Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Swinging from the roof

Just another doodle, experimenting with elongated limbs this time and then revisiting corel painter for texture painting and finishing.  The pose was borrowed from a fashion model image while the rest is my own without reference.
I ended up using Photoshop for the tights, but finished it in corel as I am more comfortable just painting in details.  Photoshop is still a work in progress for me as it is best used for image manipulation but a lot of the time I prefer to get that nice 'painterly' vibe.  The sketch is from my sketchpad, and the focus for this colouring exercise was on textures relating to feathers, silk, lace and satin.

Sketch version - bit small as scanner settings got mucked up (Hilbo)
Inked version - bit cleaner and didn't include background shapes - Hilbo
Coloured with textures - Hilbo

Her face was meant to be a little less harsh, it started off relatively soft in the sketch but moved into being slightly pouty and slightly off.  As for the hair, it did start off a clear 'shape' but evolved as an after thought as the focus was on textures.
Anyway, some sparkle got in there and for a swinging from the ceiling 1920s dancer ya gotta have sparkle.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

Just a quick posting for Halloween - a quick sketch (around 25mins) and a quick experiment with colour (10mins) to see what works and voila.  A Happy Halloween Witch relaxing in her moon chair with fellow pumpkin and cat.
Hope you enjoy the evening! :)

Monday, October 7, 2013


So these tasty little sprites are what I'm at right now and they're tiny so having enlarged them a bit they're blurry, it isn't your eyes going west on you.  The first two are lovely aliens and the third is space cake.  I'm thinking that in space, if you need energy, space cake would be much more fun than a protein bar.  It has 100s and 1000s on it too...I'm sure they'll be fine in space.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

where's the other bit?

for the moment...but we'll see where the idea goes.
some other panels were doodled too...but they just didn't feel like the right ones...but I put them together just so that I could see what they'd look like on a single page.  Nearly got the right vibe but it would have benefited from a shot of the guy in the basket, or outside on the ground with scissors and a bottle of scotch beside him...or even a panel with the face, then b&w panel of the scotch being slugged...then another face panel followed by the b&w panel of the scissors going 'snip'. 

A series of maybe 9 panels to show the 'penny dropping' that maybe he got drunk and thought it was a good idea to snip the balloon.  Maybe he was trying to sleep and the balloon kept moving the basket?...which led to the scissors incident.
Anyway it's a good way to distract as my brain comes out of reading all about game programming.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Digi sketch

Just on corel for a bit of a quick doodle as a way to chill for the evening.  Trying out colours and quick slabs of colours with very quick pencil lines over them for an hour of fun.  Just wanted to see if I could elicit a feel for a dry type of environment based on that technique.  I was aiming for a barren and wasted land, bit western-ish.

The balloon popped into it as a way of highlighting how being lost or separated out in this land wouldn't be a good thing.  Staying above ground works, and in this case the basket section separated from the main bit kinda allows you to think 'what happened?'.  I hope so anyway...and no worries if not. 

It could work as a panel within a story - just after the panels about who was in the basket bit and their 'WTF?' type wake up.  This panel would then suit as the response to 'where did the balloon bit go?' question that would inevitably follow.  Hmm.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Danger Girl

I love Phil Notos Danger Girl.  The line drawings and light colouring with a strong retro theme...yup, it all works for me.  So this is my little inspired nod to Noto and his Danger Girl...although she looks less in danger and more like a woman on vacation with a gun in her hand.

Coloured Pencil version - Hilbo

Clean inked outline version - Hilbo

A few different approaches for it were applied, the first a coloured pencil sketch, then a watercolour, then a plain inked version before applying a digital finish.  The watercolour setting went a bit off so it appears harsher than it really is...probably down to how I scanned it.

With background to try out - Hilbo

A cleaner version with colour - Hilbo

Watercolour - saturation a bit off on it - Hilbo
Anyways, I enjoyed playing about with lines, pencils, inks and colour and paint..so that is all that counts! :)

Friday, September 13, 2013


Pencil sketch for idea - Hilbo
Been a bit long since posting stuff up but I hope to get into a better habit of posting regularly on this blog in the next while.  Been sketching a bit and had a nice idea for a character that I went and did some sketches on.  Have some ideas to move it into a day of the dead style character so we'll see where that goes.  Anyways, I thought it might be nice to stick 'em up on the blog instead of letting another empty month roll by!  The pencil sketch does have an older woman featured while the inked version is a younger woman sans wrinkles just to see what she'd look like. 
I was going for that wild west meets day of the dead look but didn't do her makeup yet as I wanted to see what her face would look like weathered first.  The clothes are meant to be a layered effect with some armour for that 'put together from finds' look...if that makes sense!  No definition on the shoes as orginally I wanted a worn skirt for texture and ankle boots but the pose wasn't sitting right with me and the outfit fell into being worn out trousers.  Wouldn't mind seeing that a layered skirt might look like with tired and old looking lace or something.

Inked version without background sketch - Hilbo

Doodle ideas in sketchbook - Hilbo

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lights, camera...action?

Finally got my work done, after many hours at the pc and many reboots of 3ds max.  It does a lot of 'not responding' at critical times which wasn't helpful but teaches a strong lesson about 'save, save and save again'.

So I sorted out the camera angles for doing a walk through and it all went swimmingly until the playback.  Black spaces, not lit well enough and mostly walk throughs of walls.  A revisit on the lighting layout produced little improvement and so I ended up lighting the set like a christmas tree.  The downfall of such a move was that rendering became a nightmare.  Each frame took over 50 mins to render...and after 5hrs I called it a day and rendered my decision on lighting a poor one.

Instead of the walk through I chose to save some images in perspective and show the building and design off in the best way possible.  Knowing your limitations for the moment is a good thing, and lighting the scene in the most effective way is a new skill yet to be fully grasped in 3ds max.
Handed up the final designs either way, a copy of which can be viewed here: https://issuu.com/superhilbo/docs/projectmodule3_overallpdf_hl_1983_p 

A few images are up on the blog here just by way of wanting to share what was done.  I really hope to resume pencil and paper type projects in the next couple of weeks, after a decompression occurs and a sense of me is gained again!  In the meantime I'm simply hoping to get out into what is left of the sun in a bid to move from looking like Casper to a more healthy human.

Building perspective - by Hilbo

Courtyard and Zen garden - by Hilbo

Plan of Holistic Centre - by Hilbo

Training rooms - by Hilbo

Yoga room - by Hilbo

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Just finishing up a project as part of the final leg of my course work and it's taking an age to get to the finish line.  I'm on schedule, it just feels like it is taking an age to get there.  Part of the project was to pick a building in the local area not in use and revamp/reuse it in a new way.
I picked the local nursing home building as it has been closed for 2 years and is a prominent feature along the coast in the area.  It was used in the past as a holiday home for disadvantaged inner city families when it was built in the early 40s, and later became a nursing home towards the early '70s.  The layout is straight forward in that it facilitates housing single residents and couples in the home.  The first owners of the nursing home lived in the property so it had a much more inviting feeling to it and felt like a home.  Many of the residents during that period were more able bodied and so the building was basic in its design.
The second owners of the building found their residents needed further care and so the design of the building had to alter slightly to facilitate this.  The owners did not reside at the property so the function of the building leaned more towards nursing and was developed to cater for a wider range of residents.
As this is a building has been shaped by changing circumstances over the years, the fact that it is now closed is a sad conclusion to its history.  I picked it as a way of trying to re-imagine how it could best be used to give something back to the community.  Holistic living was an area that I focused on with the intention of turning this beautiful building into a place where alternative therapies could be accessed and used.  The idea was to assist therapists in the community that had no common place to work from, and to assist those in training.  The community would benefit in that they'd learn about alternative ways to being in good health through easy access to therapies at low prices (free if therapist was in training).  Other ideas were tagged on to this too but you get the general approach to it at least.
So 3ds Max was the weapon of choice for making a model on the building and I'm still relatively new to it so I was looking forward to seeing how this would go.  So far, fingers crossed, it's going well. :)  Hopefully I'll have it all completed by the weekend and a video walk through of the building done too...but either way the fact that I've made it this far with making all individual models of furniture and accessories is just such a 'huzzah!'.
Still, nearly there.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Heat waves and doodles

Just in the process of finishing off the last of my college work (and doing that in the middle of a heat wave doesn't work AT ALL) when I found some doodles I'd done on corel recently so puttin them in the blog.  They did have a little story to go with them, which I have thumbnails for but I'll have to wait another few weeks to get back to it.  I'm looking forward to some free time to do just that!! :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2D Festival in the City of Culture 2013

Wow Derry is happenin this year.  Great vibe around the place and the new venue for the 2D Festival was very cool.  The Millenium Forum was really spacious and had so much creativity packed into it the last week that it is definitely a venue worth holding on to.  However, as with all things arts related, funding is going to probably influence that greatly...which would be a sad loss if the venue wasn't to hold the festival again next year.
There are so many comic fans in Derry and it is such a positive creative environment for a lot of ages - I don't think I've seen anything quite like it to be honest.  Most comic cons or events are geared towards the young adult and collector audience, and yet here the audience is a clear mix of all ages and interests. 
The trip up was great, the trip back was long...diverted traffic ahoy, but considering the great weekend had we didn't mind in the least. 
So my lovely 8hr comic (it was drawn, inked, printed and stapled together in 8hours...it should have been called 'Panic' instead of 'Moments'!) was well received and a few sold which was cool.  It was great to have a comic because after handing in a final project and preparing for an exhibition the same week, I was fit for feck all.  So a return to creating a handmade comic was me going to my happy place.
Here are a few pics from it, I had wanted to colour them but I'll move to the next project and just keep on keepin on as Joe Dirt would say.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Currently wrestling with getting the hang of putting a level together for Ophis Source.  It's difficult to impose your own style on a software when you're just getting to grips with the thing.  So bearing that in mind, I wanted to create an environment that was representative of the scale of Ophi and the insects.
Some of the assets created in 3ds Max imported but wouldn't save properly in UDK.  It's a pity and I'll figure it out, but for the moment the run through and making sure the environment looks fine is important.  A few triggers will go in and if they work fine (they weren't working well earlier) then we're good to go.
Ideally, I'd love to have the mushroom, rose and leaf models I created in the level, as they were the interactive meshes and platforms...but no doubt after the deadline I'll figure out how to do it properly flyin! :)

The player is a default player in UDK but I hope to import Ophi - apparently the magic wand called 'Actor X' that was present in 2011 3ds Max isn't on 2013, which means taking the long route to exporting this model.  But if I can import into UDK successfully, I'll be such a happy camper.  It's amazing how many tutorial videos you have to endure to get some info, but thank god people make them...they're such a ton of help and sometimes simply seeing how it's done is easier than reading how it's done.
Flower model

leaf model

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Just a quick posting today on a vector logo I made for a family member recently.  It is sans colour as the image will no doubt change, but I like the idea of it so wanted to post it. 
Original sketch for the idea

Vector image with no colour

Friday, May 10, 2013

3d Character...it moves!

So this is the first draft of the animation of Ophi.  Still in the process of unwrapping as the first attempt didn't go so well.  With a deadline looming I thought it best to simply show that the character is rigged and can walk and put it into a basic environment to show scale.
Essentially the character will be in udk, so the important part here is to make sure the unwrapping works and there are no bits going skewy on the mesh.  There didn't appear to be but as I said, it's a first draft and will need more editing before it matches the original concept exactly.
Still, for a first attempt at animating like this in 3ds Max, I am well chuffed.  The joy of seeing your character rigged and actually move without the biped leaving the mesh behind...well its a very proud moment to say the least. :)

and here's another :) :

Friday, May 3, 2013

More Numbchuck and Dr.Piddles

So I am in the middle of uploading some images I've done for the game as the UI and it is amazing the amount of images generated for the simple 'press button' in a game.
Anyways, some of the finished bits are here...and if I'm honest a slight bit of burn out kicked in on this assignment as I'm getting closer to the end and the energy was not as forthcoming as previous assignments.
Still, gonna have to eat spinach and hurl myself over the finish line...still got 2 big assignments due and the final project which is the game.  Fun but definitely keeps you on your toes.  This week I found myself doing 'deep breathing' counting exercises...only instead of 'breathe in 1,2,3,4'  I  found myself counting '1,0,2,4' ...dimensions for boxes in 3d...hmmm....

Dr.Piddles - created by Hilbo

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Numbchuck Scramble

So I'm getting closer to the finishing line of completing my course.  Just have a few more assignments and then the final project and then an exam.  It seems like it'll never get to the finish line, and meanwhile when you think you have most of the work done something else creeps up to grab your attention.
The image for this posting is a starting design for a UI for my 'Numbchuck Scramble' game.  The assignments come at you thick and fast, and sometimes it is so frustrating not being able to create the image or design that you had in your head because a deadline demands it gets finished while you are still in the process of learning and honing your craft.
So this is a stage 1 image, it's closer to what I had envisioned for the game and for the first time in a long time I feel like I might actually get to express the full idea that was in my head.  I won't hold my breath mind, as I have little time to do this and juggling tasks is proving interesting to say the least...but fingers crossed anyways!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

3D Ophi

Stuck in the middle of designing the character for our group project in 3D and developing an alpha level for the game.  I'm a newbie to the alpha creation and downloading and reinstalling software is pretty much a 24hr job for the last 5 days.
Sometimes the software works, and other times it partially works before crashing.  I know my pc is capable of running it, but when there is a deadline and the installations keep appearing to have a bug in them, the clock ticking gets super loud.
So below is a rendered image of the character I have designed so far.  It still has a long way to go before finishing.  I'm currently doing the mapping for it and deeply regret the tiny pointy bits on the collar and sides and arms..but will keep going!
Ophi far far away by Hilbo

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Difficult thing to try and design a logo, but that is exactly what we have to do as part of the final project for Games Design.  As we're all mature students we thought 'Spring Chicken Games' would work and so designs are being based around those ideas attached to the words.

Without going straight for the obvious, I wanted to try out something that still involves the words 'spring' and 'chicken' but that was a slightly different take on it.  Some of the concept sketches are below, and the first draft of an idea is outlined too.

The one concept sketch that did work well for me is the spring in the rainbow curve with feathers coming out of it(over on the other blog).  It applies the words without going for the chicken attached to a spring.  I'll be doing up a few more of these to try out in the next while and a further analysis is available over on the www.springchickengamedesign.wordpress.com site.

Monday, April 1, 2013

UI Designs

Interesting few assignments the last while, with a brief given on a specific game and theme which you then had to design the UI for the games.  Here are a few completed designs that I did, showing examples of the UI for the Game Boy with a 4 colour palette restriction and the Nintendo DS with full colour palette options. 
Resolution for both UIs were really limited so it was interesting to try and work within those limitations.  I went for a really simple approach with the Game Boy as I wanted to keep it clean and bold.  The intention was to ensure it was clear and easy to use and navigate around.  Going back over it now I'd probably try out more pixels to give depth to the font but overall I was happy to hand up what I did.
Crow Hero - UI by Hilbo
Fairytale Snap - UI by Hilbo

Fairytale Snap - UI by Hilbo
 The Fairytale snap design was focused on a target group of young girls, so the bright colours and inviting fairytale ideals of a castle and unicorn were the key focus.  As the brief included a reference to Princesses and Little Red Riding hood, it made sense to include the castle in the background.

Space Snap - UI by Hilbo

Space Snap - UI by Hilbo
For this version, the aim was to design a snap game that would appeal to young boys, so the colour palette became more primary in colour and retained a strong hue throughout.  The 50's style rocket and background were chosen for their simplicity and quirky designs, which I felt were more playful and friendly which would help to balance with the strangeness of the aliens.
The cards displayed in the snap games were borrowed from stock photo searches on google, while all other elements were original designs for the game.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2D Level Design - Numbchuck Scramble (1st run)

I had to create my first solo 2D level game, and it was not an easy task.  It's still in production and I'll revisit it after other projects are completed, but here are some of the initial designs that were put into the game to start with.
I reckon a bit of playing around and establishing a more challenging game play will evolve, but for the moment as a first attempt I'm pretty chuffed to make it over the finish line for the assignment deadline.  You can only see the images here of course, and the platforms and collection points are not displayed as they're entered into the game...but it kinda gives you a sense of what way it was going.
Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

Numbchuck and the Sprites - sounds like a band!