Staff Attack! Act II

S2HD Visuals & Animation Director

The talents of the artist the staff came to call ‘scan’ were obvious from the first time he made himself known to the project. A remarkably gifted illustrator, he arrived on the scene with a product of his own design, an image that stunningly captured the original artstyle of the Sonic 2 in a mock promotional work he had done in the past out of his respect and passion for the franchise. The acclaim by the staff was immediate, but scan had only shown the surface of his abilities.

After his formal invitation to become a staff member, scan began to reveal the depth of his knowledge surrounding all elements of animation, illustration, and a technical mastery that combined the two with the critical content creation packages being utilized by the project. He went on to tackle the many gaps S2HD was experiencing in graphic design, constructing a new and far more appealing logo for the project, and single-handedly worked out the complexities of designing the titlecards, menus, and interfaces that would be used throughout S2HD.

Scan’s work did not stop there. With these visual foundations in place, he went on to deconstruct and expand on the entirety of Sonic's sprite animations, imparting the knowledge to the team needed to build a level of animated fluidity not possible in the original game. This process was then applied to many other project assets; the movements of the game’s many characters and sprites have scan’s animation theory and analysis applied right down to the finest details. Midway through 2010, scan prepared a standardised colouring and rendering manifesto intended to give all game assets ranging from the gameplay sprites and level art to the frontend a more consistent look as well as streamlining the artist's workflow and with the help of Cerulean Nights and Vince embarked upon a rooted implementation of its methods throughout the project.

By the time the project has reached its completion, scan will have also been responsible for the game’s opening introduction, the animated ending sequence, and a host of subtle changes that S2HD would not be the same without.

Cerulean NiGHTS
S2HD Sprite Artist

Despite the efforts put in to refining Sonic’s sprite on a regular basis, the Badniks of S2HD had seen only-halfhearted attempts at completion. All this changed when Cerulean NiGHTs, or ‘CN’, decided to contribute his work to the project.

CN embodied the ideal contributor the project staff had kept an eye open for. A relentless work ethic coupled with an eagerness to receive feedback, whether critical or lauding, his initial submissions of two Badnik sprites were the first real steps the project had taken toward bringing the game’s many enemies to life. At the same time, the process he laid out with his work and the explanations he provided along the way would become the official production method the staff has now documented as the only acceptable way to create the game’s sprites.

With the workflow for the sprites in place, CN expanded his view beyond the Badniks to the core characters as well. After consulting with Vincent on the methods he had been using to create Sonic, frame-by-frame, CN began to assist him in creating the additional animation frames that scan had laid the base for. Although two of them working on Sonic was producing faster, better results, CN felt that the process could be further streamlined. In a joint effort with scan, the two came up with the production method responsible for the final artstyle of S2HD. Taking full advantage of the content creation software’s capabilities, this completely overhauled all the sprites seen in the game and cemented his position as the staff’s primary Sprite Arist.

Just as the motions of the sprites can be attributed to scan’s animation expertise, so too can their faithful artistic designs be credited directly to CN. When not polishing the latest in the long line of assets needed for the final game, CN works as a staff leader to bring the project to its full potential, and is constantly reminding the team to never settle for less that its worth.

S2HD Level Artist

Gambit’s introduction to the project had very little to do with the role he would eventually shoulder. One of the project’s major hurdles was the creation of the franchise’s iconic ring, and before it’s eventual, and final, recreation, his proposed design was what brought him to the attention of the staff.

Skilled in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Gambit wasted no time to produce more assets for S2HD after he was invited onto the staff. Having taken up the massive, and tedious, task of working with the game’s level artwork, he brought the game’s environment to life in a way those who had tried before could not. This attention to detail soon earned him the dedicated Level Artist position on the team.

Gambit describes himself as nearly OCD in everything he puts his mind to, and his work with S2HD is certainly proof of that. Where many artists would be content with the first or second revision to a given piece, Gambit has overhauled his work on the entire level art set multiple times without complaint when new art directions were decided upon, and in each instance the zones’ appearances proudly reflect the many hours spent on his part crafting them.

The final Act of the Staff Attack! is coming up, where we'll be looking at the project's background artist, it's musical talents, and more.

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