Over the summer, Renderosity asked its community to put their animation skills to the test in "Animation Contest: The Gamer's Most Epic Cutscene."
Animators were asked to create an epic cutscene to a video game. Rick Wade, who has been a member since 2001 under the name DarkSkills, took the challenge and created a cutscene to a game he has been developing.
He said he took the opportunity to create an intro to his game, which he described as an anime-inspired endless runner with platformer elements.
"The game is currently still in development, but I hope to have it ready to launch by the end of this year (2018)," said Wade who lives in Detroit, Michigan.
Watch Wade's cutscene and then learn about how and why he created it.
How long have you been creating digital art and why did you start?
I started down the digital art path back around 2000/2001. I started down that path because back around 1999/2000 is when I discovered anime and manga, and instantly fell in love with that style of artwork.
It was at that moment I decided that I want to make my own anime, and set about to do so.
As I was a traditional artist (realistic pencil drawings and comic book style art), I started off animating the old school way, using my lightbox and literally drawing hundreds of images just for a few seconds of animation.
Well, I was getting pretty frustrated at how time-consuming the process was, when a friend of mine who was doing software development at the time, told me that if I learned how to use 3D programs, then theoretically I could pull off an animation in the fraction of the time it would take to do it the traditional way.
He recommended that I pick up Poser, and thus my digital journey began.
What's your favorite software to create with?
Poser and Vue xStream
What is your favorite thing to design?
My favorite things to design are cel-shaded, anime/manga-style characters and sci-fi/city environments.
What inspired your cutscene? How did you create it?
The inspiration for the cutscene is actually tied to its creation.
It just so happens that I'm actually working on a video game at the moment; an endless runner with platformer elements, so the character and environment in the cutscene are actually all elements from the game I'm working on.
I had the mechanics and most of the graphics completed for the game, but I honestly didn't have a backstory for the game yet. Then when I saw the cutscene contest announcement, I said to myself, this is the perfect opportunity to come up with a backstory for the game; a reason why the character is running.
As you may have noticed, the cutscene is very heavily anime influenced.
This is because I love the anime/manga art style, with Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex being among my all time favorite anime. So I leaned heavily on influences from that sci-fi'esque anime genre to come up with the story.
To lend it an air of authenticity, I went out to Fiverr and hired a Japanese voice actress (Megumielkins) to translate the script and do the voice-over narration.
As for the technical aspects of the creation; I used Aiko 3 (I know, I'm still old school like that. LOL!) with a custom shader node / texturing process I created in Poser to try and emulate that cel-shaded anime look.
The same process was applied to the environment/buildings with everything having been rendered in Poser 11, except for the destroyed buildings which appear in the background of a few scenes.
Those destroyed buildings were created using elements from KitBash 3D's War Zone kit, and rendered in Vue xStream 2014, using a texturing / lighting technique I created for Vue (again to pull-off that cel-shaded look.)
Once all of the elements were rendered, I used Vegas Pro to composite and edit the video. The background music was just something I created to add a sense of drama and help carry the story/cutscene, while at the same time not distract from the voice over or imagery.
Tell me about your game.
The game is a 2D side-scrolling endless runner type of game with some platformer elements added to it. The world is futuristic/post-apocalyptic where the cities are walled open-air prisons called containments.
The character has to make it across the city and beyond the walls by running and jumping across various floating platforms high above the city, in order to link up with an underground resistance organization.
Along the way, the character must avoid various obstacles and collect power cells some of which act as power-ups to give the character brief bursts of super speed, and others act as currency which can be used to buy different outfits for the character.
The actual look of the game is heavily anime influenced. To pull of the anime look and feel, I created a custom shader-node and texturing process within Poser which renders out a pretty good cel-shade emulation.
The game is currently still in development, but I hope to have it ready to launch by the end of this year (2018).
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Hmm, well, by day I'm an Instructional Systems Designer for a defense contractor, and by night I'm actually a pretty well known electronic dance music producer (I just go by my real name; Rick Wade) and I travel the globe performing/DJ'ing one or two weekends a month. Oh yeah, two of my tracks were featured on the season finale of the hit anime; Space Dandy (episode 13).
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Michelle Willard, Editor of Renderosity Magazine | Former newspaper reporter. Recovering archaeologist. Political nerd. True crime junkie. Read her articles here