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999615 Posts in 39235 Topics- by 30648 Members - Latest Member: lonelytomato

April 24, 2014, 12:52:39 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeArtCan a programmer make game art?
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Author Topic: Can a programmer make game art?  (Read 2367 times)
ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2013, 04:05:56 AM »

i think the thing preventing this from happening (the thing behind programmer art) is the 10,000 hour rule. generally, it takes 10,000 hours of practice in a field before you are competent in that field (e.g. until you are comparable with people who do it for a living). most people don't have 10,000 hours to dedicate to learning *both* programming and art, let alone, programming, art, music, game design, marketing, and all the other fields that an indie developer benefits from

to make that more relatable, 10,000 hours is 1250 days of doing something 8 hours a day. that's 4 years of 8 hour days, no weekends off, no sick days. if you have that time to dedicate to learning, someone who already put in those hours into learning programming can also become equally skilled at art. it's possible, it's just that it takes a lot of time

so generally it's better to specialize. there are of course madmen who dedicate 10,000 hours to programming, another 10,000 to art, and another 10,000 to music, and become better at each of those than most specialists are at their own specialty. we call those people konjak, mr. podunkian, or pixel. but people like that are the rarest of indies. usually indies are good at one thing, and bad or only okay at everything else. and usually that one thing that they are good at is programming, and they team up with someone who is good at art and someone else who is good at music

to make this more concrete, if you take the best, most popular, and most prestigeous indie games, like a top 100 list or something, or perhaps "all the indie games on steam", or "all the indie games that sold more than one million copies", i'd say that more than 95% of them have separate people for programming, art, and music. it just usually works out better that way

but if you aren't aiming to make one of the best games ever, and are just learning, or doing indie game dev for fun, or are just going to make freeware, then by all means make your own art and music, even if it's bad, especially if you enjoy making those. i'm just saying that you can't really expect to *excel* at multiple skills unless you have a ton of time to practice each of those skills separately. but you can get decent, or even average, at multiple skills relatively quickly, you just can't create professional-quality stuff in multiple skills without a huge time investment

one way to do this is to limit the *type* of something that you create. for example, if it's music, just focus on making good music of a simple, single style, like sad ambient piano music. if it's art, focus on making good art of a single style, such as monochrome pixel art. that's one key to saving time: to limit your style. as an analogy, if you play league of legends or dota2, it's much better to pick one hero/champion to focus on, and just get good at that one character, instead of trying to get good at all of them at once. the more you limit yourself, the faster you can get good (to an extent)

with game art, one way to do this is through copying. pick a visual style you admire, a relatively simple one, and copy it, and vary it a little until you like it. your game will probably look a bit too much like the game you copy, for example, the underside and cave story, but if all you are going for is something decent-looking, that's completely fine. it also may be a good idea to do monochrome (something like the original game boy's 4 green colors), because then you don't have to deal with a lot of issues, that kind of limit saves a lot of time in learning to get good, because you don't have to learn about all kinds of things that you'd have to learn about if you were using full colors. you could also copy basic sprite body shapes from games you admire, and just adjust things like hair, eyes, clothes, etc. -- that's a way to get something decent without having to spend 10,000 hours learning art
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2013, 08:49:17 AM »

I don't pretend to be an orchestra-man  learn programming, art, and music (but even for programming for example there is specialization areas like physic systems, artificial inteligence, networks, informatic security, etc. that worth a life to master)just want 'ok' art for my games.
I am aware of the "inspiracyon" resource and it is totally ok for me  Smiley.

but if you aren't aiming to make one of the best games ever,

I am not sure if you can decide to make One of the Best Games Ever, or you simply make the games you want and let the people decide if is a great game  Shrug, but yes i really want to work with a team and make professional-quality stuff but  people I know are like: "hey you know that bird-throwing game made by two or three guys and made millions I want to try something like that" they just think in working two weeks and make lots of money.
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2013, 03:34:13 AM »

i think the thing preventing this from happening (the thing behind programmer art) is the 10,000 hour rule. generally, it takes 10,000 hours of practice in a field before you are competent in that field (e.g. until you are comparable with people who do it for a living).

Actually, the 10,000 hour rule says you'll have to have put in 10,000 hours to become an expert, not merely 'competent'. 

But yes, what you said is essentially true.  There simply isn't enough time in your life to master everything.  If you really have a burning desire for something, drop everything else and do it unless you're great at it.

I've always wanted to be able to draw, but not badly enough to actually practice.  Not really a burning desire.  And yet I still dabble in art, for fun.  I doubt I'll ever do anything professionally, but it's a fine hobby.
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2013, 09:45:13 AM »

I saw this post on GameDev.net this morning and I thought it might help understanding the whole "magic"* of game visuals: http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/creative/visual-arts/the-total-beginner%E2%80%99s-guide-to-better-2d-game-art-r2959

*I'm not that good at English.
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2013, 10:51:25 AM »

That's a *great* article for the technical aspects, but even knowing all that stuff doesn't help me make that red ship thing at the beginning.  There's something else missing, and I've never found it in a tutorial yet, even the ones that insist I'll be drawing like that after them.
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Gimym JIMBERT
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2013, 11:35:32 AM »

The problem is that most tutorial for programmer are written from an artist perspective. They should present art as an equation to solve and present the rules and principle. Surely it would not make super artistic sensibilities, but it would make something acceptable beyond crappy programmer art. That's why I see a lot of programmer shouting for "realism", it's something they can "measure". Now I have said something that will make 90% of artist vomit on their keyboards Who, Me?
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2013, 11:58:18 AM »

The problem is that most tutorial for programmer are written from an artist perspective. They should present art as an equation to solve and present the rules and principle. Surely it would not make super artistic sensibilities, but it would make something acceptable beyond crappy programmer art. That's why I see a lot of programmer shouting for "realism", it's something they can "measure". Now I have said something that will make 90% of artist vomit on their keyboards Who, Me?

I think this is a bit unfair to programmers, though. While programmers (like myself) may be more inclined to explore systems with art artifacts, I don't know that they are unable to perceive of art in non-systemic ways. They manage to function perfectly well in other disciplines. Art isn't so special that it's exempt from this. I really think it's just a matter of practicing and producing work.
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 12:40:16 PM »

(...), but even knowing all that stuff doesn't help me make that red ship thing at the beginning.  (...)
There is an asterisk : "*Probably"   WTF
(...)There's something else missing, and I've never found it in a tutorial yet, even the ones that insist I'll be drawing like that after them.
Like the classic tutorial: "Just draw the basic shapes, oval for head, rectangles for the torso, legs and arms, and then the rest. Easy!"
I think it maybe has to do with the way programmers learn, begin with the "Hello world" ritual and then create programs with more complexity every time, each one with well defined rules, resources, limits, behaviors, etc.
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« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2013, 02:24:33 PM »

Gimmy: An art tutorial aimed at programmers makes about as much sense as a dance tutorial made for for architects, or a welding tutorial for skydivers. I don't know why you're assuming programmers specifically are unable to start learning new skills without approaching it in some special programmy way.
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« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2013, 03:57:31 PM »

That's not what I'm saying, I'm assuming mindset, not people.
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« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2013, 03:09:21 AM »

(...), but even knowing all that stuff doesn't help me make that red ship thing at the beginning.  (...)
There is an asterisk : "*Probably"   WTF
(...)There's something else missing, and I've never found it in a tutorial yet, even the ones that insist I'll be drawing like that after them.
Like the classic tutorial: "Just draw the basic shapes, oval for head, rectangles for the torso, legs and arms, and then the rest. Easy!"
I think it maybe has to do with the way programmers learn, begin with the "Hello world" ritual and then create programs with more complexity every time, each one with well defined rules, resources, limits, behaviors, etc.

I saw the *.  Smiley  Even with the 'probably', I still think it's not true.  There's nobody that will end up with that from that tutorial.  People looking for basic art tutorials simply don't have the mindset for that kind of thing and don't know where to start looking to learn it.  I think that artists learn it at a young age, and so don't really know how to teach it.  I think it's so ingrained in them that they simply don't understand why we don't see things that way.  (I feel the same way about logic and people who can't grasp it.  I have no idea how to teach it.)
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« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2013, 03:20:52 AM »

Just make a roguelike. only using the 437 characters.
let the meaning of stuff decide what color (of a limited palette) you'll use for an object.

tadaa coherent art!

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« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2013, 04:13:46 AM »



I already know that blog but that kind of art al least for me looks pretty infant and generic (I really hate them  No No NO) but maybe I should give it a chance.

So... you learn to code by doing WoW style MMO? Yeah, I guessed so. It's about starting with simple shapes to a) learn the tools and b) create something that looks ok right away to keep motivation high with achievable goals. If you look at later tutorials e.g. the tank or the helicopter you can see what can be achieved with more time, practice and effort.
http://2dgameartforprogrammers.blogspot.com/2012/09/apache-helicopter.html

Gimmy: An art tutorial aimed at programmers makes about as much sense as a dance tutorial made for for architects, or a welding tutorial for skydivers. I don't know why you're assuming programmers specifically are unable to start learning new skills without approaching it in some special programmy way.

I disagree... maybe narrowing it down to programmers is not ideal - let's call them 'non-artistically minded' or 'artistically challenged'. A lot of coders asked me for artistic advice - and a lot of the time end up frustrated as they see things in a different way. You can give an artist/ artistic person a pen and say draw something and more often than not they will get there in an artistic way - based on their experience and way to see things.
A lot of programmers on the other hand think more methodically. Taking the shape apart into it's base elements and creating those comes a lot easier than drawing e.g. the outline of a dragon with his wings spread. Now take the dragon and define the wings as triangles with rounded bases, the body as a combination of circles and the head as a few box shapes with some deformed circles for horns and nostrils and the dragon becomes a 'manageable' task for non-artistically minded' people.

In the end it boils down to a lot of practice - no matter which style, approach, toolset you use. The more you practice the better your results will be - it's as simple as that. If you manage to choose an approach that allows you to get rewarding results to keep the motivation up to practice it's even better.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 04:29:30 AM by SpriteAttack » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2013, 10:14:56 AM »

I am a programmer who has made reasonable-looking games, without an artist. I stick to games that don't need drawing skills, and in particular avoid human figures or realistically drawn objects. If I do have to depict something I do it in a very stylized way, using blocks of flat colour where I can, and low-spec pixel or 3d art where I can build simple shapes by trial and error. I spend days looking through google image search for examples of the styles I am going for, and imitate the pictures I find, in particular the colours.
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« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2013, 06:27:53 PM »

Hi Smiley
Just make a roguelike. only using the 437 characters.
let the meaning of stuff decide what color (of a limited palette) you'll use for an object.

tadaa coherent art!


I found this as dificult as pixel art (if not even more)  Tongue.

(...)So... you learn to code by doing WoW style MMO?
Yes, I mean no, what I said is I don't like vectorial graphics because it remind me of Zynga games, I love old school games so by the moment I'm more interested in pixel art or freehand-like graphics.

It's about starting with simple shapes to a) learn the tools and b) create something that looks ok right away to keep motivation high with achievable goals. If you look at later tutorials e.g. the tank or the helicopter you can see what can be achieved with more time, practice and effort.
http://2dgameartforprogrammers.blogspot.com/2012/09/apache-helicopter.html
Yes I know (still generic for me) and again maybe I should give it a chance.
I am a programmer who has made reasonable-looking games
I clicked in the links of your signature and I think that your games look really awesome  Shocked.
I stick to games that don't need drawing skills, and in particular avoid human figures or realistically drawn objects.
It is a good advise but unfortunately it is a matter of taste.
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