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TheDanaAddams

Dana's tips for mod art

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TheDanaAddams    574

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.

 

post-267484-0-59566300-1380478109_thumb.

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.

 

post-267484-0-07402600-1380478112_thumb.

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.

 

post-267484-0-17154500-1380478114_thumb.

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.

 

post-267484-0-18997700-1380478116_thumb.

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.

 

post-267484-0-14816300-1380478118_thumb.

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%.

 

post-267484-0-26461700-1380478120_thumb.

For this object, we required a second level of shadow. Same process as above.

 

post-267484-0-70159500-1380478122_thumb.

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.

 

post-267484-0-18607100-1380478125_thumb.

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:

post-267484-0-69937900-1380492614_thumb.

 

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:

 

post-267484-0-71780200-1380479985_thumb.

We started with a base object.

 

post-267484-0-47167900-1380479987_thumb.

Dropping the opacity of the base, and following the above method, we finished our new object's art.

 

post-267484-0-43697500-1380479989_thumb.

But when we look at it in-game, it's all wrong.

 

post-267484-0-40167800-1380479991_thumb.

So we take the screenshot back into our image editor with the texture, and line it up in the right position.

 

post-267484-0-76699300-1380479993_thumb.

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!

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TheDanaAddams    574

Briliant. =)

 

Though I see you've added the guide I wrote for basic Character/Item modding under the 'Art' heading, when it actually deals with the technical stuff.

I called it "The Artist's Guide" since it was aimed at those with the artistic ability, but no idea how to do the coding and get it into the game, and such.

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Cheerio    2,675

Briliant. =)

 

Though I see you've added the guide I wrote for basic Character/Item modding under the 'Art' heading, when it actually deals with the technical stuff.

I called it "The Artist's Guide" since it was aimed at those with the artistic ability, but no idea how to do the coding and get it into the game, and such.

Thoughts on what the different sections should be called?  I thought 'art' was good because anyone who's an artist would look up all the tutorials in that secion.

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TheDanaAddams    574

Thoughts on what the different sections should be called?  I thought 'art' was good because anyone who's an artist would look up all the tutorials in that secion.

I'm not really sure... I mean, it doesn't qualify as an 'art' tutorial... but it's the next logical step after art...

Like a "my first mod" kind of deal, for the non-coding-oriented.

 

I'm not really sure what to qualify it as. ^^;

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I'm not really sure... I mean, it doesn't qualify as an 'art' tutorial... but it's the next logical step after art...

Like a "my first mod" kind of deal, for the non-coding-oriented.

 

I'm not really sure what to qualify it as. ^^;

"Basic Coding for the Artistic Type"?

 

:friendly_wink:

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Fluff    0

Thanks for posting this. Are there any particular brush settings or custom brushes you highly recommend? I'm new to this game, so I'm taking some time to sort of study the art style so that I can duplicate it in modding.

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TheDanaAddams    574

Thanks for posting this. Are there any particular brush settings or custom brushes you highly recommend? I'm new to this game, so I'm taking some time to sort of study the art style so that I can duplicate it in modding.

Default round brush is all I'm using, here. Default settings. Nothing fancy going on, as I said. It's why this applies to any image software, not just Photoshop. There is absolutely no fancy trick to it. No messing around with settings, nothing external to install... just whatever you're used to using.

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Mr. Tiddles    822

I draw by doing all the colours first, then adding the black outlines. Trying any other method has rather poor results. I find it interesting how people do things differently.

Using Will as an example:

post-286034-0-37974300-1390560933_thumb.

Here are two pictures of William:

 

1: This method                  2: My own method. This will be in the bigportrait.

post-286034-0-93066900-1390560333_thumb.

 

I am not saying your method is flawed in the slightest. Just showing how people have different ways of drawing.

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TheDanaAddams    574

Oh, by no means is it the only way to do things! That's the wonderful thing about art - it doesn't matter HOW you get there. The end result is the only important thing!

This is simply the method I use, since I was asked a number of times how I did it. ^^

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Dryicefox    140

This is completely in theory, but here we go.

 

There is a much simpler way of resizing the could be that:

  • go to your atlas-0
  • copy atlas-0
  • put your character's head in your editor
  • create a new layer
  • make hat
  • resize over character
  • profit faster

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Mr. Tiddles    822

 

This is completely in theory, but here we go.

 

There is a much simpler way of resizing the could be that:

  • go to your atlas-0
  • copy atlas-0
  • put your character's head in your editor
  • create a new layer
  • make hat
  • resize over character
  • profit faster

 

I do something like that, yeah. It's not faster, but it helps if you're making something like a mask or a helmet that covers your character's whole head.

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Dryicefox    140

I do something like that, yeah. It's not faster, but it helps if you're making something like a mask or a helmet that covers your character's whole head.

Thanks for reassuring me about this. It was pure theory as I have yet to make a character fully.

But if you wait a bit you'll see my OC... (>:)llll)

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TheDanaAddams    574

 

This is completely in theory, but here we go.

 

There is a much simpler way of resizing the could be that:

  • go to your atlas-0
  • copy atlas-0
  • put your character's head in your editor
  • create a new layer
  • make hat
  • resize over character
  • profit faster

 

It will help with the sizing, sure, but exact placement and missing chunks can really only be worked around with a screenshot of it in-game.

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Dryicefox    140

It will help with the sizing, sure, but exact placement and missing chunks can really only be worked around with a screenshot of it in-game.

No, no, don't get me wrong. I did not communicate that it was only for certain parts.

 

I was talking about the beginning part with sizing and partial placement.

 

With placement you can divide all of the parts equally and go into the code to find where the hat atlas places its atlases.

 

NOT THEORY

[Go into the hat atlas and find where the hat is u1(left border) and u2(right border) are horizontals and should be multiplied by the width to find which pixel ends their final placement.

 

v1 and v2 are the vertical and you should subtract it by one for ALL conversions and THEN multiply by the height of the atlas.]

 

ASSUMPTION

Using these borders you can divide the distance of both height and width by 2 and find the center of the hat model making it a tad bit easier.

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TheDanaAddams    574

No, no, don't get me wrong. I did not communicate that it was only for certain parts.

 

I was talking about the beginning part with sizing and partial placement.

 

With placement you can divide all of the parts equally and go into the code to find where the hat atlas places its atlases.

 

NOT THEORY

[Go into the hat atlas and find where the hat is u1(left border) and u2(right border) are horizontals and should be multiplied by the width to find which pixel ends their final placement.

 

v1 and v2 are the vertical and you should subtract it by one for ALL conversions and THEN multiply by the height of the atlas.]

 

ASSUMPTION

Using these borders you can divide the distance of both height and width by 2 and find the center of the hat model making it a tad bit easier.

You would expect the UV borders to be the only boundary you need worry about. But it's not quite that simple.

Instead of each symbol being on a square poly-plane, the system that brings the assets in sort of automatically generates geometry that fits roughly around the texture. So when we use an item as a base, we're stuck with its geometry.

 

This CAN be circumvented now by using Spriter to create the hat build, but the process for these things aren't well documented, yet, since they were just recently made possible.

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Mr. Tiddles    822

 

 

This CAN be circumvented now by using Spriter to create the hat build, but the process for these things aren't well documented, yet, since they were just recently made possible.

The only thing I've accomplished while using spriter is made it crash by clicking certain parts of the screen. And if I press "H", too. Also, pressing backspace/delete sometimes crashes it. Oh, and I made a little animation of Wilson being freed from the throne and turning to dust like Maxwell does. But then I clicked something and it crashed.

 

EDIT: Actually the first three were FMOD Designer. The first one was for both, though.

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