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Update #59: Developer Q&A with Polina Hristova

Polina Hristova Project Eternity Concept Art Developer Q&A Crafting Brandon Adler

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#1
BAdler

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Update by Polina Hristova, Concept Artist/Nightmare Engineer and Brandon Adler, Producery Type

 

pe-polina-hugging.jpg

Polina in her natural habitat.

 
Hello, everyone. This week will feature an interview with Project Eternity concept artist Polina Hristova. While a Project Eternity concept artist has to be well-rounded in their skill set, Polina specializes in creature concepts. Enjoy.
 
Q: Hello, Polina. What is your job on the Project Eternity team?
A: I'm a general concept artist =). My primary purpose is to design what things look like (creatures, characters, environments, etc) and help get the conversations started. But I also try to do my best at making things look cool and try to solve any problems the modelers and animators might come by before they spend hours building it.
 
Q: What are you working on this week?
A: This week I wrapped finished up some critters: the drake and the spear spider.
 
Q: What is your typical work day like on Project Eternity?
A: I guess in comparison to most, my work day is pretty simple. I get to draw pretty pictures. The days differ based on the assignment and I do sometimes change my methods since creativity does flow differently day to day, but my general pipeline goes like this: I meet with Josh and the designers to get a description on what I'd be working on. Sometimes these descriptions can range from a simple word to an extremely detailed description on facial structure, hair length and color, outfit, tattoos, amount of skin pores... (okay I'm exaggerating the skin pore part)... and anywhere in between. I'll also talk with the animators if the creatures would share rigs or any other potential problems we can have (it's best to design with these problems in mind than having to change the design a lot later). After that (and depending on schedule) I'll do a number of variants fitting the description and summon a mini-character scrum (Josh, the designers, Rob, our modelers, and our animators). Together they'll discuss any problems or make any suggestions and pick a variant that I'll take to final.  
 
Q: What are you most looking forward to on Project Eternity?
A: I am really looking forward to playing it. =) But for now I'm really just enjoying watching the game come to reality.  I love watching peoples' creations come to life and I give many props to our modelers and animators for all their hard work. I love how they animated skuldr and his sneaky "I'm gunna getcha!" walk.
 
Q: Which Project Eternity creature that you have concepted excites you the most?
A: This questions a trick question. Creatures all excite me.  I LOVE creatures, aliens (not relative) and things that go bump in the night. I guess if you had to make me pick right now I would have to say the drake =) but I have a weakness for dragons and it’s also the thing most current in my brain. I also really enjoyed designing the godlike heads.
 
Q: What other games have you worked on?
A: I'm actually pretty new to the industry. I graduated school in '09 and I didn’t get my first fulltime game job position until Obsidian ('11), but I've had the pleasure to intern and freelance on some amazing projects. I've worked on Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2, PlayStation Move Heroes, some other unannounced titles (some of which will sadly never see the light of day), and the Dungeon Siege 3 DLC: Treasures of the Sun.   
 

pe-polina-drawing.jpg

Drawing one of the endless tide of creatures.

 
Q: What do you like to do when you aren't creating creatures that haunt my nightmares?
A: I have a massive range of hobbies, from collecting costumes, traveling to national parks, watching movies, playing games, being weird and goofy, swimming, kendo, amateur photography and more. But when I'm not working, or spending time with my family or friends, I still prefer to spend my time drawing and scribbling... especially at the Zoo.
 
Q: Do you have a favorite concept artist?
A: I have a lot and I hope I don’t leave any of them out, but here are the guys currently on the top of my mind: Anthony Jones, Khange Le, Ian McCaig, Jordu Schell, Craig Mullins, Andrew Jones, Erik Tiemens, Robh Ruppel, PaperBlue.net, Carlo Arellano, Carlos Huante, Charlie Wen, and Aris Kolokontes.
 
Q: And where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: Nature. Nature will always have us concept artists beat. =) It does some weird ****. =D
 
Q: What's your favorite game?
A: I think to this day Zelda Ocarina of Time holds a special place in my heart. Sure the other Zeldas are still great (except maybe Skyward Sword... but that’s more of a controller issue) But Ocarina of time has the perfect mixture of exploration, puzzle solving, action and story, and it was one of the first games that made me go "oooooooooooooo... I wanna do that! This is so beautiful." (Graphics back then...)
 
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: I like to hide in dark corners... and make random creature noises. =)
 
Crafting Feedback and Answers
After getting a ton of feedback and responses to the last update on Crafting Josh has decided to make some changes to the proposed system. Check out this forum post which breaks down those changes and provides some additional clarification.
 
Well, that's it for now. Head over to Obsidian's Project Eternity forums and let us know what you think about the latest update, Project Eternity or your cat JoJo. See you guys in a couple of weeks.


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#2
rjshae

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Nice interview. Thanks for the update.



#3
Lephys

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*gasp*... You mean you haven't been considering the number of skin pores on creature designs this whole time?!

 

Oh my! This is horrible news! How will we get quality creatures?!

 

8)

 

Nahhh. Awesome update, haha. And keep up the splendid work, ^_^

 

No, really. Keep it up... in the air... like a hacky sack. I SWEAR TO GODLIKE, if that good work touches the ground... >_<

 

8)

 

EDIT: Oh dear... pun overlooking is just plain unacceptable:

 

I can now say with certainty that it's good to know you're not doing a... pore job...  8)


Edited by Lephys, 09 July 2013 - 06:35 PM.

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#4
Hormalakh

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You mean you aren't going to show up your concepts for the Drake and the spear spider. that's mean.


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Elerond

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These interviews are always nice reads.

 

It is also good to hear that there is dragon like creatures in PE's world.


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#6
SunBroSolaire

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You mean you aren't going to show up your concepts for the Drake and the spear spider. that's mean.

 

It's like the waterfall all over again...


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#7
Tauron

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Show us the concept art! Pretty plz! C'mon, Tauron doesnt like to beg, it is not a pretty sight,


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#8
Gumbercules

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Nice interview! I echo the plea for drake and/or spear spider concept art.

 

I'd like to know more about designing creatures to share rigs, if you could describe that in more detail. How similar do the creatures have to be for that to work, and do you have an idea at this point of how many groupings there are?



#9
BAdler

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You mean you aren't going to show up your concepts for the Drake and the spear spider. that's mean.

Heh... she wanted to, but I was the meanie. Can't show everything just yet. ;)


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#10
Hormalakh

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You mean you aren't going to show up your concepts for the Drake and the spear spider. that's mean.

Heh... she wanted to, but I was the meanie. Can't show everything just yet. ;)

 

You've just gone in my "meanie" list.... :nuke: :bat:

 

oh and I didn't mention this: this was a good interview - thanks!


Edited by Hormalakh, 09 July 2013 - 07:11 PM.


#11
Hiro Protagonist II

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pe-polina-drawing.jpg

Drawing one of the endless tide of creatures.

 
.

 

What's the big drawing tablet and where can I buy one? :)



#12
Galomtala

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pe-polina-drawing.jpg

Drawing one of the endless tide of creatures.

 
.

 

What's the big drawing tablet and where can I buy one? :)

 

I would say, it's a  Wacom Cintiq 24 or so.

 

And thanks for the Q&A ;)


Edited by Galomtala, 09 July 2013 - 07:19 PM.


#13
thenez

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Great interview, thanks for the update guys.

 

Polina, I love the work you're doing! Keep it up!



#14
Elerond

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Spoiler

Drawing one of the endless tide of creatures.

 
.

 

What's the big drawing tablet and where can I buy one? :)

 

I would say, it's a  Wacom Cintiq 24 or so.

 

And thanks for the Q&A ;)

 

 

EDIT: Wacom Cintiq 21UX  or bigger display with same build 

Spoiler

Edited by Elerond, 09 July 2013 - 07:33 PM.


#15
decado

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I like how empty her desk is.  I wish I could keep crap off my desk.


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#16
ManifestedISO

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There is no better title in the world than Nightmare Engineer. 


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#17
Sensuki

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The national parks bit reminded me of The West Wing. President Jed Bartlet the National Park guru who'd corner his employees and start going on about National parks haha.

Sword Spear Spider haha, one of my favourite BG1 creatures.


Edited by Sensuki, 09 July 2013 - 07:55 PM.


#18
Hiro Protagonist II

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Wacom Cintiq 21UX  or bigger display with same build 

 

 

Nice. Had a look at the price of these including the 24". :blink:

 

On topic and to Obsidian, what's it been like to develop from the IE games to Project Eternity with using the different terchnology from back then to now? Harder, easier, and also the types of graphic programs you use. Has there been much change over the years with how you develop graphics and development time or just been pretty much the same.


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#19
BAdler

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I like how empty her desk is.  I wish I could keep crap off my desk.

She wouldn't want me to tell you this, but she cleaned it off specifically for the photo.


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#20
Ghostbear

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This was a fun update, I'll just have to be patient to see the drake.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Polina Hristova, Project Eternity, Concept Art, Developer, Q&A, Crafting, Brandon Adler

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