Brett's Production Diary #5

The Art of Amy Beth Christenson

March 30, 2007

Last diary I spoke about the importance that concept art has played in helping develop the look for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and this week I'm going to continue on that topic by spotlighting one of LucasArts' most talented artists, Amy Beth Christenson. Early on in the project, before there was even a clear direction for the story, it was Amy's job to begin fleshing out what the Force would behave like if it were unleashed, along with character and environment explorations. The process was really organic at first, and it began with her sitting down with Project Lead Haden Blackman, Art Director Matt Omernick, and Senior Designers John Stafford and Rich Davis to generate ideas. "I started by creating studies of Force powers, as well as black and white studies of characters, environments, and action sequences," explains Christenson. She then began working on color explorations of some of those same ideas to give them a little more depth. "It was pretty much an artistic free-for-all" as she was given a lot of bandwidth to create just about anything she could imagine.

Before long the abundance of imagery began to inspire the direction for the game. There were times when the design team would have an idea for a character or an environment and Amy would go off and create a piece of concept art tailored to a specific request; at other times characters and environments would be chosen from a fleet of images created after brainstorming sessions. As the design team started to hone in on specifics for the story of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the concept art became more focused, with the goal being to create the mood of the action. In some cases, characters were taken out of the environment they were originally concepted in and placed into another; in other cases, scenarios were created for characters who struck a cord with the team, with the feeling being that the character was too cool not to have in the game.

The great thing about working on this particular project, though, is that there is always a need for concept art-not just at the beginning of the project-and there will continue to be a need for art well into full production. So I will check back in with our growing crew of concept artists from time to time to give a little insight into what they are creating. And while we can't show off all the artwork we've created so far, as a treat to the readers I've included a handful of concept art that was created early on in the project, some of which is being seen for the first time, and I will continue to post artwork through the life of these diaries, so be sure to keep comin' back! Speaking of which, be sure to tune in next time as I take a look into one of the many technologies we're using to make Star Wars: The Force Unleashed a reality-Digital Molecular matter, or DMM for short, from Pixelux Entertainment.

- Brett Rector    

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