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Keetsie aka Junebug - VFX Artist Interview

Posted July 11, 2016 by Etaew and viewed 591 times.

In our latest developer interview get to know Keetsie aka Junebug, responsible for VFX on Trove.


Intro

Could you introduce yourself, what is your job title and something randomly interesting about you?
What are you responsible for on Trove?

 

I’m Keetsie Braz da Cunha, VFX Artist on Trove. I’ve been on the Trove team for nearly a year and do most of the effects work for the game. Quite accidentally, I have become infamous for poop jokes.

So as an effects artist, I design and and animate things like fire, smoke, magical effects, sword slashes, etc. Roughly, if something moves and it's not a character, it's something I have my paws in. This includes nearly all the visuals for player and NPC powers, barring character animation.

I work closely with design to make sure my work effectively communicates a power's function. Effects not only need to look cool, they need to function as a visual language, so a player knows when he's being damaged, healed, mezzed.

 

How did you get started at Trion and in the games industry?

 

I was referred to Trion by a friend who works here, after I became interested in contributing to Trove. Having done mostly realistic effects for most of my career, I was excited to jump on a more stylized game.

Breaking into the games industry was a bit more complicated. I spent four years studying animation and illustration in art school, then another year focusing in effects. After graduation, I applied to a lot of studios and finally landed a junior effects position.

Work

What are some of the things you have worked on that we can find in-game?

 

I’ve done the effects for all player classes since the Pirate Captain, and most of the dragons. Currently, my favorite projects have been the firework effects for the New Year dragon, and some of the more recent sets of wings.

 

What are some of the benefits and challenges creating effects on Trove compared to other games?

 

The biggest challenge of making effects for Trove is conforming to the game’s visual style, without necessarily limiting myself to squares and cubes. I try to keep shapes and colors simple, and focus more on silhouette than small details.

The benefit to Trove’s visual style is that I get to rely a lot more on traditional drawing and painting skills for effects. Most textures are hand-drawn, rather than simulated or cut out of stock photos. This gives me freedom to get the shapes I want and keep things simplified and cartoony.

 

Spoilers permitting, what kind of tasks are you working on right now?

 

A lot of stuff – wings, weapon auras, effects for mounts, effects that ARE mounts, etc. New dragons and classes are always on the horizon, too.

I'm also working on a new type of aura called Stellar Auras. Players will be able to select an aura and apply it to their characters to look awesome.

 

Can you take us through some of the steps that are required for creating a visual on Trove?

 

The process really depends a lot on what kind of effect is being made. Most effects have an initial brainstorming phase. For something like a class power, I’ll talk to the designers first to understand the mechanics, and maybe springboard off an early idea they have for the visual. For wings, I usually start with several quick sketches. Quite a few effects have their origins in a sketchbook.

After that, I determine if I’ll need to create new textures for the effect. Texture creation is my favorite part of the process, since it requires a lot of drawing and painting, but it takes a long time, so I try to recycle as much as I can. If I have all the textures I need, I proceed with animating the effect.

 

Are there any player modded effects that you want to highlight?

 

The Neon Ninja – Reboot skin has some great effects work. It’s just the right level of simplicity for Trove, and has some clever takes on the Ninja’s decoy and Shining Star indicator.

Do you have any words of wisdom for modders working on VFX?

My best advice for Trove VFX modders is to keep things simple. Trove is all about hard edges and simple shapes. Always take a step back from your effect and consider how to get the same idea across with fewer sprites and less detail.

 

Play

Where does the name Keetsie come from?

 

My parents told me it’s Romanian. I checked with a Romanian guy here at work and he says it’s a noise people make to call their cats. So, Romania.

 

What is on your desk?

 

Besides my computer? Pens, a roll of masking tape I should really take home, some superballs, a sketchbook, a couple deflating balloons, and a picture Robin “Twixler” Luera drew of me as a spider.

 

As an effects artist, do you want to highlight any other games that have unique, creative or impressive effects?

 

Both Transistor and Rayman: Legends both have fantastic effects with a lot of traditional animation in them. It’s really exciting to see how well traditional animation and sprites can work together, especially in highly stylized games.

 

Outside of work and Trion what are some of the things you enjoy doing?

 

I do a lot of gardening, and some drawing. They’re nice “recharge” activities after a day of effects work!

 


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