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King's Quest 4 3D remake Rosella portrait

Started by Jack Stryker, April 30, 2019, 03:40:17 PM

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Jack Stryker

Hey, everybody.  As you may know, UnicornTales is still hard at work on the KQ43D remake project, despite the tragic loss of Karen.  The reason I bring this up now is because our current artist has recently been working to improve upon Rosella's talking portraits; which we'd been told needed some work. 

Here's the one he's presented to us: 

So what do you guys think?  Does it look good?  Does it need more improvements? 

(Apologies if the picture wasn't visible before.  It should be now.)


Just a couple of criticisms:

Not a fan of the pink hair ribbons. Maybe if they were the same color as her red peasant dress, I might like them more.

Her portrait also suffers from the same problem that just about every 3D animation with photorealistic characters has: the glassy, uncanny valley eyes. I'm not quite sure how to fix this one, either. The only exception I can think of right now is Mads Mikkelsen's character in Death Stranding...

...and as you can guess from that screenshot, Death Stranding has an obscenely high budget, far beyond the scope of this KQ4 remake, and far beyond the scope of any fan remake of any game, period. If I were to make any suggestion on how to avoid the eye problem, it would be this, and hear me out: make the eyes simpler. Really. Look at any game where the graphics aren't supposed to be hyper-realistic and see how they make do. Look at this screenshot of Graham in the KQ reboot, for instance:

His eyes aren't overly detailed, but they're still expressive. Any Pixar movie in the last ten years with human characters has been able to get away with this too--they simply stylize the eyes so that they can still emote, but not have to put in hours of work to attempt to make lifelike eyes, work which rarely pays off, even today.

Those are just my two cents.
I have no mouth, and I must scream.


*nods* Probably doesn't help that she's staring directly at you too. Though that's just what every 3D model does when not animated yet, I guess.

Jack Stryker

Thanks for the feedback, guys.  I'll relay that information to the crew.


Happy to have been of assistance. Let us know if there's anything else you need.
I have no mouth, and I must scream.

Jack Stryker

Well, we've just received an edited version of the pic.  Unfortunately, the ribbons were initially changed to red, but I'm told they had to be changed back to pink so that they wouldn't clash with the other animations that we already have in the game.  Anyway, here it is:


Her eyes are certainly better in that second picture. Maybe it's because they're not staring directly at you, or maybe it's because of the slightly different coloring. In the first picture, her eyes looked blue-green, and while that's a pretty color to see on a real person, it's weirdly hard to pull off in animation. In the second picture, they're blue--which is what Rosella's eyes are supposed to be--and the irises are also slightly darkened so that they don't clash so heavily with the pupils. It definitely looks like a step in the right direction.
I have no mouth, and I must scream.


She does look better in the second picture.  The braids though do look a bit too thin.  I think they need to be a bit wider.


So glad to hear the game is still being worked on! That's awesome and I wish you the best of luck :)

This is some promising 3D work too. Not sure if you're still looking for feedback, but in case you are--

I agree about the pink ribbons, strongly.

The 'uncanny valley' look is much improved in the 2nd pic, but what strikes me is how young she looks. In KQ4, Rosella is 17 years old. This character looks like she's 12 at the oldest to me. It's a few things contributing to this--her face is young, still more round than not; her cheekbones aren't really highlighted, which would be the easiest way to age her up. A dash of light pink on the cheekbones, a la blush/rouge, would help that a little. Maybe lining the eyes a little too, a la eyeliner. (KQ characters have had the appearance of wearing make-up before, if that's a concern, but you wouldn't need a lot of this to give her some age. We're not talking full make-up counter treatment ;)). Also, the little we see of her outfit in the portrait looks like a young style (more like a shirt and overalls look, since it cuts off before we see any of the bodice)

But mostly, it's the hairstyle makes her look very young. The braided pigtails is a very 'young' style--the center part, the hair pulled very tightly into the braids. The ribbons add to it, making them pink adds to it even more. It looks like the hairstyle of a little girl, not a teenager. Her bangs kind of add to this as well, but less so. With a different style to the rest of her hair, the bangs wouldn't have the same effect, but in combination, it adds to the young look.

I know I'm applying modern standards to this, but so will your players.

My suggestion would be to loose the bows, and then some combination of: loosen the braids (this isn't a great example, but you get the idea), add hair that isn't in the braids (a la her KQ6 portrait), and/or give her an off-center part.

Or--and this is sort of what all that gets at--give it some more personalized style, make it look unique. Some great examples of this are Katniss's signature wraparound side-braid, Daenerys's evolving intricate braids, and the many, many, braid styles of Princess/General Leia!

That's maybe more detail than you wanted :) But I hope having examples of what I'm talking about helps as well. I know animating hair can be a huge pain, and it's a volunteer project, so find what works best for your team and what you can do, of course. I would most strongly suggest getting rid of the bows, though.

Again, I do think this looks good and it's great to hear you're still going at it! Can't wait to see/hear more about the game's progress. :)

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin

I have a blog!

Jack Stryker

Thanks, Katie.  Well, we ultimately decided to have our animator focus on animations for now, and save the portraits for the game's polishing phase.  I'll relay this info to the crew though.