I got the very unique privilege of being the lead character concept artist for Age of Empires IV. It was an enormous, daunting, exciting, and really enriching experience. Costuming just under 300 characters depicted through the “ages” required an incredible amount of research.

I developed a paper doll visual design system for Age of Empires IV. Using this system, I would design a single library of 2D assets. Every costume element (e.g. a Russian helmet) was very reference driven; I would provide the modeler with painted objects and accompanying reference from history. The modelers could then build each asset once and use it multiple times to create the final 3D characters.

The Purpose of this was to design and organize entire armies at scale. Because the unit size is so small on screen, the paper doll system became the most efficient way to create whole armies, each with a unique look, without myself or the modeler getting bogged down in bespoke detail. Using a base number of assets, I could create a design-forward sense of dress that spoke to the history, cuture, and style of the age.

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I was supported by my AD Zach Schlappi and some really amazing artists on the project: Dave Cheong, Stuart Ng, and Jonathon Tiong. Not to mention the incredible character art team that brought them to life.