AuthorTopic: GR#121 - Cartoon RPG - Gameart  (Read 20143 times)

Offline Free Camera

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GR#121 - Cartoon RPG - Gameart

on: November 03, 2012, 10:34:20 pm
Something that I'm working on. It's a city-tile set. At the moment I'm adding more city-like objects so it's a wip. My goal is to:
1.) make small readable tiles as close to 16x16 as possible, for that old school rpg feel
2.) emulate the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon.

The challenge for me with this tileset is that rather than keep it flat, I want various elevated planes of terrain. I'm not sure if I'm communicating the planes as best as I could at the moment and I could use some feedback.





Much thanks!

Offline NaCl

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 10:33:41 am
Try giving visual cues as to what is the base of a cliff. For instance, some grass sprigs coming up in front of the base cliff tiles.

Try using more shadows, and darkening the shadows you do have. Right now the shadows are very timid. Remember that light is coming from the top left and make shadowed versions of certain tiles. You can do all this at virtually no cost, because you just need to make shadow versions of tiles you've already made with colors you already have.

Consider the light source when constructing maps. For instance, the house in your mockup has a wing that comes off the right side of the house. If the wing was on the left, it could cast a shadow on the other part of the house and clarify it's shape better. The second story could cast a shadow on the roof of the first floor.

Offline Seiseki

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 07:36:35 pm
Lovely style but a lot of the tiles get abruptly cut off at the bottom.

And yes, you really need to play around more with depth and shadow to make it easier to make out shapes, walls and height differences and see where you can walk.

The character and a lot of the tiles seem to have the wrong angle.
You should show more of the top side, like make the signs 1 pixel thicker at the top, since with this perspective you're looking down from above and not straight in front.

[EDIT:]



Attempted a rough edit, just experimenting really, lighting is not very consistent.
But notice the thickness of the signs, the shading of the rocks.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 08:02:05 pm by Seiseki »

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 02:13:14 am
He's blinking! Cute! Constructive advice from the both off you. I'll polish things up shortly.

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 04:56:22 pm
Update: Darkened some shadows, added a transition between the cliff and the grass, added some new tiles. Overall just worked at it.



I'm going to keep adding more tiles, maybe work on the house to ground transition. Shadows still need work.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 05:58:44 pm by Free Camera »

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #5 on: November 06, 2012, 07:35:16 pm
grass at the base of the rocks works well. Bushes could use something similar around their trunk.

Imho, you're using a tint much too dark for the shadowed grass. A single tint would imho work better that the current "gradient transition", btw, which sits in opposition to the rest of the art (flat-shaded trees, etc).

Lightsource on the isolated rocks seems to be different from the rest of the piece, too.

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 11:05:40 pm
Looks very bright & cheery :) is that Ness? (Earthbound)

The biggest & easiest way to demonstrate plane change is simple value difference; a good contrast there makes floors/walls instantly recognisable.

I dunno if you want to furnish smaller elements (bushes, characters) with the same sense of volume; readability can be a problem in low-res and the dude is stylin' as is, but I felt like making a more presentable diagram for linkage in the future anyway. If you search the forum there's lots more like it and further extrapolation. Either way drop shadows under those elements would help lots.



Offline Seiseki

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 03:38:10 am
You should remove the shadow/outline for the grass at the base of the cliff wall.
Also, the fence is nice, but could use some thickness just like the signs :)

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 04:18:40 am
working on things now. Applying your suggestions!  ;D

The character isn't ness, but he sure looks like him.

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 05:32:48 am
So, an update-
-small changes (rocks, fence)
-short trees changed. A new tree added.
-shadows are no longer diagonal but go out straight to the side




how is this looking? is the grass shadow too dark?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 05:37:22 am by Free Camera »

Offline Infinite Segment

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 12:50:55 pm
One thing that looks confusing are the sloped roads, it is hard to tell whether they are going up or down just from looking at them. Even though I can still figure it out using other cues (like the grass from the cliffs above), I keep instinctively reading it wrong.
I think the reason for that is that the markings on the road remain the same (vertical) size; I'd expect that the angle between me (the viewer) and the sloped roads would be flatter or more acute than the angle to the flat roads (depending on whether they are going "up" or "down") and so I'd expect the vertical distances to expand or compress accordingly.
^
||
NOOB

Offline Seiseki

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 01:48:08 pm
You should try to limit your colors, don't add any unnecessary shading.
I think for rocks for example is a step back, the previous ones works much better with the cartoon style.

If you can draw something with just a few shades it will be easier for the viewer too. Force yourself to simplify shapes and really think about the depth.
Also, exaggerate the sizes, it's hard to tell the shape of the stairs when it's just a few pixels for each step.

I had another go at it, a lot of experimentation and I don't think everything in there worked out..
But you should look closely at the house on the left and how I added a bit more depth by offsetting the beams.

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #12 on: November 10, 2012, 12:51:55 am
Great job with the trees & drop shadows :y, I think the rooves could cast a little shadow on the walls too (I sometimes squint at a scene to try and get an sense of form unbiased of detail)

Nice bunch of tweaks Seisenki :y: much nodding. On exaggeration: if you're lending so much weight to the head of the character it makes a lot of sense to apply similar priorities to the environment eg, nice big chunky leaves, grass blades etc.

I think the lighter slope looks good being brought more consistent tonally with the light cliffs; bringing the lightest cliff colour down to the road would work too. I noticed you 'unforeshortened' the road markings but not the paving slabs, heh :P.

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #13 on: November 11, 2012, 10:33:25 pm
So some I made some adjustments to things. I think some of the textures on stuff like rocks and trees was getting away from the simplistic style I wanted so I scaled things back.

Seiseki, your edit had some nice adjustments, I incorporated a few. While the character makes more sense perspective wise in your edit, I kind of prefer the flatness and expression of mine.

anywho, here's where I stand at the moment. Any thoughts?



Small Update: I was fooling around with the shadows some more and I think I'm liking things more centralized.


 I found a few references for myself, Mario @ Luigi superstar Saga is very close to what I'm trying to achieve, so I'm going to reference the shadows for that. http://vgmapper.com/SysGBA/M/MarioandLuigiSuperstarSaga.html
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 01:23:28 am by Free Camera »

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 04:45:18 pm
So! I'm finishing up with exams so I finally have time to work on this more. I've taken things in a slightly different direction, going with chunky outlines. I've included a couple sprites and their previous iterations in the older style. I personally like that I can fit more details in this new way. Also, as you'll notice, the game is now side-view. Thoughts?

Offline NaCl

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #15 on: December 22, 2012, 07:03:28 am
The old one was looking excellent, and developing lots of character. This new one merely looks mediocre. With work it could look as good, but I would think twice about abandoning the old one.

Offline HarveyDentMustDie

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #16 on: December 22, 2012, 02:01:29 pm
I agree with NaCl, the old version was way better...  :)

Offline tim

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #17 on: December 22, 2012, 06:23:00 pm
With better color choices it can look much better, especially if you get rid of this terrible blue outline. Just make the outlines slighter darker than the object itself, and adapt the outline color for each object.



Steps :


But anyway I agree, the old mockup was MUCH more appealing.
There was a feeling of a rich world full of places and people.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 06:25:39 pm by tim »
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Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #18 on: December 25, 2012, 07:06:57 pm
I appreciate the feedback. I like the new style better myself, but I can see the weaknesses you've discussed. I'm gonna take another stab at it, hopefully it will be more convincing.

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #19 on: January 06, 2013, 10:41:43 pm


Well, I decided to take another stab at the more 16x16 style, this time using the images above as a basic starting point. I gave myself a slightly more limited palette. I'm still working at it, for example the cliffs are very wip.

It's a little more traditional RPG styled. Still unsure as to how to style the characters. I've shown two different takes in this image (As well as an older character for reference). Any preferences?

Offline Dr D

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #20 on: January 06, 2013, 11:13:05 pm
Very much different than your last orthographic mockup, which I really liked. But I really like this one too.  ;D


Some thoughts:

The roof looks good, a bit too contrasty though. Wood isn't that reflective. I would probably tone down the bright highlights a lot.

I think the little bush/small tree is too detailed. Too much noise going on. The normal sized trees suffer a bit from this too, they are quiet busy. I like the trunks.

Some of the cliff edges look strange, it either ends very abruptly when it touches grass, or blends into the dirt. I think you could make it better by adding border tiles for elevated ground.

I don't like the purple shadows on everything at all. The rocks may be an exception.

You have some perspective issues, I think. The trees and characters (both types) are both drawn at a side view, and the roof seems angled much more towards the camera than in a traditional perspective. I don't think the back face should be visible. The rocks, ground and cliff look good. It might not hurt too add an extra pixel row on top of the fence and signs, either.

Another contrast Issue.. I think you're using way too much black here. On the house, the cast shadows, and the trees. It draws attention unnecessarily and isn't realistic. The cast shadow and the shadow on the roof of the house would imply the sun is directly to the hard left of the house, too.

As for the sprites, the left 2 seem to fit the style much better, but they are all out of perspective.

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #21 on: January 07, 2013, 04:24:24 am
Thank you kindly for the reply! I have updated things a bit more and have attempted to address some of the issues you brought up. I think perspective is the most troublesome. I'll probably still lighten the shadows underneath the roof. Biggest changes here are the houses, shadows, and trees.



Next I'll be working on more town objects.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 04:28:43 am by Free Camera »

Offline tim

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #22 on: January 08, 2013, 12:45:30 am
You have three big issues :

Perspective
Your characters & trees are drawn from front,
almost like a 2D platformer, but not your buildings.


Colors
I don't know if your screen is calibrated but you colors are very bright, almost fluo.
With more natural / pastel colors, it gets a lot easier on the eye. Also, remove white
specular from all elements that are not white. Wood highlights are never white. It
gives a plastic look and it's really too strong & shiny.


Also, all your shadows need more consistency according to the height of the element.
Trees, character, cliffs, buildings, all feature different shadow color / width.

Secret of Mana III blue/purple rim lighting
Don't copy. It's not original. You don't learn. You don't think. Why is it blue ?
What atmosphere does it bring ? Why do you want it in a village ? It MUST
have a purpose, otherwise it shows that you copy without prior thinking.
Anyway, I don't see any valid reason for reproducing such a characteristic
part of Secret of Mana's look.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 12:55:27 am by tim »
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Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #23 on: January 08, 2013, 02:24:58 am
Thanks for the info Tim. I'm making everything with an nes palette, so it's going to look saturated. That's my intent and I like it that way.
vs

My biggest struggle is with perspective for the characters. I want to keep features in that are visible via the more horizontal view. For example your edit is effective but a lot of the features are lost. A lot of the older small rpg sprites were quite forgiving in this regard? I might see what I can get away with.

Back-lighting, well I didn't really have seiken densetsu in mind when I was doing it, more kind of comic book thing. Regardless if it serves a purpose at all it's obviously style not realism. I'm going to keep developing the tiles until I reach a point where I decide if I'm going to stick with it.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 03:34:17 am by Free Camera »

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #24 on: January 08, 2013, 05:23:36 am
So here's where I am at for today.


I changed the character a bit, added more elements, etc. Will continue to do so.

Offline NaCl

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #25 on: January 08, 2013, 07:02:37 am
This is looking really great. I love the colors, they're very vibrant and fun. I wouldn't worry about the perspective of the characters too much, they look fine as they are. Everything is intentionally symbolic.

Offline Crow

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #26 on: January 08, 2013, 08:29:10 am
Secret of Mana III blue/purple rim lighting
Don't copy. It's not original. You don't learn. You don't think. Why is it blue ?
What atmosphere does it bring ? Why do you want it in a village ? It MUST
have a purpose, otherwise it shows that you copy without prior thinking.
Anyway, I don't see any valid reason for reproducing such a characteristic
part of Secret of Mana's look.


I don't think of that as such a big issue. Shadows in real life are not completely "gray" either. Depending on light, they shift a bit towards blue/purple-ish. Also, in this case, it kind of adds to the whole comicy character of the whole thing.

Free Camera: I'm absolutely in love with this. The colors are wonderful, the style is awesome, the level of detail is beautiful. Slight nitpicks: the contrast/color of the highlight on the stones introduced in your latest mockup is a bit too high/bright. Looks out of place and somewhat noisy/not very well readable. Also, the character on the right blends in with the background too much, as he has no black outline like most other things. Intentional?
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #27 on: January 08, 2013, 08:50:00 am
This is looking really great. I love the colors, they're very vibrant and fun. I wouldn't worry about the perspective of the characters too much, they look fine as they are. Everything is intentionally symbolic.
Same here for the colours: although Tim is globally right, I feel like de-saturating also kills the "cartoony" mood of the piece.
As far as perspective is concerned, characters might welcome a slight adjustment (e.g. head 1px lower on the body), but again, the proposed re-engineering would prevent any expression to be conveyed on the face.
I think there's something to be done about the perspective of the house's roof to match the rest of the piece, though.

Offline r1k

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #28 on: January 08, 2013, 10:10:50 am
I wouldnt worry about the characters perspective, but I think in perspective it would look sort of like this

I guess basically its just in moving the face lower on the head to imply that youre seeing more of the top of the head.

Mock up looks great so far though.

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #29 on: January 08, 2013, 05:43:18 pm
Thanks for replies!

@Crow- Unintentional, I basically forgot to chop the character on the right out when I posted the last pic. I'll fiddle with the stone highlights as well, maybe remove them.

@PyreBros - I like the roof edit. I'm going to give it a go!

Offline Beetleking22

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #30 on: January 08, 2013, 07:36:05 pm
So here's where I am at for today.


I changed the character a bit, added more elements, etc. Will continue to do so.

Damn thats is pretty sexy mockup! Remind me of Pokemon and Mother. I dont have much critic because this looks already aweseome but
Cap-headed character is little bit out of place and I think you are going to fix it later.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 08:54:40 pm by Beetleking22 »

Offline Free Camera

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #31 on: January 09, 2013, 01:08:42 am
Been fiddling with the basic charset. I think it's improved, although he keeps getting taller.

 old  vs      new

I haven't done stuff like hair waving, this is just getting the basics down.

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Re: [WIP] Cartoon RPG [C+C]

Reply #32 on: January 20, 2013, 11:13:23 pm
Been working on an undersea tileset this weekend!  :)



I still have to put the protagonist into a scuba suit, add wildlife, a few more transition tiles, etc.