second favorite drawing too.

Alright, so Hense is redrawn, Acobi is going to get some redos, Lemaign needs to be godly, Pyth might need some Order but is otherwise good, Jevel might need some Tower Keeper but is otherwise good, Yudrig needs basic coloring to be judged, Roathus might need a bit but could work as-is, Micia is getting redrawn despite filling requirements, Olak needs a redraw, Garmuth is complete.
Hope this was kind of a cool look into the process.

Yes, this is a shitty picture I took with my cell phone. I'll do a good scan later. But yeah, this is the new Hense! She basically does a lot of what I was concerned about. Let's see about those criteria up there-
1) This is the Veiled Widow. I realized that I was using one interpretation of veil, but that it was the wrong one. The description involves it being said that she's smiling, but it implies that you can't see that smile, so I flipped to the other veil. I like it a lot more, it's mysterious and evocative. Plus, WAY easier to draw. "Widow" is hard, but I made her old to make it a bit closer.
2) Pain and Pleasure. Well, this I'm going to have a bit of an issue with. Basically, both Pain and Pleasure are covered by her description in part three, so let's just jump to there...
3) So, covered in scars in scratches is definitely the pain. Smiling would be the pleasure. The fact that her scars and her smile are both covered by robes means that it isn't exactly easy to see on an image. I'll need to scar her face pretty intensively (which I didn't want to do on this initial concept drawing to avoid cluttering it up since it's so small). The smile will need to be communicated in the eyes, which I think I can do with some work. I'll pull the hood away a bit to give us some more room to see the head in.
4) Hmmm. Maybe the intense scarring will be enough. We'll see.

Okay, what about non-criteria stuff? Well, if you look at the hood, and you think its design reminds you of Tali from Mass Effect, you'd be right. The basic shape of the hood was inspired from there, and I might keep some of that look. The design on the hood was me doodling. It won't actually look like Tali's swirly design. Just don't know what to make it yet. My main issue is that I don't know what I'd do with the hood from here - What's below the neck? I need to think of Hense as a whole character, not just the head (haha I first typed "not just a bust" but then realized that sounded really bad). Also gotta figure out a design for the hood. I'll try not to go too close to Tali, but I want to be careful not to tread on Olak's toes with a colorful thing, but I also don't want it too boring/plain/colorless. Need to do some work. The veil will be black there (are there even non-black veils?), I just didn't want to muddy the image by making it too dark, it'll be better in later renditions.

So, how's the new Hense? Well, it's WAY better. I feel satisfied going this direction with her design, but it's obviously not complete yet. I need to think about her hood and its design, and pull it back a bit to give more room for scars and smile-y eyes. Gotta not look at any images of Tali/use Tali in game for a bit before I start drawing next time so I'm not so tilted in the design.

Well, I really do need to go write a paper. Not sure what'll come next in Art of the Pantheon, but I'm looking forward to it! Later.

End Recording,

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