Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprites?

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plainviewer
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Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprites?

#1 Post by plainviewer » Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:29 pm

Hello,

I know there are many tutorials on how to make digital art for visual novels, but I couldn't find a topic that explained the needed materials.

What are the exact materials I need to begin making backgrounds and sprites? Things like software.

I've been searching as best I can for answers, and what little I found basically said you make a rough sketch of your drawing, then scan it, and begin editing. Which brings up my last question:

Do all backgrounds and sprites need to be drawn then scanned first, or can they be made entirely from your computer?

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help.

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Re: Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprit

#2 Post by hiko27 » Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:22 pm

For programs, you can try going for Photoshop (I don't think Photoshop Elements is the best one, that is if you want to edit your drawings later on as well), or Paint Tool SAI. There are tons more out there, like OpenCanvas, Clipstudio, Gimp, Illust studio (which is from the same company as Clipstudio, and is probably in Japanese). Clipstudio is literally the same as Smith Micro's Manga Studio, so I guess you should go for Manga Studio instead of Clipstudio. But these are the only programs I know, there's more out there, you can try checking them out.

If you don't want to spend tons on a tablet, or just don't have that much money for it, you can try getting Photoshop instead. If you want a free alternative (though it's not that great), go for GIMP. You can just draw on paper, scan, and use the line tool on either programs.

If you DO have a tablet, or are planning to get one, you can just skip the whole scanning thing and just draw on your laptop.

For tablets, I only ever bought Wacom, so I can only attest to that. Mine sometimes gets annoying (especially if you've got a freaking i3 processor who's slow as hell), but the Pro and Cintiq has 2048 pen pressure levels (the Pen has 1024, which was the same as the previous Pen which is now the Pro), so it's like drawing with a real pen or pencil. It does have what they calls express keys, which are the shortcuts for your tablet. Your pen has an eraser tip (well that's the default so you could change it by flipping it over and picking a new tool), as well as a vertical button on the side for two shortcuts. You also get a pen stand for your pen, as well as extra nibs. The one I got, the Intuos Pro, comes with a wireless kit, so I can draw without the hassle of cables. Man, I feel like I'm the endorser of Wacom.

There's one other alternative to Wacom from what I've seen people say on the Internet, and it's Monoprice. It's the cheaper alternative, but since I've never used it before, I can't really say much for it except it's cheaper than Wacom.
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Re: Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprit

#3 Post by Katy133 » Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:24 pm

You don't have to start with a scanned pencil image. You can start with a photo and digitally edit it (or leave it as it is if that's the style you're going for). You can start with royalty-free images. You can draw your art assents directly from a computer. I've seen video games that use claymation and CG character models/3D art. Really, the possibilities are endless.

You don't have to start with anything specific in terms of software, but I can give you some recommendations.

Software:
There are many different programs you can use for digital drawing. Here are a few recommendations:
- Photoshop. Very versatile. For painting, you will probably need to download some custom brushes to achieve what you want, or make your own custom brushes (see: "Colouring & Painting Tips & Tutorials," below)
- Paint Tool Sai. Includes a lot of default brushes that feel very organic. You can also export files as a .PSD.
- Mischief. Mischief allows you to digitally paint using vectors, allowing you to export your art at any size and resolution. (Note that the free version only allows you to draw on one layer.)

Digital Drawing Tools:
- If you plan on drawing digitally, then you'll need a drawing tablet and pen. Research what size you want, and what features each kind has (some are cordless, some include art programs like Photoshop Elements, etc).
- I also have experience with using a Cintiq, and I can say that, although large and although they require a lot of workspace, it can be very useful for drawing and painting. You should however try to test one out (I think some art/electronic shops allow you to) before buying it to make sure you like it.

Traditional Drawing Tools:
- Note, when you're purchasing drawing pencils, the number and letter of it. Test which pencils feel right and have the best result for you. An explanation and chart on the graphite grading scale of pencils can be found here.

Anatomy
- The best low-scale skeleton model I can recommend is "The Bones Book and Skeleton". It can be found here, among other places. Ironically, even though it's aimed at young children, it has better (male skeleton) anatomy than the miniature models I've seen in art supply shops.

Colouring & Painting Tips & Tutorials:
I've made a previous post listing a bunch of resources that may be useful to you.
Last edited by Katy133 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprit

#4 Post by plainviewer » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:27 pm

@Katy123 & hiko27:

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all that for me. You were very helpful. :)

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Re: Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprit

#5 Post by sendo » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:37 am

Check these out if you haven't yet : )
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  • So You Wanna Know How to CG
    plainviewer wrote:Do all backgrounds and sprites need to be drawn then scanned first, or can they be made entirely from your computer?
    No. You can draw directly onto the computer using drawing tablets. Some artists like to sketch on paper, scan it, then ink and color it on the computer. Some artists like to do everything on the computer. Find what works for you.

    Right now, I use 3 software and here are my personal thoughts on them:

    Paint Tool Sai is great as a starting art software. Brush strokes are fluid, the software is very responsive and its generally very good to draw on. It never crashed on me. But its features pales in comparison to other software. IMO, it's a good thing because you can focus on one thing — drawing. And it's really very good on that front. In fact, I always use it for sketching and lineart.

    Photoshop is the king of digital art software. Once you know how to use it, no other software will come close. There's a reason its the software used in the professional industry. But it is very resource-hungry. And brush strokes usually feel rigid and clunky. The program can do anything, but sometimes it could get frustrating to set things up. It crashes on me when I use some custom brushes and I also experienced random crashing which I really don't appreciate.

    I use Blender 3D for most of my backgrounds. I haven't used industry standard 3d software like Maya, 3DSMax or Zbrush so I cannot make comparisons with them. But for my purposes, Blender does the job. However, going 3D will require you to learn how to use a 3D software and learn some 3D stuff — which essentially takes away time that you would have spent on drawing. If you're only interested in drawing, do just that. You can draw amazing backgrounds without using 3D. It's just my personal workflow choice — find what works for you.

    Bottom line is, I recommend you try out Paint Tool Sai first. But remember that the software will not make you better. The software is only there to facilitate the digital drawing/painting process.

    As an aside, get a Wacom if you ever get a tablet. Any Wacom. Because some art software I've encountered do not support non-Wacom tablets (or have spotty support) like FireAlpaca and Clip Studio Paint /Manga Studio. At least, my Genius tablet doesn't work on them (then again, my tablet is quite obscure and dated).
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Re: Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprit

#6 Post by SundownKid » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:07 am

All art can be made entirely from your computer, it just takes practice with a digital tablet. It depends whether the artist is more comfortable with digital everything, or just digital coloring. (Though usually making the art in a completely traditional way doesn't jive with video games, but in rare cases it could work).

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Re: Please Help: How Do I Start Making Backgrounds and Sprit

#7 Post by plainviewer » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:03 pm

@crestforge and Sundownkid:

Thank you for clearing all that up for me. It makes things much easier now, and I really appreciate it. I'm going to try out the software you mentioned and see how it works.

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