Here is some furniture I created for the inside of the cracker/raft house. The objects are less informed by research and more informed by playing around and seeing what looks good. Sometimes weird proportions can make the item seem oddly cute and handmade to suit the needs of the person that uses it. I’m finding it really enjoyable to try to make objects that bring up questions and generate story.
It’s easy to get attached to certain pieces that don’t fit in with the other objects. I was conflicted between some more traditional looking pieces and some more modern ones.
I did a lot of research on specific historical interior design styles. Using this research, I’ve been modeling and getting feedback from others to try to create settings that evoke the feeling of being in a distinct era. It’s harder to find references for, say, Europe in the 20s, that show the homes of the less wealthy, but the OCAD library is a good resource for books that at least write about the home-lives of general populations.
Looking for styles of art that use a flat-shading style, I found that older (circa 1920-30) travel posters can be particularly successful at evoking beauty and a strong sense of place. The lack of shading brings emphasis to the careful choice of shape and colour as well as to the composition of the poster.
The London, Midland & Scottish Railway commissioned a lot of beautiful posters from artists such as S.R. Wyatt and Norman Wilkinson.
My previous post discusses one of the reasons I’m looking at more minimal visual styles.
Moving into explorable, three dimensional spaces, I used toon shaded materials in Unity with cel-shading ramps. These ramps allowed me to create dynamic lighting with blocks of colour and to have more control over the exact colours of the lit and un-lit areas on each object.
Somewhat like Impressionism, travel posters often use unexpected colours (e.g.: purple for shaded areas) or somewhat ambiguous shapes that rely on each other in order to make sense.
Taking these sequences as inspiration, I made a Unity prototype where two different locations were linked by two identical views. In the first scene, that view is a cracker floating in a bowl of soup. As if the focal character were daydreaming, the player looks up to find that they are suddenly floating in a blimp above a sunset-lit lake.
This type of transition is tricky and only really possible with a flat shaded style, but can transport the player to a radically different place in a really fun way.
This is a sort of 3D interactive metaphor, a visual equivalent of the phrase:
“The cracker floated atop the squash soup, a raft on a sun-lit lake”
The gif below shows a similar type of transition, but one that is more finicky and only works in isometric view. This is possible with any two scenes (or groups of objects) that look identical at a specific angle.