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nur_ein_tier

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Masahiro Ito article

Post by nur_ein_tier on Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:03 pm

Reposted from http://alchemillahospital.net/masahiro- ... lent-hill/

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Masahiro Ito is best known for his contributions to the first three Silent Hill games. Ito studied graphic design at the Tama Art University. In 1997, he joined Konami and became a part of Team Silent. He designed backgrounds for the first game, and was art director and creature designer for SH2 and SH3. His work on these games established the visual look and feel of the series. He uses SoftImage for modeling and painting textures, and all of the 3D images on his website were made with this software.
Masahiro Ito, qtd. on silenthillchronicle.cjb.net/ wrote:I saw [Jacob's Ladder] when I was in high school and experienced terror psychologically for the first time.”



Inspirations

Ito has drawn inspiration from a diverse array of artists and filmmakers. One can see the inspiration of the film Jacob’s Ladder in some of the monster designs as well as the hospitals in the games. The main character, Jacob Singer, is wheeled through a nightmarish hospital, strapped to a gurney. He sees deformed humans and doctors with no eyes, as well as a lot of humanoid creatures in frames or boxes. It brings to mind several scenes in the Silent Hill games, especially the cutscene of James being wheeled on a gurney in Brookhaven. There are bloody floors littered with body parts in areas of Silent Hill 3, as well, and the subway scene is reminiscent of the film (the same stop, Bergen St., is also in the game).

Many of the monster designs look relatively human at first, but upon closer inspection, have missing or distorted features, or they move and behave in strange ways. In the Making of Silent Hill 2, Ito explained some of the inspirations behind the monsters. The Lying Figures were inspired by a friend who was walking around in a hooded sweatshirt with his hands in his pockets. Other monsters resemble humans, but with the “mannerisms and movements of a drunk person.”

The Silent Hill series is full of details that you can easily overlook the first time through, and much of the details and scenery was carefully chosen and thought out. For example, in Silent Hill 3 there are pictures of ears and mouths on the walls of the hospital and Hilltop Center. Ito explained on his messageboard that he wanted to use thes to express the Otherworld and its personality, but didn’t want to use eyes, because he didn’t use them in the Silent Hill series creature design. The ear is bloody because Alessa is angry; likewise, the red around the nurses’ mouths are to express a feeling of anger. The mouths appear to be smiling, but Ito says they really represent Alessa’s “shrieking insanity.”
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You’re not friends with that Red Pyramid Thing, are you?

Pyramid Head is the most instantly-recognizable character in the series. Ito has explained some aspects of Pyramid Head’s appearance on his message board. Since Pyramid Head doesn’t have a face, he uses his hands to express himself. Silent Hill 2 was developed for the Playstation 2. Though it was much more visually detailed than the original game for Playstation, there were still some limitations to the numbers of polygons that could be used for a character or monster. Pyramid Head’s hands are gloved because it reduces the polygon count. However, it was still possible to use the hands expressively by moving his index finger. This also allows him to make pointing motions.

Pyramid Head, in Silent Hill 2, is based on the old executioners in Silent Hill, but specifically, this incarnation represents James’ guilt. “He attacks other creatures on James’ delusion.” Later, Pyramid Head kills himself, but only after James has realized his own guilt, so Pyramid Head is no longer needed.

Other Silent Hill Work

In addition to the games, he has illustrated some Silent Hill comics for mobile phones. The first of these was Cage of Cradle in 2006. The scenario for this comic was written by Hiroyuki Owaku (the writer who co-wrote or wrote the scenarios for the first three games) and centers on Lisa Garland, the nurse that took care of Alessa from the first game. Unfortunately, this was only made available for cell phones in Japan, and has not been translated or made available elsewhere. Double Under Dusk was released the following year, also for cell phones in Japan. He has also done a variant cover for the Dying Inside #3 comic and many illustrations for the Silent Hill 1-3 novels.

In 2008, he created the comic Белый охотник for the Silent Hill: Zero soundtrack, as well as the Japanese cover for Silent Hill: Homecoming. The reasoning for Белый охотник (“White Hunter”) being in Russian was due to Ito’s interest in Russian language and culture. He wanted to “make another Pyramid Head and his world,” and he did so by making his helmet white instead of red, and naming him in Russian. He has posted additional drawings of incarnations of Pyramid Head on his website and via Twitter.
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Recent Work

In addition to his work on Silent Hill related projects, he has also done illustrations for KIBA, a Japanese trading card game, and Metal Gear Solid 4. He has released an art book called The 2nd Wild Pig twice at Comicmarket74 in Japan.

He stated that he had been contacted to work on the Silent Hill Revelation 3D film to design characters and backgrounds, but he had to decline because of a busy work schedule. He has expressed interest in making a book of Pyramid Head art, but this may never come to fruition because of difficulties with Konami and publishing it overseas. This is also why Cage of Cradle, Double Under Dusk and his art book weren’t released anywhere but Japan. He has also stated that he will be doing the cover for the Japanese version of the upcoming Silent Hill: Downpour.

Sources:
Nobu hill BBS
Nobu Hill
Making of Silent Hill 2
Making of Silent Hill 3
Ito Contacted about SH Revelation 3d?
Ito wants to do PH Art Book
Ito Drawing Cover Art for Downpour?
SH Chronicle
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JaneTheNurse

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Masahiro Ito article

Post by JaneTheNurse on Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:18 am

*applause* Glad they're trying to keep him in the loop somewhat!
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by crazyhorse on Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:40 am

Excellent article. One of the aspects that I feel is sorely missing from the Silent Hill franchise is the monster designs from Ito.

Masahiro Ito's creatures are provocative and disturbing. When combined with some truly bizarre animations, Ito's creatures gave Silent Hill its subjective edge.

The creature work on the more recent Silent Hill titles tends to be too objective and pragmatic. Although, I did like the look and animation of Sepulcher from Silent Hill Homecoming.

After his departure, the Silent Hill titles have never felt as transcendental. Unfortunately, the abstract and thought provoking spirit of Silent Hill seems to have gone with him.
 
 
 
 
 
 

nur_ein_tier

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Masahiro Ito article

Post by nur_ein_tier on Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:03 am

crazyhorse wrote:Excellent article. One of the aspects that I feel is sorely missing from the Silent Hill franchise is the monster designs from Ito.

Masahiro Ito's creatures are provocative and disturbing. When combined with some truly bizarre animations, Ito's creatures gave Silent Hill its subjective edge.

The creature work on the more recent Silent Hill titles tends to be too objective and pragmatic. Although, I did like the look and animation of Sepulcher from Silent Hill Homecoming.

After his departure, the Silent Hill titles have never felt as transcendental. Unfortunately, the abstract and thought provoking spirit of Silent Hill seems to have gone with him.

Thanks.

While I do miss Ito's monster designs, I'm still hopeful that some decent monsters can come from other people. Still, while some other folks that worked on the first few games seemed to have gotten fed up with the series,Ito at least seems to still carry a love for Silent Hill (since he continues to work on stuff, and also to draw up Pyramid Heads for fun in his spare time). But the monsters have definitely gone down in quality since Ito was the creature designer/art director. I mean, consider SHSM. I loved the game, but the Raw Shocks have to be the shittiest monsters in the series. Some of the stuff in Origins was a bit lame, as well, and the Butcher was rather on the derivative side. I thought SHH's monsters, in general, were less bad though, even if I didn't like the game as much. It's been hit and miss with the monsters, I think, and more misses than hits, but again, I still have some hope.
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by Silent Wanderer on Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:47 am

Nice collective info. Thanks for posting. And yeah, the Rawshocks have to be the less-inspired monsters in the entire game universe*. :roll: We could say that they were made like this 'mold' 'cause they gradually shape into something that's supposed to be unique and indicative of something. But they turn out rather simple and empty. They actually look better in the beginning of the game. In the end, it's like a deformed Rubik's Cube is chasing you. Before SHSM came out I thought that in the end they would be monstrosities that break down walls (I went to the other extreme, lawl).

REVEAL SPOILER
*I mean from every game that has ever come out in gaming history. :lol:
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by Naroon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:30 pm

I already knew all of that, but nice article anyway. His designs were great, but other people can still design some nice stuff. Hopefully Downpour doesn't disappoint.
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by JaneTheNurse on Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:10 pm

I'm not quite sure what you mean by the monsters becoming more objective. Demon dogs are pretty objective. So are plastic/porcelain ladies with two vaginas apiece.
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by crazyhorse on Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:22 am

JaneTheNurse wrote:I'm not quite sure what you mean by the monsters becoming more objective. Demon dogs are pretty objective. So are plastic/porcelain ladies with two vaginas apiece.


I just meant that some of the monster designs in the latest titles were not as thought provoking or mentally stimulating. They operate on a more graphic, physical level. By comparison, Ito's creatures work on more of a visceral, emotional level.
 
 
 
 
 
 

nur_ein_tier

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Masahiro Ito article

Post by nur_ein_tier on Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:54 am

Piece0fSheet666 wrote:Nice collective info. Thanks for posting. And yeah, the Rawshocks have to be the less-inspired monsters in the entire game universe*. :roll: We could say that they were made like this 'mold' 'cause they gradually shape into something that's supposed to be unique and indicative of something. But they turn out rather simple and empty. They actually look better in the beginning of the game. In the end, it's like a deformed Rubik's Cube is chasing you. Before SHSM came out I thought that in the end they would be monstrosities that break down walls (I went to the other extreme, lawl).

REVEAL SPOILER
*I mean from every game that has ever come out in gaming history. :lol:
]
Yeah, well, for one thing, the raw shocks were a letdown because of the hype before the game. Sure, they change, but it's an uninspired change. That, and they start off looking a lot like the grey children in SH1 (which I liked, but it doesn't help make them feel any more original). And I wouldn't complain about them except that lots of different. cool monsters were in the previous games, and they were hyped up a lot before SHSM came out.
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by Augophthalmoses on Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:19 pm

The Raw Shocks were definitely uninspired and boring. The nurses and dogs need no mention of course. From what little info we've seen of Downpour I like the monsters so far.
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Masahiro Ito article

Post by Xuchilbara on Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:35 pm

I for one did like the monster designs in Homecoming. Especially bosses like Asphyxia had promise. Origins, was hit or miss. I thought the cow things were freaky though. I don't know why, but they creep me out. Yeah, raw shocks on paper looked awesome, in game were missing something.
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