How to Make 2D Art for Games in Сollaboration with Outsource Game Company

Do you recall your first computer games? We are confident that it was 2D isometric games, for sure. However, as technology advanced, designers were able to incorporate significantly more originality and variation into their work, resulting in the wide range of 2D aesthetics found in games these days.

In this article, we will try to give you the broadest possible understanding of the 2D style, how to work with it, and how to create games that will capture and amaze millions of players around the world. Can 2D technologies do this? You will be surprised when you dive into this text and learn more about how simple shapes can create something incredible. Of course, we will help you in this way.

How to Make 2D Art for Games

What is 2D Art for Games?

Characters, objects, and the surrounding surroundings are created using only two dimensions – height and breadth. 2D art is utilized in numerous well-known titles and games like The Super Mario or Badland, and is still a common choice for game style. It isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as 3D game art. You can create a 2D character concept art or an entire universe on paper and then turn it into a genuine game asset. Furthermore, because it is not centered on graphics, users may focus on the gameplay rather than the landscapes or character appearances.

Another distinguishing element of 2D game art is that it allows players with extremely basic controls and navigation throughout the game. As a result, it will take you a few moments to figure out how it all fits together in a title. Even if 2D projects are simple and have a restricted ability to explore the game’s universe, millions of people enjoy these games.

2D Character Concept Art for Game Paths Desert Island

Popular Tools for 2D Art Games

The market for 2D animation software is as diversified as it has ever been. When searching for the finest software, you may find everything from high-end solutions for game artists to free software used by amateurs and beginners. Based on our expertise, there are certain factors to consider when selecting animation software complexity.

There are numerous tools available on the market for generating 2D animations of varying levels of complexity. Choose Pencil2D if you are not an expert and are just learning how to create 2D game art and animations. It gives a simple and easy-to-understand environment with all the necessary tools to produce simple and spectacular animations. If you have knowledge of producing two-dimensional animations, OpenToonz will make the process easier and help you to realize interesting ideas.

Here are our recommendations for the top 5 animation software for 2D games:

  • PENCIL 2D

Pencil2D is a free, open-source, and lightweight 2D animation software that runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux. It is a cutting-edge animation tool that is ideal for beginners exploring the world of two-dimensional animation. Artists may switch between raster and vector workflows and enjoy the minimalist design, which simplifies the animation creation process.

  • OPENTOONZ

OpenToonz is an open-source and free version of Toonz that is a great tool for conventional 2D animation. Because it allows designers to produce outstanding 2D animations and images, this tool is multipurpose and comprehensive in its capabilities. OpenToonz has numerous useful tools for artists, such as bitmap tools, distortion and light effects, GTS scanning tools, flexible color combinations, and so forth.

Popular Tools for 2D Art Games Sketch Pencil2D AI ToonBoom
  • TOON BOOM HARMONY

Toon Boom Harmony is an important tool for artists who want to create unbelievable 2D art for games. It takes time to master, but the results are well worth the time. This program is appropriate for vector graphics and bitmap graphics, as well as rigging. ToonBoom Harmony offers the incredible potential to assist designers in creating unfathomable art creations.

  • SKETCH

Sketch is an indispensable tool for creating stunning 2D art UI/UX prototypes. You may use Sketch to build all of the interface elements for websites and mobile apps, such as text blocks, buttons, icons, graphics, and so on. This software allows you to create an interactive prototype rather than just an interface sketch. Sketch could be really useful if you want to make your job life easy.

  • ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

Adobe Illustrator is a living legend and the most well-known software for generating 2D drawings, illustrations, and artwork, with millions of users worldwide. This is a basic tool for creating great art. It’s commonly used to make online layouts, graphics for mobile devices, web interfaces, and cinematic designs. Adobe Illustrator has hundreds of ways to solve your problem, whether you need bright illustrations, icons, patterns, or logos.

Popular Tools for Making 2D Game Art for Runefall

Examples of Different 2D Game Art Styles

If you want to create the best 2D game art, you first need to get acquainted with all the styles that the world of two-dimensional art hides within itself. As technology has advanced, there have been more and more of these styles. But for now, we want to focus our attention on the most important ones that the game 2D artists use in their work.

This is probably one of the most often-used styles in the industry. In a pixel art picture or digital image, a pixel is a square or basic shape that makes up a tiny section of a character, object, or location. Thousands or hundreds of these pixels are typically combined to produce a single object. Although most people link pixel art animation with early video games and arcades, it is vital to highlight that it is still extremely popular.

This is a second important art style, but “art diversity” could be a better phrase. Vector art, like pixel graphics, is created digitally using special-purpose tools. It does not, however, divide images into pixels, instead relying on mathematical methods and storing data as polygons, dots, lines, and color data. Those that know how to generate vector art laud it for its smaller image file size in comparison to pixel-based images, as well as the greater quality when enlarging or zooming out on images. Vector art can be classified into various styles, with the common feature of being of high resolution and detail.

Although there is no commonly acknowledged definition of monochromatic game art, artwork and designs are dubbed monochromatic when they use a very limited color palette, usually just one or two colors. Moreover, a variety of hues and tints of this color(s) are also employed to differentiate between objects, locations, and portions of a picture. The most prevalent hue for such art is black, with most elements in this color and the rest distinguished by white or gray shades.

Flat art is rather self-explanatory. In games, flat design displays objects, people, and situations with little depth or volume. There is no devotion to realism or physics as is common in cel-shaded applications. Instead, artists that create such art have a tremendous level of artistic flexibility in their work. Unless they borrow from other forms, flat designs and models all have distinct appearances with no shared feature.

Examples of Different 2D Game Art Styles for Hero Academy 2

Tips for Choosing a Game Art Style

Building up a high degree of art excellence is a common issue for indie developers. Although obvious, maintaining the greatest level of art quality necessitates extensive polishing and extra iterations during game development stages when we need to move forward and maintain a consistent flow of provided content. Due to constrained budgets, it may result in a budget constraint and ultimately production halt. It’s important to remember that the art style is still heavily influenced by the gameplay. It is not always required to have a high-resolution graphic aesthetic with immaculate pixel-perfect elements for a game to be engaging and addicting.

Making 2D game art of decent quality art is sometimes more important than aiming for completely unattainable graphics at the Cyberpunk level. So, when do we cease honing the craft? – We believe that the playtests reveal that the players are sufficiently immersed in the game and are pleased with how the art style conveys the major gameplay aspects and aids in navigating through the user-friendly UI and menus.

Because each art style for video games has advantages and disadvantages in terms of gameplay, technology, and visual aesthetics, it is difficult to find a sweet spot for your project. As a general guideline, be realistic about the team’s expertise and available resources and keep in mind that the graphics of the game should represent the main characteristics of the gameplay.

Furthermore, it is critical to understand that the game’s art has a significant impact on immersion and audience likeability. As a result, don’t decide on the graphic style of the title until you’ve studied it and established a foundation for its basic structure. Before choosing aesthetics, the best strategy is to first decide on gameplay. After constructing an early prototype and testing it sufficiently to collect playtest data, you may begin investigating the art style that will allow the game to better exhibit its features.

How to Make Art for 2D Games

Some games draw influence from the journal sketching style or give assets a flat, paper-like look, but hand-drawn designs are rarely employed outside of 2D game concept art or board games. As a result, anyone wishing to create assets for a video or computer game should expect to spend a significant amount of time in front of a desktop.

Normally, you can make 2D art with your computer’s default program (e.g., Paint for Windows), but this will not be enough for professional design. You will require specialized software to complete the tasks at hand. For example, if you only need to build a character model, a background, an interface, or something else (relatively) simple, you may need a tool that is distinct from the one used for bitmaps, sprites, and animated components.

Top 2D Game Art Software

The 6 most popular 2D game art software are:

  • Unity
  • Unreal Engine
  • GIMP
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • SketchBook Pro
  • Inkscape

Several of these tools have a steep learning curve and are best utilized by experienced 2D artists and designers, while it is absolutely possible to become effective in this subject through studying and experience.

Top 2D Game Art Software GIMP Unity Unreal Engine Inkscape

Establishing a Process

Based on our experience, we have identified several main stages of game development that are suitable for any genre and type of game, whether it is 2D or 3D.

Idea. A difficult and important stage at which your game is born. It’s good to have a brainstorm with a team of designers and developers and also involve marketing specialists so that your idea is not only attractive and unique but also meets the needs of the gaming audience.

Plot and narrative development. The fundamental concept is to work on a story including your protagonist and antagonist as well as your universe. Here, we compose the entire story arc, including every twist we think should be included.

Design of the character and the environment. Here we work on developing the characters as per the requirement of the plot and the kind of game we are making like in a 2D games and considering it traveling in one direction.

Game tests and prototyping. They are critical components of game design. Game testing allows you to learn a lot about the many flaws in your game, and we can even record our players’ reactions to which parts affect them in which way. Excited or frustrated? Tell us what twists you were anticipating and how they reacted.

2D Video Game Artist Establishing Process for Bubble Panda

Working with Layers

All high-end graphic arts and animation software tools use layers. Layers can be found in Photoshop, Illustrator, and many other Adobe graphics tools. They are available in Maya, Animate, Poser, and the open-source Blender software. It could be hard-pressed to find a good animation or graphic design program that doesn’t support layering. Here are some benefits of using layers in 2D graphics:

  • Working with layers in animation allows you to composite animation scenes without having to put everything together properly in each frame.
  • Layers allow you additional editing freedom and a technique to protect things from merging on one layer when they need to be separated from another.
  • Layers can be adjusted, allowing you to change the order of things displayed and hence the composition of your scene. Do you like that green tree in the background to be in the spotlight? Quick. Simply reverse the layer order.
  • Single layers can be temporarily turned on and off, allowing operators to concentrate on one aspect of a project at a time without being distracted by the various layers.
  • We can use layers to apply effects to individual elements of a single graphic. Want to animate simply a few skeleton bones without influencing the others? Make a layer of it.
  • Transparency can be applied to a single element in a file by placing it on a layer and applying the effect to only that layer. You’ll be able to glimpse into the layers beneath.
  • Experiment with special effects by using a brush tool to test the impact of an effect on the layers above it without modifying them.
Working With Layers in Photoshop Illustrator for Total Summer Bliss

Tips for Making 2D Art for Games

First of all and foremost, we must emphasize that the process of creating 2D game art is multistaged and multilayered. It entails a great deal of planning, scheming, debating, and theorizing. Just don’t get the impression that 2D game art is the sun around which everything orbits. No, it all begins with fundamental game design questions and outlining key points of the upcoming product.

You must decide on the game’s style before turning to your digital drawing board and assigning early concept jobs. Will it be lighthearted and cartoonish, or realistic and down-to-earth? Will the graphics be pixel art, flat art, or monochromatic? You can also include some amazing visual elements to make the game art look like it’s from a comic book or anime.

When answering the questions above, keep three crucial aspects in mind:

  • The view of the audience; 
  • The lore of the game; 
  • The project’s genre;

Each art style ( in 2D games has a unique audience with specific expectations and requirements.

Tips for Making Best 2D Game Art for The Dangerous Life of Fred

Finalizing the Artwork

At the final stage of assembling the game, you may have an unexpected confrontation: concept art vs final product. Why is this happening, you ask? Now we will try to explain so that, in the future, you will avoid such misunderstandings.

The first stages of creating 2D game art or a finished game are just as important as the final stages when all the tests are done and the feedback from the beta players is received. It is important that 2D artists and concept artists are on the same wavelength, focusing on the concepts created at the very beginning, and moving toward the finish line. This will help you avoid obvious differences in the vision of the project as well as the end result, which may not meet your expectations.

Game 2D Artist Finalizing Artwork

Adding Effects

The color palette, blurs, flashes, and shadings all affect the visual content of your game. To make it visually appealing and exciting for players, you should look into the CGI and VFX differences.

Most open-source software allows you to create a variety of eye-catching effects. Not only are visuals used, but the audio is also used to create a complete immersion in the gameplay. This is an important step in the game, but it’s worth moving into one of the final phases when most of the product is done and your 2D artists can take the time to refine the game art.

Adding Effects to Create 2D Game Art

Conclusion

As you see, creating 2D art for games can be a rewarding and creative experience. With the right tools and techniques, you can create stunning artwork that will bring your game to life. A deep understanding of modern art styles and video game design creates the groundwork for a future project.

Today, 2D artists create in-game visuals and assets as well as promotional pieces; thus, their importance cannot be overstated. We recognize that creating your own game development department can be difficult and expensive, especially if you need a large staff for a project. However, due to the complexity of the development process, good results can only be obtained with a reputable partner who specializes in 2D game art. That can be 2d game art outsourcing studio!