Where to start as an artist

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Contents

Introduction

UFO:AI's world comes together through the contributions of artwork across a range of formats. It's not always easy to know how you can help when you're first checking out the project, so we've compiled this guide to help you.

You may also want to check out our Roadmap at some time. It is a list of all the content we have planned for the game.

I know how to...

...model, skin and animate in a 3D program like Blender, 3DSM, Maya and others.

  • What we need most:
    • Aliens. We still have several planned aliens that are not completed. See Proposals/Alien_Bestiary.
    • Civilians of all types to run around and be gunned down and/or saved on the battlefield.
  • What we want:
    • Improved versions of existing alien and civilian models. We now support more polys, higher skin resolutions, etc.
    • UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) models. We are still in the early stages of integrating them, so please discuss in the forums first. Our Roadmap sets out some more details.
  • What you need to know:

...model and skin in a 3D program like Blender, 3DSM, Maya and others.

  • What we need most:
    • Any weapon, aircraft, UFO or equipment models that are not marked [done] on our Roadmap
    • Crashed models of some UFOs and PHALANX aircraft. I don't think we have an up-to-date list of what we need, but please ask in forums if interested in doing this.
    • Civilian vehicles to be used in the battlefield as props. Should be slightly futuristic. Can be urban or rural. A few can look like they have crashed.
    • Occasional icons and other objects used on the geoscape (these are the small, simple models which indicate missions, bases, installations, UFOs and aircraft on the geoscape). Ask a developer if anything is currently needed.
  • What we want:
    • Improved versions of existing weapon and equipment models. We now support more polys, higher skin resolutions, etc.
  • What you need to know:

...model and unwrap in a 3D program, but I can't skin very well!

Most of the time, we don't have people available to do the 2D work for you. But in some cases you might find someone to help if your model is good enough. Simpler objects are more likely to get help (weapons, equipment) and you'll still need to put a basic skin in place. See the section above to get started, and feel free to post in our forums to see if anyone is interested in completing your model.

...create textures for 3D environments (maps) using Gimp, Photoshop or another program.

In most cases, we recommend you learn to make the maps yourself or find a mapper and coordinate to provide textures they need. There is a large store of open-source textures and texture resources a mapper will typically draw from, so texture contributions that are not targeted to a specific purpose are often not used. That said...

...draw, design, or otherwise create 2D artwork using Gimp, Photoshop or another program.

  • What we need most:
    • All of our tech items, including storyline pieces, have a 2D image that is displayed in the UI. Check the Roadmap under the Story content, as well as all other content, for unfinished items mentioning a "Tech image".
  • What we want:
    • Improvements to any tech items. If we think your version is cooler than what we've got, we'll probably use it.
  • What you need to know:
    • Not much, but you'll want to explore the existing content to make sure you match existing dimensions.

...map in a Radiant-like program used by games such as Quake.

I want to learn how to...

...make maps to hunt aliens in.

We use a variant of the quake-based map editor Radiant that we call UFORadiant. Learning how to use this editor will allow you to create new battlefields, something we're always looking for.

...make weapons, vehicles or other objects for UFO:AI.

You'll want to learn a 3D modelling program, like Blender (it's free and open source). It's complicated and you'll want to go through a lot of tutorials to learn how to use it. There are loads of tutorials out there. Proper modelling will often involve skinning as well (wrapping a 2D texture around the 3D model), so you'll also need to learn a basic 2D image editing program.

  • What you need to know for UFO:AI:

...make civilians, soldiers or aliens for UFO:AI.

You'll want to do everything in the previous section to learn how to model and skin an object. Then you'll also need to go through some tutorials on animation.

...improve the UI or contribute artwork for research techs.

You'll need to get your hands on a good 2D image editor. We recommend Gimp or, if you can afford it, Photoshop. Either will suffice, but both are complicated programs, so you'll need to look at some tutorials to find out how to use it.

  • What you need to know for UFO:AI:
    • Not much. You'll want to look at the files for the game to make sure you are matching the same dimensions as other items.

...create textures to be used in battlefield maps.

You'll need to get your hands on a good 2D image editor. We recommend Gimp or, if you can afford it, Photoshop. Either will suffice, but both are complicated programs, so you'll need to look at some tutorials to find out how to use it.

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