"Life is too short to make bad art."

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. 



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: A first glance at Affinity Designer by Serif

I want to share the first experience I had with the beta version of Affinity Designer by Serif. The tool has been out for Mac for a while (there is a free trial version available as well as purchase version for £39.99). It has received much praise as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Serif released the beta version for windows a few weeks ago.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/designer/

The free public beta version for windows can be found here:
https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/windows/

I have been trying out version 1.5.0.5 on my Windows SurfaceBook and am quite impressed with the ease of use and the features provided by the program.

If you have been working with any vector design tool before (Illustrator, CorelDraw or Inkscape) the basic set of tools will look very familiar.
The toolbar at the top has three unique icons though. The tool let's you switch between a vector design mode [draw persona] and pixel paint mode [pixel persona]. Following those are tools to help you arrange, layer, snap and combine your shapes. All the icons are pretty clear and there is an tool tip when you hover over an icon for a little longer. 

The UI elements matched the resolution of my laptop. At a resolution of 3000x2000 pixels in the surfacebooks standard mode Illustrator and CorelDraw make it hard to select nodes and node handles. They become very, very small and are not scaled when zooming in. Like Inkscape Affinity Designer scales these nicely to make it easy to select and modify the objects. All input displays are scaled and big enough to read.




The tool bar on the left hand side has your usual tools [when in vector mode] to allow you to move objects, change the canvas, edit nodes, edit corners, use different types of drawing, edit the fill and the transparency, the standard object (rectangles, circles, rectangles with rounded edges and a nice set of predefined shapes ranging from triangles to hearts, arrows and even editable cogs). 

Note:
I really liked the canvas setting as it offered a choice of device specific settings such as ipad, ipad pro or iphone 6. A feature I found very helpful when designing a full screen layout or a background illustration that would match the desired proportions and sizes. 


Another nice feature is the corner tool allowing easy modifying of the corners of a node. It offers 5 different shapes from plain to rounded and rounded inverse to steps. The amount can be quickly altered by draging a marker or by entering a value. 
To the right you have your colour panel (with the HSL colour wheel as a preset but more schemes to pick from), swatches to help you organize frequently used colours, strokes to define the outlines and brush settings.


The layer panel underneath is very user friendly. Showing preview icons makes selecting elements via the layers panel easy. Affinity Designer offers the essential tools you might need when working with layers, such as locking and hiding elements or layer groups for easier handling.

The bottom right holds another panel for transforming, showing and editing your history and navigating the display area. 

Here's the resulting illustration while trying some of the frequently used features like combining objects, gradient fills, opacity and opacity gradients and was impressed how easy it was to use the tools and modify them.



Note:
To me the shortcuts are the key to working with a tool efficiently. Affinity Designer has some shortcuts set in unusual ways like the duplicate on CTRL + J. Those can be altered quickly in the settings to fit your own needs and habits.  


To sum it up:
I will definitely spend more time using and exploring the more advanced features of this tool. As far as creating illustrations and art work for games the program has convinced me with it's ease of use and the good quality of exporting the artwork to bitmaps to be used inside the game engines.
Once I have scratched more than just the surface of this tool, I will write a more complete review with pros and cons and some comparisons to the tools I have been using in the past. 


I would like to cover some of the tools and the workflow of Affinity Designer on this blog in the future. It's a very easy to use tool with a large set of tools ideal for creating illustrations and game assets.
Let me know in the comment section if there is any interest in covering more on this great tool.

Note:
Affinity Designer is being frequently updated. The newest version might already be different from the one I base this initial post on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Create clouds using circles in Inkscape

This tutorial is a quick answer to a request about how to make make clouds. I have a lot of other tutorial series to finish but this one seemed like a nice little task while enjoying my last day in London.

So... let's get started with circles... :) 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 top. 







I hope this will help with the creation of clouds and improve your backgrounds. I had a lot of fun writing it - even with all the other tutorials on my mind and still not being as fit as I would like to be.

Note:

I am still without my main work machine and the better microphone making it hard to record a video tutorial. The laptop I am working on is just not ideal with it's insane resolution.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Creating 2D Special FX in Inkscape - part1

It took a little longer to get back into the right mindset and find some peace and quiet to start with the requested special effect tutorials.
I quickly discovered that there is not too much on the topic out on the internet and the area that can be covered is huge. 
I will try and break it down into small and easy to follow sections and make a several tutorials on different aspects of visual effects that can easily be created using Inkscape.

Let's start with motion trails/ light trails. They display the path the object is moving and help create the illusion of movement and direction in still images. In animations it's often used to exaggerate or define the character of a fast movement.

In this tutorial I will use two shapes to show the motion: a triangle shape for straight movements and a curved, modified version of it for spins and swings. 

Fighting scenes often use the motion trail to bring out the movement of the character or his weapon. A swinging sword is a perfect example.

The effects on the weapons will look even nicer in animations and I will show the use of them in the next part of the series.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did writing again - even if the topic turned out a lot tougher to break down than I expected when foolishly agreeing to cover it. :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Anguna GBA - a surprise from the past



I got mail today - old fashioned snail mail. A small parcel arrived out of the blue from an old mate. It contained my very own copy of Anguna for the game boy advance. The game was an indie game project Nathan Tolbert and myself worked on some 10 years ago...

and now Piko Interactive released the game.
 It contains a nice bunch of pixel art and animations - keeping the limitations of the GBA in mind. 
The box will look nice on the shelf along with 'Garfield and his nine lives' for the GBA and 'Impossible Mission' for the Nintendo DS.
    

Does it mean I am getting old, when enjoying a trip down memory lane? No... you don't need to answer - I am old... :)


Monday, April 25, 2016

Status update:still around and kicking... sort of...



It's been a while since the last post and I have been working on new tutorials but the going is slow... really slow at the moment. One of the reasons is a new medication I am trying to help me fight the pains and aches (after last years problems I want to add some chemical helpers to my tool kit to avoid prolonged periods of not being able to function).

So far it's been more about the side effects than actual pain relieve. I am hoping it will get better soon as it's driving me bonkers and I can't wait to be functioning at normal levels again.

Please stay tuned. The next tutorials will come (hopefully very soon). 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Back to the basics - Building art assets with squares

Here's the second tutorial 'Continue the fun with squares' as a video tutorial. This time it's all about squares as a building block for the game assets. Using the square as a shape and as a path (converted to manipulate the nodes) is an easy way to create art assets in Inkscape (or any other vector tool for that matter).

I am using inkscape v.0.91 - a free and versatile vector drawing program ( get it here ) on a windows pc. There might be small differences when using the program on a mac or with linux ( mainly as far as shortcut keys goes ) but those changes should be minute. 

Note:
The process used in the tutorial can easily be achieved in other vector tools like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw as well. The commands might be named differently and sometimes the workflow varies a little but it should be fairly easy to follow the tutorial even if you use a different program.

This video is an introduction to using inkscape's basic square tool to get started with game art creation. The video shows how to create more complex shapes using squares as the starting element and rotate, skew and deform them.

 




I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as I will continue to record some of the older but still popular tutorials as video tutorials. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Back to the basics - video tutorial using circles in inkscape

It's been a while since I first started to write tutorials on game art, yet the very first ones are still popular. After receiving a lot of request to cover those early steps in a video tutorial, I finally sat down and made a video of the first tutorial 'Let's get started with circles'.

I am using inkscape v.0.91 - a free and versatile vector drawing program ( get it here ) on a windows pc. There might be small differences when using the program on a mac or with linux ( mainly as far as shortcut keys goes ) but those changes should be minute. 

Note:
The process used in the tutorial can easily be achieved in other vector tools like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw as well. The commands might be named differently and sometimes the workflow varies a little but it should be fairly easy to follow the tutorial even if you use a different program.

This video is an introduction to using inkscape's basics and the circle tool to get started with game art creation.

 



I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as I will continue to record some of the older but still popular tutorials as video tutorials. 

Note:
I am working on new and more advanced tutorials (the special effects and the animation with spriter tutorials as voted by you) as well. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Votes are in... looking ahead...

Thanks for voting on the topic for the next tutorials. It was a close vote and I will cover both topics with the most votes. 


  • Special effects in inkscape
    Creating visual effects for explosions, weapon swipes, magic spells, etc. I have to admit I don't have a clear outline for this one and will have to play around with inkscape for a bit to come up with a good tutorial on the subject. 
  • Animation in Spriter
    This tutorial is something I already started and the outline is pretty clear. I will use the assets I recently made free as part of the 3 million views celebration. The skeleton will be part of the tutorial (series of tutorials) for sure. Maybe it will start with the robot from the complete gameart tutorials for the basics and then step up to the skeleton. I will cover walk, run, jump, attack and die as the essential animations used in games. 

Thanks also for all the other requests. I will cover some of them for sure, while other requests don't quite fit this blog as they focus on pixelart (a huge area of tutorials I could think of as well). 

At the moment I am trying to overhaul the blog, add the Spanish and French translations (I might add German while I am at it) and record some of the earlier and most popular tutorials as youtube videos. I just finished the 'starting with circles' and 'continuing the fun with squares' and will post those in the next couple of days. 

I am still trying to get a good workflow happening with my new work laptop. Installing the essentials, adjusting the settings and working out how to deal with the massive screen resolution (which results in tiny text and icons in some programs - not good for old guys with fading eye sight).

Have a nice, sunny and peaceful Easter!
I am in Germany to spend it with my family and surprisingly even some sunshine. ;)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Exporting and scaling your seamless tiles for use in your game

After covering the creation of tiles for your game with the grass [video] and dirt [video] examples, here's the next step to bring your art into your game.

This video covers the exporting, scaling and testing of the tiles.




Note:
Creating more variations it the key to interestingly looking tiled maps. The video is based on small set of just 18 tiles - missing diagonal elements or variations to the straight transitions.
 







Remember to cast your vote on the next topic covered here on 2dgameartguru.com.



I worked a bit more on the seamless tiles and compiled more variations and additional tips in the special tutorial No3. 




This tutorial is a 16 pages long PDF step-by-step creation of the more trees. It focuses on variations to make your scenes more interesting. 

Note:
The PDF can be opened in Inscape (or other vector tools) and the shapes are fully editable. 

You can use the art in your personal and commercial projects as long as you don't sell the art as is or in a bundle. 



get the PDF for 3.00 US$
Buy now

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Create seamless dirt tiles and transitional pieces in Inkscape

Here's the next part of the seamless tile videos. It's the creation a dirt tile using simple shapes and the transition between grass and dirt.





I hope you had as much fun watching this one as I had recording it.

Note:
I have already finished the third and last part 
[for now] on seamless tiles . That one will be about the export to png, scaling and using in a tile map editor to check the pieces match. It should go up by the weekend after some minor editing.







Remember to cast your vote on the next topic covered here on 2dgameartguru.com.





I worked a bit more on the seamless tiles and compiled more variations and additional tips in the special tutorial No3. 




This tutorial is a 16 pages long PDF step-by-step creation of the more trees. It focuses on variations to make your scenes more interesting. 

Note:
The PDF can be opened in Inscape (or other vector tools) and the shapes are fully editable. 

You can use the art in your personal and commercial projects as long as you don't sell the art as is or in a bundle. 



get the PDF for 3.00 US$
Buy now

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Upcoming tutorials - tell me what you want.




What should be covered in the next tutorial?

I just finished recording two more tutorials on the seamless tiles. I covered the dirt and transition in one and exporting and integration into your game in the second one.
There are a few ideas for the next tutorial, some requests and some unfinished parts from earlier tutorials. 

There is the complete game art series that I would like to finish with more tutorials on animation and the finishing touches such as icon and promo images. 

There is the space theme that I kind of dropped a little too earlier. I have started on a tutorial for a space background in inkscape. 

There are also a few concepts for using inkscape to create the textures for 3D models [from simple wooden crates to a space fighter]. 

Last but not least there is an interesting request for special effects [from explosions, swooshing light trails to magic spells] that would be quite challenging to do. 

Let me know what you would like to read/ see in a video and I will try to make it. 


Note:
If there is something else you would like me to cover, please feel free to leave a comment with more suggestions. I am sure there will be more polls in the future.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Seamless 2D grass game tile created in Inkscape

It's been a while but I wanted to record this one for a long time. After the failed attempt of trying to get the step-by-step tutorial of the grass tile working in a more search engine friendly format, it was time for some 'feel good fun stuff'. 

Here's the video on the seamless grass tile in Inkscape: 





Note:
I used a new microphone and audio setup - no more complaining about the sound coming from the webcam rather than my headset. :) 

I hope you enjoyed this one and tune in again for the next part (that I simply couldn't cover in this episode without getting way too long).









I worked a bit more on the seamless tiles and compiled more variations and additional tips in the special tutorial No3. 




This tutorial is a 16 pages long PDF step-by-step creation of the more trees. It focuses on variations to make your scenes more interesting. 

Note:
The PDF can be opened in Inscape (or other vector tools) and the shapes are fully editable. 

You can use the art in your personal and commercial projects as long as you don't sell the art as is or in a bundle. 



get the PDF for 3.00 US$
Buy now

Saturday, February 27, 2016

3 million milestone - giveaway number 3


Here's the third present to mark the 3.000.000 page views:

One character set is seldom enough. Here's another one to play around with - a skeleton.
It's another complete character with body parts, animation frames and the vector source files. 






The art package [source files as .svg and .pdf and animation frames and body parts as .png] for the skeleton. Get it here!

Enjoy!

Note:

The free download stopped for now. I might be using it again in a future tutorial and make it available again.

Friday, February 26, 2016

3 million milestone - giveaway number 2


Here's the second present to mark the 3.000.000 page views:

A complete character with body parts, animation frames and the vector source files. 






The art package [source files as .svg and .pdf and animation frames and body parts as .png] for the green dwarf. Get it here!

Enjoy!


Note:


The free download stopped for now. I might be using it again in a future tutorial and make it available again.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Next milestone... 3 Million page views...

The page view counter has been ticking over quick fast and the blog has been hitting the next milestone. 

2Dgameartguru.com has reached
3 Million page views!


Thanks to you, you and you. 



Thank you for taking the time and stopping by and bearing with me through the dry spells when real life and time restrains prevent me for having fun with this blog. I don't intend to let it stop me for too long...

I have prepared a nice little giveaway for you... well... actually it's going to be 3 [one for each million] but I am still polishing and wrapping up presents two and three. 







Here's the art from the complete game art tutorial 'SuperBotBox': 
Get it here!

Note:
It's going to be free to download for a limited time.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Udemy course - 200 more coupons to give away!

Seeing the first batch went rather quickly Jose Lopez Garcia was kind enough to give another 200 free coupons to his Udemy course:


"I'll be glad to give you another 200 free coupons. Just to express my gratitude for all the nice work you are doing on your page for free. Hope you will accept those!" - of course I do to pass them on to you guys!

Enjoy!

Note:
...and they are all gone... but the next giveaway is around the corner as the blog is reaching the 3 million view mark. (I just have to come up with something nice yet. :) )

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Udemy course - 50 free coupons giveaway

It's been a while since I posted but here's a quick one for all the Unity developers and those interested in learning.

Jose Lopez Garcia was kind enough to give away 50 free coupons to his Udemy course:




Get your free coupon here - first come, first serve. 
https://www.udemy.com/2d-zombies-game-android-ios/?couponCode=2DGAMEARTGURU

These free coupons will expire the 14th of April but I am pretty sure the 50 will be gone before then, won't they?

Enjoy!

Note:
I just got word from Jose that you have been extremely busy and fast and all coupons were gone in a few hours. Sorry for those who missed out.