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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArtWorkshopRe-imagining a simplistic visual design
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chrishughes2d
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« on: November 26, 2014, 09:28:36 PM »

As someone with no artistic bones in my body, I humbly share my attempt at reinventing the minimalistic design of my world rotation puzzle platformer. Here it is:



The full resolution image can be found here:

http://chrishughesgames.com/ts/TS_BeforeAndAfter.png

Initial feedback hasn't been flattering and includes the use of multiple conflicting styles, too obvious tiling of textures, and an overall trippy feel. I'm welcome and appreciate all suggestions to improve the result.

Thanks!
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gimymblert
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 09:45:01 PM »

character of the after in the env of before
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 10:02:18 PM »

I posted this game to Greenlight a few years back, and of 5000+ views only about 20 people voted (either up or down). I made some mistakes such as not having a compelling video to show, but I thought the low interest could partly be explained by the extremely minimalistic design. I also like the minimalistic graphics, but do you think they could be detrimental to grabbing people in with a strong first impression?

Thanks for the feedback, Gimym.
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gimymblert
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 10:03:54 PM »

If gameplay is strong graphic will take a backsit see VVVVVV or hexagon
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 11:09:14 PM »

You're probably right, although Terry's reputation must also help. Cheers.
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beestings
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2014, 11:49:47 AM »

I would add some shading around the corners of the white path, other than that, looks good!
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2014, 02:09:22 AM »

Here's another iteration on the textured design with a more conservative color scheme, textures added to all objects, and glowing checkpoints.



For those who preferred the minimalistic design, does this address the issues with the textured design or is the minimalistic design still the favored approach?

Thanks again for the feedback so far. I really do appreciate it. Cheers!  Toast Left
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gimymblert
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2014, 03:59:23 PM »

the problem is one of readability  and visual hierarchy, this design is just too busy, it can works but you would need visual flair and it wouldn't be a problem to start with? It's not a problem of "liking", it does not work.

That said, try to lower the contrast of the pattern so that it is less distracting if you want to keep it. The extra pattern on the character is way too much.

But the simpler design is still better as it is more easy on the eyes, except for character and teh switch thingy who are too busy because of teh colors.
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2014, 04:47:33 AM »

Thanks for the feedback so far. Your comment on visual hierarchy really hit home, and I can't look at these pictures now without wondering what I was thinking! Tongue

Here is another iteration that (hopefully) improves the visual hierarchy. The background has been taken out of the equation, and the contrast on the ground texture significantly reduced. The glow has been removed from the checkpoints, as they were far too dominant. And finally, the main character more closely resembles the original.



Note that the main character is the same color as the ground texture. This is because the character gains its ability to spin from the ground, and there are several kinds of spins based on the ground type. I thought that changing the character's color would make this clear, and also make it clear when the character can and cannot spin.

Thanks again. Cheers!
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gimymblert
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2014, 07:14:09 AM »

It's much better, The blur is a nice touch as it had an idea of ditance and quality contrast with foreground/background. However I would advise more contrast between passive/background vs active/gameplay elements (character and switch).

A good technics to see some aspect like an artist without being one is to use a high pass filter. It must be clear in the result what is important and what's not, ie all unnecessary details would be really faints while important element appear.

Try with this image: http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/27900000/Kongiku-oboro-muramasa-muramasa-the-demon-blade-27958210-1280-1024.jpg

If you don't have a high pass filter and your paint program have blur filter and layer, you can duplcate the image on two layer, inverse color of the top layer and set the layer opacity to 50%. If everything goes right you should see a solid 50% gray, now apply a gaussian blur with a 10 px radius. Then important contrast will be made apparent.

It's helpful because it help to see how skill artist can still have a lot of details and yet have a solid composition that is readable by hiding the simplicity into the contrast.
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2014, 05:02:59 PM »

Thanks again for your fantastic feedback. I've been working on the game mechanics for the last few weeks so I haven't done much more on the artwork. However, rest assured your advice is appreciated and my silence is only because I don't want to artificially push my thread to the top of the forum when I don't have anymore substance to add.

That said, I've run into another artistic dilemma. During the game, the main character will change size from time to time, both small and large, and I'm concerned with how to fit this in with the existing artwork which has a consistent 2px border on all objects and tiles. Simply scaling the character sprites would break this, the benefit being that this would convey that the character is larger or smaller than normal, but the potentially significant downside is that it would appear inconsistent with the rest of the presentation.

Here are basic character mock-ups using a simple scaling of the existing artwork (left) and preserving the 2px on all lines (right).



Thoughts on which is the better option?

Cheers!
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gimymblert
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2014, 05:19:26 PM »

I think left is better, but the character is still uncomfortable to look at for long period, to me at least.
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2014, 06:01:42 PM »

I think left is better, but the character is still uncomfortable to look at for long period, to me at least.

Is this comment related to the contrast between the character and the background, the rudimentary character design, or both?

Perhaps I'm obsessing over these lines and should try adding more detailed facial features that don't involve think lines.

Cheers!
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gimymblert
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2014, 06:13:49 PM »

It's not about details, the diagnostic is that the character is tiring to look at, so you should start with this hypothesis. I think it's because it's too bright but I'm not sure, also I'm only one person to judge this and there I think there is ambiguity, you should test with more audience BEWARE don't ask if it's good, make them play the game and look at what they complain about. Truly art is about function first, pretty second, so the first part is like code, when you have unexpected result your answer is not to tell "i need more class", you say "what does not work and why?". Test and iterate first, make pretty after you solve the requirement.
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2014, 09:54:32 PM »

Good advice.

Something else I don't like with the current design is the overwhelming amount of yellow. I'll probably try de saturating the background and/or incorporating colours of other terrain types to balance things up a bit.
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gimymblert
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2014, 10:28:16 PM »

Is this an answer to a problem? or is it a new class?
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chrishughes2d
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2014, 11:45:38 PM »

It's trying to solve a problem. It may or may not be the same problem, but I do think there is an issue that needs to be addressed, It's easy to look at your own work with rose tinted glasses, and given the progress I've made (with your fantastic guidance) I've been doing that. When you mentioned the character is hard to look at, I looked at that last image with a more honest eye and the fact that everything is yellow does make me feel a little sick. There may be many ways to address this issue, but the ones that came to mind were making the background more neutral (e.g. desaturating it) or introducing others colours.

I'm going to test it with real players as you suggested, but I feel that there is at least one specific problem that already needs to be addressed too.

Cheers!
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JWK5
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2014, 10:17:51 AM »

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gimymblert
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2014, 10:40:10 AM »

What JWK5 said Who, Me?  Hand Thumbs Up Right
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