Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
AntP

2D Drawing and Animation - Where to Start?

This topic is 3067 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hi guys.

Basically, I have been doing some game dev for a while now, throwing together bits and bobs of engines and such. I'm a Comp Sci student and a reasonably competent programmer with a particular interest in games and I've also always had a bit of a creative streak. So I can come up with concepts for small game dev projects, I can create stories for them and program them with reasonable efficiency. I'm also a musician with a fair amount of experience in composition and arrangement, so there's no problem there, either. Trouble is, no matter how creative my vision, when it comes to drawing and animation, I'm completely hopeless.

Does anyone have any advice on how to begin, with a view to being able to produce things like backdrops and sprites from scratch? I've Googled around but I'm struggling to find anything to get me on the right track. How do you deal with the aspects of your game development projects that you lack proficiency in? Do you find things in the public domain? Find someone to help you? I'm just thinking it would be nice to work on a project where absolutely everything - from the game engine to the artwork - is of my own creation.

Any advice appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I have two main suggestions for you.

The first is to start learning to draw. That basically means practicing drawing, though if you can take an introductory drawing course at your college, that'd be an excellent idea. You don't need to draw well to draw usefully, but you do need to be able to get the gist of your concept down on paper.

The second is to start learning to make 3D models. Download Blender, fire it up, and start pushing polygons around. You can draw sprites and make each individual frame by hand, and with enough practice you can make some really beautiful work that way. I personally prefer the 3D route because once I've made my model, I can then make any number of animations with the model very easily, whereas a hand-drawn animator has to draw each individual frame. More relevantly, a novice animator is going to need to spend a lot of time experimenting with timing, lines of motion, weight shifts, and so on, and this process will go much more smoothly for you if you don't have to redraw everything every time you decide you don't like how your animation turned out.

Once you do have a model with animations the way you like it, you can then render the model from your chosen perspective, with a transparent background, and use the resulting images as sprites in your game.

By the way, the reason why I suggested learning to draw and learning to 3D model is because 3D models are much better if you can sketch out the concept ahead of time. Drawing does have the major advantage of being able to quickly get a concept down with a good level of detail. 3D modeling is a fairly slow process in contrast.

Either way, though, you're looking at a lot of work. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks. I've downloaded Blender and watched a couple of tutorial vids. I'll also start scouring for some guides on drawing concept art.

When you're using 3D models for 2D animation, would you typically use the render as a wireframe for drawing over or would you use a fully-textured render as a finished product?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll go ahead and answer that you would use a fully-textured render, it could either be finished there or you would have the option to hack on it more in a photoshop-like program if you wanted. For example you could produce a set of red pieces, then color-rotate them to get a second set of blue pieces.

But I'd like to point out that hand-drawn 2D animation is far from the only kind. Flash and other vector 2D animation is much like 3D animation in that it reuses assets and utilized bone animation. I'd say the choice between the two depends on what you want. 3D is ideal if you want to make playing pieces like realistic-looking gemstones, spheres, cubes, and that sort of thing. But even professionals have a difficult time making animals that look and move naturally. Especially if you want it to have any personality. Forget humans, if you want realistic humans you'd have to use something like poser. On the other hand 2D is naturally suited to cartoons, and cartoons are easier to get right than realism because they are by nature simpler. I personally think it's easier to make a 2D cartoon of an animal look and move naturally and with personality than it is to do the same with 3D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I'm assuming you aren't interested in programming anymore? Generally people who are programmer types don't get involved in the art production side of things, because they simply arn't that type of person. Jacks of all trades can work when making games, especially if the dominant programmer/artist recognizes what they are best at doing and keeping it simple. But those are exceptions, not the rule.

If you are very programmer minded and find programming enjoyable and your strong point, then there's a great guide in the sticky on "Making art as a non-artist (programmer)".

If you are serious about wanting to swtich gears and pursue the art side of development (assuming you are wanting to do more than just simple "programmer art" here and there), then I would also reccomend starting out developing your traditional drawing skills.

For those who are creative individuals who would love to do art/draw but find them selves "jumping on the ship too late", then I might reccomend this book:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874774241/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=

It's about learning how to draw and being creative, by teaching you how to untap your "right side of the brain" (the left side is the "logical, analytical, linear" side, the right being the "abstract, creative, and intuitive" side). It's a good book on learning to draw effectively vs just trying to force yourself to be a good artist for years and years before anything comes of it. The author teaches a 5 day drawing course where people start out with no skill what so ever, to being able to draw realistic portraits. She applies her lessons in this instructional book to help anyone to learn to draw "from nothing".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!