Please state your preference

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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Please state your preference

#1 Post by kirabook » Tue May 14, 2019 7:41 pm

Hiya guys. I'm working on a project (like most people here) and am looking for some opinions.

My project is not exactly a visual novel, but I have no other way to describe it. It's a kinetic motion comic visual novel kind of combination. The reader is not a character and every character is in the scene like actually sitting at a table or sleeping in their beds, like a normal story. There are no choices (though I have considered alternate endings)

I'm at the phase where I am building backgrounds and props. There are multiple layers in 1 "scene". The sky (with layers of clouds).
  • The background (distant buildings and landscapes)
  • background sprites/props (random bg characters, cars, bikes, etc)
  • the midground (the walls of the room they're in if inside)
  • midground props/sprites (this is where the characters will usually be with the objects they interact with like a table or bed)
  • the foreground (possibly doors that might slightly block the view)
  • foreground sprites/props (maybe a character talking to someone in the room from behind the door. Or if outside, a tree or lamp post to make the place feel real)
Sounds like a lot, but it works beautifully in my code, now I just need to build the assets. And so comes the problem. There will be a lot of environments in my story. Different places. Different points in time. Outside. Inside. Etc etc. I'm an ok artist, but backgrounds are not at all my strong suit. But, I'm trying to push through this anyway and come up with a "system" or layout that I can replicate or rather... keep consistent. While it would be neat to have a bunch of rooms and places drawn in a different perspective, I am not skilled enough to do that and make it look "the same".

Below is my first attempts at a "consistent" design. Ignoring the colors (and line consistency, I didn't break out my tablet to do this, I was just testing and seeing what could be done), I figured I would draw each room kind of in a one point perspective, but cut off the other side of the room so I didn't have to fully commit to a one point perspective.

At first I was please... until I place dummy sprites in the room and tried to replicate the method outside. You see, outside has buildings and landscapes and hills. It just didn't look nice. I can't quote explain it. (I know this mock up is hideous, but bear with me. Lol)

I went back to the drawing board. What could I do to make designing the backgrounds simple enough for me to follow a pattern and keep things consistent? At last, flat vector design gave me inspiration and guidelines. For example

Of course, I don't plan to keep my art this clean cut and vector like, but the design is "flat", yet holds so much detail. I can easily plot characters into a stage like this. So I ended up with something more like this, a flatter perspective (again, don't plan for my art to be so vector like, just a mock up)

It's not TOO different, but it's still much more... "flat". You see less of the floor or walls. There's much less of a height difference between standing at the sliding door vs standing at the table. It's almost more like a stage than it is a room. While I am happy with it, worry sank in.

Is this boring? Is being "flat" boring? Even if I dress it up and add all kinds of things, would the perspective itself just get too stale? I know I haven't given you much to go on in terms of my own examples since I'm still in the thick of it, but what do you prefer? Do you prefer the attempt at a one point perspective kind of room, or a flatter room?

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Re: Please state your preference

#2 Post by SundownKid » Wed May 15, 2019 10:30 am

The one-point perspective makes it look almost like an advertisement to me. You could make the heavily stylized look work if you are going for a certain feel, like those videos in Fallout with the Vault Boy giving you instructions or Extend TV from Zanki Zero. However, it gives it a simplified cartoonish feel and doesn't scream serious or dramatic.

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Re: Please state your preference

#3 Post by puppetbomb » Sat May 18, 2019 4:39 am

Have you considered an isometric perspective?

You may need to construct some artificial boundaries if you want to fudge the line between isometric and realistic perspective (like if you want to add a sky to a bg). But if you want to have a characters walk around the full breadth of the X and Y axis without any additional programming/art assets, isometric is the way to go.

Some examples you should look at are Ace Attorney Investigations 1 and 2, Cuphead and games by Vanillaware (the studio behind Dragon's Crown and Odin Sphere).

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Re: Please state your preference

#4 Post by kirabook » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:36 pm

Thanks for the responses.

Funnily enough, I came across something called "parallel perspective". I found it while looking at models in sketch up. I don't think it's actually isometric, but close enough. I think I can use it to better inform how the perspective should work Although I wasn't using Ace Attorney as inspiration, that is the style I was originally going to go for but became frustrated when it looked bad. Ha.

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Re: Please state your preference

#5 Post by troublednature » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:59 pm

Personally I actually love the flat look :)

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