Art Asset Production Pipeline



Hey Everyone!

I'm working on an RPG with my friend and she has been very helpful in busting out concept art for the characters in the game. I recently got her into anime and she's been awesome at learning how to draw in that style, shade, etc.

Soon she's going to work on the concept art for the first village and onward to sprites. While she's dedicating time to learning how to create great sprites, I was wondering if any of you sprite artist out there can provide words of wisdom (especially if based on experience) on your process for asset creation.

What's the ideal production pipeline of creating assets for a game?

Concept art: Character, maps
Decide upon tile set list and animations
Create tile sets
Create still character sprites
Create animations

We're aiming to create the best workflow and I'm aiming to arm her with the best knowledge on how to go about it for asset creation. While I'm not artist oriented, please feel free to throw in artist lingo and what-not. She'll understand it more than me when I show her. Lastly if you can explain your reasoning for the production pipeline you outline, that'd be great!

Thanks so much!


šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I mostly draw my sprites in one of two distinct styles: pixel art for gameplay stuff and digitized line art for portraits and such.
For pixel art:
  • I generally draw blobs of color, then add shading and outlines later to flesh them out.
  • Work recursively until the desired level of detail is added.
  • Make sure to zoom out to 100% zoom level regularly to check how the sprite looks.
  • If you can't tell whether a chance is actually visible or not, always keep it.
  • Having good palettes is key, make sure to read up on & apply color theory.
  • Make up your mind on an outline style (always outline / never outline / only outline sprites and not background decoration; black outlines / dark shading outlines; thickness) and keep it consistent for all the game's graphics, it's the single most visible style break if you let it slip.

For digitized line art:
  • Try to get a monochrome version as soon as possible and then work with that in an image editor. Using a Threshold tool to instantly get a black outline on white background can speed up the process a lot, but drawing stuff on top of the line art using it as a guide gives the best results.
  • Experiment with different outline styles and see what gives the most workable results in your editor program. I find using a normal pencil works the best for "manually draw using lineart as a guide" and a marker to make more pronounced outlines works the best for threshold-and-forget versions, but it cuts down on detail fidelity noticeably.
  • If you're making rasterized versions, settle on a size early on for the best results, and make sure characters' relative sizes are consistent between different art.
  • I usually draw stuff on landscape-oriented A4 paper, feels like the right size for portrait art and such. Experiment a bit with what works for you and then stick with that, having the same physical media for all art of the same category helps keeping the digitizing process consistent.


Few generic tips:

Use Warm colors for things closer to the player and of greater significance (if it's a cold color like blue then warm it up by increasing the saturation);

For backgrounds use Colder colors and decrease contrast and saturation;

Look into "key frames" for animated sprites;

If it's going to be animated, decrease the detail to save time;

For objects with collision, know the dimensions of the collision box before creating the sprites;

Keep the color palette limited;

Increase contrast for playable characters;

Guest User

well idk how she draws, or her medium, and idk anime either, but IME:
for environments, taking a page from the techniques and mindset of speeding painting helps. the reasons why mostly deals with lowering the amount of time. it's easier and quicker to simply blot down the landscape and focus on important bits, basic shapes, general colors, etc. instead of committing to this grand painting. you can do that later when you know what you want better.

for character design...probably thumbnails. it's easier to belt out a sheet of thumbs than it is to endure the potential alternative (draw one sketch, get feedback, redraw sketch, get feedback, redraw sketch, get ++) if you've never done this before tho, it can hurt and you'll probably run out of gas at some point. if it *normally* takes you a day to design one character (for example) and draw a full ref for them, then even if all you do was put out five smaller, less detailed sketches is still great because that's five more to choose from and work with than just the one.
this works for other things you're indecisive about like...weapons, houses, textures/tiles, etc. honestly anything.