Project Title: Traditional art inspired 2D video game assets production.
Project Aim: Explore how traditional art practice and traditional art media coupled with art fundamentals can inform and enhance creative expression in production of more aesthetically pleasing 2D game assets.
The idea of this project was to attempt to bridge a gap between 2D videogame production and traditional art practice domains. The lack of existing research into game aesthetics, the data relating to videogame art aesthetics and digital art has a limited set of secondary research sources. The scope of the topic is large and mainly unexplored; therefore, the best way to approach the creation of more aesthetically pleasing 2D game assets was to start the research from traditional art and make connections with digital art and its current presence in videogames.
The research combined qualitative as well as practice based research methods. It showed that choices informed by composition, colour, and digital media production practice combined with understanding the field of aesthetics can have a positive impact on art in video games.
The practical development phase of this project involved adapting traditional art practice methods and techniques and applying them to digital media production pipeline followed by evaluation of this process outcome.
To address composition of the image on a screen during the gameplay, and add interest for a viewers/players eye, a variety of different shapes were introduced in the form of trees and bushes ( marked yellow), a rolling forest and foreground edge (marked red) to give more variety and guidance for the eye. The forest line has also been intersected by a few curvy cloud lines (marked green). The onscreen image had also been broken in to four tone bands which balance an overall view (top and bottom): the lightness of the sky is counterbalanced by the dark middle ground at the bottom of the screen and protruding shadowy foreground elements are offset by the very bright clouds at the top of the screen.
Hues of yellow, red, purple, green and blue were chosen to support the environment (late evening sunset) and the mood off the game (mysterious – purple, cool and tranquil-blues). Also the cold and mysterious forest is balanced by the warm sunshine that still remains the sky.
The research showed that planned composition can help to make a videogame world look more balanced therefore more pleasing to the eye.
Creation of appropriate colour palette and colour harmony not only contributes towards aesthetic look of the game environment but also helps in telling the story of the game or setting appropriate mood.
The replication of traditional media textures can remove the ‘polished’ digital look that is often produced when working digitally, how various digital brushes and their settings can also contribute towards elimination of ‘mechanically produced’ look by introducing more visual randomness and that way helping to return the authenticity or ‘aura’ to digitally produced art.
Based on the aesthetic theories, the manifestation of a personal touch in digital media can establish more authenticity which theoretically should help player immersion in to the game world.
Furthermore, aesthetic beauty is an individual observation and regardless to how many general art rules are followed by an artist when creating her/his work it would still depend on an individual perceptions of a person who is viewing the art.
Overall, the findings show that traditional media knowledge and practice can be applied to digital art production to improve and enhance 2D videogame visuals. The aesthetics of traditional art still plays an important role in pleasing art designs within videogame environment.
This inspirational quote from Jonathan Blow in my opinion sums up really well this projects and my personal goal related to videogame art:
“There’s a message in the visuals, and the effort that’s been put into the graphics. It’s a subliminal thing, a message which says that somebody really cared about putting this experience together...it says you’re in good hands” (Dennis 2012). - Jonathan Blow
Dennis, R. 2012. [online]. Games take on another dimension. Available from: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/9b08c878-2cbf-11e2-9211-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2nGj0OVpc [Accessed 2 October 2013]
If you have any questions or comments related to my project please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be interested to hear from you.