Stop Saying "Stylized..."


I love this thread, regarding on how people see the definition, and is driven by what he know and what he already experienced.

But if we are looking to a philosophical way, everything is stylized, even the most realistic.
Let me explain.
As said Wyvery, even games that a majority would call ‘realistic’, like call of duty, have some stylization part on it.
But what can we call realistic ? Something that look like reality ? Tend to represent reality ? The thing is, as we are in a video game, nothing is reality, and nothing look like reality, I suppose… Reality does not have polygon.
Even the most realistic approach have interpretation according to the artistic director, the artist who work on the asset, etc…

As we want to define the limit and the definition of realistic and stylized, where do we start ? Is photogrammetry the most realistic way to do it, also ? For me, even a film or a serie, is stylized, regarding to lighting (I don’t thing I have backlight following me all day long :smile: )

Sorry for the little digression, but I thought it could be interesting to show my thought about it.

And for the subject up here, I guess it all about communication of example. “Ok, you want a stylized way. But tell me more. Do you have a game in mind that seems to be close to what you have in mind ? Of course you do, so tell me more.”
The word doesn’t fit alone, it have to be combined with more in depth example. I’m sure you already share misunderstanding, on your studio, or even in everyday life, because everyone have different past, idea and words definition, and in EVERY talk or debate, we have to define what are we talking about, in order to talk about the same thing !


Maybe create a VFX art style chart to better explain all the art out there. That would take a while to sort out but could be helpful. :thinking:


I’m seeing a lot of “everything is stylized to some degree”. I suppose, but if we’re talking games, things are stylized for a reason. Sometimes it’s budget, sometimes it’s the technology. Uncharted 1 looks stylized compared to Uncharted 4: It Belongs In A Museum. We all see art and design different from one another. Everything has a style and that’s what makes each game, project, and experience stand out. I think saying everything has style to some degree is losing the point of this discussion. Let’s just say that style is subjective.

There’s a clear distinction between Call of Duty and Fortnite and Rayman. Gray and brown colors do not belong to Call of Duty any more than magenta and turquoise belong to Rayman.

My experience working with art that was described as being “stylized” comes down to the pillars we set as an art team. Due to having no art director, a team preference, the style guide we created was born out of a unity of vision and would act in place of the AD.

Those pillars are as follow:

  • BOLD

To be BOLD, we felt that shape language needed to come first and followed by anatomy. Essentially, strong silhouette followed by details. VFX are very much their own character. The Spellbreak VFX up above have to satisfy design demand, but also a little something else that I’ll touch on later.

To be FOCUSED, we felt like the content needed to be boiled down to it’s essence. How much detail did we need? How much can we remove to where it still has character, but isn’t overblown with details? Is the visual balance there? These are pretty fundamental VFX checklists, but in what we consider stylized, it requires a lot of self editing and restraint to capture the essence of a character skill, environment effect, or debuff.

To be CHARMING, we felt that all content needed to have personality, energy, attitude. They needed to feel bright. For the Spellbreak VFX above, the shapes and color are simple but have character to them. Many of us have seen the gifs and, personally, I feel like there is a lot of attitude just from the still of this lightning attack.

Style is a lot of things. It’s timing, it’s squash and stretch, it’s anticipation, and the other nine principles of animation that got us in this forum. Those principles are about attitude and putting character first, putting shape above anatomy (details). Spec Ops the Line is stylized, but not in the way that Sunset Overdrive is. That isn’t bad either. My reason for writing this is that I don’t think stylized is exclusively bright colors and silly sounds.

I’ll leave you with this inaccurate quote. After finishing the Weeping Woman, Picasso turned to his model and said, “Your face is stylized.” Boom, roasted.


Imagine in the near future, when the style needs to be set in stone and the devs go:
“we really want the style to be Keyseritolized!”
“Working on a game and we want out vfx to be very NateLanique!”
“Shenstyle would work for us!”
“This effect is too Luosey!”
Etc :stuck_out_tongue: