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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:39 am 
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I've tried sharing my artwork at various stages with various people and on various sites. I've never really felt satisfied with the feedback I've gotten, so I thought I might just try it here.

These are some character designs I've been working on for a game I'm developing (currently on hold while I do other stuff, but every now and then I try to pick at it.) These are (not counting further tweaks or revisions) just as they would appear in the game, in a sample scene that is mostly what the game would look like (except for the lack of background.)

(Image is too wide for this forum, so here's a link instead.)
http://i.imgur.com/m45dDIM.png

Feel free to rip in to this with great detail. Point out any line that you think looks off, any detail, or the overall look, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:27 am 
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I'm gonna start like I always do, pointing out the inconsistencies (fortunately, I don't see that many):

- The fence on the far right and the bottom of the grass are not outlined in black. Normally this would be done only for special objects, like bright or translucent objects, which these are not. If everything else that's opaque is outlined with back, the grass and the fence should be too.

- Only the 3 humanoid characters and the tree have shadows. Since everything is in the same environment, it would make more sense if the snake was shaded in a similar way. The rest of the background, such as the grass, could use some shading too. Speaking of shadows, the placement the shadow is backwards on the magician's right arm.

As far as inconsistencies go, that's all I can spot. My next criticism is that the background looks pretty dull. The tree could use a little texturing (like a few streaks using the shadow's color to break the flatness), the grass could be a little thicker and have much more volume... like, add the black outline on the bottom and have it cast a shadow on the dirt, while also shading the grass itself. Maybe add a little highlight (yellow is great for highlighting green!). Another thing you can do is add some reflections to the fence and the scythe, some basic black and white lines should already improve their look a lot.

The last things I have to say are about the actual drawing of the characters. There are a few things that make it look like they weren't drawn by an experienced artist, such as the hands, which are pretty simple and "formulaic". Also, the closed ones are very noticeably missing their thumbs! Another problem I see are mistakes people who're not used to drawing manga/anime make in the placement of facial features:

- The eyes are too close together. People normally say that there should be at least the space of a 3rd eye between both eyes, but anime characters often have even more space than that, while your characters have considerably less.

- Mouths are too low and too projected to the front. Being too low gives the characters "long faces", and being too projected makes them look like they have protruding jaws. It looks like you tried to center the mouths based on the noses (or vice versa), but contrary to popular belief, anime noses do not represent the very center of the nose, but the outline of the overall shape of the nose, meaning that in a 3/4 view the center of the nose is actually closer to us than the outline would have us believe.

Here's a quick edit showing what I mean about the faces and hands:
Attachment:
edit.png
edit.png [ 166.46 KiB | Viewed 1056 times ]

I just moved the facial features around and edited the hands a bit. Also regarding the hands, notice that in real life hands are not centered relative to the wrist, the top of the hand (the part where the thumb is) is actually higher. I fixed this only in the bunny girl, the other girl still has her lowered hand oddly centered to her wrist.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:53 am 
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One thing that immediately stood out to me is that everything seems to be a bit "stiff". I'm not very good at these things, so the best example I can give of this is the bunny girls ears. They just stick straight up. A bit of "slack" in them would make it all appear a bit more natural I think.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:57 pm 
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^^^ yeah, ears should be at an angle, not parallel. Should have more folded length.

Game-design-wise:
The tree shouldn't be outlined in black, as it isn't interacting with the players.
If the fence IS supposed to hurt players, outline it in black.
(Not a hard-and-fast design rule, but it does make things easier on players.)
Art-wise:
She can't usefully swing the blade of the scythe with it turned backwards. Granted, it's an unlikely weapon anyway, but outside the character-select screen she should carry it blade-forward. This would also reduce the injury if she tripped.

It is a nice touch that she's sinister(left-handed), though.

Large, clothing-emphasized-bust + no pants, VICTORIAN COVERED NECK TO TOE NO EYECANDY, large clothing-emphasized-bust + no pants. One of these things is not like the others…♪ (Which means, really, he should be wearing white kid gloves.)

If the magician's being the Least Physical of them, then the women should have a bit more muscle tone.

The snake's cartoonishly-short right now. If it's moving other times, then that's fine. If he never moves, then give it some respectable length coiled under it for stability.

It looks kind of like a "HD remake of 8-bit (/early 16-bit) game" in style.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:04 pm 
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Myask wrote:
Large, clothing-emphasized-bust + no pants, VICTORIAN COVERED NECK TO TOE NO EYECANDY, large clothing-emphasized-bust + no pants. One of these things is not like the others…♪ (Which means, really, he should be wearing white kid gloves.)

Maybe this is a level before the guy in the middle finds a white kid and steals his gloves.

(On the other hand...)


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 10:58 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
- The fence on the far right and the bottom of the grass are not outlined in black.

Actually the problem is that the tree is outlined in black. I honestly don't know why I did that. My intent was only to use black outlines on things the player can touch. Looking closely I think I tried to get away with using a thinner line. Thoughts? Thin/thick lines vs black/non-black lines?

(Fun fact: Also that fence isn't actually supposed to be there. I was testing some art assets and accidentally saved them in the level and never got around to deleting them. Just off-screen there's also a spire of skulls. They were for the spooky level.)

tokumaru wrote:
- Only the 3 humanoid characters and the tree have shadows. Since everything is in the same environment, it would make more sense if the snake was shaded in a similar way. The rest of the background, such as the grass, could use some shading too.

Hmmm... Nnnnghhh... Oh alright fine, I'll draw shadows on the snake.

tokumaru wrote:
Speaking of shadows, the placement the shadow is backwards on the magician's right arm.

I missed that; thank you.

tokumaru wrote:
My next criticism is that the background looks pretty dull. The tree could use a little texturing (like a few streaks using the shadow's color to break the flatness), the grass could be a little thicker and have much more volume... like, add the black outline on the bottom and have it cast a shadow on the dirt, while also shading the grass itself. Maybe add a little highlight (yellow is great for highlighting green!). Another thing you can do is add some reflections to the fence and the scythe, some basic black and white lines should already improve their look a lot.

I was really going for a softer, somewhat "flat-cartoony" look. Although honestly, everything other than the characters is more-or-less an "older version," I was struggling with some of the designs and finally thought "You know what, I already know I need to revise the main character sprites. I should create some final versions of them so I can center the rest of my art/etc around them." (This is why there are no shadows on the snake; at the time I figured I wouldn't add shading to sprites to make animation easier.)
So yeah, with that in mind, if you think the world needs to be revised to better match the characters, that's something I need to take into consideration.

tokumaru wrote:
(Character revisions)

Hmm, yeah, you are definitely right about the hands. I'll rework them. I think I tried to make them more cartoony so I went with simpler shapes, but yeah, that looks a lot better.
But I really disagree about the eyes. I might be able to get away with pulling them a little further apart, but the sample you made makes them look WAY off, with weirdly distorted faces.

Part of the problems is that we're really dealing with one of those bizarre artistic distortions where things look better when they don't look right. (Like how we have to portray the ground when we're looking at it from the side, where we should be utterly incapable of seeing the ground.) If things were completely naturalistic, the characters would be completely viewed from the side. But they are twisted in an odd manner to be able to show expression and detail. They're kind-of a side view, kind-of an angled view, but not a 3/4 view. They really need to be tweaked on an individual basis.
By way of comparison, here are several other cartoonish side-scrolling characters:
Image
Not one of these has more than one pixel between the eyes, and said eyes are all at least two pixels wide, with the more cartoony ones being even bigger.
As for my art, I feel like I am fighting witht he side of the head to move them as far as you did.

I could probably move the mouths to the side a bit, but moving them up looks weird to me.

Jeroen wrote:
One thing that immediately stood out to me is that everything seems to be a bit "stiff". I'm not very good at these things, so the best example I can give of this is the bunny girls ears. They just stick straight up. A bit of "slack" in them would make it all appear a bit more natural I think.
Myask wrote:
^^^ yeah, ears should be at an angle, not parallel. Should have more folded length.

Okay; those ears are one of the things I had mixed feelings on and wanted to see if people said anything without my prodding.
What about her hair?

Myask wrote:
She can't usefully swing the blade of the scythe with it turned backwards. Granted, it's an unlikely weapon anyway, but outside the character-select screen she should carry it blade-forward. This would also reduce the injury if she tripped.

I think I'm going to keep it turned that way to keep down memory costs.
Also I think it looks better aesthetically.

Myask wrote:
It is a nice touch that she's sinister(left-handed), though.

Only when she's facing right, I'm afraid. ;)

Myask wrote:
Large, clothing-emphasized-bust + no pants, VICTORIAN COVERED NECK TO TOE NO EYECANDY, large clothing-emphasized-bust + no pants. One of these things is not like the others…♪

This isn't even his final form.

Myask wrote:
(Which means, really, he should be wearing white kid gloves.)

Hmmm... Good point, actually. That would better fit the motif.

Myask wrote:
The snake's cartoonishly-short right now. If it's moving other times, then that's fine. If he never moves, then give it some respectable length coiled under it for stability.

He pretty much slithers around just like that. The "walking" animation is just a little bit of sway and head bob.

Myask wrote:

It looks kind of like a "HD remake of 8-bit (/early 16-bit) game" in style.

SUCCESS!


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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:38 pm 
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Marscaleb wrote:
Myask wrote:

It looks kind of like a "HD remake of 8-bit (/early 16-bit) game" in style.

SUCCESS!

…but it requires more detail effort to get there; presently it's still down at "Flash Game aping consoles".
Quote:
to keep down memory costs.
…for what system, now?


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 5:38 pm 
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Myask wrote:
Quote:
to keep down memory costs.
…for what system, now?

Targeted at PC's right now. Porting it to a console sounds fun but that's a dream for later on.

The engine (Unity) isn't equipped to handle sprites that are broken up into smaller sprites, so it works better to keep each sprite as a whole image.
And if she's got this huge blade sticking out the front of her sprite, one frame is going to take up the space in a sheet that two frames could have been used.
But additionally, to keep the sprites centered properly, I have to also add empty space around the sprite so that the center is always in the same spot, making each sprite of that character take up the space of three sprites I could have otherwise had.
(And while technically I *can* recenter each individual sprite by adjusting coordinates inside the system, it would take a lot of time and effort to set it up, and might just wind up getting off by some tiny degree, resulting in jerky animations and more time taken to correct the issue.)

And yes, there will *probably* be enough memory in most people's systems to account for this, but it still seems horribly out of place. One character is just going to require two or three times as much memory as the others? That sounds amateur to me, and I've got enough amateurish work going on in this project as it is.

Besides, I think it looks better that way.


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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:04 pm 
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...Sorry, I should have explicitly stated this already.

Thank you. This was a lot of great feedback.


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