If you are an artist new to the project or are considering lending your talents, this page will help you get started. You should also read or skim through the New Contributors page.
Sadly, many artists look at the quality of our artwork and feel that they can not be of any help to us because they are not able to produce art that meets those standards. This is absolutely untrue. Much of the artwork that initially goes into the game is of a much lower quality, and gets continually refined and improved over time by the team. Look at the sprite image to the right for an example. That is how the main protagonist, Claudius, got his start and the steps his evolution took by three different artists on the team.
Even place holder art is more valuable to us than no art at all. If you can use an image editor to create shapes and draw colors, you are good enough to lend us a hand. The best part about being a beginner or sub-par artist is that we have skilled artists here to help give you feedback on your work and they can help you improve. When we need art but no artists are available, often times others on the team (usually programmers) have to try making art themselves (and it's often bad).
Rights to Assets
Another common concern for new artists is regarding the rights of ownership over their work. No money is made by anyone working on this project, so who owns the content? The answer is: you do. Anything you make you retain full rights of ownership over, and you can do anything that you wish with your work (including using it in another project). The only condition you make for us is to allow us to use your artwork in Allacrost under an open content license (Creative Commons). This in turn means other projects may elect to use your work provided they meet the conditions in the license. We will never ask you to hand over the rights to your work.
Many artists that come our way are used to working individually and sometimes struggle to operate in a team. Teamwork here means a few things. First, you can expect to receive frequent feedback on the work that you share. Sometimes that feedback may be critical. The intent is not to put you down, but to offer constructive feedback on how you could improve upon your work. Even our most talented and senior artists are subject to this process. Another important part about teamwork is that you need to understand that sometimes another artist may come along and make their own modifications to your work. Or even propose their own alternatives to your design. Again, you need to check your pride as an artist at the door sometimes if someone else begins critiquing or altering your work. The goal of all artists and others on this team is to make the art better. It's as simple as that. Even if your version of a particular piece doesn't "make the cut", your work is never in vain. Often, other artists are inspired after seeing your art, or building upon work that you've done enables them to create something even greater. And you still retain the rights to all of your original designs, so you may still share and use those as you see fit.
Finding Art Tasks
If you're looking to make some art but don't know what would be useful, first familiarize yourself with the different Artwork Categories. The page in that link shows all of the different types and styles of artwork that are used in the game, along with information on how to use them. Once you understand these categories, take a look at the Roadmap, which lists all of the current tasks (art and otherwise) that need to be completed for the next release. You can also try playing the game and looking around for any artwork that looks like it is placeholder (low quality) or otherwise could use improvements. But the best thing to do is to make a post in the artwork forum and ask what needs to be done.
Finding Existing Artwork
Often before you begin on a task, you want to find out what other artwork already exists so that you can design your own art to fit into the same type of environment, or to use selections as a starting point. So how do you find out what artwork has already been made? The answer is unfortunately a difficult one. Artists upload their designs via a variety of means and there's no centralized repository or database that lists all of the artwork that is available. Artists do tend to share all of their work on the forum, so searching the forums may be your best bet. You can also ask (on the forums or IRC) if a certain type of artwork exists and someone may know the answer. Below are links to areas where you can search for artwork.
- Subversion Repository (all image files are in the img/ directory)
- Artwork Forum
- Team Member FTP Directories
Uploading Your Artwork
Once you have started making some artwork, you probably want to share it at some point. This section explains where to share, how to share, and most importantly when to share your work.
The best place to share your work is on the artwork forum. You can create a new topic, or post in an existing topic if your content falls within the scope of that thread.
There are many ways to share your artwork. The best way is to ask to be given a FTP account where you can upload and store your files on a permanent basis. This is a really nice bonus to have, as you are allowed to manage your own files and directories in any way that you want. Once you upload a file, sharing only requires that you provide a link to the content. For example, if I made a FTP account for myself (user: roots) and uploaded the file test.png in the directory my_art, the address to give to the image would be: http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roots/my_art/test.png. To get an FTP account, read the New Contributors page for instructions.
Another way to share art is to attach the image directly to your forum post. This is okay, but has the downside that it becomes much harder to share your art across multiple threads or posts (and we don't want to have several uploads of the same file). Avoid this method if you can, but it's okay to use for very small things.
Finally, you could use an external image hosting site or other service. We frown upon this as well, as we have no control over these sites and sometimes artwork created for the project becomes lost forever because the site either expired the content, or the website is no longer available. Please only use external sites to share content if something is very temporary, like a rough pencil sketch or draft.
The motto is: share early, share often. We encourage all artists to share their works in progress frequently for a number of reasons. Sharing early versions of work allows us to give feedback to the artist sooner. You don't want to invest a number of hours into a design, only for someone to point out a critical flaw that requires you to throw away a lot of your work. Another reason is that other artists may provide you with some suggestions for modifications or improvements to your designs, and their input can help you ultimately produce a better final version than you would have otherwise. And showing your works in progress is gratifying to both you and the team. Everyone enjoys seeing progress, and seeing it frequently helps with everyone's morale. It also allows other artists and people on the team to know that you are actively working on something, so it helps to mitigate any overlap from another artist coming along and working on the exact same thing.
Below is a quick summary of all of the important points made in the preceding sections, and following that are suggestions on where to go from here.
- Don't be intimidated by the high quality of artwork. Beginners and less experienced artists are very welcome here.
- You maintain full rights over any artwork that you create and can do whatever you wish with your work.
- Be prepared to work in a team of other artists, who will offer you critiques and may perform modifications or improvements upon your designs.
- Look in the Roadmap or artwork forum to find work to do, or simply ask what needs to be done.
- There are many places to look around for existing artwork. You can always ask if you are looking to find a particular piece of artistic content.
- Upload your works in progress frequently and share them on the forums. Preferably using your personal FTP account on the allacrost.org site
If you're ready to help us out, great! Here are the recommended steps you can take from here.
- Register an account on the forums if you haven't done so already
- Ask a team leader to create an FTP account for you to upload your work
- Read through the Artwork Standards to understand the graphical capabilities of the game that may be applied to your work
- Read the Artwork Categories page to figure out what type of art you want to create, and the design requirements of that art
- Look around or ask for an art task to do (we recommend starting with something small, and gradually working your way up to more intensive work if you can)
- Share your works in progress on the forums, get and give feedback, and have fun!
Finally, at some point during your time working with us you should really consider actually playing the game itself. You can find out how to download and install the game by reading the Installation Instructions.