Intro to art direction

Hello! We are reaching the halfway point of the program this week. You still have time to build your project. In fact, every year, some participants choose to change their game and are surprised with the speed they’ve acquired in making this new version. It’s a good sign that they’re learning.

This week, we’ve discussed visuals, art direction and animation.


We’re very lucky to have an excellent artist in the incubator’s team: Brooke presented the basics of art and composition for video game.

  • Art puts into a physical form an emotion, memory or story.
  • Art engances the emotional impact of your game.
  • As an artist, you are a storyteller. Thing about what you want to communicate.
  • Creating your own art assets has the advantage of letting you make something unique and memorable, that is adapted to the experience you are building.

Art as symbols

Subconsciously, we are aware of the different feelings shapes communicate. With just using circles, squares, triangles, you can build interesting characters. A circle’s soft edges give a softer, friendlier vibe.  A swirl can be interpreted as motion, power, excitement. Ovals and circles can represent eternity, vastness and creativeness.

Shapes, colours and textures will give a ton of information to the player.

Try the following exercise

On a piece of paper, draw three animals in just five minutes. Do not add details and concentrate only on basic shapes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What will I emphasize?
  • What will I eliminate to express the bare essence?


Composition is the arrangement of elements that make up our subject: its the immediate bold impact that stops the viewer dead in their tracks, yearning to know more. You must figure out and isolate the things your audience responds to visually at a gut level.

The focal point is what we want the player to focus on. Think of the example of a blank sheet of paper vs a white sheet with a dot. If we flooded the page with a million purple dots perfectly spaced apart, what would happen? Our eye wouldn’t know where to look because they all present the same shape, size, colour and they are more or less evenly dispersed. If every part of our image is made to be equally important, they are also equally unimportant. Visuals, no matter how simple, if placed thoughtfully in a space, will influence the player.

We can contrast something by manipulating size, weight, value (light and dark) and colour. By controlling contrast we control and define the hierarchy, movement, meaning and ultimately tell better stories.

Make the eye follow a given course by skillful use of line. Lead the eye in. Entertain it with a spot of interest without other competing paths unless this is part of the game.

Unity and variety

Unity and variety are key to making something stand out. Wether it’s to look out for a villain, an important object or path. You don’t need to use all of them but pick a couple.


When it comes to colours, trust your eye. Choose the colours that convey the emotions you wish to create with your experience. Look at the following colour theory slides for helo on building your colour palette.

Pixel Art

We unfortunately do not have the time in the incubator to touch on each and every art style. However, we know many of you are interested in Pixel Art. Here is a great tutorial series on the subject.

The 12 basic principles of animation

Here is a video introduction to the basic principles of animation. These principles will help would breathe life into your game.

2D animation workshop

This week, we’ve had another great workshop (in 2 parts), this time on 2D animation and integration in Unity with Kyler Kelly-Tan from Clever Endeavour.

Part 1

Part 2


  • Continue working on your game prototype.
  • Start drafting visual features: characters, props, background images, particles, VFX, etc.

Next week, we’ll talk about audio.

See you then and have fun making your game!

Posted in Game Incubator, News, Pixelles Game Incubator 8
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