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Sailor Moon Collaboration

2014/10/03

Some months ago the new Sailor Moon tv series, Sailor Moon Crystal, premiered in Japan. To celebrate the return of our beloved childhood heroines, a few of us german (comic-) artists collaborated to do a tribute piece. This was the first one:

sailormooncollab_webSailor Neptun: Katharina Netolitzky
Sailor Uranus: David FĂĽleki
Sailor Jupiter: Schlogger
Sailor Merkur: Carolin Reich
Sailor Chibi Moon: Sushi
Sailor Moon: Sarah Stowasser
Sailor Mars: Katja Klengel
Sailor Venus: Olivia Vieweg
Sailor Pluto: Marion Kapferer
Sailor Saturn: Lisa Rau
Here is my Sailor Pluto up close:

 

sailorpluto_mari

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really tried to get into the topic in my own personal style.

The second piece we did is a tribute to summerseason. The first collaboration was kinda successful, so even more artists joined us!

SailorMoon-Collaboration_Summer_Final_kleinHaruka von hillerkiller.com
Diana von juliaschlax.daportfolio.com
Makoto von facebook.com/sushiart
Michiru von carolin-reich.de
Minako von facebook.com/livanyaa
Chibiusa von olivia-vieweg.de
Setsuna von flowerprinthat.blogspot.com
Rei von sarahstowasser.tumblr.com
Hotaru von fehdeblog.blogspot.de
Usagi von marionkapferer.de
Artemis von aru-draws.tumblr.com
Mamoru von doppeltim.de
Luna von facebook.com/Kukas.Kunst
Ami von schlogger.de

This time around I had the honour of drawing Usagi! I tried a more mangaesque style:

Mari_UsagiSummer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I kinda enjoy that she has not a perfectly beautiful face.

Loved working with some of my favourite german artists! 🙂 Please check out their sites, too!

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Illustration Progress

2013/09/23

I love looking at all kinds of art. Whether I’m in a museum or on a portfolio website or peek into someone’s sketchbook – looking at the art of others is the greatest source of inspiration and drives me to become a better artist myself. But what I love most is to actually see how a piece of art develops, from the first lines to basic colour shapes, all the way to the finished piece with whatever motif it may present.

Some artists are kind enough to let you participate in their creative process, via screencapture-videos or step-by-step images.

One of my favourite youtube channels featuring the process of artwork is TORVENIUS, who is a digital artist, well known for his surreal speed paintings. Definitely check out his channel, because his approach and technique are fascinating!

garrett_steps_by_janaschi-d5un974

Copyright by Jana Schirmer

 

If you like the whimsical art of Manga and Comics, check out Sakimichan’s Weblog. There you can find many of her famous paintings in a WIP-status!

ConceptCookie is not only a great website for art tutorials, but they also have a DeviantArt gallery, with very specific progress-shots, like of a stylized eye or a shiny gem. If you like material- and light studies, their gallery is for you.

Janaschi (Jana Schirmer) is certainly one of the most famous German artists, or rather, artists in general, of our time. Her recent portrait-series, where she paints the faces of colleagues and friends, has found many admirers, but what’s especially interesting is to see her individual approach in the progress-images she shared. Check them out in her DevianArt gallery.

Another great and interesting artist is lora-zombie, who already has a big fan community. She frequently shares photos of her atelier, for she is mostly an analogue painter. She also has shot some artsy videos of her painting progress, which you can find on her DeviantArt portfolio.

Last, but not least, I’d like to mention one of my favourite heros when it some to WIP pictures, algenpfleger. He even has a folder in his DeviantArt gallery specifically dedicated to tutorials and step-by-steps. Have a look at it here!

With a very recent illustration of mine I wanted to do something similiar and also show my painting steps. I ended up creating an animated gif of the various states of progress:

animation_fantasyforest

Step-by-step animation of “Fantasy Forest”.
Copyright by Marion Kapferer / CipSoft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the final illustration on DeviantArt!

Are you guys as intrigued by WIP-art as I am? I’d love to see some of your step-by-step work, so please send it to me!

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Light Aesthetics in Games available as a book!

2013/09/21

Do you guys remember my master thesis, which I finished in 2011? It was recently released in paperback, which you can now buy on amazon and other bookstores! Here’s a short abstract of the contents:

Digital lights and shadows contribute significantly to the expressive value of graphics in a game. The lighting-process of a level for a game can take up to a few weeks, because the interactive nature of a game creates very different conditions for lighting compared to other media. Nevertheless, a well-lit environment can considerably improve a game’s immersive quality, which is crucial for the player’s “aesthetic experience”. In a state of complete immersion that involves concentration and mental undistractedness, a game will evoke the player’s emotions, which is a very high objective in game development. Entrancing the viewer has also been a goal of painters for hundreds of years. Advanced technique in lighting has been used to create the most stunning painted masterpieces in history, so this book makes an approach of exploring the phenomena of light and shadow in painting and applying them to today’s artistic challenges in simulated illumination for games.

Image

As you may see, this book has a very specific topic, but it does not exclusively focus on lighting. Topics like immersion, psychology, art history and colour theory are discussed thoroughly, so whether you are a concept artist, level designer, game designer or, of course, a lighting artist, or if you are just interested in how light in games can be used to deliver your story/ideas/features/etc., please have a look at this publication.

Also, if you know any colleagues or co-workers who are dealing with the challenges of light in games, please refer them to my book. And if you bought it, it would mean a loooot to me to get some feedback or a review on amazon, or, even better, get in contact and have a discussion on this creative topic. Come on, I can’t be the only one who is a lighting-geek!

Buy it here: Light Aesthetics in Games on Amazon

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Visiting Singapore again!

2012/11/23

Tonight I’ll leave for Singapore again!

Next week I’ll attend SIGGRAPH ASIA, one of the biggest conferences on CG/Animation/Games and VFX. I’m very excited, as you can guess.

I’m definitely going to post some pictures here, and write about the courses I will attend. 🙂

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Texture style development fun

2012/04/29

Last year I’ve been working on a nice little browser game, which was released some time ago.
It’s called “The Big Catch”. I played it for a few hours, and have to say that it’s nice light entertainment, and can be real fun if you are into fishing and familiar with the routine.

For this purpose I created various low-poly 3D-game assets and environments, which you can see in the game. I modeled the objects and, with directions and help from the studio I did the freelancing for (http://www.polygonfabrik.de) I developed a comic-like, easy-on-the-eyes texture style for the environment.

Image

Creating a distinct texture/shader style for a game, a short movie or just a still rendering is one of the most interesting and exciting processes for an artist. I decided to write about it because that’s part of what I do on my current job.

There have been written countless books about the technical aspects of applying textures to objects, about shader programming and brush painting, and making photographs tileable. But before all that, there are various other steps to take until you can really get down to work.
It always helpful to ask yourself the following questions during the creative process:

  • How will the style of the textures complement and suit the content I’m trying to transmit?
    First and foremost (as an artist) you will always have the exciting task to deliver a message through visual information. So with every part of the production (if it is a movie or a game or something else entirely) you must always support the content of your product via the graphics. This is a very basic rule, but not always easily to be followed! Once you make it your priority, your product has great chance to become more appealing for the audience. Of course, this also goes for the textures, as they play a big part in the visual information the viewer is going to receive. An example: In The Darkness II, a very distinct cel-shading look has been used, which emulates the aesthetics of the graphic novel namesake. It supports the dark and twisted nature of the game.
  • How will the textures work as in-game/rendered shaders and how will they interact with the lighting?
    A texture always looks different in your 2D graphics program from the actual end product. Keep testing various looks in the engine/renderer. Depending on the shader and light setups, small changes in the texture can have huge effects on the outcome.
  • When the texture is applied, are the forms of the objects still readable in the composition?
    Very often, texture that is too detailed or busy makes an image harder to read instead of making it visually clearer. If possible, go back and forth between working on the lighting and the shading/texturing the get the best results. Especially with games, a readable environment is very important when the player has to navigate her/his way through it. Of course it depends on the style of the product, but generally, you can depend on this basic rule to make your image clearer: Color contrast and saturation are the highest up close. The further away and object is, the less contrasted and saturated it appears. Manipulate your textures if needed to make the composition clearer.
Image
  • What workflow must be developed in order to create the texture look I want?
    In a commercial production (as well as most student projects) you only have limited time to work on textures. Try to find a production routine! If the look has to be “hand-painted”, as it is so popular nowadays, try to think of alternatives: Does every bit of texture have to actually BE handpainted? Or are there faster ways to achieve that look (perhaps with filters, modifications of photos, etc.)? Also, an easy way to speed up your workflow is to simply create some Photoshop actions. (Have a look at this tutorial if you are unfamiliar with actions: http://www.lightstalking.com/photoshop-actions )
  • What kind of resources are available?
    The actual resources you have will have effect on the look of your product. Do you own a library with countless licensed high-res texture-photos? Do you have a great camera you can use for texture-photography? Do you have great painting skills, which could be of any use? What supplies are needed for creating an authentic non-digital watercolor-look? (Colors, Paper, Scanner, etc.) This also applies to human- and time-resources: Is there a programmer to help you with shader-development or can you do it on your own? How much time is scheduled in your project plan for the task of texture development and the texturing process?

Creating properly nice textures for your models can be time consuming, and sometimes there’s a lot of trial-and-error involved. But that’s also what makes it so much fun. In the end, the look of the textures and shaders and their interaction with the light setup will have significant impact on the whole aesthetic of your product.

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My master thesis

2012/01/24

Yesterday I graduated with honors as Master of Arts in Arts and Design.
This is the title of my master’s thesis, which I completed in December. I’m giving you a short summary of the thesis here. In case you are interested in reading more, I plan on releasing it step by step on this blog, maybe other blog. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

“The steady advancement of computer graphics, and par ticularly of real-time rendering technology, is the reason for major improvements in 3D-graphics used in interactive entertainment. The visual representation of a game is an important part of the “gameplay-gestalt” – which means a player’s complete gaming experience.
Digital lights and shadows contribute significantly to the expressive value of graphics in a game. The lighting-process of a level for a next-gen game can take up to a few months because the interactive nature of a game creates very different conditions for lighting than other media. Nevertheless, a well-lit environment can considerably improve a game’s immersive quality, which is crucial for the player’s “aesthetic experience”. In a state of complete immersion, that involves concentration and mental undistractedness, a game will evoke the player’s emotions, which is a very high objective for game development.
Entrancing the viewer has also been a goal of painters for hundreds of years.
Light in painting has been used to create the most stunning masterpieces in history, so this thesis makes an approach of exploring the phenomena of light and shadow in painting and applying them to today’s ar tistic challenges in simulated illumination for games. A thorough knowledge of historical and technical backgrounds of painting and game-lighting creates the foundation for a differentiated discussion about the conception of light aesthetics in games. The assumption this thesis is based on, is that the two very different media, painting and games, show parallels and intersections in terms of light, and that game ar tists can indeed learn from closely observing the use of light and shadow in the paintings of the great old masters.
This thesis correlates with the master’s graduation project “SIDELIVES”, a third person action game. A great part of the generated knowledge was acquired by practically testing and creating level lighting, while the findings of the research conversely benefitted to the development of the game.”

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Prepare your Experience@Singapore

2011/08/23

I have been receiving a lot of E-Mails lately regarding Experience@Singapore. It seems that ContactSingapore chose another round of candidates for their programme just recently! Congratulations to everyone that was chosen, this is going to be one of the most exciting experiences of your life.

Of course now you wonder: How should I prepare for this whole thing? I made a FAQ-list for this that I will try to answer as detailed as possible. Please keep in mind that I have attended the programme last year and that the organisation can change details. If your are not sure that the information is up-to-date, don’t hestitate to write an email to ContactSingapore, they are very helpful with any questions you might have.

Experience@Singapore Digital Media Inofficial Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get there?
A:  Flights to Singapore are provided by several airlines. I chose EMIRATES and booked my flight via swoodoo.com, which I can absolutely recommend. ContactSingapore is going to pay half of your flight-costs, keep that in mind when booking.

Q: What about the costs/money?
A: ContactSingapore is going to cover half of your costs for flight and accommodation, as well as a welcome-dinner and a farewell-dinner. You are going to receive the cover on your first day in cash (Singapore-Dollars). That means you don’t actually have to bring that much cash to exchange in the first place. How much exactly is, of course, up to your own estimation, it depends on how much you want to go shopping there and how long you would like to stay after the programme. Food and transportation is not expensive at all. Please get the most recent exchange-rate here: http://www.xe.com

Q: Do I need a visa?
A: No, you can enter Singapore without a visa. You are going to get a form in the plane which you have to fill out (length of stay, name etc…). You drop that off at the airport-customs and that’s that. But make sure to bring your passport! I recommend checking immediately if yours is still valid. If not, have it renewed as soon as possible.

Q: How/What was the hotel?
A: I don’t know for sure if you are going to stay at the same hotel we were, but if that’s the case, I can promise it’s wonderful. Check it out here: http://www.galleryhotel.com.sg/
You are going to share your room with one other candidate of the programe, which is really great. Because really, after a day in Singapore you can’t just go to sleep. You have to TALK IT OUT! 🙂
You don’t have to bring a hairdryer or towels or even shampoo, everything is available in the rooms. The staff is super-nice and helpful, too. And don’t forget to check out the pool.

Q: What kind of vaccination is recommended?
A: Whenever you travel to a foreign continent it’s useful to check out the recommended vaccinations:
Check it out here: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/asia/singapore.shtml

Q: Do I have to bring anything special?
A: Here’s a list of things I never regretted bringing with me:

  • Passport copies
  • mosquito repellent
  • sun protection cream
  • first-aid kit
  • Diary/notebook
  • Netbook for blogging
  • photocamera
  • printed out flight info, ContactSingapore Info-Sheet, list of participants
  • credit card

List of things I regretted ever buying and bringing:

  • Electric socket adapter
Q: Should I bring my portfolio?
A:  Yes. If you have the time and money, invest in a print-portfolio, if not, bring digital examples of your work or a showreel. You will get the chance to show your work to the professionals who can give you very valueable constructive criticism. Don’t forget to bring contact-cards and your CV, too!
Q: Can I stay in Singapore after the programme is over?
A: Definitely. I still regret not staying longer. If I had the chance, I’d at least stay another week, to visit Malaysia and get the full experience. You can book your room at the gallery hotel or stay in one of the youth hostels.
Q: It’s pretty warm there, right?
A: Yup. It’s warm. And moist. And tropical. BUT inside every building they have the airconditioning going like crazy. Don’t forget a jacket or shawl to wear inside, or you have a high chance to get a cold. Also, concerning clothes: One day you are going to visit  Temples and perhaps a Mosque, make sure to dress appropriately for that.
Q: Is bringing a laptop a must?
A: No, not at all. I brought a small netbook because I planned on blogging anyway.
Q: Do we have to write a diary/blog?
A: No, you don’t have to. Last year I was the only one who did it, and I did it more for personal reasons. But you can give ContactSingapore the link to your blog, if you write one. They are very grateful for everybody who does it. There is even a small competition: One for picture-taking and one for blogging. Last year I won the blogging competition (because I was the only one, haha) and my dear friend Martin won the photo-competition with his amazing pictures. 🙂
Q: Do you have  a bit of free time for shopping and hanging around?
A: Yes you do. Although not A LOT. Sometimes we had like 30 minutes to stroll around the area we were visiting. But in the evening we ALWAYS went out to eat and have cocktails together, which is free time. But I highly recommend staying longer after the programme, since the schedule is really really tight.
Q: Do you have to dress properly for the interviews with the companies?
A: You are going to have company-presentations, not interviews per se. Sometimes you will have the chance to show your portfolio, but there isn’t an interview-situation, because you don’t really have the time. This week in Singapore gives you the opportunity to get to know some companies, the lifestyle, the working-morals, simply an overview on the worklife in Singapore. You won’t actually get hired from the spot.
As for the clothes: Be casual. It’s really warm and you have to run around the city all day, so leave the high-heels and Blazers at home. Of course it’s up to you to make an impression. I’d go with casual but semi-professional attire (nothing tooooo short or deep decolletĂ©).
Q: Do you receive an kind of job-offer after the programme?
A: You never know, but since you don’t actually APPLY to the companies you visit, I’d say no. You will trade contact cards with influental people, get to know them personally and you can use that in your application later, which is definitely a big plus. But don’t stress yourself over any job-related things. Get to know the companies, fall in love with Singapore and apply as soon as you are back home. 🙂
Q: What companies are we going to visit?
A: You will get the information soon from ContactSingapore! It’s recommended to research the companies beforehand, so you know if they have any open positions and what exactly they do.
One last word on the companies: Don’t be afraid of them! 🙂 They are all very very nice people who act very casual with you and are happy to answer your questions. In fact, we had a nice chat with the guys from LucasArts over a cup of coffee. 🙂
If you have any other questions, please just drop me an email: mail@marionkapferer.de
I will try to answer everything, since I know how exciting this whole phase is. I was so nervous, I could barely sleep, when I first got the notice that I was a candidate.
I wish everybody who is in this year’s programme all the best and a lot of fun. I’d be happy to hear about your experience, maybe you will make a blog yourselves?
Best regards,
Marion