28 March, 2017

Building up a Composite Scene

Step 1: First a 3D render of the key items in the scene is generated. This render handles things that need to remain consistent in the scene. Typical examples include the Lawbringer cycle, common vending machines, and in this articular example. an arcology corridor. This ensures the perspective is right and the setting doesn't vary for no apparent reason.   

Step 2: This is meant to be a city with over half a billion people living in it. The vast majority of those people are faceless masses that don't mean a lot to our stories except as context. So I add in some silhouette figures always in the background.

Step 3: Add some posters, some signage, some graffiti... Generally I like to make sure that these elements tell a bit of a story in themselves. S the signage is the sort of thing you'd find in a tyical dystopian setting, while the wall graffiti implies the sinister cults that I've mentioned in the rules.

Step 4: Now I apply the first of a few threshold effects. Everything lighter than a 50% shade is turned white, and everything darker than that 50% shade is turned black. This example is a pretty dark one.

Step 5: I apply a few more threshold effects. typically at the 25% and 75% brightness levels, but in this case the darkness needs more nuance, so I play at the lower levels. This threshold effect occurs at 37.5%

Step 6: The lowest threshold level is at 25% in this example.

Step 7: I turn the various threshold effects to 50% opacity and overlay them.

Step 8: Compressing those layers, I can move forward with additional effects. The first of t\which is applying a half-tone filter to make the image look more like something from a newspaper. That starts to give it the lo-fi effect that I'm after for this setting.

Step 9: On another layer where I duplicated that compressed image, I run the Photoshop "Photocopy" filter, it basically highlights the edges and maintains a bit of texture.

Step 10: One of the final stages in this particular image is to take the "photocopy" filtered image and place it over the layer with the "half-tone" filtered image. The "photocopy" layer is set to multiply itself over the "halftone" to bring out the outlines with a darker black.

But the image was looking too bright, so I took a duplicate of the 50% threshold layer (from back in step 4) and applied it over the top again, multiplying it again to only make the image darker, but turning to opacity down to 30%.

That gives us a final image like this.

All it needs is a few foreground characters who will be drawn in later.

27 March, 2017

Last Image of the Lawbringer

The Lawbringer needed a few features to make it feasible as a vehicle for our Agents of the Law. It needed mirrors, headlights, indicators, seat cushioning, footplates, display consoles, and handlebars.

To add a bit more to it. I've also added Department of Law insignia (to the front, and on each side at the back), and some cooling fins to the main engine at the rear wheel. I'm working on the assumption that these bikes will be electrically driven, so there's no real need for a massive engine assembly in it. 

Applying the previous filters to the image, I get something like this...

...and I think we're basically done.

Now it's time to move on to the uniforms of the Agents of Law, and their two signature firearms (the taser used by training agents and the multi-purpose multi-ammo assault pistol used by full agents). 

26 March, 2017


Agents of the law have signature equipment. Often these pieces of equipment have the word "Law" in their title somewhere.

"Law-keepers", "Law-masters", "Law-bringers"

The vehicles that bring Agents of the Law to the scene of a crime are the "Law-bringers". These are lightly-armoured, highly-maneuverable cycles designed for high speed alley chases and highway patrol. There are generally four types of Lawbringer Cycle; one is a base model that most agents start with, and three are upgraded variants assigned to sergeants and captains of the department. The three upgraded variants either have heavier armour, AI navigation systems, or are hovercycles.

I've been working on a design for a cycle. I haven't decided if it's the general cycle, or the AI version (it certainly doesn't look to have heavy armour unless it has some kind of integrated force shield...and it has wheels, so it doesn't quite fit the idea I have in mind for a hovercycle).

Here's what I've got so far.

It still needs a lot more work, but once I've got the shape right, it will be easy to generate imagery by rendering up the cycle in an appropriate scene, then applying the various filters that will give the game imagery it's signature look.

Speaking of which, here's another air of background images I threw together.

Now it's back to uni assignment work, and in a few days I might have some more image updates.

23 March, 2017

Another background image for the Law

This is starting to get closer to what I'm after

Still needs more layers though.I want this to remind me of my trip to Tokyo, massive density, things going everywhere, elevated motorways and mass transit systems, this is meant to be a city for half a billion people to live in...and it needs to look like it. Not only that, it needs to look like the people in charge of town planning have the same level of regard for the general populace as Donald Trump does....and people like that have been in power for decades. This setting is dark, mean, might unclean.

More image experimentation to do.

21 March, 2017

Here are the images

The following images were meant to accompany the previous post.

Here is the raw render of the test buildings

And here, it is after fiddling with it in Photoshop a bit.

Here is the raw version of the Law Agent's badge that I'll probably be going with...

Here it is filtered to look like it is appearing on a low quality vid-screen...

And this version is grittier still, but verging on illegible. Some days I think this is exactly what I'm after, some days I think that this has pushed things too far.

Depicting the Urban Blight

While I've been busy working on university stuff, I've had backup computers rendering collections of buildings that I've made in 3D modelling software.

I think I need more building types to add into the mix...many, many more building types,...because everything is looking a bit too regular at the moment. Sure, there need to be some areas of regimented order, but the setting isn't about that...the setting is about a world contstantly on the brink of anarchy and rioting. There needs to be more chaos.

19 March, 2017

Law Imagery

A few days ago I shared my current work in progress, The Law.

It didn't have any images in it, so it's time to start remedying that situation.

The first images I've started on are the badges of the Agents of the Department of Law. I'm not sure they're quite right yet, but they are close to what I'm after.

The armoured uniform is giving me a few more issues. I'll post those images soon.