Starslinger Kings Dev Log

Starslinger Kings DEVLOG 05 - Poster Art Process

Hey all, Matt here to deliver another post on some of the art we make here as part of the game dev process. Today is the big booth art piece that will sit behind us shortly at PAXAus. So let me walk you through the process.

So my brother pointed out that my posts assume people know too much about our goings on here, so his advice was to 'Write articles for that toy of Guile on your desk'. That being Guile from Street Fighter II and the most he'd know about is the air force and Sonic Booms. So lets get going.

STEP 1: Stress and Guidelines

With PAXAus just around the corner, we have to get various documents and media in to them. One of the pieces of media being the nearly 2m by 2m booth artwork of the game we'll be exhibiting. The problem with deadlines is that they sneak up on you. So with only a few days to the drop off deadline and the specs for the art piece, I had to get a hustle on.

STEP 2: Thumbnail Sketch One - Composition Test!

The goal is to smash out a basic composition of all the elements the piece will contain. Which means dump in our 4 players, our kings, shooting and breaking stuff! And there we have it. Done, ship it as is.

STEP 3: Thumbnail Sketch Two - Clean That Jazz Up

Yeah we didn't ship that last piece. Though that would have saved many hours of work. So the next step is just clean up job to see if everything looks half ok.

STEP 4: Lines and Flats

So using the previous thumbnail sketch as a guide, I spent countless hours working out how to make my computer handle photoshop with a huge file and trying to get my wacom tablet brush strokes not lag while I work. I had to kill a bunch of settings in photoshop and downsize from a 300dpi piece to 200dpi to get anything done. Eventually I had drawn out my lineart...

Flats, Colour Flatting or 'putting in all the main colours without shading or lighting'. This stage is easy at least. On new layers underneath, use the lineart and 'colour in' like you use to as a kid (or still do). Same advice still holds. Try to stay between the lines!

STEP 5+: Shading, Lighting and Last 5%

Shading and lighting is a fun stage. Cell shading makes this phase not too time consuming. On a new layer above the colours, set the mode to 'linear burn' and work with 2 levels of greys to make the shadows on the characters. Linear Burn mostly keeps the colour underneath, which is what we want. I can break this stage down more if people ask for it.

Lighting is another new layer, this time set to overlay blending. Put in the shiny bits now and some light colouring (I put some orange on the surface of the characters near explosions and what not. Very subtle.)

The last 5% refers to 'doing the last few things to make stuff look heaps good all over the place'. This includes the stark white lighting on the edges of things, like the front Kings face. Plus other cleaning up.

Step 6 here is actually the background in the piece. Which again I can expand on if you like, but for the purposes of this article I'll just summarise it by saying I painted it in and used various blur effects to cover up for my inadequacies. 

Finally done. So whatever 4pm - 11pm is in hours, that's what all the stages after the thumbnails took. My computer nearly died trying to save the photoshop files out to jpg and png and then shipped it off to my brother to add lettering and submit the piece.

I've never worked on such a large piece for so many hours in a single run. I hope the piece is good, I know its got issues (damn you composition) but it does sum up well the type of action you can expect in Starslinger Kings.

Or hope to deliver in time for PAX. Live and learn aye?

- Matt

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