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Darkness Revealed Update 12 - Creating the Concept Art of Last Dive's World (Part 2)

Hello, everyone!

Last week, we started to show the process behind concepting our game's first environments. If you missed it, I highly recommend you read Part 1, so you can fully understand this one. Today we'll show the rest of the concepting project and it's development into an environment's final art. Let's get going!

"Thumbnailing" an actual level

So, the big advantage of working with low-detail thumbnails is how fast and easy it is to adjust its colors and shapes until we're satisfied with the resulting mood.

In this case, we needed to create our "Base" ocean level - that is, the "regular", non-customized segments of seabed that connect one area to another. We already had an idea of the game's intended overall look (the very first image on this post), so we used that thumbnail as a reference to get started.

From left to right, you'll see that first we tried some more neutral, less macabre colors. We felt it became too colorful and went for a middle ground approach. Feeling that we had gotten the colors right, we went on to customize the shapes and objects to something with a more neutral ocean mood. The orange and purple fish flocks were actual decoration proposals, but also a way to "reserve" colors - that is, map a couple different colors that we felt worked well with the composition and could also be used in other props, when the time came to actually render the objects that will go into the game.

From thumbnail to final render (+art kit)

Once we had a final thumbnail with which we were satistied, we then moved on to actually rendering it into useable graphic assets.

The first part is to resize the thumbnail until it has the same resolution that we use in the game, and render each object under this new increased resolution. Then we move on to creating a bunch of variations for some of the scenery objects: stuff that goes on the platforms, foreground that is placed near to the camera, background objects used to compose the scene, etc.

Below is a comparison of our base ocean level, from thumbnail to art kit.

It should be noted that the file that is generated by this process is not an actual game scene, nor does it represent how it will look into the game! In short, it's much more cluttered than any area of that level will be - that is because it contains all the environment assets that will be used in that level (algae variation, foreground options, etc, while in the actual game we'll only pick some of those elements at a time). This file containing everything that can be used to decorate one particular level is what we call a level's "art kit". When the art kit is ready, it means it's mostly a matter of importing the graphics into the engine and using it to decorate the level.

Finally, the graphics still change a lot in the game because of the realtime lighting techniques that we are employing. We hope to be able to show that final output soon!

That's it for now guys, next week we'll continue to talk about Last Dive's art creation process, and we'll show the final art of other levels we have already created! Hope you enjoyed this update!

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Thanks and till next time!

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