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DF Lee

Art Update #1: Creating a Visual Style, Part 1

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Honestly I'm a little disappointed. I really like the Saturday Morning Cartoon feel of the old Lucasarts games over the more modern rigid and flat style 2D Animation.

I know it's a rough cut and the game will change very quickly in the coming months, but it just doesn't feel like the environment for a zany Adventure Game.

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I'ma call him Hipsterjack. Seems nobody else has come up with anything that catchy yet.

I definitely like the painterly look, and it does seem like you could go even further with the abstraction; the slightly cubist look of Bagel's character designs could probably be reflected even more in the shapes of the setting. The cabin already shows signs of that and I like it a lot.

Also, I do wonder if you could go slightly more dynamic with the character lighting. I can't remember where I've seen this done specifically, but I remember somewhere seeing the technique of having a sort of "highlight" layer and a "shadow" layer that would sort of cover all the areas that could be highlighted or shadowed, and then I don't remember how they did it but you could probably apply simple gradients to those layers so that light appears to be coming from a specific direction. So it'd be similar to what you've done so far but you could tailor it a bit more to the contours of the character.

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I have to say that I don’t like Nathan’s style, like at all.

That is my opinion, not a criticism (art is subjective) and not a suggestion for DF to change it or alter it in any way.

Still I liked the background image of the cabin and everything else presented in this update, is the character style that I find unappealing, I’ll have time to get used to it when the main character is finally made up and we get enough exposure of him/her/it.

On another note, I’m happy about the game settling in a 2D style, more reminiscent to recent adventure games like The Whispered World or Deponia, I was worried about how 2.5D it would turn out, if the videos are any indication of how the final product will look I’m content with that.

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I absolutely love what we've seen so far, and I can't wait to see what Tim has in mind for the "real" premise/setting/characters/tacos/whatever. I deeply appreciate these posts, and want to give a big thanks to DF for making them! I feel like I've gotten my $100 worth already - I suppose it's too late to increase my pledge, though, eh?

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Yay! Great to hear about upcoming experiments in a painterly style.

The best way to look totally "analog" is with frame-by-frame animation, though I know it's time consuming and hard (even more in a hi-res painting look!).

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absolutely wonderful style, I can see it come alive, make it quirky, quirk it up, bring on the noise bring on the quirk.

and I can't say that I find the main character very likeable..

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I love pretty much all I have seen in the background samples. Multiplane, tones, shadows, mood. Funny, when I first started using After Effects one of the selling points for me was I could do a multiplane effects with my 2D art so I am glad to see it used for the samples.

For the figure I am happy character animation in 2D drawn style, cut-out or a hybrid of both as long as the figures move in a way that does not feel to stiff. The tone over the figure is a technique I love using myself and so I would love to see it in the game.

If you are playing with animation styles, it would be interesting to see samples done with After Effects Puppet Tool which can do a bit more of an organic effect with cut-out animation, but having nulls to control each pin make a huge difference.

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This is why this information should be open to anyone, with secrecy morons can come and quote things out of context and run their trolling as the truth.

like the last video was uploaded to youtube as "double fine adventure preview" even using blatant lies in the video description

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I'm really liking all these updates, they really give a great inside in the process.

About the camera, it really does give it a more cinematic feeling. Can't wait to see it with some actual artwork form the game. About that i hope you can get it a bit more "artsy". But i already like the feeling it has. :D

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This is why this information should be open to anyone, with secrecy morons can come and quote things out of context and run their trolling as the truth.

like the last video was uploaded to youtube as "double fine adventure preview" even using blatant lies in the video description

I'm not sure why that matters. People will spread misinformation even when all said information is public knowledge (for example go read some hate posts about WoW on any general gaming message board and see how many of the "facts" are incorrect).

I don't think things like this will hurt sales one bit. Anyone who is just looking for a reason to bash the game likely wouldn't have bought it anyway and anyone else will decide after seeing the final product/beta/demo/trailers/whatever.

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Looks very good.

It's fun to read your statements about the development process and see how the game is made. Keep it up.

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Awesome stuff! I'd like to see more deformity and Nathan's noses on the characters though.

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Very nice.

Question:

How do you plan on making interactive objects look different from background objects?

Historically, it's been a different colour, mouse over or glowy bits.

What fits into DFA's vision?

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Great update about the DFA, I really like the form of the explication of the technical things that Double Fine is using for do the game, and is more useful for someone that understood the things that you are saying.

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And this (along with the Programming Update) is why I love backing these projects. Being able to see what happens, when it happens, what the stages are and the evolution to a final version is awesome!

However, I'm not quite sold on the style. For me, all the old Lucasarts-adventures (and most of the Sierra ones too) had an undercurrent of humor in them. For some it was the main point as well, along with the actual adventuring of course. I'm just having trouble seeing how this kind of style would lend it self to that type of game. But I'm sure the end product will be awesome anyway, and I do understand that this isn't what we'll end up with.

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Things for the developers to consider:

Having gone through Bagel's gallery of work, I'm going to have to be the dissenter here and say that I sincerely hope he is not in charge of the final art, at least not the characters.

The lumberjack looks creepy and lifeless enough--his eyes scream uncanny valley, and that smile is just terrifying. But the real thing is that throughout all of his works, nearly every character looks dead. They have no life to them at all.

If this art style is what's planned to go into the final game, it will end up visually no different from various moderately high-quality indie games made by a small groups.

Such games often try to be "deep" and have secret meanings, etc. they are pretty much targeted at the beatniks in chapter 2 of Grim Fandango. The beatniks are not your audience. Your audience wants a living world with living characters like every other game you've made (should living be in quotes where GF is concerned?).

The tweening provided by Flash and After Effects and programs of the like is nice and all, and in skilled hands can looks fantastic, but frame by frame sprite animation will always have a soul that cannot be reproduced in a Flash-like environment.

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Oh also, if anyone wants to see some fancy multiplane animation history - check out Disney's state-of-the-art (at the time) multiplane camera.

Ohh that's awesome, thanks for the link, it's always cool to see that sort of stuff.

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This seems like an excellent game graphic style for a classic Point and click adventure game.

Looks brilliant!

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My mind is literally blown, not only by the art and the visual style the game might / probably take, but also how understandable the text was in comparision with the other texts from 2PP and DF Oliver. Not to devalue their work, but I could simply follow your text, without being a animation / visual wizard. Sure, the occasional technical expression here and there, but nonetheless, easy to follow. I hope 2PP and DF Oliver would follow suit, so I can understand all the awesomeness, but I guess this is not happening, eh?

However, again! WONDERFUL ART!

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Let me point out that at the point these videos were taken, Lee and Bagel had been working on this for fewer than 2 days. These dudes are rockstars.

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I love the art style but I think it's a bit scaled down. I don't really know what is missing. But after playing other new adventures I felt this style was a bit flat. Maybe there is some technique that makes the environment have more depth perception? I understand that his is an work in progress so no critic just a thought.

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First of all: the creator of the funniest adventure game (i.e. Stacking) IN YEARS is helping to define DFA's visual style.

GO LEE, GO!!!!

I think my avatar gives away my sheer fanboyism. :-P

Regarding the concept videos: they're really cool, and I would be against deformed characters if I had not played Psychonauts and enjoyed it a LOT. :-)

PLEASE keep experimenting with the in-depth movement we see in the last video. I've always wanted to experiment such a thing in a 2D adventure game, to get that "Disney Multiplane Camera feel".

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That method of moving through the planes into the screen works well - it'll be interesting to see if it works as well in other types of scene

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I like it. Mainly the background style.

I understand it's simply a quick test, so I'm not too worried about any minor complaints I might have.

I very much appreciate the attempt to find a relatively unique look and it's exactly what I expect from you guys. Keep it up.

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Great stuff! Very impressive. Glad to see that it seems like the artists skills will define the style, and not a preset goal (like pixelated low res old school look, realistic 3d models, etc).

Lee Petty: Oh, btw. Stacking is awesome. A bit too easy perhaps, but still awesome. Bought it day 1 on PS3.

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wow, looks great. why does it seem to me that that lumberjack likes to have sex with little kids though? that would be a somewhat unusual adventure :).

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