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I am a developer and when I think about the creation of art assets I am a little lost. My idea is to create concept art first to get my thoughts into real images and after that start creating the backgrounds, sprites, menus, etc.

It sounds simple written like this and I expect lots of inner work, but is there a more formal way to do it? or at least something like a standard procedure?

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The best advice I can give is to use stand-in graphics until your game simply cannot go farther with them. That could mean completing the game with them. Then either use the game you've created as a billboard to woo in an artist, or use the completed game as the impetus to drive you to learn how to create the graphics yourself. That also has the side effect of letting you focus on it, because you've already solved all the technical issues and so your mind is freer. Doesn't answer your question, but probably speaks to the underlying worry. –  DampeS8N Nov 2 '11 at 12:42
    
I think this question is too subjective. –  Josh Petrie Nov 2 '11 at 14:55
    
doodle its good for the brain! blog.ted.com/2011/09/23/doodlers-unite-sunni-brown-on-ted-com –  Robert French Nov 5 '11 at 3:23
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I agree with DampeS8N. I always start with stand-in graphics. Just squares and circles, until I get the game working. Then I will just start filling in those squares and circles with actual images, just working one at a time. Usually in order of importance (what the user will see more often)

Art creation process is pretty personal and will be quite different for each person. I think sketching out scenes, characters first is a good idea (at least for me), to get a good idea of the environment.

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+1 "Usually in order of importance (what the user will see more often)" or rather "What is more gratifying to see in my game right now". My placeholders are usually closer to what they should be (rough drafts) for the same reason Lorum Ipsum is discouraged. –  Jonathan Dickinson Nov 4 '11 at 11:08
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It's difficult to formalise an artistic procedure!

Nevertheless, this micro-documentary from Discovery Channel about Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (the game, not the film!) might give you some pointers. It shows a standard art asset creation process in a major game studio.

Like you seem to have noticed, the key idea is step-wise refinement: Everything is a sketch to start with and becomes polished in time. This usually happens in parallel with the rest of development.

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David Hellman has written some great articles on The Art of Braid, which is the most artistic games I've ever seen. While art is an extremely personal, subjective process, it's definitely interesting to see other people's processes. The articles talk about how the art began as extremely abstract and moody and got more form as it was reconciled with game mechanics.

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