ScavengeAR is a free augmented reality scavenger hunt game, developed by an international team of volunteers, to encourage SIGGRAPH attendees to explore the many programs and events taking place during the conference.
Conference goers can scan markers and capture creatures called "Sigglets" who will share fun facts and information about the conference.
I was approached by Casey Kwok, the project manager for ScavengeAR to help out as art director for the app's 2018 incarnation at SIGGRAPH Vancouver after he saw my Inktober drawings from 2017.
His vision for ScavengeAR 2018 was a game inspired by watercolours and ink painting, bringing a flare of magic, lore, and tradition into technology, to connect with the conference's theme of Generations.
I worked closely with Casey Kwok (associate producer, Outright Games), Zeb Wood (co-director and lecturer, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis – IUPUI), and the team. It was a fun and challenging experience working with a team of talented creatives and programmers to bring the app to life.
This page is a record of the design process and some of the design and directing work I did for the project.
I tried to find a way to bring in the traditional with an updated twist, referencing art theories of Chinese ink painting and ukiyoe (Japanese print making).
We also adopted the digital ink painting software, Expresii, into the process for making the assets and painting the textures for sigglets for a more organic look.
The brush and ink style became a big challenge to unify in practice since the style involved heavy abstraction, and everyone's way of stylising can vary drastically. The brush style also pose a challenge in asset design since it leans towards free-form expression, which would make the same element look visually jarring when placed in another corner of the screen - which happened a lot due to the tech team's heavy improvisation. So I ended up toning the abstraction down a lot.
Sigglets are the main attraction to the gameplay.
(Many conference goers actually ended up going to events because they found out that a sigglet is around!)
I worked closely with other artists to find the right look. The designs were created by the team and I mostly gave direction and feedback to unify the creature style, and come up with an execution method that gives a brush and ink feel. The designs are then unified by Jordan Noel Nelsen, who illustrated the sigglets.
Here are some of my art direction notes for drawing and designing the sigglets:
The team designed the sigglets for 2D (illustrations used within the app interface) first, then bring them into 3D (models that would be seen in AR mode).
There were some back and forth to find a right design that maintains the brush and ink feel of their 2D counterparts but without the brushstrokes as outlines.
While the original vision did not translate entirely into the final product (especially combining ukiyoe aesthetics in UI and UX design), this was a really fun project to work on and it sparked my interest in branching out to interactive technologies and new media.
Also, the ScavengeAR project is still going strong at each SIGGRAPH event! I highly recommend downloading their newest app and joining the hunt if you ever attend the conference.
Lastly, a special thanks to EXPRESII 寫意 / MOXI 墨戲 & Nelson Chu for the technical and software support!