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Creating 2D game assets with Adobe Flash & Graphic Tablet Suggestions

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Hi guys.

So, I've decided to go ahead and create the 2D assets for an indie game project. The art is going to be in a style close to Edmund McMillen's Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac.

I think the art of those games was done with Adobe Flash (would be nice to get a confirmation here). The problem is, I don't have any experience with this software. I do have some knowledge of Photoshop but I never really drawn with shadow, light and highlight layers. I never animated too.

Also, I don't have any drawing skills but, I do have a very good artistic sense so I should progress rather quickly.

So, knowing all that, here are some questions for you guys. Although, please feel free to post even if you don't necessarily answer a question.

  • Do you have any online drawing lessons/tutorials to suggest me?
  • Should I sketch on paper then scan it or on a graphic tablet?
  • What's the workflow (steps) like between sketching and the final character render using Flash? Do you have any tutorial to suggest me?
  • Should the ground and environment be done with Flash as well?
  • Do you have any graphic table to suggest me? My price range is $300.

    Thank you so much for any help you guys can provide me!

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I think the art of those games was done with Adobe Flash (would be nice to get a confirmation here). The problem is, I don't have any experience with this software. I do have some knowledge of Photoshop but I never really drawn with shadow, light and highlight layers. I never animated too.

Flash is not a drawing tool, more or less a 'programming framework'. Best you draw all your art in photoshop or any other painting tool.



Do you have any online drawing lessons/tutorials to suggest me?

There're literally hundreds of tutorials available, here is a nice summary of some useful tutorials/guides: clicky



Should I sketch on paper then scan it or on a graphic tablet?

Both is valid, but beyond drawing I would suggest to go for a tablet.


Should the ground and environment be done with Flash as well?

I think, that there are most likely only sprites and background images involved, most be done in a painting tool like photoshop.


Do you have any graphic table to suggest me? My price range is $300.

Wacom bamboo for starter (~$70)
Wacom Intuos for more advanced user ($160-500, depends on size)

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  • Do you have any online drawing lessons/tutorials to suggest me?
  • Should I sketch on paper then scan it or on a graphic tablet?
  • What's the workflow (steps) like between sketching and the final character render using Flash? Do you have any tutorial to suggest me?
  • Should the ground and environment be done with Flash as well?
  • Do you have any graphic table to suggest me? My price range is $300.



I would actually suggest using Adobe Illustrator to do your work. The key to this is that Illustrator works in vectors, meaning basically you can resize it and it retains most of its image quality. (I say "most" because resizing down to tiny tiny little sizes is still a little destructive, but that's not Illustrator's fault.) It's a little more difficult to handle compared to Photoshop, but I would really suggest using Photoshop more for "painterly" art styles.

Flash can import assets from Illustrator and Photoshop, so Ashaman is right in that it's more of a programming framework. Most of the art should be done in PS or Ai, however some people DO make it in Flash so it's not impossible. But why would you do that when you have Illustrator at hand? :P

Personally I make all my assets in Ai, then import them into Flash. ALL art assets. I personally think it's easier to draw and design in an environment like Ai that's made for something like that. The typical workflow (for me anyways, I can't promise I'm doing things at Best Practices level) is to sketch in Photoshop with your tablet (I have a WACOM Bamboo that cost me about $60-$70. Very all-purpose and something you should start with so that you aren't blowing your full $300 on a tablet that you might be unhappy with or use minimally), do your final artwork in Illustrator, and import to Flash.

Blah I feel like I went around in circles, but I hope that helped. :)

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Flash is not a drawing tool, more or less a 'programming framework'. Best you draw all your art in photoshop or any other painting tool.




I think, that there are most likely only sprites and background images involved, most be done in a painting tool like photoshop.





Wacom bamboo for starter (~$70)
Wacom Intuos for more advanced user ($160-500, depends on size)






I would actually suggest using Adobe Illustrator to do your work. The key to this is that Illustrator works in vectors, meaning basically you can resize it and it retains most of its image quality. (I say "most" because resizing down to tiny tiny little sizes is still a little destructive, but that's not Illustrator's fault.) It's a little more difficult to handle compared to Photoshop, but I would really suggest using Photoshop more for "painterly" art styles.

Flash can import assets from Illustrator and Photoshop, so Ashaman is right in that it's more of a programming framework. Most of the art should be done in PS or Ai, however some people DO make it in Flash so it's not impossible. But why would you do that when you have Illustrator at hand? tongue.png

Personally I make all my assets in Ai, then import them into Flash. ALL art assets. I personally think it's easier to draw and design in an environment like Ai that's made for something like that. The typical workflow (for me anyways, I can't promise I'm doing things at Best Practices level) is to sketch in Photoshop with your tablet (I have a WACOM Bamboo that cost me about $60-$70. Very all-purpose and something you should start with so that you aren't blowing your full $300 on a tablet that you might be unhappy with or use minimally), do your final artwork in Illustrator, and import to Flash.

Blah I feel like I went around in circles, but I hope that helped. smile.png


Ok. Actually I was gonna use Ai but read that McMillen's game were drawn in Flash (which I am not even sure) so I wasn't sure anymore what to use to get that result. So I'm gonna use Ai then.

I was thinking about a similar workflow to yours where I would sketch in Photoshop using my tablet and then vector it in Ai but that's for characters. Now, I'm really not sure how to do ground tiles with Ai... How do you do your ground and backgrounds?

Also, if you could quickly go over your Ai settings that would help me a bunch. Things like resolution, depth of color etc and how to save them in optimal quality for a video game.

One other thing is I read that XNA's exporter cannot really work with vectors so it converts them to PNGs so I was wondering why work with vectors if in the end your gonna end up working with non-scaleable assets. I have yet to do more research on this but if you know anything about it, let me know. We thought about building our own exporter but it would be a lot of work for now.

I'm going to get myself a tablet now. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll be getting the Wacom Bamboo. :)


Blah I feel like I went around in circles, but I hope that helped. smile.png


Haha, don't worry. At least, it made it very clear for me. Thanks guys!

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Ok. Actually I was gonna use Ai but read that McMillen's game were drawn in Flash (which I am not even sure) so I wasn't sure anymore what to use to get that result. So I'm gonna use Ai then.

I was thinking about a similar workflow to yours where I would sketch in Photoshop using my tablet and then vector it in Ai but that's for characters. Now, I'm really not sure how to do ground tiles with Ai... How do you do your ground and backgrounds?

Also, if you could quickly go over your Ai settings that would help me a bunch. Things like resolution, depth of color etc and how to save them in optimal quality for a video game.

One other thing is I read that XNA's exporter cannot really work with vectors so it converts them to PNGs so I was wondering why work with vectors if in the end your gonna end up working with non-scaleable assets. I have yet to do more research on this but if you know anything about it, let me know. We thought about building our own exporter but it would be a lot of work for now.


You work in a vector format and export as a .png spritesheet....so yes XNA reads .png spritesheets but you need to create them somehow, right? It's like saying "why would you work in .psd's when they'll eventually become .jpegs". You want to work in the editable format, save it FOREVER (because it's blasphemous to throw away source files D: ), and export as a .png.

You *definitely* want to keep the editable file. The way I work is I work in vector and I keep all my art assets as scalable as possible so that, when I'm mocking up game screens, I can easily move and shift things around without losing quality or having to rebuild things.

And you can definitely do the art in flash. People have done it, and it's not unheard of so don't think you're married to Ai. :)

I also don't have any special settings I've had to use....other than you should be using RGB instead of CMYK. :S (CMYK = print design only.)

Hope this helps! :) (And I welcome anyone to correct me! I've only worked for mobile games so I don't know if rules are different for different things.)

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