Fate Saga is a fantastical, action/drama animated series about fate and free will, and follows Cain, a knight who can see the future. With only glimpses of prophecies to guide him, Cain interferes in natural disasters and war in hopes of stopping his tragic visions from happening.

However, in a world on the brink of an apocalypse, is knowing the final outcome enough to change it?

Fate Saga is an original animated action/drama series taking place in a fantastical world based on Medieval Europe.

24 June 2013

Lukas Poster for Florida Supercon

 Fate Saga will be at Florida Supercon over the July 4th weekend, and in anticipation for it, I wanted to develop a few more new Fate Saga stuff to sell there.  At MegaCon, the posters did exceptionally well, and thus my first thought was to create posters for some of the cast who don't yet have one.

 For Lukas, I always thought his silhouette looked best in profile, and I had done an image just like this awhile back as a desktop image,  I had always liked the way the desktop image came out, but it was very hard to sell as a print because it was so very dark (as in, lacking in light).  I wanted to try it again, with brighter and better set up for print.

I also used this as an opportunity to experiment with the eyeholes of his mask somewhat conforming to the shape of his eyes to help show expression.  I tried this test in sketches recently, and Jay Miller suggested adding a black ring around his eyes.  I tried is here to some extent, and I think it worked wonderfully!  It also helped to make his eyes stand out more.  Thanks so much for the helpful suggestion, Jay!

Here are some of the sketches that lead up to the final. 
 I've grown into the habit of flipping my sketches at least once, often twice and re-sketching before I get into the inking stage.  It really helps to get out some of the kinks.
 The flat colors, with very little color/gradient effects to the smokey whispy thing coming out of Lukas' container.

Usually I do shadows first, then highlights.  For this image I did it backwards, because I really needed to know how the strongest light sources touched him first.  Also, another major difference between this poster and the others I've done so far is that this one has a lot of gradient shadows, both in the background and on the figure.  I was inspired by the gorgeous rendering style of Ashley Cope's online comic, Unsounded, and the way she handled the lighting of magical spells.

The final result, before I added the textures and Fate Saga title from the other posters.
The final product, with textures and title added.

Overall, this took me about two days on and off to complete.  It was sketched and inked in Photoshop, then vectorized and colored in Illustrator.  All effects are done in Illustrator.  I've done this for every poster so far and will continue to do so if I can help it.  This is because the posters are all completely vectorized, which gives the images a nice clean look and gives me complete control over their sizing.  I never have to worry about pixelation.

16 June 2013

Father's Day

So in going with the relationships the cast have with their mother's for this year's Mother's Day, for Father's Day I wanted to do something similar. However, instead of reviewing their adult relationships with their fathers (or father figures), I drew the main 4 heroes as children and showed their relationships that way.

Cain's father is an older man and a knight who didn't get to spend lots of time with his children because he was always off with knightly duties - but he nonetheless loved his children and Cain adored him. Many of Cain's traits he gained from him - his chivalry, sense of justice and responsibility. Cain's father was a gentle and heroic man, and growing up Cain aspired to be just like him. In the image, I imagine that Cain's father is talking knightly business with people, and had brought his son with him to the castle.

Rori had a very good relationship with both parents. They were both tough and could be strict, but being warriors themselves they weren't helicopter or tiger parents. Although she was rambunctious, Rori rarely got in trouble for the type of things she did. In this image, I imagine it's something like:
Lil Rori: "Papa! That boy pushed me so I punched him in the face!"
Father: "Ouch! That's my girl!"

Larkspur was definitely's a 'daddy's girl', as she had a poor relationship with her mother. Her father's a bit flamboyant and tacky, but very loving and affectionate towards his daughter. He was the type of guy who'd cheer for her during any singing recitals, and proudly go to any childhood event Larkspur had. It's through him that she learned her gentleness, patience and tolerance for all different types of people.

Guile's father died when he was a baby, so his father figure for a time was his Grandfather. His Grandfather unfortunately didn't care to have to play 'father' a second time and didn't tolerate anything Guile did. He would often take his frustrations out on the boy regardless of whether he had a reason. Later Guile gets separated from his Grandfather and is found/raised by Rori, so from that point on he's like the son of a single mother.

10 June 2013

Seiron Gift Art by Jay!

My friend, talented artist and hard working colleague Jay Miller did a batch of gift arts for friends a short while back, and amongst them was this absolutely adorable interpretation of Fate Saga's own Seiron!  I love his sweet little face and the 'fingers-tapping-together pose which is something he does quite a lot, especially when he's being inquisitive, nervous or curious!

He came out so absolutely adorable here!  Jay did a lovely job with the line-less style!

Thanks so much, Jay!

02 June 2013

Lukas Animation Puppet Development

To practice with After Effects, I've started working on an animation featuring Lukas and Bianca.  Since the initial test, I have been experimenting with designing a functional 2D puppet for Lukas in After Effects.  I've attempted using the puppet warp tool, however the arm became too noodly.  Lukas' arms are boney, and should have a distinct edge in the elbow that the puppet warp tool can't quite successfully create.

I have tried cutting the limb into pieces and animating them the same way I would in Flash, as individual parts.  It works alright, but very recently McArthur Freeman, an animation professor at USF, brought to my attention a very interesting, free script for After Effects called DUIK.  For any of you 3D rigging enthusiasts, the extension allows us to create IK (Inverse Kinematic) controls for the arms and legs.  The latest version requires it to be used in conjunction with puppet warp - or at least it appears to from my initial tests - but the results are promising.

At this current stage, I am running tests on a rough draft of Lukas' arm and leg to see if I can get the motion I want out of it without breaking his model.  I will post an brief animation rigging test on the blog at a later date.


In the meantime, there's an issue with his eyes that I've always sort of known about but now have to address if I want to try and animate with him.

In his older version, Lukas has distinct eye holes in his mask, and his eyes emote inside of the eye holes.  Functionally, this is fine and I can set up the puppet to work.  However, I find that it's harder to emote with him especially since his mouth and 'eyebrows' are essentially covered. 

When I roughed out the storyboards for his animation, I found that his expressions read well when the 'eye holes' of his mask simply conformed to the shape of his eyes, like with Deadpool or Batman in the cartoons.  The caveat to this is that it requires more suspension of disbelief, especially since Lukas wears a hard mask (like Cubone or Slade).

I also wasn't sure if, when he closes his eyes, whether you'd see the green outline around his eyes at that point.  It looked strange to do it when the image was placed in conjunction with the others up here, so I tried just having them blink without a visible eye hole.

What I wanted to ask is if you'd still be able to take him seriously with this simplification in his mask design?  Does it hurt him as a character, or does it make it easier to read his expressions?  He is a character who can be both quirky and creepy.  When he's at his creepiest/most serious, would this design still work?  Does the mask still look like a mask?

I may try another set of drawings coming up to test Lukas with a more rigid eye hole shape, and emoting his eyes underneath to see how that looks.  I want to have that element of his head design finished by the time I get to his head in the rig.  The Lukas puppet won't be his 'final' by any means, but I'd like to optionally use it beyond this one animation.