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Game Art Creating Software

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014

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The Importance of Game Art

It doesn’t matter how good your code is, if your graphics are poor then no-one will want to play your game. This is why professional game-making companies hire teams of artists to create their game art. However, unless your parents are Bill and Melinda Gates you probably won’t be able to afford this luxury.

Game Art Options for the Amateur Developer

There are only really 3 options:

  • find some free game art on the internet
  • pay for a royalty-free package of game art
  • learn to create your own game art

(1) Free Game Art

It is certainly possible to find free game art on the internet.

The best websites that I have found include:

The problem is that it is probably not going to be exactly what you had in mind when you first came up with that killer idea for a game. You will have probably imagined some of the characters and how they would look and act, and have some idea of the virtual world in which they live. But, your chances of fortuitously stumbling upon some free art on the internet that just happens to coincide with the images in your mind are almost zero!

Instead, you will end up having to create a completely different game to fit in with the free game art that you have found. Believe me, I have spent hours trying to find suitable free game art on the internet but my searching has never led to anything resembling what I was looking for.

The other problem is that, even if you do find something good and use it, you can bet that many other people have done the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that free game art is useless. When you are learning to write code, it is great to be able to download free game art to test your little projects with rather than have to make it yourself from scratch. Those who create this art for free are providing a very generous service to beginners, but don’t expect to be able to rely upon it to make all of your games, especially if you want to make something original.

(2) Game Art Packages

Super Sprite Bundle Game ArtThere are some very attractive looking game art packages for sale on the internet. Generally, the quality of the art will be better that the free game art and it will tend to comprise a full set of graphics that can be used to make an entire game.

If you are only interested in making a game for fun then these can be a relatively cheap and quick way to get a complete set of game images.

Of course, you will probably not be the only person to have bought the same game art package, but they will certainly be more exclusive than the free stuff.

My favourite “game art package” producer at the moment is Justin at CartoonsmartHis packages are high quality and reasonably priced. If you click on the image above you can see for yourself:

(3) Creating Your Own Art

For someone that has very limited artistic talent (that’s me!) and no previous experience of using game art creating software (me again!), the prospect of making your own graphics is intimidating to say the least. I have tried most, if not all, of the free software on the market, but I never really got anywhere with them – they all had steep learning curves and were very time-consuming to use. The results were awful too! Inkscape was probably the best of the free products, but I just couldn’t get used to the unhelpful user interface and the lack of a “tweening” function meant that you had to create each individual frame yourself – life is just too short for that!

Out of desperation, I decided to take a look at some of the commercial game art creating software packages.

There are many different options on the market and it can be very confusing for the beginner game maker. If you ask 6 different computer artists to name the best software for creating game art you will probably get 6 different answers.

So, having scoured the internet for the best options, I narrowed it down to 3 options:

  • Adobe Flash CS6 
  • Adobe Illustrator CS6
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6 

In the end I chose Adobe Flash CS6 and I have absolutely no regrets. Now, it is certainly not the cheapest product on the market, but I have found it be very user friendly and great for producing those little animations that all good games need. Whilst I read the reviews of all of the products, my main reason for choosing Adobe Flash CS6 was that I purchased the Cartoonsmart “iOS 7 Game Bundle” which contains over 10 hours of tutorials on how to create your own game art. The software used by Justin to do this is Adobe Flash.

I suggest that anyone who is genuinely interested in creating games for iOS should buy this bundle to learn how to use spritekit and, as a bonus, watch the game art creation tutorials see how easily Justin is able to create the entire set of graphics for an RPG using Adobe Flash.

For those of you that already know how to use Spritekit, you can buy the “How to Draw All Your Own Game Art” package separately.

iOS7 Game BundleCreate your own game art

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