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Hello, everyone! Blitzwolfer here!

Do you want to improve your skills as a Blox Cards artist? This page is for our fellow contributors who understand the basics, but want to become like the best and put out amazing arts!

Most of this page is basically a crash course of fundamentals of art and how you can implement it into your own art. For each section, I'll try to be as brief and concise as possible for the people who need a quick read of one section! Pictures included!

(Also, small disclaimer: this is supposed to be a guide, not a rulebook that all artists must follow or else they die - don't make it the latter.)

Results may vary.

Part I: Criticism!

This is the most important one out of all of the sections; it's the reason why I put this section as the first.

When making card arts, one of the main parts of being a card artist is listening to criticism. Criticism will hurt, but it's important to realize that no art will ever be perfect, and you shouldn't aim for that standard. Even though criticism isn't binding, it's important to acknowledge it.

Sometimes, you'll come across some criticism that may be vague or discouraging. Remember to not take criticism at a personal level. Instead, dig down deeper into their critique, and if necessary ask these three questions to him/her:

1. What part about the art is bad?

This question asks the person to be more specific about what's wrong.

2. Why is that part bad?

This question gives you the root of the problem; it will give you move information to note in the future.

3. How can I improve it?

This question provides the changes/alternatives you could implement into your art instead.

By asking these three questions, you'll get specific information about what needs to be changed and get you on the right direction to a good art. An easy way to get constructive criticism!

Here's a quick comic for reference!

CritiqueComic.png

Final note when it comes to getting critique. If the person isn't giving you criticism with the intent to help you, but with the intent to bash you and your work, that's destructive criticism. The best way to deal with that is to not escalate the situation - instead wrap up the conversation with them; never stoop down to their level.

Part II: Planning!

Planning is the first step when making a card art. Unfortunately, it's something most artists overlook when making their first art. Before you open up Roblox Studio:

  • Recognize what you're making an art of.
  • Have a general idea of what the art will look.
  • Understand your strengths and limitations.

First, before you make the art, you need to have an understanding of what your concept actually is. Is it a famous Roblox developer? Look up what he develops. Is it a commission of a random person? Find out what he/she likes, or would like to be. Is it an original creation? Talk to others about your idea first, and post what your character would look like! Planning for a card art will be different every time and your judgement will go on a case-by-case basis.

Second, you need to have a general idea of what the art will look. Where's your character? What props would it have, and would that make sense? Try making a quick one-minute sketch; it helps a lot with the planning! For example, these images below are sketches for Frenzied Bomber's pose for its re-art in the new border.

Sketch #1

Sketch #2

Sketch #3

Final Image


Third, you have to understand what can be done and what can't be done. Think about the limitations of Roblox Studio, the time constraint, and your technical skill of making the art as well. For example, organic shapes and unique curves are hard to implement in Roblox Studio. This is why most artists encourage the use of Roblox Studio's toolbox first in order to if there's any good models you could use (such as trees, buildings, or props). If you don't feel confident, you should plan out more ideas and decide which one would be the best against your limitations.

Here's a final tip to all artists out there! Post your progress! During your planning phase, other people can help you find mistakes early; it'll be much easier to fix if you tackle it now than later. This phase is the best way to make and adjust ideas out for your art.

Part III: Posing!

Fighter cards are one of the most common for artists to create arts for. The sub-sections below goes into depth on how to create a good pose for your character.

R6 vs R15: When to Use Them?

R6vsR15.png

It's important to know the strengths and weaknesses between R6 and R15. I've seen many artists encounter problems due to what rig they were using. If you want to know which rig to use, here's a list of R6's and R15's strengths below!

R6 is useful when:

  • The pose is very simple and clean.
  • You aren't familiar with modeling.
  • You're going for a cartoony, or retro-Roblox look.

R15 is useful when:

  • You're using complex poses, with bends and twists. (Sketches help when deciding this!)
  • You're familiar with modeling/posing before, and you want more options.
  • A pose isn't possible with R6 (ex: lunging in Emilvita's art).

Line of Action: Fixing Stiff Posing

For most card artists, they may come across the problem that their posing looks "stiff". What does that mean?

In a broad term, it means that your pose looks awkward, and there could be a lot of different reasons for it looking awkward. The pose for your character might not be possible, or might be extremely uncomfortable to hold in real life. There may be a lack of weight, motion, or direction in your pose. Or it might be because your pose lacks appeal.

Let's talk about line of action, a term used a lot in the profession of art (especially in animation).

Put it simply, it's an imaginary line that would run down the character's body, which would establish the direction or motion of the character's pose. The more exaggerated this line is, the more force or kinetic energy it conveys to the viewer. The line of action, despite being used mainly for gesture drawing or sketches, is invaluable when sketching or modeling out your character.

Here's a great explanation of it below from the creators of "Tom and Jerry".

LineOfAction.jpg

The line of action also helps in making appealing poses. Appeal is defined as how interesting or eye-catching the character is based on its design or its pose. Exaggeration that complements or intensifies the line of action also gives the pose appeal.

Here's a diagram of how knowing the line of action can impact appeal.


In conclusion, when modeling the pose for your character, make sure to be aware of that line of action! If your posing is said to be stiff:

  • Find the line of action, or the flow of the pose. Does it need tweaking?
  • Try exaggerating the line of action to give it more force and more motion! Make sure to rotate the torso and legs!
  • Add some asymmetry! Not everything has to be symmetrical! Twist the limbs, or change the camera angle to complement the pose!

Below are some examples of good posing in card art. Can you find the line of action?


Clarity: Using Silhouettes

Did you know that some animators, game artists, and graphic designers make their design out from the silhouette first? They have to keep the silhouette in mind because it helps with the clarity of your character.

You can tell a lot from a character just by the silhouette alone. A good example of this is the design of Overwatch's Heroes by the use of their silhouettes.

OverwatchSilhouettes.jpg

From the silhouettes alone, you can easily tell the amount of armor they have, what weapons their using, and even what their role might be, even if you don't know who they are. Overwatch has many examples of good character design because they acknowledge silhouettes.

How do silhouettes help with clarity? Silhouettes help identify if the viewer can see what your character is doing. For experienced artists, they can also express the emotion of the character too, even through a silhouette.

For a quick example, here's a picture explaining the importance of silhouettes from the makers of "Spongebob Squarepants".

Silhouette Spongebob.jpg

Now, how does this apply this to card art?

Most card artists sometimes find their art to be unclear to the viewer. One of the reasons this might be is that they're not keeping the character's silhouette in mind.

If people aren't sure about what your character is doing, try changing the pose's silhouette! This can be an easy fix sometimes, either by changing the angle of the camera or by rotating the character's arms or legs.

Below are examples of good silhouettes in card art. Imagine just the silhouette alone; can you still recognize what the character is doing?


Part IV: Environment!

Resonance: Using Backgrounds and Backdrops

Mrbeanbean2 Luna.png
Prestwick-1.png

Ever since the implementation of the new card template, the card artists now have more freedom and options on what the background can look like. The background is as important as the character and the pose of the card art.

Before we start, let's establish the difference between a background and a backdrop. Backgrounds are usually rendered along with the character (such as in Roblox Studio or Blender), meanwhile a backdrop is a separate image from the backdrop itself. Mrbeanbean2's art has a background; Prestwick's art has a backdrop.

Unlike backgrounds, backdrops do not have flexibility in terms of moving the camera, changing the perspective, or editing the composition behind the character. Backgrounds have more room to tell much more, but backdrops can work just as fine. As an artist, it's your own preference to choose between a backdrop and rendering a background, depending on what program you're using to create your art.

Why is having a good background or backdrop important? Because they set the context and mood of the scene. They can tell a story.

To demonstrate, let's look at this picture below - what can you infer from this picture?

SamuraiJackBackground.png

You see that a rugged man is trying to save a woman from a mysterious warrior with his sword. The setting takes place in a graveyard at night; it's assumed that the giant warrior the man is fighting is a ghost or a spirit, with the green mysterious glow emphasizing that idea. The fact that the man is able to fight back suggests he's also a skilled warrior.

This picture came just from a screencap of an episode of Samurai Jack, and yet we've managed to analyze how beautiful the scene is from one frame alone. That's what your backgrounds should be - to carry the story and actions of your character.

How do you decide on a background or backdrop? Look at your character you're making an art out of. What does your character look like? Is he a Roblox player, or a character outside of Roblox? Where would you see this character, and what props might he have?

To understand how to decide on a background, let's use a simple character as our example.

Magicianexample.png

Let's say our character is a magician, and we have to make a card art out of him. What should his background be? Well, you would first want to brainstorm potential settings - the setting that you'd might see a magician, or associated with magicians.

For example, you'd might see a magician in:

  • Theater
  • Birthday Party
  • Live Television Show
  • The Tearing Fabrics of Reality

We got some potential backgrounds here. However, we want to pick the background that gives off the most resonance. In other words, if you ask where a character (in this case, a magician) might be, what would be their first guess?

The setting for a magician that probably most resonates with people would be a theater. Let's try that!

Magicianexample2.png

Now that's a good background for a magician! With this background, you see that this magician is on a stage, a strong character-setting connection with the viewer. The stage gives context that this magician is putting on a show for an audience, and ready to show them a magic trick! As an added bonus, the spotlight gives a sense of importance and grandeur.

Don't look for backgrounds or backdrops that just "look cool". Find backgrounds and backdrops that fit your character, and then make look cool!

When you're making a background or backdrop for a character:

  • Find out what your character is, and what they do. Where would you find this character?
  • Brainstorm ideas on the setting!
  • Decide which setting resonates the most with other people.
  • Use props, lighting, and camera angles to your advantage!

Here are some examples of good backgrounds and backdrops. What theme or emotion do these backgrounds and backdrops invoke? What do they tell about the character or their story?

"Less is More": Fixing Visual Clutter with Props

"Less is more" is a popular saying that broadly explains the rules of design. The phrase basically means if you want to convey an idea as strongly as possible, then you want your design to be as little, or as simple as possible. How does this apply to art?

First, we need to talk about the definition of visual clutter. Visual clutter refers to the amount of information (in this case, objects or props) in an image, location, or setting. The more things you have, the more time it takes for the viewer to understand. Good design makes the idea clear and concise as possible.

Here's an example of visual clutter in an art. (Not necessarily a bad art, just one that can be improved massively.)

Toy Maker.png

This is an unused art of a theoretical card for the Toy archetype. What's the issue with this art?

The biggest problem with the art is how everything just hits you all at once. All of these objects in the art are demanding for your attention all at once. There are many lessons to teach when deconstructing this art, but the main question is this: Do we need all of these props to understand that it's a toy maker? In most cases, no.

Contrast this with Baker's art, a Christmas alt-art of Chef.

Baker TG17.png

For this concept, it's easy to get carried away by adding a lot of props that are remotely related with baking: bowls, spoons, flour, eggs. In addition, we could've added a lot of Christmas-related props too: wreaths, Christmas trees, and presents. However, would adding all these props improve the art? Some beginning artists fall into this trap.

What differs this art from Toy Maker's? Unlike Toy Maker's, where you a lot of props, Baker's has only three props: an oven, Christmas lights, and a tray filled with gingerbread cookies. Yet, those props still strongly convey that this person is a Christmas baker.

To solve visual clutter, cut down as much props and objects as you possibly can, and leave the two or three "strong" props, or props that are in the main focus. Ask yourself what props strongly resonates the viewer with your concept or idea. Design your art to have settings or props with strong resonance.

Once you understand how to condense focus, you can later learn how to bend this rule a bit and create more "busy" environments for your character. Godlysinha's art is one example which has a "busy" environment. You'll later learn this with visual hierarchy in the next sections.

Godlysinha Luna.png

Here are some other good examples. How do they use the resonance and the context of their props to their advantage?


Part V: Color!

Alright, there's two parts to this.

One is the fundamentals of color theory. If you already know what color theory, then skip to the end of the section to understand how to implement it in your work.

Color Theory: In a Nutshell

ColorWheel.jpg

Here is the color wheel, which labels all the general hues into different sections.

  • Primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) are the pigments that cannot be formed by the combination of any other colors.
  • Secondary colors are pigments that are the combination of two primary colors.
  • Tertiary colors are pigments that are the combination of a primary color and a secondary color.

With these colors, you can create color harmony! Here are the six examples of color harmony.

  • Monochromatic: The use of only one color, including the tints, tones, and shades of said color.
    • Tint: The color but lighter (added white).
    • Tone: The color but grayer (added gray).
    • Shade: The color but darker (added black).
  • Analogous: The use of three colors, which are next to each other on the color wheel. (ex: yellow-orange, orange, red-orange)
  • Complementary: The use of two colors, both directly across from each other on the color wheel. (ex: yellow and violet)
  • Split Complementary: The use of three colors. Like complementary, but you use two other colors across from the wheel. (ex: yellow, blue-violet, and red-violet)
  • Double Complementary: Having two complementary harmony pairs. (ex: red and green, blue and orange)
  • Triad: A color from each third of the wheel. (ex: red, yellow, blue)

Colors can resonate a theme to the viewer. Here's a quick list of what color represents what.

ColorRepresentation.png

ColorTheoryImage.jpg

Color: How to Implement

Unless you're creating an entirely new card, you usually don't have the freedom of designing the character first before the color scheme. Instead, you have to overcome the obstacle of working within the themes of your color. For example, a gun might look great for your art, but what if it's a green card? Myrmiredon would definitely go on a mini-rant again.

Design your art around the themes of the card's color.

In addition, when choosing your color scheme, it's recommended to limit the amount of hues (or different colors) in your art. This creates a consistent color scheme in your art.

What makes a good color scheme? Refer to the color harmony examples above, then look at the image below.

Tl rdcolorscheme.png

What makes this art have a good color scheme? It follows a type of color harmony - analogous! This art uses various tints and shades of green, and also mixes shades of teal into the art.

Take notice that the art's lightest values and darkest still have a bit of green hue. If you're going for a colorful art, it's important to not use pure whites or blacks in your color scheme - especially when editing the properties for lighting!

Also take notice that the colors aren't pure or saturated colors, but rather tints, tones, or shades of the original color. It's important to not have the colors in your color scheme have too much saturation, or too intense in color.

Take two of these variations of a card, made by the same artist. In terms of color, which one feels better to look at?

Most people would choose the right one as the better option. The option on the left has highly saturated colors of red, blue, and yellow all over its art, overwhelming the viewer with all of these saturated colors. On the other hand, the option on the right specifically uses one highly saturated and bright color (the beam of light) and uses it sparingly; it also has a good color palette using less-saturated, warm colors.

Unless you're going for a pure achromatic (black-and-white) art, remember about these things when making a color scheme:

  • Go for color harmony! Complementary and analogous are the simplest.
  • Don't work with pure blacks and whites - add some color into your darkest and lightest values!
  • Make sure to not have too much saturation in your colors. Highly saturated colors should only be used to grab your attention to a focal point.

If you want to implement color into your art:

  • Experiment with colors by editing Ambient or OutdoorAmbient (under Properties in Lighting) or changing the background's or props' colors.
  • Experiment with color harmony by editing ColorShift_Top and ColorShift_Bottom (also under properties in Lighting) to edit your "light" and "shadow".
  • If necessary, use artifical light (PointLight, SpotLight, SurfaceLight) to brighten certain areas of your art.
  • Invest time towards editing the sky and background.
  • As always, get outside feedback too!

Here are some great examples of good color palette in card arts! What types of color harmony is the artist going for?

Lighting: Using Value and Saturation

In order to talk about lighting, we must first talk about value and saturation, and the difference between them.

Value is how light or dark a color is. This is your tints, tones, and shades, as explained in the color theory section. Saturation is how intense a color is.

ValueAndSaturation.jpg

Now, how does this help with lighting?

Lighting isn't just about light and shadow - it's the contrast of these values together that make compelling pieces.

In other words, it really isn't about the spectacular lighting you can make in Roblox studio. Good arts don't have good "lighting". Good arts have good contrast.

This could be as simple as Titan of the Holy Chamber's art, with simple light and dark values...

Titan of the Holy Chamber Luna.png

Or it could be as colorful as Visleaf's easter alt art!


On the right is Visleaf's easter alt art but with achromatic (black-and-white) colors. Seeing arts in achromatic helps you see the contrast in value. Notice the variety of these values!

In a card art, it's important to get a good contrast of value. If you have too much dark values, your art will be hard to see and it won't stand out! If you use too much light/saturated values, the art will look like an eyesore. And if you use too much of a similar gray value, your art will look bland!

If you have issues with lighting:

  • Did people complain about your art being too dark? Lighten the art up by either adjusting the ambient (under Properties in Lighting) or adding artificial light (such as PointLight, SpotLight, and SurfaceLight).
  • Did people complain about your art being too bright? Decrease the saturation in your colors, add some darker values in the background, or increase the contrast in your shadows!
  • Did people complain about your art "looking" too bland? Add more variety in value, and use light and dark to your advantage!

Knowing this principle, you can create amazing and eye-catching arts if they have good contrast in value. Some skilled artists are able to create visual movement (addressed in the next section) through these values alone, since the viewer's eyes look at areas with the highest value or saturation first.

See these arts below, with and without color! How do each of these artists use contrast to their advantage?

Part VI: Composition!

Composition is probably the most important in a person's artwork. Composition refers to how the shot is put together; it not only gives it structure, but it can also influence the artwork's harmony. The subsections below range from the basics to the advanced fundamentals in composition.

Emphasis: Using the Camera

One of the easiest ways to emphasize certain aspects of your character or ideas is through the camera. The best way to use the camera to your advantage is to first think how you want to convey your character, or what you want your art to "feel" towards the viewer. Do you want your viewer feeling a sense of wonder? Or how about the feeling of impending doom?

Let's take a look at Luckymaxer's art as an example.

Luckymaxer.png

Notice how the camera is at ground level, looking up towards Luckymaxer. Having the camera at a low angle helps the art give a sense of danger from the mechanical spiders, despite the size of them. This angle is commonly used when the artist wants the character to have a sense of power and dominance, or to look like a threat. Other times, it's to simply convey the smallness of the viewer.

How about another example? Here's MesouricPhantom976's art.

Mesophanto976.png

This time, the camera is at a high angle, which places the dominance over to the viewer itself. Unlike the low angle, which makes the character look like a threat, the high angle makes the character look friendly. It's like he's gesturing you over to have a seat with him.

How does emphasis come into play with camera angles? A general rule of thumb is that the closer an object or part is to the camera, the more emphasis it has over the art.


Which one has a more interesting angle?

For most people, they would say the one on the right. The reason is because there is more emphasis on the girl's arm and the chips. In other words, by shifting the camera to a top angle, the girl's arm and the chips take up more space, thus give it more importance over the art. With that emphasis, the one on the right gives a better sense of motion compared to the one on the left.

Now, I'm not advocating that eye-level camera angles are bad (where the camera is pointed and leveled at the character's head). There are several, wonderful arts that use an eye-level camera angle. There are other ways to give emphasis to an object or part; using depth or contrast are good techniques for emphasis. A good example is One4utwo4me's art.

One4utwo4meLuna.png

Here, One4utwo4me's art emphasizes the length of the gun to give a sense of depth in the art.

For experienced artists, they can further tune their art by deliberately moving parts closer to the camera to fit their camera angle. Here's Mafia Grunt's art without the background.

Mafia Grunt Transparent.png

Notice how if you look very closely, Mafia Grunt's left arm isn't even attached to the character, yet most people wouldn't notice that in the game. This was done to emphasis the Mafia Grunt's gun. Pulling that off takes a lot of technical skill and knowledge for camera angles.

Take a look at these two arts here as well!

For these arts, instead of moving the camera, the artists moved the wall, character, and props around to create more dynamic angles. This technique can range to very interesting and dynamic angles such as Arte71's art, or subtle angles such as Blitzwolfer's.

Take it from me; when creating the art for my card (Blitzwolfer), I actually rotated both my avatar and the wall when preparing the angle for my card art. At the time, it was an easy way to give off sharp lighting and a subtle, dynamic angle.

Really, it doesn't matter how you achieve the dynamics of the camera angle; what really matters is what the camera sees. Use the camera to your advantage!

Here are some other examples of interesting camera angles. What emotion does the artist want to convey through their camera angle? What techniques did the artist use to convey its effect? What does the camera emphasize?


Depth: Conveying Three-Dimensionality in Art

Using 3D programs such as Roblox Studio and Blender, creating a sense of depth is very easy. Knowing what creates a sense of depth, however, can help distinguish the foreground (what's nearest towards the camera) and the background (what's farthest toward the camera) effectively.

ForegroundBackground.png

Some people might critique another person's artwork as "looking flat". What does that mean, and how can an artist fix it?

When a person says an art looks flat, they may mean that it lacks some sort of depth. This may be due to a whole variety of issues, such as:

  • Lack of color or contrast in lighting. (Lack of shading and highlights may make objects look flat; see the section about lighting.)
  • Lack of emphasis on an object in your art. (See the section about emphasis with the camera for more information.)
  • Confusion between what is in front and what's behind an object. This is the issue we'll be discussing by talking about "tangents".

What are visual tangents? Tangents are when the two different objects touch the edges of each other. When those two objects are in different distances away from each other, it creates this confusion with the depth of the art and whether those objects are separate. This term is mainly used for fixing composition in illustrations.

Example by Mitch Leeuwe, an art teacher in the Netherlands.

Tangents can be removed through two ways: either by creating overlap with the objects or spacing the objects out, as shown in the example above.

How does this topic apply to rendering in a three-dimensional space? While having tangents in your artwork isn't the end of the world, being aware of and fixing them helps create clarity between what's in front and what's behind. With this knowledge in the back of your mind, you can create good spacing, whether it be with characters, with objects, or with the environment.

Composition by Chris Tulloch McCabe, a concept artist in the United Kingdom.

In a nutshell, here's a simple example of what this problem would look like in Roblox Studio. The left image has a tangent, and the right image fixes the issue.

The top edge of this character's torso lines up with the horizon line. This breaks the illusion of depth and gives it a "flat" feeling.

Let's fix it by changing the angle of the camera!


Originally, I held off holding off this section because people might be a bit nitpicky when dealing with this issue. I will clarify by saying this: when it comes to 3D modelling, not all tangents are noticeable. Hence, most don't really need to be dealt with, as those kinds of tangents don't necessarily destroy an art.

However, when tangents obscure what is in front and what is behind in a composition, that's where you need to fix and avoid tangents. From an illustrator's perspective, I have to keep this in mind all the time to communicate depth effectively on a canvas. Even if an artist is using a 3D program, artists should keep tangents in mind when creating the composition of the art.

Remember, when conveying depth in art, it's all about clarity!

Here's some good examples of arts that convey depth well. How does it convey clearly of foreground, middleground, and background? How does it try to avoid tangents?


Visual Weight: Balance in Art

What makes a composition balanced as a whole? The simple answer is through the balance of visual weight. Visual weight is the amount of attention that an object directs in a composition. Visual weight can be enhanced through any contrast, whether it'd be size, color, or value. A balanced composition looks harmonious and pleasing, while an unbalanced composition looks unsettling and off.

Think of visual weight like objects on fulcrum.

Fulcrum1.jpg

The fulcrum represents the composition's balance. Let's say we wanted to place some objects on the fulcrum - how would we still make that fulcrum balanced? There's multiple ways we can approach the problem.


The first one is just putting the object on the center of the fulcrum. In terms of visual composition, it means we're putting the object at the center of the artwork. That's the easiest way of giving your art balance. And of course, there are many, many examples of this in our card arts - where the character is at the center of the camera. However, let's go over more interesting options.

The second one is having the object and another, equally weighted object on both sides of the fulcrum. In art, that's called symmetrical balance. A good example of this is the art for Eisenhower, the Alchemist.

Eisenhower, The Alchemist.png

Notice how we have Eisenhower at one side, and his love/his experiment on the other side. Both are considered to have equal visual weight, and the viewer's eyes aren't focused onto only one side of the art. If we didn't have one or the other, the art would look unbalanced.

The third one is putting our object on one side, then several, smaller objects on the other side of the fulcrum. That's called asymmetrical balance. Bunny Blob of the Holy Chamber's art (alt art of Titan of the Holy Chamber) is a great example of it.

Bunny Blob of the Holy Chamber.png

We have the Bunny Blob of the Holy Chamber on the left, and several Bunny Blob spirits in the distance on the right. Again, they balance each other out, and would be unbalanced if we didn't have one or the other.

However, having an unbalanced composition isn't necessarily bad if that is your intent. Here's Ultra Otherer's art to demonstrate this.

Ultra OthererLuna.png

The fact that its body isn't in the center of the artwork is off-putting. For the concept of Ultras, this is great design, since Ultras are meant to be horrifying and unsettling creatures. In a sense, it's a good composition. However, breaking this balance in art requires good knowledge of what balances an art in the first place, and should be kept aside for experienced artists.

Some people might critique your work as having too much empty or negative space. There are many pieces of art that have a lot of negative space but are still considered to be good art - what they might mean is that your art is unbalanced.

In conclusion, if you need to give balance to your art, you have many options:

  • Put your character at the center of the art.
  • Use symmetrical balance - add another object that gives equal visual weight.
  • Use asymmetrical balance - use smaller, varying objects that total to equal visual weight.

Here are some examples below. These are arts that either balanced or unbalanced. How do they use visual weight to their advantage?


Visual Movement: Guiding the Viewer's Eyes

Just like how the line of action can direct the motion of the character, the art can direct the viewer's eyes to a focal point through visual movement. Demonstrating this effect requires the collaboration of both the character and the background.

Great artists are aware of visual movement, and will try to incorporate it in their arts. For example, Great Paraselene Sage, made by Myrmiredon, is aware of visual movement, shown below.

VisualMovementGreatParaseleneSage.png

How do you guide the viewer's eyes through visual movement? You need to understand the visual hierarchy, or what the viewer's eyes would look at first.

The viewer's eyes would usually first look at:

  • Objects that take up the most space
  • Areas that have contrasting color, either through saturation or through hue.
  • Areas with the most light
  • Areas of focus, or areas that aren't blurred.

Remember, it's important to have at least one focal point in your art! However, too many focal points can overwhelm the viewer; more than two or three is very hard to pull off.

Once you have a focal point, you can influence where they look next. You can guide the viewer's eyes through:

  • Leading lines or arcs. Eyes love following lines. It doesn't have to be actual lines or curves too; it can be hidden in the background itself.
  • Geometry. Shapes can frame the art or give the art structure and order.
  • Spacing. Which object is closest to the focal point?
  • Perspective or Depth. From foreground to background.
  • Alignment. If objects are aligned in a set path, our brain makes the connection of an imaginary line.
  • Gazes. The viewers eyes can be directed based on where the character is looking in the art.

Visual hierarchy can be applied not only to poses, props, and other objects, but can also be applied to backgrounds as well. In Verisimitudinal Dissonance's art, the use of leading lines and shapes (such as squares and circles) direct the eyes toward the avatar.

Verisimitudinal Dissonance.png

Now, in general, there isn't a lot of examples of visual movement that I can pull from - most beginning artists usually don't consider visual movement at all. However, if you manage to implement them in your art, you can create some eye-catching arts.

Myrmiredon's Celestial arts are some great examples. See if you can find the "flow" in these arts!


Part VII: Design!

This section works off from the rules of composition (learned from the previous section) and applies it to general card design, noting Blox Cards's and Roblox's unique and distinctive game elements.

Fighters, Actions, and Terrains: Artistic Difference

What is the artistic difference between a fighter card, an action card, and a terrain card? The difference is what each of their arts emphasize (through either the camera angle or through visual hierarchy).

  • Fighter cards emphasize characters.
  • Action cards emphasize objects, motion, and/or effect.
  • Terrain cards emphasize the environment.

Emphasizing the character in fighter cards is simple - most artists either make the character take up most of the space in the art or have distinct contrast with the background.

Here are some good examples of fighter cards - notice not only the space they take in the art, but the high contrast between the character and the background.


In contrast, action cards emphasize objects, motion, or the effect in the art. This means the focus isn't on the character, but rather certain objects and events.

It's also simple to emphasize objects instead of the character - either make the object take up most of the art, or have the object contrast with the rest of the art.

A good example of an action card art is Slateskin Potion's art.

SlatePotion.png

While yes, the character does take up more space in the art, the emphasis is on the the potion it is holding. The glow gives it great contrast against the character's torso.

Notice that the character's body has a "slate" texture too, giving emphasis on the potions effect too. The slateskin potion gear is known for increasing the player's health, but also making them slower as their body turns to slate.

However, how do you emphasize motion and events? There are several ways to do that.

  • Leading lines and arcs help with not only directing focus to pieces of your art, but can also communicate motion in the art itself.
  • Blurs, streaks, solid lines, or after-images help with communicating quick actions in the art.
  • Making parts or characters off-balance can also communicate motion in characters or objects. This method is especially used when dealing with explosions in the artwork.

A good example of an action communicating motion is Linked Sword Strike.

Linked Sword Strike.png

The first thing you notice is the long, curved, and red streak that pierces the buff noob's torso. The streak communicates a very fast motion, and its red hue symbolizes the damage of that strike. If you look really closely, you can tell that the buff noob is also slightly separated in half too, subtly done by the artist.

Here are some other action cards that communicate either motion and events. What are the different methods that each artist uses to communicate motion?


Finally, we have terrain cards. Terrain cards emphasize purely on environment. Characters, if any, should take as little space as possible in the art. Objects can be emphasized, but those objects should tie into the environment itself.

A good example of a terrain card art is Spooky Caverns.

Spooky Caverns Luna.png

The artist's use of color and value definitely contribute to the overall atmosphere of the art. The eyes in the caverns imply that there are characters in the terrain. However, not only is it done in a way that doesn't detract from the overall atmosphere, but the glowing green eyes actually help complement the atmosphere of the environment as well.

When making arts for terrain cards, establishing atmosphere is important.

Here are some other good examples of terrain cards. How do they establish their atmosphere, and emphasize on the environment?

Roblox Characters: Creating Good Character Designs

Wild Reporter Tracy.png

For most artists, the arts that they would make would either be a commission or a famous, existing Roblox character. However, what if you were tasked with designing an original character for Blox Cards? What makes a good original character, and how can you design one in Roblox?

Before you start developing the original character, you must first:

  • Incorporate its card color into your design, as well as what that color stands. (ex: Blue stands for thought, technology, etc.)
  • What role does it play in Blox Cards' lore, if it does (like Ancient Stirrings or Temporal Halo)?
  • Include any other Roblox-related factors into the art. (ex: gears, events, Roblox characters/packages, etc.)

In addition, also note:

  • Color: Try to have your colors complement each other, and limit the amount of diversity of colors you use (2-3 different hues to work from are fine). See the section about color for more information.
  • Texture: Make sure the shapes and texture of the character's clothing is relatively simple and does not detract from the character itself. In other words, avoid clothing that is heavily "overdetailed".
  • Distortion: If you are using shirts and pants from the Roblox catalog, look for any weird lines, creases, or distortions from your character's package. Try to limit as much distortion from the character's clothing as possible.
  • Distinction: What makes your character "stand out", or rather give the viewer visual interest? This can range from hairstyles, accessories, or the shape of the character itself.

Let's say you were designing the character for Wielder of the Venomshank. He/she is supposed to be a green-yellow card and incorporates the Venomshank into the art, a sword that poison its enemies when they get damaged by it.

Obviously, the biggest theme for this character is poison and nature (as poison can also be found naturally).

Here was the final result for Wielder of the Venomshank's art. Let's analyze it!

Venomshank.png

There are many things to take away from this artwork. The artist:

  • Clearly references the Venomshank, as it takes up most of the artwork and ties into Roblox's gear and "lore".
  • Incorporates a snake into the artwork, both tying into the poison and nature aspect of the character.
  • Puts the character in a forest, further tying into the nature aspect of the character.
  • Chooses to make the character have light green skin and fangs, tying more into the Venomshank's themes.
  • Uses many variations of lime-green (a color blend of yellow and green) throughout the art.
  • Makes the clothing complement the overall environment and color palette of the art (lime-green, brown, pink).
  • Provides contrast by making the character's hair pink (with a flower too), complementing the art's color palette.

All of this from one art! This is done not only through the art's color and background, but the character's design.

Here are some other original character designs in Blox Cards. What does the character's design say about them and their themes?

Shaping: Creating Character Designs from Scratch

Desigining Roblox characters are great, but what if you aren't using the humanoid model? What if you were tasked to make something like Ultras or Neodragons? Without using a Roblox model, how do you create a character from scratch?

(For this section, we're brushing aside lessons for color, value, contrast, etc.; I assume you know them by now, but look into the past sections for further detail.)

First off, we need to reference our past lesson about silhouettes. Silhouette design isn't used for not only posing and clarity, but it's also used to design the character itself! By focusing on silhouettes, it creates an effect where the character design "emits" a presence through silhouette alone. How can you design a character that communicates itself so clearly?

AladdinShapeLanguage.jpg

These designs are all done through shape language in mind. Shape language is the idea that incorporating shapes in design, based on own sense of touch and nature, can communicate certain ideas and feelings through its design and silhouette.

The three "basic" shapes in shape language is circles, squares, and triangles.

  • Circles have no sharp angles or edges, so they are perceived as safe objects to touch. Characters that are round and circular communicate themselves as soft, friendly, and harmless. You usually see this in protagonist characters, babies, or animals.
  • Squares are seen as sturdy and heavy blocks. Characters that are square-like or boxy are usually strong, stable, or stubborn. You see this design in superheroes, fighters, leaders, bosses, etc.
  • Triangles are seen as sharp and dangerous, but also indicate direction. Characters that are triangular usually range from quick-minded and cunning characters to evil villains.

From those shapes, you can combine or morph them into other complex shapes that together define themselves in a different meaning.

Here's a cute picture explaining shape language (made by Dina Norlund).

DinaNorlundShapeLanguage.PNG

In order to incorporate shape language into your character, you must first consider what your character is (or how does it function in the lore), its stereotypes, and its themes.

Let's take a closer look at the Ultra Vanquisher, for example. Ultra Vanquisher's design uses all three of our basic shapes to enhance its silhouette and meaning.

UltraVanquisher.png

The most prominent shape in this character design is a square, representing the bulkiness and sturdiness of Ultra Vanquisher. The sharp, triangular shards on its arms and feet and its circular head and shoulders obviously conflict with one another. This suggests that Ultra Vanquisher's silhouette may look friendly to lure its prey in, but is actually really dangerous.

Why is simplifying our characters into shapes so important? By designing your character around shapes, gives the character visual appeal. It pinpoints certain aspects of your character into their very essence - exaggerating proportions or aspects of your character around those shapes can give more clarity into what that character is.

Take a look at each of the Titan's designs too! What are the "shapes" in their silhouettes? How do each of their shapes define their character and their themes?

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