Games with mixed art

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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Games with mixed art

#1 Post by Banya » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:41 pm

Hi everyone!
I wanted to ask you a question: what do you think about games with mixed artstyles or different artists working together? And I don't mean an artist for the BG and one for the sprites, but more artists for each category, like in Fire Emblem Heroes or in Fate Grand Order.

Would you play a game with sprites of similar quality but different artists?
Or games with a certain CG artist and another Sprite artists?

This question has been bugging me for a while ><
I'm going for the 'different artists' route, as long as their styles are similar, but I was afraid of asking for feedback...

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Re: Games with mixed art

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:13 pm

Artwork is important to me, and I prefer a single style or at least consistency.

That said, nothing is stopping me from playing a game drawn in crayon with 3D sprites and 2D cutscenes.
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Re: Games with mixed art

#3 Post by morrie » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:23 pm

I've played games where the art was really varied.... it does bother me a little because I usually enjoy some of the art more than the other, so then it's like..... "I wish this character had been drawn by the artist I like more". Which is maybe kind of mean to say..... but I think it's easier to accept a consistent art style / art quality of any level, than an inconsistent one. I think for CG art and backgrounds it's pretty normal that they look a bit different though.

If the artists can all try to keep a similar enough style and quality it's not really a problem though, if they just aren't leagues apart from each other. But that's just my opinion..... maybe some people don't mind at all.....

Also even if a game had really mixed quality and styles of art, I might still play it if it sounds enjoyable as far as gameplay, story and things like that go. Like.... I do care about the art but I can play games that don't even have any art at all if they're interesting enough to play.
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Re: Games with mixed art

#4 Post by indoneko » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:34 pm

Banya wrote:I wanted to ask you a question: what do you think about games with mixed artstyles or different artists working together?
Awkward... :roll:
Would you play a game with sprites of similar quality but different artists?
Or games with a certain CG artist and another Sprite artists?
Maybe yes.... but how similar are their artstyles?
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Re: Games with mixed art

#5 Post by Mammon » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:45 pm

If they're different styles because it's different CC resources and I recognise some of them or they just differ greatly, then it's awkward. If it's made by different artists they can match their color code, character height, shading, general features etc. then it's not. In the NaNoRenO16 'Redacted life' there is a sprite unlike the others but I didn't mind because they matched up enough. In fact, I could only tell from the eyes that they were different artists.

Same for different sprite and CG, either make them clearly different or use the same style, either can work. If you make a painterly CG that's in clear contrast with the sprites then it's clear they're not trying to be alike another. If you make them match up it's also fine. The only somewhat bothering contrast was with a game where the sprites were made by sprite generator and they tried to copy the style, and even that was not too bad.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#6 Post by Biomass » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:03 am

Previous posters have touched on this, but essentially if the styles are too different it will cause a break in immersion. Rather than continuing the experience, the viewer instead becomes fixated on how and why art for one character or object looks so different from another, as if they don't even belong in the same reality. Fire Emblem Heroes does a pretty good job of coordinating colours and line styles so that even if they're different artists they don't appear grossly out of place when viewed next to each other.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#7 Post by Limabaen » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:35 am

For me, consistency > quality. I'd MUCH rather have consistent, lower quality artwork than varied high quality art. It's one of the main reasons I haven't downloaded Fire Emblem Heroes. In fact, I'd even prefer no artwork to varying spritework, though I can tolerate *slight* differences in backgrounds and cgs.
Am I picky? Probably. But differing art styles makes me think that the coordinator can't keep a team together long enough to keep the same artist/ran out of budget (though I do realise that there are many reasons for not being able to gun for consistency, esp for amateur games).
I'll still play games which I've heard have good writing though, just differing artists detracts from my personal experience.

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. Your mileage may vary yada yada.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#8 Post by Sonomi » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:54 am

Limabaen expressed my view of this already, but I want to add. In my own opinion, consistency between the sprites, CG, and backgrounds appears more professional because everything is drawn in a unifying fashion. If that makes sense.

Taking anime as an example, the episodes are drawn by a team of artists who all adhere to one particular art style. When it's obvious that one artist didn't quite mesh with the overall look of the anime, it feels a little jarring.

If you're making a 3D game, I'd rather have everything be 3D. OR you could apply the same filter to all the artwork to give an air of consistency. Character sprites drawn in pastels should have complementing pastel backgrounds. And if you're using pixel art, I'm sort of expecting everything to be pixel art...

In short, a team of artists that makes it seem like one artist drew everything is what I'm personally drawn to. That's not to say you can't mix styles. Danganronpa and 999 turned out well. But amongst the sprites...I'd rather not be able to tell who drew what individually.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#9 Post by jumper09 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:11 pm

It depends on what you're going for. Gacha games like FEH and FGO have a looot of characters with new ones always coming out. They can get away with it because their focus is fighting and collecting. The art isn't as important as each character's stats (for most people). It might even be advantageous to have different styles to appeal to different tastes as long as it makes people want to spend money.

As the others have said, VNs are focused more on immersion and storytelling. So a consistent style is preferred. Personally I don't care too much as long as it's fun or has a good story. I'm sure you'll be fine.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#10 Post by rito » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:42 pm

Limabaen wrote:But differing art styles makes me think that the coordinator can't keep a team together long enough to keep the same artist/ran out of budget
The main reason for any professional project to have more than one artist is schedule, not budget. If they had KYMG draw all the characters in FE:H, either he'd die or the game would never come out.
As for indies, most of us are students or have day jobs, and most often the coordinator can't do squat about personal circumstances.

Different artists is pretty much the norm for Japanese VNs nowadays. Gone are the times when artists were employees of the company; now most are freelancers who have other work. How they do it? Coloring. Different people drawing the lines with the same colorist works surprisingly well.
For example, each of these girls is drawn by a different artist:

Something very simple that can be done if you have your artists doing the coloring too is have a color chart for them to use. If they are willing, ask them about techniques they use for characteristic parts of they work, or even have them talk to the other artist(s).

Even among indie VNs, there's Katawa Shoujo, which has a nice level of consistency.
Weee, the artist for Hanako, said they were all looking to mimic the same style and, when needed, the more experienced artists would fix art by the others.
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Re: Games with mixed art

#11 Post by Biomass » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:30 am

There is actually a different way to go about this. If you're trying to have several artists work together to increase volume, then instead of having each artist draw a complete sprite sometimes what they'll do in industry is to have an artist responsible for a particular aspect of the art instead. For example, Artist A does the penciling, Artist B does the inking, and then Artist C adds the colours. This usually leads to a fairly uniform look among all the resulting sprites while increasing rate of productivity. The downside is, if any one of the artists decides to leave the project, none of the remaining artists can replicate the final look.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#12 Post by Plueschkatze » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:25 pm

I think I would not play a game with hugely different styles. Unless it's a fitting element, like illustration for books that differ from character sprites... or something like that.
The only gameplay element where I can exept a mixture of different artists and their styles is probably for playing card illustrations, like Magic or Yugioh or whatever card games. Haha.

But I prefer character sprites done in the same style.
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Re: Games with mixed art

#13 Post by Kokoro Hane » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:35 pm

I think it really depends. Typically, I think the sprites should at least be done by the same artists. With CGs, I am OK with different artists so long as they do their best to be similiar to the sprite. If there is a noticeable difference in style, it only breaks my immersion if the style is TOO DIFFERENT. Like say, Steins;Gate style CGs with Dragonball Z looking sprites or vice versa... aha... no.

As someone who has mixed different sprite assets, for better or for worse, I do my best to get sprites that look good with the main assets I'm using. Admittedly in the past, I may have had trouble with this. As of recent in my main project, I currently have 1 sprite done by a different artist (as majority of them are the same, since it came in a pack) but she looks fine with the others.

But yeah, in general, I do like consistency--mainly with sprites (unless it's done on purpose for a comedic mess). I'm more lenient with CGs so long as it appears they are trying to be close to the style, even if noticeable differences exist---plus CGs are special scene illustrations and it is kinda neat seeing different artists. But again, even I'd be bothered if the style difference was way too much.
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Re: Games with mixed art

#14 Post by hanging shade » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:08 am

Mixed styles can be good, but it's disconnecting if used without good reason or used too frequently. It's done well in anime like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Akame ga Kill!.

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Re: Games with mixed art

#15 Post by Katy133 » Fri May 05, 2017 8:54 pm

There's a great article by Kyle T Webster on art styles, and it summarises a lot of my thoughts on the importance of artists having a wide range of art styles that they are comfortable with using.

In terms of one game with varying art styles, the expression "content dictates form" is important to keep in mind. Every visual novel I've made has an art style that helps set the tone of the work. Three Guys That Paint has a watercolour art style, etc. [redacted] Life switches between art styles because
it switches between genres, giving each "game" within it a different feel.

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