I want to learn how to create custom graphics, not use freely available resources. But I have been looking around for articles or tutorials on how to start with 2D game design in general, and I can't seem to find a good starting point — books or otherwise. I mostly come across resources for those that have had formal studies in graphic design (advanced stuff), but I won't have the luxury of formal studies for a good while (if at all). On the other hand, I find resources for learning the programming side of things, but not on how to create the graphics you'll manipulate.

Are there any good resources for learning game oriented graphic design? Specifically 2D, which is the one I'm most interested in, but 3D is also welcome.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What do You want to know? Graphics? Gameplay? Level desing? ... What 2D games - arcades (Jazz Jackrabbit), shooters (Galaga?), adventures (Monekey Island), rpg (Diablo) ... ? \$\endgroup\$ – user712092 Aug 29 '11 at 13:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ 300 Game Mechanics might help somehow. There are ideas and some free graphics. \$\endgroup\$ – user712092 Aug 29 '11 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I recommend You can think about user interfaces in games. You know, good old Windows's user interface - button, windows, listbox, combobox - has means for triggering actions or displaying information (...), so there is some equivalent in games. Nature of games is that they are more interactive, they have much more need for feedback. It is important to have feedback in games ("you took 2 coins ... 30 are left to new weapon bonus", "you were killed by i_am_mmonster_12354 with machine gun"). \$\endgroup\$ – user712092 Aug 29 '11 at 13:37

Well, in my case, before I got accepted into Digital Media I had to present a folder of various 2D and 3D projects. Therefore, it's imperative that you try and get some of that formal training yourself, which isn't hard.

It really depends what you're looking for. Vector and raster art are both big fields to work in, so I recommend programs like InkScape(Adobe illustrator) or Gimp 2.0(Photoshop).

To do graphic design, you really need to know art. The best way to do art is to look at art from other's to create a personal taste (www.conceptart.org)/(www.deviantart.com) and then do it yourself! Study a lot from real-life and models so that, when you actually get to doing things digitally and free-form, you actually have some knowledge.

If you want to learn photoshop, there are a wealth of websites to do this with. Tutorials on DeviantArt are probably the most common source, but I would also recommend:



The second link is a bunch of links to photoshop tutorials. You will definitely figure out how to use photoshop and nifty techniques with those!

Some fine (free) 3D applications would be Blender and Google SketchUp, the latter was used to create my 3D model for the college entrance. I hadn't used it before, but found it to be intuitive and easy to learn.

These are the basics. You can always branch out to game graphic design after you have some of that formal training. There are many pixel editors if that's your kind of thing. If you try to jump into free-form game graphic design without any sort of training, then you will likely produce sub-par results that will simply demotivate you until you don't want to do any more.

Of course, you can be stubborn and try to do it anyway. Best of luck in any case ^^

  • \$\begingroup\$ Right on! I would also recommend looking at ConceptArt.org as there is a lot of great artists there and you can learn a lot of basic, practical things from people's sketchbooks. Even better you can make your own and get critiques. \$\endgroup\$ – Tone Jul 17 '10 at 12:18

SoulBeaver was correct to point out that you need to know art. A lot of the tutorials online will give you a mechanical guide on how to achieve a certain effect or how to draw with a tablet etc but if you don't know how to draw then you won't be able to produce much.

By all means learn the software, if you want to do spriting then you need to know how to use something like Photoshop, Paint.net Gimp, graphics gale etc but don't neglect your drawing skills and your ability to interpret what you have in your head into something tangible.

Someone on Reddit university is starting a course on Video game concept art and drawing It might not be exactly what you're looking for but it's free and might be worth a look.


There are lots of great tutorials around on the web for achieving different graphical styles. You'll want to pick up a copy of PhotoShop and start learning it if you already haven't. A few links to get you started:



You might want to check this link to cgsociety and another one to thegnomonworkshop Good luck and have fun!

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for cgsociety. I found a good photoshop tutorial in their wiki for absolute beginners like myself. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Sep 1 '11 at 21:34

It depends on what sort of graphics you want to learn and how good you want to be. Using tutorial sites to gain a technical understanding of your tools is very helpful, to start, BUT to improve your artistic ability, it's best to mix it up with those who have similar goals.

Places like

are good places to get ideas, have your work critiqued, and to view and critiqued the work of others, which as certain people I know would say, "Serves to increase your visual literacy." Ahem.


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