Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

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frylander
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Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#1 Post by frylander » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:09 am

Hi, I'm making a kinetic novel by myself, so making the art really is hard on me since I'm no artist.

Hence why I come here to get some of you guys feedback. I'm not very good at making clean, defined art like in most novels out there, instead I tend to go for a painted, messy and more expressive tone for the backgrounds usually, since I don't specially like or plan on becoming a background artist.

But I fear that this might get in the way of the story, if people find it distracting or just unappealing.

Also I would like some feedback on a character sprite test that I made to see if it would be good enough for a novel.

Basically what I'm asking for here is, would my background/character sprite get in the way of the storytelling? Is it distracting? Would you stop reading if you saw it ingame?

Note that the character sprite is a bit messy on the borders since I was messing around to see the best workflow, I plan on fixing that, I just would like feedback on the overall thing.

Thank you for your time and feedback, I appreciate every single bit of info I can get.

Here is the background:

http://oi64.tinypic.com/2iu9hdh.jpg

Here is the character sprite:

http://oi65.tinypic.com/xavx2v.jpg

And here are both at once to get some context:

http://oi66.tinypic.com/30ic0p4.jpg

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#2 Post by Draziya » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:29 am

On the contrary, I quite like that background, and I don't think it would be distracting. It sets a really nice tone and mood.

The only issue I can see arising is that the character sprite blends in too much with the background, but that's more of a lighting/colouring thing rather than a style choice. And of course that might be your intention anyway.

And I must say, even if you don't consider yourself an artist, I think your work is quite impressive!
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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#3 Post by frylander » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:50 am

Draziya wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:29 am
On the contrary, I quite like that background, and I don't think it would be distracting. It sets a really nice tone and mood.

The only issue I can see arising is that the character sprite blends in too much with the background, but that's more of a lighting/colouring thing rather than a style choice. And of course that might be your intention anyway.

And I must say, even if you don't consider yourself an artist, I think your work is quite impressive!
Thanks for the feedback, really appreciated!

Glad to hear the background works fine, it's what bothered me the most. Characters I can do better with some more time since I have more practice, but backgrounds, I never ever draw them clean and tidy like you usually see, instead I make them with big brushes and leave them painting-like as in this drawing. In the end I want people to focus on the characters on the foreground, thats what I think when I draw these.

Hopefully most people will think like you, I would hate to put out my novel only to have people point out how my backgrounds/art got them out of the story.

As for the blending sprite, I did use a color filter to blend the character with the background. I made a system on my game so I can easily change sprite filters depending on the background I have, so that was intentional. Though, it might blend too much, that is still a possibility, but since it's so easy for me to change it, I can test that later on when I have more work done.

If anyone else has more feedback on the background or character, I would appreciate every opinion! I want to have a good grasp of what I have to do before going in and making several backgrounds/character sprites, so the feedback you give me now may heavily impact the outcome of the style in my game!

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#4 Post by Zelan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:14 pm

I'm surprised that this was a concern to you - not saying that you're wrong to be thinking about these things, but a fair amount of the VNs that I've played have "messier" background art instead of highly defined art. There are a lot of games I've played that just use filtered photos as backgrounds. Honestly, backgrounds important, but tend to fall to the wayside in comparison to the sprite art.

Besides that, I agree with Draziya. Your style is pretty and I would love to play a VN with sprites and backgrounds in that style. The only issue I would say is making sure the characters don't blend into the background too well. You might want to make the sprites "pop" a little bit more when contrasted with the background.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#5 Post by frylander » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:49 am

Zelan wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:14 pm
I'm surprised that this was a concern to you - not saying that you're wrong to be thinking about these things, but a fair amount of the VNs that I've played have "messier" background art instead of highly defined art. There are a lot of games I've played that just use filtered photos as backgrounds. Honestly, backgrounds important, but tend to fall to the wayside in comparison to the sprite art.

Besides that, I agree with Draziya. Your style is pretty and I would love to play a VN with sprites and backgrounds in that style. The only issue I would say is making sure the characters don't blend into the background too well. You might want to make the sprites "pop" a little bit more when contrasted with the background.
I see! I thought that if the sprites popped too much they would look like they don't belong in that space. But that might just be me thinming in terms of cinema, in visual novels probably it's better to get the focus on the sprites by making them more illuminated or something.

Noted! I will make my sprites so that they draw way more attention from the scene, even if they have subtle color filters.

And I'm glad my style isn't a problem, really takes a burden off of me since I was worried about it.

Thank you so much for the feedback!

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#6 Post by arachni42 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:48 am

I actually really like that background. I like the expressiveness of it.

I agree with others; the first thing I thought seeing the sprite on the background is that it needs to pop out a little more. They should belong the space, but also be thing you're paying attention to. There's lots of ways to do it, so experiment.
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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#7 Post by frylander » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:17 pm

Since I was messing in photoshop to try different workflows for creating character sprites faster and came up with this relatively fast, I will post it here for feedback as well as show it on the background to know if it pops more.

this is the new character sprite I made:

http://oi67.tinypic.com/24loqoh.jpg

And here it is in the background:

http://oi63.tinypic.com/hwzee1.jpg

The sprite is more illuminated than the background so I think she should pop way more now, how does it look, and does the sprite look good? Im still trying to figure a workflow that's a good compromise between quick, clean and convinient. The hand has some issues but well I can fix them later.

If thats good then all I would need is to know if my writing is somewhat good to keep writing the rest of the story and all I would need to do is... well, do it.

I posted my first chapter in here and no one commented on it yet, I don't know if its too long and people don't read it, if its so bad they dont want to comment on it or if there is nothing wrong with it and thats why no one tells me anything about it lol.

If I don't get feedback on it Ill just dive right in and hope its not bad as it is. For now I'll focus on the sprites since im getting feedback on that at least.

Thank you all for your time!

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#8 Post by Zelan » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:29 pm

The sprite still blends a bit because of the gray color palette, but when I look at the two images side by side I can definitely see that the new sprite stands out better than the first one does. You may want to tweak it a little bit more to improve it, but I would get some others' opinions on how it looks.

The sprite itself looks great if I'm not relating it to the background. Very spooky. c:

Where did you post your script? I don't remember seeing it.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#9 Post by frylander » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:43 pm

Zelan wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:29 pm
The sprite still blends a bit because of the gray color palette, but when I look at the two images side by side I can definitely see that the new sprite stands out better than the first one does. You may want to tweak it a little bit more to improve it, but I would get some others' opinions on how it looks.

The sprite itself looks great if I'm not relating it to the background. Very spooky. c:

Where did you post your script? I don't remember seeing it.
Indeed, her color palette being mostly blacks and whites makes it a bit harder to make her pop on darker backgrounds. On lighter ones with more colours though she should pop the most. Still I think this sprite might blend a bit more because I made her skin more pale than her normal version, probably with a warmer skin tone she will stand out a bit more. The bit that blends the most is the hair and overall upper half, probably a rim light will fix it. Will do it later!

Things like these are why I want feedback before diving in and getting everything done! And glad you liked the sprite :)

The script is in this post in case anyone wants to read it: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=48302

Has lots of dem views so I don't know if people dont have time to actually read it or what, which I would understand. Im quite busy myself doing all this as to go around reading everyone's scripts, so It's not like I hold it against anyone, time is very valuable and I appreciate it when someone gives me a bit of theirs!

I'm just concerned that my English might hold me back on telling the story since English is not my main language. That and the fact that the closest thing to writing a novel I have ever done is writing movie scripts which are quite different to writing a novel. Honestly all I would like to know is if my English is overall good and if people would keep reading even with my level on the language. It's not like I expect to make a poetic masterpiece anyways, as long as the story gets through I'm fine.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#10 Post by frylander » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:01 pm

I'm still testing with different ways to make sprites. I sort of dislike the flat texture the previous sprites had, cel-shading may look good on anime characters but I believe it doesn't look good for what I'm aiming for.

I would rather aim for something more stylized and that has some texture to it, like this sprite from steins gate: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/ste ... 1222010103

So I tried to shade with some texture to see what it looks like, basically I used a custom brush instead of the regular ones so the final result looks messier.

Here is the painting I made as a test to check the shading on skin: http://oi67.tinypic.com/34hc7yv.jpg

It's not related to my game, in fact she's Eveline from RE7 in case any of you know the game. Or at least it's an attempt at painting her.

Does it look better with some texture to the drawing rather than the flat cel-shading my previous sprites had? I personally think it looks more interesting, expressive and that would fit more with the backgrounds, but I would like to get feedback before taking drastic decisions.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#11 Post by Zelan » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:05 pm

Personally, I still quite like the style of the original sprites. I almost feel like the style that you've used would work better for CGs than for sprites. However, it's hard for me to say for certain since I haven't seen an example of what the new style looks like on the backgrounds.

Another thing to consider is time vs. quality, and how much of your time is worth it. My guess is that the current style you're using is a little easier than the new style. If the new style is only a little bit better, but takes 3 extra hours of work, it might be better to stick with the first style.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#12 Post by frylander » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:27 pm

Zelan wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:05 pm
Personally, I still quite like the style of the original sprites. I almost feel like the style that you've used would work better for CGs than for sprites. However, it's hard for me to say for certain since I haven't seen an example of what the new style looks like on the backgrounds.

Another thing to consider is time vs. quality, and how much of your time is worth it. My guess is that the current style you're using is a little easier than the new style. If the new style is only a little bit better, but takes 3 extra hours of work, it might be better to stick with the first style.
True that, my bad.

Here is the last sprite I made converted to this style. It's pretty much the same to do, just that I use a hard oil painting-like bruhs instead of a soft brush so it doesn't have so many soft edges and instead looks sharper and with some texture.

http://oi65.tinypic.com/ot3tas.jpg

Still, perhaps that contrast between the messy backgrounds and the soft, clean sprites is good and should stick with the previous style.

Depending on the feedback on this sprite I will decide, since the time to make them is literally the same. I still have a lot of time before I actually put myself to making the sprites so I will make different sprite tests on my spare time.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#13 Post by Zelan » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:38 pm

Both are pretty great styles (honestly, I'm really impressed with your art skills and your dedication). Ultimately, I think that I like the first style the best when compared with the backgrounds. The clean style is very pleasing to look at, but I would actually say that it stands out too much in comparison to the background. Of course, like we talked about before, it does need to "pop" to some degree, but it also needs to look like it fits within the background. I think the soft style does this the best, as long as the colors of the sprite allow it to stand out against the background.

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#14 Post by frylander » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:00 pm

Zelan wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:38 pm
Both are pretty great styles (honestly, I'm really impressed with your art skills and your dedication). Ultimately, I think that I like the first style the best when compared with the backgrounds. The clean style is very pleasing to look at, but I would actually say that it stands out too much in comparison to the background. Of course, like we talked about before, it does need to "pop" to some degree, but it also needs to look like it fits within the background. I think the soft style does this the best, as long as the colors of the sprite allow it to stand out against the background.
Noted! Then instead I will focus on improving on my clean style so it looks better rather than changing it. Thanks for your time!

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Re: Painting like, undefined backgrounds?

#15 Post by frylander » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Alright so I've been messing around with sprites on my spare time to look for the best workflow.

I came up with this: http://oi67.tinypic.com/2vrxs8j.jpg

I think it looks way better, I completelly redesigned her look to fit better the necessities of the visual novels (popping more from the backgrounds) as well as to make her look more cute, appealing, charismatic and interesting (Or so I hope). Basically I turned her into a goth loli, darn.

I discarded my way of painting characters (without lines) because it was way harder to define the character without it looking bad. It took way much more time than with lines so I went back to regular cel shading, which is faster and the result is pretty okay anyways, just more... anime like. Oh well.

Guess that if big productions use that style it has to be for something, right? It is easier and faster to do than painting-like characters, and considering that I'm planning to do quite a few of them I'd rather keep it simple.

So how does it look for you? Better than the last one? Worse? Don't care? any feedback is welcome!

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