FEZ Contest Walkthrough

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This page is the WIP (Work in Progress) Walkthrough dedicated to the FEZ (Fantasy Earth Zero) Contest hosted by Deviant Art and Gamepot that I'm currently participating.

FEZ contest link: Click here.

Do note that this is not the process I go through all the time, it is essentially for me to go and explore in-depth on many different areas as well as a learning experience for me. The process is very time-consuming but I believe that the end result is pretty much can guarantee good results. Half the time will be spent on exploration but more than half-the time will be spent on the actual painting.

Table of Contents
- Process 1 - Character Poses
- Process 2 - Armor Designs
- Process 3 - Hair Styles
- Process 4 - Armor Design
- Process 5 - Gauntlet Shield Sword
- Process 6 - Movement Exploration
- Process 7 - Painting

Process 1 - Character Poses
So, I started out with pumping out poses. Whether I liked them or not, I gave myself a quick critique on each one. The self-criticisms will add so much more towards my next step. Though I wish I knew a script to collapse the section for each pose so that we can save page space. Oh well, here we go.

NOTE: Btw, sorry if it seems wierd to you. It was easier if I criticize my work as if I was criticizing someone else's work. So it will seems that I'm talking to someone else, which is... me! Ahahahaha.... *awkward*.

Pose 1

- It's nice and simple.

- It's like a totem pole, not interesting. the back could arch a little more back to push the curve a little more. the leg needs obvious anatomy fix but that can be done later. Overall, not interesting pose for a foreground element.

- Meh. Next.

Pose 2
- It's a neat pose. You get to see the full armor in effect, plus a bit of perspective. It's a ready stance.

- Too bad you'll miss the design on the shield which would have been pretty slick. This pose is not what I want to show off as the perfect character or hero. It looked like a soldier who is either scared off it wits, caught off guard, or just not prepared.

- Eeehh... meh. Next!

Pose 3
- It's a cool pose, you can see the full armor in effect, plus a bit of perspective on the arm and the overlaps of the legs. Again, won't be able to show off the awesome shield design. Though this pose has more potential and feels more interesting.

- It's a fairly generic ready stance pose.

- Hmm, got potential. I'll keep that in thought. Though leading a bit towards no.

Pose 4
- I... uh. It's an accurate pose. It does what it's showing. Oh hey! I can show off shield design! Though covering a good part of the armor. *sigh*

- Why do I keep pulling off these unheroic like poses? NEXT!

- *headdesk* Next!

Pose 5
- Ooh. Nice curvature. I like it! Interesting posture, and can very potentially show off the armor design to it's best.

- Eeeh, pose a bit generic. Obviously can't show off the shield design.

- It's got potential, I'll keep that in mind.

Pose 6
- Started out this pose, I'm like, hey it's cool. Let see if I can push it, and push it again and again. I think I killed it on the last two push.

- Hmm, It's nice pose, really love the curvature of the body.

- Gotta watch those legs! No potential showing off shield design either.

- The one on the top right is the best by far it feels. I'll keep that one in mind. Though leading a bit towards no.

Pose 7
 - It's a very cool pose. Nice action, and interesting direction and focus.

- Gotta watch that arm and shield, it's gonna be very tricky.

- It's got potential. I'll think about it. Though leading a bit towards no.

Pose 8

- Oh neat action pose.

- Game over. It's a back shot. Never show back shot to represent a character.


Pose 9
- It's another neat action pose.

- Leg is a mess, arm is a mess, pose is a bit awkward and stuff. No.


Pose 10
- It's a neat, clean, and simple posture. Can also very well bring out the best of the armor.

- Don't know what to do with the shield! And yay for character floating in the air... not that it's all that bad.

- Hmm. Could have a potention. Will keep it in mind. Though leading a bit towards no.

Pose 11
- Pretty neat perspective view.

- Not that appealing for a female character. And you can't use this shot for a character who's wearing short skirt unless you're a perv. Moreover, you can't really show off the shield designs.

- I'll pass on this one.

Pose 12
- Pretty nice dynamic action on this one. It can show off shield design, potentially show off most of the armor and the weapon!

- Need to push the posture a bit more and make it so that it's nice and appealing. Also should check perspective and play some more fore-shortening  parts of the posture.

- Perhaps the best candidate by far. Good potential to put this one for use.

Pose 13
- Neat pose that has the character/hero sheathing/unsheathing its sword. Shows off both armor, weapons, and shield!

- Doesn't look really heroic. Oh well.

- It has potential use, especially since the attention will be focused mainly on the face and the area where it's sheathing/unsheathing the sword.

Pose 14
- It's a simple and cute posture. Similar to the previous one but with shield on the back. Get a very clean look at the character.

- Killed the shield design. Doesn't feel heroic or perfect character.

- It's nice to see something this simple. Especially it would add even more if you can add a cute facial expression on the character.

Pose 15
- It's a very cool dynamic pose. It shows off action, armor, and shield.

- Can't really show off the weapon to it's full potential. Oh well. Should also see if the pose can be pushed more to better. It feels more like the hero/heroine is struggling more than being all mighty.

- Hmm it's very cool and lots of potential. But it doesn't reflect how the character feel to be potentially the one true perfect character. Leaning towards no.

Pose 16

- Hmm, I really like how this pose came out. I tried out different way to push this posture. First starting off the the legs, then I played around with the arms and the sword angle.

- This is a very nice pose. It has a nice flow to it. It's a fairly dynamic mid action posture. It makes the character feel pretty strong. Though it shows off mainly armor but the flow makes up for it.

- It really kills the design show off aspects for both the sword and the shield.

- This one feels like a pass. The top left one has the best silhouette.


Since I've gotten somewhat of a pose idea, it's time to move exploring and play around the various armor designs. So my idea was to make a battle angel like armor set for the heroine.

So, I've pulled around 16 variants in designs. My favorites are 10, 14, 15. So I think I'll have a mash up of those ones.

Well, can't have the heroine bald now can we? Though it might be comical if we do. Anyways, I've decided to explore hair styles. So I sat around for like an hour or so just brainstorming and browsing around for hairstyle ideas that I can perhaps fit on the character.

So I did them in 2 sets of 9. So In set 1. I really like the bottom center one. In set 2, I really like the bottom right one. Hmm. I might do the mash up of the two.

So, I've taken the steps into exploring how this armor is layered and worn. I want to explore how it can protect the character as well as showing off the prowess feel of the armor plus accentuate the nice features of a female figure. Note that this isn't the final post I wanted it, I'm merely using it to design the armor.
Most notable is that I have taken Pose 6 as a template since it easily can show off the armor. I've cleaned up the basic anatomy and added the hairstyle to it to tell me that I'm going to design the armor just for this character. So starting from the most basic wear, I gave her a sports top and bottom. Since it's a character that will be running around and fighting with armor, I figured it would fit it the best.

So After that, I've added the "cloth" layer. We can see now how it covers and blocks off majority body and given a better view of where plated armor are going to be places in the future. Besides, I don't want a character to wear just hard plated armor right on top of the skin. Imagine how uncomfortable that would be.

I then went and worked on the metal armor on the character. The shoulder pads comes with leather covers underneath the plating serving it as cushion and locks the platings in piece while it connects both from the main body armor and to the back. The wing piece is connected to the 1st and 2nd shoulder plating, while the last shoulder plating connects to the cloth to hold it together when they move. The gauntlet has a leather base with metal platings on top to cover and protect the top and side parts of the arm, hands and fingers. Side plates for the hips and the side of the upper legs. The greave is jointed together with the leather heel boots.

I wanted to see how the back design would look like. So I quickly did a back view to see how it is from the back compared to the front. Also trying to keep interesting on the back as it would on the front.

At this stage, I'm exploring in more details in some armor parts, swords, and the arm shield that the character will be using. My idea still remains of of a battle angel type of character, so I want to explore items that would go with the character best. What I am looking for is something that is looks like some what royalty, prestigious, and that can show its prowess but also it has to look aesthetically pleasing, thus, beauty.
I've done a quick exploration sketch starting off with the gauntlet. I went to determine which part of the gauntlet would have sown armor plantings and which parts would be strapped. I've also went to understand that the gauntlet's palm should have soft leather padding to allow the user to have a good grip on what ever they are holding and also act as a cushion to absorb energy and protect the user's hand.
I've then went about to sketch designs for the swords and their scabbards that the character might use. At first I was debating of also making curved blades, but then I remember that it wasn't a good idea since it wouldn't had fit with the theme I'm putting the character to. So after quickly sketching the swords, I've decided which ones I should use on my character. I'm leading towards the one to the far left as well as the one second from the right.
For the arm shields, I drew the arm first (shown in red) then designed the shield to fit the way it was supposed to be held. The reason why I went for arm shield instead of the normal shield is that I want to do something different. It is much smaller than tower and kite shields, but they are also quicker in movement, lighter, and decent for defense. So after a few designs, I'm going for the bottom most one. It would be a nice match to the sword I've designed.

I wanted to see how flexible my armor design was. I originally planned it to be light and flexible. So to explore that, I needed to do some animation key poses. While at it, I made it into sequence of movements so that I can see the armor design working as well as what kind of moves the character can pull off. The following are quick movement sketches I've explored.

Finally, the stage where I'm going to paint the final image out. After doing all of that explorations, I got a pretty good idea of what I want.

Progress 1
So here I've chosen to use Pose 5 as my final piece. It has a lot of potential of showing off the armor and the sword, but also the physique of the character. 

Progress 2
I've cleaned up and fixed the anatomy up a bit, also tweaked the post a bit so that I can show what I really want. I've also added a quick very sketchy drop of background element to add to the piece.

Progress 3
So I've roughly added the final designs that I chose for the character such as the armor, the hairstyle, the sword, and the shield. I've also roughly drew in what bits of the background I wanted to have and tweaked the pose a little further to get what I had in mind.

Progress 4
Alright, so I went ahead of doing a couple of color explorations on the character. I haven't done that before so I'd do it quickly. I splash different color patterns to simulate what I'd like it to be in the final painting.

Progress 5
I've took the one that I liked and brought to a grayscale to mix and match value, From there I've started refining the piece. One the way, I've fixed the silhouette once more and tilted the image slightly.

Progress 6
Ok, I've cleaned up majority of the piece, it's kinda getting to how I wanted. Perhaps, to this point, I can test around with color then tweak the value some more afterward, There are a few things I couldn't get it straight but with some colors, i'm sure it will bring pop things out and push things back.

Progress 7
Alright, So I've added color to the piece, and trying to get the value and such in the direction that I've wanted. I noticed that going dark gray and white is too dull, there is just a really lack of color to the piece, so instead, i tweaked it towards blue. It felt better. It's still not up to the point of what I've wanted still, there are more refinements that needs to be done here still.

Progress 8
So the Image is aaaallllmmooossttt done. I'm sure there are going to be a few touch ups here and there. Let's find something I can improve upon.

Progress 9
Alright, I've finish cleaning up and touch up some parts of the picture. I can't really find much else or can't seem to think of what else I can change around. I suppose I'm ready to submit this. Though I might update it minor fixes in the future if I happen catch them.