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Purgatorio

Beginner Pixel Artist

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Hello,

I first want to say that I know there are probably a dozen helpful threads on this topic, which I will definitely get to, but I wanted to post this question to get a specific answer off the bat that I didn't have to search for or stumble upon.

I'm interested in getting into game artwork (mainly 2D pixel, with an interest in venturing into Isometric art, similar to games like Fallout 1,etc) but I'd like to know if that's possible to do, successfully, without any knowledge of programming knowledge. I've installed Gimp, Blender and Inkscape and Blender at least mentioned Python, which I think is a programming language (correct me if that's wrong) -- which is something I don't care to venture into. I've got a full time job, I enjoy writing first and foremost but learning to create interesting and useful art for games is something I'd like to add to me repertoire (and is something I would have the time and energy to do, unlike programming). So, here are my actual questions:

1) Is it possible to create isometric art and basic pixel art (characters, backgrounds, etc, etc) withOUT knowing ANY programming? I don't know if I would be required to actually create 3D characters for these purposes, but I'm just mentioning this because of the Python-deal with Blender. I know I can use MSPaint to create basic pixel art, so this is more towards the isometric artwork.

2) To go a step further from the above question --- is it possible to create usable art for a game without understanding how it will be implemented, program-wise? What I mean by this is, say I want to propose a game project; I produce a portfolio of art for everything needed -- I just need someone to do the programming. Would I normally be able to just provide them with the art and have them do what they need to? Or would I have to create the art more closely to the programmer/programming?

I don't think I've adequately phrased my questions, but hopefully someone understands them and can shed a little light on their answers.

And to summarize: I just want to be able to create art for games --- no complex PS3 type graphics, but mostly 2D/Pixel/Isometric art: Something that would require mostly drawing and no programming (although if it's really limited/basic/rudimentary programming, I may entertain it but only if I can't avoid it). And if that seems like an unreasonable/impossible request, please let me know and I'll reevaluate my goals on the matter.

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Ahoy!

1) Yes, it is possible to create iso/2d art without programming knowledge. (Though I daresay, MS Paint is wholly inadequate for making artwork, in my opinion. I recommend getting into some better art programs; I'm a big proponent of Photoshop, for example.) It may make things more difficult though, especially working with coders to make useful art for a game.

2) So yes, it is possible to create art without knowing anything about programming, but I would strongly recommend you know something about implementation. Let me tell you, it is very difficult to work with someone who does not have a basic idea of what the possibilities and limitations of a medium are, particularly when you are in a more generalist role (as in a small indie developer, for example). On the other hand, if you're being strongly directed by someone who knows what they're doing, you may not need to personally know much about implementation. Still, this means you're stuck in a limited, specialized, low-level role. This is rather less likely to be your position when working as/for a small developer: small teams require each member to wear more hats.

In short, it is really useful to know something about the medium your work will be applied in. As even just a 2d artist, having learned to implement my own raster and 3d graphics -- even though only at a basic level -- has helped immensely in my work as a 2d artist. It means I understand what assets the coders need, I understand the limitations, I can make suggestions about how to approach a problem, how to get a certain 'look', how to fix a graphical problem (is it on my end? is it on theirs?), etc etc. I imagine the programmers I've worked with appreciate my basic knowledge of what they have to do, so I think it makes everyone happy and works gets done more efficiently and effectively.

And besides, if you're going to learn anything, Python is a great place to start and I highly recommend learning a bit of it, perhaps some Pyglet or PyGame, or maybe something newer if there is such a thing. Try out Gamemaker, at least.

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immensely in my work as a 2d artist. It means I understand what assets the coders need, I understand the limitations, I can make suggestions about how to approach a problem, how to get a certain 'look', how to fix a graphical problem (is it on my end? is it on theirs?), etc etc. I imagine the programmers I've worked with appreciate my basic knowledge of what they have to do, so I think it makes everyone happy and works gets done more efficiently and effectively.

And besides, if you're going to learn anything, Python is a great place to start and I highly recommend learning a bit of it, perhaps some Pyglet or PyGame, or maybe something newer if there is such a thing. Try out Gamemaker, at least.



Thanks, I'll definitely check out these links; I definitely don't mind educating myself, but when I first decided that this was something I was going to pursue, the thought of also having to learn programming was overwhelming to say the least. But I can understand and appreciate the value it would have for me, as a graphic artist (or as someone setting out to be) to be well rounded and able to grasp what you've mentioned. One main issue that I kept thinking about was "how large do these graphics need to be, pixel-wise?" Of course that would require knowing something about implementation because I'm pretty sure I couldn't just pick some random dimensions out of my head since the pixel size (16 x 16) would certainly affect the programming. My main goal was to get a basic understanding of the craft itself and come up with a portfolio of various types of pixel art, to see if it was even something I could do, and would enjoy doing (not necessarily as a career, but as a way to further apply my creativity beyond the scope of writing).

Anyhow, thank you for the input and I'm certain the links you've provided will keep me busy during my lunch breaks for awhile.

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I've attempted to install Pyglet but it says that I need Python 2.4 or higher, however I have already installed 2.7 and received a similar error when trying to open Blender. Do I need to perform some other installation or setup before Pyglet and Blender recognize the installed Python?

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In short, it is really useful to know something about the medium your work will be applied in. As even just a 2d artist, having learned to implement my own raster and 3d graphics -- even though only at a basic level -- has helped immensely in my work as a 2d artist. It means I understand what assets the coders need, I understand the limitations, I can make suggestions about how to approach a problem, how to get a certain 'look', how to fix a graphical problem (is it on my end? is it on theirs?), etc etc. I imagine the programmers I've worked with appreciate my basic knowledge of what they have to do, so I think it makes everyone happy and works gets done more efficiently and effectively.

And besides, if you're going to learn anything, Python is a great place to start and I highly recommend learning a bit of it, perhaps some Pyglet or PyGame, or maybe something newer if there is such a thing. Try out Gamemaker, at least.


Thinking about it, what in particular should I try to educate myself on? Are there very specific or targeted tutorials that would benfit me as a sprite/2D/isometric artist-beginner to learn or make myself aware of?

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Regarding Python versions:
I'd try uninstalling and installing an earlier version of Python that works with everything you're using. Check the FAQs on various apps/packages you're using and ask Google is all I can reasonably suggest.

Regarding tutorials:
My personal process for learning all of this was very subjective and took place a few years ago so I can't really point you to my sources directly (well, not more than I already have). You should certainly learn the basics of how 2d and 3d graphics are displayed, and it comes to mind that getting a book on the subject might be useful for getting a broad perspective. I'm sure there are books targeted toward game artists out there which will cover the basic technical requirements for game art.

As for what you should do technically, I don't have much to add that I haven't already said. When I got into this, I just explored semi-randomly and kept trying (and failing) to make games over and over until I started getting to somewhere useful with both art and coding (if you look at my Gamedev blog for back in 2007 and 2008 you can see me posting a bunch on these attempts).

Perhaps someone else will have more concrete suggestions for you!

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I eventually figured out the Python issue; I had to install an older version to match up with Blender.

I'm not so keen on the idea of tossing myself into programming without any kind of a game plan, so I think at least for me, I will try and stick to drawing and formulating a plan based around how to work on and complete some good art samples -- that paired with a game design document (or some form of one) can hopefully attract the attention of another(others) who might be interested in programming. I was just curious to know if there was something more specific you had in mind when you made the suggestion.

And a book sounds like a good idea. I was browsing around last night for some possibilities... I wouldn't mind something that maybe discussed the evolution of game graphics from like pixel/sprite work of the Sega and SNES to something like the N64; mainly, I'm interested in reading about helpful techniques for not only creating the art, but tips and hints on how to do it correctly (sizes, formats, programs, etc, etc). But I'll definitely keep looking, and I appreciate you advice and suggestions. I'll take a look at your blog, too. Thanks again.


Edit: I think I've decided to look into modding to achieve my goal of 'broadening' my understanding of game design. Maybe I'll try to make some maps or something simple and build upon it. Edited by Purgatorio

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I'd recommend using a tile editor. Many tile editors can handle isometric as well as orthogonal. This will help you in a couple ways. First of all, this can really making mocking up your graphics quick. It's definitely quicker than pasting them all together in an image file. Secondly it will help you lay out your tilesets in a way that coders will need. Tile editors are more than just a graphical too. They output a tile map that can be read by programs.

My personal fave is Tiled Map Editor (http://www.mapeditor.org/). There are others but I think this one has the best interface and features.

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