AuthorTopic: RPG Pieces  (Read 13561 times)

Offline TheInquisitor

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RPG Pieces

on: March 12, 2011, 12:46:51 pm
Here's a forest background I'm working on. It doesn't look too bad so far, but I'm frustrated at how convoluted and confusing it appears to be when foreground trees start to blend to the distance. An area of difficuly for me is mastering the "less is more" ability for the distant objects. My unnecessary dithering on the skyline horizon probably doesn't help here. Can you guys recommend any pieces that best show me how I should be approaching this or alternative make a few edits as I show more progress shots to see where I'm making mistakes?



Also, what are your views on the palette? Is it too dark, or not varied enough with the colours? I can't help but feel the image currently looks a little flat. I'll post regular updates.

???
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 07:16:37 pm by TheInquisitor »
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Offline Greger

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 12:50:03 pm
I think the mistake you are doing is that the trees get more complex in its colouring the farther away it gets, the trees in the foreground seems to have a very rudimentary shading whereas the trees farther away look pretty complex. It should be the other way around, because you obviously see more detail the closer you are.

Personally I like the palette,I think what you feel comes from that the background have more detail whereas the foreground doesn't have a lot of detail. It messes up the way you look at it and you start to look at it as if the farther away you are the closer it really is,which twists the brain.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 01:02:21 am by ptoing »

Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 01:03:33 pm
Actually the trees in the foreground aren't finished. It's a work in progress. Take a closer look at the distance trees are then the 3 slightly larger ons on the right side (not the biggest 3). These for me don't seem as clear as they could be.
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Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 10:06:35 pm


To put the piece into better context, as in an RPG battle screen background, I've added in some creatures to help clear up the intentions of the piece. I want the sprites to stand out on it, clearly, but also to look like they are part of the environment. At the moment I'm not entirely convinced that either (or both) the palette or the perspective/detail of the background is creating the right effect. Perhaps someone more skilled or experienced can offer guidance before I blunder into finishing the background wrongly.

This is a larger project than I usually work on, so I'm finding it difficult to handle. Help is appreciated.  :y:
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Offline Dusty

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 10:29:48 pm
I think something that will help here is giving less detail the farther the trees get(which you seem to be doing already) and having atmospheric perspective. You can achieve this by giving objects in the distance a tint closer to the skyline. However I must say I've never seen such a thing applied to a night scene. You could possibly resolve this by making the farther trees fade into black?

Here's a quick thing I did in photoshop. It's not pixel-work, I just scribbled over it with an airbrush:


However now I think a silhouetted background and having the trees fade to that would be more appropriate, although that might make for a boring scene. Right now it looks as though you could swap out the sky with a daytime sky and everything would still look perfectly normal.

Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 11:03:26 pm
That's definitely the idea, Dusty, thanks. I know there are guys such as Fool who are very good at showing distance by blending the skyline colours in. What you've done is definitely on the right lines. I'd love to see an example where that's done with pixels thanks to a well applied palette. I don't think the fact that it's a night scene should make a huge difference from a daytime equivalent as this is more dusk than anything. The skyline gets brighter towards the horizon as I wanted to symbolize sunset. I reckon this might have been made unclear though as when I look I see more of a city scape right in the middle.

Now that I've put the creatures in, what do you think of them within the scene as it is? Do you think the background scene could do with more vibrant colours (especially in the foreground?) I don't feel there's any need to alter the creatures as I quite like them, so I'd rather fit the background to somewhere between them and this accompanying tileset.


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Offline MythiCube

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 11:04:16 pm
Can't offer much in the way of advice or criticism, but I think your work looks awesome!

Offline EvilEye

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #7 on: March 13, 2011, 12:47:11 am
I tried a sloppy edit on the right side that I hope helps a bit:



Basically as the trees go into the distance they go from green to blue. The biggest problem I had with your original drawing was the fact the trees had no heavy shadows or reflections. It just didn't look like nighttime.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 12:49:23 am by EvilEye »

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #8 on: March 13, 2011, 10:43:07 am


Updated it a little. I think some more blue highlights will come into it soon, EvilEye. I will certainly look at that at the end to give the image more punch. Apart from adding in a WIP little hero, in this update I've made some big changes to the problematic distance. I've took the trees on the horizon and made them less blue and more green/yellow to blend with the horizon (that's at the end of sunset). The trees near that have also been give less detail, but perhaps more needs to be done still to make it clear. I've completely removed the dithering as I don't think it was helping. It was making it all too busy.

Do you think this quick redraw for the horizon looks better or worse?
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Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #9 on: March 13, 2011, 02:29:30 pm


New version here. I've taken on some your your advice and fadded out this distant trees or blue/lighter green to blur them in with the background. I felt that the tress were getting way out of control back there in the distance. There was just too much unnecessary detail, so I've completely scrapped them and replaced them much with flat colours or, at most, very slight shades. As they come into the foreground I'll give them more. I'm not sure about the blue highlights on foreground trees just yet, EvilEye. I think this new approach has gone some way to remove a lot of the complexities. I think keeping is simple for the most is my wisest course.

I've also added in a little hero, who apart from his hair looks a bit like Cloud Strife.


Oh and thanks, Mythicube. :)
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Offline yrizoud

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #10 on: March 13, 2011, 02:46:53 pm
In the earlier version, an issue was that the far trees had 'leaves' which were drawn as big as the closest detailed tree: the far tree was made of 5 "leaves" vertically, while the closer one was 14 leaves high.

Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #11 on: March 13, 2011, 02:49:51 pm
Yeah, that was a definite problem. I was hoping to convey shade and shape on those distant trees by that method, but it just plain didn't work at all, especially as it did just look like overly large leaves.
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Offline circuscommando

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #12 on: March 13, 2011, 05:38:50 pm
Just a thought, the scene seems very open. Maybe it should feel more claustrophobic since it's a forest?  I do really like the palette though.  I'd certainly play this game :]
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Offline adamisgr8

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #13 on: March 13, 2011, 06:26:49 pm
With the new one, in the background it looks like there is a square of brighter colours. Looks a bit weird to me :- / I like how this is going though.
+1

Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #14 on: March 13, 2011, 06:45:24 pm


Yeah, that horizon isn't complete yet, Adam. Might need some tweaking. At the moment I'm not planning to add any more detail - except for grass and little minor things - in the central area as this is where the fighting would presumably take place. I wouldn't want anything to distract from the main focal point.

On this update I've torn the old trees asunder. They were too busy for trees not that close. I'll make the most near trees have that level of detail. I'm still not sure I'm on the right track with these new trees, but I think they're better. I reckon I need more blue highlights in there.

What do you guys think of the grass colour in the focal point of the image?
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Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #15 on: March 13, 2011, 11:53:55 pm


More progress. Giving the trees some extra detail now. The front two trees are obviously still in need of some major work. I've started filling in some of the foreground bushes not too. I think they'll really help frame the piece. Still concerned about the palette, especially the central grass colours.
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Offline Dusty

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #16 on: March 14, 2011, 12:30:07 am
What EvilEye and I were trying to get at is that your current lighting can easily imply it's daylight, even with the sky. Look, here I did a quick swap of the sky with a crappy "daytime" color scheme and nothing looks wrong with it.

I think that's fairly problematic.

Have you tried having the trees fade to a black silhouette? I think it fits more with a night scene, even with the moon, especially since the moon is behind the trees it doesn't make much sense that they're so lit.


EvilEye's blue highlights also help to imply the cool light of the moon, giving more to imply night light when warmer highlights imply sunlight.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 12:41:31 am by Dusty »

Offline Mathias

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #17 on: March 14, 2011, 12:56:15 am
aahh you guys are making me want to start work on an RPG. Always been a thought in the back of my mind. All the RPG art flowing through here lately is very encouraging to do so. And it doesn't help playing through Chrono Trigger again, on emulator (one of, if not thee best RPG's back in the day).

I agree with Dusty's assessment. And evileye's cold moonlit highlights is SPOT-ON.

Love what you got here. It's all about that lighting . . .

Offline EvilEye

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #18 on: March 14, 2011, 04:01:29 am
Dusty is correct the fading to light green makes it look like dusk or something, not night.

I think the dithering was great, bring it back. The old sky background looked fine to me.

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #19 on: March 14, 2011, 06:38:37 pm
Well, the image was supposed to be dusk originally, but I've made the suggested changes so that you can compare. Have a look. All opinions welcome. It'd be good to see which way the majority is leaning.


old

new
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Offline trough

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #20 on: March 14, 2011, 07:02:17 pm
It looked so good in the beginning, it had great atmosphere! But changing the horizon was a leap in the wrong direction. The trees should not fade to green as they get further away, but more of a blue, like you had originally. I think the black silhouette makes it look really flat, and the green version just looks strange. Don't get me wrong, I love it, I just liked the original a lot more.

Quote from: EvilEye
EvilEye's got a great edit there. Focus more on the foreground and the lighting.

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #21 on: March 14, 2011, 10:00:26 pm


Here's an even later version. This isn't a major edit and I thought it'd look more significant than it has done. The trees are now more blue in the horizon and also lighter. Looking at it though the change doesn't seem significant enough, so I think I'll make it brighter still.
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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #22 on: March 14, 2011, 10:25:28 pm

new

I think you need to define a bit more everything. leaves, clouds, roots, ground...

Here's a quick edit:





Other than that. Great! ^^
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 10:27:46 pm by JinnDEvil »

Offline TheInquisitor

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #23 on: March 27, 2011, 10:26:36 am
Been slow going with this lately. I've put it mostly to one side and instead focused on the accompanying tileset. Here's the tileset in the works:



If it needs brightening up then that's easily sorted. There is transparency used on the water. It was just easier doing it that way as it's not a mockup.


As for the background I've made some progress but not a lot. I've been following Jinn's instructions for it. One problem I'm seeing and struggling to overcome though is actually making the texture of the pine trees look right. On this new version they're looking like blobby shapes to me. Can anyone shed light on how to solve this issue?

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #24 on: March 27, 2011, 11:47:28 am
Very nice rendering and technique in general, but I think you have to pay more attention to the material nature of things.
The grass in the top tileset looks more like some goopy slime, because of the way it is separated from the dirt bits. I would not say draw every strand of grass, but it would look a lot more like grass if you had some strands showing here and there (like you have at that tombstone looking thing)

Also the edge of the river/lake looks VERY artificial with a nice trim a single stone wide. I would say vary the sizes of the stones a bit more, make it reach into the grass more in places and so on.

The bushes or high grass (I assume that's what they are) look weird and do not work for me. It looks as if someone took it from somewhere else and just put it there.
I think that in general is my main crit with this. Most things do not seem like they are organically connected. The trees, the way the grass borders on the dirt, the bushy things, they all look like setpieces places there to form the whole, not like they organically grew there, if that makes any sense.
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Offline Perihelion

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #25 on: March 27, 2011, 05:20:20 pm
Your tileset looks like a day scene to me as it is because it's so bright and green. Nighttime should be fairly monochrome or bluish. I did a quick rough palette edit to give you an idea of what I'd do instead:



Not a great edit, as I went overboard on the blue and the rocks should be darker and etc., but you get the idea--something more in this direction, at least. You don't have to make it quite that dark, but the main points of note are the blue highlights and the dark water (it reflects the sky, so it should be dark).

Really nice work, though!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 05:25:31 pm by Perihelion »

Offline Gamer36

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #26 on: March 27, 2011, 06:29:33 pm
What EvilEye and I were trying to get at is that your current lighting can easily imply it's daylight, even with the sky. Look, here I did a quick swap of the sky with a crappy "daytime" color scheme and nothing looks wrong with it.

I think that's fairly problematic.

Have you tried having the trees fade to a black silhouette? I think it fits more with a night scene, even with the moon, especially since the moon is behind the trees it doesn't make much sense that they're so lit.


EvilEye's blue highlights also help to imply the cool light of the moon, giving more to imply night light when warmer highlights imply sunlight.
I think having it like that is good because if this is going to be a game, then you can easily swap the back-backround without changing the lighting, it looks fine anyways. The ground shading needs work, of course thats a last-minute fix (Or is it?). For the tileset, it looks fine, but I do wonder how big the tiles are?
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Offline trough

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Re: Struggling with forest fade

Reply #27 on: March 27, 2011, 06:47:59 pm
I disagree, lighting is a very important difference between day and night. It would look weird and unnatural if you just swap the sky and leave everything else unchanged.

The trees on the right in your most recent update are looking pretty sweet!  ;D Although I do think both images are in need of some reduced saturation and added blue highlights. Right now your map image looks like a sunny day being viewed through a thick black veil.

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Re: RPG Pieces

Reply #28 on: April 03, 2011, 11:25:15 pm
I've been finding myself getting more and more frustrated with these pieces. I've run into a bit of a brick wall on the battle background piece. Here's the latest version. I tried a new approach with the nearmost tree as I cannot seem to nail down the right texture. It still doesn't look right, infact it looks ridiciulous.



The nearmost tree looks like there's too much attention on individual lines. I think I've got to reduce the detail and draw as if I'm seeing a clump of pine needles instead. Unfortunately I just cannot nail down this "less is more" approach. The trees behind don't work either as they look like green corn on the cob. Can anyone shed any light on this or show me how they'd approach mastering this texture?

-----------------



I'm working on the start of another tileset now. This building is inspired (heavily) by Hundertwasser House. I just love the mosaic design of the place. It's inspiring stuff!

-----------------



Ptoing:
On the tileset, I'll be following through with some of your suggestions, Ptoing. However, for ones like the single track of stones for the water edge, I'll probably have to stick with that as the tile limitations (16x16) don't allow for much stretch. I could do tile overlapping I suppose, but for now its not a major thing. Your comment about the grass and the mud is fair though, so I'll look into changing that. How would you say the long grass is artificial and how do you think it can be salvaged?
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Offline big brother

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Re: RPG Pieces

Reply #29 on: April 05, 2011, 05:21:56 pm
Using dithering to describe the tips of the needles on the closest trees would work. That way the leaf mass will look bushier and you won't have to draw each needle like a separate strand. The distant trees wouldn't have dithering, but you could use a few shades to describe their shape with the moonlight falling on them.

Looking at some reference photos could help, too. The tiers of downwards-slanting needles look a bit invented.

The tileset is nice, especially the tile roof. It might be cool to make the paint chipped a bit, so you can give the plaster more texture.