Author Topic: Background Blitz :: Workshop Edition :: Concluded  (Read 51481 times)

Welcome to the first Workshop Edition of the Background Blitz!


Where the participants in the usual Blitzes work behind closed doors, emerging only when ready, this will be about opening everything up. Rather than focusing on the final pieces, it will be about the processes leading up to them. Working in an collaborative atmosphere, the participants will share their progress and ideas from the very first doodles, up to the final touches, giving and receiving feedback as they tinker along and improve their pieces.

There are many ways of doing a workshop like this, all with their own pros and cons, and after seemingly endless discussions between zyndikate and me, we decided that this time around we'd work on independant pieces, but move through the stages of the creation simultaneously, by dividing it up into the phases:


Since we're not sharing a physical location, and can't simply look the other guys over the shoulder to see the progress, the participants will compensate this by posting WIP (Work In Progress) pics during the whole process, the more the better. Apart from their own WIP pics, any material that might be considered interesting is welcome, such as photos for illustrating ideas, reference pictures, and even stuff like music, if it happens to be relevant.



The script

The goal will be to develop a background that follows this script: (it's in a pseudo screenplay format for no better reason than that I happen to like the look of it)




The reason why it's so specified is that it will enable us to work out and discuss solutions for problems that we all share. Everyone knows what the others are trying to accomplish, so there is no confusion about what someone's aiming for (a common problem in the CL).


Voting

After the last phase, a vote will be held with the following categories:

      Most Developed - the participant who during the workshop has developed the most
      Most Helpful
      Best Execution - the best execution of the script

The recipient of the most votes can then go back to a regular Background Blitz, a Mockup Blitz, or go for another Workshop Edition (perhaps with another approach).


Posting Guidelines

Creating posts

To keep the thread easy to read, please keep your progress for each step inside a single post. This doesn't apply to comments and discussions.

Also, to make it easy to know what comments refer to, please quote texts and pictures.

Don't hesitate to make bump posts when you update something, just make sure to include a link to your particular post like so:

Update: Example

Code: [Select]
[url=http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/yabb/index.php?topic=34542.msg451551#msg451551]Update: Example[/url]
To get the address to a particular post, simply rightclick on that post's topic line (the line at the top of the post usually called something like Re: something), and select 'copy address' (or something similar).

(Note: You can't access these topic lines from write/edit post pages, as in, when you're typing a post, but you can of course get them from another window with the thread open, or prior to going into write/edit mode)


Images

Try keeping image file sizes below 60kb, and if they're bigger then please create a thumbnail and link to the original image.

If you're including large ref pics directly from the web, such as images.google.com, then please include the thumbnail version in the post, along with a link to the full sized image. Like so:


Full size

Note: You don't have to create thumbnail versions yourself, just copy the address to the ones that google use (rightclick and select 'copy image address' (or something similar)).



--

On to the first part!

Edit: Fixed image links
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2015, 08:17 by loominous »
Looking for a writer


Study sketches

These are pre-sketches that you do in order to familiarize yourself with the elements of the scene.

It's easy to fall back on more or less generic designs of elements, particularly when they play a less important role in a scene, and studying interesting existing ones will widen your understanding of the subject, allowing you to create interesting environments.


They can be everything from quick scribbles to elaborate artworks.


Design Sketches

These are pre-sketches as well, where you try out designs of your own. They can be adaptations of reference material, or completely new.


(two of the design sketches for the lighthouse in CMI)


--


In practise

All this may suggest that this stage is very time consuming, but it's really just as long as you feel like. You can study an element of a scene for a lifetime, or just glance at a pic. It's all about your level of interest and need.

I'm personally often too lazy to do study sketches, and find myself go straight to the design sketching. Study sketches do teach you extremely much however, stuff that just looking at images won't, so I really recommend doing them.


Tip

One thing I've found helpful is to set up a working space where you surround the sketch area with reference pictures like so:


Besides making it easy to go from looking at the sketches to the references, it also gets rid of that horrible white space you start out with, and I also suspect it helps you in some less conscious way, as being surrounded by a myriad of shapes and design elements is bound to affect you in some way, and hopefully influences the richness of your own designs. The last part is of course just pure speculation.

--

So, that's it, happy drawing!

Edit: Fixed links
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2015, 08:37 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

DoorKnobHandle

  • Mittens Serf
    • DoorKnobHandle worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • DoorKnobHandle worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Great idea. I'm working on a sketch. I'll post my first reference here, for finding it again later... ;)


Click for full size...


EDIT: edited to follow new posting guidelines
« Last Edit: 15 May 2008, 14:28 by dkh »

Just added these posting guidelines to the first post:

Posting Guidelines

To keep the thread easy to read, please keep your progress for each step inside a single post. This doesn't apply to comments and discussions.

Also, to make it easy to know what comments refer to, please quote texts and pictures.

If you're including large ref pics directly from the web, such as images.google.com, then please include the thumbnail version in the post, along with a link to the full sized image. Like so:


Full size

Note: You don't have to create thumbnail versions yourself, just copy the address to the ones that google use (rightclick and select 'copy image address' (or something similar)).

--

Great idea. I'm working on a sketch. I'll post my first reference here, for finding it again later... ;)

http://histpres.mtsu.edu/centfarms/rutherford_county/images/Sugg%20farmhouse.jpg (too big for direct linking, I believe)

Had a very similar house in mind, though with influences from houses like this one:


(from Beauty and the Beast, framenumber 4282 in this dvd rip)
« Last Edit: 15 May 2008, 12:40 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

Here are the  reference pictures,that i will use:
The house

Windmill:

 

Blue

  • blueangel.dk
I really wish I had the time to participate in this one...  :(
Great idea loominous!
I’m looking forward to seeing the entries  :D



Just a reminder that there are plenty of things to design beside the house, so while six days for just designing and studying stuff might sound a bit generous, it really isn't much, particularly since we're not doing it full time.

There's the sign, bridge, stream, playing equipment, swings, farm, windmill, and these are just the things mentioned in the script. A real environment contains ton of stuff.

You can of course just go for generic designs for these, but then there's a good chance that most parts of the image will be uninteresting.

And this doesn't mean that you need to spend a day just researching different swingsets. Three minutes browsing through images.google.com for "beautiful swingset"(to exclude the generic junk) will yield plenty of interesting designs that you can then import into whatever application you're using, and give your own design a go. Doesn't have to take more than 5 minutes in total, and you get another thing that will interest the viewer for at least a moment, and add richness to the scene.

And even though the prospect of researching stuff like signs may not sound thrilling, it's because we immediately think of the generic crappy designs that surround us. Doing a bit of research quickly opens your eyes to the many fascinating designs (particularly old handcrafted ones) that actually exist, and makes you look at these things in a new light.

And what's really nice is that for each thing you study, you gain knowledge that you can also use on all other designs, regardless of what object it is. So you can quickly build up a library in your head that will enable you to add enrichening design touches to any object you're working on without any references. And for each new design you learn, your whole library gets multiplied, as you can then cross this designs with the ones you already know.

So for each swingset you study, the better your next lamppost will look.

I really wish I had the time to participate in this one...  :(
Great idea loominous!
I’m looking forward to seeing the entries  :D

I hope that these big introductory posts and all don't give the impression that in order to participate, people will need to dedicate a large amount of time on this, or have any kind of artistic skill. If you happen to have 10 minutes on the bus each day, that amounts to 60 minutes of designs, which isn't bad.

So if you have a moment over each day, and find it interesting enough, I hope you'll join in.
Looking for a writer

free art classes with loominous. I'll definitely try something! thanks loominous, great idea.

"It's a fairy! She's naked! Curse these low-res graphics!" - Duty and Beyond

This is such a cool idea! I'll scribble something if I have the time, but if not, I look forward to seeing the entries. :)

Aaaagh, the workshop has finally come, and I'm going to be going on holiday right in the middle of it :'(
I'll still try to join in as much as I can, though! :)

I hope you will mash!

Guess I'll make this my progress post.

Tried my first two quick sketches of the house (and a small try at a swing set design):



They're taking the 'rundown' description quite far, but I'm a sucker for crooked, leaning buildings. Particularly the right one looks extremely unconvincing, and just plain stupid, but I like the tower-like part of it. They both lack a porch, that I was planning to add, and which would also add more variation depth wise (right now their elements just vary height wise). Also want to make them very integrated into the environment, so I'm gonna try having some large tree lean on them or something, to make the whole sagging thing a bit more believable as well.

Edit: Also, now that I look at them I notice a common flaw, in that when we lean stuff, we tend to lean them just to the sides, which is a boring and flat solution (it's the easiest though), so I'm gonna try having the different halves sag to opposite sides depth wise as well (i e, have one half lean away from us, and the other towards us).

080517:

Made two new design sketches. I tend to do one or two a day until I find one that feels like it has promise.



The right is an experimental sign design, and in the house one I tried a design with a walkway/stairway thing leading up to a door. Vertical variation like this tends to add interest (Bill Tiller (the Curse of Monkey Island Background guy) is a sucker for this). It's easy to go for the generic approach, with having everything on a flat groundplane, so it's often beneficial to at least test some vertical variation when you design stuff.

080519

Pretty close to the last one, less messy, though just barely:



The design is pretty inconsistent, particularly the left round tower thing, but the silhouette looks pretty interesting. One thing I'm going to try in the next one is some diagonals, depth wise (now it's an L shape, this would add some \ shapes).


--


Part II

080601

Haven't really had time to do any sketching until late tonight, which is unfortunate, since I really enjoy this step.

Here's what I hastily came up with:



I sketch in this zoomed out size (about 12% of the document size), where the actual size of the document is more than twice the intended end resolution. The nice thing with this approach is that I can then just keep on refining if the "thumbnail" turns out like I wanted, instead of having to resize it, and by doing so get ugly artifacts and blurry shapes. The high resolution keeps the strokes sharp, and allows me to enlarge areas without artifacts or blur.

I start out with just loosely n quickly scribbling down some ideas for areas, after which I paint the canvas almost black. I then "light" the scene, as oppose to "shade it", so instead of going from a white environment and adding shadows, I start with darkness and add light. I find that this helps me design the light much better, as I need to selectively and intentionally add light, since it's not there as default. It also keeps the image from having too bright values, which is easy if you go from a white canvas. (the reverse is true when going from dark though).

In this one I tried out some back light, which creates large shadows n thus low contrast areas, which should help keep the mood somber. I also tried having it create a desolate feeling by silhouetting the swing, which I put to the right, against the bright sky. The placement isn't optimal, and the general balance hasn't really been considered. Just trying out my first ideas. Gonna add a lot more vertical difference, as it's very flat at the moment.


080603:

Here's the latest sketch.

With outlines:


Without outlines, to get a better view of the general shapes:


Still just trying out ideas, and this one is lacking the nearby farm, but I managed to get the windmill in there in the center left, and I think I could fit the farm around that area as well. Or perhaps on the right side of the house.

The lack of real foreground is bothering me, but I think I'll just add some stuff on the right, that'll nicely overlap the currently empty yard as well, and get a few lines pointing towards the house.


080626:

(I think posting the current update in your bump post might make the thread more exciting, so here it is:)

Continued with the last sketch:



800xsomething


Added more foreground (don't ask me what that close thing to the right is - have no idea), which adds a few layers to give it more depth and lines, where the bottom part is leaning / to compensate for the heavy \ lean of the top (which the fence on the right also helps out with). The balance is still pretty messed up, and I'm once again
paying the price for sloppy pre-work by now having to try to fix things in this less flexible state.

There are many other issues, such as readability of the bridge (which is to the right beneath the sign post thingy, the stairway on the right side of the house, leading downwards, and other things.

Oh yea, I also flipped it horizontally, which is when I discovered the heavy \ lines of the upper part. Flipping it horizontally n vertically is a great way to spot these things, and also to see the image in a new light. In this case I ended up liking it more like this, but I might go back.

I've focused the light more on the right side of the house, to draw more attention to the center of the image, and kept the left in shadow, which also creates a nice silhouette against the sky. The bright sky is an annoying problem, as it creates strong contrast everywhere something silhouettes against it, which pulls focus. This could be countered by blocking it out with trees n stuff, but I want a pretty open feel, which that would rob. So I've limited the blocking trees to the sides to lower the contrast in those areas, and also frame the subject.

All in all, the melancholy feel is pretty much non existent at this point, much due to my weakness for strong sunlight, but I'm hoping it can be fixed with some details n colour).

I added a small character to help with the scaling, which is another issue, particularly with the fence and sign post.


080630:





This is the latest composition I've tried, and I think it's getting close to something I'm happy with. I've basically pulled the mid ground closer to the camera to become something of a new foreground, and ditched the old one. The bridge is now a wooden bridge, that is more easily read than the former stone one, and also produces less contrast which steals less focus from the house. In addition, it allowed me to quite easily add a stream beneath it, something that the other solutions (of which there have been many didn't provide. And even better, the sign is now close enough to be actually readable.

Other benefits: The sign now frames a bigger portion of the far background (where the windmill can be seen (a very messy area atm)), the fence now goes around the yard, forming a nice big curve:



which a) leads the viewer around the bottom part of the image up towards the house and b) as it's slanting /, it compensates for the \ lean of the top part of the image.

The downside is that there's now a pretty large distance to the house from the bridge, which isn't ideal. Also, atm, there's a perspective issue at the bridge, where we're pretty high above the character height, which isn't ideal either. It can be fixed by lowering the camera, which I'm considering.

Some other things: I but the right side garden area in shadow to detract attention and pushed the swingset further back, to open up the yard and increase readability. The swingset has been a problem ever since I put it in.

-

Finally got around to try some colours:




Larger resolution

Not very happy about it, but it's a start, and sort of capture a melancholy feel.

Must say I dragged my feet quite a bit about this, as I knew that the value sketch called for quite a transformation to fit the theme. Which is a shame since I really liked the look of the value sketch.

Having to open up one of the windows was annoying as well, as they create these weird gaping holes. My intention was to go with the right one, but the large centre one looked less bad, and does provide more space for the character.

Speaking of character, I tried quickly adding one, but the size poses a problem, so I had to go with 800x600 to make her fairly visible.




-

080911:

The second colour attempt:



Think it looks better, but lacks the melancholy feel that is called for by the script. Come to think of it, I think it's the brighter values that I like better.

-

080920:

Most likely final version, though there are still things to refine:



Some cleanup and colour treatment, and also added a couple of toys.

Edit: Fixed links
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2015, 08:40 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

EDIT: Ok I think I'm going to have to skip this challenge.  I've been pumping out sketch after sketch with no concrete results.  Or at least nothing I'm proud of.  I just don't seem to have any imagination at the moment.
« Last Edit: 22 May 2008, 00:21 by Ryan Timothy »

Nacho

  • Mittens Baron
  • The BoraGoran Chieftain worships God Tularen!
    • Nacho worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Nacho worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I am not going to be able to enter, since I have an important exam soon, and I have some personal things to worry about (Lorena graduates, weeeh!), but congratulations about the topic! It' s amazing when a host takes this so seriously and makes this didactic.
Are you guys ready? Let' s roll!

Awesome idea. I will participate.

At first I did not feel like wanting to do research in such detail as I thought this would be boring. I thought, that I could design something out of my head, with only one or two references.
But when I entered the words into google and had a look at all those different designs of houses, windows... all those kinds of trees that each give a special atmosphere... all those different neat toys that could make the picture unique... well, when I've seen all this, I could not stop to gather reference material. There are so many designs to learn from.
Once again I notice, that I am still not doing enough research when painting images/backgrounds. Instead, perhaps because of my laziness, I am using stereotypes out of my head. You know, those like kids have when they paint those typical houses with the chimney and fluffy blue(!) cumulus clouds on a white sky... Perhaps a bit more developed, but principally the same.

However, I do not know if I will be able to put everything that I see on those references into a single new concept of my own. But that is also what this workshop is about, isn't it?

References


colonial house

"cottage"

The toys

The girl


natural elements

Bridge and stream

other stuff

Windmill and Farm



swing 1

swing 2

sign 1

sign 2


Designs


First sketch using references of (neo)colonial-style houses.


The designs of Loominous and zyndikate looked much more dreamy, a bit fairy-tale-like perhaps, what I liked. So I searched for more reference pictures of less imposing houses (cottages) and sketch up something new.


Third sketch (now without looking at reference pictures). planned to be an L-shaped-ground-plan but hard to see from this perspective.
« Last Edit: 18 May 2008, 16:58 by Jens »

Heh, feel bad about having you create all those links, must've taken ages.

Feel free to just include them all in a large file, and then create a thumbnail for that image.

However, I do not know if I will be able to put everything that I see on those references into a single new concept of my own

I hope I haven't come across as suggesting that you have to include anything at all from the references - they're just there for inspiration. But if you mean that you feel the urge to include a bunch of nice elements that you've discovered, but simply can't fit them all into just one design, then I can completely empathize. It's just a frustrating part of it.

But I'm glad to see someone else getting captivated by all the nice designs of mundane objects that are out there, right under our fingertips.

-

Oh, and don't hesitate to make bump posts when you update something, just make sure to include a link to your particular post like so:

Update: Example

Code: [Select]
[url=http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/yabb/index.php?topic=34542.msg451551#msg451551]Update: Example[/url]
To get the address to a particular post, simply rightclick on that post's topic line (the line at the top of the post usually called something like Re: something), and select 'copy address' (or something similar).

(Note: You can't access these topic lines from write/edit post pages, as in, when you're typing a post, but you can of course get them from another window with the thread open, or prior to going into write/edit mode)

Going to add this to the Posting Guidelines.
« Last Edit: 16 May 2008, 14:18 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

lord_hellfire

  • Member of EGA HD Studios
I thought about it and I decided to enter the competition. As a lousy painter and someone who can't really draw in any popular (or even unpopular) 2D program I decided to prepare a background using a 3D graphics.
If you have any questions about what or why I do something feel free to ask here, or just PM me.
So let's begin.

Phase I
Design.

First thing is a list of things to model in 3D. I need to prepare:
 - Orphanage
 - Windmill
 - Farm
 - Swings
 - Bridge
 - Sign
 - Trees
 - Ground
 - Other playgroung stuff
 - Doors
 - Background

The list is not complete yet, but till now it has to do.

So now we can play with our imagination. Let's begin with a House. (Orginal approach, isn't it?) I was thinking about finding a real orphanage, and recreating it, but the only one I could find was a modern green house, with big garden. It wasn't even close. So the next idea was something like that:

Those are buildings designed for the railways workers, build eighty or so years ago. They looked kinda good, but not good enought, but than I remembered about diffrent place. So here it is:

It was an old dormitory block, so I guess It's pretty close to what we're trying to achieve. If you want to see more photos, than I've uploded them here:
http://rapidshare.com/files/115333878/reference_images.zip.html
aprox. 25MB Total 12 pictures, all in resolution 3872x2592. Inside you can find both buildings. One picture is slightly out of focus, and few needs to be rotated but they will help. I also made few more pictures in RAW format. They are much larger, so I will later upload only those which I will use as textures.

Next thing is a sign. In my opinion it should be big, made I'm marble or wood with brass or even golden letters. Maybe with few ornaments to make it look even better.
So here's my first attempt. Wood and golden letters:

I don't know how about anyone else, but for me it looks awful. Wood looks like a small part of some kind of board, and gold doesn't look like anything similar to gold or anything else. Let's say goodbye to standard materials and fix them a little bit. I also chandged the lights a little bit.

It's better, but still not What I was looking for. Let's change gold for copper, and the letters look just a little bit too modern for me. Also the entire sign looks just empty. After few changes:

Smoothed cyliders look almost like a bolts. Upper ornaments are just 3D letters. To create them I used celtic font.

This was probably the easiest part of picture, maybe except for the trees - there is a tool for creating them instantly.

So now is the time to open google for the first time and look for pictures of windmills, swings and bridges. I spent many summers on farm, so I won't look for pictures of it. And for the rest is simple enought to make them without any help. In a nearest future I'll also scan my hand drawn notes to show what I'll try to achieve.
To be continued...

19-05-2008.

I've completed a first reendering of the entire scene. Of course it is not finished yet, but it allows me to show what I'm thinking of. It's in lower resolution than the final image, because I want to save time. Lightning is set, with assigned shadow map - It's much faster than raytraced shadows, and at this stage it doesn't really matter.

Bridge texture will be replaced, This one is only temporary. Just like the sky - now I put there a gradient map with fractal noise applied to it. It doesn't look bad right now, but I can't say that it looks good either.
Of course the boxes wisible on the image will be replaced with buildings. The boxes are made in scale. Pink one is a farm (I will probably add more than one building) Brown one is windmill, and the last one is a house.
And If you want fo comment water than, please say no word. Spare me disgrace.

Meanwhile I made something more. I made bricks... Sounds impresive? I don't think so.

But here's the problem. I'll try to explain it to everyone who never modeled anything in 3D. Let's say that you want to make bricks look real. Let's say that you want not only to have bricks painted to perfectly flat wall, but you want to make them look like the real bricks. The thing which can stop you is mathematics. You can take a wall, use cut toos and them extrude them to make it look 3D, but brick is about 30 cm long and 10 cm high. When you crate three meters long and two meaters high wall it means that you'll need to prepare about 200 bricks. Each brick will have at least 5 Faces to brick and at least 2 more around them. It means 1400 faces on a really small wall. And the result will be disapointing. (Trust me, I've tried it) So let's borrow few ideas from people who make games for PS3 and X-BOX 360. The thing called bump map.
Bump map is a part of shader engine. It changes the way whadows appear on your wall. Maybe insteadof talking I will just show how it looks like.

In the upeer left corner is only a gray plane. In all other reenderigs it has the same shape and size. Tha camera is also the same. Below is the same plane in the same colour, but with added bump map. Right images are with bricks texture added. Upper one is without and bottom with bump map. Sorry for the quality, but my battery is low, and I've got only few minutes left. If anyone wants, next time I can upload maps, but they are quite large (48 MB in 2 files)

30-05-2008

Today update was bought to you by Golden Pheasant (If you don't know what is than either you are too young, or you don't know what great things slovakia makes)

First of all, I think I must expalin why I haven't updated for so long. I was simply too busy. But now I got few things to show.

First thing: The swings.
This is a good example of the limitations of the 3D graphics, so let me write a few extra words about them.
Let's assume that we want simple and relativelly cheap wooden swings withs seats connected to the frame by metal chains. So let's prepare the frame (It's really just 7 boxes - 30 seconds of work in worst case scenario)

Now, let's prepare a chain link. The easiest way to do it is to draw two splines (lines without any thicknes) One in C shape, and a circle. Using loft tool we gat a perfect link.

Can it get any simpler? Let's just copy the chain link, rotate it by 90 degrees, move it a little lower. And we can easilly copy the both links enought times to get a full chain.

Of curse a chain like this could be easilly animated, all we need to do is to attach reactor to it (a phisical engine) choose weight of each link, set up gravity, add wind and perfect swing fuly animated in a metter of minutes! Wonderful? Unfortunetly no.
There is one little problem. Each chain link got in this example 1010 faces (flat surfaces which are combined to create a 3D object)  The entire chain is mae out of 62 links. To prepare four seats we need eight chains This gives us a total of 500960 faces for chains alone. For everyone who are not familiar with 3D graphics I expalin - It really a lot of faces. This means that you will lose a lot of time to reender scene with thease chains. And It your computer isn't fast enought it might even refuse to reender anything at all. And of course the swings alone ain't enought to make a good game background. So the only thing left to do is to delete a whole thing and start again from the begining.
That's one of the reasons why I decided to make a swings out of steel tubes. Seats are conected to frame by steel rods. I "painted" it with awful blue paint used on most of palygrounds in 70's and 80's in all around soviet block.

The only problem is that the description siad barelly usable, and this one looks fine. So let's fix it too.

Now technically speaking it's 50% usable. I tried to recreate the ways they broke down in the real world.

And I also was working on house itself.

I still need to add doors, basement windows, tower windows. Make textures for the roof (both of them) And fix that brick texture. I don't like it at all. I'll probably just make a new one from diffrent wall. (I use real photos to make textures)
The windows look a little weird, but it's because I assigned reflective material to them and it got nothing to reflect. Lights are identical to the ones which will be used in the final scene.
« Last Edit: 30 May 2008, 02:13 by lord_hellfire »

i started with my attempt. after those 2 small attempts on the right at designing  :-[, i decided to just draw something and see where it goes.



quick sketches:



i have kinda the idea of how i want to scene to look like, so i'll go try to design most of the other stuff around the house etc. i'll definitely start using some reference for the windmill and other things in the scene. I'm trying to stay away from the style I'm using for my current game project which is a bit more structured and less freehand (and lower res). i have nul experience in painting woods scenes.  :-\ so this will help a lot.
loominous, speak now before i do too much damage!
« Last Edit: 18 May 2008, 20:07 by Mordalles »

"It's a fairy! She's naked! Curse these low-res graphics!" - Duty and Beyond

lord hellfire:

Cool to see some 3d as well.

I hadn't even thought about 3d entries -- such is my narrow mind -- but I guess the phases should work out for these as well. Would it work for you if you just built the models in this stage, and then applied materials and textures, and set up lighting in the next? Any suggestions regarding this?

Keep in mind that  these phases are hardly ideal for 2d either, but seemed like the best compromise which would allow us to focus on one aspect at a time, so I can understand it if some might be frustrated with the workflow.

Speaking of which:

Mordellas:

Great to see you join in, and that's a really cool design you got there! You might want to hold your horses a bit though, as you seem to be moving on to the layout (the phases are vague in that aspect). I thought we'd do the environment sketching in the composition phase, since as soon as one starts placing objects in an environment, you're into composition. There's nothing wrong with including a small surrounding environment in your design sketches, but these should be expendable, to allow complete flexibility the composition stage.

Guess all this shows that the introductory posts, extensive as they were, could've been a lot clearer on many of these issues.

Gonna add a bit to the phase part.

Btw, is that a moon I see in your picture Mordellas? (the script says 'before noon', which I thought would indicate that it could be everything from morning to noon)
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Blue

  • blueangel.dk
I hope that these big introductory posts and all don't give the impression that in order to participate, people will need to dedicate a large amount of time on this, or have any kind of artistic skill. If you happen to have 10 minutes on the bus each day, that amounts to 60 minutes of designs, which isn't bad.

So if you have a moment over each day, and find it interesting enough, I hope you'll join in.

I wish I had. I follow this workshop closely though!
I need to focus on my exams for now, that's the reason why I don't have the time.
But the whole idea behind this workshop is so inspiring, that I'm definetely going to try it out as soon as I can :)



I have a lot of things to do. But I'll try to participate in this, hope I can finish my work.

here are my references:

and a quick sketch of the scene:


I'll try a 3d entry too. Modelling and texturing takes long time, so better start now. The modelling would take to the second part as well. I say on the second part, we try to light the scene which is a important part, then render which takes long time too. the final would be post-process the final render in photoshop and composition.


update:
the model of the house. No texture yet


update (06/27):

I changed the house model a bit following loominious suggestion.
This would be the layout of the scene, the lights are going to be changed
You have the house, the bridge at the botton right, the sign close to the bridge, the swing and toys to the left and the farm and windmill at far back
Still need to add vegetation, texture, prepare materials.

update (07/02):


I had a hard time trying to fit all in the camera, and then the objects like the sign were to small to read (and still is) so I rendered a big res, HD 1080p. Maybe if I played with the focal length settings on the camera but I don't really know much about it.
I used large textures (4096x4096) on the main objects, like the bridge, house, landscape.
The bridge, the terrain and the mountain far back (which almost don't appear) have normal maps and displacement. So it was around 400mb of texture. More than 1gb of material.
Uv was done some manually and some automatic mapping (cubic mapping, etc)
The materials could be better, more realistc. The models don't have many polys mostly. I don't know if the light is good, but I tried a darker ambient with light hitting the main objects.
A little light at the back left of the house, just to draw attention to the path way to the back of the house. The ugly model of a girl at the window and a bear toy and a car toy near the swing.
I had lots of problems to extract good z-depth and ambient occlusion renders due to tranparency issues, but after that I used some layers to composite in photoshop and with z-depth pass I made the depth of field effect, which I guess it wouldn't fit for a game bgs o_O

update (07/11):


I made another render, without the too strong dof and less foggy
But without fog makes the back part very empty
And you can really see how my textures are very crappy by the house

here a part of the house texture, it joins photographic texturing and paint on top
http://www.2dadventure.com/ags/texeg.jpg

o/
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2008, 00:36 by Exsecratus »

oops, i completely missed the "before noon" part! haha. ill hold back a bit with composition! thanks!  ;D
« Last Edit: 16 May 2008, 22:25 by Mordalles »

"It's a fairy! She's naked! Curse these low-res graphics!" - Duty and Beyond

Daniel Thomas

  • "zyndikate"
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Sketches for now, some are from reference, some are from imagination. Going to walk out myself and try to get some good nature sketches, having a hard time to get any good from photos.
Still thinking about house design, but I dont think I will settle any until it actually comes down to the composition - but I have some ideas that I want in to the picture.

click for bigger

::UPDATE 19th May::


Purely the house design, I know there is a tendency that all have the same basic shapes (small box on left vs big on right), but this was based on another sketch which I wanted to explore further, next time Ill work on a new design.
The shapes can ofcourse be more interesting with help of other things, like boards, trees growing, and other stuff adding to it - but not a concern right now.

:: UPDATE::


:: UPDATE 28th::

Did two thumbsketches, but since time is little it the background suffers. I think the left can be worked on but the right is not good at all. With photoshop its easy to go in and experiment, but its good to get ideas out without going into details and starting tweaking everything. Where is everybody else?
« Last Edit: 28 May 2008, 20:46 by zyndikate »
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Updated the phase introduction in the first post, which was very vague:



Added a new small sketch


Exsecratus:

Could you gather those ref images in a large image, and then post a small version (with a link to a larger)?

Having all images displayed helps creating an overview, and saves people of the trouble of loading them all up seperately.
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2015, 08:21 by loominous »
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lord_hellfire

  • Member of EGA HD Studios
My scheadule for work looks about like this:
Phase I
Conception work, minor modeling. About 5 days.
Phase II
Modeling and texturing. I can't completly seperate thease two phases, because sometimes modes must be adjusted to textures. And if you plan to use bump maps (And I do) you must incluse this in the design precess. Estimated Time about 7 days.
Phase III
Final touch.
Adding details, and compiling entire composition into single image. Also reendering and preparing aditional files just for show off. Time - 6 days.

If you don't mind I would prefer to use this schedule. Time line changes are minor, so I hope that there won't be any problems.

It's also partially because I got rather slow computer (Please, don't ask how slow. It can hurt your mental health.) And it will take some time to reender final image.

And why I haven't included lightning in my scheadule? Because in 95% of outdoor scenes I use two light sources, one omni, one directional. It takes about 5-15 minutes to set them up.

lord_hellfire:

I guess the introduction could've been clearer regarding this, but this particular workshop edition isn't meant to show people's own workflows, but to focus on different artistic aspects, one at a time, enabling us to dwelve deeper into them together. I think you may be thinking more in terms of regular tutorials/lectures.

To allow this several compromises have to be made, such as the schedule drafted. After all, one person may have 10 mins a day, the other 14 hours. You can't accomodate both, so it becomes about finding reasonable durations that will also somewhat fit the length of a normal Blitz.

The phases are compromises as well, as everyone have their own workflows, and since they almost always include overlapping processes.

So I'm very well aware that the phase divisions don't fit people's usual workflow.


As the workshop is about visual aspects, such as composition, and since all these are shared by 3D and 2D, I think the current schedule should work out, perhaps with certain time additions:

Phase I (6 days)

  - Design is design, in 2D as in 3D.

Phase II (7 days)

  - Environmental design is visually the same in 2D as in 3D, this is directly linked to:

  - Element placement and values/lighting, which is visually the same in 2D just as in 3D.

This is composition, even though it's thought of only as merely the placement of elements.

While it may be quick to set up lighting doesn't mean that artistically lighting a scene is quick, it's part of the art of composition. Nudging a lightsource an inch can create vastly different shadows, which affects the composition, etc. Lighting is even easier in 2D, as it allows us to place values exactly where we want to - in short, we can easily cheat.

Phase III (8 days)

  - Colour becomes colour grading, where you add artistic colour treatment. (3D people can try out different solutions at this point, even though modeling remains etc)

  - Refinement - including further developing the environment, and general refinement,

  - 3D specific post work.


How does this sound 3D people out there?
« Last Edit: 17 May 2008, 15:00 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

Chances are, I won't have time to enter this one, but your pacing looks reasonable.

nice sketches, zyndikate. i really like the smurfy/asterix-style of the house. also, the other objects fit into the design. what version of those do you prefer? while i like the top house the most from the technical point of view, the others look more reasonable (more place to host more orphans). looking forward to more.

Daniel Thomas

  • "zyndikate"
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Thanks Jens!
I dont like any of them, its just to experiment with the design so I can design the house freely when it actually comes down to composition - I dont see any reason to lock myself to anything yet.
These designs  - asfar as for me - isnt to just be put over to the background - but to broaden my vocalubary and knowing the objects that I _might_ have in the background in some form. I dont know yet what I might _need_ in my picture since its not only about what I _want_ in my picture.

But like I said I like the top one most, but its ofcourse not final, it was just experimenting with all kinds of stuff (like wines growing around and grabbing the house, holding it down).

I see many people post thier reference, but no sketches. The reference isnt really for just copying straight off, but you can learn a great deal of just investigate it by drawing it - understanding what it actually looks like.
How would you else be able to rotate the object if you need it to be rotated in the composition, if you dont know what its actually is your're drawing? When they're in your register you can start the creativity flow and not be bound to reference images - While theyre great to have and inspire you, checking details later on, correction.

The style itself comes by itself when you start drawing freely and not copying straight off.

Dunno how much sense it made, I guess my point is: Start sketching people and show us some cookies :)
Check out The Journey of Iesir Demo | Freelance artist, check out my Portfolio

hey, no, i got the point, it's pretty much what i've experienced by studying - it's getting knowledge of designs and the feeling for a style and then drawing by making use of that feeling and knowledge.

Quote
When they're in your register you can start the creativity flow and not be bound to reference images
- the mental register... i like that

update - added 3rd sketch trying to use the register only  ;)
« Last Edit: 18 May 2008, 15:38 by Jens »

Sounds fine to me loominous.
I don't know if I'll have time to finish in time, but I'll try to follow
Should I post the 3d models I've done so far?

o/

lord_hellfire

  • Member of EGA HD Studios
What do you mean that we can't cheat with shadows?



I would say that cheating with shadows is much simpler in 3D than in 2D.

I'll post some more stuff in a few hours time, with explanations on hardest spots, and a list of things which you shouldn't do.

Should I post the 3d models I've done so far?
o/

Sure, anything that is viewable - that is, perhaps not some insanely cluttered wireframe model that you can't make any sense of - is highly welcome.

Will enable us to get some feedback going.

-

About references:

As zyndikate has already said, they're mostly about analysis, finding and understanding elements you like, adding them to your mental library so you can then create you own designs.

And, as always, it's really important to try to look past details, and try to understand the basic elements, which are not only the simplest, but the ones that have the most impact on us, even though our eyes tend to focus on details.

Take for instance the Beauty and the Beast House I posted before:



First row:

Going from the left, we have the outline sketch, which even though it's been simplified, is really messy looking. This is about the usual impression we get when we look at an objects, a cluster of details.

Next is the silhouette. Now we're getting a feel for the big impression this object is making on us.

After that is a version where I've added volume to the silhouette. The basic elements of the house are coming through.

Second row:

Here we have a house design that is close to the archetype we seem to have. Apart from the chimney, we have complete symmetry, one of the things to avoid if you want to create interest. We recognize it as a kid drawing, but it's very easy for anyone to fall into this kind of design. I know I do.

Last row:

Here it's been put into perspective. Even with depth, the blandness is great, and the silhouette reveals the unexciting big impression it's making on us.

If you compare it to the top row, you notice the strong assymetry of the top one, horizontally, vertically, and depth wise (if you look at the volume version). This assymetry along with the variations between pointy, broad, and generally diverse shapes helps make the top one interesting, without the need for details. The detais then work as icing on the cake. If you building needs details to look interesting, it's kind of like a dish needing tons of spices to compensate for a bland taste. I've found this true in everything from object design, to character design, to composition, to music. Get the basic elements to look/sound good on their own, and then add details to lift it further.
--

It may be easy to jump to the conclusion that original version's relative complexity reveals some advanced architectural knowledge, only obtainable through extensive studies, when in fact the building is quite simple. And if you're able to draw the kid house in perspective, you have all the knowledge you need:



So just using the simple shape of the kid's house, we now have the main parts of the structure.

There are still some elements missing however, but we only require a squashed cube to do the work:



So now that we have the basic elements, it becomes a matter of adding stuff like windows and doors.

These things come in a wide variety of designs, which is where references come in.

But again, it's not about copying, but understanding. Take a thing like those log things on the walls that add these quaint details.

They're present because this house was built with an old building technique called timber framing, where a timber frame is first built, and then filled up with whatever material is accessible, from bricks to rubble.

This fact may sound excessive, but if you know this, you start looking at this very common building technique in a different light. You start seeing the contruction behind it all. So when you contruct your own version, you're actually building a house, not just adding arbitrary details from memory.


What do you mean that we can't cheat with shadows?

Where did I say you couldn't?

Edit: Fixed links
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2015, 08:23 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

Jens:

Cool to see your progress!



One thing I'm noticing is a symmetrical tendency, and I think the buildings could benefit from some more vertical variation, to make the silhouettes more exciting, this, if you're going for a more interesting look.

But your experimentation looks very promising, so I'm sure you'll end up with a very nice design sooner or later!
Looking for a writer


I finally got around to doing some study sketches but they're not very detailed. I really should've spent more time on them, but I was in a hurry.

All of them from reference, I think.

edit1:
I picked one of the designs (top left) and I tried to run with it, using the reference with a couple of small changes of my own.



edit 2:
Tried to work up a composition. I wanted a distancey feel to it. I can't figure out how to get both the windmill and the farm in the background without them colliding though.
edit 3:Wasn't satisfied with the first one at all so I tried to fix most of the problems with it. Feedback would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: 30 May 2008, 20:21 by TheJBurger »

Some of my junk:

I've been struggling with this, but think my house will end up something like the one in the upper left corner, with the front changed to something like the one right below. Also, I don't really want the house this huge, so I'll chop off some of the stuff on the left. Since there are details in the window meant to be visible, perhaps a huge house is not such a great idea.

For the farm, I'm thinking something like the tiny one, near the top middle. I want it to be recognizable as a farm, so am going for something more simple here. The bridge I haven't decided. Something that doesn't obscure the view too much, maybe the 2nd one in the top left. Windmill, the one near the middle, right, simple and effective.

I guess I'll test out different versions a bit in the composition stage.

This workshop blitz is great for sure!

--

At last I had some time to start testing out the composition.

First, this one is a bit screwed, since I sat painting for ages on the wrong layer. I blame my dentist for this (he has made me dependent on heavy painkillers).
Anyways, since I want to draw attention to the window where the girl is gonna be, the idea was to create contrast on the walls (around that spot)  with the tree shadows. Typical, long shadows  - this is early in the day. This should also help showing the forest without filling up large portions of the image with trees. I pushed the shadows too far here, something I realized moments before learning I'd been painting on the wrong layer. Thinking about it, these spots of light could be used to show any important object/exit. I'll try using it for making the path around the building more clear.

So.... the plan is to clean up the mess a bit, as soon as I can find the time.

--

Ok, another one

This one is far from done, but at least less messy than the previous.

---

New one:
Changed some bits here and there. Major change is closer and slightly lower camera angle. Worked on some details in the back.


--
Been trying out some colors.

Might be close to final. Perhaps just toy with the contrast a little.
« Last Edit: 14 Aug 2008, 01:39 by Neil Dnuma »

Daniel Thomas

  • "zyndikate"
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
update, Ill try to give some comments tonight when I got some free time.
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Misj'

  • To lazy to add an avatar...
Hay Loominous (and the rest of the gang),

I like the idea of a workshop (I think that a character (not sprite) design workshop would be a great idea too)...but since I'm quite busy, and am not really appealed by the subject (the Orphanage) I  choose not to participate in a final background. However...the great thing about a workshop is that I can share ideas without providing the final product. So lend me your ears...and ignore what doesn't appeal to you.

Let's start by apologizing for this immense long post...please be gentle with me.

Under normal conditions, a number of the thoughts described below would be discussed with the group but for the sake of the workshop I'll just pretend that we did. :)

Season
The script doesn't give a clear indication of the season; and this depends largely on the mood (read: contrast) you want to create:
    Spring:    romance, hope, life
    Summer: exotic, warmth, but also the most neutral
    Autumn:  depressed, cold
    Winter:    cold/warmth (cuddle together in front of the fireplace), death/new life
Basically it's all about creating contrast (if you take this scene as a basis of the story, not the story as a basis for this scene). The following are (some of) the contrasts/frictions that you create:
    Spring:     Great if you want to create a contrast between the house and it's surroundings.
                    Hope and life of the world are contrasted by the worn out, poor conditions of the man-made house.
                    This makes living in the house (and thus the life of the girl) more depressing (but with hope).
    Summer:   Relatively neutral, but creates a contrast between the weather/sun and the girl sitting inside.
                    Why is she inside? - Is she ill? - Is she not allowed outside?
    Autumn:    Both the scenery and the house are worn out/depressed (sad). Great for creating
                     contrast with the girl playing on the second floor (happy). This can also be enhanced by adding
                     shadows to the house and scenery, and extra light (possibly sun-rays) to the room where the
                     girl sits.
    Winter:      Contrast between the cold (outside) and warmth (inside).
                     Can be used to make the surrounding depressing while making the house worn out but cosy.
The script (with comments) states that: "The poor conditions contribute to a melancholy atmosphere, one that despite the bleakness contains a tangible sense of hope. - Think 'a flower blossoming in a gloomy swamp'". Late winter or early spring might reflect this best. Although autumn could also work. The 'nearly dried up stream' could indicate (late) summer, nevertheless I think that early autumn or spring will work better.

Exits
The script indicates five layers (from front to back):
    1. the bridge with the sign (somewhat readable to the player, readable to the main character)
    2. the yard (with scattered toys)
    3. the house
    4. the background (containing the farm, windmill, and forest).
There are two exits mentioned for this scene:
    1. into the house
    2. behind the house (towards the farm, windmill, forest?)
Logic would dictate that there is a third exit, which would be the bridge; and this would be the general entrance. However, for this workshop I will assume that it was not merely forgotten by loominous; and in stead was part of the story. This implies that the bridge is worn out as well and either broken down, or breaks down when the main character tries to cross it. Consequently, there are two options: either exit 2 is also the real entrance (and we'll have to find it first), or the real entrance has to be created first by 'repairing' the bridge (wasn't there a big sign somewhere? - maybe we can use that to cross the stream?). From the point of the story I prefer the broken bridge that has to be repaired (story-related puzzles Yeah!) - This will also add to the remoteness of the orphanage (no direct road to the city).

Focus
Focus is essential for a good composition. So when I read the script (and after the before mentioned thoughts) the two main aspects in the image are:
    1. our objective: the girl in the window
    2. what we have to overcome to get (closer) to the objective (the puzzle): the broken down bridge.
Consequently these two should be on the focal points of our image. Whether to use the golden ratio or rule of thirds or whatever doesn't really matter. Fact is: the first thing you want the eye to wander towards is the windows, the second the bridge (this is easy, since that's where the player's character is). There are a number of 'unimportant' things in the picture that do add to the atmosphere, story, and world, which the player will find when they're emerged into the image, but that are not the focus of our story (swings, toys, the house itself (not counting the window), the forest etc). There are also a number of things that are actually important for the player to see (but less important than the two main focal points): the two exits, the flower representing hope, the farm, the mill, and the sign.

Conclusion
I've added a rough sketch composed (mostly) of images posted by all of you, to show my interpretation of the script. In the end I decided to go for a more autumn-look. I didn't add any toys to the (small) yard (too much stuff, too little space), and I should probably have added some trees in the back and to the right (what's a forest without trees?). But overall I think it gives an adequate indication of (where I would go with) composition and focus.


[click to enlarge]

I hope someone finds these bablings useful :)

Misj'

Misj:

Interesting analysis there! I had only a vague idea about how I'd utilize the kind of contrast you mention, so that was very clarifying. Shame you couldn't participate.

Unfortunately you gave me too much credit when it came to the accuracy of the script, as I had simply forgotten about the bridge being an exit. But the broken bridge part still serves as a nice hypothetical analysis in any case.

Quote
I think that a character (not sprite) design workshop would be a great idea too

I was thinking the same thing. I suspect that I have enormous gaps when it comes to deeper analysis regarding character design, so I'd be happy to participate if you'd host one.

-

JBurger, Neil:

Good to see you join in!

-

I guess part one is due to end approximately by now, but I'm extending it two days, since many joined in late. We'll see whether there's need for additional time after that. Just give a shout if you feel short on time.

So, the new preliminary end of phase one is may 21nd 23:59 GMT.

So there's still time to join in!

Edit: fixed date mixup
« Last Edit: 20 May 2008, 02:06 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

the design of the houses of everyone are very great.
Too bad I didn't make the house with towers and diferent shapes :( now don't have time to change.

Updated

o/

Daniel Thomas

  • "zyndikate"
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Another update, house.

Nice sketches Jburger and Dnuma, and good you could join in. :)

To give my view on interesting a shape.
I think a unpredictable shape is most interesting, a symtric-shape is imo most uninteresting. Its predictable!

I think more riggid and "stiff" shapes has its place too, like in a more serious mood this could help to enhance the that.
For a intersting shape I think irregularity is needed - variation. The shape can have some of its edges "going/pushing/wedging" into the negative space(the space around it).
Its like theyre interlocking. And even these shapes should have some variation and not the same size so they become very repeative.
Ill try to illustrate the diffrence between a irregular and more rigid/predictable shape here(note these are just abstract shape), nothing fance but should show what I mean:


As you clearly can see here so will the more interesting shape make you hapy and your tounge will stick out and make you look like a silly(silly is good). If you have a predictable shape it will make you grow some beard and also make your face melt.

You can see the negative and filled shape, theyre playing with eachother - sharing and taking space.
You can make it have as much variation as you can imagine, both direction of every line, shape. Size, length, round, straight etc.
The more, the more interesting it becomes.
I think is why study and sketching so you have the it ready to be put down anywhere on any shape to make it looks good. This goes for composition later on too.

If anyone are questioning this, feel free to start discussing and ask me - or even challange me. :)

« Last Edit: 20 May 2008, 02:16 by zyndikate »
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Andail

  • Global Moderator
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  • Mittens Viscount
  • Cultured man of mystery
    • I can help with backgrounds
    • Andail worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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    • Andail worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Nice activity :)
I might contribute with something if I get the time, I'm really inspired by your work here!

Andail:

Hope you do!

-

Any kind of analysis regarding the aspects we're dealing with is highly welcome, from anyone. Nobody's an expert here, so don't hesitate to give your thoughts.

Would be best if they were posted by the time we're dealing with them though, so if you have some thoughts on colour schemes for instance, then please post them when we reach that stage.
« Last Edit: 20 May 2008, 16:12 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

Some ideas:

JBurger, Exsecratus:

I think your designs could benefit from smaller, less symmetrical base structures:



Starting out with a smaller base structures make it easier to get more interesting general shapes, as you don't need to add as many sub elements to compensate for the base structures' predictable shapes.

They seem to be coming along nicely though.

-

zyndikate:

I think there's a repetition thing going on that might not be ideal:



The elements could still be similar, but more contrasting.

I think the design is excellent as is, but I think countering this could help it further.

Edit: Unable to fix broken links
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2015, 08:29 by loominous »
Looking for a writer



The sketches so far have been about designing individual elements, and it's now time to compose these into environments.


Thumbnail Sketches

Most artists work from really small sketches, called 'thumbnails'. Due to their size and roughness, the artist can quickly experiment with many different ideas, before settling with a design that seems to have most promise.

Another benefit with their size is that it prevents us from to starting to fiddle around with details, a strong human tendency it seems, which, as usual, just distracts from the big picture, which is still the focus.

The big picture is about finding a composition that does what you want it to do. Usually this is about leading the viewer to particular areas of interest, while having an interesting/beautiful appearance. So it has a functional and aesthetical role.

Zyndikate is going to elaborate on composition, so I'll leave that for now.


Going from thumbnails to more elaborate sketches

After a thumbnail design has been chosen, you can either use it simply as a reference for a larger detailed sketch, or resize it and trace over it (or some other way).

Even though details are now added, the focus is still on getting the image to work as a whole.

--

That's it, good luck!
« Last Edit: 24 May 2008, 13:24 by loominous »
Looking for a writer

Just wanted to say, that I can't participate this time, but I really like the concept of this workshop. I'm curious of the outcome. What you all have done, looks great.

Quintaros

  • Mittens Viscount
Am I the only one having a hard time making out Loominous' images.  In my browser they appear to blend with the background colour of the forums.

Is this what they look like to everyone:

Quintaros:

Hm, the .png images have been compressed with PNGNQ to get decent filesizes (it's a lossy compression that also affects the alpha).

What browser are you using?
Looking for a writer

Quintaros

  • Mittens Viscount
Just Internet Explorer 6.

Just Internet Explorer 6.

That's probably the culprit. It is well known (at least by anyone who's had anything to do with web design) that IE6 cannot handle png with alpha properly.

Ugh, so is there some workaround?

My first intention was to just fake transparency by using the post's background colour, but the fairly new forum feature that turns new posts' backgrounds green (another thing that doesn't seem to work in IE ) messed that plan up.
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ildu

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Ugh, so is there some workaround?

Index the images to 256 colors. As far as I know, IE6 handles png transparency, but not over 8bits. If the alpha takes more than one level, you'll have to take those levels from the color count. Or you could just use gif :-\.

Use Firefox (or IE7 if you insist on IE.) Both are much better than IE6.

Daniel Thomas

  • "zyndikate"
    • Daniel Thomas worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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First of all, it hit me this is really a big topic and I dont have too much time free right now. But Ill try to fill in stuff as it goes, but for now Ill try to cover the valuesketch since I dont want to keep you waiting.

The main goal, that I belive, with your composition is to communicate your intentions - the composition should help you with that(So should everything ofcourse, colors, lines, etc). But one thing that is good besides that is to keep your picture working as a whole - having a strong unity, even if you're trying to communicate something sepperated. The composition keeps the viewer in your picture, leads him around it, shows him where the interesting part of it is.

Values is a part where you can keep the unity strong and when done the colors becomes "easy", So Ill start with that for now:

.~::[ VALUES ]::~.

Lets use one of my favorites from Bill Tiller, its from Monkey Island 3.
All colors has a value, many prefer to do valuesketches/studies first since colors are very tricky when it comes to see its real value.
Then why is it important to know its value? I think its important to keep the pictures unity, and you dont want to have 10 diffrent values in it which make it very busy and it somewhat loses its unity.
Lets take a look at Bill Tillers backgrounds values

::ORIGINAL VALUES::

You can see(or so I belive) that it has 3 main values(light, middle,dark), this can also be seen in the sketches from loominous topic-picture above. I think many pictures can be generalized into 3-5 values which is enough. I belive the more values you introduce above that the more the picture loses the unity. With that said I dont say I dont think you actually cant have 10 values, you probably can, but what I mean is the main values. There will ofcourse be variations of the mainvalue, but they should read as the mainvalue.

::NO VARIATION::

Above I tried to destroy the lovely variation the values had, it was spread around the picture making it interesting and not isolating the values to corners and objects(trying to illustrade that in the above sketch)
This also make the picture very rythmical, which is good in these sort of mood. Make it less rythmical and you might get a little more serious/stiff/sad mood, like its waiting for something to happen - but its up every person himself to judge that - that was just my experience.

::MESSY/MANY VALUES::

Here is an example when too many mainvalues comes in, and is spread badly in the picture.
The unity is broken and the rythm is broken. This I think should be avoided.

-------------------------------------

Some things you can have in mind is that if you want a object to have a specific color, like brightest purest red - the value might be darker then you think. Above you see the colorwheel and the values next to it - You can generalize and say the yellow is the brightest value and from there the values darkens.

-------------------------------------------------------------
In practice:
Choose 3 values when you start working, try to stick with them, and make a nice variation. Try to not have the values too equal in proportions, test having the darker value dominate, or the middle etc. Try to increase the overall brightness of them, lower them - they bring diffrent moods(this can wait to when you have a color layer above)

I would have made a walkthru of this if I had time, but I really hope this makes sense anyway(you can also google or youtube to get more information) - if not we are here to help eachother. I realise the examples can be better, but Im trying with the time I have to make it as clear as possible - and also the limit is my own skill ofcourse. There is like I said more to composition, and anyone is free to comment.

(loominous, you wasnt online so I hope this is ok.)
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Daniel Thomas

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« Last Edit: 29 May 2008, 04:00 by zyndikate »
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Misj'

  • To lazy to add an avatar...
Values is a part where you can keep the unity strong and when done the colors becomes "easy", So Ill start with that for now:

Very nice explanation of the importance of values.

As for the thumbnales, I too prefer the first one, but when the second is flipped it's not that bad...I don't know why, but I prefer the bridge on the right and the house on the left.

I was thinking the same thing. I suspect that I have enormous gaps when it comes to deeper analysis regarding character design, so I'd be happy to participate if you'd host one.
If anyone else is interested, I will try to do a follow-up on this workshop (based on the world created by you guys interpreting Loominous' script) on character design (not sprite design). It takes some preparation, so it really depends on whether anyone is interested in it. Please tell me what you think.

Misj: You should totally do it. You might want to win the sprite jam though (if you enter, you'll win by default - there's no other entries!).

As for myself: I tried to do one thumbnail. Link.

lord_hellfire

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Link to progress thread (posting the images n all here as well, to compensate for the absence of imagery.)

Here's the latest sketch.

With outlines:


Without outlines, to get a better view overall impression (details really mess that up):


Still just trying out ideas, and this one is lacking the nearby farm, but I managed to get the windmill in there in the center left, and I think I could fit the farm around that area as well. Or perhaps on the right side of the house.

The lack of real foreground is bothering me, but I think I'll just add some stuff on the right, that'll nicely overlap the currently empty yard as well, and add a few lines pointing towards the house (by having the foreground consist of some plant or something pointing towards the house).
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Hope this will be kept open for ~another week... workload's been too heavy (and weather too nice), so I haven't been able to put in much here, but am set to keep on working on it next week.

Thanks to all contributors so far, so many good ideas and thoughts here, keep it up!

Good to hear.

I've been completely swamped with work for the last two weeks, and have only managed to do these two sketches thus far (which I traded sleep for).

But beginning tomorrow, my spare time will return to normal, so prepare to be swamped with incrementally altered images of no interest!
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Misj'

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Well guys, I didn't win the sprite-jam, and since I don't feel like starting a whole new (one time only) competition called: Workshop Follow-up: Character Design Edition, I have decided to postpone a workshop (read: interactive course where we all teach each other stuff) indefinitely...in other words: I'm probably never gonna do it.

As for my preparation (should I have won the sprite-jam), my plans were to create a true follow-up to Loominous' Background Blitz, so I created a few small character-descriptions concerning four people involved in the orphanage-scene, as well as a small prologue to the fictional story...I find it easier to create a world prior to it's inhabitants. You can see my own interpretation of these as my entry in the sprite-jam.

Anyway...I don't know yet what I will do with these small titbits.

On an additional note, while working on these characters, I decided to doodle down a tree that I would place in the foreground of the scene (if I had the time to participate). It may to be much, but I decided to share it with you.

<Click to enlage>


Misj'

Ps. Looking forward to your final interpretations of Loominous' script :)

Update:

It turns out, that I might actually participate ;)

Scrolling environment (final resulution: 1280x480). The room will scroll when the player is at the center of the bridge. This enhances the perspective (the bridge is 1-point, straight on, left side and right side are both 2-point perspectives, but in the oposite direction)

Rough sketch to test perspective


Putting the environment toghether


Inking (click to enlarge)


next step: colouring (the step that I find most difficult since I'm more trained in black-and-white, so hopefully I'll manage to get something reasonably close to what I have in my mind)
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2008, 13:43 by Misj' »

I like the tree, Misj!

small update

Misj'

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evenwolf

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This is the coolest competition/activity I've ever seen.  This is basically the job of an art director, interpreting the script and I love it.   Well done.

If possible, I may try to catch up with some sketches and participate.




Larger Res

---new post---

OK, I took 15 minutes to make my first concept drawing.   The whole time I was keeping loominous's advice in mind of maintaining an intriguing silhouette.   I just played around with shapes & unfortunately couldn't print off my source material.  So I was working blindly, and forgetting elements I wanted to include.  This sketch is definitely not final.  I did go Victorian which was the initial plan. But the biggest change I would make is the overhead camera angle- make it lower to give the orphanage a more ominous tone.   This will fix the elongated trapezoidness to the design overall.   The side door also draws too much focus and trivializes the orphanage.     But I did come up with one atmospheric detail I like, which is to have a playset that sinks away from the house, almost in danger of slipping away and into the creek.

The weird trellis... I had something in mind with that and then I experimented into making it an archway/ flagpole.   I don't think I like it but I may try something similar on the next sketch.   



In the next sketch the goal will be to:

1. Remodel.
2. Fix the angle.
3.  Add a bay window which draws the player's focus.
« Last Edit: 25 Jun 2008, 19:19 by evenwolf »
"I drink a thousand shipwrecks.'"

Updated

(I think posting the current update in your bump post might make the thread more exciting, so here it is:)

Continued with the last sketch:



800xsomething


Added more foreground (don't ask me what that close thing to the right is - have no idea), which adds a few layers to give it more depth and lines, where the bottom part is leaning / to compensate for the heavy  lean of the top (which the fence on the right also helps out with). The balance is still pretty messed up, and I'm once again
paying the price for sloppy pre-work by now having to try to fix things in this less flexible state.

There are many other issues, such as readability of the bridge (which is to the right beneath the sign post thingy, the stairway on the right side of the house, leading downwards, and other things.

Oh yea, I also flipped it horizontally, which is when I discovered the heavy  lines of the upper part. Flipping it horizontally n vertically is a great way to spot these things, and also to see the image in a new light. In this case I ended up liking it more like this, but I might go back.

I've focused the light more on the right side of the house, to draw more attention to the center of the image, and kept the left in shadow, which also creates a nice silhouette against the sky. The bright sky is an annoying problem, as it creates strong contrast everywhere something silhouettes against it, which pulls focus. This could be countered by blocking it out with trees n stuff, but I want a pretty open feel, which that would rob. So I've limited the blocking trees to the sides to lower the contrast in those areas, and also frame the subject.

All in all, the melancholy feel is pretty much non existent at this point, much due to my weakness for strong sunlight, but I'm hoping it can be fixed with some details n colour).

I added a small character to help with the scaling, which is another issue, particularly with the fence and sign post.

-

evenwolf:

Great to see you join in, and I really like the design of your building.

I think the chimneys may be unnecessarily alike, and creates rather unexciting symmetry:

   II               II
 =II=/''''''''''=II==   
|                         

which is only broken up by the tower (which I didn't include in the above ascii scribble)

I like your idea of lowering the angle. While high angles give a nice overview, they do distance and detach the viewer from the environment.

-

Misj:

Great to see you join in as well, particularly with a contrasting cartoony style.

I hate giving critique regarding stuff like perspective, but I think it may be a bit too off to work, unless I have misjudged the elements:



So it's basically the scaling of the bridge, and the road as it comes towards us.

Another thing small thing is that I think it could benefit from having one of the trees reach above the upper cropping line. As it is, all objects, even the cloud reach pretty much the same vertical point, and pushing for instance the middle tree above the line would help it I think.

-

Anyway, great to see these new entries, and don't hesitate to give comments or critique, even though we're still in the experimental stages, where the creators may be aware of many flaws in their work.
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very beautiful bg loominous  :o
Sorry, I had some school stuff to do, but now I think I might be able to finish in time

updated

o/

Andail

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Nice progress, Loomy, but right now there's a jumble of shapes and highlights, giving a slightly disorderly impression. Maybe it will sort itself out once you colour it.

Composition-wise, I think there's simply too much in the picture right now, and the wavy shapes that are repeated here and there distract the eye a bit.

Also, you have a few lines/objects that meet somewhat awkwardly; the top of the swing-stand ends just where the balcony begins, making it look like the latter rests upon the former. Similarly, the sign blends with the tree behind it, as they have similar shapes.

These are of course minor issues, and all in all it's a beautiful piece with lots of atmosphere.

Nice progress, Loomy, but right now there's a jumble of shapes and highlights, giving a slightly disorderly impression. Maybe it will sort itself out once you colour it.

Composition-wise, I think there's simply too much in the picture right now, and the wavy shapes that are repeated here and there distract the eye a bit.

Also, you have a few lines/objects that meet somewhat awkwardly; the top of the swing-stand ends just where the balcony begins, making it look like the latter rests upon the former. Similarly, the sign blends with the tree behind it, as they have similar shapes.

These are of course minor issues, and all in all it's a beautiful piece with lots of atmosphere.


I agree with you on pretty much everything - particularly the disorderly impression. Thing is, I don't really know how to fix it, as there are many competing interests.

I) I want a lots of objects.
II) I want focus

III) I don't want high contrast or dark tones at the building.
IV) I want the building to stand out and be the center of attention

V) I want an open feel
VI) I want to block out the bright sky

(VII) I want depth)
(VIII) I want a short walking distance and minor character scaling)

As you say, perhaps colouring will sort it out to an extent, as it would separate the areas, but I don't really like depending on colour for readability. Values should suffice.

Particularly my wish to keep the house in low contrast and mid values has made it really hard to get some focus going. It can easily be fixed, but then my other intentions will get compromised. That is, given the solutions I've come up with thus far.

Feel free to give it a paint over if you have a solution that might not conflict with the interests given above.

(Good to see some feedback, been pretty quiet on that front so far)

Edit:

Oh, and my intention style wise is to have it look like something between an old photo (which blows out the sky) and something Bill Tillery.

Missed those tangents you mentioned (will fix).
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2008, 00:21 by loominous »
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Forgot about these when I commented:

Exsecratus:

update (06/27):


I really like the mood that the back light provides, particularly by the windmill which looks great. You mentioned that you were gonna alter it, but I think the current setup works quite well, with a few alterations that would light up the building more, if only its edges. Atm the lighting does pull the focus towards the windmill, due to the high contrast, so the cloud placement might not be ideal in that respect, which is probably what you were referring to when you said you were gonna change it.

-

Neil:




I love the style, and the design of everything is just great (the sign is rather odd looking atm though, but it's perhaps just a placeholder).

-

Both:

There are a few things that I think these have in common that could be the subject of some testing:

Atm the landscapes are quite flat, and you basically have a horizon line at top of which the windmill resides, and nothing really beyond them. I'm personally very fond of flat landscapes, but a few larger bumps in the landscape (coupled with some foliage) should create some more depth and interest. It also clutters the image, so I'm not saying it's a safe bet.

The viewing angle is quite high in both (the viewer is at the height of the second floor in both (just by looking at the point at which the horizon cuts the building)), and it's also quite distant. I think pushing the camera closer n lower would create more connection to the environment, instead of a view similar to looking at an area through binoculars - very detached that is. A closer camera also creates more connection with the player character, which becomes more than a few moving pixels (my image suffers from this as well).

Another thing that a lower camera provides is foreground (which they both sort of lack), which becomes easier to come up with when you're closer to the ground.

Just a few thoughts.
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2008, 02:17 by loominous »
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Misj'

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Updated with inking

Great to see you join in as well, particularly with a contrasting cartoony style.
Hopefully I'll have time to finish it.

Quote
I hate giving critique regarding stuff like perspective, but I think it may be a bit too off to work, unless I have misjudged the elements:

So it's basically the scaling of the bridge, and the road as it comes towards us.
Yeah, as you can see in de perspective-sketch the road originally went in a different direction, but once I decided to attach te sign a a branch, I had to reroute the road...I hoped I could get away with it. Anyway, I've changed the road to be closer to the correct perspective in the latest update.

On a side-note, you've made the character a little too small when standing at the door. The main character would be approximately 1:83m, however, I wanted to give the house an older - more medieval - origin, back to a time when the average hight was smaller (approximately 1:60m)...so I've drawn the door to have an approximate hight of 1:70m (see image below).

Quote
Another thing small thing is that I think it could benefit from having one of the trees reach above the upper cropping line.
I've adapted the three on the outside to make them bigger (this was also required by the correction of the road). I wanted to keep the middle area quite 'open', to make the outside areas more claustrophobic (I will have to reflect this in the colouring, and have no idea how to implement that just yet, but the borders will probably become darker (closer to black, and more monotonous) than the inner area). As you can see in the image below, object exceed both the upper and the lower border of the image now.

Ok...it's time for some self-critique:


There is one major design-flaw in this image (encircled in green): overlapping lines. It's difficult to make out the window-border due to the overlapping swing-rope. This makes the drawing difficult to read, and is reason enough to redesign the right area of the image (if this were a real game-, comic-, or animation-background I would be very much urged to do so...but as it is, I just don't have the time, and hope that in the final - coloured - version it will work).

Also, the perspective of the farm in the back is obviously way off...I won't change that though because it looks better this way. And sometimes aesthetics is more important than correctness.

Furthermore, I might add a (black) foreground layer in post-production containing some weeds, branches, etc in black. I'll see about that when I have time.

Finally, I've added Solomon in various scaling sizes to give an impression of character-scaling throughout the image. He would probably never be as big as the version on the left, because by this time I would have changed rooms (to the scary forest area).

Daniel Thomas

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Nice too see activity here again, hopefully Ill have some freetime now.

So far:

Not that far into it, but mainly working with composition and trying to get it working.
Right now Im thinking of extending the format to widescreen, the house just makes this format boring right now and is almost the same kind of square. Im also thinking of bringing the camera closer to the house, and also moving up the house as the walking area is pretty low now, with all the objects - I think it feels uncomfortable and I think it should be brought up to at least a third.

Haven't gone through the posted work yet, but will try to do that to soon.
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evenwolf

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That is bloody brilliant!   

Ive got new sketches, Ill update them here tomorrow.
"I drink a thousand shipwrecks.'"

Link to progress thread





This is the latest composition I've tried, and I think it's getting close to something I'm happy with. I've basically pulled the mid ground closer to the camera to become something of a new foreground, and ditched the old one. The bridge is now a wooden bridge, that is more easily read than the former stone one, and also produces less contrast which steals less focus from the house. In addition, it allowed me to quite easily add a stream beneath it, something that the other solutions (of which there have been many didn't provide. And even better, the sign is now close enough to be actually readable.

Other benefits: The sign now frames a bigger portion of the far background (where the windmill can be seen (a very messy area atm)), the fence now goes around the yard, forming a nice big curve:



which a) leads the viewer around the bottom part of the image up towards the house and b) as it's slanting /, it compensates for the  lean of the top part of the image.

The downside is that there's now a pretty large distance to the house from the bridge, which isn't ideal. Also, atm, there's a perspective issue at the bridge, where we're pretty high above the character height, which isn't ideal either. It can be fixed by lowering the camera, which I'm considering.

Some other things: I but the right side garden area in shadow to detract attention and pushed the swingset further back, to open up the yard and increase readability. The swingset has been a problem ever since I put it in.
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So good to see this being alive and well.

I haven't updated yet, but am working on it.

Quote from: Loominous
(the sign is rather odd looking atm though, but it's perhaps just a placeholder).
(Yes it is).

Quote from: Loominous
Atm the landscapes are quite flat, and you basically have a horizon line at top of which the windmill resides, and nothing really beyond them. I'm personally very fond of flat landscapes, but a few larger bumps in the landscape (coupled with some foliage) should create some more depth and interest. It also clutters the image, so I'm not saying it's a safe bet.
Am working on the landscape. I'll be putting some details into them; some foliage, but also fields around the farm. There's also a hint of the stream in the back there, I'll try to do something with that. Also, the sky seems to take too much space atm, but I didn't throw any of the furthest landscape in, some extra hills etc. And no clouds.

Quote from: Loominous
The viewing angle is quite high in both (the viewer is at the height of the second floor in both (just by looking at the point at which the horizon cuts the building)), and it's also quite distant. I think pushing the camera closer n lower would create more connection to the environment, instead of a view similar to looking at an area through binoculars - very detached that is. A closer camera also creates more connection with the player character, which becomes more than a few moving pixels (my image suffers from this as well).

Another thing that a lower camera provides is foreground (which they both sort of lack), which becomes easier to come up with when you're closer to the ground.
This is an interesting point. I definitely prefer the eye-level camera angle for many things, to improve immersion and get more depth; "regular" images, film/television etc. The thing here, with the little adventure game creating experience I've had, slightly higher angles have helped the functionality of the backgrounds. The walkable areas get bigger vertically, thus giving more "air" to the clickable objects and exits, and in general a more smooth experience for the player. Also you can get away with much less scaling of the protagonist character. Foreground objects can also interfere if not balanced very carefully.

A lot of games, eg. Sierra operate with high angles most of the time.

I agree 100% on the distance though, and will move a bit closer.

----

Some feedback:
@Loominous
This looks very appealing, and has superb mood. I'm glad you ditched the old foreground, as I think there is enough going on in the front now. Fantastic building. Also, clever framing of the windmill. Where is the farm gonna be? The fence in the middle looks a bit dangerous for small kids...

@Misj
It looks very messy now, obviously since no values have been added. I personally think the bridge is a tad on the huge side, and will, along with the dominant tree, obstruct most of the character as he passes. Perhaps a taller tree would open it up more? Very interesting style nontheless.

@Zyndikate
Very good as usual, and i like the interaction of the surrounding lines. I wouldn't mind opening it up a bit in the upper right area though, as it might feel a bit claustrophobic. To quote our friend mr. Tiller:
Quote from: Bill Tiller
It is good to have a balance or empty areas and busy areas, it gives the viewer a place to rest their eyes.
(Link) It would also give some breathing space for the farm+windmill.

Misj'

  • To lazy to add an avatar...
Zyndikate

In your latest sketch I have the feeling that the house became a little too complex. I really liked your earlier sketches, but have the feeling that in this sketch you wanted too much. This makes the house a little difficult to read. Not in a sense that I can't make each of the seperate pieces out, because I can, but I can't see which part of the design is most important. Comparted to you earlier sketches the house - to me - feels like it's a step backwards (I'm not too happy with my interpreation of the house and consider it way to simplified...so that's the opposite side of the spectrum).

Loominous

Small question: which window does the girl sit at?

Neil & Exsecratus
I like the fact that you can clearly see how a personal style can affect the way a script is interpreted. The one thing that bothers me is that both of you (and I) had a problem with the 'open' background. In a way I prefer the open background to the solution used by both Loominous and Zyndikate (they both more or less closed it up by confining the distance the player can look...simply adding trees in front of it). Somehow that doesn't feel right to me...but maybe it's the way to go. I'm not sure yet.

You've already discovered that I like to react to people's comments, so...

@Misj
It looks very messy now, obviously since no values have been added. I personally think the bridge is a tad on the huge side, and will, along with the dominant tree, obstruct most of the character as he passes. Perhaps a taller tree would open it up more? Very interesting style nontheless.

Yeah, that's a general disadvantage when using a traditional comic-book approach: the line-art looks messy since you don't have the values that the person who drew it has in his or her mind. In many cases even the pure black isn't inked to save ink. If I were to have someone else colour it, I would have indicated these areas, but as it is, I have them in my mind and not op paper.

As for the bridge and the tree, since they are always at the border of the image (either at the right before scolling, or at the left after scrolling) the obstruction should not be that much of a problem...at least not in my mind. Also, it should be added, that in order to be able to draw it, I've created a bit more of a story than provided by Loominous. In my mind a new chapter starts at this point of the story, and this screen would then be the introduction to the location; leading from the end of the previous chapter (scary forrest - left side of the image) to the beginning of this chapter (finding your sister (girl with the sock puppet) in the orphanage - right side of the image). With this in mind I set up the background, and - if I manage to colour it the way I have it in my mind - the obstructing three and bridge would accent this border between the previous chapter and the next.

I just hope that I'll have time to colour it before the contest ends, because I'll be in Ireland for the next weeks. But then again, I'll be taking a few pencils and a lot of paper with me, so maybe I'll get inspired by some of the Irish scenery.

-----------------------

Maybe I should use my time in Ireland to redesign the whole thing. I like the overall composition where this scrolling background is a leap from chapter 1 to chapter 2...but based on the analysation of the work of you guys I'm just not happy with several of the components (the house, the lack of background, the overlapping lines on the right, and the fact that my brother dislikes a bride with staircases ;) ). I should be able to make it all a lot more interesting (and I have some ideas how to do it thanks to you guys).

Loominous...it takes up a lot of time, but I find this workshop edition extremely interesting :)

Andail

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Zyndikate; very nice. Excellent values, nice shapes, brilliant composition.

Loomy: Needless to say, a vast improvement. The image really needed a way into it, and I was just gonna suggest that you added a path or bridge or something in the foreground, instead of that impenetrable layer of blackness.
I think the issue with your former compositon was the following:
It was too layered, without any lines or shapes moving into the picture, connecting the various layers. It was like a parallax-scrolled platform shooter; various objects lined up beside each other in neat layers. Nothing linked them together.

I think with your current use of overlapping you've created a much more harmonic piece.

Neil & Exsecratus
I like the fact that you can clearly see how a personal style can affect the way a script is interpreted. The one thing that bothers me is that both of you (and I) had a problem with the 'open' background. In a way I prefer the open background to the solution used by both Loominous and Zyndikate (they both more or less closed it up by confining the distance the player can look...simply adding trees in front of it). Somehow that doesn't feel right to me...but maybe it's the way to go. I'm not sure yet.
No, I agree. I like to have some space too :)

I wasn't thinking of the scrolling mechanism you wrote about, but can see how that would work. Am looking forward to seeing your BG with values!

update

A few changes, a closer and slightly lower camera angle.
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2008, 19:58 by Neil Dnuma »

I definitely prefer the eye-level camera angle for many things, to improve immersion and get more depth; "regular" images, film/television etc. The thing here, with the little adventure game creating experience I've had, slightly higher angles have helped the functionality of the backgrounds. The walkable areas get bigger vertically, thus giving more "air" to the clickable objects and exits, and in general a more smooth experience for the player. Also you can get away with much less scaling of the protagonist character. Foreground objects can also interfere if not balanced very carefully.

A lot of games, eg. Sierra operate with high angles most of the time.

I think the standard practice in LEC games as well as in movies is to have high angles for large environments, and low for tight, for the reasons you mentioned. To clarify:


Larger version

Looking at other games, such as Sam&Max, the angles are almost always higher than the characters, and in DOTT the angle shifts from room to room, in what looks like an arbitrary manner (but it's generally quite low (eye level)).

I also think it's a matter of style. Games with limited foreground and distant characters give more of a theater stage impression, which has a detached charm to it. Pushing the camera closer gives it more of a movie like look (as you mentioned), which creates more immersion, but lacks that charm, and can look a bit clumsy.

I think Bill Tiller is taking lower angles even further now that he's using 3D characters, as can be seen in this screen:



-


A few changes, a closer and slightly lower camera angle.

Looking at the new edit, you could test going further with the limited background, in the style of Winnie the Pooh, creating a nice limited atmosphere:



I really like this kind of limited depth, as you're in a way completely focusing on the small area at hand, even though it's part of a large environment, which I think helps create the friendly world of Winnie the Pooh. It's like these places become separate worlds in some sense, even if we'd expect to see a huge surrounding if it wasn't for the fact that all these areas happen to be on small hills.

(I did the same thing in this background (the perspective is messed up though, so it's hard to read the position of the horizon, but it should be low)

Just a thought.

----

Quote
Where is the farm gonna be?

Good question.

Quote
The fence in the middle looks a bit dangerous for small kids...

Yea, I've considered adding gates to everything, but they'd start blocking stuff, so I've avoided it so far. Will probably need to add them at some point

Small question: which window does the girl sit at?

Focus wise she ought to be in the rightmost window, but I haven't opened it up yet. I did a small test before, but I didn't like the contrast it brought to the area. Course, contrast is ideal in a spot like that, so it's functional n all that, but anyway.

I guess she could always sit in one of the higher windows, but that wouldn't be very practical or elegant.

So, in short, I don't know atm.

I think the issue with your former compositon was the following:
It was too layered, without any lines or shapes moving into the picture, connecting the various layers. It was like a parallax-scrolled platform shooter; various objects lined up beside each other in neat layers. Nothing linked them together.

It really boiled down to complacency, as I was trying to fix new problems with old material, leading to, at best, mediocre solutions, instead of reworking the new composition ideas from scratch. Again, could have been solved with better pre-work, a lesson I'll probably never learn.

Oddly enough, the current solution is very close to the original idea I had. It is pretty cliche though, so it's not very surprising.

Edit: Added a larger pic version
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2008, 23:16 by loominous »
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Misj'

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Based your comments (and my own):
an alternative composition (based on the same scrolling idea). As you can see, it's a very rough sketch



Added extra trees to the left part of the image (the view of the player is obstructed by these trees).

Complete redesign of the orphanage (more fairytale like) and located it in such a way that the upper window can be seen.

Centre-tree is placed on the other side of river; and the river itself streams differently.

No more staircase on the bridge :)



Even though I'll be away for the next two weeks (so I won't be able to participate during that time...hopefully I'll be able to look at your work and make comments), I'm curious which version you guys think I should pursue: the original version (which I like, but might be a little boring; especially if I do not manage to colour it correctly), or this new version (that would have to be fully developed, inked etc, and thus will take up more time...but looks somewhat more fun)...

...please give me your thoughts.

--- UPDATE --

I've created a new sketch of the house (left: pure pencil, right: to give an impression of the contrast)

Based slightly on the Dutch artists Anton Pieck and Hanco Kolk...

Perspective is off...partly on purpose, because it just looked better ;)

As always: please share your thoughts


<Click separate images to enlarge>

-- Update 2 --

I've created the pencil-drawing for the newly designed background. There are still a number of things that I'm unhappy with (I find especially the forest to busy (half the trees can create the same 'crowded' effect
  (especially when coloured dark), and maybe add some flowers near the house), so I might create a second pencil to rectify these things...



The forest should be scary, dark, and a little claustrophobic. The house will have to be brighter, more dreamy.

Share your thoughts (and please compare it to the original background, which aspects do you like better in which version).

Misj'
« Last Edit: 21 Jul 2008, 00:09 by Misj' »


I'm curious which version you guys think I should persue: the original version (which I like, but might be a little boring; espeacially if I do not manage to colour it correctly), or this new version (that would have to be fully developed, inked etc, and thus will take up more time...but looks somewhat more fun)...

I think perhaps something in between the two might be best (just to make things even more time consuming). The new one has more vertical variation which I like, and creates a more exciting n interesting impression, but it feels pretty cramped atm, with very little breathing room, which the former one provided much more of. If I had to pick one though, I'd pick the latter, due to the more dynamic elements.

Another thing you could try is to break up the rotation of the elements. Right now things are either going in a line straight towards us, or, parallel to us, in a rectangular way. I think breaking this up with a rotated bridge, and a more curvy road would loosen things up more, and make it more dynamic.

Just some quick ideas.

-

Neil:

Your image reminds me a bit of an environment in Les Triplettes de Belleville, so in case you haven't seen it, or want a refresher, here are some screens from it, that might give you some ideas about stuff to add n such:


Larger version
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2008, 23:55 by loominous »
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Looking at it now, my camera angle is quite high, it's a problem to change it now >:(
I guess the whole layout is wrong, everything is far away so I have when I zoomed a little more I had a hard time trying to make all elements visible. I should have compact the scene more.
Mine img is huge, let's just say it's a 800x500 scrolling bg.
I tried a darker atmosphere with some light focusing on main things and lots of fog.
the girl in mine is really wierd, sorry, I don't know to do organic modelling.

Updated

zyndikate draw looks very depp in the florest, while mine and Neil looks more like in the open field.
Misj' second drawing looks nicer to me.
I like to see how everyone got their layouts of the scene.

I'm going to have exams and may be out for a while, So if the workshops ends this is going to be my final image. But if I have time I could try a better lightning solution.

o/

evenwolf

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That camera view is not too high.  Not in the slightest.  You're just being effected by all this LEC talk but there's no need to fret.  Each person's design doesn't have to be ominous and towering above the player.   I think that screen is quite fantastic the way it is.
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2008, 06:18 by evenwolf »
"I drink a thousand shipwrecks.'"



Quote from: Exsecratus
Looking at it now, my camera angle is quite high, it's a problem to change it now

Quote from: evenwolf
That camera view is not too high.  Not in the slightest.  You're just being effected by all this LEC talk but there's no need to fret.

I hope it didn't seem like I was suggesting that high angles were bad. The right angle is whatever you're happy with.

Quote from: Exsecratus
I guess the whole layout is wrong, everything is far away so I have when I zoomed a little more I had a hard time trying to make all elements visible. I should have compact the scene more.

I was about to suggest this very thing when i saw the screen. I think the bridge/house part works pretty well though, and I think the vast landscape calls for a less compact environment, as there is no space issue for the residents to consider.

Quote
Maybe if I played with the focal length settings on the camera but I don't really know much about it.

From my limited knowledge of depth of field, I think the current setting is quite a bit too strong, and gives it a miniature look. As I assume that the focus would be placed on the house, which is at a fair distance, the current strong defocus would occur at greater distances than the present ones. But again, my insight into dof is limited.

-

Regarding the lighting:

I think your current setup works nicely by the house, but I thought your previous solution by the windmill was much more attractive. That solution did include focus stealing contrast by the windmill though, so I wouldn't recommend keeping it entirely, but perhaps to an extent.

It's very dark, even for a cloudy day, so I'd probably light it up a bit more, but perhaps just to the windmill/background/sky area.

I hope you're able to tinker around with it some more, and do some grading at the colouring stage as I really like the environment and think it's the nicest looking 3D entry I've ever seen in the BB.
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Andail

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Execratus, I generally abhor 3D backgrounds, but yours is very nice. As has been suggested though, the shallow depth of field makes it look like a miniature model.

The eye can be focusing on something very close - which would render everything beyond it blurry - or it could focus on something in the distance, which would blur only that which is very close. However, focusing on something 30 yards away wouldn't blur something 65 yards away. Both those distances lie in the area of "remote"; the lemniscate-area of the camera.

Another aspect that makes the scenery look like a model is the lighting; since the sky is very dark, the bright, direct light appears to be from strong lamps. I would let some hints of sunshine break through here and there in the clouds. That would make the bright spots on the ground more realistic.

Furthermore, as much as this is a great picture, it's still 3D...I can only speak for myself, but good gravy, if you were to paint over this to make it more 2D, more like a painting, that would really rock my socks :)

Thinking about moving on to stage 3, so just wondering if anyone needs more time in this stage.
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I made another render, without the too strong dof and less foggy
But without fog makes the back part very empty
And you can really see how my textures are very crappy by the house

here a part of the house texture, it joins photographic texturing and paint on top


o/

Hi Execratus,

I love your background. Without the strong DOF it looks much more enjoyable now. You can see more of the image and I think it is better "playable" now :-)

Just a few points that came to my mind:

- Perhaps add a little more weathering to the vertical beam structure of the house. Right now it looks a bit too flat and grey in my opinion.

- I think you're aiming for a rather realistic look of the background. So perhaps you can add a little step or stepping stone at the transition from the ground to the bridge because at the moment the border looks very crisp and also very steep.

- Add more grass/weeds along the border of the house.

- Reduce the size of the single grass strands in the left foreground portion of the picture. I think it would look better if there were many more (but smaller) patches of grass.

This screenshot from Secret Files: Tunguska

shows what I mean although the grass in that image is too tall for your scene, but you get the idea.
I know this will increase render time, but perhaps you can render it in a separate pass.

- And as a last point: scale down the ground texture just a little bit.

But as I said I'm really impressed with your work.
Btw: can you control the position of the spots of sunlight (like the one on the roof)? They really add a great deal to the atmosphere of the image.

Thinking about moving on to stage 3, so just wondering if anyone needs more time in this stage.

I'm fine with that. I'd enjoy seeing some practical tips on going from value sketches to actual values, as I am unsure if the way I do it is very effective.

--

Nice to hear mentioning of Triplets of Belleville, one of my favorite animated films. Such great characters and awesome style. I think maybe the 3D-bits could've been cut though, I feel it crashes just a little (looks impressive though), and would preferably see only parallax techniques used. But: awesome film. I saw it again the other day, and will re-study some stills for inspiration.


Quite a bit overdue, here is:



Introduction to be added

(just want to get the thing finally started)
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Misj'

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(just want to get the thing finally started)

I'm back from the land of the Irish, so hopefully I'll have time to finish my background.
Technically I'm still stuck in part II, but I'll be trying. So just to give you an impression
of what two weeks among the Leprachons brought me, I've updated my part II-post.

Hope you'll like it...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Second update in the same post.

Misj'
« Last Edit: 20 Jul 2008, 23:44 by Misj' »







Share your thoughts (and please compare it to the original background, which aspects do you like better in which version).

Misj'

Good to see you back in action.

To provide a response that I personally always loathe to get myself: I prefer the old one in pretty much every way.

I) It crops off the house/house area better (the new one has this huge walkable area around the house which just takes up space n makes it less functional.
II) It has a nicer variation in openness.
III) It lacks the large uninteresting stream that is taking up as much space as the house.
III) It has shorter walkable distances
IV) The camera is closer to the house (that is my impression anyway), which makes it easier to see and draws us more into the environment.
V) It has a lower angle (personal preference), that makes it more like being there, and places the horizon more at the golden ratio (it's currently at the center, which incidentally isn't recommended by most people I've heard, for the same reason why it's rarely recommended to place something in the dead center horizontally (to get a more dynamic composition).

I think these things together contribute to a nicer more lively scene.

Some other things:

I) The new window frames look almost glued on, as if they didn't really belong there. I think the borderless design of the house made the frameless windows in the old version more consistent. The new design is more interesting though, so I'm not saying that you should ditch it, but perhaps try to make the whole thing look more consistent. (the fact that the wall thickness that you can see in the new one feels too thin adds to the "painted on" impression.

II) I think the old wall with its slope worked better, as it revealed more of the door area. Right now it's almost as if that area is intentionally hidden.

Sorry about being so negative - I really tried finding some stuff that I liked better in the new one but I couldn't really find any, apart from the more interesting design of the house.

Hope you'll keep at it!
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Misj'

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To provide a response that I personally always loathe to get myself: I prefer the old one in pretty much every way.
And this day will go into history as: the day Loominous lost the right to touch a keyboard.  ;)

Quote
I) It crops off the house/house area better (the new one has this huge walkable area around the house which just takes up space n makes it less functional.+
III) It has shorter walkable distances
IV) The camera is closer to the house (that is my impression anyway), which makes it easier to see and draws us more into the environment.

Yes, but it also had the problem that 'it feels pretty cramped atm, with very little breathing room' (I just love misusing peoples quotes :) ). Anyway, the goal was to have the house close enough to be able to use the window but also far away enough not to fill up all the space (making it feel cramped). The new version also gives me more room to add toys, or the path to the back of the house.

Quote
II) It has a nicer variation in openness.

This is absolutely true...I especially like the contrast between the open area behind the house, and the more confined area of the forrest. I got rid of most of the openness in the new version, and closed up the forrest even more. Both should be opened up more.

Quote
III) It lacks the large uninteresting stream that is taking up as much space as the house.
draws us more into the environment.

I think the stream is still a little too big in the sketch...but I want to keep the drain from the house...I like it too much

Quote
V) It has a lower angle (personal preference), that makes it more like being there, and places the horizon more at the golden ratio (it's currently at the center, which incidentally isn't recommended by most people I've heard, for the same reason why it's rarely recommended to place something in the dead center horizontally (to get a more dynamic composition).

Actually, the sketch has the horizon more or less at the centre, whereas the new version has a high horizon (on which I cheated a great deal...)

Quote
I) The new window frames look almost glued on, as if they didn't really belong there. I think the borderless design of the house made the frameless windows in the old version more consistent. The new design is more interesting though, so I'm not saying that you should ditch it, but perhaps try to make the whole thing look more consistent. (the fact that the wall thickness that you can see in the new one feels too thin adds to the "painted on" impression.

Actually, the 'glued on' is more or less the spot on term to describe what I was going for, so somehow that's actually a good thing. These ornaments add - in my opinion - to a somewhat surreal, better-than-life fairytale world...or at least...that was the goal.

Quote
II) I think the old wall with its slope worked better, as it revealed more of the door area. Right now it's almost as if that area is intentionally hidden.

I agree, but couldn't get it right the way I wanted; so I'll have to look into it.

Quote
Sorry about being so negative - I really tried finding some stuff that I liked better in the new one but I couldn't really find any, apart from the more interesting design of the house.
As long as I'm allowed to be like all defensive and stuff there is no problem.  ::)

------------------------------------------------------------------

Fast mock-up time.

Previous version


Mock-up based on some of Loominous's comments


It's a very fast cut-paste-and-move-around composition. But it might address some of the thoughts risen by Loominous. Sigh - I will have to redraw everything.

As always...please comment.

Misj'

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Will we ever get to see the finishing stages for this background?

Version 1.


Version 2.


Version 3 (right side only).


For those of you keeping track:
- Lowered the horizon (to make Loominous happy ;) ).
- Brought the house closer to the viewer (and introducing some minor changes to its design).
- Removed some trees from the background
- Added roses around the upper window to add some hope to the location of the girl

Things that have to be added:
- Background layer of clouds
- Some toys
- Farm and/or mill
- Foreground layer of (black) branches and stuff to increase the feeling of depth to the world (by adding stuff between the observed and the observer)

- The entire left side of the scrolling image...

Who knows...maybe I'm slowly getting there,

Misj'

Ps. My apologies for the double post...

Version 3 (right side only).


Think the variation in openness, and general vertical variation makes it a lot more attractive. The angle of the house, which now appears to points more towards us is another improvement, that makes the image more dynamic. The ground area is varied and interesting, and there's no wasted space. I guess the sky now takes up a very large part of the image, but it could be filled with some foreground branches/leaves, and clouds.

I find myself in the unusual position of thinking that the angle might be a bit too low though. I think the horizon in the first one was nice, at the golden ratio vertically, and I usually place it there myself. Right now it looks like there's pretty much no view of the walkable area. Though when I look at the full size version it shows what needs to be shown, so I guess it could work well.

Another problem with these kind of low angles is that they can make the perspective a bit extreme and odd looking, especially if you don't use "a rounded lens" or three point perspective (right now the vertical lines are still completely vertical, which makes the very slanting / "horizontal" look extreme. So a box looks something like:

 /|'''''|
/ |__|
|/__/

Think guys like Bill Tiller often bend the lines to simulate a rounded lens. I do at least. Our eyes have a rounded lens, so we're used to straight lines looking curved (though we don't think about it).

(Btw, something that messes up the perspective, making the roof look odd is that the upper window isn't in perspective, which I assume you're aware of, but ignored due to the sharp slanting lines it would've meant if you had followed the perspective. I don't personally think this is a good solution, as while it saves the window, it messes up our impression of the rest of the house.

Hm, looks like the lower window is out of perspective as well)

I'm not a stickler when it comes to perspective, but consistent perspective in individual elements ensures that we read the objects properly, so it's not a matter of them adhering to rules, but being read as intended.

Right now for instance, it looks like the house's top roof part is slanting, when it in fact isn't.


Regarding the lines themselves, I guess it may be a matter of style, but the many ruler like straight lines gives a pretty dull/unorganic impression. I'm not advocating extreme bended lines for everything, but something that makes run down buildings charming is their lack of clean surfaces and perfect lines. Especially for stuff like roofs. Just doing the lines freehand without the ambition of drawing perfect lines is usually enough to instill the analogue feel that is the beauty and paintings/drawings.

Zyndikate usually manages to get his lines very neat looking but still organic, so you could have a look at his stuff if you're interested. His line-work overall is annoyingly good.

It's interesting to follow your experimentation, so I hope you'll keep at it!

Edit: I think avoiding using rulers and perspective lines is a nice way to increase the analogue feel. Try estimating the perspective, and then correct the biggest error after the sketch is done. This way you keep the drawing process loose. Think zyndikate does this (me too).

Drawing a few lines from the vanishing points across the page to create a very loose grid is another way, that allows you to "see" the perspective, and follow it loosely as you put in your lines.
« Last Edit: 25 Jul 2008, 23:29 by loominous »
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Daniel Thomas

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::UPDATE::

Did two more sits on my background, changes:
- change the canvas size, firstly the width to not make it so crowded, Im figuring when including a building you probably want to have scrolling background or just showing a part of the background- I think this because otherwise you will get the viewer far away from the "action", I think the more intimate feels more charming.
- Tweaking, adding, moving
-Tweaking, adding, changing, flipping

The values seems a little bit too split apart right now, I think the darkest value is too far away and probably will play around with it the next sit.
Im also consider to blow the house up even more, to make it closer to the foreground, to move it closer the viewer for same reason mentioned above.

::some comments::
loominous: looking good, as always - only thing I could think of that isnt in my taste is that have something right infront of that beautiful house, I think I would rather have the breathing room right there. I do understand it gives depth to it with the overlapping, maybe if the gate was less complex I wouldnt mind it.

Misj: I would have put the vanishing points further away, but I think it still can work. What I think you should try is the remove the tree in the middle left, its almost splitting the picture in two - I think, even if its a scrolling background, it should be a whole. Maybe only using minor framing for each side of a scrolling background.

About lines, I think atleast for cartoonish the lines should have a little life to them, like a little spring-force in them and rythmical. A straight line would feel static/hard, a saggy line feels very organic but maybe a bit tired - So i think somewhere inbetween is good(depending on the object. If you wanna experiment with this I think a good way is just let the wrist, elbow, shoulder(depending in the lines length) just to its magic, You usually get a natural twist to the lines - you could almost think as if its bend at a third of the line. Just try to keep it loose.

I know atleast in my backgrounds, if you flip them you can see that its very much from the wrist as the whole composition starts to lean to the left - its a funny thing that I never see this when its in the "right" direction. Could also be that we read from right to left that we more natural follows the lines as they work its way to the right, but gets resistence when they start leaning to the left. Who know? not me atleast :)

I think its good that you practice perspective though, you will probably have use for it - but consider it a tool - I think its ok to be off perspective aslong its not annoying :)

Dunno if it made much sense, someone is tired..

::UPDATE::

Moved house closer, tweaked, added.
The values hasnt been fixed though, I want a little more sepperation in them - but not go away from a gloomy mood.

::UPDATE::


::COLOR::
Click for bigger:

Those are the color-sketches so far, I don't want to go too lively - only with a "string of hope" and try to keep it toned down. Any comments so far? which one do you think works best and why? Personally I think the first would tell the story best, but at the same time it looks the most boring I think - maybe if I could squish in a couple of weak accents .
« Last Edit: 28 Jul 2008, 20:15 by zyndikate »
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Misj'

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As usual, a long post: some minor comments to Zyndikate's latest background are at the end (so if you're him, you might want to scroll down a bit).

Well Loominous, you do realize that you've just written down one of the biggest insults you can give a cartoonist right? - Implying to have used a ruler. That's like saying to an animator that he traced live action videos. It's an absolute no-no. ;)

So to defend myself on this point. I did use straight perspective lines to reference the basic structure of the main part of the house (door area). But only the general shape (cube, cuboid, etc), and the general location of the door and windows. I did - however - not trace these lines, and everything is completely freehand using these lines only as a general reference (consequently, many of the lines are curved). Tower, staircase, roof, etc it's all freehand. I often use curved lines (see as an example), but I felt that for this drawing such curvature would ruin the image. I'll explain in a moment why...but first these messages.

What I agree with (partly):
- Loominous: The horizon is quite low. Two-point perspective should always have a horizon close to the centre of the image or else it will look weird (which is not a problem when intentional). Otherwise three-point or five-point perspective generally works better. However...in this particular case I believe that it actually works. Remember that I didn't draw this as a 'puzzle' background but as an introduction to a new area/chapter. That also means that you can get away with a different kind of composition, that may be a little more extreme. Still I am convinced that characters will not suffer from this perspective and will still blend in without problems.
- Zyndikate: The VP's might have been set a little further apart, that's true, and that might have been better. But looking at the result I like it, and that's enough reason not to change it.
- Zyndikate: The tree in the middle does indeed split the image in two...but that was the intention.

What I disagree with (mostly):
- Loominous: Non of the windows is out of perspective. The reason why you felt the roof-window is, is, because I didn't draw the window parallel to the wall beneath and it's cap perpendicular to that wall. Instead I decided to draw them slightly down, 'bending' somewhat over the wall. There are some perspective-mistakes. But this wasn't one of them.

So it's time to come back to the subject of curved lines. As you, Loominous, pointed out: 'straight lines are unorganic, while curved lines are organic'. The point is, the only (somewhat) straight lines that I used are part of an non-organic structure: the man-made house. And men - especially in Western Europe - tend to use straight non-organic structures. That's actually the biggest problem that I have with your composition: the house has style, character, charisma (which is why I decided not to care)...but it doesn't look like it's created by men. Maybe if they had a fairy architect, but humans wouldn't do it like that. It's - as you like - too organic. As if it was created as part of nature rather than 'culture'. I wanted to go the opposite way: the house is something that men have put there. Consequently I had to give it this non-organic feel. It HAS to be the opposite of the nature around it (contrast is still the word).

I should add, that the decay is not man-made, and should be a lot more dynamic, organic than the house itself. It's something 'nature' did, and you should be able to see that. That is also why I used lines in these (wet area below the window, the roses, slime on the lower grid, etc) that are far more curved. Similar lines in trees, rocks, the river, flowers, grass. These are all organic, and these should have curved lines. For the house such curves should be limited.

I should also point out, that - even though many of the lines in the house are already slightly curved - most of these lined will gain a little in curvature during each iteration that I draw it. And that will be at least two more times (pencil and ink). Simply, because I couldn't draw a straight line if my life depended on it.

To Zyndikate:
There are two things that feel wrong to me in the current version of your background. The first is the direction of the sign. It's directed at the player and not at the characters (who would walk the road, or cross the bridge). They would be looking at the back of the sign, which doesn't make sense in the game-world.. The other thing is, that - when looking at the house - my eyes are drawn away from the window. But that's where the girl is sitting. That's the main point of focus in our story. I tried it a number of times, but every time I  loose the window from my sight.

Misj'

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Misj'

Yea, I was aware of the problem of the sign when I put it down - what went on in my mind was "I need some shape here, I dont have a sign in the background(I thought it was in the description since many had a sign :) ). It struck me that it doesn make much sense having it turned out by the river - although I dont think its that extreme that the player would be looking at the back, thinking hes entering from the right corner. As for technical application its acting as a interlock with the background.

But its a problem thats pending to get a good solution - same with the window, I havent managed to get the focus there yet. Im think its going to sort out when I go in and put down some detail around it. Or anyone know what the main problem can be? Too contrasty values foreground?
« Last Edit: 26 Jul 2008, 22:25 by zyndikate »
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Zyndikate:

anyone know what the main problem can be? Too contrasty values foreground?

I guess you might've tried this, as it's quite an obvious solution, but letting a bit of light pass onto the window area might do the trick. It does ruin some of the mood and nice effect that the side/backlight provides though.



To enhance the effect, I removed some of the foliage next to window area of the house, to increase the contrast there, without boosting any actual values. Another thing was to place parts of the left side of the house in shadow, as if it was blocked by a tree, to lead the eye more towards the window area (and because I like shadows formed by leaves like that).

That's one thing that I find really gratifying with doing backgrounds like these: we can invent conditions that suit the angle we're working in, without there being a risk of compromising other shots.

Btw, I really liked the bush in the center middle in the previous version, that provided a nice bridge to the background part, along with the little hill that came with it. In the latest you instead have something similar to that fog you see in fps games, that looks a bit, I dunno, fake/cheap. I guess that might be one of the parts you have yet to start working on. Seems like the kind of area one leaves to be fixed later on.

Also, I love the pony stick hanging over the sign. Excellent idea and execution.

Quote from: zyndikate
only thing I could think of that isnt in my taste is that have something right infront of that beautiful house, I think I would rather have the breathing room right there. I do understand it gives depth to it with the overlapping, maybe if the gate was less complex I wouldnt mind it.

Yea, I wasn't thrilled with this solution either, and as you can see in earlier versions I tried to keep it from overlapping the house, but with this camera position I couldn't maintain it without separating them to the far sides of the picture.

The simplified gate idea might do the trick, so I'm gonna try that out.

-

Misj:

I guess when I saw your tree design I should've figured you're into straight-ish/vector like lines/designs. I assumed the un-organic quality wasn't intentional.

To clarify, it's not so much that they're not bent, but that they're bent as if they were bezier curves, with completely consistent line thickness. It's kind of like vector graphics on paper.

Which is of course a style choice as good as any other.

Quote from: misj
the house [... ] doesn't look like it's created by men. Maybe if they had a fairy architect, but humans wouldn't do it like that. It's - as you like - too organic.

Hadn't struck me that it could be perceived like this. To me it's a moderately loose design, with a few curved shapes caused by the deterioration. Something that could be found in a Pinocchio like town. I'm actually planning on integrating it far more - when I go into the detail stage - as it currently just stands there right on the grass, which to me is a really boring solution, so I'm gonna add some bushes/flower beds to smoothen out the transition from walls to ground.

As I'm just glad to hear it's this organic looking, and want to be able to repeat this, what elements in particular do you experience as different?

-

Edit:

Oh and zyndikate, any reason for moving away from the more quirky design of your earlier sketches?

Just saw this first sketch, and the design strikes me as much more interesting/dynamic. Want to move towards a more serious look with the latest design?

The first sketch:


Think this old one had a great design and layout.
« Last Edit: 27 Jul 2008, 20:54 by loominous »
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Update:
http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/yabb/index.php?topic=34542.msg460981#msg460981

Tweaking and mostly detailing.
I hadnt tried any solutions until todays sit, but I think it was more or less how I tried to solve it, bringing in brighter lights contrasting the window and putting more details around it- not sure if its overdone though, or does it work?

Yea, I decided to go for the more serious/calm mood to fit the background description, and also its a new thing for me and I wanted to test it out. But I do agree that the earlier was much more dynamic and "fun". But Im still trying to have the cartoony look, but a toned down mood.
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Misj'

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Minor update...

The pencil sketch is mostly ready. Some things will still have to be added, but these are minor and can be added on different layers. These things include the barn and/or mill, toys, and a (black?) foreground layer that included branches etc.



Quote
I guess when I saw your tree design I should've figured you're into straight-ish/vector like lines/designs. I assumed the un-organic quality wasn't intentional.

To clarify, it's not so much that they're not bent, but that they're bent as if they were bezier curves, with completely consistent line thickness. It's kind of like vector graphics on paper.

Which is of course a style choice as good as any other.

Actually, I'm not into vector constant-thickness-like curves as such (although I do vector as well as pen/pencil-paper depending on what I'm working on, or which look I want to create for a particular piece). It's just that when I pencil I don't want to be bothered with these things (just like I don't bother myself with things like contrast and colour). When I pencil it's all about shape and composition. The thickness of the final lines depends on the method of inking (as specifically the tools used). I haven't decided on the way I will ink this particular piece, but I'm currently partial to digital inking. I'll make a final decision about that tomorrow. Just to give a small example of where I might be going with the inking I did a few quick lines:



Since most of this information (colour, contrast, line-variety) is in my head, and I understand that non of you can read my mind (at least I hope), it is difficult to interpret certain parts of where the image is going, making it somewhat impossible to comment on these things...but I find it easier not to work on each of these things at the same time.

I have decided that this will be my final composition, so the next part will be inking, and adding some minor features.

Misj'

Daniel Thomas

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Last update, I couldnt keep my finger off it.
Unless anyone has something to add I think this will be the final value-composition and Ill start adding colors tomorrow.

I think it looks good Misj, will be fun to see where you take it from here.

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Misj'

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Colorsketch update:
http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/yabb/index.php?topic=34542.msg460981#msg460981

My wife prefers the top-right.
The one below that, if it were a horror story.

(and I agree...as a good husband should ;) )

::COLOR::
Click for bigger:


Any comments so far? which one do you think works best and why?

I personally find 1, 4 and 5 most suiting. I'd try finding alternatives to the very yellowy hue of the lit grass part on the left though, which I suspect might be kind of killing the somber mood in 1,2,3 too efficiently - leaving more than a ray of hope. Not sure how it would work out in practice though. The sunlight is yellow/orange after all.

The reason I picked those is also because the others, #3 in particular, have a very clear diversity in colour, leading to a bit of a happy cartoon feel. I think more somber stuff calls for more monochrome palettes, though it's tricky to avoid the dull impression you speak of regarding #1.

One thing you could test is to use more desaturated colours for parts of the image (not saying it should be desaturated overall), as right now it feels like most of the colours you've introduced (apart from parts of #5) have their own clear hue (green being green - not just a colour that appears green).

My eyes may very well be tricked though.

Anyway, a pretty lame bunch of comments, but I just wanted to provide some feedback.
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Latest - Cleaned-up(alot of artifacts), tweaked.(bad jpg quality though)
I post here, the other page starting to get picture-heavy.
I tried to keep the mood down, to prevent dullness I added accents to the windows - Maybe theyre just a tid too strong right now.

Its hard not to do sunsets, mornings and all those rich and beautiful colors  - weak spot. :)


::UPDATE::

Worked on the mood, going for blue instead for yellow atmosphere to somehow make it more sad and toned down mood. Other then that mostly tweak and alot of cosmetics. (Its not really that sharp details, just that I applied a sharp since it was so much resize)
Things Im wondering: Does the window take _too_ much attention?
Does the colors feel alright?
Anything else that is distractin? Like the broken windows? Wall textures? etc.

Thinking that its starting too like more scary than sad :)

::UPDATE:: sorry for the intensive posting.
« Last Edit: 31 Jul 2008, 19:09 by zyndikate »
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Misj'

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To Zyndikate
I disagree with Loominous. The more monochrome pallete in my opinion doesn't create a more somber impression, just a more depressed (or maybe horror-like) impression. Personally I feel that the more colour-diverse versions have a lot more character.

Also, I believe that within a game - and that is what the background blitz is in theory about - that option is better. If you were to use a single colour-pallete throughout the entire game, it would quickly become bland. And if you don't (and use multiple palletes), than blending in your main character will be more difficult. Unless he too is affected by the pallete of the area he's currently in. But I'm not really partial to that option.

Now if you were to use it for a different medium (eg a book), than it would be a whole different ballgame. But for an ingame background...I don't think the more monochrome look is the best.

To Loominous
Considering the amount of time that I have free to spend on this image, I'll probably need another two to three weeks to finish inking and colouring. I know that's a lot of time to request...

To Zyndikate
A monochromous pallete could work as an ingame, if it were a flashback. Now if I were to write that, I would have one background in more of less desaturated or monochrome colouring where the house is still in it's somewhat glorydays, and second background which is more or less the same, but with a more interesting/diverse colouring in the present day (whenever that is) where decay has clearly affected the house. This also creates a nice contrast: past glorydays-less interesting colouring vs present decay-more diverse colouring.

Misj'

Daniel Thomas

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Thanks for the comments!
Yea, this is an interesting subject. I think using monochromatic backgrounds could work, in a practical way, since you can tint all your sprites - this usually needs to be done anyway when walking in diffrent lightet areas.

Its funny when I read the script for the first time I started to imagine that the girl was a lonely ghost in a abandoned orphan - maybe she died there and still whants to play with her friends who long time has grown up and left. Its funny in that way that it come to now when the background seems a little horro-like.
 
Myself likes bright colors, and Im trying something new. Since we have photoshop and other editing applications its so easy to change colors(or anything), so you can try around alot of things.

Whats interesting is why it becomes horror-like and not the sad mood Im really aiming for - Can it be the hard contrast between white and black?(since its so pale everything bright is white and dark is black), can it be the white and but still a little soft-redish fleshtone  which could be a pale skin(corpse death,lifeless). Or just the colors who doesnt has vigor/vitality/life?

You mention it becomes something like a dream, which I think could be a memory - of something that once was a home to many children(Im assuming its closed down, although it wasnt mentioned in script)

In the latest I did yesterday I pushed more brown into it, hoping its more sad(havent posted it yet) - Im going to go out and hunt some references from movies or anything.
« Last Edit: 31 Jul 2008, 11:49 by zyndikate »
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Finally got around to try some colours:




Larger resolution

Not very happy about it, but it's a start, and sort of capture a melancholy feel.

Must say I dragged my feet quite a bit about this, as I knew that the value sketch called for quite a transformation to fit the theme. Which is a shame since I really liked the look of the value sketch.

Having to open up one of the windows was annoying as well, as they create these weird gaping holes. My intention was to go with the right one, but the large centre one looked less bad, and does provide more space for the character.

Speaking of character, I tried quickly adding one, but the size poses a problem, so I had to go with 800x600 to make her fairly visible.



-

Misj:

Quote from: misj
To Zyndikate
I disagree with Loominous. The more monochrome pallete in my opinion doesn't create a more somber impression, just a more depressed (or maybe horror-like) impression. Personally I feel that the more colour-diverse versions have a lot more character.

You're making the strange assumption that just because I suggested a more monochrome palette, I was proposing a desaturated dull look.

Lots of monochrome looks are bright and saturated:



I personally prefer more varied palettes than those, which is why I suggested a "more monochrome" look, and not "monochrome".

It's mostly about a strong sense of colour cohesion, which is what those colour sketches lacked imo. One problem is that when you add colours like zyndikate did in those colour sketches, you get a similar saturation level in all colour areas, as you're basically "adding some green" "adding some blue" to a neutral canvas. As you're only adding, you build up these colour peaks, which gives this fake/incoherent/kid colouring book look, where only a bit of saturation starts standing out.
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Misj'

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Misj:

You're making the strange assumption that just because I suggested a more monochrome palette, I was proposing a desaturated dull look.

Lots of monochrome looks are bright and saturated:

I probably wrote it down wrong. I wasn't making the assumption that you 'considered monochrome and desaturated (or dull)' the same. I was just to lazy to write it down in two sentences when I referred to you saying: "I think more somber stuff calls for more monochrome palettes, though it's tricky to avoid the dull impression you speak of regarding #1. One thing you could test is to use more desaturated colours for parts of the image (not saying it should be desaturated overall)". Then again....I've always been partial to the more cartoony way of colouring, and should really one day practice with monochrome-based colouring, since it's really a great approach for certain looks.

Anyway, to give a minor update on where my background is going:
with pencil sketch

-- click image to enlarge --

ink only (yes Loominous, you may comment on line variability now ;) )

-- click image to enlarge --

Inking is going slower than I had hoped...I just don't have that much time (and of the time that I have I want to spend at least some on other things). But I'll be getting there, and when I do, I will get my next challenge: colouring in in such a way that Solomon - the fictive main character of my fictive version of the story - fits right in. In other words: lots of vibrant cartoony colours. :)

Misj'

Ps. If anyone has some extra time, I would love to see how someone else would colour it. My only concern is, that you guys will probably to a much better job than me.

Pps. Loominous, I like the coloured version. The only thing is, that my eyes focus on the lower window (the one in which you've also added a character) rather then the upper window (where the girl would be sitting accoring to the script). Also, I find the top-right front-layer lowering the overall quality. I think it should either be darker (as in closer to black) with a little more detail, or removed completely.

Ppps. It turns out I was wrong when I told Zyndikate that I would not change the centre-tree... :)
« Last Edit: 04 Aug 2008, 00:00 by Misj' »

The only thing is, that my eyes focus on the lower window (the one in which you've also added a character) rather then the upper window (where the girl would be sitting accoring to the script).

Hm, I hadn't thought about the fact that those windows are technically on the first floor. Their high position made me think of them as belonging on the second.

I guess some lower windows might exist on the backside, which would technically make the current one valid.

Quote
Also, I find the top-right front-layer lowering the overall quality. I think it should either be darker (as in closer to black) with a little more detail, or removed completely.

Oh, that part isn't refined, like much of the pic.

-

Oh, and I'll extend for a couple days until you're ready.
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Misj'

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Oh, and I'll extend for a couple days until you're ready.

Days...Months...Years...ehhh, who's in a hurry ;)



Minor update to give an impression of where I'm going
(and to show where I am at the moment):

Final inked version:

--- click image to enlarge ---

As you can see, I haven't added a foreground layer or a background layer yet.
Also, the mill and/or farm are nowhere to be found at the moment
And the little children have to live without toys...

Those are things I intend to add before the final version is done.

Getting started with the colouring:

--- click image to enlarge ---

I kept the (initial) colouring very cartoony, vivid, and saturated
(based on the kind of comicbooks that inspired me as a kid).
I'm not sure yet whether I will keep it that way...

Shadows, highlights, and those kind of things will have to wait for the future.

Misj'
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2008, 21:59 by Misj' »

Misj'

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To keep you guys updated about where I'm going. Here's another intermediate colouring-step:

--- click image to enlarge ---

I think that you can start to see where I'm (slowly) trying to go with this image. There's still a lot that has to be done (I'd love to see some shadows to the tree/leafs on the house for example...and maybe even darken the left to near black or something, many of objects still haven't got dimension/shadows/highlights, still no mill and toys, etc). But you can at least see that I'm still working on it.

Since I'm way past the expiration date, Loominous may decide to close the workshop. If so, then the latest version that I have posted (or will post as soon as I read the announcement) will be my (probably incomplete) entry. I mean...otherwise this could go on till the end of time (or until I'm finished...whichever comes first). :)

Ps. Yes, I know it's a double post...yes I know it's wrong for me to do so...yes I know the moderators will be angry with me... ;)
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2008, 22:07 by Misj' »

Coloring underway.

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Is anyone else disappointed that despite some variations in art style, all the contributions have chosen pretty similar depictions of the motif? I particular, all the houses look very much alike (Misj's being probably the most different). Usually in the Background Blitzes we get widely divergent contributions. This time around, everyone seems to be working not only on the same scene, but from the same sensibility.

The original instructions just mention a "run-down house", so that ought to leave quite a bit of room for variation. What made everyone go with this particular look? Is it just a matter of people imitating loominous? (That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but personally I get a bit tired of all that old-timey-ness.)

I should also say that I think this Blitz has been a great course in background creation, and will certainly be a great resource, frequently referenced, for a long time to come.

I'm more disappointed by the low number of participants in the end, despite the promising start. It's been going on for three months now, it should be possible to find the time to create one background. With more entries, there'd be surely be more variation, and maybe - I can only speak for myself - more inspirational for the ones taking part.

In order to be 'run-down', or 'worn down to almost unusable state' something has to have been around for a while, that's why I went with the old-timey-ness. I wanted the shape to be interesting, to create some sort of naive charm, that also made me think of old houses. There are of course other possible solutions, but I went with something that made sense to me after reading the script. I didn't have any urge to be particularly original or bring some "unexpected" twist into it, rather to work as I usually do and see if I could learn something new. Which I have from valuable input in this thread. Maybe other blitzes are more varied due to more vague specifications.

Daniel Thomas

  • "zyndikate"
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Is anyone else disappointed that despite some variations in art style, all the contributions have chosen pretty similar depictions of the motif? I particular, all the houses look very much alike (Misj's being probably the most different). Usually in the Background Blitzes we get widely divergent contributions. This time around, everyone seems to be working not only on the same scene, but from the same sensibility.

The original instructions just mention a "run-down house", so that ought to leave quite a bit of room for variation. What made everyone go with this particular look? Is it just a matter of people imitating loominous? (That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but personally I get a bit tired of all that old-timey-ness.)

I should also say that I think this Blitz has been a great course in background creation, and will certainly be a great resource, frequently referenced, for a long time to come.
Well, personaly its just a matter of taste for me, I like the medieval architecture style. Im not sure exactly what you mean by "same sensibility", could you explain?
I don't see why anyone should be disappointed since I think everyone who took a part of this learned something(and maybe some who didnt participated). Like Neil Dnuma said, Im mostly disappointed about the low number of participants.
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Misj'

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I particular, all the houses look very much alike (Misj's being probably the most different).

I understand what you mean...but I'm not sure if it's really the house, but rather the general composition of the images. They almost all have the house to the left of the screen, and a bridge leading the player into the scene from the front-left of the background. But on the other hand, in some sketches some of the participants experimented with a 'flipped' composition...but somehow it didn't feel right. So apparently it's the best (or most natural) composition.

As for the house itself, most of them show a certain European design, that is influenced by fairytales (Exsecratus' house is more American, and has a certain 'Tom Sawyer' feel to it). But Zyndikate's version is more 'Grimm', Loominous' version is more 'elf-dwelling', Neil's has a bit of a 'Heidi' feel (but that also could be the mountains), and mine...well, I'm just glad you think it's different form the rest :)

Neil Dnuma
I think you really managed to create an open composition that doesn't feel empty...yet nothing in the background feels forced. The colouring nicely adds to this design, and overall it's an inviting piece.

Zyndikate
It's a little to monotone for my personal taste, but on the other hand, the extra colour in the top-window in it's latest iteration really draws my eyes towards that region. Furthermore, the overall design is clean and functional without being boring. My biggest concern would be the final dimensions of the image. Is it intended to be scrolling (934x480) or does it have a black area for the GUI (640x329)?

Exsecratus
I think the background works very well despite the fact that it's 3D (I'm not that fond of 3D, but that shouldn't stop anyone from using it). I think 3D is even more difficult to 'fill up' correctly than 2D, and I think you did a very good job recreating the atmosphere described in the script. I would love to see you experiment with different weather-conditions, but that's the only comment.

Loominous
I would - naturally - have preferred a bit more colour (maybe in the laundry), and I think the design of the house - while interesting - is a bit unnatural (in a sense of 'no human would build it that way'). As I mentioned earlier, it's almost as if an Elf was hired as an architect. I think it's a little over the top, but it does have character, atmosphere, and does work. I'm also not entirely convinced about having background only visible through the sign, but I understand it based on the composition, and it does draw the eye extra towards the sign, helping the player to see imediately where we are.

Mordalles
It's a pity we didn't see a finished background, because the sketches were definitely different from all the others. Maybe a bit too sinister, but it would have been interesting to see whether it would have worked...pity.

Misj'
So while I'm at it, a minor update of my background
(It's still not finished, but just to keep you posted on the progress).
« Last Edit: 15 Aug 2008, 08:49 by Misj' »

Thanks for the nice comments, Misj'. I have some more details to work into it before I'm letting it go.

I'll supplement some more comments too.

Zyndikate: An extreme sense of atmosphere, which I like. Some of the structures (particularly in the vegetation) almost have an abstract quality which ads to the mysterious feeling this piece have, greatly helped by the fog and lightning. It might be just a little too heavy though, but the warmer edit you put up in the end helped lifting the mood. Btw; I am a little puzzled by the lack of any signs of a path on the left side of the bridge (It almost looks like possible visitors changed their mind while on the bridge). I'd love to see your work in a game, maybe one where you pushed in either the "candid" fairytale direction, or darker, more mysterious areas. I feel this bg is a little bit of both worlds, but maybe that's a result of the contrast hinted at in the script.

Exsecratus: Definitely one of the better 3D-backgrounds I've seen. From the little modeling experience I have I know how hard it is to get things looking right, but you've managed this very nicely. I think the joint between the bridge and the path is the only thing that looked a little odd to me. Also I find the position of the sign a little strange. Very nice job, solid atmosphere, and should work great in a game.

Loominous: I agree with Misj' on the house design, It'd be a rare find in the real world, but in eg. a Disney movie it would not be out of place (As a funny sidenote, I have also observed unemployed alcoholics in the neighbourhood where I grew up, who always expanded on their house in strange ways, and ended up with interesting shapes). I think the coloring is fine. I'm usually asleep at sunrise, but the red tone reminds me more of sunsets. I'm also a little puzzled by the very bright light in the horizon, while the lightning clearly is coming from the left. Aside from that, I think there a lot of great little details in this pic, and I especially adore the steps leading to the back of the house.

Misj':A very strong cartoonish quality to the linework, everything looks right for the style, and the shading follows up on this. I was a little bothered by the repeated "Y" shapes at the top of the tree in the foreground. There are five of the lined up, and it just drew my attention. I think maybe the lighting contrast between the right and left hand side is pushed enough by now, it's appearing like different times of the day. It underlines the "flower in a swamp" metaphor, but at the cost of almost becoming distracting. I think maybe some clouds to the left would help this point through in a more realistic way, but then you're not finished yet, so maybe you had something in mind. Still it looks awesome, and you certainly nailed the comic book feeling.

I agree on Mordalles, I'd love to see that crazy design developed further.

Just a reminder that my pic isn't done yet. That was just my first colouring attempt, and refinement is still due (need to add toys n clean stuff up).

I'm a bit puzzled by this house design dealy. My house may be a bit quirky but exactly so what? Even if we assume that it doesn't adhere to realism - which I wouldn't agree with - then why is this even an issue? The script doesn't call for realism, I never spoke of realism, so why exactly are we talking realism? It may very well have been designed by elves for all we know (though I see no reason why one would assume so), but why is this even a topic?

Having to justify a quirky design just seems so alien in this context.

I'm also a little puzzled by the very bright light in the horizon, while the lightning clearly is coming from the left.

Yea, that's one of many cheats. Just thought having that horizon bright looked better. It may appear that I go for realism, but I really just use realistic elements to get the look I want.


Snarky:

I think the houses share similar components, but saying that they "look very much alike" is quite a stretch. We did all go for porchless designs, and I would've guessed that we'd have seen more of more villa like buildings, but to me all of the houses turned out quite unique. If you'd put them next to eachother, I'm sure the differences would be very clear.

It could be more about a certain time period, which they seem to share. Think the script might've implicitly made people go for this kind of older design, just by mentioning stuff like the old swings squeeking. Still, it would've been more interesting if people, including myself, would've fought the stereotype that the script conjured up.

On the other hand I'm glad that we they did turn out quite similar, as it allows us to dig deeper into certain designs and compositions. You start to sort of distill the essence of the subjects at hand, which was part of the aim with the activity.

Which is probably not very exciting for the observer looking for contrasting images, but an advantage for the participants.
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Oh, and just a note to any observers:

One thing that one probably misses when not partaking, is that the script includes quite a few problems, which I think to a large extent is the cause of the similarity in composition and placement of objects in the entries that followed the script.

These problems were deliberately included to pose as challenges to the participants.

The deliberate problems that were included were:


I) The sign. The sign was supposed to be close to a bridge, yet still readable. This narrowed the composition down to ones where the bridge was pretty close to the viewer, and going away from us, unless some clever alternate solution was used. Most went with a 3/4 angle where we'd be facing the sign, while zyndikate went with more of a profile view. Neil solved this by having a large sign, which allowed him to have it further away from the viewer.

II) The second floor/interactivity. Being able to see the second story, along with the rest, made it necessary to include some distance to the house, while still having it close enough to show the girl playing in the window, and allow the house to be interacted with. A low/upwards angle would be another solution, but those tend to mess up the perspective on characters, so that brings complications.

III) The farm/windmill. These made it necessary to reserve space for two distant objects with different depths that needed to be recognizable.

IV) The melancholic mood/flower in a swamp. This proved to be quite a tough one, even though it seems fairly straight forward. It's a careful balance act between going sad/scary and indifferent/happy.


These may not seem as much of problems when you look at them like this, but they sure do tend to mess up things once you get started.

It would've been fun to see some more creative solutions to these problems - I guess zyndikate's was the closest to something different - but I couldn't come up with any myself, so I know it wasn't easy.
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Misj'

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I'm a bit puzzled by this house design dealy. My house may be a bit quirky but exactly so what? Even if we assume that it doesn't adhere to realism - which I wouldn't agree with - then why is this even an issue? The script doesn't call for realism, I never spoke of realism, so why exactly are we talking realism? It may very well have been designed by elves for all we know (though I see no reason why one would assume so), but why is this even a topic?

Having to justify a quirky design just seems so alien in this context.
It's not that you have to justify it (although it would be interesting to hear what kind of story you had in mind when you you chose this particular design, but that's another story). I didn't say it was a bad design, or a design that didn't fit within the boundaries of the script. I also don't mind the fairytale-feel, far from it. And it was never my intention to tell you to 'sit down, and redesign the house'. I just said that from my point of view it's "a little over the top, but it does have character, atmosphere, and does work." So if I were to look at it from a perspective of the art-director on this fictional project, I would probably go for a more classic architecture.

I should also add, that in the fictional back story and world that I created so I had something to work with while drawing my piece, this design wouldn't fit the orphanage and it's inhabitants, it would however fit almost perfectly to another character in the (very rough) story/world: a Negro Leprechaun called the Archiver; a mythical (and old) creature who keeps track of each and everyone. In my mind his cottage can be really 'magical' in design, while the orphanage would be more bland. It's just a matter of story...

Quote from: loominous
Just a reminder that my pic isn't done yet. That was just my first colouring attempt, and refinement is still due (need to add toys n clean stuff up).
I was kinda hoping no one had finished yet (because if you all had, it would be me who was holding up this workshop, and that'd be embarrassing). So it were just some 'in between' remarks.

I was a little bothered by the repeated "Y" shapes at the top of the tree in the foreground.
Yeah...I should have made the design of that tree a little more interesting. Too much repetition. I'll look into it.

Quote from: Neil Dnuma
I think maybe the lighting contrast between the right and left hand side is pushed enough by now, it's appearing like different times of the day. It underlines the "flower in a swamp" metaphor, but at the cost of almost becoming distracting. I think maybe some clouds to the left would help this point through in a more realistic way
I've been playing around with clouds yesterday, but didn't get it right yet, so I kept it of the post. The green should probably be a little less dominant. The centre of the image should already be bright I think. That way the green/dark is more associated with the forest, and less with the movement of the sun. Or at least...I hope it will.

Thanks for the remarks.
« Last Edit: 15 Aug 2008, 13:26 by Misj' »

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Is this going to end some day? I really miss the old background blitz  :'(

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yeh i mean ffs, just end it already or somebody else start up another one.
background blitz doesn't belong to any one person, it's a community activity and it just seems like loominous has taken it over.

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That's not fair, Boyd!

Loominous tried something new with this round, in order to improve on some things that the blitz is not always very good at. I think the experiment was really interesting, and the results (in terms of demonstrating the creation process) have been valuable.

Obviously, it was never intended to go on for this long (check out the original deadlines). That it has is mostly due to the participants, and other distractions (like the forums going down, Mittens, etc.). Anyway, it's probably time to bring it to a close. If this process is to be used in the future, I think we either should stick more strictly to the deadlines, or maybe make it a separate activity in parallel with the Background Blitz.

Good show, loominous!

Misj'

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background blitz doesn't belong to any one person, it's a community activity and it just seems like loominous has taken it over.
And there I was, thinking that I (and Zyndikate, Neil, and Exsecratus) belonged to the community too  :'( Just because few people joined (which is the fault of those not joining, not Loominous') doens't mean they weren't allowed (I'm pretty sure all of you got the invitation ;) )

That it has is mostly due to the participants
I agree that the participants...well...I for one am to blame that it takes so long. I've joined the blitz rather late, had to go to Ireland and the comming week I have to be in Aachen (Germany).

Quote
Anyway, it's probably time to bring it to a close.
True.

Quote
If this process is to be used in the future, ..., or maybe make it a separate activity in parallel with the Background Blitz.
I think that would be best, because the workshop is far more valuable than the normal Blitz (well to me at least). But the high overturn-rate of the conventional Blitz is lost, and I can understand why that's a burden to some people. Anyway, I'm partial to the workshop; but should I win I wouldn't mind starting two Blitz-editions (or maybe there should be two winners...that's up to Loominous).

Minor update...


In the final game the fog can not be part of the real background and will be challenging to make. But in order to show how I intend it, I've added it here. Next five days I won't be able to work on the background, and should Loominous finish the blitz then this is my entry.

Ps. Loominous...I think the workshop was a success in the end.
« Last Edit: 31 Aug 2008, 20:32 by Misj' »

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Will you guys just finish this? This year preferably. This has been going on since BLOODY MAY!!!! FFS?! I mean are the moderators sleeping? This is taking four months. You could finish a game in that time.

Francisco finished BJ while you were drawing btw.
« Last Edit: 31 Aug 2008, 21:07 by Dualnames »
No more military army stuff. I'm alive and back.

I think one of the reasons for the low turnout was that the whole format might've given the impression that participating required a great deal of effort, and also know-how. And in a sense it's true that if you've never used references to get to know certain construction/ornamental techniques, and have never played around with composition sketches, it takes a bit of time and getting used to. But the good thing is that it really only takes as much time as you're willing to put in.

As Snarky said, the initial time frame was that of an ordinary blitz, and I actually think it's a plausible schedule, now that people - myself included - are familiar with the concept. There were many late starters, and the introductory posts needed to be written (which always clashed with other stuff I had to do), which dragged it out.

A shorter execution would also help keep the interest alive, as you start to get tired of the same scene quite soon. Plus it might make it seem like like less of a deal to participate -- I got the feeling that people were slightly intimidated by the format.

The reason why zyndikate and I went with the special edition format instead of a separate activity was partly because it wouldn't divide up the interest/efforts of the background folks in the community, but also to make it part of a regular activity, and not something special that one would have to take the initiative to start up (few people are comfortable taking initiatives like that). But it would be interesting to see how it might turn out as a separate activity. I think either way would work better now that people have an idea how it can be done.

yeh i mean ffs, just end it already or somebody else start up another one.
background blitz doesn't belong to any one person, it's a community activity and it just seems like loominous has taken it over.

Considering that it was over a year ago since I last hosted a blitz, I'm not sure where you're coming from.

Ps. Loominous...I think the workshop was a success in the end.

Yea, I was expecting quite a low turnout for the initial run, so I think it turned out pretty well. Think we managed to put the spotlight on some aspects that are often neglected, but are considered extremely important by most artists, which made it a success regardless of the low entry amount.

-

As we wrap it up, any comments or ideas about how the format can be improved are highly welcome. Even from disgruntled observers.
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Just wanted to say I enjoyed watching all the entries come together--terrific work, everyone!  I wasn't able to take part this time (first there was a vacation... then forgetting... then laziness/slight intimidation ;)), but if a similar workshop is held sometime in the future I would try to participate :)

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I think one of the reasons for the low turnout was that the whole format might've given the impression that participating required a great deal of effort, and also know-how. And in a sense it's true that if you've never used references to get to know certain construction/ornamental techniques, and have never played around with composition sketches, it takes a bit of time and getting used to. But the good thing is that it really only takes as much time as you're willing to put in.

I think another reason is that having a schedule for the various steps forced participants to work much more in sync. In the regular blitz, you usually have one or two entries that get posted first, and then those inspire others to whip up a background. The structure this time didn't really encourage people to join late, and made it much more of an ongoing commitment.

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I think one of the reasons for the low turnout was that the whole format might've given the impression that participating required a great deal of effort, and also know-how. And in a sense it's true that if you've never used references to get to know certain construction/ornamental techniques, and have never played around with composition sketches, it takes a bit of time and getting used to. But the good thing is that it really only takes as much time as you're willing to put in.

I think another reason is that having a schedule for the various steps forced participants to work much more in sync. In the regular blitz, you usually have one or two entries that get posted first, and then those inspire others to whip up a background. The structure this time didn't really encourage people to join late, and made it much more of an ongoing commitment.

That translates into.. FOUR FRIGGIN MONTHS... Ben Jordan 7 was created and released in that time..With voice pack..
No more military army stuff. I'm alive and back.

Ben Jordan 7 was created and released in that time..With voice pack..

As you seem keen on repeating this fact, it would be nice if you would explain what if anything it has to do with this activity.
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Ok, you're polite enough, and I really don;t want to sound harsh on you despite I feel that way about this whole blitz idea. Ok, first I really have nothing with you as a host and/or any of the partecipants. However, background blitz is about creating backgrounds and since all competitions take in a few days or a week or two, this one doesn't. It has taken four months. I mean even if you drew a whole disney movie it would take you less than a background. It's not a reasonable amount for a picture. I'm actually wondering why none of the moderators hasn;t come in here to post in. Or even encourage you to wrap this up. I actually would have partecipated if it wasn't for that I can't have free time for 4 months. Or schedule. So in case I'd entered and then got busy I would have sort of wasted a lot of time. Many people enjoy blitzes and I really think they should last one week minimum instead of less in some occasions, but nevertheless this blitz is sort of preposterous, for someone that can't draw Disney style or would love to do some pixel art it;s even more frustrating that he's going to have to wait a year.(voting takes a long time). I really do admire your style and drawing and do respect your ideas for a blitz. Anyway, I don;t know what to achieve with my response here, probably it's going to go by unnoticed. So that's what I wanted to say. All and all.
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Just to correct you on the facts, the Background Blitz is usually announced for about a two-week duration, and is frequently extended by another week or two. Then there's a few days of voting on top of that. I don't remember any time when the competition phase lasted less than a week.

Dualnames:

You seem to have a peculiar idea of what's been going on here. I think I can safely say that noone has spent three and a half months on their entry -- I would estimate that the average participant has spent perhaps 12 hours in total. The activity has lasted three and a half months.

And before someone jumps in and shouts: "That's way too much!!1", let me repeat that the planned duration was set on two and a half weeks, which is a bit less than the average blitz.

Some of the reasons explaining why it's dragged out have already been mentioned in previous posts.

-

The planned and clearly advertised duration also makes your stated reason for not participating peculiar:  that you didn't have four months of free time to spend. This unless you have some gift of foresight.

-

I also have to bring up two other points, as they're something of pet peeves of mine:

Quote
but nevertheless this blitz is sort of preposterous, for someone that can't draw Disney style or would love to do some pixel art it

First off, working on your drawing in stages is something that anyone benefits from, from the total beginner to the accomplished artist. One of the main aims with this activity has been to get this idea across. As with building a house, the need for pre-planning actually increases if you're a beginner, as the more experienced you get, the more you can pre-visualize, and estimate accurately.

Secondly, pixel art is just another medium. The same art theories and approaches apply to it as with other media such as oil painting, knitting, sculpturing etc. As with any of these, you can start straight away by pixeling away without any forethought. Or you plan your composition and values/colours. The choice is based on your preference and goal. But it's just another medium - it does not have any artistic shortcuts.
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I didn't want to start a fight here, that was really not my intention. The results of this blitz were very interesting, but the updates came more and more rarely and thus it became quite boring.
I don't want to stop your project, but it would be nice to start a new fresh background blitz that allows spontaneous participation for people that do not have that amount of time.

I think noone will mind if we have to activities, the background blitz and the workshop blitz  ;)

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This has been a very educational activity, and I can certainly envision a regular workshop-thing going on parallel to the ordinary background blitz.

If you take your time and look through the progress displayed in this thread you can really learn something from each and every picture, and furthermore the results are extremely good.

Dualnames, you don't need to yell at people or pretend you own the place.

However, to speed up things and accommodate for the more casual forumites, let's wrap this up and fire up new activities. I suggest we install one ordinary background blitz, and let Loominous start a new background workshop whenever he feels like it.

I'll give you a day to display your results and then we'll consider this round over.

Cat:

I didn't want to start a fight here, that was really not my intention. The results of this blitz were very interesting, but the updates came more and more rarely and thus it became quite boring.

Yea, I think everyone, including the participants, started getting bored with the scene quite soon, and the low participance in the later stages dragged down the momentum and interest, so I totally get where you're coming from.

Andail:

Fair enough.

I think it's preferable to keep it as an edition, which anyone can host whenever they're hosting the blitz, but with a three/four week deadline. I think it's feasible now that the format has taken shape. It would probably only be zyndikate, misj or I who'd host it anyway. But for all I know, having it as a separate longer activity might work better, so it could be worth a shot.

Just that this activity wasn't even suggested by me, and was orchestrated and carried out both zyndikate and me, so making it all about me and my initiative seems limiting and also unfair to zyndikate.

When an activity has been going on this long, you start to get a bit sluggish, as one day or two more seems like a drop in the bucket, which is why I haven't wrapped it up more rapidly, but I guess that could've helped quell some of the annoyance displayed. Live and learn.

Edit: Whoops, confused two names.
« Last Edit: 01 Sep 2008, 21:21 by loominous »
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Misj'

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It would probably only be zyndikate, miez or I who'd host it anyway. But for all I know, having it as a separate longer activity might work better, so it could be worth a shot.

Miez or Misj'? - Of even though we have a lot more in common than one would expect (we live in the same city, his last name is more or less the village where I lived most of my life, his first name and mine are very similar, he has less hair on his head (based on the image on his website), but I'm certainly getting there...it's almost like he's my alter ego) we are not the same person. ;)

Apart form that...concerning the workshop. Initally I didn't think that I would have time to join in, so I was one of the late participants (and possibly one of the reasons why we're running late on schedule). But in the end I did join when I had some time to share...a few hours on a few days. Ok...I spend more then 12 hours total on the background, but as you can see I have three itterations, where the final version is the best of them (at least in my opinion). In a conventional Blitz I wouldn't have had that possibility. I wouldn't have been able to discuss the designs with fellow participants. It wouldn't be like working with a team to produce the best results.

There was one thing that I trully missed though, and that was, that the people who didn't participate in producing a background for some reason seemed to think that could also not comment. I mean: I would have loved to have any one person in this community tear my design down (and then I would be angry and all defencive and stuff, but that's all part of the game ;) ). Even if you didn't have time to produce something yourself, it would have been nice if you had been part of this. Sure...maybe some of the comments made thoughout the workshop are more technical. But everyone could have told me that the black tree in the foreground layer was to repetative in it's top-screen design in my previous version (thank's Neil)...you didn't have to be a participant to see that. And even though I think that my background turned out quite nice and interesting, I think it could have become even better had the (non-participating) community pushed me a little more.

As for the 'style'...the style that I used was hand-drawn but looked nothing like Disney (fortunately). But even so, I feel that most competitions on this forum are a lot more limited in style than this one. I mean...based on the original description pixel art was very much allowed (and it would have been nice to see it). Most of the animation competitions won't allow me to use classical cell animation, because I'm restricted to use a sprite that doesn't fit within hand drawn animation. Many sprite jams have rules that won't allow me to use pen and paper as a basis and almost seem to 'demand' pixel art. Well, that's not my cup of tea, so I won't join...but I won't complain about it either. In this Blitz I had a chance to use my preferred medium, but I didn't see a restriction for people using different styles and different media. So I personally think that's a limitation of people's imagination rather than that of the rules.

-- edit                                                                                                                       --
-- I wrote the next part before I saw that Andail started a new conventional Blitz --
-- It's mutany I tell you...mutany                                                                              --

You know what...should I win (it's always nice to dream ;) ), then my next Blitz will be a somewhat conventional one where people are encouraged to explore styles. You wanna go all Patapon on me? - Fine. You wanna go Super Paper Mario? - That's also great. You wanna use 5x5px blocks for the background with flat high-res cut-out images from magazines for the props? - If you can make it work, you can win. You wanna enter with multiple entries in different styles? - Make it so. But what wouldn't make you win is using a (or your) standard style. That way no one can complain that the demanded style didn´t fit their wishes (and at the same time we should get some interesting results).

Misj´
« Last Edit: 01 Sep 2008, 21:28 by Misj' »

Yea, I always get your names mixed up.

I also think it was a shame that we didn't have more outside (constructive) comments. Andail popped in and helped me fix my composition at one point, but that was pretty much it, as far as I can recall.

Not sure how that could be fixed, as I think that the reasons are probably similar to the low participance: not enough energy/time to participate, or slight intimidation.

I think one reason why we didn't see any pixel art - one I brought up in a recent post - is that people for some reason think that stuff like sketches and composition belong to the fancy sphere of painting, and that pixel art is just a matter of grabbing a pixel tool n getting to it. Wonder how much better pixel art we'd see if this erroneous and destructive notion would vanish.

Quote
Most of the animation competitions won't allow me to use classical cell animation, because I'm restricted to use a sprite that doesn't fit within hand drawn animation. Many sprite jams have rules that won't allow me to use pen and paper as a basis and almost seem to 'demand' pixel art.

Ugh, don't get me started on the discriminating practices of the sprite jam.

Which makes it even more depressing reading that Andail has limited the resolution to 320x200 for the 'standard edition', in what I guess is an attempt to pander to the disgruntled pixel crowd. Wonder if these practices will ever leave these forums.
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Ugh, don't get me started on the discriminating practices of the sprite jam.

Which makes it even more depressing reading that Andail has limited the resolution to 320x200 for the 'standard edition', in what I guess is an attempt to pander to the disgruntled pixel crowd. Wonder if these practices will ever leave these forums.

dude, stop being a dick about anything that isn't hi-res, seriously.
if you can't do lo-res art then don't take part, not everybody is as good at drawing hi-res stuff as you are so get off your damn high horse.

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Can we just finish this competition already? This should of been sorted out months ago. However I don't think this is the place to start a discussion of the competitions/activities in the AGS forums. The issue has been raised and is getting resolved, so can we all just carry on with the competitions/activities in a reasonable manner.
The only person in favour of the mobs seems to be IndieBoy.. but he's scottish so we dont listen to him anyway.

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Ugh, don't get me started on the discriminating practices of the sprite jam.

Which makes it even more depressing reading that Andail has limited the resolution to 320x200 for the 'standard edition', in what I guess is an attempt to pander to the disgruntled pixel crowd. Wonder if these practices will ever leave these forums.

Are you gonna moan about the freemasons and jews taking over the forum in your next post? Don't be so paranoid.

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All this hostility is so pointless and unnecessary! (The only flaming that would be appropriate here is of Indieboy, for writing "should of".  >:( )

Loominous surely has a point that there's no reason why you can't go through a process like this for pixel art. But on the other hand, why complain about others setting different rules from what you would like? Isn't that the point, that each round you get different people with different ideas for the competition?

Let's just set a final deadline (I suggest the end of this week), vote, and move on.

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Guys, last time I checked I was the one who brought up the impossibility to do high-res in most competitions (in a reaction to the idea that no low-res was possible in this competition), not Loominous. So if someone has to be blamed, please blame me.
« Last Edit: 02 Sep 2008, 00:41 by Misj' »

Misj:

Guys, last time I checked I was the one who brought up the impossibility to do high-res in most competitions (in a reaction to the idea that no low-res was possible in this competition), not Loominous. So if someone has to be blamed, please blame me.

Heh, don't worry, some of them are just here to deliver a few punches -- it has nothing to do with you - it's just something that they do.

But it's really quite amazing. I take issue with a clearly biased practice -- just ask yourself when it was that you last saw the rule: "no lo-res entries allowed" -- and I'm portrayed as the intolerant guy. The way that some of you are able to spin this would leave Karl Rove teary-eyed.


Anyway, I thought I'd post a few things that never got posted:

Here's a colour sketch of misj's entry:



I didn't post it as I know that he prefers vivid colours, and didn't want to push my monochrome preferences, but it might be fun to see here at the end.

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This was part of a colour theory mini tutorial that never got finished. This one is meant to show why the sunlight gets more red in the mornings, and almost white at noon, as the distance it has to travel through the atmosphere varies during the day.

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A grading test for Execratus' background. Not sure why I didn't post it - guess I wasn't happy with the look.

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And lastly the first logo idea I had for the last stage, which shows in a rather nifty way how those old disney backgrounds were created.

That's pretty much I all I found.

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Snarky:

I believe Andail will close it down tomorrow, 'least that what he said earlier. Bit of a crude ending, but I guess it's due.
« Last Edit: 02 Sep 2008, 03:32 by loominous »
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space boy

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But it's really quite amazing. I take issue with a clearly biased practice -- just ask yourself when it was that you last saw the rule: "no lo-res entries allowed" -- and I'm portrayed as the intolerant guy. The way that some of you are able to spin this would leave Karl Rove teary-eyed.

You're right, the rules tend to encourage low-res entries. That doesnt mean hi-res is excluded completely. Many people on here are just into the retro-look. It's a different person setting the rules each time, if you're unhappy with this low-res trend then all it takes is a post in a competition thread, suggesting to allow a higher resolution in the next compo, or just win a competition and set the rules you want. But you're taking this way out of proportion. It's not some kind of organized conspiracy to discriminate hi-res so stop acting like the whole forum is against you, you whiny bighead.

Andail

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Quote
Which makes it even more depressing reading that Andail has limited the resolution to 320x200 for the 'standard edition', in what I guess is an attempt to pander to the disgruntled pixel crowd. Wonder if these practices will ever leave these forums.

Oh come on, there are restrictions in many activities, it's a way to add variation to them and make people try on techniques they might not be familiar with, all in the name of practice. We're here to practice after all, not just produce excellent art.

Again, I have to say the results from this workshop are astounding, but there's no need to bear grudge towards other activities that differ in outlines or deal with other techniques.

We have to accommodate for all sorts of artists; lo-res and hi-res, but we don't have to do it each time, always. There's room for both.

Thank you and please move on now.

EDIT:
Re-opened to allow for participants, and only participants, to actually publish their results.
« Last Edit: 05 Sep 2008, 09:31 by Andail »

Might as well do a couple of more colour versions while it's still open:



I like it better than the last, but the melancholy sure isn't there.
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Miez

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Miez or Misj'? - Of even though we have a lot more in common than one would expect (we live in the same city, his last name is more or less the village where I lived most of my life, his first name and mine are very similar, he has less hair on his head (based on the image on his website), but I'm certainly getting there...it's almost like he's my alter ego) we are not the same person. ;)

<off topic> Dude really? That's freaking weird... ;D

By the way Loominous - that's a f*cking gorgeous BG...

gypsysnail

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Loominous!!! I second Miez's swearing compliments!!! That is just bloody brillant! It is far by my favourite! All your backgrounds are my favourite Loominous - you have the most spectacular style! I have seen you develop your style since I first joined :). It is good you are still going with your artwork, dont stop ever.

EDIT: Also wanted to ask you, Loominous, is your work done in photoshop in many layers? Also do you use a tablet too?
« Last Edit: 18 Sep 2008, 18:07 by gypsysnail »
Believe in afterlife! It's true in a metamorphical way ;)
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U are what you love doing and passionate about - keep up what you love most.

Thanks for the comments! (though I fear Andail might be somewhat annoyed, as he explicitly re-opened it only to allow the participants to post their final versions)

EDIT: Also wanted to ask you, Loominous, is your work done in photoshop in many layers?

I try to keep the numbers of layers to a minimum, but due to the way I colourize they tend to pile up. The benefit of having few layers is that it allows you to work more flexibly, as you can tinker with the whole image without constantly having to change to the appropriate layers. I do seperate stuff like foreground elements though, to allow quick compositional changes, and if I add an object, I keep it on a seperate layer until I decide whether I should keep it or not.

Here's the photoshop (cs3) file, heavily resized (original is about 3000x2000), if you wanna take a look.(about 800kb)

I'm afraid it's quite messy.

Quote
Also do you use a tablet too?

Yep. Can't imagine working without one.
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Misj'

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Thanks for the comments! (though I fear Andail might be somewhat annoyed, as he explicitly re-opened it only to allow the participants to post their final versions)

Even though there are things that I'm unhappy with (the first thing that comes to mind is the water that just doesn't look watery, and I never added any text to the sign), the version I posted will be my final entry in this workshop.

Oh...and it was nice to see what the effect of a different interpretation of the colouring is to the feel of the lineart.

Hope to see the final versions of the other participants, and having that person running another workshop.

As a side-note to that winner (my apologies to the administrators for cluttering the thread with this...especially since it might belong in the 'Suggestions for competitions and activities' thread), my personal vision of the workshop would be a followed:

Unlike the competitions, the goal of the workshop is to create a learning environment, and to share ideas, methods, etc. The original workshop was on creating an outdoors background. Nevertheless, the workshops do not concern the creation of backgrounds only, but may take a look at other aspects involved in the development of adventure games. Think of character design, converting a character style sheet into a functional sprite, animation, colouring (from line-art), music, dialogue, puzzles, story development, etc. While there is an overlap between regular competitions and the workshops, the value of the workshop lies on its focus on the process rather than on 'presenting the result'. Consequently, the turn-over rate of the workshop is lower. Nevertheless, it's best to have only a single workshop at a time. A winner is decided, and he can invite someone (possibly, but not necessary, a participant) to present a workshop on a given subject. If within a month after the election no new workshop is started, anyone is free to start one on his own. Each workshop should concern an aspect of adventure making, that is tackled from the point of a (fictional and limited) story (like the script in Loominous' original workshop). This story does not have to be the same for all workshops.


gypsysnail

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Hey Loominous, thanks for the excellent file!!! I took a look at the layers and I reckon u did it all so well and without so many layers! I was amazed at how you managed to combine the pale greenish sky with the house in one layer. I would imagine you used a lasso tool to colour/fill/draw different parts in that one layer, am I right?

Also below is a grabbed a print screen of something in your file to ask you a question. the subgroup of layers include a two linked part in each layer, a white box and a transparent box (obviously there is a small image within the transparent box) - why is it linked and what do the two boxes linked together in that layer mean?
Believe in afterlife! It's true in a metamorphical way ;)
Ken & Roberta - my inspiration!! 20 years.
U are what you love doing and passionate about - keep up what you love most.

Most likely final version, though there are still things to refine:



Some cleanup and colour treatment, and also added a couple of toys.

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Regarding voting:

Since Andail has separated the editions, I'm not sure if voting is neccessary, as it would basically be us patting eachother on the back.

Any thoughts?

-

Also below is a grabbed a print screen of something in your file to ask you a question. the subgroup of layers include a two linked part in each layer, a white box and a transparent box (obviously there is a small image within the transparent box) - why is it linked and what do the two boxes linked together in that layer mean?


Those boxes are 'Layer Masks', which allow you to mask out regions that you want to dissapear, or fade out, but without actually deleting anything, as the layer data is still intact.

Needless to say, they're a great tool, and allows you to experiment quickly and freely.

They work in the same way as 'alpha channels', in case you're familiar with those, where white regions mean full opacity, and black full transparency, and greys everything between.

Coupled with 'Adjustment Layers', you get enormous flexibility regarding values/colours as well.

'Adjustment Layers' affect the image in the same way as ordinary effects do, such as Brightness/Contrast, Levels, etc, but instead of applying the effects to a single layer as you ordinary would, you add the effect to the image by creating a special layer which then affects the layers. The benefit here, like in the case of 'Layer Masks', is that you're not doing anything to the affected layers - they remain intact - so you can turn off the effects or change the settings at any point.

Adjustment layers come with a layer mask already attached, and the layer mask works in the same way as with layers - darkening regions mean that the effect fades out in those areas, and vice versa.

Here's a gif anim hopefully explaining it:



Hope that explains it - just ask if
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This will have to serve as my final version. I guess an extension isn't possible? A couple of months only?  :P


As for voting and stuff, I don't care, but will do if it's wanted.
« Last Edit: 20 Sep 2008, 19:16 by Neil Dnuma »

Daniel Thomas

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Yea, I think no voting is fine - since its purpose was mostly to choose the next person to take over the blitz as in old traditional BG blitz fashion.

My last will be my final for now, I havent gotten time to work on it since new school and moving etc.

But I liked it, regardless of what others say.
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Seems like we've reached the end of the first workshop edition then.

A big thanks to all participants and contributors, and I hope we'll see another (though shorter) round some day - perhaps on writing, animation or character design.

(If any of the moderators feels like cleaning up some of the less constructive posts in the last page or two, that would be very appreciated).
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Re: Background Blitz :: Workshop Edition :: Concluded
« Reply #160 on: 24 Sep 2008, 03:21 »
wow, this has been awsome to read