Concept Art / Production design
Our team of artists and art directors create outstanding concept art for environments, characters, props and vehicles through to key shot images, costume and set designs, storyboards and animatics.
We deliver inspirational artwork supported by innovative and imaginative thinking across all styles and genres for games, film, TV and marketing.
From fast sketch ideas to detailed design illustrations, we can work with client direction or use our skills and experience to develop an original style proposition.
We have many different methods for creating great concept ideas but we normally follow a traditional process: exploring a broad range of ideas through sketches, honing the direction through iteration and refining the detail through black and white designs.
Once the design is finalised, it’s then brought to life with colour and the rendering of final material detail.
Our initial character sketches begin with an exploration of proportions, clothing and attitude before beginning to add in the detail of facial expression, costume design and texture.
Mortal Kombat’s Raiden is one of the few characters to have appeared in every generation of the franchise but for MKX, NetherRealm were looking for a fresh look for the character’s evil persona.
Initial sketches retained the distinguishing silhouette and conical hat but experimented with the key elements of the costume such as the belt and cape. A selection of three black and white sketches were then refined further before taking the preferred design to an all-round full colour polished character design.
For key scenes and locations we frequently begin with a composition or line sketch to help understand how the scene is played out and to solve any problems of focal point and storytelling. Once these elements are agreed we can then begin to build in further detail and consider the role of mood and lighting.
For the village scenes in The Realm, two different artists approached the design. While Roberto’s ideas were more inspired by Japanese animation films, Charlie’s explored the concept of a cosy, close-knit village that wouldn’t look out of place in the countryside.
Both approaches were part of the process of evolution that led us to the more modern Nordic/Saxon look that we then brought to colour, adding in the details of the landscape, inhabitants and lighting.
Key Action Shots & Visual Targets
Key action shots and visual target images help to communicate a vision for the style and tone of a product or moment in one single image.
For Microsoft’s Project Spark we were involved in the very earliest stages of the design process, beginning with a series of inspirational and highly detailed visual target images to help drive the development of the game and set a high standard for the art direction.
The image below combines character and environment art from this stage of the project, establishing key stylistic pillars and defining the overall aesthetic of the Spark experience.
We’ve designed a vast array of vehicles from futuristic helicopter carriers to retro spaceships to stylised cars for Angry Birds. Some, such as the Milano spaceship from Guardians of the Galaxy, have even been built into real life sets.
The challenge with concepting the Milano was to create a fighter plane/rocket ship that was both beautiful and functional. We looked for inspiration in the aspirational and stylish designs of 1940s and 1950s air travel, combining classic curves with futuristic material.
We produced so many sketches exploring how to blend the design principles of past and future that we created our own specific process for rapidly concepting spacecraft.
This process is demonstrated in one of our online video tutorials.
Props, characters and vehicles that demand an iconic and recognisable shape can all benefit from beginning life as a series of thumbnails or silhouettes.
Using a process of rapid thumbnail sketches allows us to focus on the overall form rather than specific details before picking out the best of the shapes and refining them into a more readable style.
These weapon thumbnails show how different shapes and sizes can be quickly explored in silhouette to present a range of options that can then be refined and built upon to create a unique design.