Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

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Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#1 Post by やまと » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:10 am

Lets say we got some art like this one (I'm not the owner nor the creator of it):

Image

Of course, it is not abstract at all.
But for what I want to say it may show the idea.
Basically I'm talking about art in backgrounds and character sprites that is not completely abstract, but at most made by strokes and colors only, and maybe some shades, without defining detail.

An abstract painting could be thing one: http://worldhdwallpaper.com/wp-content/ ... tures.jpeg

But that would be way too abstract for the player to understand it.
I'm saying something more like this: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3504/460 ... 3f16_o.jpg
Or like this other one: http://www.artacademylive.com/images/Se ... peDVDP.jpg


Now lets say we have some art with that level of detail, but that is closer to the first image (the image with that girl) than to the other ones, also with only a few colors, not as much colors as the other images, so we are able to distinguish very well the shapes of the characters, the basic elements of the background, the light sources, etc... But not details like clothing, or the faces, at most, the mouth and eyebrows as a simple strokes so you can understand emotions but you need to imagine everything else!!!


Would you think that such kind of abstract-ish art would break the possible coolness of the plot? Or do you think that it would be nice to let the reader/player to imagine the details?
Of course, not every plot and genre would be able to use this kind of art.
For example, would you play Moonlight Walks if it had such semi-abstract art instead the anime-like drawings?

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#2 Post by chocojax » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:15 am

Well, it sounds interesting, if executed correctly.
Would you think that such kind of abstract-ish art would break the possible coolness of the plot? Or do you think that it would be nice to let the reader/player to imagine the details?
I wouldn't think it would break the reader's interest in the plot. Art wouldn't have a huge impact on plot, just visuals (haha).
Hm, I think it's nice to have the reader imagine the details themselves. Although, wouldn't the details be filled in through the writing? (It's interesting to imagine the narrator never describe expressions, and over time, the reader would have an idea of which "face" means what expression.)
For example, would you play Moonlight Walks if it had such semi-abstract art instead the anime-like drawings?
Not sure what Moonlight Walks is, but as long as the writing is good, plot is engaging and the art is interesting to look at, I would possibly play it.

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#3 Post by やまと » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:24 am

chocojax wrote:Not sure what Moonlight Walks is.

Moonlight Walks: http://games.renpy.org/game/mwalks

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#4 Post by SundownKid » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:34 am

Such a thing would work in a short game, but in a long one it would become grating.

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#5 Post by Jason » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:34 pm

I was very fine with Ib. Low quality art but good story and music generates lots of fan art (applies to Umineko , Higurashi , Touhou and more).
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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#6 Post by trooper6 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:04 pm

Face Time uses quit abstract art...which I thought was pretty awesome and fit very well with the story. I haven't played Cave Cave yet...but that art should abstract.

I generally think you can do whatever you want, you just have to do it well and do it intentionally. You have to have a reason to use the style and it has to fit the story/theme. Which is why I'd like to see some more non-anime sort of VNs, because I don't always think the anime style is appropriate to the story/theme.
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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#7 Post by やまと » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:47 am

Jason wrote:I was very fine with Ib. Low quality art but good story and music generates lots of fan art (applies to Umineko , Higurashi , Touhou and more).
Wait... Are you saying that abstract art is low quality art? O_o

Nah.. I'm kidding you. I know what you mean. :lol:
Once I saw an anime, I can't remember the name, with that kind of semi-abstract art. The story was nice and the music too, so the "low quality" art didn't broke the anime at all.

trooper6 wrote:Face Time uses quit abstract art...which I thought was pretty awesome and fit very well with the story. I haven't played Cave Cave yet...but that art should abstract.

I generally think you can do whatever you want, you just have to do it well and do it intentionally. You have to have a reason to use the style and it has to fit the story/theme. Which is why I'd like to see some more non-anime sort of VNs, because I don't always think the anime style is appropriate to the story/theme.
Image

Yes, Facetime /facepalm lol

That is the art I'm talking about. Well, not exactly like that, but yeah almost like that. I'm not sure I can find the anime I saw years ago with abstract art, that was almost like in Facetime, but slightly different, although that is the idea. But Also, I would want to highlight a lot the mouth and the eyebrows, maybe as the only face details, but that will give decissive information about the character mood in that moment. Just as simple strokes.

IMO, I think that sci-fi, horror, gore, for example, are likely fit better that kind of art.
I can't really imagine a romantic/otome novel with that kind of art.

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#8 Post by Jason » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:07 am

やまと wrote:
Jason wrote:I was very fine with Ib. Low quality art but good story and music generates lots of fan art (applies to Umineko , Higurashi , Touhou and more).
Wait... Are you saying that abstract art is low quality art? O_o

Nah.. I'm kidding you. I know what you mean. :lol:
Once I saw an anime, I can't remember the name, with that kind of semi-abstract art. The story was nice and the music too, so the "low quality" art didn't broke the anime at all.
Oh of course not, I meant it as a setting.
Low quality in game dev can be intentional and I mean it as a setting the creators decide upon.
In my opinion low quality setting for the graphics gives room for fan artists' imaginations, so I really didn't mean it as an insult.
In fact I prefer mid-low compared to high and AAA 3D, I hope this clears this one out heh.
I just didn't want to sugarcoat the term as abstract since, abstract's a total different league...
and I think Ib isn't abstract -since abstract means I can't tell what I'm looking at and gives room for me to assume what I'm looking at ---
and Ib's way too defined as a horror game, but it does give me the urge to draw a fan art for it.

I find Rin's character and route from Katawa Shoujo a lot more close to what abstract is even if the characters are clearly drawn. I'm not a fan of the game but holy ____ was that a confusing route. Her being disabled , and anime styled adds up to her abstractness, the way she speaks, and this is all just my opinion..

Whereas Ib is just /clearly/ pure horror with subtle lolicon undertone element at the ending (I didn't mind it that much, but that's the feedback of some pepople I know) and playful artsy style.
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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#9 Post by truefaiterman » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:36 am

Well, I'll say I don't think it's a good idea to abstract the art too much: After all, if the reader wants to only use his/her imagination, they'd just get a book, right?

With that said, abstract art can be pretty interesting as long as the design and composition are GOOD. And I honestly believe that's way harder than your average figurative style.
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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#10 Post by やまと » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:04 pm

Jason wrote:
やまと wrote:
Jason wrote:I was very fine with Ib. Low quality art but good story and music generates lots of fan art (applies to Umineko , Higurashi , Touhou and more).
Wait... Are you saying that abstract art is low quality art? O_o

Nah.. I'm kidding you. I know what you mean. :lol:
Once I saw an anime, I can't remember the name, with that kind of semi-abstract art. The story was nice and the music too, so the "low quality" art didn't broke the anime at all.
Oh of course not, I meant it as a setting.
Low quality in game dev can be intentional and I mean it as a setting the creators decide upon.
In my opinion low quality setting for the graphics gives room for fan artists' imaginations, so I really didn't mean it as an insult.
In fact I prefer mid-low compared to high and AAA 3D, I hope this clears this one out heh.
I just didn't want to sugarcoat the term as abstract since, abstract's a total different league...
and I think Ib isn't abstract -since abstract means I can't tell what I'm looking at and gives room for me to assume what I'm looking at ---
and Ib's way too defined as a horror game, but it does give me the urge to draw a fan art for it.
Hi Jason.

Yes,, of course, abstract is a different world. But I don't know how to call Facetime art. Just choose the semi-abstract because it looks a bit abstract.

What I find fascinating about semi-abstract (Facetime-like art, lets say) is that it makes me to understand how the mind of the protagonist works, the subconscious part of his/her mind. For example, in Facetime the art looks like a bit random strokes art, not fully random, but some strokes don't even fill completely the figures or shapes, so it gives to me a feeling of disorder, maybe some degree of madness or even a mental disorder. Here it is not important if the protagonist is tall, fat or blonde, I can just imagine that as I please, but I know how his mind works.

I'm not sure if cute drawn manga-style drawings can transmit such emotions or feelings. But an Otome VN I think it would not work well with semi-abstract art.
And I'm not sure if Facetime will be the same if was using cute manga-like drawings.
Jason wrote: I find Rin's character and route from Katawa Shoujo a lot more close to what abstract is even if the characters are clearly drawn. I'm not a fan of the game but holy ____ was that a confusing route. Her being disabled , and anime styled adds up to her abstractness, the way she speaks, and this is all just my opinion..

Whereas Ib is just /clearly/ pure horror with subtle lolicon undertone element at the ending (I didn't mind it that much, but that's the feedback of some pepople I know) and playful artsy style.
I never heard of those characters or VNs, would you mind posting some link or something where I can see what is it about. Tanks.



truefaiterman wrote:Well, I'll say I don't think it's a good idea to abstract the art too much: After all, if the reader wants to only use his/her imagination, they'd just get a book, right?
Hi, truefaiterman.

Yeah, I can't disagree with you!!!
Of course that will be a bit too... weird? complicated? Maybe for a very limited audience? Definetely, not 100% abstract.
The example you pointed before, Facetime, is the perfect example of what I mean. [EDIT] Ups, It was not your example, it was trooper6's example. I'm sorry for the conffusion.
truefaiterman wrote: With that said, abstract art can be pretty interesting as long as the design and composition are GOOD. And I honestly believe that's way harder than your average figurative style.
I have a friend, who is a girl, that is a painter and only paints abstract art. She told me that abstract art can be the most complex painting style, because it is like trying to transmit and idea or emotion without drawing an object or the source of the emotion itself.

But of course, I'm not talking about this level of abstractness (does this word exists?)

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#11 Post by Jason » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:16 pm

やまと wrote: Hi Jason.

Yes,, of course, abstract is a different world. But I don't know how to call Facetime art. Just choose the semi-abstract because it looks a bit abstract.

What I find fascinating about semi-abstract (Facetime-like art, lets say) is that it makes me to understand how the mind of the protagonist works, the subconscious part of his/her mind. For example, in Facetime the art looks like a bit random strokes art, not fully random, but some strokes don't even fill completely the figures or shapes, so it gives to me a feeling of disorder, maybe some degree of madness or even a mental disorder. Here it is not important if the protagonist is tall, fat or blonde, I can just imagine that as I please, but I know how his mind works.
I haven't played the game but then now that I browsed and take a closer look at it, I think I'm getting where you're at.
I'm not sure if I can immerse myself to that kind of art. BUT, as for the example given in the thread, it feels a little bit of SHAFT and I'm interested actually in a VN that will pull a Bakemonogatari/Madoka kind of theme ---
Because I'm pretty sure it will work out and may start a new trend.
The challenge here though would be, it's a lot harder to execute this properly, unless you're a natural when it comes to portraying abstract scenes.
やまと wrote:
Jason wrote: I find Rin's character and route from Katawa Shoujo a lot more close to what abstract is even if the characters are clearly drawn. I'm not a fan of the game but holy ____ was that a confusing route. Her being disabled , and anime styled adds up to her abstractness, the way she speaks, and this is all just my opinion..
I'm not sure if cute drawn manga-style drawings can transmit such emotions or feelings.
I never heard of those characters or VNs, would you mind posting some link or something where I can see what is it about. Thanks.
Image
First off, seeing her armless all the time makes me feel uncomfortable or sorta. Sometimes I feel like I'm uncertain what I'm looking at because there are cgs like: http://eroderekko.files.wordpress.com/2 ... in-art.jpg and there were a few more that involves the painting she makes.

and then here's some lines coming from her: http://direcritic.com/2012/02/03/rinisms/#more-1607
She's sometimes so random and her overall portrayal is something I can't define in a few words. She's like defined but undefined as well , her being armless makes me a bit uncertain on how to feel about her. Maybe this is also considered semi-abstract? hehe, but then again this is just my opinion.
But an Otome VN I think it would not work well with semi-abstract art.
And I'm not sure if Facetime will be the same if was using cute manga-like drawings.
It can work with the stuff I mentioned above regarding the Shaft style approach - which is a good mix of semi-abstract elements and the fairly normal ones, it's just a matter of execution I believe.
Maybe one last example I can think of for now is Saya no Uta - the vision of the main character to the world being all limb-ey and bloody and the people being monstrous creatures can be also called semi-abstract since it makes you think otherwise about how it actually looks like normally in real life, and the same applies to Saya's true form.
So yeah, I believe it can work by mixing the two elements together.
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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#12 Post by やまと » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:50 am

Jason wrote:I haven't played the game but then now that I browsed and take a closer look at it, I think I'm getting where you're at.
I'm not sure if I can immerse myself to that kind of art. BUT, as for the example given in the thread, it feels a little bit of SHAFT and I'm interested actually in a VN that will pull a Bakemonogatari/Madoka kind of theme ---
Because I'm pretty sure it will work out and may start a new trend.
The challenge here though would be, it's a lot harder to execute this properly, unless you're a natural when it comes to portraying abstract scenes.
You should try that VN, at least for the sake of trying it what what is it about.
Maybe you feel unconfortable with the plot.
Yes, doing some semiabstract art VN could be quite challenging
Jason wrote: Image
First off, seeing her armless all the time makes me feel uncomfortable or sorta. Sometimes I feel like I'm uncertain what I'm looking at because there are cgs like: http://eroderekko.files.wordpress.com/2 ... in-art.jpg and there were a few more that involves the painting she makes.

and then here's some lines coming from her: http://direcritic.com/2012/02/03/rinisms/#more-1607
She's sometimes so random and her overall portrayal is something I can't define in a few words. She's like defined but undefined as well , her being armless makes me a bit uncertain on how to feel about her. Maybe this is also considered semi-abstract? hehe, but then again this is just my opinion.
But in this anime you mention here, there is not abstraction in the art. I mean, the art shows exactly how the girl is, the color of her skin, the size of her nose, how long is her hair and even his clothing style. You don't abstract all those "unnecessary" things leaving just an image of her personnality, so you in fact don't let the player to imagine her with blonde long hair and black skin, while with some more abstract art the player imagination can fly further. It is likely the abstract art adds extra information to the subconscious of the character/s instead of showing how they look like.

Maybe there is some abstraction in that random personality you mention, but that is not part of the art. It is part of the story itself and sometimes it is impossible to transmit some details of a personality with just words. Or at least write down exactly how you envisiones her personnality, it is impossible with just words.
Jason wrote:
But an Otome VN I think it would not work well with semi-abstract art.
And I'm not sure if Facetime will be the same if was using cute manga-like drawings.
It can work with the stuff I mentioned above regarding the Shaft style approach - which is a good mix of semi-abstract elements and the fairly normal ones, it's just a matter of execution I believe.
Maybe one last example I can think of for now is Saya no Uta - the vision of the main character to the world being all limb-ey and bloody and the people being monstrous creatures can be also called semi-abstract since it makes you think otherwise about how it actually looks like normally in real life, and the same applies to Saya's true form.
So yeah, I believe it can work by mixing the two elements together.
Maybe you are correct. But I can't imagine an Otome VN with an art similar to the Facetime VN, even with a less degree of abstraction, I can't manage to imagine how it would work. I think that in a Otomo VN, the physical aspect of the characters is way too important to abstract it. How can you say if this or that character is cute or beautiful or not if you can't see how it really looks like? Even when writting 1000 words about his phisycal aspect, you will never get close to the image you (the writer) have in your mind!

It is like seeing a photo or seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night (http://uploads2.wikipaintings.org/image ... 281%29.jpg).

The photo shows you the phisical aspect, which is important if you are a tourist.
The Van Gogh's painting shows the "mind" part of the place, which is important if you want to understand what he was thinking about, which you could never understand if you see a photo of that same place in Van Gogh's painting.
The same as you cannot visualize how the place looks like exactly if you only see the painting instead of the photo.

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#13 Post by trooper6 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:10 pm

Can you use abstract art for an otome game? It depends on the otome game and if the audience you want is the audience who only wants bishonen anime people. If you want that audience then no, abstract act won't work. But if you want to do something new? Sure! Why not?

I could imagine it being really interesting and effective to have a romance game that is set in 1930s Paris amongst those who had to flee totalitarianism using abstract art. That was a time and place where abstract art was flowering, and it seems like a logical choice to use it in such a game.

But really, I think a key is this: abstract art hard is hard to do. And it is hard to do well. I believe that if an artist is good at abstract art, and produces good abstract art for a game that is well written, and written to use abstract art...then I think the game will be a success. It may not be a success with the types of people who like otome games...but it will be a successful work of art, and there will be an audience for that.

In the end, the artist must ask at least two questions: what do I want to communicate in my art and who do I want to communicate it to? The answer to these questions would point to whether abstract art or figurative art, anime or photorealism, warm or cool, angular or round, etc is the way to go with that particular piece of art.

I think it is difficult to ask a general question "will semi-abstract art work in a VN" because that question is without the context of a specific VN. The answer is always: it depends on the VN, it depends on how well the art is executed, it depends on how well the writing is executed, it depends on the target audience.
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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#14 Post by やまと » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:53 am

Hi trooper6.
Yes, I aggree with everything you stated there. It may definetely work. Although I don't have the imagination or the time to try it. I'm more into a horror theme with semi-abstract art.
trooper6 wrote:I could imagine it being really interesting and effective to have a romance game that is set in 1930s Paris amongst those who had to flee totalitarianism using abstract art. That was a time and place where abstract art was flowering, and it seems like a logical choice to use it in such a game.
Using abstract art as a "encryption" method to transmint emotions to your boyfriend/girlfriend in a dictatorial regime?

Sir, I think you are a genius...
Would you mind if I steal your idea? Hehehe

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Re: Visual Novels and semi-abstract art?

#15 Post by trooper6 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:58 am

やまと wrote: Using abstract art as a "encryption" method to transmint emotions to your boyfriend/girlfriend in a dictatorial regime?

Sir, I think you are a genius...
Would you mind if I steal your idea? Hehehe
Please do! How people have communicated dangerous sentiments in unsafe environments is one of my primary research areas and I'm happy if more work engaging with those ideas is out there in the world!
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