Rosetta is a small town nestled in the mountains, caught between the modern world and antiquity. Its natural places remain largely untouched, even when civilization brushes up against them.
We wanted an environment that depicted the place where the city of Rosetta met the forests of Rosetta. It was natural that this would be a transition environment, a place the characters pass when moving from one area to another. For this we chose a simple road on the mountain’s edge.
“Simple” is one of those famous last words.
The sketch has some traffic lights, some earth walls, and a road that forks into the upper forest.
This version brings the viewer closer to the road, as if they were standing on or near the sidewalk. While it captures the essence, there are a few technical problems with the feasability of the design, such as the road being wider on one side and the tributary road being too small. The scale of the traffic lights is also off.
For this version we added some details, including some rock walls. The roads were widened and the side road became two lanes.
This is the proverbial red pen for marking up edits to a design. Here trafic details are being added, the side walk is getting connected, and the road is being brought into a consistent width.
And here the edits were added, though perhaps a little too literally. The disc that was added is a convex mirror used to show oncoming traffic around corners.
Here is where things start to go downhill, starting with the road leading into the forest. We decided we didn’t really like that part of the drawing and attempted a few variations.
Frustrated with the way the road curved up, this version removed it almost completely.
… and here, in addition to trying to straighten out the road again, the bend in the road was re-added. This was deemed “too complicated,” as we had already spent more time on this background than any other.
This is the version we stuck with, and you can see us in the midst of creating the line art. I don’t remember why it was blue at this stage; perhaps it reflected our mood after going back and forth for so long over this. This version brought a whole host of edits along with the line art, including the traffic light turning into a very long street lamp for some reason.
There were several problems with the technical details of the road, including the configuration of the traffic lights. We were tired of making edits, especially ones that later get arbitrarily changed, lost in the pile, or re-edited later. The horizontal flip was a compromise to allow the traffic to remain on the right side of the road while not having to redraw the traffic lights. A, B, and C show the traffic lights and the lanes they service.
Here’s another solution that involves removing the strange siamese twin traffic light and adding a second visible traffic light, with a third implied offscreen. The street lamp also gets a make-over.
Finally, we made up our minds and the line art is in progress. Some of the details are still missing but it’s looking better.
Work in progress coloring job. Oops, the lighting isn’t coming from the upper right like it’s supposed to to match our pose sets.
This is a gentle reminder that you need more than one traffic light at an intersection.
Another work in progress, this time with correct lighting. The road no longer slopes downhill to the left but extends straight.
Progress. I believe Toi was sick this week; this is her coloring work.
Finally complete. We were ecstatic that it came out so well, but horrified about how long we’d spent on it. Each new version and edits delayed this piece by an additional week. We had to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, so we decided to go over the issues we ran into.
We sat down and talked it out. While the original sketch was nice, it was just a rough plan and wasn’t at the proper perspective for what we needed. Furthermore, once we got away from the initial sketch, we lost sight of what exactly we were trying to accomplish. Our process became “I think this would look nice” or “let’s just change this to make it easier,” and we lost our direction.
When you do not have a clear goal in mind, it is easy to overlook details. This is what lead us to searching for photograph references for backgrounds. “We need a similar street to get the details out of,” we said. So much time was lost on technical details such as the width of an intersection or the configuration of a traffic light. We set out to find photographs for the remaining backgrounds, and this choice would be our salvation.
I lied earlier when I said this was done. We still have some technical details that need to be corrected to make a realistic intersection. However, it was at a nice stopping point at this version, and we already intend to revisit all of our art before release and do touch ups. Knowing when to take a break is important for morale, the lifeblood of a weekend project.