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Guitar Hero Van Helen

Someone recently sent me this link and I was reminded of the gratifying experience of trying to figure out a style for our UI. It had to both feel like a Guitar Hero game and have a visual identity that was pure Van Halen. The tricky part was that VH doesn’t have much in the way of ‘brand’.  Me and two UI artists had a day of just floundering, throwing sketches at a wall with nothing really sticking. So we grabbed a bunch of VH swag, sat in a room, and started identifying elements that could be used for various UI roles. We chose iconography for moving bits, menu backgrounds, selection highlights, transition elements…it was a blast. Once we had these pieces we mocked up some screens to see if our thinking was sound, made a few tweaks to the plan, and bam! After maybe three days we had it. It was a good thing too because it was a very crunchy project.

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Recent sketches

Been playing around with some looser styles and doing a few ‘speed’ paintings. The image I like best is the swamp looking one mainly because it was a super quick 20 minute sketch before bed and I didn’t spend a moment second guessing what I was doing. Who knows, maybe I was just regurgitating something I’d seen somewhere else!

Sirens Graphin Novel

Here are a few panels from a graphic novel I’ve been working on in my spare time. The story started out at 60 pages and has now ballooned into 145 pages! If I don’t start editing the hell out of it I may never get it done! It’s also a good excuse to practice my digital painting skills.

New Stuff 3-23-2010

Been a busy beaver lately…so many projects, so little time. Having the studio shut down has given me some valuable time to brush up on my skills and try out some things that I’ve wanted to do. This Post is what I’ve been up to in the last two weeks:

These images show some modeling and texture tests I was doing in Unreal. I got a little frustrated when I realized that my video card was creating super blotchy Lightmaps due to video card bugs in dealing with DXT1 compression. I can hide the artifacts by playing with the gamma curves on my monitor but that doesn’t teach me anything! I still need to figure out how to get the most out of my spec and normal maps, they really don’t show that well with the lighting here.


This was a super quick sketch (30 min.) for something I’d like to build next in Unreal. I put those lamp posts in to help me with scale but I’m not too happy with how they cut across the center of the image. And the fact that there should be another one in the foreground.

This next image was another quick sketch that was mostly a reaction to me not liking the direction that the first one was going. I’m also trying to learn how to use custom brushes more although I think maybe the ‘spines’ on the lower right are a little too much.


Mudbox is so easy to use that I’ve found myself reluctant to force myself into getting comfortable with ZBrush’s crazy interface. Time to get over that.

These next three images are of a head that I quickly sculpted in ZBrush starting from a PolySphere. The coloration on the nose is still a bit broken; I wanted to achieve a necrotic look but ended up making the nose look out of place. Oh well, I learned what I wanted from this and it’s not inspired enough to warrant spending more time on.

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