Graphic design in Games

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  • Coming into game design my roots stem from video production, so lighting and camera tricks are easy for me to figure out. But I've had one heck of a time with development of titled backgrounds and set pieces. I don't know where to start or how to have the continuity I want from my characters movement to the solids they stand on or even interact with.

    I'm self thought on just about everything I know when it comes to graphic design, so I wonder if other self thought artist out there would like to share the resources they may have used to help them hone their technique?

    I use adobe flash professional to create all my game art because it seems pretty forgiving and is default vector art, but I know most use Photoshop but I just never figured out how to get the smooth crisp lines I want.

    On top of what programs are best to use, how do you decide the size and scale of the art? how do you know the players character should be 40 some odd pixels and the trees be 90 or what not? What am I not getting when it comes to that angle of looking at the graphic design for my games?

  • Well I'm no artist - however some advice I can give regarding image size. Always draw your images as large as possible - you can always scale down but never up. However once in the game it's important too scale them as low as possible for memory reasons.

    Also, some examples of what you have done might help us offer some more advice.

  • I think what I do may help you.

    First pick a real-world item that you can use as a relative scale. Since the games I like to play with usually have human characters, a 6ft/72inch human is a pretty good point of reference.

    Based on that human, other measurements are fairly easy to guess. Import your reference image (the human) into Construct 2(or any other game engine) and see how it stands up. Is it too big or too small for the screen or viewport that you want? If so, adjust that model until it's what you want.

    From that, the other objects you make that are a relative size of your human will be spot on (or very close!) to what you want them to be when you import them.

    For software and vectors I just use Inkscape. It's free if you want to try it.

    I hope this helps.

  • kite - That gave me a great idea for how to do the art for the fighting game my friend wanted me to make, but I haven't been too lucky in finding a good generic fighting game character sprite sheet yet; still looking. Something with a very generic human form in all the animation positions for punching kicking and what not.

    I guess what I was looking for was tutorials other graphic artist used to help them learn the intermediate art of creating game assets or simple to complex level design. I've read a lot of the tutorials on this site as well as read books on game design in a programming sense. But when it comes to breaking down the elements that should make up a level, the styles and genres of games, and how they place obstacles and traps on the screen it's all a little fuzzy and I'm wondering where others learned their craft.

  • For generic kicking and fighting spritesheets, I'd say look for streetfighter sprite sheets. Ryo is pretty much as stereotypical as you get 'em. (Because he's very old, not because he's poorly created!)

    For looking at level design and where to put things for certain games, I would give this site a look:

    Though there's one thing you can also do that's probably the best thing for you to do, and anyone else wanting to do any kind of work, is to do your own original research. Play same games, map out the levels, mark where things happen and what kind of things they were. Things like that, and you'll almost certainly gain an intimate knowledge of level design.

  • Nice link Kite. Thanks

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  • I use photoshop to design everything, from sprites to assets to backgrounds. I have become really well versed in using vector shapes in photoshop though, so my art is still designed in vector (just output to a raster format)

    I'm also self taught, I started using MS paint when I was really young, and have graduated several times since then to newer and better software until I finally got my own legit copy of Photoshop.

    Just remember if you're ever trying to use Photoshop for your game assets, the line and shape tools will come in very handy ;) Also if you use a stroke layer effect, it gives a nice cartoony line to all your art ;)

    Good luck!

  • toomer34

    start making the character, try to make using pixel art first so you have more control under the result in terms of height and weight.

    now lets say your character is 45 pixels tall and 30 pixels large; then your solid tiles should be 32x32 to keep a good aspect; since your character is 45, when you are planning your background you know that your character can pass through a 64px tall empty space (2 tiles of 32x32); assuming your colision mask is the same as the character weight and height

    this is pretty basic stuff, but gives you a starting point

    try to make stuff 1:1 scale at first so you dont have weird resolution problems, and a important thing to maintain the original idea is making a mockup

  • I`m not game designer. But I think Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator are the perfect soft to design maximum 2d Graphics. Sizing, Scaling, coloring all are possible there.

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