What you need is a degree.
As far as programmer art goes Im probably pretty good. I still do a lot of art for my games. A lot of the art in Beetle Bomp is by me, but other pro artists worked with me. One thing that went wrong with the game was artwork. Specifically the number of revisions the art went through.
So what I think Id like is to become a better art director/designer. Not necessarily someone with all the skills to render the final art (although i can squeak by) but someone who can layout quality rough sketches of how space is used, what colors to use etc.. as a guide to all the artists I work with to help with consistency and to give me more control over the final design and to go more quickly from idea to final art without spending a lot of time adjusting or redoing art.
So im looking for some good internet resources on overall design/use of color etc.. the things i mentioned above. I guess id also be interested in good books but those are harder to buy and get to, so somethnig off the net is preferable. Again im not that interested in final rendering. More the principles of higher level artistic design and how to improve at that.
What you need is a degree.
Hmmm an 'O' level would do!.
I did art to 'O' and 'A' level in my 6th form days and it served me very well indeed later in my creative 'games industry' life... also working on tons of games gave me an insight that you just cant learn any other way other than by experience of doing it over and over again really.
Having said that I just lay out many mockup's in Photoshop etc. over and over until its complete in my eyes... I 'personally' find brief sketching of ideas for graphics to be a help but too much can take you away from the graphics that actually need to be drawn (i'm a do'er not a talker).
Too much poncing about gets you nowhere fast
I think skill would be more helpful than certificationOriginally Posted by princec
I actully love reading design theories / looking at designs, guess I'm commercial art pig dog deep down but meh ! Some posts below:
Basic Colour Theory: http://www.colormatters.com/colortheory.html
Colour Design Rules: http://www.writedesignonline.com/res...les/color.html
The above two are basic colour design theory, usefull for static screen layouts and the like where you want your objects, background etc to feed off each other. I would recomend having a look at Cartoon / Comic design tutorials as well, especially for static screen games. Some decent ones:
Developing Cartoons: http://www.psppower.com/2001november...characters.htm
And Finally a good resource for anything design-ish:
Hope this helps !
Heck, if I could get better at this I wouldn't have to keep re-doing things until they looked right.
A slave to the ideal
What you need is an in-house artist!
We've got one here and it's been great.
When the artist is working next to you, communication is a lot faster.
And I feel it actually speeds up the development your own art and art directing skills too as you learn from the artist!
Something that helped me was taking a year long nude drawing course. Drawing an actual living human for 4 hours every week makes wonders to how you perceive shading and form. I've also found most books by Edward Tufte to be of outstanding value.
Honestly, I'd keep going revising your art. The best art is the kind that goes through many, many revisions. No matter how good you are, you'll always produce better art (or anything really, for that matter) if you take it through a number of revisions. This is especially true for working out the best colours to use in a certain situation. That, and plain old experience
Well i dont expect to never have to revise again. Id just like to be in a situation where the overall look and feel of a game is under some level of control. Take for instance the scenario where one artist falls sick and cant work on the game anymore, or where you need to bring in a 2nd artist to help complete something under a deadline. You want in those scenarios to be able present some guide for the artist to base their work on. That will help limit revisions and help give the game an overall consistency and artistic direction.
You could always get the artist to create a style and colour guide...It's a standard thing for when multiple artists work on a project.
Digriz - www.psychotoad.com
Go to my site and download every game in order and you'll notice an awe-inspiring improvement in art. This will be so awe-inspiring that you will receive what is known as "contact improvement," a phenomenon in which something is so awesome that it spills over to everyone it comes in contact with.
But you have to do it in order for it to work.
Ooo..that reminds me.. I just started playing zombie smashers x2.. should get back to that...
That game didn't work for me, but...
I see what you're saying now, svero. In that situation (or something like it) I believe plain old experience when dealing with the things you mentioned will allow you to direct things easier. Along with that, you'll no doubt find an investment in something like a DVD or two from The Gnomon Workshop helpful. Try the designer series.
EDIT: I forgot to mention this colour picking program. It's the best I've seen. The tutorials on their site are a good read too...
Last edited by Reactor; 08-19-2005 at 07:59 AM.
The overall control , the aesthetically general control of it (if that is english(is not my language)) don't require you to have a degree...But some basic knowledge about composition, and color.
Those two are the basic in any visual thing to make things look bad , horrible, or good.
BTW, is often a matter on if the artist is flexible or of that kind of "I do my style only" .An experienced one must be able to adapt to ANY style (for certain very personal reason, I did choose never to adapt manga(really don't like it) if I can avoid it, but will do if my boss requires it.)
Even more, the artist (but there are many that will speak you about their style (imho they should not be doing games, then) as only possibility) must be able (if is any good, to not really need an style book you made, if already what was started by someone else had it self some coherence, and was good stuff) to grab those fonts styles, UI feel, and general drawing or/and 3d "touch" and make such a seamless retake of the thing that no one would notice. If knows his/her stuff will do with no probs.
BTW, there's a problem that too often appears, and in which the programmer, more if is in charge of art direction (often not good idea) ...no matter how good the gfx guy is...if the coder wants to lead him to his own idea of how it graphically would be...often just leads the gfx guy to some mud area where he doesn't know where he is heading. This situation gets worse and worse the more interference is by someone with not the art skills and knowledge needed. I have a degree, and studied hard stuff bout composition and color balance, etc, but often my sister shows the same skills -or more- as is merely pure intuition, reason why I have seen some coders with a rather good instinct for overall look in game graphics, often more sharp than the gfx designer, as is probably a more general tallented one, and doesn't connect 100x100 with ur idea. Certainly distance wont help.
I deal with this problem EVERY single day , and been already with different game bosses in several game companies. I have even developed an (huh, let's call it so) skill on guessing the feel the coder is after. I detect usually quick when the coder is in good line, or...-worst, terrible situation- some body told him, (some art snob), that u need allways be changing to "experiment" .That's ok for abstract art, but expensive when doing gfx work for a game. Then there not a single solid line in the coders thoughts, and then I advice the gfx -if friend of mine- leave that coder alone, you'll loose your health.
Good news are...indies (and my actual today's coder, funnily MUCH more in track that my art director (lol, just another gfx guy, and we're now 3 in the company (but good benefits, very good indeed)) is of the type that has a solid good instinct on how a game graphically works, so I seamlessly team up with him, learnt to guess what he tries to mean, though he can't draw, nor even explain what he means (and yup, is a disadvantage, but i learnt to know what he means with some hard work on my part)) ...indies make their games with so much love and clear ideas of his often "opera prima" work, that they're already very "on track". But when is not the case, the REALLY better advice is...spend some nice time chatting with the guy previously, pass him A LOT of references (other games and google are way to go) and if needed, even scratch some dirty quick pics scanned , or use a table, a Volito will do the job(is basically the old graphire 1: I made a full game concept art with it) and is dirty cheap now.Canbe thousands time quicker than traditional (anyway, I still have way more pleasure when not in front of an screen)
I mean, I don't think you need to go an spend some load of money and time in an art degree, not even in a fast course (do so if u actuallly enjoy it as a hobby, but...) I think it is rather clear the graphic style you want in your games (i don't know you, but someone some much wanting the gfx guy to grab exacly his idea, must have a solid idea of the thing. Only be humble when needed, and give an oportunity to someone that , no matter if u do or not now a degree (if he's good, it's way more than just a degree, I already knew how to draw and paint previous to start career) has quite more knowledge than you, ie, in color, composition etc. Anyway, comunicate. That's so essential. My coder boss does comunicate better than my art boss. And man, that's so crucial. Use the exhange of ideas, put reasons on the table and hear what he thinks of them.This way, u'll reach a nice point.The other -gfx boss- only wanna make his will, reason or not . Which is not good for the product, nor the company. besides, for some strange reason, in this case, he has not the instinct of the coder -neither mine, should I say- for game gfx and mostly style.Hopefully they do not browse by hear nor read english well, ..LOL! )
You need good comunications skills, flexibility , rely in gfx guy experience and knowledge, and no more than perhaps a some days course of color and composition (or reading some good internet resources bout it; I'd rather go for some solid good chapters on the matter, and no need to read rest of the book, even) In case you wanna go that far. I think is not needed.And of course, the gfx person be good at what he does. Otherwise would be of the type I've seen in some past company that actually needs someone to direct every step (that's like drive a cart with a donkey with strap of cloth in its eyes...) he makes...that's the dodo's way, btw. You would rarely have al lthe knowledge and experience of a gfx artist, and he wont progress a bit in the project visual evolution to reach a satisfactory point: he doesn't know where you want to go, he probably does not know how to do it if he knew what is in your mind, and if you have not ability to explain him so he gets the point, there wouldn't be a chance anyway...
Anyway, imho better than a hundred of degrees in your case, is a good solid collection of refs and material. that will lead him to the point. ANY good gfx person is able to work professionally with no need (and often the work will end up thousands better than with the coder continuous "touches") of any touch for your part. This way I did freelance book illustration, and happily. Trust me, if the guy is any good, too much interference will ruin the project , your time, your money and probably your personal/professional relation.If he's good, he needs only huge ref material, and hopefully a good amount of screens of AAA pc games or indies ones, better the EXACT line you pursuit, tho of course he may vary it to only get your line/touch idea.
My life would be easier, and my bosses in every company would earn much more money(or the company only) if I could tell 'em allways this without them thinking they'r loosing authority , lol...
The usual route is they go the dodo's way or aspiring artist with time and all playing against their will, till real life and logic get's em to the point the realize they gotta really get help and advice (generally, trust, give an option) from their artists.(but yep, the artists must have at least a shot of what u pursuit! specially if is your baby that game, and wanna put a very precise style u have in mind...nobody is a mage to guess... )
Oh, my (verbose) 2 cents of an euro. I can be wrong, as any one giving an opinion. This one comes only from my day job experience, and some old freelancing.
A lot of the responses seem to be saying that I should hand over all art direction to the artist. That may be good if you have the right artist, but I've found for myself that I get better results AND the artists prefer if if I do more design up front. For them its less work/revisions and for me its artistic control over the game.Originally Posted by Sysiphus
All the artists I've ever met swear by life drawing. Sign yourself up for a class.
You know what Id really like to see.. and I suppose it could be another thread or a web page or something. But it would be nice to view a museum of great "game" art. It would be a nice way to stea... err... learn and cop.. err... be inspired.
I already started a thread like this with the same exact questions: http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=3930
I'm not sure where the pixelation boards ever went to but they had some really great threads on there about game art / animation. It was primarily pixel art related console games but at that level you really did get down to the nuts and bolts of colour design theory and the use of minimal colour palettes.Originally Posted by svero
Actually your thread poses a completely different question. And I quote...Originally Posted by Omega
"What would you suggest a developer who already has a sense of art and design, do to become good at whatever the tools of the trade are for artists of game-art? This is not a question about fine art, but about digital art, creating user interfaces, creating space ships, 3D models, etc."
I'm not asking that. I'm asking exactly the opposite.