How we create video game icons for mobile games
As we work on the scope of content basis, there is a predetermined amount of hours our art team can spend on each icon on average. If working with hundreds of assets we spend more time per piece, in the end it will result in quite an expense from both our and our partner’s side. Therefore, it’s crucial to establish a clear step-by-step art workflow and make sure that every team member understands and follows it at all times.
We try to avoid situations when we have to go back to the sketch and re-design the basic shape and type of an icon – that’s the last thing we want to happen as it devaluates all the previous work done on this asset. Of course, having an in-depth project brief with clear and coherent requirements supported by the descriptions and visual references of the needed assets helps a lot to not get lost in the woods. Nevertheless, the work on video game icons requires extra attention at all stages of the pipeline.
At the initial stage, our game artists produce several sketches per icon to confirm the overall direction with the lead artist before moving forward to the painting and rendering. At all times we have to follow provided guidelines, regularly check with our art director, and synergize efforts among all the assigned artists. It becomes of an essence with the project requires participating multiple game artists delivering the art in the same style and quality.
Additionally, we tend to work closely with the team of our partners, in this case – A Thinking Ape Entertainment. The partners not only provide the needed information and context to each asset but also help us not to repeat the mistakes that have already been corrected with the other outsourcing studios. Sometimes there is production data and the track of feedback that becomes an essential part of the guidelines.
As you probably know, in RocketBrush Studio we consider ourselves to be more than just a third-party studio, but a development partner. This means we do care for the project budget and have in mind the goal of achieving cost-efficiency. This is in fact one of our key priorities as well as producing high-quality content, of course. Therefore, if everything goes smooth and we hone the workflow to the state of routine, it sometimes becomes possible to further reduce the considered amount of time spent on each asset. As the result, we deliver top-notch assets that can become either in-game items or, with a slight adjusting, be turned into UI icons.
There is of course a difference between just a generic game item and UI icons – the last one usually needs to have a specific frame, contrast, and lighting to stand out among other distractions on the user interface. Another point of concern is to think about having a bigger-sized canvas to make sure there is a “margin of safety” if the developer needs to zoom in on the icon to present it as a reward to the player. Thus we usually create it in x2 or even x3 from the in-game size, providing the source file with a larger canvas once the project is completed.
The result we achieved working on this specific case you can see above, in significant part was possible thanks to the constantly honing our game art workflow and all-round support of our dearest partners. We are happy to have completed this project and are proud of our ability to deliver hundreds of highly detailed, engaging game icons for mobile and PC game developers.