Vehicle Concept Art 4

Posted by Adam Weber on Tuesday, 7 July, 2009 at 12:41 pm

When Glen and I talked this morning about what we wanted to post on the blog we thought it would be fun to show an update of what the pirate ship looks like so far.


As mentioned last week there is a lot of work still to be done inside, but it is over 90% complete. Since we’re going to hold off on the tour, we thought we’d share the next best thing. The following are some sketches that Glen sent me of various components of the ship, in this case the lights.


The chandelier hasn’t been seen yet but observant readers may note that the lantern has been on the blog once before; it’s in the background on the gatling gun image.

The figurehead is still on hold because we want it to match the character designs, and some of the doodads on deck are still missing but this is really close to what the final will look like on the exterior. Why so detailed, if we’re going to paint over it anyway? This ship is a major set piece throughout the comic, and if not for this 3D model this thing could never have looked like this; we would have to draw it hundreds of times. There’s just no way. Of course, creating a model like this is an immense amount of work, but later on it will allow us to spend more time on the hand-drawn characters rather than sketching in tedious little details of the ship.

How complex is the pirate ship model? If you include all of the props inside the ship, this thing has over 4.5 million polygons. If that was Greek to you, it basically means really freaking complex. I love the smell of charred graphics card in the morning, almost as much as the satisfaction that comes when Shane’s computer crashes as he tries to load up the ship.

I love how that thing is turning out. Moving on, we are really excited to announce that acts 1-3 (out of 4) in our outline are completely written, meaning that we are now writing the actual script for the first several chapters. Because the script will follow the outline exactly, with only dialogue and fine-point details needing to be added, this phase will move very quickly (we think).  Starting this now will also give us more time to refine the fourth and final act, which is important that we get just right because it includes the climax that the rest of the story builds up to.

5 Comments to Vehicle Concept Art 4

  1. avatar

    Silverfish says:

    July 7th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    That model seems awesome, doing like this – drawing over a 3d model – is something that’s so smart yet so obvious somehow. I’ve never seen it done like this before.

    I’m excited about this, really looking forward to reading it.

  2. avatar

    Erica says:

    July 7th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Having the ship completely done in 3D will also allow for more interesting angles. Be sure to take this into consideration when designing the pages. Great job, and keep up the good work!

  3. avatar

    Adam Weber says:

    July 7th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    @Silverfish I forget whose idea it was to do that originally but it came about when we were discussing how the comic would look. Everyone involved wanted really high quality images, but if the panels took too long to make it would prove impossible to keep a good release schedule. We needed to come up with a way to produce images quickly without sacrificing quality, and this fit the bill.

    @Erica Yes, it would, and more importantly it will allow us to experiment with different compositions with little time invested in each one.

  4. avatar

    Jason Jansky says:

    July 14th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t know how common it is necessarily, but I do know that the technique of “painting” over a set render was extensively used by the lighting department at PIXAR in the making of Ratatouille, to get a feeling for what the final render should look like. It goes to show the inseparable connection between traditional art methods and digital. Use both and you’ll be getting the best of both worlds.

  5. avatar

    Vehicle Sketches 1 @ Hackberry Hollow says:

    January 19th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    […] not that difficult to create an original truck design that looks a lot like a real truck, or a pirate ship that looks like a real pirate ship. But when it comes to creating a vehicle that’s completely […]

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