So I found a really cool way to make backgrounds that are 3D based [you can edit them in photoshop afterward to make it more 2D also] without having to have awesome drawing skills.
What you need:
SketchUp [3D Modeling Program by Google]
Kerkythea [3D Rendering Program + Lights]
Photoshop or another Photo editing Program. [Not Paint]
Click the names above to access the download links.
First of all, be sure that you have installed the latest version of KT, and appropriate SU2KT Exporter (copy su2kt.rb and su2kt folder into SketchUp\Plugings folder) for exporting your model to KT. I strongly recommend you to use this installer because it is the easiest to install.
If you're worried about if it's safe to download or not, these are the exact links I used on my computer, I haven't gotten any errors or warnings from my computer.
Step One: Modeling a Scene.
Open SketchUp once you have installed both Kerythea and the SU2KT Exporter. I'll explain their use later.
You can either model a scene from scratch, or find pre-built objects. Depends if you are going to sell your game or not.
Select: Select an object, face or line
Line: Freehand draws a line to create an object [No Faces]
Rectangle: Draw a Rectangle
Circle: Draw a Circle
Arc: Draw an arc
Make a Component: Ignore
Eraser: Erase a line, object or line.
Tape Measure: Ignore
Paint bucket: Fill a face with a colour or texture.
Push/Pull: Can make a flat shape into a 3D Shape, Also good for moving a face closer or further away.
Move: Move's selected objects, faces or lines in a scene.
Rotate: Rotate selected objects, faces or lines.
Orbit: Rotate your view in the scene.
Pan: Pan your view in the scene.
Zoom: Self explanatory.
Zoom Extents: Zoom and center everything in view.
Add Location: Ignore
Toggle Terrain: Ignore
Add New Building: Ignore
Photo Textures: Ignore
Preview in Google Earth: Ignore
Get Models: Search for Models or Objects for your scene.
Share Models: Ignore
Share Component: Ignore
If your not a strong modeler you can use the Get Models tool and find objects for the room. You can type in anything from a bed to a window to a toilet. There's anything. You may need to cycle through a few pages to find what you want but there's a lot to choose from. I also suggest that if you're unsure what to add to look in your own room, or a friend's bedroom for reference or ideas. Here's mine:
Some of the objects I am using came with textures, the photo on the wall is my own art and for everything else I used the textures that are pre-built into the program. They can be found under Window>Materials. Just find a texture and use the bucket to put it into a face. Next add lights. This is where Kerkythea comes in handy because SketchUp only has a built in Sun, no lights you can actually add to the room.
This toolbar is not in the original SketchUp program but after installing Kerkythea and SU2KT it's not included. This is your lights and settings. Here's a quick run through of what these are:
Export Model to Kerkythea: This is what you use when you are 100% done everything in SketchUp. Lights and Cam position too.
Export Animation Path to Kerkythea: Ignore
Export Face Me Components and Sun: Ignore
Insert Point Light: Round light that acts as a light bulb [Need to set brightness]
Insert Spot Light: Triangle light, good for desk lamps, and street lights. [Need to set brightness]
Import KT Materials: Ignore
KT Materials Update/Detach: Ignore
So now just add lights in your room. I added one at the very top in the middle of my ceiling. When creating these lights they are done in two parts. One is placing, I have mine attached to the face object of my ceiling, second is the brightness which are done by a secondary line that I attached to my face floor. A pop-up will open after where you can later adjust the brightness by a number. You can edit the lights later in Kerky.
Finally when you are 100% positive you are doing modeling the scene, position your view [it's the camera] as what you want in your scene to render. Treat your view as a camera and you are going to take a photo.
When done doing that, save your scene and Export Model to Kerkythea. When this is done it will ask if you wish to open it in the program. I normally hit no because it glitches and won't work. I instead close SketchUp and Open Kerkythea itself and then open the file from there. I normally just save it to my desktop to make it easier to find. You will get a message when doing this.
Don't forget to remove that lady before you export.
Step Two: Rendering.
Open Kerkythea. Open your file [your export should save as ____.xml, open that.
Your view should me similar to this. I won't explain the toolbar for this since there's only one section you need. You can also edit your view on this and lights as well if needed. The first is if you have a sky appear in your scene or not. I do so I need to add that or else outside my window will just be black. You can find a photo or make your own. I'll just use a photo I found on google for now. If you're having an outdoor scene use a very wide photo of the sky.
Go to Settings> Sun and Sky.
Firs it will ask you to pick a location, time, date as well as a zone. Some of the settings will be the same as what your computer is set to, you can change this. Kerkythea has a sun build in already but I would still edit this, it will override the existing sun.
Click next when you're done. This will now edit your Sky. It gives the option to make it a color and by default it's black. I am using a photo so in the scroll menu I changed mine to Hemispherical Sky. I think clicked the black box and it opened a texture window. I went to browse and found my image. Now when done just click finish. By default the sun is turned off, if you want it to be on, look to the left, minimize models and you will see your lights, just right click the sun and click enable.
Now to render everything.
This is all you will need now. Click the green running man and this popup will appear. I made my size the largest in the menu, when done click ok. The render will go from there, be patient it may take time. You can preview your render as it process's if you wish click the square with the tree. Depending how far the render is the image will not be nice and clean right away. You can also view a mini render in the bottom right hand corner.
When your render is done and you like how it looks click save from the image preview. I suggest saving it as a PNG. Now you are done in Kerkythea.
Why shouldn't I just render it in SketchUp?
Kerkythea helps control your lights within a scene as well as renders the scene at a decent high quality, if done right it can almost look like a real place taken with a camera. Rendering in SketchUp adds thick lines around your objects, you probably noticed them while you were modeling, the lines are thick and the joints or corners are even thicker. SketchUp will not remove these if you export your scene as an image, where Kerky will. Kerky also gives you some extra bonus's of adding a sky and setting the sun without having to scroll around inside the scene to find or create an object for this. Yes SketchUp has a sun build into it but you can't easily edit or move it. Being able to edit the sun in this program gives you an added benefit of setting your mood, or time set within a scene. And you can always come back later and change these settings if you want to change the time of day. You won't have to move your camera to do this either so you won't have to worry about trying to re-line it after you edit again to make sure it lines up with the previous image.
Step Three: Editing.
Now I open my photo in Photoshop because I don't want it to look 3D for my story. This is optional, I do this more so because sometimes not everything can render properly and I don't want people to notice that. [ignore my sky texture stretch xD]
So in photoshop I edit my photo in this order:
I duplicate the layer before doing the next filter.
With the second layer, the water paper applied I then change it to a soft light with the scroll down menu in the layers section.
You can edit the photo anyway you wish, this is just what I do for mine. You can also edit it as much, or as little as you want, if you edit it enough you can make it look 2D even though you made it with 3D programs.
Here is my finished result [Not the actual finished version for the BG I used in my VN]
Hope you guys find this helpful, especially for those that can't draw =) This should save you a lot of time I believe.