Um, is that Yoshi playing in the Park? We've all been there. After one too many visits to the Mushroom Kingdom, the prolonged session of playing Super Mario Bros. has our imagination dazed and confused. It's as if our perceptions have become tethered to an alternate state of reality as we attempt to shake free from the two-dimensional world we so happily sought comfort in. Sometimes it's fleeting, while on other occasions it follows us for a whole train ride as we wish we had gone halves in whatever it was that started this day trip to begin with. Hey, there's Yoshi again!
One guy who knows this all too well is renowned artist Joshua Dunlop. Joshua has a serious knack for transforming Nintendo characters into their real-life selves and continues to capture the imagination of his legions of fans all over the globe. His latest work takes us into the before and after process. It takes an interesting blend of design, empathy, and skill to arrive at something so familiar to the viewer.
Plus, It Looks Friggin Dope!
What did I tell you. King Bowser Koopa, the serial protagonist who loves to steal Peaches has never looked so badass. He has always been there to stir the pot and cause mayhem whenever he can, but never from this viewpoint. Imagine seeing the above IRL version coming at you? This fresh perspective adds a new dimension to his brutish physique and if I was Mario, I'd keep my distance. No, seriously dude, I don't like Peaches...
Developing such a detailed characterization always starts by putting pen to paper. Understanding the subject takes time as each distinct peculiarity is tested and explored.
The steps require the pieces to sequentially form in his mind as his research begins to delineate the many variables of his topics. Like an '80s overhead projector, each layer reveals another aspect that leaves a lasting imprint on what he is looking for.
Using digital sculpting software ZBrush, Joshua's composition reveals itself with added textures and substance. The technique renders the image onto a digital platform whereby the arrangement is given substance and brought into the light with colour.
The final stage is transferring the archetype designs into a 3D software program called KeyShot. Within KeyShot, Joshua is able to add definition and model the environments, background and lighting. It's the final piece of the puzzle that defines the context, emotion and nature of how these characters would appear IRL.
Do You Need To Be One Of The Mushroom People?
The challenge with any creative realisation is how to pull your head out of the clouds and sustain that idea within the material surroundings. It's all well and good to be sitting on the couch for hours as your thoughts run wild. Peering down a green pipe, the 2D images of Nintendo may go up in smoke as you start to visualize how they would look from a real-world viewpoint.
Luckily for us, we have the talented Joshua Dunlop to harvest those imaginative thoughts for us. All we need to do is sit back and indulge ourselves in his work.