Computer game art production – Styles in art

Visual Styles:

Cel Shading:

Often used to make the game look hand-drawn, like a cartoon style or comic style. The non photo-realistic style of Cel shading is usually implicated to make the gamer feel like he/she is playing through a novel. More frequently seen in Japanese developed games E.g. “Dragonball Z”, “Naruto”, “Afro Samurai” etc. This visual style is fairly new, being around from the beginning of the twenty first century. Another popular franchise of games using this style is “Borderlands”.


“A style of art and sculpture characterized by the highly
detailed depiction of ordinary life with the impersonality of a

In computer graphics photo-realism is to recreate a replica of realism within a 3D mesh, whether that’s fictional or nonfictional. Photo-realism is the most difficult and demanding visual style but it is the most successful in the way it immerses the player. Examples of this are games like; “Battlefield” (Making the player feel like they are in a war zone) or “The Last Of Us” (Making the player feel more sympathetic and attached to the characters in the story).


Abstract Games:

“Abstract art style often employs a lot of lines and geometric
shapes that don’t resemble any real-life objects.”

“Geometry Wars” and “Breakout” are two well-known examples. Early game developers often chose abstract visuals, because real objects couldn’t be translated into game graphics very well at the time, this is especially true prior to the release of the NES, on consoles such as the Atari 2600.



Stylized / Exaggerated:

Features, scales and colours may be exaggerated. Common in Anime and Manga. Many games fall into this category but have elements from others.

An example of this can be “Brutal Legend”, the characters have exaggerated features, like bone structure and muscle groups.


Based on traditional 2D games. Retro style games try to recreate the look and feel of 8/16 bit games. Often pixelated and block shaded. “Super Meat Boy” is a good example of this.



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