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ifighter game art - help me understand this!


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#1 psi-punk   Members   -  Reputation: 102

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:40 AM

Wondering if anyone would be able to help me break down the game art shown in the following screen grabs. The artwork (which I love by the way) is from a game called ifighter and its sequal ifighter 2, both of which are available on iphone, ipad and android.

I want to teach myself how to make artwork like this so I can get jobs working on games like this and also so I can work towards making my own game with similar artwork.

Things I want to figure out are:

-Is this artwork straight pixel art? Or is it a combination of vectors and pixel based artwork?

-which computer programs would be used to make the artwork?

I have limited experience. But to me, it looks like pixel art. However, from what I have read, most mobile games creators build their artwork as vectors, so that it can be easily scaled to suit different platforms, then render the artwork out as sprites at the appropriate size. Is it likely that something like that has been done for ifighter? ..considering that it is available on different platforms each utlizing different sized sprites?

With the background art: I guess elements are repeated: some trees and buildings get reused, some parts use tiling. Would that be made in photoshop? Or is there other specialized programs used for making that kind of artwork to be tiled etc?

As I said, I am pretty newbish with this kind of artwork so sorry if my questions are obvious.

dww5k7.png

2m3h9uq.jpg
 



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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4590

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

This does not look like vector art to me (possible exception - the three tabs on the lower left of the screenshot with the boats).  What it actually looks like to me is 3D art with somewhat pixely textures and some 2D elements overlaid.  3D art is similar to vector in the way it can be exported at different resolutions.  You wouldn't usually see a "dirty-looking" texture like the cobblestones in the first image made in vector art just because that style of coloring would take a silly amount of time compared to something like cell shading for which vectors are more naturally suited.  The vehicles, stars, and explosions however would be easy to do in vectors.  But the water effects in the boat screencap and the shadows on the vehicles say 3D to me.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#3 psi-punk   Members   -  Reputation: 102

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:46 AM

Hi thanks for your reply.

 

So you think it could be created in a 3D program? Like Blender or something? Did you notice the tiling in the first image? Like if you look at the cobble stones you can see the vertical and horizontal pattern of tiles. Is that an effect that would result from using a 3D program? ...and really wouldnt you say the backgrounds look close to isometric pixel art than 3D graphics?

 

At first I though it was all pixel art. But then I wonder, how can they easily resize it for the different sized platforms of iPhone and iPad? At some stage it must involve vectorization to allow easy resizing... Now Im thinking maybe it doesnt event start off as pixel art... as you say Sunandshadow, maybe it starts off as 3D art... I dont know.

 

I have a feeling im on the wrong website. I need some games graphics experts to help me figure this out... preferably someone who has worked on games like this...



#4 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8161

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:37 AM

As sunandshadow said, that probably isn't vector art.

The textures are probably hand-painted, though it's not really pixel art in the traditional sense. ie, they probably used painting techniques rather than pixel techniques. It's a fine distinction, true.

For hand painted stuff, you might do some thread searching over at polycount. For example, here is a thread on hand-painting rock: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=89131

With work, you can hand-paint a texture then do some creative editing to make it tile seamlessly, as the ground in your posted screenshots tiles.

For the other stuff, the objects and the like it is possible that they are 3D rendered, but they also look like they were maybe also hand painted. You could do it either way.

Now, if you need to provide sprite graphics for differing resolutions there are a couple ways you can do it:

1) Provide different sizes of sprites.

2) Scaling

If you provide different sizes, you increase your workload but the sprites can look better since they are designed for the given resolution. Scaling can cause things to become a little bit blurry (scaling up) or smudge out details (scaling down). However, looking at your posted screenshots, I suspect that they are actually scaling. The sprites are not extremely high detailed, and some portions of them (especially the planes) seem to be a bit blurry.

With sufficient practice, you could duplicate this look in Photoshop or, if you don't want to pay for Photoshop, the Gimp. Hand-painting takes a bit of practice, though, so don't expect to recreate that look right out of the gate. You could also recreate it using low-resolution textures painted onto 3D models, and then rendering the models, again at a relatively low resolution, perhaps with some color processing to more closely emulate the pixel-art look. For this, you could use a combination of Photoshop/Gimp plus a 3D modeler such as 3DS, Maya, or Blender (the free alternative).

Edited by JTippetts, 14 January 2013 - 08:39 AM.


#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4590

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:18 PM

Most 3D programs include functionality for tiling textures, so yes you can absolutely take a pixel art texture or any other kind of texture and tile it across a surface in a 3D program.  It's quite common to see tiled textures on terrain in 3D games.  Some 3D programs also include functionality for importing vector images and using them either as a texture or as a curve to be extruded into a 3D object.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry if anything I said was confusing.  Though it's true we don't have a big population of artists that hang out here.  What I really think beginner game artists need to understand is that you can create art that looks pretty much the same using any digital art method.  If you picked out three more example games that you thought looked the same, they would probably turn out to have been made with a variety of methods.  Some things take more time or skill to do in one technique than another, but there's someone out there who can do it.  I'm saying this partly in reference to what JTippetts points out about painting shadows - I didn't consider that possibility because it's beyond my own skill lever at painting, but I know there are people who do have and use that skill.  I'm also saying that partly in reference to the fact that I am mainly a vector artist, and if someone wanted to pay me to make a copy of one of those screenshots using only Inkscape, I could do it, but I also know it would be more time-consuming than doing the same thing with other methods because it's not what vector art is optimized for.  So, if I could do it, you could do it too, but I don't want to advise you to use a method that's not the most efficient.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.





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