VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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rodent
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VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#1 Post by rodent » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:15 am

I really need inspiration as I'm feeling a bit stumped as to how to make my project look nicer.

Anyone have any advice on how to go about this or examples of VN with great art direction(art, interface etc)

I haven't played many, but thought Steins; Gate looked nice. Any other examples? What vn have the best interface, menus etc. Whats the best way to make sprites stick out from the background but still feel like they are in the environments etc, what about lighting?...

Distance blur yes/no?

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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#2 Post by SinaAzad » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:43 am

Well, it may not work with your VN, but check out oyari ashitos art works, specially Quartett! I love how the characters and the background are in harmony. The backgrounds are simplified tho.
And about distance blur, I personally don't like them cuz I 'd want to be able to look at characters 24/7 and the blur part will just make it hard for me, but it is just my preference.
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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#3 Post by Sysen » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:32 pm

I don't know much.. but this one is the game that has some a bit sci fi UI
Baldr Sky 2 https://s.vndb.org/sf/80/6880.jpg https://vndb.org/v1913

Other example of VN with best art direction:
Umineko PS3 ver https://vndb.org/v2153
Majikoi https://vndb.org/v6245
Girl in Shell https://vndb.org/v5922
If My Heart Had Wings https://vndb.org/v9093
Type-Moon games and Steins;gate

Distance blur is a no if it's normal dialogue, for CG i think it's okay (well it's not mandatory)
I don't know about how to make the sprite stick, but usually it stick out by itself because.... it's a sprite.
For lighting, use ambient lighting for safe approach (unless your character is holding something that glows) and avoid using backlight or some edge glows on sprites.
(i've seen some sprite tutorial on other forum somewhere but i forgot, it has tips about spacing, consistency, layering, and much more)

For the advice... i can't give advice to style or art direction.. so,
My advice is only the font, it doesn't have any variation between name, menu option, and dialogue text.... and since it's some sci-fi or futuristic theme, i suggest to avoid using serif font (font that have "legs") and use more modern font

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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#4 Post by rodent » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:19 am

Thanks for the suggestions and advice. I get the impression from the links that perhaps more modest UI's are preferred?
For instance from Dramatical Murder:
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Is this something most vn fans would find excessive?

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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#5 Post by truefaiterman » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:10 pm

I personally love the atmosphere on these ones:

Kara no Shoujo: https://vndb.org/v810
Coμ -Black Dragon in a Gentle Kingdom-: https://vndb.org/v1896
Remember11 -The Age of Infinity-: https://vndb.org/v13

About your questions...

-Yeah, I'm more of a "less is more" approach to menus. But it does depend on the game and the format. I don't mind the one on Drammatical murder, since it's not that overloaded (I think about Animamundi as a bad example, which even has frames https://vndb.org/v131 ).

-Add contrast to your characters, that will give them more volume and allow them to stick out.

-Also, make sure they have a better defined lightsource. It can be fairly neutral (most of the time is an upper-frontal light, but you may want to add a little direction just to place more interesting shadows). And stick to that source, at least for the overall look of the characters (be careful, the highlights on your sprite don't make sense, and with those highlights there shouldn't be any bouncing light on the lower part of the chest).

-Distance blur never. Absolutely NO, at least ingame. On a CG it may work, if you want to enforce a certain feeling (like having a character pointing a gun to the camera, and playing with blur to have different versions of the picture to make a cinematic effect or something like that). If not, I'd even recommend to not using it on CGs either.
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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#6 Post by Anne » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:34 pm

I actually disagree with other people here, I've always wondered why so many games used textboxes like the ones linked (I wouldn't call them ugly, just... awkward?) while the one from Dramatical Murder would be one of my favourite.
I also like the menus in Dysfunctional systems (not the textbox though)

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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#7 Post by rodent » Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:27 am

Thank you for extensive post truefaiterman! Stuff to consider indeed.
Definitely will try things with shadows and contrast. The suit was a quick mockup/colorswap so lighting doesnt matter as this particular image wont be used.
Anne wrote:I actually disagree with other people here, I've always wondered why so many games used textboxes like the ones linked (I wouldn't call them ugly, just... awkward?) while the one from Dramatical Murder would be one of my favourite.
I also like the menus in Dysfunctional systems (not the textbox though)
Same. I don't personally like the really plain ones. I'm trying to find a good balance for now.

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Re: VN with great/cohesive/atmospheric Art Direction

#8 Post by Atomic-Invasion » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:05 am

Just a thought, but maybe you should start in drafts again. Usually art direction is more on consistency then creativity. It needs every look to have the same feeling as what you want to deliver to the viewers/players/readers. Scenes may change from dark to light tones or atmosphere but still needs to carry the overall game. It's great you're looking at other vn as reference to what you want to put in yours. Nitpick details and don't be afraid to overload ideas. Create a storyboard or just a sample scene where what you need is there. Revise if needed until you're satisfied then follow through the style. This also kills workload lol. If you still want to continue what you already made, look closely at what you think is so off in the scene then revise . Sometimes you'll be surprise a small change can make a huge difference.

Hope this helps.

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