Are you going to create a video game? Excellent! It means you are about to dive into the magic of video game art design — making amazing characters, props, and environments.
However, video game art is a general term representing any piece of a visual game world — from casual art to hyper-realistic 3D models. Accordingly, this subject is so deep and exciting that it must be divided into several articles. So let’s start with the one about the basics of making 2D art for video games.
The ultimate guide below will tell you how to make art assets for games that excite, environments that immerse into a unique story, and helpful game art services that make it all happen. Let’s get started!
The process of video content production is creative indeed. However, any commercial game development studio must follow a specific workflow to achieve pleasing results.
Since Game-Ace has 17 years of experience, our team has established a helpful game art creation pipeline that makes this process highly effective. You can explore and save it for your upcoming gaming project.
Companies prefer to create and launch their products as soon as possible, but it’s vital not to reduce the time for preparation because of the hurry. So make sure you have accomplished the tasks below before starting art design.
Research & References. Once you define the genre and style of a future game, it’s time to search for examples of relevant art among competitors and other related projects. Collect visual references of the best of them and highlight features that would be good for your gaming art.
Defining the Backstory. Coming up with a detailed backstory for game characters, worlds, and locations is helpful for the creation of unique features of game art. Thus, artists will be able to picture future art clearly when creating concept art for your game.
Concept. Video game concept art is a document with detailed 2D sketches of future characters, assets, and environments. Each artist decides how to create video game concept art by themselves — it can be done on paper as well as with particular software like Autodesk Sketchbook.
If you are in need of concept art services, you can explore how much it costs to create concept art and what factors affect the price.
Bringing ideas to life is one of the most exciting and responsible parts of game art creation. This process consists of 4 main steps that will lead you to outstanding video game art.
Outline future characters, assets, and an environment of a game scene relying on the example of concept art. Further, work on shadows and lighting.
Paint the art with a color palette agreed upon when creating the concept art. Characters and assets appearing in each scene must stick to the same shade and color scheme.
Double-check your video game art and make the necessary changes for a flawless look. Depending on your art style, you can optimize the picture with specific editing tools.
Artists can create art and animate it with 2D animation software using a multifunctional app like Autodesk Sketchbook or Pencil 2D. Simply choose one of the animation techniques and go ahead.
Of course, outstanding video game art requires talented and skilled artists in your team. Luckily, in the case you lack art design specialists, you can find game artists for hire.
The work on video game art doesn’t end even after the illustrations look perfect and are brought to life with animation. The post-production stage involves specialists from different fields to make game art functional with two main steps.
Once the video game art of each scene is ready, game developers put visuals together into one system. This stage of game development is called the backend, and it requires coding that makes visuals act according to a game script.
The implementation of animated game art into a united system takes quality assurance. First, game developers conduct Unit testing to ensure the operability of each code piece/unit. Further, testers run multiple game testing types to check game performance under different conditions.
Flat illustrations not only gave birth to all kinds of visual content we have nowadays but spawned different styles of video game art that millions of gamers adore. Let’s explore the particularities of video game art creation of different styles and genres.
Multiple 2D game art styles have been popular for decades, but some have become classic. Take a look at 3 game art styles widely used in 2D game development.
Pixel art is one of the most popular styles even in the time of hyper-realistic art tendencies. This style represents flat digital images made up of an array of tiny squares — pixels. In creating pixel art for games, artists use specific software like PiskelApp or Pixie.
In contrast to pixel art, the vector art style is based on mathematical algorithms and calculations to create digital images from a set of geometric primitives — vectors. Accordingly, there is specific software for vector graphics like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and VectorMagic.
Games like Tearaway and Paper Mario are made with the type of art represented by its name — cutout. Characters, props, and environments are cut out from paper or created with a cutout effect via software. Further, artists animate scenes frame by frame using classic apps like Blender, Cinema 4, and Adobe Animate.
Thinking about a specific game genre, we usually picture some typical details about its art. For example, if you played Dead Cells, Elden Ring, or Pinstripe, you probably imagine the particularities of how to create fantasy art for video games. Many would say that fantasy game art is defined by sci-fi and magic elements, as well as fantastic creatures like dragons and elves.
That’s how game artists create art for different genres. Eventually, they rely on classic products of a specific genre and use relevant art elements and styles. Whether you work on a platformer, RPG, or puzzle game, find some excellent references, highlight essentials, and apply them to your project.
As you can see, video game art creation is a complex process that takes to complete multiple stages and involves various specialists — from game concept artists to animators, developers, and testers. Luckily, you don’t have to search, interview, and hire specialists for your in-house team since you can outsource game art creation to pros.
Game-Ace is a reliable company with experienced specialists in any game development field. Operating since 2005, we have learned art creation principles, features, and tricks vital for a successful game. That is why we are ready to create striking characters, unique props, and enchanting worlds that will make your project stand out.
Contact us in any appropriate way, and we will define the best business model for our partnership that will work for your company.