"Life is too short to make bad art."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Character design - some tips and tricks

I just had a friend send me his inkscape character design and asking for my opinion.
Hadjoudj Mohamed did a good job for an initial design but there are a few easy to avoid beginner problems.

This tutorial is based on showing him how to improve, alter and easily modify his character. A lot of the hints work with pretty much any character you create for an illustration or a game. 




I hope you enjoyed this quick (and out of the planned order) tutorial and can take something from it for your own creation.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Animation - setting up a character in spine

I just recorded the first video tutorial on cutout animation. Due to the complexity of the subject I will split it into 3 or 4 parts. The first one is about the basic setup of the character, creating the skeleton and assigning the art as well as a first animation. 

 
This video is an introduction to using spine to get started with game art animation. The video is aimed at beginners and users familar with the software or cutout animation might find it a little slow.
I am using spine from esoteric software for this video (currently in version 3.5.46). Even though I prefer to cover free tools on my blog, I am making an exception as the tool is a great help for game art creation. Spine is available in the essential version (without some of the more advanced features like IK and mesh deformation) for $69. 

I used the robot from the ealier 'complete game art tutorial' series and uploaded the art here. The archive includes the exported .png files, the inkscape source file as .svg and .png and the current spine project (with the setup and two idle animation).



The robot character seemed ideal for a starter as he has less joints, making it easier to set up and animate. There are neither the knee nor ankle joints, the hands and arms are combined to cut out the elbow joint and there is no hair or mouth to animate either. 


I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as I plan continue this series of video tutorials on character animation in spine (and Spriter and DragonBones). 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ending 2016 with a BIG free game art giveaway!


The year is coming to an end and it's not been treating me too well... I had ongoing health issues and left Serbia where I was working with a bunch of friends. Long periods of testing new medication to help me with my pains and aches ended without much of a result... but hey...
I am still around and kicking. In order to end 2016 on a sweeter note, I will be giving away all BlockBuddies (single characters and packs) for free (for a limited time). 


Grab them while they are there!

Have a happy and successful 2017 - may all your wishes come true and your game projects reach completition!


Here's the preview of (most of) the available characters:
(there are some samurai and a mummy missing in this image for starters)


Note:
I was a little bit lazy... and didn't alter the prices on the blog pages though. As soon as you click on the buy button you should see the discounted price on the sellfy page - 0.00.
Sellfy requires a share... Sorry... I can't bypass that either.




Monday, November 14, 2016

Animations - working my way into Spine (and Spriter)


It's been a while and as usual a mix of real life turmoil and health issues stopped me from doing what I enjoy... but I have not been 100% lazy, laid back and enjoyed a nice long vacation. 

I started to work my way into Spine and Spriter to finally get to those animation tutorials. There is one waiting for the robot game, another one from the request list and the special fx swoosh and swirl parts would like nice animated. 

So... I went and took the Green Dwarf (from the free art bits) and modified him a little bit to work. Just a minor variation on the faces and mouth parts. 


I started with Spine, the setup takes a little bit of time to get into and a few good videos will help understand the process (and yes, I will record a video or two on setup and animation). I am very impressed with the flexibility of the program. It allows alterations of the skeleton at all times, the x-sorting can be adjusted per animation, turning elements on and off is very intuitive and the exported data worked fine with the coder friends who tested it on different platforms. 

I started with a basic idle animation (to see how things interact), continued with a walk (which is a little more complex when you have fixed legs and not separated upper, lower legs and feet) and then played with the tools that are part the dwarf art. The walk would look different with or without them. Luckily it's a breeze creating a copy of an animation in Spine and modifying it to create variations. 

I will record a video soon (once I am a bit more confident) and will also turn the assets for the dwarf and the skeleton back to free. 


I strongly recommend checking Spine out when you are looking for a 2D bone based animation tool: 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

FREE game templates plus art from deep blue apps.

The friends over at deep blue apps have made their gamesalad templates free to download.

Most of these include art by yours truely - also free to use. As far as I know the art is inside the projects but can be exported. 


The templates also come with music from a very talented musician. 

Check it out!

Note:
I will try and find my png files and will sort, pack and upload them for easier integration into other game engines.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

The difference art makes - reskinning Pupey

A while back I saw this game video on facebook. It was a simple action game - the kind you play when you have a moment to spare and want to get annoyed in a flappy bird kind of way. In short - not really the kind of game I am good a playing BUT the kind of game that due to the rather limited amount of artwork is quite quick to reskin. 

 The game was created in construct2 by the talented Alegerian coder Hadjoudj Mohamed who, like most indie authors couldn't find or afford an artist to help with the game. 
The result was a working game with 'coder art' and UX/ UI problems that come with it (e.g. placing the play button away from the easy reach of the fingers, fading the buttons too much with the background, etc.).
I went ahead and took the title screen and altered it. Starting with the game character, working my way through the elements on the title screen and sorting out the UI in the progress. The main elements now are a lot cleaner and more visible. 


With the game character looking a lot like a mix between a bee and a minion the choice of a hexagon as the main design element was easy. The buttons had to stand out more from the background than in the original version. I went with a blue and purple gradient and chose orange as the contrasting opposite for the main buttons. 

The character was simple enough to allow a couple of funny variations.

Note:
I used CorelDraw for the animation process. The combination of multiple pages (that export nicely to layered psd files, which make it easy to export separate png files of the same size) and the use of symbols make it very easy to create the base set of images and alter them for those variations. 


The character has an idle animation, flying up, crashing and a game over animation - all up 22 frames. Once these frames where set up I just needed to alter the symbols once and CorelDraw would update all 22 pages of the animation for me. 






The game is finally out on kongregate:
http://www.kongregate.com/games/Algsoft/pupey_preview


Give it a try!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Create clouds using circles in Affinity Designer

This an altered version of the inkscape tutorial on creating clouds. It shows the workflow of the previous Inkscape tutorial in Affinity Designer (by Serif). I am using the free beta version 1.5.0.5 for windows in this tutorial.

The main changes are the names of the tools, the short-cuts and minor differences in the way the tools work. 

So... let's get started with circles or as Affinity Designer calls them - ellipses. Keep in mind that this is just one way to do it and you might prefer hand-drawing them or using the pen tool and creating the curves manually.

I quite often use these 'quick clouds' for layered backgrounds - usually with a few layers of mountains, trees or even city skylines on a layer on top.