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Designing my own 2D game artwork -- which of these programs is most suited?


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#1 Kalyori   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 05:51 PM

Hey,
 
I'm a programmer and looking to learn how to draw all my own 2D artwork. (Characters, terrain, projectiles, buildings, backgrounds, etc., and any animation needed for them.)
I'm looking at buying either the Wacom Intuos Pro M or the Pro M Special Edition. The bundled software is different for each, and I'm wondering if any of it (or the software I already have) would be good for me:
 
The Pro M includes:
Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 11
Autodesk® Sketchbook® Express 6
CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO 
Nik® Color Efex Pro 3.0 WE6
Wacom Brushes 3
 
And the Pro M SE includes:
Anime Studio® Debut 8
CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO
Ink-Squared Deluxe
MyScript Stylus
 
However I already have Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, etc.) I'd like to get started in the right program -- I don't mind sharp learning curves. Would this be Flash, or Photoshop? Or maybe some of the software included with the tablets? Or maybe something else?

I'd appreciate any input on this, thanks!


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#2 Kryzon   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 3225

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 06:49 PM

With Photoshop, Flash and Illustrator from your Adobe CC you are set on industry-proven software to do some amazing art and animation.

In my personal experience, the software that come bundled with Wacom tablets are not worth the concern.
Note the suffixes: "Debut," "Express" etc. They are not the retail versions. Photoshop Elements is probably the worse in terms of expectation; it's a very different program, aimed at users who want to edit and easily add effects to their photos and creative work - the digital painting features are minimal, with no brush customization.
One could even be better suited with a combination of MyPaint and the GIMP for his tablet (which are free software), rather than P.Elements alone.

Since you already have the Creative Cloud, you can safely focus on purchasing the best tablet that you can and try to save on the bundled software as much as possible.
For instance, if you have the option to buy just the tablet for a reduced price so that it comes with no bundled software at all, I imagine this would be the best choice in your case.

- - - - -

The best one to start with depends on what you're after, what kind of visual style.
Photoshop is for use with raster graphics, digital painting.
Illustrator is used for vectorial graphics and visual design.
Flash is used for vectorial graphics and animation, but for vectorial graphics alone you have Illustrator which already does a better job. So you should delegate Flash for your animation purposes.

You should also look into 3D graphics, which can save you a lot of time when used right. Rendering something for production, with realistic lighting, is done faster in 3D than painting it with your tablet. A lot of games use pre-rendered 3D graphics for background or even foreground elements: Diablo 2, GunBound, Heart of Darkness.
A power combination for this is Silo (US$ 160, for making your models) and Blender (freeware, for texturing your models from Silo, animating them, general layout and rendering etc.).

Edited by Kryzon, 26 April 2014 - 09:16 PM.


#3 Kalyori   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 11:27 PM

With Photoshop, Flash and Illustrator from your Adobe CC you are set on industry-proven software to do some amazing art and animation.

In my personal experience, the software that come bundled with Wacom tablets are not worth the concern.
Note the suffixes: "Debut," "Express" etc. They are not the retail versions. Photoshop Elements is probably the worse in terms of expectation; it's a very different program, aimed at users who want to edit and easily add effects to their photos and creative work - the digital painting features are minimal, with no brush customization.
One could even be better suited with a combination of MyPaint and the GIMP for his tablet (which are free software), rather than P.Elements alone.

Since you already have the Creative Cloud, you can safely focus on purchasing the best tablet that you can and try to save on the bundled software as much as possible.
For instance, if you have the option to buy just the tablet for a reduced price so that it comes with no bundled software at all, I imagine this would be the best choice in your case.

- - - - -

The best one to start with depends on what you're after, what kind of visual style.
Photoshop is for use with raster graphics, digital painting.
Illustrator is used for vectorial graphics and visual design.
Flash is used for vectorial graphics and animation, but for vectorial graphics alone you have Illustrator which already does a better job. So you should delegate Flash for your animation purposes.

You should also look into 3D graphics, which can save you a lot of time when used right. Rendering something for production, with realistic lighting, is done faster in 3D than painting it with your tablet. A lot of games use pre-rendered 3D graphics for background or even foreground elements: Diablo 2, GunBound, Heart of Darkness.
A power combination for this is Silo (US$ 160, for making your models) and Blender (freeware, for texturing your models from Silo, animating them, general layout and rendering etc.).

Thanks for your reply, it's much appreciated.

 

I think I'll go for the standard edition Pro M since the software isn't important, and as there doesn't seem to be an offering without the software bundle.

 

I think vectorial graphics are what I'm after. So are you recommending that I use Illustrator for design, and then Flash for any necessary animation? If so, that sounds great.

 

I have no experience with 3D at all. I would imagine that there's a massive learning curve? More so than just drawing?



#4 Kryzon   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 3225

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 04:34 PM

I think vectorial graphics are what I'm after. So are you recommending that I use Illustrator for design, and then Flash for any necessary animation?


It's a good way to design your graphics and import them to Flash to animate them.
Those two programs work closely together:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/illustrator-ai-files-flash.html

After you're finished with animating your graphics in Flash, you can export them as PNG image sequences, with transparency, to use with your favourite game engine:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/exporting.html#exporting_images_and_graphics

In my opinion, vectorial graphics are not just those designed with vectors, but also raster graphics that are animated with interpolation (instead of unique frames), such as those from the game Don't Starve, for example: screenshot
The characters are composed of separate hand-drawn parts drawn in something like Photoshop, for example, that are "stitched" together and animated like a cut-out in something like Flash, Anime Studio or After Effects, with a few unique frames being used for things that can't be just rotated (like unique leg frames).
The background is a 3D plane.

Regarding the 3D.
There certainly is a learning curve, and just like with 2D art, it is the combination of mastering the art and mastering the software.
To master the art, whether 2D or 3D, you need to study theory and practice a lot. The themes are shape, volume, colour, expression, texture, lighting etc. For 3D in particular, making clay sculptures is also a great exercise.
To master the software, you just need to study the documentation and practice with it, making small projects or tasks ("make a treasure chest model") that demand from you the artistic skill and the knowledge of how the software works, how you produce with it.
This procedure is the same, regardless if you're interested in 2D or 3D digital art.

- - - - -

I think you've made a good choice in deciding to make your own graphics. Once you're experient and the quality of your artistic work satisfies you, there will be nothing to stop you: you'll be able to produce content and implement it with programming straight away. Making your games will be that much faster.
Take note, however, that these software will give one plenty of potential, but they won't make one into a great artist. What I mean by this is that to make good content with them, not only do you need to know how to work with the software but you also need to have artistic training.

Edited by Kryzon, 27 April 2014 - 05:15 PM.


#5 Mouser9169   Members   -  Reputation: 401

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 09:35 PM

If you've got Creative Cloud you've got all the tools you need to do amazing things.

 

To add to what was said about 3D rendering: Daz 3D's business model revolves around giving away their software: Bryce, Daz Studio, etc... and then selling models which can be posed and customized to be rendered into 2D 'scenes'.

 

What will limit you, as has been said, is your own artistic ability. The tools manipulate, they don't create. To an extent, it can be learned, but there's something of a 'gift' to it as well. It may or may not be something you can realistically ever excel at - and time spent devoted to studying art is time you're not learning or practicing programming: life is filled with tradeoffs. Learning your limits is an important part of growth (to quote Clint Eastwood: "A man's got to know his limitations").


"The multitudes see death as tragic. If this were true, so then would be birth"

- Pisha, Vampire the Maquerade: Bloodlines


#6 the_cheetah   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 06:02 AM

No software in the world will help you learn to draw; get some plain paper notebooks and a bunch of pencils and just have at it.



#7 Kalyori   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:58 AM

 

I think vectorial graphics are what I'm after. So are you recommending that I use Illustrator for design, and then Flash for any necessary animation?


It's a good way to design your graphics and import them to Flash to animate them.
Those two programs work closely together:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/illustrator-ai-files-flash.html

After you're finished with animating your graphics in Flash, you can export them as PNG image sequences, with transparency, to use with your favourite game engine:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/exporting.html#exporting_images_and_graphics

In my opinion, vectorial graphics are not just those designed with vectors, but also raster graphics that are animated with interpolation (instead of unique frames), such as those from the game Don't Starve, for example: screenshot
The characters are composed of separate hand-drawn parts drawn in something like Photoshop, for example, that are "stitched" together and animated like a cut-out in something like Flash, Anime Studio or After Effects, with a few unique frames being used for things that can't be just rotated (like unique leg frames).
The background is a 3D plane.

Regarding the 3D.
There certainly is a learning curve, and just like with 2D art, it is the combination of mastering the art and mastering the software.
To master the art, whether 2D or 3D, you need to study theory and practice a lot. The themes are shape, volume, colour, expression, texture, lighting etc. For 3D in particular, making clay sculptures is also a great exercise.
To master the software, you just need to study the documentation and practice with it, making small projects or tasks ("make a treasure chest model") that demand from you the artistic skill and the knowledge of how the software works, how you produce with it.
This procedure is the same, regardless if you're interested in 2D or 3D digital art.

- - - - -

I think you've made a good choice in deciding to make your own graphics. Once you're experient and the quality of your artistic work satisfies you, there will be nothing to stop you: you'll be able to produce content and implement it with programming straight away. Making your games will be that much faster.
Take note, however, that these software will give one plenty of potential, but they won't make one into a great artist. What I mean by this is that to make good content with them, not only do you need to know how to work with the software but you also need to have artistic training.

 

Ah I see. Thanks a lot for the info. I quite enjoy drawing, so I think I'll put a lot of effort into it and try and become great at it. I'll review those links you posted!

 

If you've got Creative Cloud you've got all the tools you need to do amazing things.

 

To add to what was said about 3D rendering: Daz 3D's business model revolves around giving away their software: Bryce, Daz Studio, etc... and then selling models which can be posed and customized to be rendered into 2D 'scenes'.

 

What will limit you, as has been said, is your own artistic ability. The tools manipulate, they don't create. To an extent, it can be learned, but there's something of a 'gift' to it as well. It may or may not be something you can realistically ever excel at - and time spent devoted to studying art is time you're not learning or practicing programming: life is filled with tradeoffs. Learning your limits is an important part of growth (to quote Clint Eastwood: "A man's got to know his limitations").

Thanks. At the moment, not being able to draw is holding me back from finishing my game. So I need to learn it. The graphics I need right now don't need to be too complicated at all (mostly small sprites.) However hopefully I will be able to become great at it. We'll see.

 

No software in the world will help you learn to draw; get some plain paper notebooks and a bunch of pencils and just have at it.

Well I planned on doing a few digital drawing tutorials, but yeah I'm practicing drawing on paper right now. I've got a ways to go XD.






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