Key character visuals for upcoming abstract animation, the “K-Project“, [K], reveal a baffling mixture of art styles – one of which is reminiscent to Symphogear, whilst the other being an abnormal 3-D rendering.
Symphogear certainly didn’t innovate the style, although it is however a fine example in recent memory – a series with aesthetics composed of shape and contrast, with the only purpose line serving in the composition being to outline integral details. Texture is defined solely by hue, outline, shape, and the element in question’s role within the image. For instance, “Neko”, as her name seems to be, and who is showcased above, sports a creamy vanilla blouse – yet there’s no ornate fiber patterns to indicate to us that the draped light grey object atop her is a shirt.
Instead, one can see that her blouse succumbs to physics, responding with wrinkles accordingly as it wraps around her body – and those creases are given a heavy and sharp contrast, with gradient having no place in the equation.
Through this technique of illustration, the color palette is limited compared to most – there’s only a handful of colors used, about five or six, which isn’t a negative, but a notable facet. Realistically, light is very delicate when it acts upon objects by default – a certain angle of viewing may bring about a blunt display of light, yet when such a rigid application of light is present all around indiscriminately, the result is a sight synthetic in nature.
And that’s exactly the case with these characters – they emanate off the canvas with a tastefully artificial flavor, with shadow providing the more delectable sense of depth where appropriate.
Note this as well, the shapes refrain from becoming too complex – they’re simplified down to prominent curves, and no unnecessary additions are made, referring back to the clothing example.
Yet the K-Project appears to have not one, but at least two separate art styles in play – it was already rather obvious to tell, though now more than ever, one can safely deduct the K-Project to be an experimental work, meaning the series will diverge from the norm in an effort to see the results of tactics scarcely tested. There’s several illustrations which boast this alternate style of aesthetics – yet we’re rather fond of that seen in number 15 specifically:
His hair looks almost as if stripped from a photograph and pasted atop his head, his upper body appears nearly like it were sketched – yet following along to his legs, the feet are a striking giveaway that this individual has been rendered with computer graphics.
Contrary to the hand-drawn illustrations examined earlier, here one can see subtle yet expansive transitioning of shadow via gradient – the contrast remains stiff in some areas, yet the design itself is overall dark. The hues are carrying heavy amounts of contrast over vibrance – and they also appear saturated quite extensively. Photorealism can be spotted yet again with the belt this fellow adorns, as well as his sword – though most mesmerizing to see is that depth practically crawls around his legs.
It’s uncertain how [K] intends to make use of these conflicting modes of style in unison – yet that merely adds to the series’ many, and seemingly continually growing list of mysteries. A rarity indeed, yet believe it or not, the K-Project appears to be courageously utilizing a mythological trait known as “creativity” in its creative work.