#1 Posted by ChillyUK7 (305 posts) -
Basically I want this
... not this

This idea has always intrigued me, we often see amazing concept art but outside of 2D games it's rarely fully adopted, Team Fortress 2 and Okami being among the few. What I would like to see is games like Guild Wars 2 to fully embrace the amazing art that has been shown, imagine dragons made out of brush strokes, characters with a handmade look and vistas all around you that make you 'print screen' perhaps a bit too much. Straight up cell shading doesn't do it for me, somehow it looks too sharp, not free form enough and I don't like the thick black lines everywhere. So am I asking too much? would having a game like Guild Wars 2 looking as close to it's concept art as possible be too high a graphical jump at the moment?

btw I think Guild Wars 2 is a good looking game all round perhaps isn't the best candidate for this kind of visual treatment, it's just it's concept art is so good I would have loved for the full game to look as much like it as possible.

#2 Posted by mtcantor (965 posts) -

Well, the next gen DX stuff looks pretty amazing.

I dunno man, shit looks better every year, and significantly better every generation. Then again, it's a lot easier to draw a single pretty picture than it is to render something in playable 3D space.

#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

Never? I'm not sure you could fully replicate 2D drawings in a 3D environment unless you set out to draw in such a way that it could be easily replicated in that environment. But, of course, that's probably cheating.

#4 Edited by big_jon (6117 posts) -

Rayman Origins already does.

#5 Posted by upwarDBound (658 posts) -

Concept drawings are two dimensional and frozen in time. Not to mention heavily stylized. All of the elements in the image are manipulated to make the subject of the picture look good. It is not likely that those same conditions are going to be met when attempting to translate that image into a dynamic three dimensional space and given motion.

It's the same reason we don't see animated films that look as good as amazing concept art and that would be far easier.

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

@big_jon said:

Rayman Origins already does.

Isn't that a 2D game, though?

#7 Posted by big_jon (6117 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@big_jon said:

Rayman Origins already does.

Isn't that a 2D game, though?

Eh, I guess? It does have 3D elements for sure. The Darkness 2 had that look though.

In reality this is more about art style than anything else.

#8 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1955 posts) -
#9 Posted by big_jon (6117 posts) -

These look close to me.

#10 Posted by ChillyUK7 (305 posts) -

I guess i mean a game that has a more stylised, fantasy look to it, Halo 4 is aiming more for a realistic look, realistic artwork is gonna look pretty close to a realistic game.

#11 Edited by AjayRaz (12651 posts) -

@big_jon: man, that looks good. is that Halo 4 or something?

#12 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1756 posts) -

A lot of concept art is drawn in a way that the game was never intended to look -- concept art isn't necessarily the graphical target. The GW2 art you embedded is two dimensional, so a game really couldn't look like that.

#13 Posted by Bollard (6317 posts) -

@big_jon: I don't know, there is hella detail in the above shot compared to the below. Better lighting, detailing etc etc.

#14 Edited by Daiphyer (1419 posts) -

It's not always the fidelity of the graphics, most of the time it's the art difference. Alot of the concept arts tend to use cel-shading and thick brushes, while most games have the standard polygonal art (Sorry for the lack of correct term)

Basically, that is why the actual Borderlands game and its concept arts look close in comparison, they -nearly- have the same art-style.

#15 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8734 posts) -
@AjayRaz: Yep, Halo 4.
I was going to post that!
#16 Posted by Scrawnto (2492 posts) -

@ChillyUK7: We'll have that once we have strong AI's with thousands of times the capabilities of a human, that are also capable of creative work so that they can 'hand animate' each frame on the fly, and which we have enslaved to render video games for us.

Which is to say, never.

#17 Edited by ChillyUK7 (305 posts) -

@Scrawnto:Obviously I don't mean for the game to look exactly like the concept art in motion, hand animated for every frame but as close to it as possible, something like Okami but with much, much greater fidelity.

#18 Posted by LikeaSsur (1673 posts) -

I guess it all depends on the style of the game, but I wouldn't get your hopes up for a good while. In about 20 years, they'll figure it out and then we'll have such realistic gaming that virtual reality will become a thing.

#19 Edited by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1751 posts) -

Some games are there already. 

#20 Edited by ChillyUK7 (305 posts) -

@Vegetable_Side_Dish: How could I forget Journey! loved that game.

#21 Edited by DJJoeJoe (1389 posts) -

Did a ctrl+f for borderlands in this thread, cause that game is notorious for scrapping it's initial visual direction for it's actual concept art. I'm sure now for it's sequel there is concept are for the concept art style of the game, but since it's very much going for that style it's most likely the closest you'll ever get to concept art looking video games, for a handful of years if not more.

In fact because of all this, Borderlands most likely looks better in-game than it does from it's concept art. Since all the in-game art is, is the concept art refined and with shaders on dat ass.

#22 Edited by believer258 (12682 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Never? I'm not sure you could fully replicate 2D drawings in a 3D environment unless you set out to draw in such a way that it could be easily replicated in that environment. But, of course, that's probably cheating.

I don't remember when, but I believe there was a game announced a while back that was going to be 3D and make use of hand drawn graphics. It hasn't gotten much news since then and I can't even remember anything about it other than the fact that it was a JRPG.

EDIT: Also, OP:

#23 Posted by CrossTheAtlantic (1154 posts) -

Epic Mickey has by far the craziest gap between realized game and concept art I've seen.

Man, I still want to play whatever that game would've been.

#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -
#25 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1751 posts) -
@believer258 said:

EDIT: Also, OP:

#26 Edited by Matiaz_Tapia (326 posts) -

It's completely possible...But it needs a masterful control of shaders and plenty of memory to run it all at once. A good example for an art style being used effectively is some of the environments on Diablo III, particularly the ones on the second chapter.

Borderlands 1 tried to change it's art style to the concept art mid-way. BL 2 will be more faithful to it.

It requires art to be produced differently. Most specialist are used to things on a certain way on a system that works for it ( and locked to what the engine they choose to use can do). It's difficult to argue for a style, specially since you are asking them to sacrifice performance.

But no, it does not require for anyone to hand animate frame by frame. Rendering, in a piece of paper or a 3d program is still procedural, you only need to emulate the procedure. When it comes to artistic styles, there are ways to make it less taxing that a realistic one since "styles" are mostly composed of shortcuts to realistic drawing.

It's viable. It's possible and it might happen in a couple of years from now. Easily.

#27 Edited by IkariNoTekken (993 posts) -

#28 Posted by believer258 (12682 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:


Ni no Kuni?

No, that wasn't it. Damn it, now it's bothering me that I can't remember this game...

#29 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -


Damn it. Now I'm totally in it with you.

#30 Posted by Matiaz_Tapia (326 posts) -

@believer258: It probably doesn't help, but the protagonist is a girl with pink hair, right?

#31 Edited by believer258 (12682 posts) -

@Matiaz_Tapia said:

@believer258: It probably doesn't help, but the protagonist is a girl with pink hair, right?

Mmmm... I think it might have been. I know it was a very anime-styled game, and I learned about it via a forum post and not a news story.

EDIT: It's not Final Fantasy XIII

#32 Edited by Matiaz_Tapia (326 posts) -
#33 Posted by believer258 (12682 posts) -
#34 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -


Huzzah! And I was JUST about to browse Icemael's post history for that. (I knew he posted that, since he's always posting threads about modern obscure Japanese releases.)

#35 Posted by killacam (1319 posts) -

tomorrow. tomorrow

#36 Posted by Akrid (1391 posts) -

Not every frame can be lit and framed and polished so perfectly. Only a few games can support trying to do that, like a sidescroller like Trine or top-down like Diablo.

Aside from that, the more important question to ask is if this can happen outside of games first - CGI in movies and TV need to reach it first before it drips down to games. This forum showcases the absolute best in that field, and while a lot of fantastic artists get incredibly close, there's still something lacking in the 3D in comparison to the 2D. It's missing a sort of looseness that 2D has. It's because in 2D art you have easy control over every single aspect - every single pixel - of the image. You have the ability to break perspective if you like, and you have the ability to use exactly the colour you want, were you want it. With 3D, you have to rely on renders to get you at least 50% of the way to completion, and to get great results you need to tweak those renderers in esoteric ways in comparison to the ease of just changing a pixel colour. You don't have much of a choice on how the shading looks here, or how the colour comes out here. And keep in mind that this is all in the arena of stills v. stills, and not 3d animating v. 2d not.

So yeah, it's probably really hard to do - especially with something like GW2's art style as it's very classical in a way. I'd imagine though with some digital art it'd be fairly easy, as that stuff can be kind of in-line with the inherent style of 3D.

#37 Posted by banishedsoul1 (342 posts) -

by the year 2156 maybe

#38 Posted by Dixavd (1472 posts) -

The problem is... Concept art will almost never look like the final product as it is either made to pump up support for the game by fans (so they go overboard on it to make it look incredibly wonderful to keep people interesting in a game that is still a long way from releasing) or it is (shocker) Concept art meaning it isn't going to look like the final game because:

  • It is either made to convince publishers/investors so they make it look as convincing as possible to persuade them - and not really what the game will ultimately look like (those images are the ones the public never gets to see as they are incredibly band and more technical).
  • Or made by the visionaries to explain to artists what the ultimate goal is to represent, so they go into extra detail so that if their is a close-up shot they know what to put in
  • Or it is just made so much earlier in development of the game that during production themes change, technical decisions are made, story changes, sometimes even complete overhauls. It is surprising how close most games get to them.

The times when it actually happens occur when the concept art isn't trying to evoke the idea of a 3D world (That is if it is trying; most of the time, as I said above, they aren't) but instead the game is trying to evoke the idea of pen to paper/paintings/2D art. Which is why you have games like Okami, Zelda (not just Wind Waker but others too, especially Skyward Sword) or Mad World which do it because that is the point of the art styles picked.

I also want to point out that some games actually do go for it with their concept art aiming to look like the game and the game reciprocating such as the stunning Final Fantasy XIII (which's gameplay looks staggeringly like the overzealous concept art) or Mirror's Edge which used the art-style trick of others as well as mixing it with realism to make it work as well.

It certainly has already been done; but it depends solely on what different developers are making the concept art for at the time).

#39 Posted by Glottery (1497 posts) -

@Matiaz_Tapia said:

It's viable. It's possible and it might happen in a couple of years for now. Easily.

This indeed. Graphics are evolving so fast that it really wouldn't be that surprising to see some very cool looking stuff in just a few years. On a related note, I've watched a couple of trailers this year for next-gen games or just for games coming to PC in the near-ish future and *every time* I see a comment "lolz, prerendred video, graphics aren't gonna be anything like that in-game" and facepalm. I mean, why couldn't it look like that? Jeebus, some already existing games look great on consoles and even better on PC. But eh, now I'm slowly heading towards Youtube comments and all that, so I'll just stop here.

#40 Posted by newhaap (457 posts) -

I've always thought Super Street Fighter IV in game graphics look pretty close to hand drawn art, especially during the cinematic moments

#41 Edited by Rohok (579 posts) -

Dragon's made out of brush strokes? If you want that go play a miniature tabletop game.

I don't see how that's a graphical leap forward at all- more like a leap back.

#42 Posted by newhaap (457 posts) -

@Rohok said:

Dragon's made out of brush strokes? If you want that go play a miniature tabletop game.

I don't see how that's a graphical leap forward at all- more like a leap back.

The point of 3D graphics, in games at least, I think is to allow you to move around in / explore a made up environment. Creating hard/solid looking objects and environments is more doable in 3D compared to more elastic/malleable objects you would see in hand drawn animations for example. That's why a lot of 3D games go for more realistic environments or art style, because it's more practical. So creating a world involving 'dragons made out of brush strokes', compared to a world simply made out of solid looking objects, that you can move around in I think would be a leap forward.