Questions about art assents created in photoshop (painted)

Sero

Member
Hello,

I'm newbie game maker user and have done couple of tutorials with pixel art so far.

I'm looking for some guidelines and information regarding creating and using your own painted assets in game maker.

1. When painting assets should these be done as vector files before inportin to game maker?
2. Any suggestions what size characters / objects / buildings should be if I want to make game resolution 1080p?

Br
Sero
 

Rayek

Member
No-one responded yet? Seems as if everyone is doing pixel art based graphics around here ;-P

Seriously though, a couple of pointers regarding non-pixel art game art assets:

  • work at the native resolution of 1920x1080 (or the highest resolution your game will be displayed at). But don't overdo it. I would stop at 1920x1080, even when the game will be displayed at 4K for an action game. But for still graphics (GUI, static screens) it will look much nicer at 4K. But going higher than 1080p will generally be useless, and only blow up file sizes, graphic memory usage, and reduce performance. Stick with 1080p.
  • to prepare an asset at the exact required resolution, create a mockup game screen in your image editor, and place/create the asset at the required size. Then export at that size. (or export at the true larger size, and if your game engine supports on-the-fly down-scaling while importing, use that option.)
  • I always work at higher resolutions (two or three or even more) when designing and creating game assets, and then scale them down at the end. If you do work this way, ensure the details/textures look fine at the intended resolution, though.
  • initially working at higher than required resolutions will allow for far more flexibility later: suppose you decide that a certain enemy character would be really nice to rework as a larger version, or you rethink the base size, or you require a zoomed in version. Creating your base assets at larger sizes allows for that flexibility later on.
    This is less of an issue with vector-based art, but you still have to keep the final output size in mind. While vector can be zoomed in and out during the design process, the overall design and details/textures you add may not work for a larger version, and vice versa a larger detailed version may not look great at smaller scales. Test, test.
  • if you have assets which will be zoomed in / enlarged while playing, prepare the asset at the max zoom level.
  • asset that are very fuzzy such as fluffy clouds, misty fuzzy mist layers, fake motion blurred and blurred assets, fuzzy special effects (smooth explosions, etc.), blurred backgrounds generally do not need to be exported at native resolution, and should be exported at a much lower resolution to save graphics memory/improve performance. This requires a bit of trial and error, so export the asset at various resolutions to discover the lowest resolution you can get away with.
  • fast moving objects which are never seen by the player as still-standing objects may be exported at lower resolution as well to save on memory and improve performance. But be very careful here, and test, test, test.
  • often graphics feature a limited palette of colours. To optimize file size and potentially drastically reduce the final file size of your game, optimize those assets with a tool like Colour Quantizer (see free tools thread)
These rules apply to either bitmap or vector based game art assets. Sooner or later in the pipeline, in the end vector assets will be converted to pixels (bitmap), so always ensure you preview your graphics (either vector or bitmap based) in a game mockup, or better: in a test game environment in the game engine to see how things will work out.

As for your first question: it depends on your art workflow. If your art style is vector compatible, it may make life much easier, and editing/updating assets later is simpler, and you have more flexibility with scaling and export. If your art style is more free-style, you may want to avoid vector-based illustrations, and hand-draw assets. Skull Girls is entirely hand drawn, for example.

Creating hand-drawn/painted bitmap-based game art requires a bit more forethought as to how the asset will be used. That is why I always prefer to work at a much higher resolution, and put up a zoomed out preview while working on it.

Another option is to use a 3d app like Blender to create your game graphics, and render them out to the required resolution. A good example of that workflow is seen in this game: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1126420
The advantage is that such assets can be rendered from any view, and re-rendered at higher or lower resolutions as the game designer requires. Takes more work and technical know-how, though. Nothing comes for free!

While GameMaker supports vector SWF files, this format is rather limited in GM, and rather more troublesome to work with. Instead, I suggest that you import your assets as bitmaps.
 

Sero

Member
Wow,

thank you Rayek so much for this detailed answer. This is exactly what I wanted :)
Since I have started there has been a constant information overlow and this helps me move forward with my game.

Now to keep hammering away.

Br
Sero



No-one responded yet? Seems as if everyone is doing pixel art based graphics around here ;-P

Seriously though, a couple of pointers regarding non-pixel art game art assets:

  • work at the native resolution of 1920x1080 (or the highest resolution your game will be displayed at). But don't overdo it. I would stop at 1920x1080, even when the game will be displayed at 4K for an action game. But for still graphics (GUI, static screens) it will look much nicer at 4K. But going higher than 1080p will generally be useless, and only blow up file sizes, graphic memory usage, and reduce performance. Stick with 1080p.
  • to prepare an asset at the exact required resolution, create a mockup game screen in your image editor, and place/create the asset at the required size. Then export at that size. (or export at the true larger size, and if your game engine supports on-the-fly down-scaling while importing, use that option.)
  • I always work at higher resolutions (two or three or even more) when designing and creating game assets, and then scale them down at the end. If you do work this way, ensure the details/textures look fine at the intended resolution, though.
  • initially working at higher than required resolutions will allow for far more flexibility later: suppose you decide that a certain enemy character would be really nice to rework as a larger version, or you rethink the base size, or you require a zoomed in version. Creating your base assets at larger sizes allows for that flexibility later on.
    This is less of an issue with vector-based art, but you still have to keep the final output size in mind. While vector can be zoomed in and out during the design process, the overall design and details/textures you add may not work for a larger version, and vice versa a larger detailed version may not look great at smaller scales. Test, test.
  • if you have assets which will be zoomed in / enlarged while playing, prepare the asset at the max zoom level.
  • asset that are very fuzzy such as fluffy clouds, misty fuzzy mist layers, fake motion blurred and blurred assets, fuzzy special effects (smooth explosions, etc.), blurred backgrounds generally do not need to be exported at native resolution, and should be exported at a much lower resolution to save graphics memory/improve performance. This requires a bit of trial and error, so export the asset at various resolutions to discover the lowest resolution you can get away with.
  • fast moving objects which are never seen by the player as still-standing objects may be exported at lower resolution as well to save on memory and improve performance. But be very careful here, and test, test, test.
  • often graphics feature a limited palette of colours. To optimize file size and potentially drastically reduce the final file size of your game, optimize those assets with a tool like Colour Quantizer (see free tools thread)
These rules apply to either bitmap or vector based game art assets. Sooner or later in the pipeline, in the end vector assets will be converted to pixels (bitmap), so always ensure you preview your graphics (either vector or bitmap based) in a game mockup, or better: in a test game environment in the game engine to see how things will work out.

As for your first question: it depends on your art workflow. If your art style is vector compatible, it may make life much easier, and editing/updating assets later is simpler, and you have more flexibility with scaling and export. If your art style is more free-style, you may want to avoid vector-based illustrations, and hand-draw assets. Skull Girls is entirely hand drawn, for example.

Creating hand-drawn/painted bitmap-based game art requires a bit more forethought as to how the asset will be used. That is why I always prefer to work at a much higher resolution, and put up a zoomed out preview while working on it.

Another option is to use a 3d app like Blender to create your game graphics, and render them out to the required resolution. A good example of that workflow is seen in this game: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1126420
The advantage is that such assets can be rendered from any view, and re-rendered at higher or lower resolutions as the game designer requires. Takes more work and technical know-how, though. Nothing comes for free!

While GameMaker supports vector SWF files, this format is rather limited in GM, and rather more troublesome to work with. Instead, I suggest that you import your assets as bitmaps.
 
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