Trent B – Intro Arts Project

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Prezi Complete – Link Available

I’ve completed the presentation for my project, which can be watched below via PREZI.

Prezi Link

I had fun doing this, and realized that Prezi was a very interesting way to make a presentation like this. Wasn’t exactly hard, but just took a little time to figure out how everything works. I may use this for future presentations.

I’ll be back with more soon!
Trent – L2K

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February 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cincinnati Art Museum

This isn’t entirely related to my project, but more related to the Introduction to the Arts class. Yesterday, there was a field trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Unfortunately, I was sick and had to miss the trip.

Feeling much better today, I took a trip to the museum and took a look around. Below are a couple of snapshots of me at the museum.

Image 1
Image 2

I’ve been working on my presentation lately, so I should have links to that on Prezi soon.

I’ll be back with more soon!
Trent – L2K

February 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Final Fantasy – Amano Art vs Nomura Art

I was requested to give some examples of Amano and Nomura art for comparison purposes. I will say this, though. On the internet scene, this is a topic best left alone. There is a constant raging war in the Final Fantasy fanbase over which artist has the superior types of artwork. We will not get into that. Below are a few examples of character designs by both Amano and Nomura (made at the same time). Click the names to view the artwork.

Cloud Strife/Aeris Gainsborough – Amano
Cloud Strife – Nomura

Yuna – Amano

Yuna – Nomura

Tidus – Amano
Tidus – Nomura

As you can see, they have very different styles. Nomura has a bit more “detail”, as I might call it.  Many consider his art more “anime-like”.  I don’t know exactly how to say it, just that it is very different from Amano’s artwork.

I will leave this debated topic alone, in terms of preference.

I’ll be back with more soon!
Trent – L2K

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How did Amano get Started?

Alright, now it’s time to learn how Yoshitaka Amano came into the career of being an artist, thanks to an interview. The method happened very differently than you might think. It was very “lucky” as I would say.

Ever since he was a child, Amano would draw all the time on rolls of paper that his brother brought home, who worked at a paper factory. He spent all of him time drawing, even when he was sick in bed.

Amano never saw his art as “work” as he always draws what he likes and what he thinks is beautiful. That’s one thing that set him on course for his career. He loved what he drew.

At the age of 15, Amano and a friend of his went to a local animating studio, Tatsunoko Productions, and left a few drawings there. Upon seeing these drawings, the studios called up the young Amano and offered him a job at the studio, at age 15. At this studios, he did some designs for various animated shows (anime), including Speed Racer. Amano remained at this studio from 1967-1982.

In the early 1980’s, Amano started working on Fantasy and Science Fiction works, leading to his involvement in the Vampire Hunter D visual novels. He also worked as a character designer for the Vampire Hunter D animated movie in 1985. This is significant as it was one of the first animated movies to be released outside of Japan.

Two years later, he joined the game developer Square (Now Square Enix) to work on the Final Fantasy franchise of games. He was head designer for this series until 1997, which he stepped down from main designer until Final Fantasy IX in 2000, then stepped down again after that.

In more recent years, Amano has been working for Final Fantasy promotional artwork and logos as well as freelancing. The most notable of these freelance works is Sandman: The Dream Hunters, which was nominated for an award.

I’ll be back with more soon!
Trent – L2K

February 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Final Fantasy Logos of the Future

After Final Fantasy XIV, Amano has not done much artwork for the series, as there haven’t been many releases in the past few months. So, for this post, we will conclude the Final Fantasy artworks with a collection of logo art and hardware art he’s done for upcoming titles. The picture for this post (at the top) is artwork for Final Fantasy Type Zero, due out for release sometime within the next year or so.

Below is system artwork Amano did for Dissidia 012, the followup of Dissidia Final Fantasy, which is due for release in March 2011 as well as the Logo for that game.

Finally, we have artwork that Amano has done in the past month for the newly announced sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, dubbed Final Fantasy XIII-2.

That’s all for Final Fantasy. I’ll be back soon with some other Amano work as well as how he got into this career.

Trent – L2K

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Final Fantasy 2007-2011

After Final Fantasy XII hit, Amano was working on the next title of the series, Final Fantasy XIII, but production was painfully slow, so he got to work on an interesting project for the series before then.

For the series’ 20th Anniversary, Square Enix constructed a game that combined Role Playing elements and Fighting elements that would involve characters from every Final Fantasy game up to that point, dubbed Dissidia, which was Latin for “Conflict”.

This game released on the 20th anniversary of the series, December 2007, and below is artwork Amano did, depicting the ten main characters, along with their leader, the goddess Cosmos.

Notice the combination in artistic styles in this. There are some characters that look dark and some light. These are all heroes of the game, but this one piece of artwork could represent 20 years of artwork by Yoshitaka Amano. Each individual character is derived from the initial designs he made for them in their original games.

Still awaiting Final Fantasy XIII development, Amano provided artwork for Square’s second sequel game, dubbed Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, which was a sequel to Final Fantasy IV, which debuted back in 1991.  The After Years released in 2008.  Below is artwork Amano provided for The After Years, re-used through the promotional art for Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection (due out in April 2011)

After a long wait, Final Fantasy XIII finished development and debuted in late 2010. Below is artwork Amano made for the game’s main characters.

Notice that, like the Dissidia artwork, the characters are a mixture of dark and light colors, perhaps symbolizing a period in which Amano is combining his artistic styles into one style, or a “combination style”.

The next Final Fantasy game, and the latest one as of late, as far as main series goes, is Final Fantasy XIV. This debuted in early 2011 and was a return to the online gaming scene. Below is artwork Amano contributed to the collector’s edition boxart for the game.

Like Final Fantasy XII, the character in this artwork is covered in black armor. This was not soley Amano’s doing, as the character in the game already has black armor. This is very different for a hero-like character (although there’s no real “main” character, since players use customized avatars throughout the game). The one thing that’s static was the thought that this was perhaps a premonition of fans’ dislike in the game, as it were in Final Fantasy XII (Which is very true. Many fans of the series dislike both XII and XIV).

I’ll be back in the next post with future artwork for the series and then I’ll go onto Amano’s other work.

I’ll be back with a new post soon!
Trent – L2K

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Final Fantasy 2001-2006

Once 2001 hit, Amano was back to doing promotional artwork and logo designs for the franchise. This marked the move of the Final Fantasy series from the PlayStation console to the PlayStation 2, which allowed a unique situation where Amano was allowed to make artwork for the same characters two games in a row.

In 2001, Final Fantasy X hit the market and the main characters, Tidus and Yuna, are shown below in this promotional art Amano drew

Notice that, while the artwork does seem to be dominated mostly by Amano’s wavy lines, there is a great variety of color in the artwork. This is a huge improvement from Amano’s earlier works, which mostly was just a character on a white background. Amano did some extensive detailing in this, not only to Tidus and Yuna, but also to the background environment they are in. This game would soon come back to Amano in the coming years.

In 2002, Square branched it’s franchise and entered the online gaming scene with Final Fantasy XI. Amano’s initial drawings for this game were fairly extensive. Below is a link to promotional artwork Amano did for Final Fantasy XI’s initial release (I say initial because there have been multiple expansions that have released over the years).

Amano FFXI Art

I am providing a link because it is too big to fit onto the article window and still be able to see all that’s going on. When you open it, it depicts a huge world with a variety of characters and creatures creating a border around the depiction of the world. The background is filled with yellow, almost as a montage to the artwork I showed of Final Fantasy X, with the characters all showing a combination of wavy lines and a great variety of colors, light and dark.

In 2003, Amano was returned to Final Fantasy X as Square announced their first sequel game (all main games have their own specific storylines and have nothing to do with one another), Final Fantasy X-2. Below is artwork Amano produced of the Gullwings, which is what the group of characters, led by Yuna, call themselves.

Note that the background of this is nonexistent. It is almost like a reference to the old Amano style (or it could just be that they are sitting on sand). There is a lack of color in this artwork, but Amano focused a lot on the wavy and curvy lines of the characters, perhaps to signify that X-2 has a very different tone and setting than X did.

The last of the PS2 Final Fantasies hit in 2006, dubbed Final Fantasy XII. This game took a huge turn, in terms of visual presentation and setting. Many consider XII to be the “black sheep” of the PS2 games, or the series in general. Amano could have shown a prediction of this in the following artwork of the game’s 4 main characters.

The four characters are shown in black, perhaps a reference to a lack of personal taste in the game’s new setting? Whatever it may be, it was definitely a different tone of artwork for Amano to be working with. There are still wavy, curvy lines here and there, but the dark colors was a huge turn away from what people had known him for.

After this game, Amano had some opportunities for some new art and nostalgic art, which is to come in the next post.

I’ll be back with a new post soon!
Trent – L2K

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Final Fantasy 2000

Once 2000 hit, Amano returned as the main artist of a Final Fantasy game, when Final Fantasy IX hit the stage. This game was to be a “retro” type game and be a big montage to everything the series had stood for up to that point. Below is artwork for Zidane Tribal, the main protagonist of the game.

This is similar to the artwork of Cloud Strife from VII that Amano made, symbolizing the game’s symbolism of being a mixture of recent and classic Final Fantasy at the time. He had curvy hair and had a combination of light and dark colors.

Another character from the series’ Amano art is below, whom is named Garland, one of the main antagonists who also is speculated to be the same Garland antagonist from the original game.

This was also shown as a mix of light and dark. Unlike Zidane, though, Garland is dominated mostly by his black armor and cape, with the only bright colors coming from his wavy hair and the red jewel on his chest plate.

After Final Fantasy IX was through, Nomura switched back as head designer and Amano went back to promotions and logo art.

I’ll be back with another post soon!
Trent – L2K

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Final Fantasy 1997-1999


After 1997 hit, Tetsuya Nomura took over as the main artist for the Final Fantasy series.  Despite the part of “Main Artist” being taken by Nomura, Amano suck with Square and began a habit of doing promotional artwork and logo artwork.

The first Final Fantasy that Amano did promotional artwork was Final Fantasy VII, said to be the most popular of the franchise.  Amano did artwork for three characters from this game.  The following is one of Amano’s sketches of Cloud Strife and Aeris Gainsborough.

From this artwork, you can tell Amano really did some nice work with that curvy method of drawing he has. There is almost nothing in this entire piece of artwork that doesn’t have curvy lines of some sort. This, actually, is not terribly similar to the appearance of the two characters because of how different Nomura’s sketches were than Amano’s.

This difference is not that bad, though.  It can give the viewer a different kind of perspective of these two characters.  This piece of art is actually very sad, as it pertains to a particularly sad cutscene from the game.

Next in line was Final Fantasy VIII, which debuted in 1999.  Below is a very colorful concept art from Amano for the main characters of the game.

This game’s artwork is mostly dominated with Amano’s “colorful” style as opposed to the wavy style. This was filled with a lot of bright colors, which Amano used to stray from the “serious’ tone of the game’s storyline. This is an interesting way to portray the characters, as most people who have played the game wouldn’t expect to see these characters in a more “cartoony” artwork that Amano presented.

After this game, however, Amano made a big comeback, which is to come in my next post.

I’ll be back with another post soon!
Trent – L2K

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amano History: Final Fantasy 1990-1994

After a two year break, Square teamed up with Amano to produce some more Final Fantasy games.  This next game, Final Fantasy III, proved to be an interesting turn for Square and Amano.  The changes was in the style of the characters in the game.  As opposed to young adult characters, as it were in I and II, III focused on more of a “kiddy” tone with it’s character design.  That can be seen below with this artwork of the character “Cid” from the game.

Whenever I see this artwork, I think that this character, more or less, belongs in a children’s cartoon. The thinking is semi-correct, since this series stayed rated E (Everyone) up to 1997, so it really was a family/children oriented franchise. The colorful and wavy designs still flow through this artwork.

The next game was in 1991, dubbed Final Fantasy IV, which is arguably the most important game in the RPG genre. For this game, however, Amano was given a challenge. This game had the main character go through a “Dark to Light” transformation throughout the game as he uncovered the mystery of his own mind. With this in mind, Amano had to make many sketches of this character, both as a dark, evil character and as a lighter, good character, as seen below in this artwork of the character Cecil Harvey.

Amano’s style of wavy lines was not as apparent in Cecil’s “Dark Knight” (bottom) form as much as his Paladin (Top) form. To make this character come to life, Amano had to take both evil and good, and make it come out in one character. The bottom form is very dark and dreading as the character did misdeeds through life, and the top was very bright and colorful after his transformation into a Paladin.

One year after FFIV came out, Square decided to do a more fantasy-ish approach with Final Fantasy V. The game was centered around a happy-go-lucky teenager named Bartz, the first time a not-so-serious protagonist was tested in the series. As such, they added some over-the-top comedic villains as well, much like you’d find in cartoons and anime of today. Below is Amano’s artwork for Gilgamesh, one of the main villains.

Note one major Amano signature that isn’t in this? Wavy lines. Gilgamesh’s hair does not show under his heavy garments, so it was difficult for Amano to implement his wavy design into this character. There are some wavy lines, but they are small parts of the garment stripe designs.

This, however, was very colorful. Amano depicted this character’s personality through the color of his clothing. The garments are dark red. Red is more of a bright color, depicting a good person, but the dark half of this is showing that he is a villain. Gilgamesh as a character was a villain who loved to have fun with what he did. Almost everything out of his mouth was comedic. This was a good color to represent who he is.

The last game we’re covering in this post is Final Fantasy VI, which debuted in 1994.  This is the final one for this post because 1) the post is getting way too long, and 2) FFVI was the last Final Fantasy Amano was the full head designer for.  Everything else was concept art, promotional artwork, and logo designs.

FFVI was unique that it didn’t follow the cliche’d “Medieval Fantasy” tone the series had taken up until this point.  They combined it with a “steam punk” type tone, with bits and pieces of technology here and there.  Below is artwork for the main protagonist, Terra Branford.

Terra has a very curvy figure, which made it easy for Amano to over-emphasize his wavy design of making art.  Not only was her hair wavy, but in the artwork, you could say her entire figure is wavy, from the shape of her legs to the cape hanging from her back.  Her clothes were made to be very bright red, signifying that she was to be the hero character of Final Fantasy VI.

After Final Fantasy VI, Tetsuya Nomura took over as the head developer for the franchise (with the exception of Final Fantasy IX in 2000), so Amano stuck with promotional artwork, concept art, and logo design after Final Fantasy VI hit shelves.

This is a story for the next time, so I’ll be back with the new direction the style of the series took.

Trent – L2K

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment