Next Level Games INC.

From 2010 to 2011, I worked at Next Level on Captain America Super Solider for Sega. I created all the environment textures and finalized all prop textures; creating unique diffuse, normal, specular, and ambient occlusion maps for all. This was great challenge and very rewarding experience. In addition to creating the textures, I also created a shader library for the world artist, further streamlining the texture process and giving them more time to model. Other responsibilities were tagging materials for sound and effects, creating animated IFL textures (burning embers/helicopter blades, etc.) and texture memory budgets so it would all fit on that disk and play at the right FPS.

New game trailer

 Here is a link to the official
 another link to the demo being played

Its time for some of my textures and how I work.

 Before I even make my first texture I am going to want to set up a file structure that both works with game engine as well as the needs of the artists. I would discus this with the lead environment artist, game engine programmers and render programmers. Understanding what my memory , loading constraints and file types will help me from doing hours of rework to get my textures into the game and running at 60 plus FPS. My job also entails working with the render coders to help with new shader or custom shader creation, its one of my favorite parts of my job because we get to make something new and requires some R and D. One example was Captains Americas Shield blur the render coders made a custom shader and I created and tested different swoosh patters to represent the trailing blur.

Now that I have some understanding about how textures are going to get in to the game I can have a look at the Concept art. When I look at concept art I look for the major 4 way textures first(textures that tile 4 directions). These textures will cover the majority of the screen space. Walls, floor, and ceiling or out doors ground ,vertical structures, and sky. After that I look at all the other details including props lighting and game play lines. Its also a good idea to go over all the concept art not just the location you are working on, you will find that many textures can be reused throughout the game, continuity is a great way to keep the player grounded in one cohesive world.  

Here is an example of concept art with many of the textures I created for this environment.
All of the these textures were created from scratch. I prefer to create all my textures as well as brush sets it gives me more control over the tile ability and balance of a texture. I will use photo reference as a starting point when available but find hand painted textures work well against the hand painted character textures.
I often draw thumbnail sketches of all the textures from the concept art, this gives me a chance to plan out my tile and if there are any elements that might be combined on one texture like the computer and electronics panels. I also paint height maps and covert them over to normal maps I find it is quick, clean and works well with most things man made. For more organic textures I will use Zbrush model the shapes and output to normal. It can be time consuming but I have had great results.

Example height color normal spec ambient occlusion and all combined

Here are a couple examples of the normals and the lighting in the environments.
The geo here is relatively simple letting the textures do the work in making the detail.

Textures examples with all 4 maps combined (diffuse,normal,specular, and occlusion) on a quad.

 Prop Textures:

Because of the tight scheduled I helped out the props artist finalizing prop textures. He would
do the modeling lay out UVs and bake a normal map from hires geo where applicable. Then it would come to me mapped with a base normal but no diffuse, spec, or occlusion. Then I would  sprinkle my texture magic on them. I think there was over 60 props and some of them pretty complex. Adding this  to my work load of making every texture for environments and also helping with environment effects quickly be came a gigantic task to take on. 

Here are some examples

Now everything wasn't all texture-texture-texture!

I also created all the family portraits to go in the castle as well as the pin ups for the GI's 
This was pretty fun and I had a good time learning all about the Zemo family tree.