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Giant Stone Heads

Sometimes, you can tell an artist from their signature color or model. Frank Frazetta's weird pastel blots, Brom's skinny folks in leather, you know what I mean. Stephen Daniele is the big stone head artist in my mind — if you played through Crimson Skies, you know his work and you know what I mean about the stone heads. I worked with him for a while at TSR, and I just recently found out he's working just down the road from me. We met after work to catch up.

Daniele is now at FASA game studio, doing very cool art for computer games. He showed me some of his current portfolio, and he explained how normal mapping works, specular shaders, offset tile geometries, and more. It's pretty great stuff; geometry has always been one of my favorite kinds of math, but I rarely think of how geometry and art as blend together. I got to see the lighting design for Crimson Skies, the difference between phototextures and PhotoShop textures, and lots of other bits of craft that artists treat so casually. It made me want to write a "behind the scenes" article explaining how computer art is done to the layman. Not sure where I'd sell that article, but I'm sure someone would want to know.

He also showed me a demo I can't talk about until E3. I'm busting to tell someone, because it's so slick both artistically and in terms of gameplay. Well, when you see the trees, you'll know.

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