TheDanaAddams Posted September 29, 2013 Share Posted September 29, 2013 Something I get asked a lot is "Dana, how do you make the art for your mods? What program do you use?" Well, I use Photoshop - but that's inconsequential. The techniques I use are applicable to any layer-based image editor. The process is reasonably simple, so here's a step-by-step of the methods I use. A tablet is strongly recommended when doing digital art - I use a Wacom Intuos5 Med... but any will do. First thing to note is that you should do your art at at least 200% of the final image's size. (The publish res.) When we're working with Don't Starve's small textures, we can get away with 400% or more, and not experience any significant slowing down of the machine. Working above your publish res leaves the final image much crisper and clearer, with nicer aliasing, and also makes it easier to get details into the art. I make a new layer for my rough sketch. The background is filled with a soft grey, because it's easier on the eyes than solid white. You're going to be looking at it for a while, so this is usually a good idea.I start by doing the rough sketch in light blue. This is where I define the basic shape of the object. I lower the opacity of the rough sketch, and make a new layer above it for the detailed sketch.I do the detailed sketch in a light red. This is where the important bits are refined - not perfectly, that's for the ink stage - but enough that you can now tell what it looks like - even if it's a bit messy.With these two steps, you can be messy - the eraser tool is your friend. I then lower the opacity of the red sketch, as before. You can usually hide the blue sketch entirely, at this stage. Add a layer above the red sketch for your ink lines.This is where we have to be a bit neater. These are the final, definite outlines for your object. You should generally be able to tell what it is just by looking at this layer. Now we need to hide the red sketch. Create a new layer under your ink lines. This is where we lay the flat colours - that is, the basic, overall colour of the object, before shadows or anything.It can be helpful to sample colours from photos, if you can't quite get the right look you're after. Make a new layer above your flats for the shadows. I like to use a dark, midnight blue sort of colour. Paint the areas of shadow. I then lower the opacity to 60%. For this object, we required a second level of shadow. Same process as above. Here, I have made a layer above the shadows, for nice Don't Starve-style hatching. All I've done is drawn the strokes in black, and lowered the opacity to 80%. It adds definition to the shadows, and makes it look grittier. Finally, we add highlighting. Since this is not a shiny object, we really don't need much. It just helps add volume to the art. Sometimes you won't need it at all, and highlights will look unnatural, but in this case, soft highlights improve it subtly.I have added a layer above, with white highlights painted in, and dropped to 60% opacity.A shiny object will require multiple levels of highlights. Now that you're done, shrink it back down to your publish res, and save.Go make yourself a snack, and cup of tea.(Because you finished your last one while you were doing the art, obviously.) Here it is again in handy gif form: But Dana, what do I do when my art imports misaligned or with strange squares cut out of it? This is a common problem, and there's no simple solution. You must adjust it, and try again.You can make the job a little easier for yourself, though: We started with a base object. Dropping the opacity of the base, and following the above method, we finished our new object's art. But when we look at it in-game, it's all wrong. So we take the screenshot back into our image editor with the texture, and line it up in the right position. Then we adjust our texture to fit properly. Hide the screenshot, save it again, and bring it into the game, hoping for better luck this time! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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