I am a new game developer, working on a 2D platformer game.

I am working with my friends who can make sketches on paper and import them to Photoshop to paint, as none of us have worked on an actual game before we have no idea as to what scale /dimension to use while sketching (the background image for eg.).

I have always been a programmer and have only worked with blocks as placeholders while learning. So I have no idea how to communicate with the artists on what resolution or scale they should use or what type of assets I want.

My Required result is:

  • I want a game which should look good on a 1080p screen.
  • I want a 16:9 ratio for the game, with black bars at the bottom and top like movies.
  • It should be scalable to fit all resolution screens(I am targeting PC and console (future)release for the game).
  • You can imagine Guacameele as a reference for the art style.

My Specific questions are:

  1. How should I communicate the technical aspects of the art to the artists for character sprites / background images and items?
  2. Is sketching out an image and taking a photograph and importing to photoshop a good way to work on the assets? If not what should be done?
  3. Should all the assets be of the same size, as I want a 1080p game and suppose if the background is 1xsize should the character be 1/6xsize or the same size as the background asset and scaled down in Unity(I am using unity for development)?
  4. What is the correct way of working with sprites in such a case, which image format should I use, some other tools I should be using or some guide or guidelines that everyone follows will be helpful.

Thanks !

  • \$\begingroup\$ With regard to this point: "It should be scalable to fit all resolution screens" - for 2D games, this can be more complicated than it sounds. If you want pixel perfection (eg. no pixels blurred/averaged by downsampling or sampling off of texel centers), then you're limited to integer upscaling, and this may require producing assets in multiple different source resolutions. If you're willing to accept some filtering artifacts though, then you'll be OK as long as your source resolution is at least as high as the display resolution. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 22:08

2 Answers 2

  1. In pixels. Do not discuss DPI, and if your artists ask you about DPI, tell them We are working in pixels. This is not going to print. Use your rulers. The reason is that device displays are counted in pixels and you generally need to have an idea of what size your graphics are going to look crisp at, on the typical device you are targeting. You could use photos of whiteboard sketches; I find this enjoyable as you have the ease of a whiteboard plus easy import with modern phones. Unity supports pixel scales by allowing you to create pixel-perfect 2D game graphics / UIs.

  2. It's perfectly fine. You can then scale it up or down according to your desired pixel size, and flesh it out further in Photoshop. (See caveat below these 4 points, however.)

  3. The relative sizes are yours to decide (you will probably need to experiment to get the right feel)

  4. PNG for irregularly shaped sprites, JPG for backgrounds or other completely rectangular shapes. This is the standard rule. You can improve the compression using either Photoshop's Save for Web, or e.g. ImageMagick on the command line (this can be easier if you want to e.g. batch process all images before a build - all depends how your production pipeline is set up).

I strongly suggest you put NO serious effort into the graphics until you have determined the sizes that makes the game playable and the UI usable on target devices. This is how a lot of time is wasted on a good many amateur game projects. You will want to wait as long as you possibly can before you start refining the graphics; usually this is a key difference between pre-production (code prototyping) and production phases (where code has generally crystallised and content is the primary focus). For that matter, get used to lolfaces for now as that is all you'll be seeing for a while, if you're wise.

Remember also that just because you created your graphics to display pixel perfect on one device, doesn't mean it has to do so on all. Perhaps you are more interested in always having the player character be, say, 1/6th of the screen height in landscape mode. In that case, you may have an ideal device like the iPad 3 where the player sprite is indeed exactly 1/6th of 1536 pixels; but on other devices, in order to be 1/6th of the screen high, it may need to be scaled up or down. That is fine, and Unity's 2D capabilities suppor this, although learning that process is going to be down to you.


To Dear Rangot,

May I say something about 2D Sprite in Game Art?

512x512px is a single piece of a Character/ a small asset/ a terrain for 2D Android Game Art Sprite excluded Animation and Multiple sprites.This is default starting sprite size for Junior Game Artists.

For Art, The character if on the single Sprite, the foot need to touched the ground. If you want to draw multiple sprites in 1 .png, that will be in another option...

More: Senior Game Artists may know more proffesional techniques. And, different Game Company may have different setting, you can ask Art Director for the sprite size setting. If you are doing for your own Indie Game, or For educational purpose or Self-Learning, 512×512px for a single sprite is common size for Android Games.


I'm not Game Programmer, I'm very admire you and them. For technical... :

If you want to saves Bytes, KB and MB, then you can use what you had Learned, or User: Engineer's Answer or DMGregory's Technical Scale Technique, more proffesional in Program technique. Game Programmers more sensitive and more advance in controls the Game Art fit Technical Design Part of Game Development. Here's DMGregory Technique link: What sprite size should I use for 2D game?

And, for me, Game Artist, Seniors always told me a Android Game Size need to not larger than 150MB (basic). If it is a High-End game or MMORPG game, the game size will absolutely used maybe 1GB space or more than 150MB. And, Senior told me leave this to the Technicians or Programmers.

Thank you.

From, Junior Android Game Artist

  • \$\begingroup\$ Umm... I'm not English Native Speaker. So, may someone help me to fix my English Errors, thank you so much. \$\endgroup\$
    – Red Aura
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 11:00

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