How to make badass awesome backgrounds for your AGS game.

Started by i stole your car, Sat 13/02/2010 19:35:31

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Intense Degree

I'll tell you why this topic has been moved from the critics lounge - JEALOUSY!  ;D


This thread's become a fantastic resource; should definitely be stickied.

While I'm here I may as well throw in this little nugget of wisdom:


In the olden days of VGA colour, pixel art was created by individually choosing a colour and meticulously placing each individual dot; it entirely up to the artists judgement how and where various colours would blend together.

Not only was this time-consuming but woefully ineffective as the fact is the human eye will never understand as much about light and colour as the high res paint programs we use today.

However, out of nostalgia, many of us seek to emulate the old low-res look. Well here's how we can use today's technology to surpass the work of our pixel-pushing forefathers...

Start with a large canvas; I'd saying anything below 3000 pixels in width won't really allow the computer to get in the detail you need. Don't worry, it'll be shrunk down later.

Zoomed out now? Good. We start by blocking out the rough shapes; It's OKAY TO BE MESSY.

Okay, now it's time for the shading, this is the area in which we've most managed to outstrip the pixel artists of old as we can recreate realistic lighting perfectly by simply creating a new layer and painting in transparent black (the real world colour of darkness).

Now here's the REAL secret the industry don't want you to know about: It DOESN'T MATTER if you make mistakes! You heard me right; when we shrink the image down the resolution will be simply too low to accommodate our errors and they'll vanish along with all the other surplus pixels.

It's time for the resize...


And for the creme de la creme, for that properly authentic retro look; a quick conversion 8-bit colour in Adobe Photoshop:


For additional levels of blending; simply save as a jpeg:


Yep some people cant handle how good our art is and are jealous. So they move it.. Eggie  babar had covered that part of tutorials already but with much easier steps. :p


I dunno. Eddie made a valid point. While some like to start lo-res, like Babar did, some might like to for example scan in their images hand drawn, or use a tablet to colour. It's a lot easier to make hi-res because computer screens are so big nowadays. Well not big, but because of better eye surgery and good optics, the images are a lot smaller. A hi-res image is a lot easier to add some shadow to in my opinion.

Either way works, but let's face it, resizing adds a lot more detail and looks much cleaner. See for yourself:

If you compare these, I think you can easily see that the right one is drawn pixel-by-pixel, and the shadows are more or less fake, which was the way back then. On the left one, well Eggie told it: the scenenry is realistic, and almost like 3D except that in this there's also depth.

I do not mean one is better than other. If you look at this self portrait of rembrandt, you'll notice, that he in fact used the pixel-by-pixel style Babar used, which was most popular back then. And by some is still considered to be the only right way to go.


Did he use paint to do these backgrounds pixel by pixel. It is just so obvious. I redid babars background because it is called pixel art which means every thing has to be in BIG SQUARES. Also I added the Cool awsome jpeg Anti Analise filter.


Most probably MSPaint yeah, considering he was active at around 1970's when Photoshop was still in it's babyshoes and Paint was *the* photoediting program. Of course now Photoshop is used for photoediting, and Paint has developed into the brilliant sprite-maker that it is. Which pretty much explains why these BGs and portraits are so valuable... Sprite wasn't as good for pixellating back then you know. Also, I've never seen anyone use the jpeg-filter the way this guy did.


I never used to like drawing background before, but now... You have made an artist of me.



This is a background that i worked on a couple of years ago using VUE 6. I really like it, but the only problem is rendering each scene.

It would, and could take up to hours rendering each scene depending on the amount of polygons and light sources.

I gave up on the 3D rendered backgrounds (Despite wanting to make a decent Silent Hill type game). But is this a badass background?

btw, This Thread Rules!!!  :)

edit: Now I'll just stick to stuff like this...


Dear i stole your car,

I followed your tutorial exactly but I fear I am beyond hope!! :'(


That right there, is pure beauty my friends. Monkey, you really pulled at my heart strings with that one. Good Job!!

:'( :'(


That 3d scene is pretty cool Domino. I work on more complicated programs that I cant even figure how the hell to open.
Like Maya and 3Ds Max. But your scene is pretty cool for a couple of years ago. But we here at awesome background thread only accept Badass backgrounds like the Big whale.

So the answer to your question it is only cool. Not BADASS. sorry :D

Monkey: That Is BY FAR THE MOST BEST BACKGROUND ON THE WHOLE THREAD. Maybe a lens flare and it will the BADASSEST



Now, more about pixel art.

I have concluded that it be impossible to get more detail than this at low resolution.


Now Haddas that is what I call pixel art :P . Great work

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