Friday, July 28, 2017

Inc Oasis Wall 1

"We cautiously made our way closer to the city built in the shadow of the Citadel. What at first appeared insignificant now seemed impenetrable. Tall walls circled the place, and guard towers served as a reminder that you were watched at all times."

I decided that another painting of the Oasis wall was in order, this time with a more dramatic camera angle to show off the perspective and to illustrate the rough sands blown by the winds. All painted in photoshop with the exception of Inc the robot, which was originally a render that I swiped from another painting then painted over to change the pose and lighting.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Inc God Robot 1

"The Citadel was protected by the Guardians, massive compared to a human, which the ancients considered to be minor deities sent by the Great God to guard their water supply. They were feared and worshiped by the Citadel Monks of The Oasis."

The God Robots (later renamed Guardians) are based on a number of influences, mostly ancient statues of Greek, Roman, African and Oceanic origin. And of course my general love for giant robots started at a young age with Goldorak (the french version of the Japanese robot Grendizer by Go Nagai) The first in the set was specifically inspired by Ray Harryhausen and a statue that sits in the De Young Museum in San Francisco. The robot was fully modeled in 3dsmax, but since it was only going to show up in a couple of paintings in the book, all its texturing was done in 2d to save time. Later on, it ended up appearing in far more paintings than planned, so in hindsight doing a full 3d paint job would have probably been the better course. Ah well.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Inc Aliens Warp Gate 2

“We were now heading straight for the mothership, hugging it as dangerously close as possible, sending the remaining probe smashing back into the huge ship that had launched it.”

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Inc Oasis Gate 3

“Are they trying to keep people out, or in?” INC asked. “Definitely out,” I replied. “We just need to wait for the funeral.”

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Inc The Aliens Arrive 1

What can I say, the aliens arrive, can't say more without spoiling the plot :) All painted in Photoshop.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Inc Meeting The Space Pirates

"The Widows Revenge descended to the ground, and the captain emerged on the boarding ramp with a cocky sense of victory. Inc immediately aimed his welder at him. Captain Sturges seemed unfazed, almost charmed by Inc’s actions." Ship design by Jeremy Cook, painting by Neil Blevins.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Inc Coral Desert Wandering 10

Inc The Robot and Landis roaming the barren desert. The original human modeling/texturing was done by Bill Zahn, robot modeling/texturing by myself, then I integrated them into the environment, and painted in details in 2d.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Inc Aliens Arrive In The Past 1

“Your confused friends out there have been sipping from a leak when they could have been guzzling from a firehose if they just had the courage to take a look.”

Another painting from the Inc book project. Ever since the film Dune, and that spectacular shot of the Guild Heighliner above Caladan, I've always loved the image of a giant spaceship hovering in a planet's orbit, I could paint them all day, it raises such juicy "What's going to happen next" type questions.

My usual combination of 3d, photos and hand painted in photoshop. The most time consuming was the planet, as I had to make it up of dozens of individual cloud images, then warp them to the contours of the planet.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

God Robot Defends 4

"I was just about to put my cup to the wall when the ground shook under my feet, sending me backward onto the dirt. It was as if the building had come to life."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Dropship

Heading down to the planet surface for some exploration. Painting By Jeremy Cook.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Discovering The Citadel

The caravan discovers the Citadel. This was a really early Inc painting (2013), actually meant to depict the people of the oasis going to their head of state building. The big mysterious artifact known as the Citadel hadn't been designed yet. But when Inc artist/writer Bill Zahn saw the painting, he said "The Citadel looks great". I said "Oh, that's not the Citadel", and Bill said, "Well, maybe it should be". After thinking about it, it made tons of sense, so I extrapolated the rest of the Citadel from this painting. A great example of story influencing art influencing story. Also included the 3d base I started from, everything else is hand painted and photobashed. The Citadel Backdrop ended up getting used for several paintings, always modifying it somewhat so it looked a bit different, as though we are seeing different parts of the building.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Water Merchant

“Water is a privilege, not a right,” the merchant said. “Your rusty companion can fend for himself.”

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Coral Desert

Desert painting by Jeremy Vickery. I met Jeremy at Pixar when we worked on the Incredibles together. Not only is he is a super nice guy, but a talented illustrator as well, Jeremy contributed a number of desert designs. We think his sense of scale and lighting are just amazing, every thumbnail is a thing of beauty. We were lucky to have him.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Inc On The Horizon 4

Approaching the Citadel. A gumroad tutorial discusses how I used photos for inspiration for the lighting, check it out if you're an artist and want to get more dramatic lighting in your imagery:

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rover Prep

The Pirates prepare their rovers to head into a nearby settlement.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Pirate Captain

Mohammad Modarres is a talented sculptor who came to us highly recommended, and he did a great job on several key characters for our story. This one is our space pirate captain, the original concept sculpt was done by the ever talented Gio Nakpil, then Mohammad took it to the final form you see below. Expect to see a lot more of Mohammad and Gio's digital sculptures in the book!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I'm Going

"I looked out the main viewport to see us flying in mere moments across the landscape that took me weeks to cross. We ascended toward the blue sky, then upward as it turned dark and filled with stars." Primarily photobashing with a lot of hand paint on top, source images from a photoshoot I did in Utah. Starship design by Jeremy Cook.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Builders And Merchant Guild

Christina Davis, a talented designer and illustrator, came highly recommended through a friend and helped us realize the majority of the settlers in our city, as well as the first paintings of our main female protagonist. Here's some thumbnails and rough paintings of some members of the Builders and Merchant Guild.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Inc Aliens Warp Gate 1

“Once on the bridge, I looked out the view screen to see that we were flying past what would seem indescribable.”

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Corallum

Dominic Qwek is a fantastic creature artist who works for Blizzard during the day, but is probably best known for his digital creature 3d sculpts and his 3d printed sculptures. I've been following his work for years, and decided when it was time to add a few creatures to the story, he would be the right guy to do it.

One of the creatures he came up with was the Corallum, these night creatures prowl the desert when the temperature has gone down. They mimic the planets former underwater ecosystem in order to remain hidden, lure animals near, and then they strike with poison on their legs. The planet is a dangerous place to be any time of the day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

From Out Of The Sun

"I had the pleasure of working with Jeremy Cook at the beginning of my professional cg career at Blur Studio. Jeremy has worked / supervised at Blur, ILM, Id Software and 343 Industries. When we started Inc, Jeremy was the first person Bill Zahn and I added to the team because we knew we needed a high tech fighter spacecraft, and there would be no one better for the job. As well as designing the craft, he also did a bunch of kick-ass paintings for the book, one of which is below."

 - Neil

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Inc The Robot Rough

A bunch of variations for the Inc The Robot design. We started with design 1, decided to keep the arms and legs as well as the face (since that's his soul), but we were going to modify the silhouette.

So first I photobashed together a bunch of alternate silhouettes, using lots of construction equipment reference (since he is a welder robot), all the time keeping our word list in mind. Inc needed to feel like a big toddler, innocent looking, a little awkward, his body could be many shapes, but the new shape needed to satisfy the story requirements exemplified by these words.

We then showed these images to a bunch of artist friends to get feedback. Most important when getting feedback is why they like what they like, because if you understand the why, you can fix the design issues in your own creative way, rather than it becoming a design by committee.

Many favored the taller robots, since they had the same height as design 1. One person pointed out that number 13 had a head too similar to "M-O" from Wall-e, so we nixed that one. People liked the chubby number 7, but felt he may have trouble getting through doorways or reaching for objects, he's supposed to be a little awkward, not super awkward. Number 9 and 3 were in the same chubby design realm, but a little more balanced. Number 2 kept coming up in people's favorites, they felt the big backpack made him look like a young kid going to school. People also liked 8 and 6, and the fact that you could see through the chest of number 12, which really made him feel robotic.

My favorite was number 8 (my opinion before we got feedback from people), so I went back and started with number 8, then modified the design based on what people liked and disliked in the other designs to arrive at the final number 14. For example, instead of putting the backpack from 2 directly on number 8, I scaling up his welder weapon and placing it on his back to served a similar visual purpose to the backpack.

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into the design process, how to start with a firm idea of what you need to accomplish for the story and for the character's personality, make a bunch of variations, get feedback from a large selection of people, and then use that feedback in a constructive manner to get the best design possible.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Inc Distant Mirage 2

“I know I have a tendency to get on your nerves,” INC said, “but our current water issue …” I handed him the jug. That would give us about two days to find the next source.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Water Gathering At The Oasis

Chris Stoski has been an Art Director and Concept Artist in Film and Games for over 12 years. Beyond his film credits, Chris has a strong architectural grounding, which is why we grabbed him to help do the primary designs for "The Oasis", the main city in the story. Chris made a bunch of spectacular paintings, but we've decided to show off this one of the water gathering at the Oasis.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Inc Poster 1

Our first Inc teaser poster. A big mix of 3d, photos and hand paint overtop.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Inc The Robot 14 And Landis

Our two heroes. Inc The Robot model by Neil Blevins, Landis model by Bill Zahn.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Landis is a wanderer, his heart and body hardened by years in the desert, where you have to fight for even the smallest drop of water. But he has one last chance to be saved from the cruel world, and so he purchases Inc from a local junk vendor and holds onto the last bit of hope he can muster, heading for the oasis.

Landis was designed, modeled and textured by Inc co-creator Bill Zahn.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Inc The Robot

Here we are, the redesigned Inc The Robot. The goal with Inc's design was always to make him feel like a big kid. He had to be "cute", but still able to smash people when necessary. In his former career, he was a welder robot, hence his spot welding weapon of choice. But he has since been retrofitted by his new human owner Landis for a whole new function, which is where our story begins. Modeled and Textured in 3dsmax and vray.

And here are two turntable videos: