The Art Style and Graphics Discussion

Tyaren

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As some tend to react a little annoyed, whenever a discussion about art style and graphics takes off in one of the DOA- or the general threads, how about we shamelessly talk about game visuals in here? :) Let me kick this thread off:

This week The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a mystery adventure game, was released as a download only version for the PS4. It's already out for one year on the PC, but for the PS4 release the developers polished the graphics even more and ported the game from the Unreal 3 engine to the Unreal 4 engine. The game looks absolutely stunning! Apart from The Order 1886, this is the most beautiful console game. And considering, that The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is practically an open world game and not a corridor shooter with very limited space to explore, like The Order 1886 is, it imho takes the visual crown.
Playing the game, I was literally forced, to take a new screenshot at every turn. These are some of them:









Some more screens inside the spoiler:









It looks even crisper and more vivid in-game of course, as the PS4 screenshot function unfortunately compresses the image quality greatly.

I'm still at a loss for words, how the developers managed, to implement graphical features, that are mostly absent on other console games so far in this generation. The draw distance is huge, there are absolutely no pop ups in the distance, ground textures stay perfectly sharp in the distance through some of the best anisotropic filtering and the grass and foliage is thick and lush as far as the eye can see. It really is a little wonder. O:
 
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Argentus

Well-Known Member
Main Character
Mila
As some tend to react a little annoyed, whenever a discussion about art style and graphics takes off in one of the DOA- or the general threads, how about we shamelessly talk about game visuals in here? :) Let me kick this thread off:

This week The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a mystery adventure game, was released as a download only version for the PS4. It's already out for one year on the PC, but for the PS4 release the developers polished the graphics even more and ported the game from the Unreal 3 engine to the Unreal 4 engine. The game looks absolutely stunning! Apart from The Order 1886, this is the most beautiful console game. And considering, that The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is practically an open world game and not a corridor shooter with very limited space to explore, like The Order 1886 is, it imho takes the visual crown.
Playing the game, I was literally forced, to take a new screenshot at every turn. These are some of them:









Some more screens inside the spoiler:









It looks even crisper and more vivid in-game of course, as the PS4 screenshot function unfortunately compresses the image quality greatly.

I'm still at a loss for words, how the developers managed, to implement graphical features, that are mostly absent on other console games so far in this generation. The draw distance is huge, there are absolutely no pop ups in the distance, ground textures stay perfectly sharp in the distance through some of the best anisotrophic filtering and the grass and foliage is thick and lush as far as the eye can see. It really is a little wonder. O:
Not to say its ugly or anything, but I'm not seeing anything special about it, to be honest. looks about the same as like, Oblivion and Skyrim, or any other open world game.


Personally, I love the more dynamic visuals. DOA4, Asura's Wrath, the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm games,

To me, art style isn't just poly count and texture resolution, its also animations, fluidity, camera angles, special effects, presentation, ie, the sum of all parts. Like I was never into Naruto, but I bought a PS3 almost solely for the first UNS game just because it was SO GORGEOUS

My dream is to be able to make visuals like Cyberconnect 2 does.

Here, I want you to watch each of these videos.

First, the original UNS on PS3


First off, notice how the environments are done. The actual modeling is very simple, but (Like how World of Warcraft), the detail comes from hand painted quality texturing. The used the actual artists from the show to paint the backgrounds (you should see the world in story mode, omg so pretty).
Secondly, notice how fluid the animations are. Especially Neji's 64 palm dance, Rock lee's blurred movements, how the water tornado is animated during the shark guys move, and how fluidly and snake like orochimaru moves around.
Third, the minor and special effects. Layers upon layers upon layers of special effects creating absolute art for even the simplest of animations. Like I only just noticed how they actually drew and animated multiple extra blur lines to emphasize the spinning of Choji's boulder attack.

I go back and study how they do their visuals all the time.

Here is the most recent entry in the UNS series, released last year. They shortened the supers for gameplay reasons, but they are even more beautiful
I want you to watch this as well.

Watch and notice how its not any one thing. Pause any time in those videos, and you'll see beautifully hand painted landscapes, subtle but noticeable particle and hit effects, amazing lighting, dynamic cinematography, dynamic pacing, depth of field, etc, etc.

And it's not just the utlimates either. The boss battles in the story mode? Even more beautiful.

These are easily some of, if not the most beautiful scenes in gaming history, imo.


That's what I want to be able to eventually do as a digital artist.

These are the same guys who did Asura's Wrath and the new Jojo game


On environments alone, I think the problem with wide open games is, the more they try to make it look realistic, the faker it looks. Like you can spot the gaps that shouldn't be there in the models, etc. That's why I prefer a softer, "less is more" look like with Sonic Unleashed



That, or for something more realistic, but I think also gorgeous, was capcom's Remember Me








In this case, the actual environment is more realistic, but what makes it dynamic, and "pop" is the way the architecture bends, and weaves, and the camera angles you see it at.

Of course Mirror's Edge is like a blend of the two, and is another art style that I absolutely love.




Sorry for all the media in one post, but I'm trying to illustrate my point from different perspectives. I love the more "dynamic" art styles like DOA used to have (Part of why I did not like vanilla 5 at ALL)
 

Tyaren

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Not to say its ugly or anything, but I'm not seeing anything special about it, to be honest. looks about the same as like, Oblivion and Skyrim, or any other open world game.
I think, you forgot, what Oblivion actually looked like. Which one is the technically and artistically by far prettier one? This one...



Or this one?


(Edit: I hate, when this happens! Why is it so small all of a sudden?)

Oblivion was actually infamous for being created by the graphics engine randomly. So apart from the technical shortcomings, there was also not really much artistic merit to be found. That's why the landscape got pretty uninteresting and boring after a while.

Skyrim, on the other hand, was and still is a looker! Like the world of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter almost everything was placed and tweaked by the designers by hand. Gorgeous still to this day:





It's also more stylised, if you look at the surreal mountain peaks, the mist and the somber color scheme.

I do understand and to some point agree, that games with even more stylized graphics (the ones you mentioned) do look stunning and can look even better. (That comes down to personal taste though...) Wind Waker is one of the best examples for that. This game will look amazing probably for all eternity:





The new HD remake ruined this however, with all that bloom lighting and the softer shadows...

What really wowed me with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter though, was the absolute photorealistic approach.
 
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Kodachi

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Waterloo, Ontario
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La Mariposa
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x Kodachi x
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xKodachi
I'm not easily impressed by realism but Black Deserts environments look spectacular for an MMO
My all time favourite art director is George Kamitani. he works for vanillaware on 2D Sprite based games like Code of Princess, Odin Sphere, Muramasa and Dragons Crown. His style is beautiful and painterly.



Fillia from Skullgirls

Starbucks XD
 
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SoftCabbage

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SE Asia
Main Character
Christie
I adore DW-SW art style and I love it when I knew it influenced DOA.

It makes them more alive, while still keeping the Japanese style accent. What a cool hybrid style.
 

Tyaren

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By the way guys, as the new fighter Necali was announced for Street Fighter V with lots of new screens and a video...what do you think about the games graphics and art style? Some new and old pics and the trailer:










Some more older screens inside the spoiler:











I'm a little torn... I generally like the redesign, also the redesign of the characters...but I really dislike that Play-Doh look and it's smudged textures. I think, the New Zealand stage looks kinda bad for this generation D: :

 

Argentus

Well-Known Member
Main Character
Mila
By the way guys, as the new fighter Necali was announced for Street Fighter V with lots of new screens and a video...what do you think about the games graphics and art style? Some new and old pics and the trailer:










Some more older screens inside the spoiler:











I'm a little torn... I generally like the redesign, also the redesign of the characters...but I really dislike that Play-Doh look and it's smudged textures. I think, the New Zealand stage looks kinda bad for this generation D: :

Looks like how just with Juri, they're taking inspiration from a Jojo character with the new character.


On the art style, SO much better than the "looney toons" visuals and proportions of SFIV. They look like actual sculptures. Though I do still think SF should have stayed as 2d sprites. One thing I don't like though, that carried over from SIV, is that all the "new characters" feel more like KOF than SF. Too "out there".

But I'm largely indifferent on Street Fighter, so I can't say too much.

By the way, did you actually watch those videos I posted before?
 

Tyaren

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On the art style, SO much better than the "looney toons" visuals and proportions of SFIV. They look like actual sculptures. Though I do still think SF should have stayed as 2d sprites.
I agree, Street Fighter IV was imho an extremely ugly game. D: Very unappealing character design (they all looked like cavemen and cavewomen) and the technical limitations of the graphics engine (blurry textures, low polygon models, aliasing...) did the rest. Never bought it for that reason. But I'm no huge SF fan to begin with. ;)

By the way, did you actually watch those videos I posted before?
I did. But I already knew these. ;) They look just like the anime and the animations and dynamics are really great. Though I think, the characters are still in need of a few more polygons (angular shapes are still easily visible, which throws me off) and the art style of Naruto is a tad too bland and not detailed enough for my tastes...

I think, Guilty Gear Xrd does even a better job than Naruto Ninja Storm in the from anime to 3D regard:










How amazing this would have looked, if it wasn't a cross gen title and held back by PS3... ;__;

Meh, the enviroments and stuff look amazingly breath taking but the models rediculous proprtions...
Which environments look amazing to you?
 
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SilverForte

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Louisville, Kentucky
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OMEGA
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Silver Forte58
Art design is far more important to me than the detail of the graphics themselves, I mean the metroid series is a prime example of this. Compared to more modern titles they still manage to impress, the sanctuary fortress is a favorite of mine, I remember just how amazed I was when I first got to that part of the game.






 
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SoftCabbage

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SE Asia
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Christie
SF always meh to me since 90s. SF 3d version came? Not even a slight it hooked my mind.

Before I knew DW and DOA, style, I really liked KOF and Metal Slug artwork style by Shinkiro. Sad when I knew he helped Capcom for SF after seeing so much of his works for Neo-Geo.


 
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Argentus

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Mila
I agree, Street Fighter IV was imho an extremely ugly game. D: Very unappealing character design (they all looked like cavemen and cavewomen) and the technical limitations of the graphics engine (blurry textures, low polygon models, aliasing...) did the rest. Never bought it for that reason. But I'm no huge SF fan to begin with. ;)



I did. But I already knew these. ;) They look just like the anime and the animations and dynamics are really great. Though I think, the characters are still in need of a few more polygons (angular shapes are still easily visible, which throws me off) and the art style of Naruto is a tad too bland and not detailed enough for my tastes...

I think, Guilty Gear Xrd does even a better job than Naruto Ninja Storm in the from anime to 3D regard:










How amazing this would have looked, if it wasn't a cross gen title and held back by PS3... ;__;



Which environments look amazing to you?
Graphically yes, but the animations aren't as good as the naruto games. And keeping in mind that's about a decades difference between the first UNS game and this GG game lol.

SF always meh to me since 90s. SF 3d version came? Not even a slight it hooked my mind.

Before I knew DW and DOA, style, I really liked KOF and Metal Slug artwork style by Shinkiro. Sad when I knew he helped Capcom for SF after seeing so much of his works for Neo-Geo.


Actually not a fan. Art's too...bland, I guess? I DESPISE Greg Land's art for a similar reason (all of greg land's art looks like he traced the same woman's face for every character.)

I do however, LOVE the new Metal Slug art that came with Metal Slug Defense.

For comparison's sake, here's that guys art of Eri

And Eri's new portrait art from MSD



More comparisons
Marco

Tarma

Fio

Nadia and Trevor

Tyra

Nathalie

Red Eye

Leona

Ralf

Clark


It's fun to see how the Metal Slug characters translate into the new Metal Slug Defense art style :)
 

Tyaren

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The new Metal Slug character designs were done by the same guy, that did art for KOF XII and XIII, right?



I really like that style. :)

And I agree, that Shinkiro's art style was a bit...weird. But now with the cel shading instead of the soft shading and the crisp outlines it's actually really great and unique.
 

Tyaren

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Streetfighter V's beta launched on PS4 and we can compare graphical fidelity and image quality as it is right now, with the targeted/promoted/promised graphics.

Direct feed beta footage:



Older promotional screen:

 

Argentus

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Main Character
Mila
Streetfighter V's beta launched on PS4 and we can compare graphical fidelity and image quality as it is right now, with the targeted/promoted/promised graphics.

Direct feed beta footage:



Older promotional screen:

I dunno. I love the new "clay sculpture" look, but I still can't stand seeing 3d models move like 2d sprites. Its like the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.
 
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SoftCabbage

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SE Asia
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Christie
I dunno. I love the new "clay sculpture" look, but I still can't stand seeing 3d models move like 2d sprites. Its like the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.
That is what some people like. Stiff and basically 2D-fighting game in 3D graphic.

Like my friend who likes SF, MK, Tekken, he says DOA's fighting animation has no impact like those he likes.
 
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