The Socarrat of Diablo 3

Posted by Anuiran on January 3rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

It must be awesome to have an artist in the family, and Miguel, admin of official fansite Diablo3-esp.com since 2006, is lucky enough to have one at home. His mother’s hobby is to craft socarrats – a form of traditional medieval art consisting of fired clay tiles painted in red and black.

She was persuaded to craft a socarrat in the image of her son’s favorite archangel, Tyrael. Miguel has been a fan of Diablo since 2000, and even though his mom isn’t into videogames herself, she accepted the challenge quite happily.

Q. What does “socarrat” mean?

Socarrat is the Valencian word for “burned” or “scorched”. It comes from the way a socarrat is cooked, since the clay tile is actually burned where the image has been drawn.

The first step is to perforate the paper and apply black dust to mark the silhouette of the sketch on the tile.

Q. What can you tell us about the history behind socarrat art?

Socarrats originated on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages, mainly in Valencia. They were generally placed between the wooden beams of old houses, sometimes in stairways, or even on the exteriors of buildings for decoration. They usually depict religious, magic, and social figures.

Q. How are socarrats made?

The tile is covered in quicklime dust, over which the artist draws the picture using red and black tones before the tile is fired. This gives the socarrats a very distinct appearance.

Here you can see part of the silhouette from the first step, and the beginnings of the red and black tones being applied.

Q: Where did your mother learn how to make them?

She has been making socarrats for years in the cultural center of our town in Spain. We have plenty of socarrats all over the walls of our house.

Q. What materials did you mother use for your Tyrael socarrat?

You just need a clay tile, the typical size of which is 30x15cm or 40x30cm. As I mentioned before, there are only two colors available to paint on the tile. The red color is made with ocher and the black color is a mixture of manganese and black carbon.

Q. What was the process of creating it?

The drawing must first be sketched. A semitransparent paper is used for that, and the paper is then perforated along the outline of the drawing. Then the black color is sprinkled over the punctured paper onto the tile. The black dust will indicate the outline of the drawing on the tile, making it easier to start painting the actual picture. The red and black colors are mixed with a bit of water and the artist paints over the outline with a small paintbrush. This usually takes a few hours, but not much longer. The socarrat then needs around eight hours in the oven before one layer of Bitumen of Judea is applied to darken the image.

The completed painting before being fired.

Q. What made your mother do this particular socarrat?

I suggested she do something different than the usual socarrat drawings. I chose this image of Tyrael because it seemed ideal for a socarrat. The original image is fully colored, but the red and black socarrat style gave it a different aspect similar to the Diablo III opening cinematic.

Q. Do you have any other Diablo socarrats planned?

Not at this time, but who knows? Maybe a Malthael socarrat to put next to Tyrael. Or perhaps the whole Angiris Council discussing what to do with the black soulstone! I just have to make sure that the image can still be awesome when painted with only two colors.

Q. Are socarrats easy to make at home?

If you can find the materials, then yes, absolutely. But I think they could be hard to find outside of Valencia. And of course you need a ceramic oven nearby to fire the tile.

Q. What tips would you give to other aspiring artists interested in making their own socarrat?

Familiarize yourself with the classic socarrat style and get to know its particularities. You can find more examples with a simple online search. Start with the smallest and easiest pictures and be very careful while painting, since the colors are like dust before firing and they can spread over the tile easily and ruin the drawing.

The finished and framed socarrat.

What do you think about this ancient art technique and the depiction of Tyrael? Would you try making your own? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re working on any Blizzard fan creations, be sure to tell us about them in our Community Creations forum!

Design a Legendary, Part 4: Updated Concept Art

Posted by Anuiran on December 24th, 2013 at 2:41 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

Two weeks ago, we revealed the first piece of concept art created by 3D character Aaron Gaines for our upcoming one-handed, Mephisto-themed sword. For those who may have missed that particular reveal, here's a screenshot:

As noted, this was just the inital sketch, the first step in implementing the visual design of this particular Legendary weapon into the game. For many items in Diablo III, concepting goes through several stages, and today we're excited to share a new piece of concept art with all of you.


Many of you had feedback for Aaron, and he was excited to incorporate your suggestions and criticisms into this updated design. Some of the most notable changes based on player feedback include:

  • Reshaping the horns to more closely resemble those borne by Mephisto
  • Slimming down the blade's width
  • Introducing more skeletal textures and imagery to evoke a spine-like feel
  • Adding chains

Here are the results!

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback and suggestions. We'll have more visual progress updates and images to share in the new year.

Until then, happy holidays!


Previous Design a Legendary Articles:

DIABLO III HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Posted by Anuiran on December 20th, 2013 at 6:10 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

The holidays are just around the corner, and whether you're still looking for the perfect gift for that special Nephalem in your life or just want to treat yourself to something sinister, now's a great time to stock up on some exciting new and familiar Diablo products!

There are quite a number of Diablo-themed items available for purchase or preorder this season, so we've gathered them up into a single, handy list.


Games:


Statues, Props, and Collectibles:


Clothing:


Books:
  • Diablo III: Book of Tyrael – Diablo III: Book of Tyrael takes players even further into the universe with a detailed and beautifully crafted artifact that focuses on the renowned champion Tyrael.
  • Diablo III: Storm of Light Preorder – Written by Nate Kenyon, author of The Order, Storm of Light is a bridge between the events of Diablo III and the story that is to come in its first expansion, Reaper of Souls.
  • Diablo III: Book of Cain – In this gorgeous tome, renowned scholar Deckard Cain has combined excerpts, illustrations, and firsthand knowledge to pen a history of the world of Sanctuary.


Naughty, nice, or just downright diabolical, we hope your holidays are full of good tidings and cheer. And loot, course. We hope there’s lots of loot, too.

Reaper of Souls™ Unleashed on March 25, 2014 – Prepurchase Now

Posted by Anuiran on December 19th, 2013 at 1:59 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

On March 25, the crusade against death itself charges forth with the launch of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls for Windows and Mac. Prepare for the onslaught today by prepurchasing the expansion digitally on Battle.net

Whether you plan to immediately don the armor of the new Crusader character or take your current hero directly into Act V, Reaper of Souls will bring you updated loot rewards, all-new class skills and abilities, game-changing features like the Mystic and Adventure Mode, and highly replayable content in the form of Bounties and Nephalem Rifts.

You also have the option to prepurchase the Digital Deluxe Edition, which contains a wealth of in-game goodies: a collection of exclusive helm- and weapon-transmogrification recipes to distinguish your hero among the champions of Sanctuary; a loyal Spectral Hound minion to keep your adventurers company on their epic journeys; three additional character slots to accommodate new heroes; an in-game Treasure Goblin companion pet for World of Warcraft; and an assortment of Crusader-themed Battle.net portraits and Malthael-themed decals for StarCraft II. 

Here, have a look for yourself: 


Spectral Hound Minion and Transmogrified Gear 


Treasure Goblin Pet for World of Warcraft


Battle.net Portraits and Malthael Decals for StarCraft II

Players who prepurchase the Digital Deluxe Edition will receive their in-game items with the launch of the expansion on March 25, though some items may arrive beforehand, so keep an eye out for early deliveries.

If you're looking for even more loot, the Reaper of Souls retail-exclusive Collector's Edition comes fully equipped with all the in-game goodies from the Digital Deluxe, plus a range of premium collectible items:

  • Malthael mouse pad, bearing the impenetrable visage of the Angel of Death
  • Hardback Collector's Edition art book, chronicling the game's artistic development
  • Behind-the-scenes Blu-Ray/DVD two-disc set, featuring in-depth interviews with the development team and members of the Diablo III community

The Standard Edition is available for $39.99 USD and the Digital Deluxe Edition is available for $59.99 USD. If you choose to preorder the Standard Edition and later want to upgrade to the Digital Deluxe Edition, you'll be able to do so for $20. The Collector’s Edition is available only at select retail locations for a suggested retail price of $79.99. A limited number of Collector's Editions will be available and they're expected to sell out quickly, so be sure to lock in your preorder with your local retailer as soon as possible.  

For more information on the March 25 release of Reaper of Souls for Windows and Mac, check out the official press release, or visit the Reaper of Souls game page to learn more about the expansion and secure your digital copy. Also, be sure to keep an eye on www.diablo3.com for updates on the launch of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition on the PS4.  

Until then, we'll see you in Sanctuary!

*When you prepurchase Diablo III: Reaper of Souls digitally via Battle.net, you will be able to download an encrypted version of the game client prior to the launch date. The expansion content will be unlocked and available for play on March 25, 2014.

Design a Legendary, Part 3: "Choose Your Power" VOD Now Available

Posted by Anuiran on December 18th, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Blizzard Quote [source]

On Wednesday, December 11, game designers Travis Day and John Yang joined Twizz, Archon the Wizard, Flux, and Monstrous for a livestream of Legendary proportions.

Watch the full 90-minute VOD below. To check out BlizzPro's full show recap, click here!

As you can see in the VOD,  lots of creative suggestions were debated and praised, and we walked away with several viable Legendary powers for our upcoming one-handed, Mephisto-themed sword. But before we settle on exactly which Legendary powers are included in our next Design a Legendary poll, we wanted to give interested players one more opportunity to get involved and share their ideas.

Put on Your Thinking Caps:

If you didn't get to participate in the livestream or one of our earlier discussions, now's your chance. To submit a possible Legendary power for our Design a Legendary project, simply leave a comment below. We'll compile all the ideas we receive, pass them on to Travis and John for review, and then after the holidays deliver a list of of (up to) 10 different, player-inspired Legendary powers on which the community will get to vote. Whichever power gets the most votes globally at that point wins!

Note that if you've already submitted an idea by posting a comment to our blog or sending an email you do not need to resubmit here. Your idea has already been documented and sent over for review. 


Previous Design a Legendary Articles:

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