I’m currently working on an isometric RTS game with a team of 6, I’m the character artist… having trouble working with the lead artist, we need to establish a visual style guide for the game, i was just wanting to ask you guys if you could give any recommendations to where we could start on establishing this.
Helpful topics might be;
Examples of successful (badass) style guides.
Recommendations on how we can collaborate on putting one together.
How we can use the visual style guide to create consistent art.
General guidelines of what should be contained in the style guide.
Thank you, Keir.
Start with broad general terms; the bad guys are victorian/steampunk and the good guys are roman/cyberpunk, decide racial characteristics tall and thin short and squat, whatever. Then riff off of that, research those looks and build the style guide accordingly. Approach it top down and the architecture and environments and everything falls into place.
yeah man, what dpaint said.
you can even put together a "look book" of images found online. spend a day gathering inspiration for culture, characters, environments, creatures, vehicles, weapons, etc. anyting and everything that has to do with the world you're trying to create and the people that live in it.
oh, and another really important one: MOOD. some images you find might have the right FEELING to them even if the subject matter has nothing to do with anything.
these can be photos, concept art done for other things, etc. doesn't matter where you get it, its inspiration.
i recently put together a look book for a feature film pitch. this is exactly what my job was. for a week all i did was gather images that i thought were cool. the art director would come by and say yay or nay on the images i found. in the end i put together a 15 page book broken up into sections. the only actual artwork i created was for the cover.
Last edited by TheDirtSyndicate; November 23rd, 2011 at 03:37 PM.
Yep...start with the big picture. Define the world, civilisation, time-frame, level of tech for the various factions. To design effectively you need to know/define the history...where it came from, how it evolved. What is the primary power source for stuff? Materials? How do special things like anti-grav (if you have it) or molecular disruptors work? Those decisions determine how everything looks.
Pretty hard to find working "style guides" - they are closely kept parts of the IP. You can however look at a lot of Disney books, Halo has some nice things, Star Wars, "making of" books, etc. to get a feel for this kind of thing and then just use your own common sense to put together something useful.
Searching on "property bible" may turn up something as well.
In addition to what others have said....
Set ups a moodboard (it's the same thing that TheDirtSyndicate called a look book, just another name for it).
Sketch out the concepts, coordinate the look and feel of things, from genre to silhouettes to color and various moods.
Check out how Fallout series was made, they have quite a bit of this documented.
You want to set up a good moodboard, and then do some storyboarding. Through a process of doing those, you will develop a unified visual style.
Thanks allot for this guys, it's really helping me get some shit done, I feel like I'm moving in the right direction now.
As a group we have already put together mood boards, I think now it's a case of us all sitting down and pulling things that we think are relevant etc.
Overall what sort of content should a visual style guide contain. And do I use it to establish the art assets or should I be making the assets then a guide to creating the assets consistently. Currently I see them as a sort of schematic to the final characters or environmental assets.
Art assets list is pulled from the design...and it leads to the schedule and breakdown of who does what. Don't overthink it...just use common sense on what needs to be defined visually based on the criteria I mentioned earlier. The style guide is not the game...just a reference. It does usuually help to have artists working on specific chunks of things...like one person does the vehicles/hardware/ships for one faction...one does characters, one does terrain, etc. But again, that's just common sense.