Hanyu Lujing, is made up of hundreds of comic frames that drive the storyline and accompany the learning journey. Illustrating graphic novels for games can be a time-consuming process, particularly with this amount of frames.
To save time on the production phase, 2and2 producer, Peter Giles decided the best way to streamline this process was by reproducing each wireframe in front of a green screen and photographing each frame using actors and props.
It took three days of shooting in a studio with a photographer, actors and animators, but has saved the illustrators weeks of work.
To give you an idea of the scale of this project, it’s made up of 30 graphic novel episodes, with each episode alone containing between five and ten screens. In three days of shooting, about 600 photographs were taken per day, which involved 150 different ‘set ups’ over the three day period.
2and2 employees and even at times, our friends and family were involved in the action, volunteering some of their time to play acting roles for characters in the graphic novel.
We based the shoot on the wireframe/storyboard images designed by Art Director Ian Brown, who was also on-set supervisor and director.
Ian used models of cars during the shoot, or chairs and other props to simulate the trains, cars, buildings and even snow mobiles in the Hanyu Lujing scenes.
Once the shoot finished, the illustrators then manipulated these professionally shot images in Adobe Photoshop to transform the photographs of the actors into comic-style illustrations and add backgrounds to each scene.
We had five talented illustrators working on the Hanyu Lujing project, one lead, Ian Brown, and four juniors, Blythe Ashton, Abigail McKenzie, Fiona Chan and Kwanjai Chemsripong. I was curious, with so many different illustrators, how they maintain consistency in the style of their work, so I asked Blythe.
“Illustrators do all have their own individual style but it’s our responsibility to follow the style of the art director, Ian. We’re given the brushes and tools to produce illustrations based on the examples he gives so we can match his style.
“I could probably tell you which frames have been drawn by each of the different illustrators but that’s probably because it’s what I do every day, I can pick up on differences in style but these illustrations are so alike it would be very hard for anyone else to notice the difference.”
The illustrations that have been produced for Hanyu Lujing so far are truly stunning, particularly considering they have had only a few weeks to transform the photographs into graphic images.