Veteran video game concept designer Trent Kaniuga is back with another concept design video showcasing his drawing in SketchBook. This time focusing on the fabulous and detailed world of weapon design. If you have been following his work with us you have seen him do great character design tutorials in the past, including posts on classic video game characters like Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, Link from Zelda, Gul’dan from WoW as well as an original character design tutorial. This time he is focusing on weapons.
Weapon Design Within Concept Design
In this video Trent addresses many aspiring concept designers’ desire to specialize in character and hero design. Unfortunately working on characters is a limited and at times cutthroat job in the design department. There are many more opportunities in the core of the design process for world building. Designing the weapons, props, culture kits, and environmental concepts are positions more readily available especially for young designers. Also, the nature of the weapon design process, where you must put together a contact sheet of thumbnails, pushes you as a designer into a more iterative process. This reiteration on an idea really hones your skills as a concept artist. Trent is also keen to point out that while the weapons designed are often small and seen only quickly in passing you can pack a large amount of storytelling into that passing glance.
Weapon Design as Storytelling Device
Trent emphasizes how the silhouette, patterns, and shape of the weapon you are designing can all add to the story you are telling with your design. The wear and tear of a weapon can suggest the caliber of warrior and their history. The finish and materials make references to game geography, history, and the real-world-way a weapon would be made. The weapon’s shapes and decorative motifs can come from the game’s history and highlight important symbols of the character’s culture. Trent also shows how you can differentiate in the structure of the design the character’s status and history.
SketchBook Tools for Weapon Design
Trent points out a few great tools in SketchBook that are useful to you in weapon design including the Symmetry tools. As he puts it, “Symmetry communicates intended construction,” a more refined design is often a more symmetrical design. Symmetry is often a weapon for a more refined warrior like one who would be issued his weapon by an official armory. The Symmetry tool in SketchBook is a great way to achieve a balance quickly that in other programs would need to involve cropping, copying and flipping or mirroring, Trent shows it off in a few ways in his tutorial to great effect.
Have a peek at the full walkthrough on Trent’s YouTube channel: