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The Visual Style of Sonic


Indigo Rush

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It's clear that Sonic games are usually appealing to the eyes, so the visual style of the games can easily be a major concern for the developers and consumers alike.

Let us discuss... what visual style would be the best for the series as a whole?

Should the color be desaturated a bit and look more edgy ala Sonic 2006 or Shadow the Hedgehog? Should there be blinding color like Sonic Heroes? Should there be a futuristic approach like Sonic Riders? How about a fantasy-styled cel-shaded look?

In my opinion, I like the style used in Sonic Unleashed, which had a beautiful marriage between a colorful world with a realistic perspective. The characters were cartoony and looked like they belonged in Sonic's world, without going too out there.

Something I'd like to see for once, though, is a cel-shaded Sonic game. Not like Sonic Shuffle, but more like the Wind Waker, only it has its own artistic approach that is similar to the style of the artwork in the first Sonic Riders, with the sketchy images. Perhaps it would be better suited to the hand-held outings?

EDIT: Some pictures for comparison.

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sonic-next-gen.jpg

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935115_20061207_screen003.jpg

926672_20051121_790screen003.jpg

Edited by Indigo Rush
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2692411615_964e5de001.jpg

Hmmm....

valkyria-chronicles-20080411040200013_640w.jpg

Hehe, for a while I thought the Canvas Engine would actually be more useful for a Sonic game than the Hedgehog Engine.

In terms of color pallet, I think Unleashed hit the nail on the head, but I still think that the world was a tad too realistic. It's a bit too plausible. The odd geometric shapes are put together in such a way that you barely notice them creates a unique aesthetic that really would stand out nowadays.

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I never really saw a Sonic Shuffle screen up close before, but now I notice that he looks like a sort of blend between his newer and older forms. Regarldess of the cel-shading, I like that a lot.

As for the cel-shading though, it really depends on what style the game is going for. If it wants to be more cartoony, then by all means. But if it's trying to be more realistic like Shadow or 06, then it wouldn't work.

In terms of environments, I think the Sonic Riders framework could work quite well in a true Sonic title. They're very stimulating and futuristic. (But not the models. I'm fine with the accessories, those are cool, but the feet and hands are just so huge it's ridiculous.)

I guess what I want to say is that there's no real visual style I prefer; it really depends on the context of the game itself.

In terms of color pallet, I think Unleashed hit the nail on the head, but I still think that the world was a tad too realistic. It's a bit too plausible. The odd geometric shapes are put together in such a way that you barely notice them creates a unique aesthetic that really would stand out nowadays.
One thing I did like in Unleashed is that the way a lot of the objects in the environment had very round edges. Gave it a cartoonish feel. Edited by A Ham Sandwich
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I'd really like to see them try a cel-shaded style similar to

The in-game graphics aren't so great, and I think the low polygon count has a lot to do with it, but now that we've got more powerful hardware, and having seen games like Wind Waker make great use of the style, I think it's worth another look.
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Hmmm....

valkyria-chronicles-20080411040200013_640w.jpg

Hehe, for a while I thought the Canvas Engine would actually be more useful for a Sonic game than the Hedgehog Engine.

In terms of color pallet, I think Unleashed hit the nail on the head, but I still think that the world was a tad too realistic. It's a bit too plausible. The odd geometric shapes are put together in such a way that you barely notice them creates a unique aesthetic that really would stand out nowadays.

Yes, like that! Perhaps there could be more contrast between the shadow and light, but that is something that would work. Very nice, Phos. :)

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I would ask for them to try recreating the surreal colourfulness of the Genesis titles, but apparently Heroes was their attempt at that (and Heroes was hideous).

Just continue what they were doing with Unleashed, but with more inventive robots and some geometric foliage.

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I think so far, Sonic Adventure and SA2 had it best. Shadow was too gritty and Heroes was too bright.

I think a cel-shaded Sonic game could look great, but they'd have to set the colour palette carefully to avoid making it too bright, again.

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Cel Shading is ugly and unnecessary. He's a cartoonish hedgehog, that doesn't mean, they have to go so far as cel shading. An overly bright color scheme isn't good either.

Eh, just find a balance between dark and bright. Realism and Imagination, whatever. That's the way to go. A cool visual style to attract all kinds of people to the game.

Heroes was their attempt at that (and Heroes was hideous).
How was Heroes hideous? The textures and art design were high-res and crisp. Cept the enemy models.
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Cel Shading is ugly and unnecessary. He's a cartoonish hedgehog, that doesn't mean, they have to go so far as cel shading. An overly bright color scheme isn't good either.

Eh, just find a balance between dark and bright. Realism and Imagination, whatever. That's the way to go. A cool visual style to attract all kinds of people to the game.

How was Heroes hideous? The textures and art design were high-res and crisp. Cept the enemy models.

Heroes' concept art looked nice; it was colourful, but not overdone, with vibrant imagery. In execution however we got atrocious overshined character models, overexaggerated colours in the environment, Egg Pawns, some pretty disgraceful animation, and all of the stages that looked nice were absolute cliches.

I dunno, maybe my opinion of its graphics design has been blurred from the fact that I hated Heroes gameplay-wise, but either way Heroes soured me somewhat.

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Cel Shading is ugly
Lies and slander.

and unnecessary.
Everything is unnecessary. What matters is that it's awesome.

How was Heroes hideous? The textures and art design were high-res and crisp. Cept the enemy models.
Tthe whole thing felt really cheap. Like they looked at the genesis games, saw a bunch of bright colors, and equated it with brightly-colored toddler's toys. I feel like, if I could walk around in the levels, I'd be able to push the walls over, 'cause it's all just a set. Plus the character models are ugly and overly glossy, and the renders...I mean, who approved this abomination?
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I'd say a blend between Unleashed and Riders.

Unleashed basically took the real world and Sonic-ized it to fit the Blue Blur and his friends, while Riders takes on a futuristic approach, which I think is appropriate given how far this series leans towards being futurisitic than anything else.

Sonic felt so natural in Unleashed, everything was smooth, flowing, and crisp. And Riders...well I just like their futuristic take to it. Could at a little Unleashed spice to it.

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Maybe I was going about this the wrong way. There are two types of visual styles that I accidentally meshed together in this topic.

There's the basic art style, such as how the characters are drawn, and the essential visual style of the entire game.

Then there's the environmental art style. Certain levels should attain their own style. A colorful and childish style would fit a Green Hill Zone style level while a dark and grungy style would associate itself to a mechanized zone, and a futuristic style would have better benefit in a general city level or Eggman's headquarters.

So, perhaps we need to establish that there are 2 general art styles?

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Hmmm....

valkyria-chronicles-20080411040200013_640w.jpg

Hehe, for a while I thought the Canvas Engine would actually be more useful for a Sonic game than the Hedgehog Engine.

In terms of color pallet, I think Unleashed hit the nail on the head, but I still think that the world was a tad too realistic. It's a bit too plausible. The odd geometric shapes are put together in such a way that you barely notice them creates a unique aesthetic that really would stand out nowadays.

I had always thought the "Canvas Engine" would be good for a storybook series game. It just seems fitting to me(though the Storybook games are on Wii, so that would never happen).

I'd really like to see them try a cel-shaded style similar to
The in-game graphics aren't so great, and I think the low polygon count has a lot to do with it, but now that we've got more powerful hardware, and having seen games like Wind Waker make great use of the style, I think it's worth another look.
That would be awesome.
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That Haruhi game looks really weird. It's like they attempted to pull off a style that completely mimics the anime's, but with the characters seemingly staring off into space as they move, it ends up looking just plain lifeless.

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Chronicles might have been good cel-shaded, but that might be my reaction to seeing Wind Waker up there and wanting that on other RPGs. Sonic would have fit onto those hand drawn backgrounds a bit better though.

I'd be afraid of the Riders style looking like construction paper Yoshi's Story stuff, I think it's ugly and it doesn't fit with Sonic at all. Unleashed has a very nice look to it, and I wouldn't want them to change it soon. I'm also not sure how cel-shading would look at Sonic's speeds. Sonic's visual style has been about details, and cel-shading tends to simplify. It might be genius, like what Zelda pulled off, but it'd be wise to use it with a spin-off first. The Chronicles and Sonic Battle kind of isometric games would be good candidates. Maybe a Storybook Series game to test it out. The details being lost in it is what worries me.

Edited by Badnikz
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I mean, who approved this abomination?
The same people who created the art in the adventure series...

I really don't see anything wrong with that render. That nike smile is classic. Show's off when he still had that cool factor. Just by looking at that render, you could tell what kind of personality the character is all about.

Instead, of the generic, happy smirk you see in every other single damn sonic render. Plus, I believe it was the first game to use cg renders instead of Uekawa artwork. Sure it lacks the detail and lighting of newer renders, but still...

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The same people who created the art in the adventure series...

I really don't see anything wrong with that render. That nike smile is classic. Show's off when he still had that cool factor. Just by looking at that render, you could tell what kind of personality the character is all about.

Instead, of the generic, happy smirk you see in every other single damn sonic render. Plus, I believe it was the first game to use cg renders instead of Uekawa artwork. Sure it lacks the detail and lighting of newer renders, but still...

alps.jpg

They've got no excuse. That render is painful to look at, and this was five or six years old when Heroes came out.

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The same people who created the art in the adventure series...

I really don't see anything wrong with that render. That nike smile is classic. Show's off when he still had that cool factor. Just by looking at that render, you could tell what kind of personality the character is all about. Instead, of the generic, happy smirk you see in every other single damn sonic render.

The pose is fine, it's the awkward lighting and detail that ruins it. If it was drawn on paper or at least rendered better, I'd have no gripes. Edited by A Ham Sandwich
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I'd really like to see them try a cel-shaded style similar to
The in-game graphics aren't so great, and I think the low polygon count has a lot to do with it, but now that we've got more powerful hardware, and having seen games like Wind Waker make great use of the style, I think it's worth another look.

FUND IT.

Seriously, though, that would make a fine visual style. Totally surreal without being ridiculous about it.

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A cell-shaded venture would be nice, it'd be cool to see what could be done with today's graphics, especially with things like the aforementioned Canvas Engine..*drools* :lol: But I wouldn't mind seeing the whole realistic-environments thing sticking around either. They say the original theme for Sonic '06 was "What if Sonic existed in real life?", which is why they pushed for so much realism, but Unleashed proved that you can have realism and surrealism at the same time, heck, Unleashed looks more realistic than '06 did IMO.

If they could somehow take the environments and characters as they are from Unleashed, and slap a layer of cell shading onto it, that'd be an interesting looking game.

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I never really saw a Sonic Shuffle screen up close before, but now I notice that he looks like a sort of blend between his newer and older forms. Regarldess of the cel-shading, I like that a lot.
All of the Sonic Shuffle character models are actually just cel-shaded versions of the Adventure models. If they're going to do a cel-shaded game I want them to take inspiration from Jet Set Radio, that game is 9 years old now and is still gorgeous to look at.
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Unlike alot of people, I like the visual style of sonic 06/07. Sega made sonic and co look like a few years older than their last game. But unleashed has to be my favorite for obvious reasons.

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