Game Studio Spotlight: Skullfish Studios

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Hello! My name is Gabriela Thobias and I’m the Art Director and co-founder at Skullfish Studios. Our game company is focused on Virtual Reality games. The studio was founded in September 2016, by Rafael Ferrari and myself, after working for 3 years at Black River Studios, a VR game studio started by SIDIA (Samsung Institute of Development and Informatics of Amazonas, in Manaus, Brazil). We decided to work with Virtual Reality games; during our experience in Manaus, we saw an opportunity in the market and we decided to go for it. As it’s a new media, VR was really attractive to us – we could make innovative projects and stand out in the market since we had a great knowledge of it. Skullfish Studios is based in São Paulo, Brazil and, so far, our studio is responsible for more than sixteen projects ranging from VR to Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.

Today we’re focused on developing and releasing our first IP, which is entitled Lila’s Tale. Our game tells the journey of Lila, a little girl that is afraid of the dark and needs to face her fears while searching for her brother. It’s a puzzle adventure game where the player needs to solve puzzles on the environment and also to connect the dots to reveal the story.

The idea for our game came to be after me and Rafael met with some friends and felt nostalgic about both puzzle and adventure games. We wanted to bring back childhood memories and add the nostalgia of a hero figure venturing forth to face fears.

In the game, all the textures were hand painted in a way that resembles watercolor. We used 3DS Max to assign the colors and then bake them to the texture. Then, we used 3D Coat to make the texture feel more watercolor-ish by adding paint brush strokes on top of the colors and multiplying the layer. After that, ink lines were drawn in the top of it, in another layer.

That’s a simple process that was enhanced by the shader we created. That shader simulates watercolor on the model, so the process was fast and low budget. The shader has some paint patterns that are multiplied on the texture and also have movement, giving the feeling that the ink is spreading in the model.

We wanted to choose an art style that would stand out on the stores but also enable us to use a lot of color.

We used Maya to create the 3d models and to make the animation of our characters.

We took good care in designing every character of the game so that their appearances would fit well the whole universe of the game. For every character, we would create moodboards that sometimes could take a long time to get well fitted. After the moodboards were ready, the concept artist would take them and design the shapes. The shapes for us were especially important because since it’s a mobile game, we needed to make sure that every part of the character would appear. In some cases, if there are parts that are too thin, they can be very hard to see.

And finally, with the shape defined, we would then detail the concept and try the colors on.

Sketchfab was really helpful when we were just starting the game process. Having a pro account helped us upload our larger models, let us personalize content with backgrounds and work privately internally during development. We also felt that the Sketchfab community was really receptive to our work. Needless to say, we love the Sketchfab community and the tools they provide.

Lila’s Tale will launch soon on Gear VR and Oculus GO and you can check more news and updates in the following links:

Skullfish Studios SiteLila’s Tale SiteFacebook / TwitterInstagramSketchfab

About the author


An artist in the pursuit of dopeness.

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