RMVXA Consistency Between Sprites and Portraits

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HexMozart88

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I'm aware there have been several queries made about this, but I think this one need to be made about this specific game.
For a while now, I've been working with a partner on a project, and recently, I've experimented with a more semi-realistic style of portraits. However, the sprites have a bit more of an anime style to them. Now, we've seen games that have used realistic portraits with more cartoony sprites, however, some of them are complained about by critics for being too inconsistent. So, my question is, would it be too jarring if the styles don't quite match?

female_dark_black bun.png
I had a portrait style that was more anime before, but my partner prefers the semi-realistic style, so if it works, we'll use that, otherwise, we'll go back to the old way.

 

ShadowDragon

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it really depends, pixel art character and a non pixel portrait can do match nicely, but also pixel portrait.

That really depends on the user/creator itself and the game they making.
 

TheKeeper

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That really depends on the user/creator itself and the game they making.
Heyla!

I'm Hex's partner in the game mentioned, above. Our game is a farming game that's inspired by both Stardew Valley and My Time At Portia. In it, you play a character from the Southern Region who is about to go on Journey. Wanting to combine your love of adventure with your love of working the land, you volunteer to be a colonist on a fairly large island that was already settled by peoples from the Northern Region. Your job is to not only work the land and explore what this island has to offer, but to win over the settlers and talk them into letting others from the Southern Region come and settle and share the land with those of the Northern Region.

As with Stardew Valley and My Time At Portia, while it comes off as light and friendly, there are dark elements to the game. And, in fact, the main storyline in the game reaches a dark point when you face off with the main antagonist.

Hope that helps! We're really hoping we can get some advice as to which portrait style might be more appropriate for our game. As Hex has said, I do have my heart set on the semi-realistic style, but we're generally not sure if that will look right with the kind of sprites we're using.
 

ShadowDragon

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personal, I like the old way, but the 1st way is something similair to golden sun game (to play), but it really depends on the graphic in
the game you use. and what you prefer.

do you have a screenshot of your current project? so I and others can give a more straight advice based on that?
 

Liandra Aura

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If you decide to stick with the watercolor painting style, I would refine it a bit and get more practice. I’d also make to include the watercolor style in the GUI.
 

HexMozart88

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Thanks, both of you, for your replies. Currently, the game is in a fairly early stage, so there aren't a whole lot of screenshots that would provide you with enough info, since they're all rough RTP maps so we can focus on the gameplay.
Yeah, I definitely do need some more work with that style. I'm not very realism-inclined and I haven't done a realistic portrait in several months (my normal art is generally more like my avatar). I've talked it over with Keeper and we're both starting to lean a bit more towards the old style, since it takes less time to make.
 

Finnuval

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I think it can work, if refined a little more.

That said I would advice at sticking with what you know best at least for now whilst improving on it and revisit the idea once you have some more experience with this style.
 

TheKeeper

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Thanks, everyone, for all the replies! Your advice has led us to the decision that going back to the original art style is in our best interests, at this time! We may revisit the watercolor style, later, if we can find a good place for it, but we realized we really did end up liking the anime art style more for our game. It just... fit. :D Thanks, again, for all your input! We couldn't have made this decision without you!
 
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The old way looks better, but I think if your heart is on making more realistic, something that is half-way between these styles could work.

Here are some examples of what I mean, from when I used to draw:




So basically, there are lines, like a cartoon, but the actual shading is still the "realistic" painted style. Honestly, the color blending in your realistic portrait example isn't bad, it's more that the character shape itself is kinda frumpy. The realistic character is just kinda bland and sitting there, while the cartoony character is lively and expressive. I think if you gave your realistic character more of that same energy, I think you'd be fine. But then, from my experience, I think it's way harder to nail that kind of thing when doing painter style than doing a cartoony liney style. It's better to start with a liney sketch to play with the shapes and movement first, and then go over that with your paint.

This gets into a problem that I see in a lot of young or hobbyist artists. When we do art in school, we're taught this right-brained, "A for effort" pop-art method, without nailing the physical fundamentals. And that's fine if you want to be the next Pollack or Warhol, but if you want to characters or backgrounds or things that exist in reality, then you need a very different method of making art and analyzing subjects. It's definitely something that one can learn for free out on the web, and it's something that can definitely change your life if you take it to heart.

Of course, my recommendation for all artists is to learn 3D instead, it's better!

But anyways, back to the original actual question, if the sprites are definitely going to be in that stark, liney style, then I think there is something to be said for keeping consistency and making the portraits stark and liney as well.

Also, if you're making your own sprites anyways, as an animator, it pains me every time I see people try to use RPGMaker's walking-and-standing combination animation. This is not what walking is.

Use Galv's plug-in and make yourself some different standing and walking images. It's work but it will make your game look so much more professional. The "proper" way would be those 8 frames, (left contact, left recoil, left passing, left high point, right contact, right recoil, right passing, right high point). But for a small spritey animation, you can do it in 4, (left contact, left passing, right contact, right passing). Maybe it would work with recoil and high-point, but I think that would be weird. I bring this up because your character is walking with a high-point frame and I feel like that's just going to look weird in action. If it looks weird, that's why it looks weird.
 

TheKeeper

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Actually, I liked the results when I put the sprite in game. xD I thought it looked cute. lol! It's why I never changed it.
 
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And maybe it does okay, it's just that as an animator, I object on principle.
 

HexMozart88

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Seeing as we've already reached a decision and we don't want anyone else wasting time on a post, we're going to go ahead and close this for now.
 

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This thread is being closed at the request of the OP. If for some reason you would like it re-opened, please Report this post and leave the reason why.
 
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