Exploring Uncharted Territory
June 23, 2011

Exploring Uncharted Territory

Naughty Dog artists use Wacom Cintiq for their game graphics
The first thing you notice when you walk into Naughty Santa Monica, California, headquarters is a wall-to-wall glass case filled with colorful trophies and awards for Uncharted and Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog's incredibly popular games for Sony’s PlayStation 2 and 3 consoles. Both titles have been praised for their stunning and fluid graphics, mostly created using Wacom Cintiq 21UX interactive pen displays.

Concept artist Shaddy Safadi and character artist Bryan Wynia are two of the premiere artists at Naughty Dog, and both rely on Cintiqs for their work. They credit the Cintiq's precision and natural feeling with enabling them to delve deeper into their creations while accelerating the creative process.

As a character artist, Wynia primarily works with Pixologic’s ZBrush, Autodesk’s Maya, and Adobe’s Photoshop software. Most of his time is spent creating true-to-life 2D and 3D character forms in ZBrush. “The Cintiq builds confidence, allowing me to push the creative envelope further than I ever imagined,” he says. “It allows me to be faster and much more productive, especially when working with a program like ZBrush, where the accuracy of the pen really enhances my abilities.”

Wynia has been working with Wacom products since design school, where he honed his digital skills on an Intuos pen tablet. He says that his transition from Intuos to Cintiq was easy because of the Cintiq’s intuitive nature. He is also a big fan of the Cintiq’s flexible stand.

“The ability to change the angle of the stand provides comfort and greatly reduces fatigue,” he continues. “Being able to rotate the display allows me to move around a piece of art just like I would with pen and paper.”

Safadi’s role is to turn creative ideas into scenes, figures, and objects. As a concept artist, he has been using a Cintiq for more than five years and has a desktop configuration that includes the Cintiq and another large display.

According to Safadi, the Cintiq works smoothly and naturally with Photoshop, his main creative application, and he takes full advantage of the Cintiq’s ExpressKeysT and Touch Strips for creating shortcuts and modifiers to make his work go much faster.

“The Cintiq has become an integral part of making games and movies,” observes Safadi. “The advantages it brings to the creative process—from eliminating the need to scan art created on paper, to allowing more creative freedom for iterative work—are obvious to people throughout the industry. I've become so accustomed to its workflow that I’ve even integrated the Cintiq into my computer work at home.”

Management at Naughty Dog is well aware of the benefits the Cintiq adds to the creative process and has supported the creative team’s use of the interactive pen display workflow for several years. The ROI the Cintiq brings to the creative process is bolstered by positive feedback from users about the improvements this interactive technology brings to their work, according to the company. With virtually all of Naughty Dog’s artists now using a Cintiq, they have unprecedented ability to share and collaborate as they head deeper into “Uncharted” territory.

“The Cintiq is one of those rare technologies that not only enhances our work and makes us more productive, but it enables us to do things that have never been seen before,” concludes Wynia. “The proof is right there on the screen during gameplay.”