Windows Shadowforge - Paint App

mikix

Member
You can download Shadowforge Paint here: theshadowforge.com.


Shadowforge Features
Has a 4-point vertice tool with a 3d perspective.
Polygon tools.
Lots of custom made image manipulation shaders. Gameboy Shader as an example.
You can make your own brush inside the app.
Easy to use scale, color and alpha sliders.
Onionskin.
"Fast layers".
It helps you remember what you are doing by being informative.
And much more!

 
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Mut

Member
Will it be deleted like ur previous game? :rolleyes:
"Warhead"
 
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mikix

Member
Warhead was in early access and was my first programming project. It was not a passionate project, because it had flipped assets which I had to buy and also I was stupid enough to pay for voice actors. Secondly, the new project after that, Warhead Destined, is actually Slimey Champions which I have on Steam for free. Since it's a short game and I was stupid again to pay for artists. Some day maybe I'll make a game with my own graphics, but that might be a game that will take 10 years. Haha.

Oh and it's not deleted. It's retired.
 

Director_X

Member
Hi. Well done creating a nice looking paint program in GM. 👍

Some feedback:
In reference to your Steam "marketing" post, I saw your videos on youtube, and they could use some jazzing up.

For example:

For 1 minute and 31 seconds, you are doing nothing to show the STRENGTHs of this software. Today's social-media generation audience has no patience these days.

You really need to show everyone WHY your software is DIFFERENT, and what it can do that the others CANNOT DO!

For example, can you quickly make and export animated gifs?
Can this program convert images between 40 different formats?
Can this program quickly change a 2D flat image to make it ISOMETRIC, Sprite-Stacking, Mode-7 or pseudo-3D?
Can this program use KEYFRAMES to auto-generate missing frames given a timeline?
Can this program easily create a 8-directional animation of sprites?
Can this program ANIMATE for Walking, Running, Attacking, Death, Being Hit, etc, easily?
Can this program STITCH multiple sprites to form a larger one?
Can it easily SPLIT large images into smaller splices for creating a multi-stitched sprite (eg a HUGE boss)?
Can this program generate SEAMLESS textures for ANY sized image?
Can this program create and manage seamless TILEs?
Can this program help create animated sprites with SPECIAL EFFECTS like FIRE, LIGHTNING, WATER EFFECT, BLUR, various PARTICLE EFFECTS?
Can this program generate various PARTICLE EFFECTS and generate particles GML code?
Can this program EXPORT GML CODE for shaders?
Are your shaders WYSIWYG for quick fun and generation?
etc.

These are just ideas that you might consider to DIFFERENTIATE from other paint programs, so you have a unique selling point.

Keep in mind, it IS a good idea to clone a FAMILIAR interface like photoshop - so EVERYONE can migrate to your application quickly and without needing a manual. Reinventing the wheel in not required - just focus on STRENGTHs instead. All the above features are NOT offered by Photoshop - so you'd already stand out.

Also, make it user-friendly. If you are making it just for your own use, then it's not useful to everyone else, as we don't know where everything is located or how to use things.

Good luck.
 
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Samuel Venable

Time Killer
When i saw the first few seconds of that knight in shining armor drawing, im like "it's an mspaint clone" but i continued to watch a few more seconds and my mouth dropped and said "i take that back, this is pretty cool!" Congrats! You have officially impressed me in about 30 seconds of video, flat. I have no immediate need for another drawing program, but i hope for you the best on selling this product.
 

muki

Member
A note on the purple theme. Colorful UIs for art programs is generally considered bad, because it creates a false/skewed perception of the colors the artist is using.
 

mikix

Member
Thanks for the praise and your feedback.

@Samuel Venable That knight is actually drawn by an abstract/fractal artist, which also drew the serpent dragon for Shadowforge Alpha/Beta using just cut out images from her painting made in (I guess) Photoshop. Thanks, hopefully time will make this product get more recognition.

@Director_X Wow! That's a long and nice feedback! +1 on all of them.

@muki Yeah I agree, the purple theme is gone and replaced with a dark theme.
 

Zizka

Member
I looked at the trailer, some thoughts:
  • As a customer, why should I purchase this software instead of free open source alternative?
  • As a trailer, I agree with @Director_X, it’s too long and shows too little. If I wasn’t trying to help, I would’ve stopped watching at the 15 seconds mark. Being concise is hard but key.
  • Hiring someone with experience to do a convincing sketch. It could cost you about 20 bucks and give more impact to your trailer.
  • Drawing software use icons for good reason instead of plain text. Tools need to be instantly recognised at a glance.
  • That music quickly got to me but that’s likely a personal taste.
  • At the current price point, you’re in for a hard, uphill battle with the competition out there.
I feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement here which is a good thing as the software could get a lot more traction. Just my opinion of course.
 
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mikix

Member
I looked at the trailer, some thoughts:
  • As a customer, why should I purchase this software instead of free open source alternative?
  • As a trailer, I agree with @Director_X, it’s too long and shows too little. If I wasn’t trying to help, I would’ve stopped watching at the 15 seconds mark. Being concise is hard but key.
  • Hiring someone with experience to do a convincing sketch. It could cost you about 20 bucks and give more impact to your trailer.
  • Drawing software use icons for good reason instead of plain text. Tools need to be instantly recognised at a glance.
  • That music quickly got to me but that’s likely a personal taste.
  • At the current price point, you’re in for a hard, uphill battle with the competition out there.
I feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement here which is a good thing as the software could get a lot more traction. Just my opinion of course.
I have made a new trailer on Steam. The thing is, when I hire someone, I'll eventually need to recycle it away from my promotional pages. Mainly because it's outdated. And there are some Photoshop fanboys out there that don't want to draw on a new software and feel uncomfortable with it. However, there are also people that practice different mediums than just one. Freelance artists want $100-$150, and I also need to train them around how my software works.

The current price is 13.99€ while Krita is 9.99€. Krita also gets donations and is a team working together on an open source project. And Krita is a free software outside of Steam, but they wouldn't work on it if they didn't get donations. I don't really care about getting rich on this tbh. I'm just doing it on my free time. :) There are a lot more expensive drawing softwares out there that feel like an early access program. I mean, I know mine are missing features too.
I don't know how much I can hold on to this software in the coming years and people are probably aware of that. I'm just a single person working on it, and I might stop any time. A huge commitment is required for a drawing software but not as much as a mmo project.
 

Zizka

Member
I'm pretty sure I can find you an artist to do a sketch video for 20-25$ if you want. You can PM if you're interested.
 

mikix

Member
Latest update is the move and merge layers on the visual layer interface. It's quite not finished yet because you need to right click on the interface for the layer images to be updated.

 
I mean...As much as I love my workflow with Pro Motion, GIMP and Inkscape, and agree with @mikix , I think a painting app is a pretty cool project to do in GM, and takes away from the 10000000s of Platformers and TDS that are made in GMS
 

mikix

Member
I recommend making a game actually if you want to earn quick money. Painting apps should be more expensive or have a subscription because there are more gamers than digital artists and more games but less painting apps. I started out with it as free because I wanted people to see the progress it's going through. My painting app is currently selling worse than my game that had flipped assets. During the painting app's free period, it got like 2-3 daily downloads. Now it's at 1(?) sale per month.

Although I understand that I am making this app alone and can not make a subscription or a high price since my app has only been around since Feb 23, 2020. I'm just being empathic towards other apps that has been around longer. Especially now since seeing how much room in the code editor a visual layer interface takes. 😅 And making it to 100 visual surface layers... wow that's a lot of text walls.
 

mikix

Member
Hey again everyone. So new stuff has been added and been worked on. The layer inspector is done or partially done, I don't really know what else to do with it but to add more layers but I am currently going through a development nightmare trying to add support for .SF file extension. Shadowforge can right now only save the layers and animation frames a single time and the data can't be shared with one file format. I am restraining from further development on the layer inspector until I have added the .sf file format for surfaces.

In other news, I added two new brushes, grass lawn and tall grass straws. What's funny, you actually hear a voice when you click on the text and if you listen to music the music will adjust itself so you can hear the voice better. Fun fact, right?

The Shadowforge official website has opened it's doors. Maybe a bit too early, but the sooner the better, I think.

Added a mirror canvas feature. Concept artists love this! But there's also two new shaders you can play around with. Gray and White shader. White shader is an awesome feature even though it might sound weird. But did you know that the engine actually is built upon the brushes being obligatory white to blend in with colors? That's where the white shaders comes in, you can add in a picture and shade it white instantly and then use it as a brush -- instantly too! Just by pressing Add Clear Assets or lassoing it into a brush. The gray shader well, let me tell you about the gray shader. A lot of games are made in old movies style. More than gameboy style actually. So this is a nice feature for them!

Lots of bug fixes of course. It's a daily routine. But amidst that I'm happy to tell you that I also added in a way to save all your animation frames in one click on an icon to your folder of choice!

Thanks for reading this!
 
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mikix

Member
Lots of new things have been created. Save and load slots, ink shader, tiling, brush optimizer and lots lots lots of fixes.

And I have upgraded the lasso tool to do things like this (supporting all colored backgrounds btw).
 

mikix

Member
I edited the first post because it is now only available on my website or on itch.io. If anyone that has used the latest Shadowforge version could come up with some fresh ideas for it that would be nice. I might add it in the future if it's possible with GMS2.3+.
 

mikix

Member
What's new:

Built-in custom palettes. <- This branch will grow to other branches.
Better workflow for pixel artists. <- An urgent needed update for them.
More animation frames. <- Yes, there will be even more animation frames in the future.
New language supported: Swedish. <- Sorry but I have to google translate the other languages because I don't have help from volunteers.
Lots of fixes to existing features. <- As usual.

And much much more!
 

mikix

Member
One week has passed, and here's what's new:

  • Scale your picture on the surface with your own value inputs. Every painting software has this and Shadowforge needed it too.
  • The settings menu. Oboy, what will I put there? Well, for starters, the spaces between your brush strokes is there.
  • Merge a layer from one page to another page. Reset the merging of targeted layer when you don't need to merge that layer to any other layer.
  • Blur your canvas. Works on all layers.
  • Quality of life update: The animation frames show their size on the docker.
  • Moving layers has been replaced with copying layers.
  • Another page for the layer inspector (otherwise you can move up to the 100th layer with your arrow keys).
  • Save your project in a zip file, open your project with the zip file.
  • Make your own custom palette, send it as .sfpal to anyone and they can load it up. Just for fun, if you feel like sharing your palette permanently (unless you change it) on Shadowforge.
  • Gif can be uploaded to the animation row on the docker and anything above 512x512 will be resized on the canvas as a sprite sheet by 80%.
  • The mini canvas doesn't get divided mathematically if the canvas is at or below 256x256.
 

mikix

Member
Another week. Am I on fire?

  • Made a lot of updates for the spray. It works with all effects and you can also choose a value to divide it with.
  • Import directly from the web.
  • Alpha brush settings in the settings menu.
  • Font settings in the settings menu.
  • Fixes, fixes, fixes.
  • New tool: Draw line.
  • Fixes, fixes, fixes.
  • You can call or exit rulers.
  • You can multi-brush. Which means two brushes at the same time from the center of the room to their respective ends.
 
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