THE OCELLUS EXPERIENCE: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
We are committed to design concepts that will remain similar to their final version using the WYSIWYG method, backed by transparent communication and constant feedback.
The What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) technique was first designed for text editors. Its goal is to show the user the result of a process without going through steps that require advanced knowledge.
At Ocellus, we are specialized in stylized art, and we find this method to be the most efficient for this type of projects. It allows us to save tremendous time and show our partners exactly what to expect of the final asset while keeping a necessary amount of flexibility. To achieve that goal, every step of our pipeline is guided by the WYSIWYG method.
Illustrating the method with the Talking Tom Hero Dash’s Hyperboard
In Talking Tom Hero Dash, the Hyperboard is a superpowered gadget that helps the player perform longer runs by zooming over or blast past obstacles. We created this asset with the game’s developer OUTFIT7, whose products are enjoyed by billions of players around the world. We have been working with their team since 2015. We have evolved over the years, and our collaborations have grown steadily since then.
At Ocellus, our artists are also storytellers. But the stories we tell through our artworks have to fit perfectly in the OUTFIT7’s games universe while resonating with our identity. Using the WYSIWYG method helps us strike that balance and deliver the highest-quality experiences to the players.
In the previous image, you can see that the Hyperboard asset went through many adjustments, but without any major design change. That’s the level of consistency our clients can expect when we use this pipeline of production.
The use of the WYSIWYG pipeline requires solid foundations. For this reason, we at Ocellus make every effort to understand the client’s needs when we accept a project, but also its universe, gameplay, and player base to anticipate what will be requested of us, to see the big picture.
Taking the Talking Tom Hero Dash’s Hyperboard as an example, we took into consideration from which perspective the asset would appear. We also adapted our assets on other aspects such as lighting and coloring in accordance with the vibrant style of Talking Tom games.
“Because there are no realtime lights ingame, we bake the lighting and shadows directly on our 3D model at the same angle and intensity as on the 2D color concept,” Maëlle Gal, one of our talented senior 3D artists, explains.
Those considerations are part of the reason why OUTFIT7 keeps collaborating with us after five years. In addition to ensuring consistency and efficiency through the entire pipeline, it also boasts several advantages for the partner right from the start. “It’s a way to make several propositions to the client with a model that will be the closest possible to the final version,” Maëlle adds. “The client doesn’t have to make efforts to interpret and we avoid misunderstandings.”
Although the specifications required by the client is a major focus at the start of a project, it’s not the only one. The bigger picture also features our talented team members at the forefront. While every artist, designer, and producer has its specialization, they take the needs of the next department into account when making choices.
Our lead designer Tiphaine Jego, who gets involved in the early stages of our projects, explains what it means for her specifically. “Since 3D has to replicate 2D, keeping in mind the degree of the design’s detail, so that the 3D asset isn’t too heavy to integrate, is paramount. We also have to be meticulous and to understand volumes for the color and 3D artists to interpret with ease what we designed.”
“Constant feedback to avoid misunderstandings”
Designing video game assets involves a great number of steps from the concept art to the polished 3D model. For this reason, every step of our pipeline is guided by the principles of constant feedback and transparent communication, both in the team and for our clients. It’s key to our success. “One of our strengths in Ocellus is being a team who really work together, want to pull each other up, and take care of each other,” Tiphaine says. As a project lead, she plays a central role in the WYSIWYG process.
Since the assets pass into the hands of many of our talented artists, she’s also the guardian of consistency. “My work consists of ensuring that it stays true to the game style, the dimensions are correct using an isometric grid, and this view will be kept for coloring and 3D modelization.”
In Ocellus, we are constantly looking for effective tools to guarantee transparency without interrupting the creative process. To achieve that goal, we use tools such as Trello, TeamGantt, and Gsuit. “It can enable other team members to give inputs, too. Our 3D senior Maëlle will use her expertise to tell me if something can't technically be done due to the material chosen or the number of details, for example,” Tiphaine explained. It’s another way to gain time: during the 2D phase, members from the next departments have the opportunity to anticipate any potential issues.
This collaboration in the team is ubiquitous in the pipeline –it’s core to the Ocellus experience, and benefits both our partners and our team. “What I like is that each department tries to take in consideration the constraints of the next department when they complete their step,” she adds.
The WYSIWYG pipeline guides our process all the way to 3D modeling, which is a step that can give an entirely new feeling to an asset to the point of not resembling the first concept one bit. Obviously, we choose to get the opposite result, but we also aim to use those tools to set those creations apart, create emotion and emphasize their functions. It’s a balance that our teams of 3D and color artists are committed to striking.
“The goal is to make the 3D asset exactly similar to the concept, in terms of design and color, to the point it would be almost impossible to differentiate the 3D from the 2D concept,” our senior 3D artist Maëlle says. This can be achieved with more ease using the WYSIWYG method.
“Clients can give feedback and retakes on concept steps, providing a more efficient way to execute than if they gave those same feedbacks once the 3D was done,” she outlines. That’s when the WYSIWYG pipeline, applied from the earliest stages, shows its true potential by saving time, preventing frustrations and misunderstandings from happening.
When it comes to coloring, the last step in 2D before the 3D team intervenes, Nicolas Coppin takes the lead. This is no small task: it involves a number of producers and artists, and our partners are able to give feedback along the way. “Creating a lot of images doesn't feel redundant. Each image is distinct, each new image is a new challenge. We work with respect, in good spirit, and with mutual trust,” our lead coloring Nicolas tells.
The coloring team involves the client as soon as the work starts with the colorscript or color board. This step consists of mapping out the colors and atmospheres of the assets. Similar to the 2D concept, the client can choose from a variety of propositions. Once it’s done, our team of artists will be able to start a creative process that includes these steps:
- Applying base or local colors
- Adding lights and shadows
- Compositing: adding VFX
All those steps are completed with the final 3D model design in mind, which will be the last process the asset will go through.
Due to constant feedback from the client in the previous steps the asset went through, the 3D team boasts limited back-and-forths that allow them to work more rapidly. It saves time, both for them and the client! “This is great for us 3D artists because this method allows us to train to get a better “artistic eye” which is getting an accurate interpretation of forms, volumes, colors and eventually, fewer retakes from the lead or the client.” explains our senior 3D artist Maëlle.
The experiences we create at Ocellus are more powerful due to all our disciplines being so much tied together, which is one of the major advantages of the WYSIWYG method. This way, each team reinforces each other and enables the creation of unforgettable and unique experiences for the players to enjoy.
Interested in our expertise to bring your project to new heights?
If you want to get in touch with our team of professionals and experts, contact us.