Art Questions? Ask The Builders!

Discuss the story, characters, world, and art of Cards and Castles!
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Rev One
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Art Questions? Ask The Builders!

Postby Rev One » Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:03 am

Hello friends, Rev One here. Some of you know me as a community leader (I run the IGDA-San Diego chapter) or from my talks (I've been a game design and art teacher for about 3 years), but I suspect most of you will know me as the guy who makes all of those pretty pictures. And so they call me The Builder of all things art in Cards and Castles. I've been a part of the team in some capacity or another from the beginning, mostly as a UI/UX designer, which as you know, means I spent a lot of time redoing the same thing over and over. In addition to game design and those UI/UX duties, I draw up all those fancy cards and design our characters.

I am usually pretty busy on this project of ours, but I wanted to take some time and open up an art specific thread to answer any of your questions or chat about the general art production. I'm happy to share any information, tips and tricks, tutorials, and answer any of your questions!

:?: Have an art question? Ask away! :?:

You can find an art dump, containing most of our cards (at least the ones that I've done and have large images for) here ( http://www.cardsandcastles.com/main/media/ )
I will do my best to stay active on the forums and on my Twitter account ( https://twitter.com/dylanmarquez ).

The Artists of CnC Past, Present, and Future.
The very talented Jen ( http://www.fruitygum2d.com/portfolio.html ) and Mark ( http://www.markaguilar.com/ ) are my fellow artists and animators.

Previously, we had about 10 different artists on this team, and I'd like to give them a shout out to all of them! Personally I'd like to thank my former students, Dev, our original concept artist and animator ( http://devlynjd.tumblr.com/ ) and Tess, a card illustrator and UI artist ( http://the-chic-monster.blogspot.com/ ). Also my friends and mentors Asa ( http://www.asaenochs.com/ ) and Bud ( https://twitter.com/yocdub ) who provided some card illustrations.
Last edited by Rev One on Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Rad
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Rad » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:04 pm

Hey Rev! Love the stuff I see on your Twitter account and in-game. This game's art is probably some of my favorite in any game (seriously!)



1.) One question that I have is how do you keep all the art to match the same C&C style? How could I learn to do a similar cartoony-style art that looks like it fits the game?

2.) Do you use a drawing tablet? What kind and what software do you use to draw in?

3.) What do you think of some of the older style art that doesn't fully match the newer art? (Cards such as Burn, Darkfire, Blade of Light, and Brewery) Do you plan do redo or update any of those to fit the new style?

4.) A planet has 'n' holes going all the way through it. No matter how the planet divides its nations, it would be possible to color a map of the planet using no more than 'm' colors, where no nation can have the same color as an adjacent nation, and 'm' is the greatest number represent-able in a byte. How many possible values can 'n' have? ;)



Thanks and keep up the great work! I would love to learn how to do this type of art one day!
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Freshboi37
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Freshboi37 » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:31 pm

Last one thou lol rad
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Tabbune
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Tabbune » Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:00 pm

Any plans on updating the old arts to match new art style?
https://youtu.be/bY4TYYJ-NZw

Thank me later.

I will start a goshdanged riot if Vontre doesn't get rid of the forum autopurge.
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Noridoom
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Noridoom » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:49 pm

Not sure who came up with the name Bobberts, but that's an awesome Easter Egg!
I'm assuming you also do the sprites and I just have to say that I think Sea Witch looks awesome!
In general, a lot of great art work in WA.

Question:
Why does Maddy have a gun and a wand and only have range 1?
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Rev One
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Rev One » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:49 am

Great questions folks. I believe I have lost to most of you at least once before. I greatly enjoy our game, but am not a particularly competitive game player. Unlike my gf Eryanne who likes to crush it.

I'll try to answer all of these questions here:

1.) One question that I have is how do you keep all the art to match the same C&C style? How could I learn to do a similar cartoony-style art that looks like it fits the game?


This has been a challenge for us from day one. The original art team, all quality artists whom we wouldn't be here without, had all their own very differing art styles. Another challenge we faced was that while the original style that worked for our units did not work well for our cards. Eventually we sat down and wrote a design document with specific rules from head and hand size to stroke style and color, and did our best to apply the guide to both units and cards. Most of our content since Tournament of Champions adheres to the guide which is great, but as most of you can very obviously realize, the older content, both units and card will look out of place. (More on that later.)

I'm an art school teacher, so I will always push education if you're considering this field as professional artist. Art is just one of those things that you need to study and practice, and really absorb the history. There has never been a great artist who didn't improve by going to art school, even if many great artists left art school. It's all about understanding what's happened before and going on now, as well as exploring technique and physical skillsets. I have two degrees, one in Game Art and Design and another in Digital Design and Production, and I consider myself a designer more than an artist. I really attribute a lot of my success to mastering graphic design before anything else.

That being said, I'm a big believer in the idea that quantity eventually leads to quality. Draw, draw, draw, all day and all night. It's not the most helpful answer, to that question, but it's really the only answer. Draw until you hate it, and then keep drawing because that's the point in which you learn to love it. If you don't love it, it will always show.

One last note on that, if you are considering an art career, just know that it is by far the most abused craft in entertainment. The hours are unforgiving, the pay is not comparable to programming or production, and it's easy to single out art as the problem with a game (either not good enough or too bad for the audience). You do it because you love it. You do it because you have to do it.

2.) Do you use a drawing tablet? What kind and what software do you use to draw in?


I use a Surface Pro 3. I adopted the Surface Pro after using just about everything out there and I haven't looked back. Microsoft is making the best hardware out there for artists right now. Skip the 4 and go get a cheap 3 on eBay. It will last you at least 2 years. Skip the Surface Pro 1 or 2, because the technology is outdated (wacom vs ntrig) and unsupported, and there isn't enough of a big change between the 3 and the 4 to pay the premium right now.

3.) What do you think of some of the older style art that doesn't fully match the newer art? (Cards such as Burn, Darkfire, Blade of Light, and Brewery) Do you plan do redo or update any of those to fit the new style?


Any plans on updating the old arts to match new art style?


Would love to see more updates for old cards to get them in line with everything else. Loving the sprite revisions for Archer, Barbarian, etc.


This is a general theme that is near and dear to me, but it's a complex situation. Production art is a very different beast. When so much of your life is invested in the success of a product, and the stakes are so high, you really have to spend time on things that make the most sense, and unfortunately the older art doesn't break anything and doesn't need fixing. The pure artist in me hates that response, so the simple answer to this question is, whenever there is unused time on my hands, I would be working on these things. Just to give you some insight here are some of the things that come up when we talk about this internally.

    Updating units would be more important than updating cards. Cards are on the screen for a shorter amount of time and they are inanimate.
    That being said, units in our game have a visual lifespan of 1-3 rounds, so they aren't on the screen for very long either. :roll:
    Cards are easier to make, however, due to the nature of game design and balance, both need to be perfect in order to make the best card. Color, style, story, character relationships, etc. All of these things can easily feel out of place if the card is cut and held for another expansion, redesigned or rebalanced, moved to another faction, or anything else that come about. It's just not realistic for all of these things to be designed perfectly AND never change. This is why Maddy looks different than his mechanics would suggest. This is also why some cards like the Stalker, which was originally designed as a Warlock, looks out of place as a Neutral unit.
    People can deal with balance changes. It's the nature of the beast. But when you change someone's art, the response is unpredictable. People attach to content because it is the source of emotional and imaginative investment. In my personal experience, changing art out from under players has been a very tough sell. When someone loves something, it looks perfect to them, and so my idea of improvements may never meet their expectations.
    The most important idea we hold here, is that it doesn't matter if your art is good or bad, if it's inconsistent, then it will always be bad. So yes, this is something we think about and plan to do, but it's just a matter of time and resources that determines when and how it gets done. I would love it to be perfect.

What's more important then the little details (or lack there of) is the overall feel of the style. If the art emits the right emotions, then it's going to fit in the world, even if it doesn't look perfect.

Thanks for the questions guys keep em coming!

How important is the character (unit or card) art to you when you play this game? :D
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Rev One
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Rev One » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:52 am

4.) A planet has 'n' holes going all the way through it. No matter how the planet divides its nations, it would be possible to color a map of the planet using no more than 'm' colors, where no nation can have the same color as an adjacent nation, and 'm' is the greatest number represent-able in a byte. How many possible values can 'n' have?


Regardless, the answer is always 42.
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Freshboi37
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby Freshboi37 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:27 pm

Would you consider making the Scenery more Alive like maps have animation. I really love the focus on units but I believe have a cool Vivid background is also pleasing to the Eyes like a nice Waterfall or anot active volcano. Oh and another thing would you be adding more standstill animation. Games with smooth animanition to characters are awesome. Lol sorry about the loads of Q oh lol one more. More Music???? Particularly Stage Music
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VertuHonagan
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby VertuHonagan » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:15 pm

I probably shouldn't post this but criticism of all forms should always be welcome.

I'll be honest, I almost didn't give this game a chance when I first heard of it because of the artwork. I'm very picking about artwork and I don't really care for the artwork.

I do however love the artwork on the buildings! You all can draw some great buildings, but when it comes to people the artwork is too boxy and the hands look off place. I have the same problem which is why I'm not fond of that kind of art style.

For example: take a look at professor head wood, his left forearm is twice as big as the rest of his arm and almost half the size of his belly mass.

Like I said, I'm jut picky and keep up the good work with the art in the game! I like the pirate ship castle!
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bencornell4
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Re: Art Questions? Ask The Builder?

Postby bencornell4 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:13 pm

Can you teach me to make art? I want to make a game! hahahaha. im serious though.

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