Tale Tuesday #24 – Art: How to work it out?

Hey everyone! In this short indie game dev related Tale Tuesday series, we’ve already covered design and coding, leaving out one important concept – art! It’s very important for the game to get it right and often it may cause us great trouble, especially if we are not artists. I am not one myself, yet I manage to push things out rather good-looking. So how does it happen? What secrets do I hide? Let’s find out!

First, let’s start from the simple solutions that many may use.
There are websites, where you can find various art styles and forms to use in your video game. Some websites are even dedicated for art for games. It’s particularly useful if you aren’t ready to spend your time or budget on art and you’re just looking for some quick solution with art. My favourite website is OpenGameArt, which has many people contributing to it. On it, you can find art of various kinds: 2d, 3d, concept art, textures, even sound effects and music, which I find even more amazing. You can find anything you might need there. Extensive search options with tags and licenses types is also a big help. It’s very effective and helpful. One thing you should remember is to check the license the art is available on. Most licenses will require you to credit the creator. Some of those will also not allow you to edit the art in any way suitable for you, unless you have a permission. It’s better to carefully read the details and rules the creator set. There is however a CC0 license, which is a Public Domain license. With that license, you can freely use and edit the art without any extra credits or permissions. The most common however are various iterations of CC-BY license (Creative Commons). It’s good to check beforehand what exactly does it cover and what can you do with given art piece.

Another option is obviously creating art on your own. This, however, definitely comes with various challenges and will give you some issues, especially if you’re a beginner.
I use several different softwares to create different kinds of art. Whichever I’m using, depends on whatever I might need.

‘Sierra Nevada’ has used primairly one software for its graphics – and you might find it interesting!

From the very beginning, with ‘Market Dominion’ and all the way to the presence, Paint.NET is the tool I often opt for. It’s free and easy to use software, with GIMP functionalities but on what I believe is way friendlier interface. A very good software for basic game art, especially if you intend on simple stuff, like pixel graphics. It could be helpful either way, with the help of the community created scripts for the software. With them, it’s a very powerful tool to work with. I use it for majority of assets for our games and it has proven to be a great tool – at least for me, personally. It’s always important to plan out what you might need and remember the settings you might have intended on for some groups of assets in the project, as you might have trouble creating extra elements in the future – it’s always good to keep the past projects you’ve made. For more requiring elements however, I use something else.

Blender.
There was one particular project that was made fully in Blender – and that’s ‘Sierra Nevada’. Not counting the UI, all game assets were made directly in Blender. It is a 2D game, but it has the isometric feel and the assets in game were actual models in Blender. The camera and lightning were just positioned correctly and actual tiles could be created from it, making the look ‘Sierra Nevada’ currently has. This experience was actually great and immensly improved my Blender skills and I might try something similar again in the future.

Either way, there’s many options out there. There’s free assets and graphics software options all over the internet – I’ve just named those, that happened to be the most convenient for me. I hope you can make a use out of them yourself and it will turn out to be something brilliant.

Thanks for reading today’s ‘Tale Tuesday’! Next time we’ll summarize our small series of articles that was going on here recently.

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