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 Post subject: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:59 am 
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OK, the reason I asked the art questions earlier: I'm a programmer and by no means an artist. I'm always complaining to myself (not out loud or anything) that I would totally make a super sweet adventure game except that I don't have the resources to get the art done and without great art there isn't any point in starting a project.

Well, KQ3R really inspired me to try and make a really simple AGS game. And I decided "you know what? I always complain about my lack of artistic resources but I have never actually TRIED to do any game art." So I decided to give it a shot. I read some tutorials, examined some of my favorite adventure game art, and started painting in Photoshop. And to my surprise, my first attempt started turning out well. Like, shockingly well considering it was my first try. I made a tree. And it looks pretty OK. (hang on, I'm getting to my actual question)

I also laid down some grass. And I think it looks OK considering the stage it's in - just flat color with a little texture. And I want to go in and start adding highlights and shadows. But here's where I'm running into a wall: I just cannot seem to visualize the contour of the landscape I'm trying to achieve.

So here's my question: Do you guys decide what the contour is going to be first? Or do you just dive in and start making highlights? Other than shadows for objects, how do you decide where to place highlights and shadows?

Take for example this screen from KQ3R:
Image

In the middle there are sort of like "stripes" of highlight and shadow going every which way. It looks really awesome. But if I try to analyze it with my brain, all my brain says is "it's just random stripes!" So, did you decide on where all the hills were going to be, then trace it to the light source in order to calculate where the highlights and shadows go? Or did your artistic spidey-sense just tell you what to do? Because sadly, I don't have one of those!

Thanks,
Jeremy


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 Post subject: Re: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:29 am 
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Honorary AGD
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duckwizard wrote:
OK, the reason I asked the art questions earlier: I'm a programmer and by no means an artist. I'm always complaining to myself (not out loud or anything) that I would totally make a super sweet adventure game except that I don't have the resources to get the art done and without great art there isn't any point in starting a project.

Wow! That sounds familiar! Did you by chance read the "Anyone interested in this remake" thread in the King's Quest III Redux forum? This is exactly how that game started out! We've come full circle! :lol

I can't say that it will play out the same way for you, but I ended up just jumping in and making a game with the graphics I had at my disposal. Once people see you are serious, they are more apt to join you. Let it cook eight years, and you get something like King's Quest III Redux! ;) If your game is original, do some simple place-holder type art that you can use to program with. Don't spend a whole lot of time on it so that you can make actual programming progress. Once you show what you have, artists will be able to create backgrounds based on your ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:30 pm 
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JP Selwood edited my version of that screen and added most of that specific sections you're talking about. He could probably tell you how he did it, but I can tell you: many hours are spent on a screen like this. Basicly it is a process of staring at the pixels for hours and deciding what would work best for that specific area. A lot of pixel editing to make it look right. But it does get easier with each pic you work on. :) Trick is actually that you'll have to go back and re-edited the previous screens you worked on to get a consistent quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:48 pm 
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Gronagor wrote:
I can tell you: many hours are spent on a screen like this.


Yeah, I wasn't expecting it would be fast or easy :)

I have been using the burn and dodge tools to make highlights and shadows and I just discovered something - if I make a two extra layers above the grass and set their blend modes to burn and dodge respectively, then I can just paint translucent black and white on those layers to do the shading. Makes it easier to go back and re-do highlights without screwing up the base layer.

Do you guys use color editing like burn and dodge, or do you just lay down darker and lighter colors for your shading?


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 Post subject: Re: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:04 am 
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:p I do. :p But people like JP Selwood and Eriq Chang approach their art with a well planned method. JP especially works hard to get a consistent feel between bordering screens, thus he usually works with a pre-planned color-range. (Palette)

Perhaps Eriq or JP would be willing to create us a video tutorial. :) I would love that as well!


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 Post subject: Re: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:31 pm 
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Infamous Sheik of Australia
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Shadow comes from the direction of the sun, that helps to keep consistency in an individual screen. Think where the sun (or source of light) would be and always draw your shadows from that direction.

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 Post subject: Re: Another question for artists
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Gronagor wrote:
Perhaps Eriq or JP would be willing to create us a video tutorial. :) I would love that as well!


Oh, man. I would pay money for that.


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