2-D, or not 2-D: Don't Quip Your Day Job

The Nancy Drew series of adventure games that we make at Her Interactive challenge players to unravel complex mysteries in the role of Nancy Drew herself, the greatest juvenile sleuth in literary history. I mean, besides Encyclopedia Brown. Credit where credit’s due. And every great mystery requires an equally captivating setting for the intrigue to unfold in. As a 2-D artist, that’s where I come in. screamingbansheeexterior.jpg

The above image is from Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy. It’s an exterior shot of the pub where Nancy interrogates a suspicious groundskeeper on the whereabouts of a missing yada yada yada, look I’m not too clear on the plot since the games are PC-exclusive and I’m a Mac user. Right, I can’t even play my own games. The important thing to notice, though, is the pub itself. Like in many first person adventure titles (think Myst), the environments are created by first rendering the elements in a 3-D modeling program. This produces a grey, featureless mass that nonetheless has the basic shape of the object and can react to light and perspective like a normal object in the real world. Next, 2-D texture art is created in Photoshop and applied to the 3-D model to complete the illusion of, in this case, a craggy and moldering 403-year-old pub. Each element of the environment usually requires a separate 3-D model, which in turn requires me to make all manner of 2-D art, such as this texture I created for the pub’s sign:

screamingbansheesign.jpg

Here’s another example of the same process. I create a 2-D texture, like this dartboard:

dartboard.jpg

The texture is then applied to a 3-D model, creating the illusion of an actual, three-dimensional dartboard:

screamingbansheeinterior.jpg

All that you see in and outside the pub was rendered out by a 3-D artist before being basically drawn on by me: the tables, the walls, the floors, even the windows. Everything needs a texture. And that’s what I do.

You can see more shots of the pub environment in this IGN review of the game.

All the images in this post, © Copyright Her Interactive, Inc.