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Designing visual style for a game


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#1 regnar   Members   -  Reputation: 112

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:22 AM

Hello!
I have done programming my game and now it is time for artwork. And what I want is to create my own style of graphics and than fit all my models and interface elements into that style. Like when you look at any World of Warcraft screenshot and you already can tell the game it is from only looking at one or two objects.
But I have no idea how to achieve this. I googled and couldn't find anything. If somebody could provide me with some links or keywords to google for it would be awesome.



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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:30 AM

Well, all the individual art styles of games or animation fit into one of the major families of art styles.  So you could start by identifying which type of art style you want.  Also, most projects have their art style set by an individual artist, who has probably evolved their unique style over years.  If you are an artist, I can only assume that you already have some kind of personal style; if you aren't, then you aren't really in a position to do more than verbally describe the style you want and maybe collect some reference images to illustrate what you want to the artist you hire or recruit.


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 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2107

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:37 AM


if you aren't, then you aren't really in a position to do more than verbally describe the style you want and maybe collect some reference images to illustrate what you want to the artist you hire or recruit.

 

or the artist you become as you learn to do it yourself.


Norm Barrows

Rockland Software Productions

"Building PC games since 1988"

 

rocklandsoftware.net

 


#4 the_cheetah   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 11:32 AM

Well, it helps to know what the world of your game is like. And what the culture of the characters is like. That should be reflected in the art.

 

Think about Starcraft for a moment; the three factions have very strong identities. Humans are messy (chronic smokers and drinkers, even) and like primitive looking Mad Max style stuff that always threatens to fall apart, protoss have their own colour scheme (gold and blue), esoteric energy thingies and very sleek curved shapes, Zerg have carapaces and creepy mutated biological stuff like teeth and horns, and their buildings look like twisted organs and innards. Their colour scheme is brownish violets with the occasional green acid. A humourous, whacky, slightly comicky style fits this game, although pseudorealistic might even work, too.

 

Or take the Witcher. It's a world full of poverty, discrimination, religious fanatics, shady characters. A serious world. Everyone runs a shady racket. As the protagonist, you are the outsider. Your people are exceptionally gifted, rich in tradition, but universally disliked. Those who employ you probably curse you behind your back. There is no clear distinction between good and evil. As a result, the art is grimy, fantastic, sometimes grotesque, but there is a hidden beauty and depth. A handpainted style and many shades of darkness fit this game.

 

Another example: Prey. Its world is a blend of the technological and the organic. As a result, for example the weapons look like living organs, and the hand grenades are exploding critters. Doors look like orifices. Other parts of the world are made of metal, but often look very curved and organic too (almost protoss-like.) The art style is somewhere between whacky, slimy organic and shiny, polished metal.

 

And of course, the original Portal. Doesn't it remind of an Apple product? A friendly robot voice with a cold calculation underneath it. Manipulation disguised as service. In Portal 2, you get to see behind the facade.

 

Finally, Mirror's Edge. I can't help but think of an IKEA shop when I look at it. It looks *clean*. Designed. As if the police state wanted to give itself a family-friendly yuppie image.

 

Look at many different games, and try to pick up on what the most visually memorable games do. Determine the identity, history and culture of your game world and its characters. Flesh out the world in your mind and write it all down. Talk about it with friends - they can often come up with vivid details and associations that enrich your setting. In other words, create a setting. If your world has different factions, create cultural identities for them (associate them with historical or mythical subcultures or species.) The art style will follow logically from that.

 

An artist's individual style will help, but art style and art direction should be rooted in the setting of the game.



#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:55 PM

 


if you aren't, then you aren't really in a position to do more than verbally describe the style you want and maybe collect some reference images to illustrate what you want to the artist you hire or recruit.

 

or the artist you become as you learn to do it yourself.

 

That's true - an artist who hasn't yet developed a personal style is kind of a borderline case, and requires a different approach.  For that I'd recommend a survey of art history course, or self-study of the same material.  Going to the nearest public library or used book store which has a section of photo-books of different historical kinds of art would be a good start.  Reading an illustrated history of art book might help, though those tend to skim over many of the really interesting periods, like prehistoric art around the world, and often the book is too old to have any information on the art of the last 20 years.  If you know you want some kind of cartoony style, looking through a bookstore's graphic novel section is also a good idea.


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.


#6 Binktgh   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 04:24 PM

this is really such a broad question.

It's pretty much up to the art director to set the visual style for your game.

I would start by asking where you want to be on the line from highly stylized or gritty realism.

 

highly stylized - Journey, Limbo, Wow, Borderlands, Bethesda games, Most modern day shooters - Gritty Realism

 

but even with in this spectrum you can have varying design, colour palettes, art styles.

 

think of your budget and what you or your artist's own preferences are and off course what you think is visually pleasing. You would be the one looking at your game more then others.

 

hope it helps



#7 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30370

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:44 PM

The creative director should start by describing the setting, mood, tone, themes, etc, etc, giving a good written idea of what it's all about. They and/or the art director would then collect a bunch of references from other games, photography, art, etc which fits the mood. They'd then work with concept artists to do some quick paintings / studies to get a feel for what the creative vision could look like. These quick paintings would then be completed, based on feedback from the creative/art directors. A whole lot more concept art is then produced, based off what's been created in this phase so far, depicting all the major areas/items/characters that the production team will need to create. The environment/prop/character/effects artists and the graphics programmers then get stuck into trying to reproduce the feel of the concepts in the game engine happy.png

Often, screenshots of work-in-progress content from the game engine will be given back to the concept artists, who'll do "paint overs" -- using the screenshot as a base, and painting over it what they feel the final product should look like. The production team can then use this as a guide to continue working towards that goal.

Throughout all of this, a single art-director is supervising everyone, acting as the critic who can accept or reject work, giving feedback on how to make sure that everything fits into the one vision.






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