Sonic 3's 3D Models

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Shalpp, Nov 18, 2019.

Do you prefer Knuckles' design in the concept artwork, or the 3D-render inspired artwork?

  1. Concept Artwork

    37 vote(s)
    57.8%
  2. 3D-Render Inspired

    27 vote(s)
    42.2%
  1. Shalpp

    Shalpp

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    This recent proto that got released has made me think about the graphics used in Sonic 3, particularly Knuckles.

    The catalyst is Knuckles' pose at the start of AIZ, complete with the "hand em over" gesture. His face in that 100% matches the graphic used in the signpost, which carried over to the final builds. As shown by later cutscenes involving him, he has his current design in his sprites, which seems to be based more on the 3D render made for various parts of the game (S&K title sequence, blue sphere menu, ending, and file select cards).
    It seems weird that the render was the basis for just about all of his graphics in the final game, save for his signpost graphic (which, at the time the final was completed, had new graphics for Sonic and Tails), but I did remember one place it was used: Knuckles in Sonic 2.
    For whatever reason, an updated signpost was created and used solely for Sonic 2. I'm trying to wrap my brain around why the 3d based one was used in Sonic 2, completely out of sync with the rest of the graphics, and why it wasn't used in the game that shows off those pre-rendered graphics at any given moment. There's a distinct style to the sprites in Sonic 3 that seem to match the concept art made for the game, with Knuckles having a set design made as well. It seems odd that any official promotional artwork for the game opted to use artwork based around the render rather than the concept artwork made, which seems to follow that design quite faithfully.

    What do you guys think the idea was? Did they move forward with that 3D based design as more of a nod to the cancelled SVP project? Or was it a stylistic change that wasn't accurately reflected across the board?

    I've also hastily tossed together examples of the pre-renders vs non pre renders found through the game:
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. NeoFusionBox

    NeoFusionBox

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    Wait, that's right. Knuckles' signpost artsyle in Knuckles in Sonic 2 is actually based on Sonic 2's style (or at least looks like). Does that means...

    Oh shit.
     
  3. Blue Spikeball

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    Character designs tend to change and evolve throughout development. His sprites could just be reflecting his finalized design; it doesn't necessarily mean that they were specifically modeled after his 3d render (outside of the prerendered sprites, of course).

    Btw, what concept artwork are you referring to?
     
  4. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Well, we do have betas. :V
     
  5. JoseTB

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    Now that we can see the way both the sprite and the theme song for Knuckles evolved, my theory is that it simply reflects how the character design evolved. This is a character that went from being purely an antagonist (early sprites show a rather angry, unfriendly face, early theme song sounds a lot like a strictly "bad guy" theme), to a "somewhat of an ass but not all bad" (Sonic 3's final Knuckles theme song) to "actually good, just weird and confused" (S&K Knuckles theme song). I bet they didn't even plan to make him a playable character initially, and that was something that just came along naturally as they thought of splitting the game.
     
  6. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

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    I dunno about that. They designed alternate paths for him, and it'd make sense to add a third playable character to the third game, just as they added a second playable character to the second game.
     
  7. JoseTB

    JoseTB

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    Yes, but you are looking at a build that has the final Knuckles sprites in there in other cutscenes besides AIZ, plus zone data being actively deleted from previous builds (Lava Reef). In the prototype that we have, the decision to split the game, and possibly to give Knuckles a larger role, had already been made. The sprites seen in the AIZ intro, I would argue, are a remnant from an earlier time before the decision to make him a playable character was made, much earlier than this build. I can't prove it, it's only conjecture, but this would make a lot of sense to me.
     
  8. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    What I never understood from S3K was how wildly inconsistent the 3D render sprites were (and that applies to every character). From your post alone you see 3 versions of Knuckles renders all which look incredibly different and they're from the same game. Same goes for the Sonic title screen renders, the beta, final, data select screen, and the S&K renders all look completely different.

    And then of course you have the larger Sonic sprites that are an art style outlier... Sonic 3 was kind of a mess huh...
     
  9. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    Knuckles is playable in the prototype competition mode isn't he? Or he at least has sprites for it. So I think we can throw that theory out. There's also the issue of Knuckles' only routes, as BlastFrog has noted.

    I mean, maybe he was originally intended to be a straight up villain, but there's no evidence for it. His sprite in the intro looks similar to Mania, and he isn't evil in Mania.

    I agree that the theme song makes him sound harsher, but he has a more antagonistic role in S3 anyway, seeing as he doesn't turn good into SAK.
     
  10. Pengi

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    There was an interview (maybe with Iizuka?) where it was stated that Knuckles was always intended as a playable character. They went with the "deceived by Eggman" plot so that he could be a rival to Sonic, but then get revenge on Eggman later.

    EDIT: Here it is: https://www.gameinformer.com/b/feat...ic-the-hedgehog-burning-questions-iizuka.aspx

    Why is Knuckles so gullible?

    When we were making Sonic 3, one of the purposes behind Knuckles was to create a character that would rival Sonic and be a constant bother to Sonic during the entire game. We had this fundamental need to antagonize Sonic with another character, but we also wanted to have Knuckles be playable and have Knuckles get a revenge on Eggman, so how could we have this character be antagonistic toward Sonic but then also go after Eggman, as well? What made sense for him was to kind of make Knuckles a gullible, easy character that Eggman would take advantage of, therefore he does things against Sonic, but then, just like Sonic, he'll go against Eggman. It's really more to make that gameplay all make sense.
     
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  11. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    Knuckles's behavior in the prototype is interesting. I can't help but to see it as Knuckles, being isolated on Angel Island, is puzzled by Sonic's presence. Sonic appears as an invader out of nowhere and Knuckles stops him. Then he cursorily motions for Sonic to slowly come forward and runs off, perhaps out of the initial shock or confusion of Sonic's presence. To me, this seems to show a reaction of Knuckles before being tricked by Robotnik and is certainly a contrast to the final game in which Knuckles has already prepared a trap to stop Sonic before he even reaches the island. I thought the way Sonic was controlled in the demo during this scene added to more to this as well. Anyway, this is just speculation.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I'm not convinced there were many 3D renders outside of title screens and the occasional bit of level art. I think a lot of it was hand drawn to look 3D.

    Unless you mean 3D model as in "here is a model in 3D space"... because the original Sonic the Hedgehog sprites were based on a physical clay model.



    That being said I would really like to see how the 3D title screen bits were done. I think Sega got their hands on a set of Silicon Graphics workstations when they moved into their new Japanese offices in 1993 but I have a hard time envisioning the workflow. Here's a group of people who couldn't have possibly worked with this software before - how long does it take them to render an image?
     
  13. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Since it doesn't hurt to have more sources, Takashi Yuda also said that Knuckles was conceived as a playable character for Sonic 3: http://info.sonicretro.org/Takashi_Yuda_interview_by_GameSpy_(January_7,_2006)

    Also this one: https://web.archive.org/web/20061104155413/http://sega.jp/community/creators/vol_28/1.html

    --

    According to Yuji Naka, Sonic 3's title screen, with the 3D style Sonic, was a remnant from when the game was going to be 3D:

    (I vaguely recall Yuda also saying that the 3D-ish style of the enemy art in the manual was also a reflection of this, but I can't find a source.)

    --

    As for Sonic & Knuckles' title screen, MTV's "Rock the Rock" special showed Kunitake Aoki "working" on a wireframe version.
     
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  14. FireRat

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    I could be wrong, but I THINK by that time Video Toaster was already released on Amiga, including the Lightwave 3D program.
    Think about the 3D that could have been done, and the 3D that was accessable. Toy Story was released, yeah, but most of the 3D you seen on TV during the 90s or maybe even early 2000s (depending on where you live) is... not only basic and geometric, but also very inexpert even by today's lowest standards (videos with bad lighting, rigid animation, and generally lower quality than even some of the first real-time-rendered 3D games). In Chile... at least 3 of major TV channels never used a Silicon Graphics Workstation (according to teachers from the institute I assist to), and instead had a bunch of newbies trying to get the hang of Lightwave 3D, helping each other, etc.
    Sonic 3's 3D work doesn't seem to be the work of an expert either, but rather of a single person's little experience. Yes the image conversion/importing at S3 Proto sucked, but regardless color loss you can still see the original render had crappy lighting, no texture for the smile (just like knuckles!), etc. Even in the final version of S3A and later, which feature much better image conversion, Sonic looks like a plastic toy with a light source that's too strong for it. They fixed the eyes though, since these they look less affected by light.

    If you ask me though... I think the model used for Knuckles' ending is the same version used for Get Blue Spheres. But it's a later revision than used in the title screen (!!!), because they actually added a mouth. As for Sonic, we only got to see the final model, EXCEPT at the save select screen, BECAUSE Sonic has no mouth in there and shares just too many attributes as the proto version... but at least they fixed the eyes' reflection.
    But the one thing I don't understand... maybe I think in reverse, I think both versions of Knuckles' signpost are hand-drawn, but, I really think the KiS2 version follows the OLD style, and the S3/K version follows the new one

    By the way, the final Sonic 3 model seems to be the same as the one from Sonic Jam intro (just talking from memory, I haven't paid closer attention yet) :P No it's not.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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  15. Xinus

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    In case of Classic sonic there seems to be 3 main model sets used for various 3D character renders

    1)the Sonic model which debuted in Sonic 3, was reused for 3D Blast and Blast for GG. was also used in stuff like PC Wallpapers. Tails & Knuckles models from this set are actually much more obscure and it's really hard to find a good render of them.
    it seems like in Sonic 3 title screen they edited the render to make it fit the title screen better (the head was made bigger, the arms were shortened, the shoes were squashed down.)

    2)the model which was used in Sonic R - Sonic Jam and some promotional materials (Sega 1998 Calendar). also appeared in Spikeout as a cameo.
    Knuckles and Tails model from this one are also almost nonexistent. the only renders i could remember are Sonic R title screen and a couple renders from the 1998 calendar. they probably updated them because the originals just looked odd with their spherical proportions and off model looks. though the new sonic model also doesn't look quite on point. it looks fine from profile view but from the front it looks very weird.

    3)the Sonic Xtreme model made specificaly for that game. was later reused in Sonic Schoolhouse.

    Jon Burton of Traveler's Tales made a video on Sonic R stage renders which he says they were made on an SGI machine. so i'm fairly certain that both Sonic 3 and Sonic R models were rendered using a Silicon Graphics computer.
     
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  16. drx

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    On Knuckles being playable, this happens if you set the player ID to Knuckles in the proto:

    upload_2019-11-21_21-0-19.png

    (ignore the 0000 0000, that's me)
     
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  17. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Why the hell did they think using the oranges was a good idea? Did they not think about readability once the red palette was swapped in?
     
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  18. kazblox

    kazblox

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    I doubt that Sonic 3's render models were reused for 3D Blast. Shoes are entirely different, including the way the mouth is done.
    Meanwhile, Virtual Sonic's cover, including the Sonic Team wallpapers from 1996 are way more close to 3's models.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. IT Ryan

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    yep. the models are indeed completely different, and sonic 3 is indeed a mess.
     
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  20. Xinus

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    No. I'm still fairly certain those are the same models. here's my points why i think so.
    even just by looking at the 3D Blast and Sonic 3 Renders side by side:
    [​IMG]
    Besides the different angle, the head is pretty much a perfect match. the silhouette is nearly indistinguishable. the only thing that is different is that the Sonic 3 render has rounder pupils and a different smile, which just looks like it was drawn on top of the render. while the 3D Blast version has it applied as a texture(or maybe it's just modelled on top. it's hard to say).
    the infamous Derpy sonic render seems to have the matching pupil shape to sonic 3 render, which means Traveller's Tales decided to change it later on for some reason.
    [​IMG]

    Same with the body. the base shape is the same, but it looks like in Sonic 3 render they redrew the belly slightly to make it a bit smaller.

    The length of the arms seem to be longer in the 3D Blast render. but maybe that's just how Traveller's Tales positioned them because i noticed that their length seems to vary from render to render. i don't really know with which game this one is associated with but here it seems to match the Sonic 3 render more in terms of proportions.
    [​IMG]

    i can agree on the sonic 3 render the shoes have a different shape. but i think the reason for that is because Sonic himself takes pretty much all of vertical space on the screen and since we only see his bottom part for like a fraction of a second people at Sonic Team just decided "let's just squish the bottom part a bit so sonic can take up more space" hence why the looks so squished. it's a rough example but here is the same render but with the shoes made a bit bigger.
    [​IMG]
    this way it looks closer to how they look in 3D blast render. the buckle proportions and shape seem to be same on both renders.

    some time back i also tried to recreate this model. but this was 2 years ago so i wasn't very successful with that. i may redo this in the future because i really like this "old CGI" aesthethic. https://skfb.ly/6LpIJ
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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