Deke’s Technique 221: Creating a Distinctive 2D Video Game Character in Illustrator

221 Drawing a distinctive 2D video game character

In last week’s episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke shared the prosaic, but presumably helpful, process of extending your Illustrator artwork all the way to the bleed. In the course of that video, however, he inadvertently introduced the world to his distractingly compelling character, the Necrowalrus, who happened to be the subject of the artwork in question.

Just how attention-grabbing was the tangential introduction of Deke’s elusive non-existent video game character? Well, I think this tweet says is all:

“Throw your friend, to get the gem.” Oh yeah, back to Deke. During this video, you’ll get a sense of how an illustrator with an absurd vision works with the pen tool, manipulates anchor points, applies Pathfinder operations, and clips shapes inside one another to make his walrus-fantasy a reality.

If you’d like to follow along here are the sample files. Unzip the archive and you’ll want to open Document with Template.ai if you’re following along with this process. The walrus people will want Final 2D Character.ai. Or just sit back with your video game-playing, cartoon-drawing, walrus-loving friends and see how Deke goes about it.

If you hate our stuff, shut up and do better!

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 223: Creating a Protective Aura around Your 2D Character

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Comments

  • The characters we design in 2D games usually have a little bit of 3D in them too: the arms, legs and so on. When it comes to rendering these characters, which tools do we use? We use Illustrator to do character art. What is Illustrator? It is an application for creating vector artwork that looks like it’s been drawn on paper (and maybe even some Adobe Photoshop). You can create vector artwork in it as well as images that you can then save as raster images and then export as such by using a menu called “Export”. On top of that there are many other interesting features and functions like adding special effects (for example shadows or reflections), gradient effects or gradients like color gradients etc.,… Which file formats do we use? We use SVG files (.svg). They are used by both Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft’s newer Windows Live Mesh-based programs. Which tools do we use? In reality, all the available vector drawing programs (Ava included) have some kind of vector tool built into them. They all have their own strengths but often you will find yourself using either one or the other depending on what works best for your specific needs; for instance when working with symbols (elements) we generally prefer Illustrator since it has better symbol editor functionality than Illustrator itself but is cheaper to use than Adobe’s own symbol builder tools; when working with lines (lines/paths) we usually favour Inkscape but occasionally there are times when importing symbols from another tool is also useful; and when working with shapes (rectangles or circles) we generally prefer QuarkXPress since it allows us to create freehand shapes quickly which saves time and effort when creating textured objects such as terrain maps etc.; however, if you work with a lot of complex geometry shapes such as landscapes or other complex objects you may find that QuarkXPress isn’t suited for your needs so if you want a mélange of both, Ava may be worth checking out.
  • The characters we design in 2D games usually have a little bit of 3D in them too: the arms, legs and so on. When it comes to rendering these characters, which tools do we use? We use Illustrator to do character art. SSD hard drive What is Illustrator? It is an application for creating vector artwork that looks like it’s been drawn on paper (and maybe even some Adobe Photoshop). You can create vector artwork in it as well as images that you can then save as raster images and then export as such by using a menu called “Export”. On top of that there are many other interesting features and functions like adding special effects (for example shadows or reflections), gradient effects or gradients like color gradients etc.,… Which file formats do we use? We use SVG files (.svg). They are used by both Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft’s newer Windows Live Mesh-based programs. Which tools do we use? In reality, all the available vector drawing programs (Ava included) have some kind of vector tool built into them. They all have their own strengths but often you will find yourself using either one or the other depending on what works best for your specific needs; for instance when working with symbols (elements) we generally prefer Illustrator since it has better symbol editor functionality than Illustrator itself but is cheaper to use than Adobe’s own symbol builder tools; when working with lines (lines/paths) we usually favour Inkscape but occasionally there are times when importing symbols from another tool is also useful; and when working with shapes (rectangles or circles) we generally prefer QuarkXPress since it allows us to create freehand shapes quickly which saves time and effort when creating textured objects such as terrain maps etc.; however, if you work with a lot of complex geometry shapes such as landscapes or other complex objects you may find that QuarkXPress isn’t suited for your needs so if you want a mélange of both, Ava may be worth checking out.
  • Illustrator has a plethora of tools that are useful when working with vector shapes, but it lacks one built-in tool specifically for creating 2D video game characters. The tutorial shows how you can use the “Create Object” tool to create some simple 2D shapes and then modify them with the gradient tools in various ways. The end result is an extremely cute character that you can easily incorporate into your next project. Another example is shown in the tutorial below: Illustrator for 2D Video Game Character Tutorial Again, we need to take a second look at these two illustrations and see that they are definitely not just parodies of one another (though there might be some similarities). They illustrate different techniques to create a 2D character, making it much easier to implement into your projects.
  • Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts