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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArtWorkshop1000 drawings
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« on: October 22, 2014, 10:23:26 AM »

so i decided to do 1000 drawings in order to get good at drawing (to illustrate the cutscenes in my game, which is one of the few things i need to do to finish SD)

the full album is on my facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.eres/media_set?set=a.10152513906456263.1073741826.500426262&type=3

i think i've improved a bit even just over the course of those 42, so if you critique / give advice, try to focus on the newer ones, because i already know what was wrong with the earlier ones

basically tell me what i'm doing wrong, especially in the most recent ones, so that i can improve. don't worry about being too harsh. also helpful would be book / tutorial recommendations

a few examples of the more recent ones if you don't want to click the link:









these were done with pencil and paper and then i took a photo of them with a cheap cell phone
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 02:08:46 AM by ஒழுக்கின்மை » Logged

Rob Rule
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 11:40:16 PM »

Funny, I just posted about this. I've been following your progress regularly on facebook and you're coming on leaps and bounds - 'a bit' is understating it in my (incredibly valuable and important) opinion. This project really seems to encapsulate the 'practice, practice, practice' truism and it's great to see you succeed. Entirely agree that it's best to do your own art, as it's always hard, if not impossible, to find external talent as invested in your work as you are.
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Jason Rohrer
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2014, 04:03:32 PM »

Any way to see these without a FB account?   Smiley
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2014, 04:12:29 PM »

Any way to see these without a FB account?   Smiley

i'll upload them somewhere else too, maybe deviantart would work -- give me a sec
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2014, 04:39:53 PM »

alright, here: http://rinkuhero.deviantart.com/gallery/?catpath=scraps

they aren't numbered there and the order is haphazard currently; trying to look into how to arrange it. but every image on the fb gallery is now also in that gallery, they just aren't in chronological order yet

this may help though, i did the drawings in this order

1) lilypads and other misc stuff
2) seashells
3) starfish
4) coral
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2014, 05:00:25 PM »

Good to see you following a rigorous plan. 1000 is a lot, but try to make each one count. I can get more in depth if you would like, but two main things would help you at this stage.

1. Contour: You have an outline drawn for each one, which is actually hurting you, as outlines flatten image. I've seen your game and I know it's not photo real, but without an outline you rely on depth to convey form. So even if your game will have outlines I think you should practice without them. That said, contour is key. Having an outline as a basic line drawing to help with is a huge step when it is measured to proper proportion. Compare parts of the drawing's size to either parts, for example one branch or rock to the other to keep your size accurate, but erase the outline when it doesn't exist on the object after the initial measurements.

2. Value: The fourth piece on your first post has excellent value, but many of your other studies are more impatient with your gradient from black to white. Study carefully the darkness/lightness of your subject and take time to render the subtle changes.

You may know if you've studied art the third stage is texture/material and color. Since you're just studying black and white, you don't need to worry too much about that yet, but you can pay attention to details in coral and rendering some of the important ones to make the material of the object more apparent.

You are doing well though, hope to see your progress as you go.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 05:39:52 PM »

erasing the outlines afterward is a good idea, will try that in the future; the problem though is that my erasers aren't very good so they often leave visible marks even after erasing (will need to draw lighter outlines to fix that probably)

i plan on using different media in the future, not all 1000 will be pencil; i plan on trying charcoal/ink/pastels/color pencils/watercolors/acrylic too as i go through the 1000

i haven't studied art except self-study through a few books and youtube tutorials, although my parents have both studied art (they are artists themselves so i picked up a few things here and there over the years, but i never took a class in it or anything); but this does mean they have a ton of art supplies laying around so that's what i've been using (their old pencils and stuff)

actually at one point my father was going to illustrate these for me, but he doesn't have all that much time (or the knowledge of the game that i have) and it looked like he was never going to get them done (it has been a year and he's done like 2 out of the 150~200 required ones that the game needs (it's a very long game), although those 2 are very nice), so i decided to learn how to do it myself

the illustrations for the game will only be used to illustrate cutscenes, i'm not adding more sprites or anything, so i don't really need to worry that much about consistency with the rest of the game's graphics (though it'd be good to at least have a similar color scheme, etc.) -- basically i want to do something like the phantasy star 4 cutscenes, e.g. something like:





those are sort of low-res manga style, which isn't really what i'm going for, but i want the same type of thing in the sense of small scenes that illustrate what's going on in the text. i was thinking of doing them in watercolor to match the title screen, which was also created in watercolor by a friend of mine:



but that depends on how well i learn the different medias and what i think looks the best for the game; i'll probably decide that after i've tried out the different media. i will probably at least pick one that's in color though (e.g. probably acrylic or watercolor). the learning of drawing with pencil is just sort of preparation for doing those, because i've been told / heard that being able to draw with pencil is the basis of knowledge of the other media too, and useful in creating first drafts for those, so that's why i started there, but the final drawings in the game probably won't be pencil (although color pencil is a possibility if that looks nice enough)

my plan for the remaining 1000 is basically:

marine invertebrates
plants/flowers
landscapes/scenery (including waterscapes, skies, clouds, mountains, forests)
land invertebrates
vertebrates
people (including faces, expressions, anatomy, poses, etc.)
technology (including machines, vehicles, buildings, robots, etc., basically anything people build)

i will focus more on the types of specific types of things that will need to be in the game's illustrations, but will try to do a little bit of everything just for variety (e.g. there are no cats in the game but i'll probably draw a cat or two in the 1000, since indirectly it'd help with being able to draw stuff like fur and so on which would be in the game in some form)

i will also be during this time reading many books and watching various tutorials that people recommend; e.g. i've been going through a book on lighting, and have books on perspective and anatomy and so on prepared for later. at each stage in the list above i may focus more on one than another; e.g. perhaps when i do flowers i'd also focus on learning color, or perhaps when i do landscapes or buildings i'd focus on learning perspective, etc.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 05:57:40 PM by ஒழுக்கின்மை » Logged

oodavid
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2014, 01:56:54 AM »



Like this one the best of all, the contrast and shadows are bang on.
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2014, 02:54:07 PM »

1000 drawings... good luck, you'll need it.
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Jason Rohrer
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2014, 09:30:01 AM »

Whoa!  The improvement there is very dramatic to my eye.  Nice work, sir!

Do you have a scanner?  Handmade cut scene art sounds interesting.

I remain in a state of anticipation for your game.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2014, 09:38:31 AM »

my mother has a scanner that i could borrow, so far i've been using a cell phone to take these. i may try the scanner for the next set to see if it's less blurry.
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Jason Rohrer
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2014, 06:23:21 AM »

No, I meant, "How are you going to get drawings into your game?"

Or maybe you're practicing on paper as a means to improve your pixel art?

No need to waste time scanning the sketches.  The phone pics are good enough to document them.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2014, 07:18:23 AM »

oh, i see. right now i plan for the final work for the game to either be acrylic or watercolor (or pen + watercolor, like in saga frontier II, which had its art entirely created in watercolor). i plan on either using her scanner or buying a larger 'art scanner' which supposedly has higher resolution and better color detection, since it's specifically made for scanning art rather than normal documents (as well as being able to scan paper larger than the standard printer size), they go for around $300 though, but there are a few that have very good reviews on amazon.com that i've wishlisted for the future

but i have heard that even with normal scanners you can get good quality by scanning larger works in parts and then putting them back together again after scanning (there is software to make sure it lines up properly in terms of angles and so on), a lot of paintings are scanned in parts that way

i don't want to use pixel art to illustrate the cutscenes though because i feel that pixel art works best for sprites and in-game objects that are small; when we're talking larger images (e.g. 600x400 illustrations) pixel art becomes more trouble than it's worth. also my pixel art skills are fairly average, for instance:



these were some achievement icons (medals) that i made for immortal defense earlier this year. they aren't very good but i've seen worse ones in games on steam

(as a side note, not that that's a good thing, but sometimes when i see a really unpolished game do well and nobody complaining about it being ugly it makes me feel less bad about my own art; it's kind of inspirational, in a sense, to see a game that you know you could easily make and do the art for sell hundreds of thousands of copies. in any case it's a good way to cut down on perfectionism)

as a side note, even with these illustrations my goal isn't necessarily to create the prettiest pictures, but rather to create images which convey what is going on in the story. but it's necessary to at least reach some minimum level of skill so that the badness of it isn't too distracting, but i plan to focus a lot on learning composition (the arrangement of elements in a scene), since that's the most important thing for what i want to do (along with like, basic anatomy so the people don't look laughable)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 07:33:23 AM by ஒழுக்கின்மை » Logged

Jason Rohrer
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2014, 06:27:49 AM »

Link to an "Art scanner" please?  I didn't know those existed (well, except for drum scanners used in industry, which are way more than $300).  I got an Epson Perfection v550 (for way less than $300) and so far, it's working really well (doing pen + watercolor for Cordial Minuet).  Cheaper scanners (like all-in-ones) can leave scan-line artifacts in the image.  This brings in images that are crystal clear with no artifacts.  And it works in Linux!

Also, what are the games on Steam that have sold 100K+ copies that are ugly and unpolished looking?
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 09:45:15 AM »

by art scanner i mean something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Mustek-A3-2400S-11-7-Inch-16-5-Inch/dp/B009LHWGLY/ref=zg_bs_5728048011_8

e.g. something that as a relatively high resolution (this one is 9600x9600) and is a larger size than the standard paper size (this one is 16.5 x 11.7 inch)

i wouldn't want to make a list in case the developers read it and feel insulted, haha. but here's a classic one that isn't on steam but which sold something like a million copies and looks completely visually awful to me:



if forced to name one on steam, here's one where the developer probably doesn't hang around tigs:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/12500/

some of the art in that looks okay to me, but the actual game icons, GUI, font style, etc., are pretty awful visually; the biggest problem is the color balance of the game. i mean even the particle effects are awful.



another example might be the numerous rpgmaker-made games on steam, which often use the default tilesets and mix in their own tiles and art and the contrast between those tends to look very ugly (and yes some of those have sold 100k+ copies from what i know)

(as an aside i have enjoyed playing both puzzle quest and snood for dozens, maybe hundreds of hours, so i'm not saying they're bad games, just visually bad, although with snood another problem is that it's a direct clone of puzzle bobble, which had much nicer visuals and was basically the same game)
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2014, 06:50:47 AM »

Well, for PQ, I'd say the maps and cut scenes have "good" graphics, at least from the Steam consumer perspective.  Snood.... I guess both of these are operating in a different world (casual) to sell 100K units.

I'd be very careful about scan quality (read lots of published reviews, not just user reviews) before buying a scanner just for its bed size.  Some scanners produce very poor images (like, with faint jitter lines every few pixel rows).  A big scanner for under $300 may be too good to be true.

My B&H pro catalog just came yesterday, and they don't carry Mustek scanners.  The only carry one large format scanner---a Plustek book scanner that goes for $1499 (but only does 300 dpi).

Something else that I've noticed... because the end result for game art is only 72 dpi, scanning "big" artwork doesn't look very good, because the details are lost at 72 dpi (fine lines can't be seen anyway).  So, it looks much better (like, for watercolors) to take tiny artwork and enlarge it via scanning.  I'm blowing mine up 200% from its paper size to its screen size, and that makes it look fantastic on the screen.  So, I've got all these tiny, little drawings and watercolors that I'm scanning.... but then you can actually see the brush strokes, etc., on the screen.  I.e., I'm scanning at 144 dpi, then displaying the result at 72dpi for a 2x blowup on screen.

Thus, you might find that you don't need a large format scanner anyway, and then you can pick a scanner based on image quality.  And invest in some small brushes!  Smiley
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ஒழுக்கின்மை (Paul Eres)
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2014, 07:36:46 AM »

those are good points yeah; i used to actually have a large flat bed scanner back from the late 90s or something, they were much more common back then (and cheaper) for some reason, although they were also a lot louder. but the reason i linked to that one in particular is because an artist who does a lot of tutorials on youtube who i like recommended it as the one he favors. it's possible there are better ones though

also, how are you shrinking your larger images? i found that using resampling rather than resizing (an irfanview option) avoids losing details as much when shrinking -- because e.g. a line of pixels that is:



000000000000001111111111011111111100000000

would be reduced to something like

000011011000 (resampling)

rather than

000011111000 (normal resizing)

also, i tend to use somewhat larger screen resolutions than your games do, from what i know? so maybe it'd be less of an issue for my games, since mine tend to be at least 1024x768, whereas you tend to use much smaller resolutions

another issue is that it's easier to draw larger than smaller in any case; the drawing may be superior if it's drawn larger than if it's drawn smaller, so that's another factor to consider. in other words, the benefits of drawing it larger may outweigh the drawbacks of losing some of the finer details of large drawings
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 08:34:21 AM by ஒழுக்கின்மை » Logged

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