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Subject: Critique my cover rss

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Eric Etkin
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'Nuff said.

Please take into consideration that it's somewhat low-resolution here, and JPGs have a tendency to skew dark.


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Kim Williams
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Given how low the moon is, wouldn't the shadows be much longer?
I also can't help worrying that the moon is about to crash into the planet!
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Kyle Mann
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entwife wrote:
Given how low the moon is, wouldn't the shadows be much longer?
I also can't help worrying that the moon is about to crash into the planet!


Maybe it is... wow

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Brian Homan
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It looks interesting, but it doesn't draw me in like it should. The action appears too far away. The two objects of focus appear to be the moon (which seems to overshadow the events transpiring rather than adding to the mood) and the character in the foreground (who is uninteresting because we can't see his face in any real detail). All of the characters in the background appear too shrouded or too small to be real eye catchers. The style of art appears to be made for (or from) a video game which is fine if that is what you are going for. It's not my cup of tea, but it may play well to your target audience. I'd like to see a shot a bit closer to the action and a downplay of the moon in the background. I think that would help as would an image of better resolution that isn't quite so dark (as you discussed).

As an example of a game that draws me in, I would ask you to take a look at Defenders of the Realm:


You can see at least half of the face of each character, and the image has a single focal point: the big blue dragon. Each character is facing the focal point (drawing your eye) and can be seen in enough detail to add to the viewer's imagination of what's going on here. I have two critiques for this image though, as well. The dwarf somehow looks out of place to me. As a smaller creature, I would have put him closer to the foreground so as not to make him look even smaller than he is. Also, the cleric doesn't appear to be part of the battle at all. She's just laying in the grass letting the others do the work. That part of the image seems out of place for what's going on. That being said, I have never passed by this box on the shelf without looking at it. That should tell you something.

I'm not an art major by any stretch, but I am an aspiring game designer and I see some trends in the artwork for games of this nature that sell very well. I would recommend that you take a look at the covers of some similar types of games and see what they have in common. What do you like/dislike about them? The game might be great, but if the packaging doesn't draw a customer to look at/pick up the box, then it's all for naught anyway.
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Kyle Mann
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bmhoman1 wrote:
The style of art appears to be made for (or from) a video game which is fine if that is what you are going for. It's not my cup of tea, but it may play well to your target audience.

I agree with this. It has a '90s CGI or grainy FMV type feel. If you're going for that, great, but just be aware of it.
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Tom O'Neill
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The moons color distracts. It was the 1st thing I saw and I had a hard time getting my focus elsewhere. And whats the little moon thing off to the right?
 
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Eric Etkin
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p4warrior wrote:
bmhoman1 wrote:
The style of art appears to be made for (or from) a video game which is fine if that is what you are going for. It's not my cup of tea, but it may play well to your target audience.

I agree with this. It has a '90s CGI or grainy FMV type feel. If you're going for that, great, but just be aware of it.


Can you guys maybe give me an example of what you mean by this... like another piece of art or two I could compare it to?

When I hear "FMV" I think of Sega CD, Sewer Shark, 3D0, etc., and I just don't see any resemblence styllistically to what I'm doing. I'm not saying what I'm doing is AWESOME!11!! but to compare it to Sewer Shark might mean I have to break out the dualin' pistols...
 
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Ed G.
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p4warrior wrote:
bmhoman1 wrote:
The style of art appears to be made for (or from) a video game which is fine if that is what you are going for. It's not my cup of tea, but it may play well to your target audience.

I agree with this. It has a '90s CGI or grainy FMV type feel. If you're going for that, great, but just be aware of it.


Thirded.

The guy in front looks too "real" and therefore makes the whole thing look too much like a collage rather than a cover with a unified art style. If you were going for a collage, then bully.

Also, I find it too dark overall, and the dark colors of the text difficult to read against the dark background and overall dark tones.
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Shaun
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The dark greenish shadow on the small moon looks odd. I'd double check what a terminator line on a planet or moon looks like. Also, if it's behind the big moon, the shadow wouldn't be where it is.

Did you make this yourself, or did you commission it?
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Shaun
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The green cape is very polarized, which adds to the look of a lower quality image resolution.
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Justin Court
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Bipf wrote:
The green cape is very polarized, which adds to the look of a lower quality image resolution.


+1 for that. I think this figure causes the issue with the graphics people have been mentioning because it makes it obvious there are two different kinds of media here that have been stuck together: computer/drawn scenery and the photographs of people (I'm assuming) that have been put into the scenery. I wouldn't have noticed this if it weren't for the character in the front, which reveals the trick. If it's not the case that the figures are actual photographs, it sure looks like it! The picture probably just needs a little bit of tinkering to make it more cohesive, graphics wise.

There also seems to be a disconnect between the action that is going on. Some people are openly battling, but just steps away people are trying to sneak around? Why are some characters so engaged and others doing nothing in such close proximity? Confused.

I'm also confused as to what those arrows/bolts are that are flying by the two people fighting with the shields?

Other than that it's cool! I, for one, think the moon looks awesome (Why is there a second one, though? Maybe make one a different color to differentiate?) And I think the owl is neat and maybe you could make it bigger or feature it more prominently, perhaps under the title on the left or right side in the dark areas. But then again, the owls are not what they seem.

Good luck!
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Eric Etkin
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I did this myself... it's very possible if I get enough from a KS campaign I'll commission a better cover artist.

I just see a HUGE valley between top tier artists... and everyone else. There seems to be a substantial amount of games that don't have Mage Wars Arena or Storm Hollow: A Storyboard Game quality cover art, for example, but seem to get by plenty fine. Since art is polarizing in opinion and somewhat subjective, I'll refrain from examples there.

Hmm... ok... so overall, this is criticism I can work with...

- Adjust cape
- Recompose foreground dude so he blends better
- Possibly minimize moons (though I'm partial towards the size... and there seems to be plenty of artistic precedence for it)
- Adjust contrast? (though the Dungeon Command cover seems equally dark in spots)

The foreground guy: I'd experimented with someone facing towards the camera, but I was trying to avoid a less "posey" look and drew attention away from the battle scene. Dropping out a foreground guy entirely and zooming in a bit made the whole thing look like an unfocused mess.


 
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Shaun
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I think the guy on the right with the lantern would make a better character to have in the foreground. Enlarge him a bit, and move him to the left a little. Then, move the battle scene and the ruins to the right, to center the action a little more. Maybe get rid of the guy that's in the front right now? His pose seems more "staged" than the other characters.
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Matt Brown
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MOTHDevil wrote:
Can you guys maybe give me an example of what you mean by this... like another piece of art or two I could compare it to?

When I hear "FMV" I think of Sega CD, Sewer Shark, 3D0, etc., and I just don't see any resemblence styllistically to what I'm doing. I'm not saying what I'm doing is AWESOME!11!! but to compare it to Sewer Shark might mean I have to break out the dualin' pistols...


In short, using what looks like real live people mixed in with art is extremely difficult to pull off in terms of making it look like high quality. While your cover might not be Sewer Shark bad, it's not as far from it as you might think.
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Shaun
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An "easy" fix is to paint over the characters using photoshop. It gives the look of an illustration, but doesn't take as much time or effort.
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Mike G
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Does it bug anyone else that the text says "5-player core set" but there are 7 people on the cover? No, probably just me!
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Joel Eddy
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My "critique":

Overall, I like it. I think the font should be a different color. The red seems to sort of blend in with the rest of the cover for me. Maybe something higher contrast?

I like the characters and the setting, but agree that maybe some piece of the conflict could be closer to the foreground. As it is, the guy looks like he's running away from the fight.

Again, I like it stylistically.

-edit-

Is the game more about combat or sneaking around? If it has a bluffing/sneaking element than the cover is probably an accurate depiction of gameplay. If it's heavy combat, then I stick with my original impression.
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Louise McCully
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It looks alright, if a bit dark. Unfortunately you are missing having anything interesting in the 'golden third' which is essentially the focal point of the picture (and the spot people automatically look so it's the location of the best bit of your graphic). The gold third centre point is approximately where your archway and bird are in your picture.

To prove the golden third reasoning just grab a random book, that has pictures, open it up on a random place & note where your eyes initially look.
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Scott
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bmhoman1 wrote:
You can see at least half of the face of each character, and the image has a single focal point: the big blue dragon.


I agree with most of what everyone else has written such as moon is too much, the foreground figure looks pasted in that you've taken on board. Elmore himself, who did the art for Defenders... has done several paintings, of which I've seen a couple as covers, where central characters are facing away from the viewer although, as bmhoman1 notes, most figures are at least in profile, and they look really good so it can be done. (None of these Elmore paintings I mention are of women's bums although he does like to paint those, hence the looking away pose sometimes.)
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Brian P Lewis
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I find the cover a bit dark, too many figures in shadow.

The other thing is it says 5 player core set.

To some people this would read as its a 5 player game, so you can only play with 5 players.

If it is meant as there are enough cards in here for a 5 player game, why not just say 2-5 player core set.
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sechzger
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I am very unquailified in critizing art, but i don't even get if these guys fight ech other or if there is sth. else which they are preparing to fight.
And like others said, none of the faces is drawn in detail, therefore the main thing of interest is the big moon.
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David Ausloos
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Ok, here my two cents:

Overall I like the idea of the cover and the dramatic poses of the characters. Especially the front character has an interesting pose.

what bothers me is the overall composition, which doesn't have a focal point that catches your attention.
Also, the composition doesn't show enough depth.
The reason for this is the juxta-positioning of the characters that doesn't quite work out as it should.
I, would definitly enlarge the front character.
By making him larger, the sense of depth in the relation to the background characters would work better.
There is too much happening in the background, and that makes it very hard to visually read the scene. It is partly because of the chaotic composition, partly because of the non-optimal lightning.

Overall I think the whole image needs some cleaning-up.
I would strip down the composition back to the basics and add the layers one for one, adjusting them for an optimal composition.
I think the image would work so much better by reducing the number of characters and creating a more focused action scene with 3, possibly 4 characters forming a visual triangle.
This would far better communicate what the game is about and give players a visual cue that is far easier to grasp at first glance.

In all honesty, I don't like the lettering.
The font lacks something to stand out.

Hope I wasn't too harsh.
I like the overall idea, but I think there is definitive room for improvement. All the elements are there, but it needs to be better assembled into a visual striking whole.

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Derry Salewski
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The weapons are kind of tiny.

If I'm an epic hero, and I'm in some magical world where some of my enemies clearly have huge, glowing staffs of fiery doom . . . I'd hope to have a pretty epic weapong to cleave 'em in half. Not the axe my mom uses to cut kindling with.
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Craig Somerton
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To me, the moon is so bright, it sucks your attention away from the action.

I concur with many others, the characters need to be closer and interacting with each other more and in ways that imply action.

One disconcerting element I did notice. The building is a dilapidated ruin, yet the brass lanterns attached to the walls managed to survive?
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Ian O'Toole
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The two main issues here are:

1. There is no focal point. There should be a point in the composition that everything else guides the eye towards, and where the eye finally rests. The absence of such a focal point leads to the eye darting aimlessly about the image. Almost every character is the same size and given the same amount of focus. If I had to guess I'd say the wizard in blue on the left should be the focal point, but at the moment he's just not prominent enough. The moon is probably unintentionally the element that stands out the most.

2. There are large areas of flatly lit negative space (mostly the dark walls) surrounding and isolating the characters. This leads to a very disjointed composition and serves to overwhelm the characters themselves.

I'm also not a fan of the CG look, especially for fantasy art, and the lighting in general is very inconsistent.

My advice would be to:

1. Decide on your focal point. Let's say it's the wizard in blue. Position him in a prominent place, and let the other characters be arranged around him. As you place each element (characters, environment etc.) ask yourself does it detract from or benefit the composition.

2. If you're going to use a large central motif such as the moon, and have symmetrical pillars flanking the viewers "entrance" to the image, you're far better off having your focal point pretty much centre as well, otherwise it looks less important.

3. Think about each light source and the affect it will have on everything else. Light is a very powerful tool to guide the eye and highlight what you want the viewer to notice.

Hope that makes some sort of sense and helps a bit, good luck!

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