In which we return to our roots - Airborn Showcase

General / 11 August 2022

Hello there!

As some of you knew or guessed based on a few teasers we dropped, a while ago we at Airborn Studios decided to stop by an old friend again. Rekindle an old love. Return to our roots. You get the gist. :)

What if…?

After a hibernation phase of five years, we made the call to revisit the project that our studio is named after. Wondering what it would be like if we dove back into that world with new ideas, a different approach, a mix of Airborn veterans and new team members, and the determination to use the latest technology to push stylized game art and stay true to the core pillars of the work that was done way back.And without further ado, we proudly present the result and won’t make you scroll for it!

From UT 2004 mod ...

If you’re not familiar with our history–and chances are that’s the case–here’s the Cliffs Notes version of that.When the first sketches and 3D models for Airborn were done…

  • the Xbox 360 was fresh on the market
  • the youngest artist in our current team was probably busy doing preschool doodles
  • 3ds Max 8 (not 2008) and Photoshop CS2 were all the rage, and Autodesk had just acquired Maya
  • UDK wouldn't be released for another 4 years, so UT 2003/2004 mods were the only way for hobbyists and small teams to work with Unreal. (And so we did.)

Yes, it’s been a while! And since then, we gradually iterated on and expanded the world of Airborn over time with a team of superb artists. Many of them are still a part of our team in one way or another, and some went on to do terrific work at other places. If you want to get a sense of how far back everything goes, feel free to check out our old album, this thread in the German DigitalArt Forum, and this one over at Polycount. The Airborn project was never officially put on hold, but other endeavors like Ori and the Blind Forest, Halo 4 & 5, and Overwatch demanded our attention - and that was even before the likes of Epic Games, Riot Games and Toys for Bob knocked on our door.

... to Unreal Engine 5

Still, we never forgot about Airborn due to the artist relationships forged back then. And to this day, people ask us about the state of affairs, and we regularly encounter some of that work in reference boards sent to us by clients. We set aside some time to go back. We made sure that most of the artists in the team get to be involved in some capacity at some point even if it's only for a brief stint. We took a bit of a gamble and employed Unreal Engine 5 right when it got released in Early Access. We made sure that Ian Dorsch is available and around since the music he had composed way back had become an integral part of Airborn, too. He brought along the fine folks of SkewSound to handle the sound design. Lastly, we reached out to Funkeyz Animation Studio. We knew their work from their contributions to Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Crash Bandicoot 4 and were happy to have them aboard for rigging and animation work on this one! We integrated a subtle clue to our undertaking into our Holiday 2020 artwork. And if you saw our Holiday 2021 artwork, you got an actual first glimpse at it - without knowing it. Sneaky bunch, eh?

We really hope you like what you're seeing. If you do, please go ahead, share and spread the love. Thank you! :) A bigger portfolio drop with individual assets will follow in the not too distant future. Oh, and we also reworked our website while we were at it. 

To conclude everything, some tips to the hat are in order. Firstly, big thanks to all the magnificent artists who worked on Airborn way back for laying the foundation and being an inspiration then and now! Legends!

Secondly, a massive thank you to the friends and peers who got to see WIP stages of the new project and provided awesome feedback! And thanks to everyone who has been around since the old days and kept supporting us!

Thirdly, a gigantic shoutout to and group-hug to everyone who worked on the showcase for knocking it out of the park. We’re super-delighted with how everything came together! Big round of applause for:

Airborn Studios
Alexander Delagrange - 3D Env/Prop Art
Alexandra Graap - 3D Character Art
Artur Rosário - Tech Art
Benjamin Sauder - Technical Director
Boris Patschull - Managing Director
Ching Rappsilber-Li - Management Assistant
Erik Neubauer - 3D Character Art
Fatos Tahiraj - 3D Character Art
Gabriel Hanna - 3D Env/Prop Art
Ilka Hesche - Concept art
Jan Wyss - 3D Env/Prop Art
João Sapiro Josue - 3D Env/Prop Art
Johannes Figlhuber - Art Direction & Concept Art
Jonas Kunert - 3D Env/Prop Art & Concept Art
Julian Dasgupta - Project Management & PR
Kevin Skok - 3D Env/Prop Art
Lennart Berger - 3D Character Art
Malwina Czech - 3D Env/Prop Art
Manuel Sitompul  - 3D Character Art
Manuel Virks - 3D Level Lead
Niels Timmerman - 3D Character Art
Simon Kopp - Art Direction & Concept Art
Steffen Unger - 3D Character Lead
Svenja Roesner - 3D Env/Prop Art
Tim Moreels - 3D Character Art
Verena Porcher - Website Relaunch Coordination
Victor Pancrazi - 3D Character Art

Ian Dorsch

Funkeyz Animation Studio
Shuki Gamliel - Animation Supervisor
Sonia Wolfson - Animation
Arthur Kazine -  Animation
Michael Fabris - Rigging

Dan Crislip - Audio Director
Christopher Wilson - Sound Design
Nicholas Kallman - Sound Design
Steve Pardo - Sound Design

Production Babies
Joshua (Yoshi)

Special Thanks
Adina Krause
Ezgi Bulut
Josh Dina
Matthieu Schneider

Note: the development of this prototype was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure. Funnily and fittingly enough, the logistics of that were handled by the German Aerospace Center.

Offering Berlin Office Space to Ukrainian Game Artists

General / 26 February 2022

Hello, fellow ArtStation community!

There's a topic that's on everyone's mind this week. We're saddened, worried and dismayed by the news and footage that reaches us from the Ukraine, and we're anxiously reading reports from friends and peers who live or have family there, fearing for their safety and lives.

We discussed internally what Airborn could do beyond the usual means and decided that we'll make our office space available to Ukrainian game artists. If you're currently stuck in Berlin and can't travel home or happen to be in the process of leaving Ukraine and making your way here, we can offer a desk, hardware if needed, internet access, the usual facilities (e.g., kitchen) and the company of some fellow art weirdos (i.e., us) in case you need to place to go about your work during the day. Know someone like this? Feel free to pass this one. We'll also try to help where we can with bureaucratic obstacles one may encounter or seeing what accommodation options there might be. No hard promises on that though since it's a pretty dynamic situation and we're new to this as well. The best we can do under these circumstances.

What else can anyone do? Stay informed and take unvalidated news from sketchy sources with a massive grain of salt. More importantly, you can help by donating to organizations like the Red Cross and other channels. and engage with your local politicians to let them know how important this is to you.

To everyone who is directly affected by this: our thoughts are with you and we're hoping you and your loved ones manage to stay out of harm's way as best as possible.

Update: Adding a few resources and pointers here.

In which we set sail for the holidays

General / 22 December 2021

Greetings, fellow ArtStationeers!

2021 was definitely a year that happened. For some it might have been the exciting start of a new chapter in their life; for some a rather undesired continuation of 2020. Working from home for a prolonged time isn't for everyone, and it certainly did affect our team as well. Whatever 2021 has been to you - fingers are crossed that things are moving into the right direction for y'all.

That said, we're happy to note that--regardless of the general circumstances--the team has once again grown over the past year and we were delighted to welcome some fresh faces to the HQ crew. It's also been a delight to see the office a bit more populated again throughout summer with folks who hadn't seen each other in months or actually met for first time. HQ is more or less back in hibernation mode now, but we absolutely cannot wait for it to be more practical, safe and sensible to have more artists in a shared physical space again.

Art, huh? 2021 saw more work on Overwatch (2!), Valorant (yes, that portfolio update is still due), Fortnite, Astroneer, Brawl Stars, Hay Day and such. We tripled our ArtStation output--in part also due to the massive Crash Bandicoot 4 drop--and yet we're still behind. We were also thrilled to see the announcement of the lovely Palia, which we've been contributing to for quite a while now. Going to be sweet to show some of that down the road! Same goes for the environment concepts we got to do for Soundfall. What else is Airborn up to? There are a few projects that we hopefully will be able to mention next year, one of which is already kinda out and available. And then there are those that are still in early R&D tinkering stages and probably won't get announced for quite a while. Exciting stuff though! Big shout-out to the treasured folks who keep roping us in for work and are just a joy to collaborate with.

The grandest of tips to the big 'ol Airborn hat goes out to all the artists out there! To those we have the pleasure of working with and who keep delivering delicious art nuggets. It's magical to see an amazing bunch firing from all cylinders. And to those out there who inspire us, push us, post kind feedback on the work we do, and recommend us to others. Thank you! <3

Lastly, as is tradition: our annual holiday artwork! Last year's had a bit of a hidden message in it. This year's, in one way or another, is more of a team effort than you might expect, and there's a story to be told here that we'll share early next year.

Until then: have a great time with your loved ones or doing whatever else you have planned for the next two weeks. See you in January!

Your Airbornians

Project Alert: Palia

News / 04 June 2021

Hey, fellow ArtStationeers!

Congrats to Singularity 6 for announcing Palia! You may have seen the trailer and some images yesterday - and we're happy to note that we have have been doing early rock exploration, a ton of house equipment, some larger pieces (e.g, the Blacksmith house and its interior) as well as prop concepts for over year now. It's been a sweet experience so far, and we're thrilled about how everything is coming together. :)

We don't have any portfolio material yet, but wanted to give a shout-out to the fabulous artists who do or did contribute to this on our end. (Hence a blog post.) Virtual high-fives to Benjamin Sauder (lead), Frédéric FouqueSvenja RösnerJasmin Habezai-FekriBenjamin SauerRodrigo MizunoClara Soro-Bablet, Steffen Unger, and Jenny Harder (concepts)!

Also, big tip of the hat to the crew of Singularity 6 for having us and all the other wonderful artists working on this! Pre-alpha to launch soon-ish, so you might want to keep an eye on the official website or various social media channels listed there. 

In which we sign off for the holidays and leave 2020 behind

General / 23 December 2020

Hello, hello, fellow art community!

2020, eh? Whew.

When we look back at what we did this year, it was actually a pretty successful as we got and get to be a part of projects we're really proud to be involved in. In addition to the usual suspects, we finally got to talk about Valorant after contributing to it for over three years, got to share concepts we had done for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands quite a while ago, got to mention that we had been contributing plenty of outfits to the new Medal of Honor game, and are super-delighted to do some suit work with System Era Softworks on Astroneer. And then there is, of course, Crash Bandicoot 4 which Toys for Bob simply did a top-notch job on - for us it's been honor to have been involved in this from the earliest stages on.

We're blessed to have such an ensemble of talented artists, and no group hug is appropriately strong enough and no words able enough to capture the joy of seeing a project team hitting its stride and firing from all cylinders. To all of you: thank youuuuuuuu so much, art ninjas!

As for how we did it, ... how everyone did it, well, that's a different story. If you've been following us on other channels, you know that we had moved into a bigger office in February. Which we got to enjoy for about three weeks before work from home became the default mode for most of us. On a purely technical level, transitioning wasn't that much of a hurdle since we always had been working with a good number of artists and partners spread across the globe and thus also had designed our infrastructure and communication around that. That said, it's safe to say the Berlin team would have preferred to not work apart if it hadn't been for the circumstances.

We know we've been in a relatively comfy and fortunate position as work kept coming in; as we are a part of an industry that allows for remote work and was less affected by the pandemic than others. However, 2020 has been a taxing year on many regardless, be it worries about the general uncertainty, one's own health or the well-being of loved ones, and a lack of opportunities to mix with others for those who thrive on direct social interaction with their friends and peers - just to name a selected few points. It's been heartwarming to see the community coming together over this. The year has taken its toll on many, and there's no shame in that. If anything, we're hoping that some of the lessons learned like more flexible work arrangements and a stronger focus on mental health are here to stay. 

We are fortunate enough to have reliable partners in these times, so a big, big smooch goes out to them! Shout-out to the awesome folks at Blizzard, Toys for Bob, Epic Games, Supercell, Respawn, and Riot among others! Also, always delighted to collaborate with some recurring folks as well as some we've been working with for the first time this year, e.g. SES (Astroneer), [REDACTED] ([REDACTED]), and [REDACTED] ([REDACTED]). ^_^

We're confident that 2021 will be a step up for everyone and can't wait to hopefully see our office populated again a few months from now. We also aim to get better at responding to applications again because that's something we honestly haven't been terribly good at in the past months, and we're not proud of that. There are some projects that will have been announced (and perhaps: released) by the time we post our next holiday sign-off, and some other exciting things we're in the process of tinkering on.

In the meantime, we hope you'll be well and manage to get through the holidays in whatever way you're intending to and then return healthy and ready to kick some butt. As always, thank you for all the support!

And now please behold our 2020 holiday artwork - like its 2019 predecessor done by our Ilka Hesche. We shall revisit it later next year for thematic reasons.


And as a quick recap: an excerpt of the work we got to deliver/publish in 2020. And stuff! (You also might try out this.)

Our new office shortly after we had moved in and then freshly deserted it again.

Overwatch - Gaia Reinhardt

Overwatch - Submarine Wrecking Ball

Overwatch - King Jamison Junkrat

Fortnite - Chaos Agent

Fortnite - Peely

Brawl Stars - Maple Barley

Astroneer - Scout Suit

Valorant - Viper

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands-  Torghast Exploration

Crash Bandicoot 4 - Dingodile

Watch out for quite a bit of portfolio posts on Crash 4, Valorant, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond and other projects to come next year! :3 And if you'd like to hear from us beyond our portfolio posts here, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

In which we talk about Crash Bandicoot 4 (!)

General / 02 October 2020


Greeeeeeeeeeetings, lovely friends!

You may have seen us share screenshots and trailers for Crash Bandicoot 4: It's about Time, but did you notice that we never actually said that we've been actively working on this? Well, as they say [editor's note: don't do it...], as of today, the Crash is out of the bag [editor's note: ...] and we can proudly announce that, yes, we totally were actively working on this!

You probably had figured as much. :3

First of all, the biggest of virtual group hugs needs to be directed towards our friends at Toys for Bob. It was our second collaboration with them after Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, and once again it has been an amazing experience. Thanks for the feedback, the trust, that large degree of freedom we once again got to enjoy, for roping in our concept artists super-early for visual development and theme ideation, and for being an all-around supportive crew with an attitude that enables everyone bring their a-game to the table! It's been a joyful ride from start to finish, and that's something we'll never take for granted. And a big, big, big shout-out to all the other artists we got to work with on this, many of which had also contributed to Spyro. Toys for Bob and Activision indeed had put the band back together. We're delighted by the results, and once again TfB managed to deliver something that stays true to its roots while also expanding the scope and putting their own spin to it.

As was the case with Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, Airborn was back in action to do environment concepts on a good number of Crash 4 levels with input from Toys for Bob and the wiggleroom to go bold and wide. Some of which our 3D environment team then got to take under their wing and build full 3D levels to be shipped off to TfB for them to do their integration and gameplay magic. Not to mention the character team which had a blast doing 3D work based on concepts from wonderful folks like Nicholas Kole and Nicola Saviori among others. So. Much. Good. Work. And thus, please give it up to the superb bunch who was involved on our end:

Environment Concepts:

Johannes Figlhuber (Lead)
Simon Kopp (Lead)
Jean-Brice Dugait
Max Degen
Brun Croes
Jakob Eirich
Ilka Hesche
Thomas Michaud
Géraud Soulié

3D Environments:

Benjamin Sauder (Lead)
Manuel Virks (Lead)
Anthony Garcellano
Benjamin Sauer
Frédéric Fouque
Gabriel Hanna
Jan Wyss
Jonas Kunert
Rodrigo Mizuno
Kevin Skok
Svenja Rösner

3D Characters:
Tim Moreels  (Lead)
Agelos Apostolopoulos
Florentine Postema
Johan Mai
Yuri Konoplov
Alexandra Graap
Joao Sapiro Josue
Jonas Kunert


Boris Patschull (Managing Director)
Steffen Unger (Managing Director & 3D Characters)
Julian Dasgupta (Project Manager)

Expect a load of portfolio output in the weeks to come! For now we picked a few images previously released by Activision which show some of the work we got to do on the game. Art nerds might want to take note that the Art of Crash Bandicoot 4 is set to ship later this month.

Environment concepts & 3D work done by Airborn Studios

3D Character work done by Airborn Studios (Tim Moreels)

Environment concepts & 3D work done by Airborn Studios

3D character work  on Crash skin done by Airborn Studios (Tim Moreels)

3D character work  on boss enemy done by Airborn Studios (Tim Moreels)

3D creature work done by Yuri Shust

3D character work  on T-Rex done by Airborn Studios (Tim Moreels)

Oh, and last but not least: Tim Moreels and Manuel Virks did the fur treatment on this fella. :)

Have a great weekend and, perhaps, play some Crash Bandicoot 4?

The Art of Spyro Reignited Trilogy - out and available!

General / 07 August 2020

Hey everyone! Well, look at that!

Yes, the fine folks of Toys for Bob have sent over a copy of the brandnew The Art of Spyro Reignited Trilogy! Which is a good thing since the delivery of the version we had ordered online got pushed back to late September. Ahem.

As you can see, it's splendidly comprehensive and jam-packed with art goodies that had not been publicized so far along with some behind-the-scenes explanations. Worth the wait and certainly a fountain of insight for dedicated Spyro fans!

Big shout-out to Micky Neilson, Josh Nadelberg and all the other people who helped get this wonderful thing made. With regards to Airbornians, you can see plenty of work from Johannes Figlhuber, Simon Kopp, Jakob Eirich, Mario Manzanares, and Géraud Soulié. As you may guess based on the size, there's also a TON of output from the other terrific artists who contributed to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

This fabulous art book is available on Amazon and possibly any other flavor of book shop you may prefer. Might want to take a peek! Also, keep an eye out for upcoming portfolio drops. :)

A bit of context for those who are not that familiar with our involvement in the trilogy: Airborn Studios had the pleasure of contributing plenty of environment concept work as well as 3D character and environment work. Some of which you can already see here. Tip to the hat to Toys for Bob for having us along for the ride!

Note: the print quality is superb. Any grain you can see in the images is down to the camera.