Critique > 2D & 3D

Newb question about various 3D models


I'd like to know how to make 3D character models like the Donkey Kong Country series on the SNES, but I don't what's what. Basically, I tried to do research on this and all I could find is talk about pre-rendered 3D backgrounds, created on the Silicon Graphics Indigo 2, apparently the character models were made with this too.

Do I need to have knowledge in computer programming or complex maths to make 3D models? Is there a modern user-friendly (newb) free program available for me?

This is a new question about the art of Legend of Mana.

It was when I saw an image like this from Legend of Mana that made me develop an interest in how beautiful pixel art can look and can be considered a painting (in my eyes) and this is the level that I really want to reach (excluding the 3D modelling, that's for a different idea) because I love SNES graphics. My question for this is, was the pixel art created with the tools used to make a SNES titles like Secret of Mana, for example, or was other tools involved, like some level of 3D effects, such as lighting or texture? Would I be able to reach this level of talent using just Graphics Gale, basically?

Please ask me to better explain myself if this sounds confusing. It took me a while to figure out how to explain the first question, which is why I needed to do research so I could use some sort of terminology.

Thanks :)

You can get Blender, strap in and get started. Tutorials all over the net, but the Noob to Pro series is good IMO.

Your other questions:
DKC is indeed pre-rendered stuff. It is this, scaled down, colors cut way down, comprezzed way down, voodoo magic done to fit it onto the system.
If you're going for this style specifically it has its own limitations. Segmented limbs, plastic shaders, etc. CGI has come a long way. But it might actually be a better style for a 3D novice because of how limited the models/shaders were.

Pretty sure Legend of Mana had many parts hand/digitally painted = crapload of colors. Not pixel art but IDK what it has to do with 3D rendering either. You don't need 3D for it. But I don't recommend GraphicsGale (or similar) for it either.
Secret of Mana is pixel art to the bone. (I've seen that tree drawn a thousand times. We've all seen it.) You can probably do most of this in GraphicsGale because it's limited.

These are 3 different beasts you're talking about here, this is giving you an extremely brief (hopefully not misinformed) rundown on each, but I hope it helps.

Thanks so much. Seeing as I have no clue how any of this works, I have a vague idea of what you've been saying and now that I know about this Blender tool, my own research should do the rest.

I can't draw for nothing, so I'm glad I asked for advice about Legend of Mana instead of searching the web aimlessly, thinking that it was 100% done by computers.

The whole inclusion of 'three different beasts' thing was intentional, and I'm glad that I was able to identify pixel art from other forms of video game creations.

Thanks a bunch. I'm gonna copy/paste this in a Word doc for reminders.

Legend of Mana is clearly hand painted and then reduced.
The former is often called CG painting (for Computer Graphics), you'll find lots of galleries, communities and Photoshop tutorials about it. For the PC, there are lots of many great free programs you can easily test (off the top of my head : MyPaint, Krita, Art Rage). It's awesome being able to play with watercolors, pastels and oils without having to buy every brush, pot of paint, and canvas !
It's best if you can use a graphic tablet rather than a mouse, because it lets you draw less "heavily" (less opaque, or smaller brush) when you draw slighter strokes. But IMO, you shouldn't overestimate a tablet : It saves a lot of time that you would change pressure / size using a GUI slider, but it's not a magic wand, it won't create something pretty when you're merely doodling at random. The good news is that practicing with a pencil makes you better with a tablet, and practicing with a tablet makes you better with a pencil.

The step of reduction is based on a simple effect/action that all painting programs can execute, but there are ways to improve the end-result : for example if something would be too fuzzy after reduction, you would stress or sharpen it on the source image before you apply the reduction. On the other hand, if an image is intended to be reduced, it shouldn't try to involve details that will be unreadable or misleading after reduction.

Thank you :)


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