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Nathan Strum

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Nathan Strum last won the day on December 9 2021

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About Nathan Strum

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    Enjoying a sandwich
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    Newhall, CA
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    Scrabble, Solitaire

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  1. I'm working remote, using my own computer's monitor to view a laptop computer that I'm using to remote into my desktop computer at work. I keep forgetting which computer I'm using.

  2. Coming up with the ideas is always a 10. But yes, in this case I was referring to the technical challenges of executing the artwork, rather than coming up with the ideas. But I'll go over those a little bit as well, once the artwork is revealed.
  3. Once the other artwork is revealed, I can explain a bit more. But basically it has to do with the amount of detail in each illustration, the amount of shading (ie. not just flat colors), and the software I use to create the final artwork with. In the case of all of the above games, they started out with a digital (bitmap) sketch on my iPad using Procreate. This is great for roughing out ideas, but I don't use it for finished work, because I don't feel that I have enough control over the final image. So from there they went over to Adobe Photoshop to weed out errant layers and get converted to CMYK colorspace (required for printing). After that, they went into Adobe Illustrator for the finished illustration. I've typically used Illustrator for the line artwork, because Illustrator is a vector drawing program - not bitmap. So the artwork is infinitely scalable (and malleable) in a way bitmaps aren't. I can get super-clean lines and change characteristics of them in ways I can't do with bitmaps. Then I'd often take the line art back over to Photoshop for "painting" since it's well suited for shading, textures, gradients, etc. For artwork that doesn't have much shading (Zoo Keeper, Aardvark) I just used Illustrator for most of the artwork since flat colors are very easy to do (and again, very easy to change). Zoo Keeper has a bitmap for the brick background. Aardvark's background is fully vector. This time, I did nearly all of the final artwork in Illustrator (except for the backgrounds in UniWar S and Galaxian, which are bitmapped "paintings"). For Lady Bug Arcade, the shading was minimal, so it wasn't difficult to do. In Photoshop, you can just grab a big ol' brush and swipe it across an area to add shading. But to get complex shading in Illustrator (where it follows a shape, or you have a highlight and shading in the same area), then it requires more work to set up because you're not "painting" as such, but assigning values and parameters to objects. So with Lady Bug Arcade I started experimenting more with that, which required using multiple layers of different gradients with transparency, or setting up (what Adobe calls) Freeform Gradients. Freeform Gradients are relatively new and a bit twitchy (and not always predictable) to work with. But they're very powerful since you can create gradients of (almost) any shape and color combination. And again, you can edit them without "repainting" them as you would using bitmaps. You just change values and parameters. It's like sculpting, but on a flat plane. Once I'd gone through a learning curve on Lady Bug Arcade (which is part of the reason it's a "6", but also because I completely re-drew the entire label after the original version was well underway ), I decided to try applying those techniques in Illustrator to both Galaxian and UniWar S, which are both more "painterly" in appearance, and are the kind of labels I would have historically done in Photoshop instead. That's where the difficulty went way, way up, because I was trying to replicate the appearance of what I would have traditionally done pretty quickly in Photoshop, using a completely different method in Illustrator. There was a lot of trial and error in the process, but I was able to achieve the end results that I wanted. Perhaps even better than what I could have done in Photoshop. Certainly, there are some tools that vector graphics have (such as easily replicating and scaling objects) that makes repetitive tasks much, much easier to do. At the other end of the difficulty spectrum, Pac-Man Collection is pretty straightforward. Mostly flat colors and minimal shading. So the technical challenge of executing it was the easiest of the bunch. Pretty sure I'm not going to work on so many labels at the same time again though. Although it did help in the sense of having something else to switch to when I got frustrated or stuck.
  4. I should really subscribe to your blog. And I should order one of the new VecMulti's from Richard, too.
  5. Oh... and in case anyone was wondering: Apart from Gorf Arcade (which will be completed later in the year), I guessed pretty well on these. I'd probably give Lady Bug Arcade a difficulty of 7 though.
  6. Updates: 1-14-22: Final box/label/manual artwork for Pac-Man, Galaxian and UniWarS are now finished. Manual and box layouts are in progress.
  7. Updates: 12-29-21: Final box/label/manual artwork in progress for Pac-Man Collection 40th Anniversary Edition (7800). (Note: updated name, same game as Pac-Man Collection XM.) 12-29-21: Final box/label/manual artwork in progress for Galaxian (7800). 12-31-21: Final box/label/manual artwork in progress for UniWarS (7800). 12-31-21: Lady Bug Arcade now available in the AtariAge Store. Project moved to Completed Homebrews. 12-31-21: RobotWar:2684 now available in the AtariAge Store. Project moved to Completed Homebrews.
  8. I'm also eagerly anticipating a release of this game. Hope it's still in the works!
  9. Update: 12-26-21: Lady Bug Arcade final box, label and manual artwork completed. Box artwork previewed in forums.
  10. I want to go out and buy some classical music, but someone keeps Haydn my Chopin Liszt.

    1. GoldLeader


      Well, You've got to go Bach and get a Handel on the situation...Schumann, get outa here, if you don't have a car,  take Debussy...

  11. Not gonna happen unless you print your own. At one point I'd thought about doing a monthly Artie calendar. 12 episodes would be doable. Probably should theme it somehow. Like "Artie's Snarkiest Strips", or an all "RetroVGS" calendar, with nothing but word balloons. I also have over 100 Artie avatars ("Games we're better off without...") that I've made over the years. Haven't changed the current one in awhile. One of these days I'll throw those together into a collection of some sort. I once suggested to Albert that he publish a homebrew calendar using some of the label/box art that have graced various games over the years. I think that would be pretty cool.
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