Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sanguine Rose Alpha - art stuff

Duski here. I've finally finished all of the art for day 1, and it has been such a huge learning experience as an artist. For perspective, the deviantart page I've been updating with most of my drawings for ~8 years only has about 100 drawings, and I've done somewhere around 45 or so separate pieces of art for day 1 of SR. I've been holding off talking at length about the art until I could collect all of my thoughts candidly and coherently, so I'll go into detail with a few lessons I've learned now.

First and foremost trying to balance time and detail has been a struggle. One thing I have to be wary of, and that I've ominously been warned about by a number of people is that you can easily spend too long putting in too much of detail, and pouring effort into something that someone will look at for a few seconds. It seems to be a recipe for disaster and frustration, and as a perfectionist it's not a nice feeling knowing that you could do more, but that taking more time will only draw the process out longer and delay updates! We had the best intentions, to constantly illustrate the story, to increase immersion, essentially to create a graphic novel type game. Comic artists experience the same problem, in which they can waste too much time detailing and burn out, not making enough pages to sustain readers. I'm currently exploring quicker processes, taking what used to be a tedious 8 hour process to create something like this:

And stripping back detail to speed up my process, which results in something with this kind of level of detail:

Obviously one is more important story wise because it's a sex scene, and I intend to always keep those as the highest priority art. As it is, I have to modify the way I draw most things for the game, to make it faster and retain detail and style. One thing I didn't predict was that the past few months working on the game art, I wouldn't have time for freelance. I suppose with Sanguine Rose we are currently in the 'grind' period, where there's lots of work and not very much reward. It's easy to lose track of your original passion for the game and slip into a negative mindset at this point of game development. Though as always, I am happy to make personal sacrifices of not being able to freelance right now, because we get to share our own characters and story with people.

Another thing I've learned, and been reminded of on a few occasions is that a lack of updates = failure. We try to update regularly, Hallows works full time so it has been hard on him to fit in coding around his day job. Personally I'm quite introverted and have never been the type to always be posting things online and fiddling with social media. I'm getting the hang of it though, and I'm planning to start posting all of my art, instead of working privately like I'm used to.

As for progressing the art, less detail isn't the end of the world. It might sound a little bad at first, but putting less detail and time into less important art means I can make more content, and put more time into the important shots. I've been experimenting with animating things, as I don't want to just make a 'slideshow' of images game. So far this has included using an imitation parallax type effect, where I separated the visual depth of field into elements, and by moving the mouse the user can move the "camera" as it were.

(from a previous post)
A while ago I was watching LoL login screens, animated in Adobe After Effects, and I was struck with the idea that I could use it to add small animations to features in our game. I'm a complete noob when it comes to animating, and learning After Effects from scratch made me want to smash my head onto the keyboard.. repeatedly. But I've started to get the hang of it now, and I created a small idle animation of Carmen to test things out. (It's available on our patreon for $3+ supporters) Hopefully I can wrangle it into working for me, and integrate it into my workflow. If anyone is experienced in character rigging in AE let me know.

Lastly, I'll post a few WIPs that I thought were pretty interesting.

This was Roman's sprite, before I rendered his clothes.

Flat colours stage

The Watchhouse background before rendering. In retrospect, it was a stupid decision to figure out all of the perspective by myself. Art friends I showed it to had no pity, as I could have done the same thing so much faster with 3D, lol.

Super sketchy things that I had saved!
This and the picture below are the veeery first rough drafts of the features. Sadly none of the art starts off as a lovely looking thing.
Glasha being awesome as always

One thing I just remembered- Someone asked about a HD version of the game. As much as that would be cool (and possible), right now the game needs to play in people's browsers, and not be an absolute behemoth file size. Down the line, when we create versions for people to download and play we'll consider creating a remaster, but sadly it isn't as easy as releasing a larger size game.

All in all, I'm still learning and changing. I've always expected my style or attitude to be in flux, so I don't mind. I'm happy to be doing a project that I love, with characters that I find cool to draw. This post has taken me a long ass time to publish, so now I've actually started the art for day 2. There's lots of juicy stuff being planned, and also stay tuned for the Alpha, which will be out once Hallows finishes writing it!

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