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Old 06-15-2004, 03:53 PM   #1
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Default Background Art for Adventure Games

Up until now I have been creating 2 kinds of pre-rendered background art - LucasArts "DOTT" style, and 3D. Now the problem here is that 3D backgrounds I've been making look too "plastic" i.e. they look more suited for an architectual model than a game; and the 2d art seems too "clownish" i.e. you can't be expected to make a serious dark-gritty game with Sam & Max style art. So what I am looking for is the balance between the two so I can make something with more serious themes.

Now, Benoit Sokal does this well in Syberia, so I am wondering if anybody knows the techniques involved in making such art. Is it a combination of 3D and 2D, is it 3d with 2.5d i.e. ZBrush painting software. Or is it all 2D but done with some "Benoit magic". I know the man is a legend and his art will always be dazzling but I just want to go in the right direction with my next project.

Also, I think BS1 and BS2 artwork is quite nice but I believe that it was all done in 2D painting.
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:13 AM   #2
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41 views, no replied. Hmmm, I'm baffled as you are lol.
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan_Dog
Up until now I have been creating 2 kinds of pre-rendered background art - LucasArts "DOTT" style, and 3D. Now the problem here is that 3D backgrounds I've been making look too "plastic" i.e. they look more suited for an architectual model than a game; and the 2d art seems too "clownish" i.e. you can't be expected to make a serious dark-gritty game with Sam & Max style art. So what I am looking for is the balance between the two so I can make something with more serious themes.

Now, Benoit Sokal does this well in Syberia, so I am wondering if anybody knows the techniques involved in making such art. Is it a combination of 3D and 2D, is it 3d with 2.5d i.e. ZBrush painting software. Or is it all 2D but done with some "Benoit magic". I know the man is a legend and his art will always be dazzling but I just want to go in the right direction with my next project.

Also, I think BS1 and BS2 artwork is quite nice but I believe that it was all done in 2D painting.
OK, ja cu se smilovati

Syberia is, I think, entirely 3d prerendered. Benoit's involvement as an artist must have been 2d concept sketches, not the 3d itself.

As far as making a dark and gritty game... If you can faithfully imitate the style of Lucas Arts comic adventures it takes some talent to do that. I'm sure you can apply that knowledge, and make 2D art (like BS1 &2) that is not as light, but fits whatever atmosphere you want to create.
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Old 06-18-2004, 02:03 AM   #4
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In the old days backgrounds were mostly hand drawn, then scanned into computer. Bill Tiller, man behind the background art for Curse of Monkey Island, explained his way of work. He drew some sketches with pencil, then scanned them into computer, where he painted them using photoshop.
Backgrounds in games like Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Islands are basiclly 3D models rendered in high resolution, but end results are still 2D pictures.
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Old 06-18-2004, 02:35 AM   #5
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Yeah, I use a similar method. Basically, starting with a sketch, scanning, then outlining or sometimes resetting contrast than painting with solid colours and adding shadows and highlights.

I tried doing BS style background by using variations of paint brush and air brush tools in PSP with different opacity, density, step size etc. but I can't get the right look.
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Old 06-18-2004, 06:43 AM   #6
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The thing is, the technique doesn't matter. You can make it work with crayons or in ink wash or in 3DMax. The problem with the 3d program is that you have to spend a lot if time tweaking your color correction and textures and lighting to make it not look stiff, the problem with crayons is that it will look flat, and you have to be very skilled to push ink wash around the paper.

I prefer drawing the shit out in pencil, scanning it and Photoshopping it.

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Old 06-18-2004, 06:49 AM   #7
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stop teasing us with those wonderful images Kingz! You've obviously got some talent. I'd say "LucasArts" quality too. Show us more of your game!!! Or at least me in private. You have my email. Show me some of yours and I'll show you some of my game.
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:46 AM   #8
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It is nowhere near the showing phase...
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:49 AM   #9
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But Kingz is definitely in the teasing phase.
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens
But Kingz is definitely in the teasing phase.
ha! Yea, what is that little "venus flytrap" ? hmm... it must be something you have to pick up and use in a puzzle in order to get that glowing jewel.

oooh, innovative. I like that! I've never seen a venus flytrap used in a game before as an item!

edit: wait... there was a big ass venus flytrap in Maniac Mansion.
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriq
ha! Yea, what is that little "venus flytrap" ? hmm... it must be something you have to pick up and use in a puzzle in order to get that glowing jewel.

oooh, innovative. I like that! I've never seen a venus flytrap used in a game before as an item!

edit: wait... there was a big ass venus flytrap in Maniac Mansion.
Dammit, I was gonna credit Kingz for being highly innovative. Ah well, maybe if he makes his flytrap bigger and badder than MM I can credit him for that.
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:41 AM   #12
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Back on topic,

I personally scan in a concept sketch and then I digitally paint it in Painter and Photoshop. I've never been a big fan of Painter but I'm trying to learn it because it really is quite a powerful tool once you've mastered it. The learning curve is just ridiculous. Photoshop is my tool of choice.

Developing the scene digitally is much easier than just painting it all by hand like the older Sierra and LucasArts games. I like to colour the scene fully with solids and when I'm satisfied with the lighting, I go back and add all the detail. During this process, more often than not, I tweak a lot of what's going on in a scene. For instance, a big rock might just turn into a tree if it suits the scene better. It's all about the mood!

Here is an example of how a sketch was eventually transformed into a scene. You can see I originally wanted the scene to have a "jungle" atmosphere. It really became something else after about the fourth step. A big change in the colour palette gave the scene a whole new look.
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Old 06-18-2004, 06:48 PM   #13
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Wow, eriq--that looks awesome. It reminds me of the more serious Lucas Arts games, like Indy and Dig. I also like the purplish mood you went for there, good call.
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mares
Wow, eriq--that looks awesome. It reminds me of the more serious Lucas Arts games, like Indy and Dig. I also like the purplish mood you went for there, good call.
Yea, I thought so too. Thanks!

Do you do backgrounds? There are so many talented people on these boards. You'd be surprised the stuff that some of these guys crank out. I, myself, am a pretty slow (but meticulous!) artist.
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Old 06-18-2004, 11:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriq
Yea, I thought so too. Thanks!

Do you do backgrounds? There are so many talented people on these boards. You'd be surprised the stuff that some of these guys crank out. I, myself, am a pretty slow (but meticulous!) artist.
I've tried myself out at doing backgrounds. You can see some of my practice work at my game-art album. Hopefully the link works. The pics aren't nearly as refined as your stuff. I have some talent, but am too lazy to invest much time in developing it.

But anyway:
-the "dasa" (ignore the Serbian pic names) picture was done entirely on the computer in 340x200 res (nostalgia + convenience). I played around with the lighting effects, a bit too much. It's my earliest effort.

-"garazafin" is my first (edit: change that to latest) attempt at coming up with a reproducible technique--pencil, ink, scan, color, light shade & texture. It took me about 4 hours out of one day. If I ever actually put myself down to working on a game, this amount of time almost sounds bearable, and the results are acceptable as well.

Is there a game you're developing in which that wonderful background will be featured?
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~Excerpt from the Bizarro Anthem

Last edited by Maquisard; 06-19-2004 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 06-19-2004, 01:35 AM   #16
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I must say eriq that is brilliant. That's exactly the sort of art I am looking for. It is beautiful, moody, and yet it's not too cartoonish either. Well done! I must applaud your talent there.
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Old 06-19-2004, 08:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mares
Is there a game you're developing in which that wonderful background will be featured?
It always surprises me that people are so taken by background graphics. When you're drawing all night, you just forget that because you've been working on the illustration for so long. Thanks! That's great to hear. Gives me that extra kick in the booty to work on more.

This is a background concept for my adventure game. It's actually been refined since I drew it back in 2002. The screens now are much more refined. You can't see all the brush "strokes" in the image. If you look at the steps you can see what I mean. In the new images, they're all much smoother. The game is a sci-fi "Day of the Tentacle" type adventure.

It will be ready to show this fall.
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Old 06-19-2004, 10:34 AM   #18
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Yeah, I've noticed the brush strokes. Any chance of putting up the more refined version?
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By no rocket’s blue shade am no shells dead down there,
Gave no proof all day long that the flag was unwhere!
No say does am spar-strangled shroud hang limply!
Under land of no free! Am us home coward-leeee!

~Excerpt from the Bizarro Anthem
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Old 06-19-2004, 01:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mares
Yeah, I've noticed the brush strokes. Any chance of putting up the more refined version?
In the wordz of Kingz,

"It is nowhere near the showing phase..."

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Old 06-19-2004, 03:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriq
In the wordz of Kingz,

"It is nowhere near the showing phase..."

Hehe, you *are* slow! I remember seeing this a very long time ago. I'm again impressed, though. Very moody image and fantastic use of colors and light. Top notch!

--Erwin
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