The Artists’ Corner: The Making of WINGSPAN AR

3 min read
The Artists’ Corner: The Making of WINGSPAN AR

On the first anniversary of our WINGSPAN AR launch, we wanted to go deeper into what it means to create something so inspiring and detail-oriented by sitting down with Krikey’s 3D Artists to talk about their background, inspiration, and perspective on this new 21st-century artistry.

There are so many platforms and tools available for artists to be able to maximize their talent on a digital platform; a few of the really important tools that go into the creation of Wingspan are Maya, Zbrush, and Photoshop. You can think of Maya as the plate of the production, or where everything comes together. It serves as the pipeline for the creation and holds the main software for everything. Zbrush is for modeling, which is a specific part of the creation process that entails developing a digital representation of any three-dimensional surface or object. And lastly, Photoshop, which is the most widely known and used platform to create textures.

The creation of the birds, their environments and the manipulation of the birds to appear and interact with you on your device are a part of 3D modeling. 3D modeling is the process of converting everything that is 2D into a 3D object that allows you to see all of its dimensions from different angles. The process of creating a bird starts with a 2D image, we then put the image into the tool Maya to build it digitally. Using the design as a reference, the plots and coordinates of where texturing will be are set. The final step is to paint, texture, and animate the bird design inside of Photoshop.

The time, attention to detail and overall implementation of quality artwork in Wingspan could not be done without creative inspiration. Our artists spend a lot of time sketching, using pen and paper to make sure their details are on point before making an image digital. They often spend up to 70% of their time sketching and researching!

The hardest part of the process comes next: Modeling and Rigging. What is rigging? Rigging is the creation process of building and manipulating a bone structure on a three-dimensional object to then maneuver the bone structure in a way that is similar to puppet work.  In this part of the process, you have to accommodate and customize the movements of each bird species. They differ individually and that has to be built into the rigging process to make sure each species is balanced and ready to animate.

How do we scale the creation of these 3D birds? Almost all of our rigs are identical and there is a core set of animations we do for each bird species. We make small changes to the rigs when there are bird species with differences -- for example, a woodpecker and an owl might look very different visually, but their rigs and animations could be the same.

The most enjoyable part of the process for our artists has been texturing and adding animations. Most of the detail on our birds is hand-painted directly onto the 3D models. The color and textures really bring the birds to life.

Our team at Krikey comes to work with passion, drive, and dedication to put out a phenomenal product. We are very excited to have had the opportunity to take you behind the scenes into our creative process. We hope you will enjoy the Krikey Wingspan AR experience.

Happy Digital Birding

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