Holy crap art packages are good these days!

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by zoombapup, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Hey all.

    I'm back! ish.. sort of.

    Took a gig as CTO of a startup in London. They're working away on the product now, so I'm in a bit of a limbo state (stuff I want to work on isnt needed for a while).

    So I'm going to throw some indie stuff together in the meantime.

    I started looking at modern "next gen" art pipelines for characters and models and the like while I was thinking about what I wanted to do and I'm *really* blown away at the sheer capability and quality of art tools now. Even a relatively clumsy old programmer like me can produce some not quite so retarded art these days!

    I remember starting back when 3D Studio was just that (no max in those days). But wow, now stuff like uv unwrapping is a breeze (3D Coat being the best there), lightmap baking easy (max does ok there, but I use unity for buildings) and character modelling is even fun (zbrush and mudbox ftw there). Stuff like retopologizing (3D coat, topogun) helps to create low poly, then use mudbox or zbrush for texture baking (mudbox I prefer there). Most people seem to use highpoly (3ds max) and then bake normals onto lowpoly (using xnormal, crazybump, 3d0). Even visualising seems easy now (marmoset toolbag, xoliul shader).

    I mean wtf? Since when did art get so damn easy? In which case, why are most indie art assets so shite? I mean look at the Unity asset store. Most stuff on there is tragic.

    I might even storm the asset store with some stuff to make a few quid while I work on the details of my code. Practice on some generic props and sell em via the store.

    So anyone who complains about art being hard to get.. man you just need to get some of these shiny new art tools out there. Hell 3DCoat is only like 300 dollars or so. It does most all of the 3D sculpting stuff, great retopo and excellent UV layout! Get that and blender and you're golden!

    Sheeesh, you kids. Dont know you're born. We used to eat coal etc.
     
  2. Stefan Maton

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    Hi,

    while I totally agree with you, I still rely on an experienced graphic artist who has a better eye for graphic style than I have.

    But yes, it has gone very easy to produce and modify graphic assets for an programmer. I even manage to rig some of the assets myself (in the way *I* need it and not the graphic artist). And if there's something I don't see how it could be done, I find a lot of video tutorials and examples on the net. Something that wasn't available 10 years ago.

    As of the quality of the art packages in the Unity store, it all depends on what you're looking for. For my current game, I need high quality sci-fi art packages. While Unity has some of them, I also check other sites such as Dexsoft-Games. I suppose, that a lot of assets in the Unity store are done by teenagers and not professionals.
     
  3. zoombapup

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    I think I've had enough of waiting for artists. I'm doing everything myself these days (well, unless I can buy it, which is a reasonable alternative I think).
     
  4. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    The Unity store is still quite young, isn't it ? I bet over the time will get better, since I think will be one of the best marketplace for 3d artists trying to sell their stuff :)
     
  5. zoombapup

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    I agree, if you watch the Unity 2011 presentations. They mention sales figures. Worthwhile to any artists out there I suspect. But of course artists are generally lazy bastards so they wont get off their arses and go make money. :)
     
  6. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Doesn't matter how good the tools are, if you give them to somebody who can't use them they'll produce nothing of worth. Much like powertools and women (or washing machines and men, not to be sexist about it).
     
  7. Adrian Lopez

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    It hardly gets easier than pencil and paper, but give non-artists such simple tools and many will be lucky if they can draw stick figures.
     
  8. electronicStar

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    Try to make the sum of the price of all the art software that you are mentioning...
    Now you know...
     
  9. cliffski

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    Beacuse of the 99,999 other things requried in shipping a game as an indie that aren't about art quality.
    Most of the really jaw dropping awesome indie stuff you see is a tech demo, from people who make awesome tech, and awesome showreels.
    If I scrapped everything in Gratuitous Tank Battles right now, and started again, the final game would be massively better looking.
    But if I had the mentality to do that, I'd have done it three times already and the game would never ship.

    All art assets, all code, all tools, all engines are worthelss junk until the day they become part of something that actually ships :D
     
  10. papillon

    Indie Author

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    Having affordable tools does you no good if you don't know how to use them. Many people are working in 2d games anyway and didn't need all those expensive tools, but it STILL takes an artist to make something that doesn't look shit.
     
  11. zoombapup

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    Ive seen some pretty nice minecraft levels that havent had a sniff of an artist. There's nothing inherently "great" about an artist, as much as anyone with any sense of aesthetics and control of the toolset can do. What I mean is that if the tools are simple enough, almost anyone can make something nice looking. Its the constraints on the tools that keep it within useful ranges etc.

    But anyway, my point was that these tools are AMAZING.

    Its just a pity the code side isnt anywhere near as advanced.
     
  12. zoombapup

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    Well quite. All I was trying to say on a POSITIVE note, was that art should really be less of an issue than it was. Because the tools are a LOT more productive, even for relative newbs. Less of an excuse to make a good game with shitty art.
     
  13. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    Its true that the tools may make it possible for a non-artist programmer to make acceptable looking artwork, but a mastery of these tools combined with an artist's 'eye' can make the difference between what would take me 100 hours and what would take a professional 20 hours... and in my experience the artist's work will still look better. To cliffski's point, even if quality were equal, it comes down to a question of time vs money. Do I work for 100 hours on artwork or do I pay 10000 while I work on the million other things that need to be done.
     
  14. zoombapup

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    Fair enough. I've come to my own conclusion that waiting for any particular artist to do stuff for me is less useful than just getting on with it myself. Its not that hard I cant learn it and if it gets too difficult to do anything in particular, I can block in a replacement and get on without worrying about it. I guess it just means that there arent any artist roadblocks. So I can have animations when I need them, even if they arent great. Or I can re-rig something if the scale is off, or I can throw together a collision mesh in lowpoly if I need to. But each to their own :)
     
  15. Jack Norton

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    What you mentions are "adjustment" more than creating something from scratch. I mostly do 2d games, but sometimes I adjust the sprites/images I get, and that is OK, but I would be a fool to try to make EVEN the art myself! That is, if I want to release a game every 3-4 months and not every 3 years :D
    (Is true though that disappearing artists are a very common plague amongst indie developers!)
     
  16. zoombapup

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    Sure, but youre games generally need 2D hand drawn art. Most games dont really need that. Cliffs games could all work reasonably well with 3D art made pretty quickly. The high end tools for instance for modelling and texturing would make some really brilliant models for GSB pretty easy. The sheer quality of humanoid format tools (sculpting and the like) makes those things absurdly easy now too. Stuff like facial studio, which generates head meshes, coupled with body models made from either kitbashing (using stores of body parts) or retopologizing exports from something like Daz via 3D Coat/Zbrush and then textured in mudbox.

    All I'm saying is that these things arent really anywhere near as hard to do as they used to be. Although to do really true high end stuff needs true artists still. But a passable job can be had extremely quickly and good enough for an indie game to not look terrible too!

    I'll show some examples soonish, once I settle on some basic proportions.
     
  17. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think you're missing a key point here, Phil. Even given what you say about it being easier nowadays, it still takes time. Time that would be better spent coding a new puzzle/level/whatever whilst someone else draws the bricks and mortar for it imo.

    Unless you can work at rate not hitherto imaginable, you'll get more productivity out of using specialists in specialist areas. Just because you can technically do it all yourself doesn't mean that that's the optimal way to carry on.
     
  18. cliffski

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    I dunno, those models are pretty damned complex
    [​IMG]
     
  19. zoombapup

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    Oh, I agree with you there. But for anyone in a position where they dont have a spare artist, or who have had artists constantly flake out on them. What I'm saying is that its not so difficult to roll your sleeves up and get something useable by your own efforts. Because things genuinely are easier to make now.
     
  20. zoombapup

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    With the poly modelling tools these days its not that hard to do high res work quickly. But I was actually thinking of something more organic as an example. Using zbrush with the dynamesh feature to do some interesting shapes (basically snake hook the hell out of some shapes). Most of the detail you have could be texture/normal based anyway, as you're not seeing them up close.

    Not saying its trivial, but for someone who wanted to do it themselves. Its definitely do-able. And I mean in a not-insane amount of time.
     

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