How do you normally do nice 2D graphics?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Fithos, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Fithos

    Fithos Member

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    Hi there!

    This feels like a extremely silly question, but as mentioned in another post, this is my first experience in trying to make a game and, coming from a developer life, I find extremely hard to resolve my questions regarding the artistic side of games.

    Apologies in advance if I use wrong terminology!

    I've watched lots of tutorials and I get the basics about raster and vector art and how animations are achieved.

    Normally, the tutorials I follow about 2D art focus in making very pixelated games where they draw all tiles pixel by pixel, generally of size 32x32 pixels.

    What I'm looking is for a 2D with "nice" graphics. By nice I just mean realistic - when the pixels-squares are not so noticeable. Of course, I'm not Van Gogh and cannot make miracles, but an example of "simple" graphics that don't look so pixelated can be found in game FTL: Faster than light ( I think I cannot post images yet).

    For example the ship is quite big and I doubt that they went pixel by pixel. What would be the correct approach to do something similar? If you wanted to look good in different resolutions, would you create different images for most common resolutions?
    Would GIMP be a good tool to do something like this?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Rukiri

    Rukiri Member

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    Opens Aseprite, Photoshop, Krita, Pyxel Edit, Tile Setter, etc.
    Spends 8 hours in said program for 1 perfect sprite (this aint a joke... I have a perfection problem).

    What you're asking is about AA pixels, there's many pixel tutorials around and many tools have popped up recently that make tilesets and character art a breeze.
     
  3. NightFrost

    NightFrost Member

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    I haven't played FTL but looking at screenshots, I'd say it is entirely reasonable assumption that they may have been drawn in pixel draw programs. Or as vector art originally, then imported and cleaned up. I'd even say as far as pixelart goes, it probably hasn't even taken so much time. If you want to see pixelart that likely has taken quite a bit of time, look at something like Dead Cells, Hyper Light Drifter or Momodora.
     
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  4. Toque

    Toque Member

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    Realistic art takes a lot of skill and time. (Years) to learn. People do it though.

    Gimp is a good start. Take some tutorials. See what you can do.

    Pre made art kits are high quality and cheap. But doesn’t always fit your game.

    Lots of trial and error. Artists are a great help too.

    But good for you for trying to do yourself.
     
  5. Rayek

    Rayek Member

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    FTL has pretty basic main gameplay graphics, although still sports a nice looking clean style. The space backgrounds (planets, nebulas, stars, etc.) can be easily generated with the help of plugins like FilterForge (literally: planet generators, space background generators are at your fingertips). https://www.filterforge.com/

    A clean vector graphic style is not too hard to learn. The following site is aimed at coders interested in learning to create such graphics:
    https://2dgameartguru.com/

    An alternative is to use a 3d application to render out line art of 3d models, and process/colour these in an art app. Blender together with a good free 3d model resource site like blendswap.com may speed up graphic assets generation a hundred times, but you will be somewhat more limited in terms of scope and style. It is relatively simple to bash together stuff using pre-built assets, and still have a good graphical look.
    www.blender.org
    www.blendswap.com

    Having said this, good art takes time, practice, and effort. I'd say more effort and pracice than learning how to code.

    For the typical vector graphic game style, you would not use GIMP. Use InkScape, and/or Affinity Designer (inexpensive and good). I use PhotoLine together with Inkscape and Krita for a lot of my non-pixel art game assets. And Blender.
     
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  6. pixeltroid

    pixeltroid Member

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    So you arent going for that pixel look. No problem! You could work on a vector graphic software.
    I'd first sketch what I wanted to make on paper, scan or photograph it and then trace over it.

    if you create your art on vector graphic software you can scale your graphics without affecting your quality.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. Fithos

    Fithos Member

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    Sorry if I didn't explain properly. I am happy with how FTL looks, meaning that even with pixels they are not so noticeable (at least not like old 8-bit games). I was considering vector graphics initially but came to the conclusion than the final appearance looks a bit cartoonish. Maybe I should check more examples and see if I find something that matches the style I'd like to achieve.
    Also, my game idea is close to roguelike game where maps should be randomly generated. I believe vector graphics consume more resources due to all calculations that take place in the background, so I'm afraid that in the long run (if my game hopefully grows enough) could cause performance issues.

    That's a great advice. I think I will sketch some things or find similar ideas online and trace over them to give them an unique look.
     
  8. Toque

    Toque Member

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    Examples would be helpful. Sounds like not vector art but larger pixel art??

    For example not 16x16 character but 64x64 character. Or whatever.

    That would be ambitious. Learning large pixel art and GM at the same time. (If that’s the case).

    You have to try and have fun with it.
     
  9. Rayek

    Rayek Member

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    Perhaps 3d models rendered with lighting would be an option for you? As for vector graphics looking cartoonish: that really depends on the artist.

    But I feel it is important to quote one of FTL's developers (Justin Ma):

    "Or playing XCOM! Man, the first time I played the original XCOM, it was 320 by 240 resolution, really blown up, pixelated and ugly, and I was sitting there in this turn-based game — it wasn't even real-time — and my palms were sweating, my whole body was tense and I was shaking trying to figure out what to do. When you really use the player's imagination, there's a lot more you can play with than if you try to show everything that the player is experiencing visually. You use a bit of the player's brain as your playground."

    Cartoonish probably works better than attempting realism if your art skills are lacking. Go for abstract looking symbols instead of crappy designed "more realistic" graphics, which also speeds up the asset generation process.

    You might want to check out this article as well:
    https://medium.com/retronator-magaz...ame-examples-part-1-introduction-aa3d051c137d

    The original source files would be vector, but those would be rasterized and exported to a bitmap format for use in your game. The advantage is that your source files can be exported to low or high resolution bitmaps depending on your needs.

    In short: no performance issues other than the ones you might expect from using regular bitmap-based assets. Whether you draw your game art as vectors, digitally paint them, composite real photos, render 3d, or use a combined technique: it really doesn't matter. In 999 out of a 1000 games the final assets are bitmap-based.

    If you have (a) particular game(s)' art which you like in mind, please post it here and we can tell you how it's created.
     
  10. Kezarus

    Kezarus Member

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    Hey dude. @Rayek, you just drop something there, mister. I think it's gold. Thank you! =]
     
  11. Rayek

    Rayek Member

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    @Kezarus No thanks needed! I use FilterForge on a regular basis for all sorts of assets, often as a base to work with or add quick whatnots. Works well with PhotoLine as a plugin - even as a live plugin.
     
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  12. Niels

    Niels Member

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    There is no trick to drawing "nice graphics", just a lot of of practise, and hours of studying color theory, anatomy, lighting, shapedrawing etc...
     
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  13. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

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    The are hundreds of different work flows to create good art, most require a decent level of experience with art. I'd caution that any work flow that gets good results without a strong art background will likely be very labour intensive.

    Dead cells has been mentioned and id flag that they actually are low Res renders of 3d models/animations. Which requires a whole other skill set.

    As rayek mentioned plenty of games use vector art as the source files but use raster based images in game. The Banner Saga is a great example of this.

    Some games use rotorscoping to get natural motion. The original Prince of Persia is a great example and so to is the Banner Saga.

    Rotorscoping could be a good method to get strong results without an extensive exp of drawing and animation as all the anatomy and perspective is there already. But does require props, actors etc. Here's an example from the Banner Saga

     
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  14. Andy

    Andy Member

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    Try shrinking some photos of real-world objects, study how they look.
    When you start working on a sprite, be sure to have a system of measurement. For example, 1 pixel could represent an inch, foot, or yard (anything really). Get the measurements of your real-world object, then you can match how many pixels along each axis will best represent what you are working on. Make a basic texture-less sprite measured out properly, then add textures and lighting.
     

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