Example animated Gifs created using Adobe Animate | Samples

Here are some of my example animated gifs created using Adobe Animate – the successor to Flash.

Whether you pronounce it ‘JIF’ or ‘GIF’ ( I’m in camp GIF, with a ‘G’ by the way!) the humble .gif format has been around for decades. It’s simple, fun and universal. Gifs are great, and you can use Adobe Animate to create them.

For the sake of show and tell, I wanted to share some of my smaller animated projects. A batch of animated Gifs I made using Adobe Animate CC and its predecessor Adobe Flash.

I have already shared other types of example projects created using Adobe Animate. Such as what you can make using Adobe Animate ( formerly Flash ).

Example animated gifs created using Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate, or when it was called ‘Flash’, was the 2D animation software of choice in its heyday. I’ve used Adobe Animate for making web components, animations, small games, and various other forms of multimedia before it lost its popularity. Adobe Animate still has plenty to offer in my professional opinion. From creating 2D animations to very simple games, videos, and general multi-media in the form of HTML5.

Another benefit of Adobe Animate – it comes as part of the Adobe Creative Suite ( Creative Cloud ). So if you are already a license holder, this is another tool in your arsenal.

A distinction that I like in the way Adobe Animates works for motion graphics, is its granular approach to frame-by-frame animation.

It adheres more closely to traditional methods of frame-by-frame animation.

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Example Gifs created in Adobe Animate – My Animations

My example animated gifs created in Adobe Animate.

Example animated gifs created using Adobe Animate - Thunder cloud animated gif
Example animated gifs created using Adobe Animate - Chip
Floppy disk gif animation
Slider gif
loader gif

My history with Adobe Animate

After studying for an HND in Graphic Design, I decided to embark on another course that built upon my knowledge of working with Adobe Animate – Multi-media design and digital animation.

I still use Adobe Animate for ‘small-scale’ animation projects from time to time, as it is well-suited to creating frame-by-frame animations and small-scale projects.

But, it is no longer my default motion tool for making multi-media applications and animations.

Example GIFS created in Adobe Animate – Shorthand overview of the process

To create the example animated GIFs (or gif) as shown in this post, I did the following:

  • Mocked up some very rough ideas on paper to help brainstorm and visualise my ideas.
  • Created the vector illustrations in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Imported the Illustrator artwork into Adobe Animate.
  • Created the animations through a mix of frame-by-frame animation and ‘tweens’.
  • Exported the GIFs from Adobe Animate – ready to be distributed.

In the paragraphs below, I go to more exact detail of what of what I did in each paragraph.

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Drawing the artwork in Adobe Illustrator

I didn’t illustrate the artwork in Adobe Animate. These examples shown in this post were created in Adobe Illustrator first and then imported into the project library in Adobe Animate.

In the early stages, I created the drawings the way I wanted. I then drew them in such a way that parts of the illustrations could be pieced together and broken apart according to how I wanted the animations to work.

Why not just do it all in Adobe Animate?

Because I find it easier to illustrate and draw in Adobe Illustrator using my Wacom Tablet. Adobe Illustrator is made for drawing.

I can do some basic drawing in Animate, but Illustrator is a lot more capable as far as I’m concerned for drawing, and fortunately, these 2 applications are good bedfellows now they are part of the Adobe Creative Suite. This has not always been the case.

I have written a bit more here, on the merits of drawing with Wacom Tablet, and why I used Adobe Illustrator when drawing on a computer.

Example GIFs created in Adobe Animated | The ‘importing’ stage

Adobe Illustrator enabled me to have greater control of how I wanted the artwork to look. Gradient shading on the artwork, bold highlights, crisp lines etc.

Once I had created the initial illustrations, I then exported these from Adobe Illustrator – some pieces of artwork were direct imports from either single or multiple artboards.

I then got animating the artwork.

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Creating the animations on the main root timeline

Importing complete, assets ready.

This is a similar process I have been using since I was taught how to use Adobe Flash ( Now Animate ) back in 2007. Although the process has changed to some degree and I have streamlined it substantially, the essence of this is more or less the same.

Before using Adobe Animate, I used it to draw it all in Animate – Formerly Flash.

Working on one animation at a time, I pull the components of individual drawings onto the main stage. The white background. I then commence the process of creating animations via a combination of tweens, keyframes, and incorporating simple effects.

When creating the . GIF animations, I try to stay conscious of their intents and purposes. To be used on websites as loops and to be multi-purpose.

I then ‘Exported’ the gifs from Adobe Animate, doing a certain amount of testing and measuring, and tweaking as and when needed.

Caveats – don’t bury in sub animations

Note to self and a lesson to the reader.

Don’t insert the animations into animations. Eg, from the main timeline.
And don’t create an animated clip inside another animated Movie Clip.

These don’t tend to work correctly when exporting from Adobe Animate in most cases.

A strong USP ( Unique Selling Point ) for Adobe Animate

The ability to create frame-by-frame animation is one of the best and most unique selling points when it comes to using Adobe Animate. For me, this is also incidental, as Animate, which was formerly “Flash”, comes as part of the Abobe Creative Suite. No need for extra or new licenses for 2D animation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post on example gifs created in Adobe Animate and taking the time to watch my animations. Animate, in my opinion, was and still is a great little program for creating animated gifs or 2D animation in general. If you know how to use it.

If you would like any help in creating animated gifs be it for a website or something else, then please do get in touch.

Other topics around example animated gifs created using Adobe Animate

You may also find these subjects interesting around using Adobe Animate.

Other websites

– My brochure and portfolio website & services – jimmsdesign

External Project Website ( takes you away from this website )

Part of my project samples – Example gifs created using Adobe Animate – Copyright Jimmsdesgn

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus | FREE tutorial for complete beginners

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus… ( updated 2024 )

To those who have never drawn anything on a computer, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start.

Before investing my time and money in using a professional Wacom tablet, I first started out with a basic roller ball computer mouse and MS Paint. Yes, it was that long ago!

This method of drawing on a computer with a Wacom tablet predates how I learned how to draw commercially on a computer. Before attending design college and building a design career.

When drawing on a computer, the mouse is the first obvious tool to use. As you invest your energy and education into drawing on a computer, you will want to seek out better hardware and software to support your digital drawing journey.

The mouse should be your first step, but don’t stop there!

This post is a great introduction if you are considering using a tablet to draw on your computer.

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus - Title graphics - picture of purple vector Wacom tablet overlaid onto dark background

Drawing with a tablet | overview – why use one?

One of the best ways to draw on a computer is by using a Stylus & Graphics Tablet in conjunction with a powerful art creation program. Using a tablet will afford you a greater degree of artistic freedom and finesse once you have become accustomed to the nuances and sensations of using one. However, This is also assuming that you can draw to a certain degree in the first place.

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus- Blue ball raster graphics
How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet – blue vexel ball example

How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet – Quickfire answer

In terms of how to use a stylus and tablet ( or ‘drawing tablet’ ) from a technical standpoint, it is typically a case of plugging your tablet into your computer, downloading and installing the latest drivers and software, and then calibrating your drawing tablet.

Once this core set-up is completed, you can then set about installing drawing in programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

The technical setup is not that complicated when comes to how to work with a drawing tablet.

How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet with regards to technique.

Treat the tablet as you would a sketchpad and pencil. Apply light strokes and heavy strokes, bold strokes, and small strokes. Get used to the pressure and sensitivity of your tablet. Learn to ‘feel’ the tablet ( cringe ). And give it time.

The video below is me drawing a blue ball using a Wacom Tablet and Photoshop.

*If you have applications installed on your computer.

This is a hyper-lapse of myself creating the blue ball above – ‘vexel’ a combination of Vexel and Pixel.

For more information on how to create digital artwork on the computer, read on!

“you will need to practice, practice and then more practice.”

Wacom tablet and stylus example
Tablet & Stylus – Wacom
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How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet | Managing expectations

Not wanting to lead any readers or budding designers astray, I feel one of the first things I should touch upon when learning how to draw on a computer with a drawing tablet such as a Wacom, is managing expectations.

Although knowing the technicalities of how to draw with a stylus and drawing a tablet on a computer sounds like a golden bullet. The technicalities are only the first part of the journey when it comes to drawing on a computer.

The real knack for making your own artwork comes with practice – not the tools. A piece of high-tech equipment won’t provide you with the soulless magic results like an AI generator.

That is not how it works if you want to create your ‘own’ artwork.

To get your digital artwork or design to the place you want it, you will need to practice, practice, and then more practice.

If however, you are of an arty-illustrator vein. Then ignore what I have said above. You may take to drawing or designing on a computer like a duck to water if you are already a proficient artist or illustrator! Let your flair flourish and shine!

Here are a few examples of what I have illustrated ( drawn ) on a computer with my Wacom Tablet. Followed by some simple steps.

What I have drawn ( illustrated) with a Wacom Tablet on a computer

Character illustrations I have created with my Wacom tablet
Characters illustrated for a board game.
Board artwork illustartion - How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet
Illustration of a stylus
Drawn a wacom - illustartion of stylues base / well

Step ‘0’ ) How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet – Be able to draw

As a pre-step, I can’t assume too much.

You will need to make sure you can draw to a certain degree with a pencil or pen before you can expect to draw on a computer with Wacom or a digital tablet. No matter what hardware you own.

If you want to create your own artwork away from AI art generators, you will need to be able to draw to some degree.

The technology and hardware, will not magic your hand and eye into creating what you want.

Even if you can only sketch, this will be a huge advantage when drawing with a stylus on a computer. This is a pre-step warning!

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Step 1 ) The required equipment to draw on a computer

To draw on a computer with a tablet … you will need to own the required equipment. Or borrow. This should be a given. I have used the following bits of equipment in the past ( aside from a mouse ):

  • Wacom Bamboo and pen – a more entry-level drawing tablet at the time ( now legacy)
  • Or a Wacom Intuos Pro & Pen ( medium ), this is what I’m using at the moment.
  • * Or a Cintiq ( I’m jealous )
  • A working keyboard
  • A computer that is compatible with a tablet
  • An operating system that is compatible with your drawing tablet
  • *Your computer will also need to be able to run both the drivers, the tablet, and the software
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Step 2 ) Understanding the type of digital art you want to create ( not genre )

When considering how to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet, you may wish to consider the type of artwork you want to create.

This can steer the type of software required to draw on your computer. I have attached an example here.

Vector Art and raster art example - How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet

style examples, Photoshop Vs Illustrator

You will notice the different styles above I have created using certain software with my drawing tablet. You can create certain types of finishes in varying programs.

Vector Illustration ( left blue ball )

Imagine drawing with cut-out shapes, knives, sprays and pieces and pieces. With the types of programs that allow you to draw and create vector artwork, you can create a range of slick illustrations.

With vector artwork, the appearance can appear clean and tidy. You can also scale the work up and down without loss of quality. Vector artwork lends itself well to commercial logos, large format graphics, icons, and UI’s.

Here is an example of some of my other vector artwork.

Token vector illustartions for board games - drawn in Adobe Illustrator

Bitmap based artwork – Raster ( right blue ball above )

You may notice the ball on the right has a more painterly feel ( refer to the illustration above). For this more textured appearance, I digitally painted this in Photoshop. Some may find this approach more akin to drawing or painting using traditional methods.

Bitmap format or digital painting in particular lends itself well to a more painterly, textured, or grainy appearance. If you have painted in acrylics for example, you may prefer this approach. But it doesn’t always lend itself so well to all circumstances in print.

Blue ball painted in Adobe Photoshop

Is creating digital art easy?

Yes and no, getting started with creating digital art can be very easy and low cost. Getting to a stage where you could call yourself a professional artist takes time and years of practice. The best way of getting started with creating digital art is by downloading graphics software and practicing to improve your digital drawing techniques.

I wish I could find my very first digital drawing, it was created on a Windows 3.2 in the era of the awesome floppy disk – you can read a bit about me here.

This is perhaps a topic I would like to dive into again in another post.

Digital art can be accessible with the right tools and equipment. Working with the Wacom Tablet for example can streamline the process further.

Step 3 ) What digital art software should ‘I’ use?

There are so many to pick from, but for the sake of just creating something you can call ‘digital art’, as a hobbyist begin with something you may already have, MS Paint In Windows.

Gimp Icon
Gimp Logo

There are other art programs out there that are also free such as Gimp and Krita. I have personally never used Krita but the results on the website show what it is capable of and it has also been given a recommendation from a reputable digital art magazine IFX. This magazine is dedicated to creating fantasy, digital, and traditional artwork.

Advanced digital artwork software ( what I use )

As both a designer and digital artist, I use 2 main programs to create my art and design work, these programs being: Abobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator often gives a very clean-cut appearance that you may see in books, posters, lifestyle magazines etc – this is called ‘vector art’.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a versatile piece of software that behaves like a drawing and painting tool and offers an intuitive workflow.

It should be noted that these programs can both be tricky to master and you may be more drawn to one than the other. You can get a free trial or purchase a subscription to use the software by going to Adobe Creative Cloud.

If you are just starting out on your journey to becoming a digital artist or illustrator, I would test a free program first.

Use the images above as a reference if you are just starting out or if this is part of a hobby. For me, it works like so.

Simple differences in what type of artwork Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator creates.

  • Clean cut, modern vector artwork = Adobe Illustrator
  • Grainly, textures, and painterly = Adobe Photoshop

How to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet | Deciding on software

As a budding digital artist, designer, or illustrator you will want to consider how you want to draw with a Wacom Tablet. What sort of outcomes are you looking to achieve?

If you are unsure and just trying your hand at creating digital art on a computer, you may want to consider the selection like so.

Adobe Illustrator may suit you more if you want to become a designer or a clean-cut vector artist. The way a vector drawing behaves inside a program is quite different from a raster art program such as Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop is great If you want to work as a traditionally styled illustrator, digital painter, game artist etc.

There are thousands of examples of digital artists on social media with websites and professional blogs.

Here are some examples here of my vector artwork.

This person here is a terrific vector artist and designer – Vicky Doodles

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Step 4 ) Grab Your stylus, and your Wacom Tablet and start drawing

Assuming that you have now decided on the type of artwork you want to experiment with, now is the time to start using the equipment.

To continue with an overview of how to draw on the computer with a stylus & tablet. Make sure you have plugged in and installed your tablet correctly.

If you have started with Adobe Illustrator as your application of choice. I would recommend starting the tool that is in tune with the Wacom Tablet, eg the brush or pencil. My first port of call would either be the Pencil or the Brush tool.

Start making small strokes with the stylus on your Wacom and see how the stroke behaves.

Or if you prefer, start working with some of the most basic shapes first and move these around your artboard as you would with a mouse.

Short overview of how to draw with a tablet in Adobe Illustrator

  • 1 ) Firstly you will want to start up Adobe Illustrator.
  • 2 ) Create a new document of your choosing. You can start with A4 for the sake of experimentation.
  • 3 ) Select the brush tool “B” and start making some marks and feel how the tablet responds to you and Adobe Illustrator. You can always undo it if you make a mess.
  • 4 ) If you prefer, you can also try to create an image with shapes first if you are familiar with working with vector graphics.

Illustrations – working in Adobe Illustrator and making marks.

Short overview of how to draw with a tablet in Adobe Illustrator - demonstration
(M) for rectangle tool in Adobe Illustrator

If you read on, I have also created some short exercises to play with – for free! Hopefully, these will get the juices and familiarity working when using your Wacom Tablet.

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus - method fro drawing in adobe illustrator

Short overview of how to draw with a tablet in Adobe Photoshop

If you have decided you would prefer to create artwork in Photoshop on your computer then this is the paragraph for you.

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus - using adobe photoshop for practice
  1. ) Goes without saying, but open up Adobe Photoshop – and create a new document.
  2. ) Select a brush tool and start painting/ drawing onto your blank document. Remember, this is only to get used to using your Wacom Tablet and Stylus. I used black.
  3. ) Press ‘F5’ to open your “brush settings”, select a tip you like and tick “transfer”.
  4. ) Now start painting and building a feel for your Wacom tablet. Another tip, play around with the opacity to help build your brush strokes on top of one another.

When learning how to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus, the snappy overview above will hopefully get you started. But, I have also created some exercises for you in the next step, to really give yourself some time when drawing with a Wacom Tablet.

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5 ) How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus | Exercises

To further develop and play with your Wacom tablet. I invite to to take part in these exercises I have created for you for free. The illustrations below should guide you on what you need to do when drawing on a computer with your Wacom.

Exercise for drawing in Adobe Illustrator with your Wacom & Stylus

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus - Exercises and practice, adobe illustrator
When practicing drawing with a Wacom Tablet, it may be easy to save and download the reference exercise above. If you want to use this for learning feel free to take it and save it to your computer. Although it cannot be used for commercial purposes. Feel free to credit and link back to this page – How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus

Exercise for drawing in Adobe Photoshop with your Wacom & Stylus

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus | exercise, drawing in photoshop

How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus | Concludes Steps

That concludes the step and general over of how to draw on the computer with a Wacom tablet & stylus. By all means, feel free to revisit the steps and stages above. Or if you feel this was a lot to remember, why not save this page as a favourite or bookmark. ( thanks )

But hey, I am not yet finished, I have also noted some key differences when drawing on a computer.

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Wacom & stylus vs drawing with a mouse

Very old computer mouse for drawing on a computer!
If you are actually drawing on a computer with these legendary relics… Kudos to you. Image Source – Wikpedia

If you are still wavering as to whether you want to draw with a Wacom. I have gone into a little bit of additional depth. A bonus section that is a supplement to the ‘how-to’.

A computer mouse in action

This example shows the end result of some digital artwork created using a mouse in Photoshop. It’s a bit trickier to use although it’s not bad for straight lines!

Drawing with a mouse! Visual example
Drawing with a mouse! (An Apple Smart Mouse)

I would advise moving on from a computer mouse at some stage if you are thinking of getting serious with drawing on a computer, be it for graphic design, illustration, or your own sanity.

If you are thinking of spending many hours drawing and creating digital artwork, using a different input will save on potential wrist aches.

The day I plugged in a Wacom graphics tablet, was the day I changed the way I created digital artwork on a computer. Using a drawing or graphics tablet can make the experience of creating artwork on a computer much more organic.

A Wacom & stylus in action

Below is an example of me sketching something in Photoshop using a stylus + tablet. It’s a quicker, smoother, and much more human way of creating a drawing.

Drawing with Stylus and Tablet example
Drawing with Stylus and Tablet. Handles, curves and waves, and is much easier to flow with

After using a Wacom Tablet for a few years now, I would struggle to return to drawing with a mouse. Outside the less control, the amount of RSI I used to get from drawing with a mouse, would be enough to put some off the profession.

Give a drawing tablet a try. I love them.

Summary | How to draw on the computer with a Wacom Tablet & Stylus

And that should conclude the basic overview in steps of how to draw on the computer with a Wacom tablet & stylus. As an overview, here is what we can do.

  1. Buy a stylus and drawing tablet of your choice.
  2. Install the hardware on your computer.
  3. Check the drivers are up to date – calibrate the software to your computer
  4. Download a graphics program such as Photoshop or one of free applications mentioned previously.
  5. Open the software.
  6. Start creating digital art!

Aside from the technicalities of the hardware, the real skill comes from lots of practice. Make sure to follow the short tutorial/exercises above to get you started with drawing your Wacom tablet.

Credits – All the best with your digital art journey and creating digital awesomeness on your computer

Thank you for reading, hopefully, this post has given you some insight into how to create digital artwork with a Wacom Tablet and an idea of tools you can use to draw on a computer.

If you would like any professional assistance please feel free to contact me on my website.

You may be also interested in reading this :
Handling black in print
Creating artwork for game
Reducing Banding in Photoshop
How to reduce banding on Photoshop
Editing text on your playing cards in Indesign

Case study | graphic design and making a game
Home

Project Post | Creating a board game prototype

Creating a board game prototype. It was past time I shared a new project on my blog, and in this post, I wanted to share my efforts in making a board game prototype.

These are some of the processes used for creating a board game prototype for a past client – ( Conway Council ).

I would like to say that the initial brief was simple, and in truth, it was simple, on paper at least. But it was also simple to point out vague.

Nuances came up that I had never experienced in my career so far. I could tell that the people commissioning the project, were not familiar with working with board game designers, and that was fine.

I was also there to help and guide them.

From the outset, I knew I would need to roll my sleeves up to make a playable game. Like the image shows.

Board game prototype for streetwise board game

What I gleaned from the initial brief:

  • The board game needed to be educational
  • Palatable for teenagers
  • And teaches teens about the hard knocks of life ( and youth homelessness )

Conwy Council was going to use this game with charity organisations such as Shelter and other companies based in Wales.

“teach children about youth homelessness”

Core steps and processes used in making this prototype

  • Discussed the initial brief. After a basic telephone call.
  • Create the first brief ( the entirety of the project was actually several smaller projects ).
  • Created very rough rules
  • Creating the initial game mechanics based on the rules
  • Visual design, characters, rules, packaging, and general graphic design art direction
  • Created a mockup – in full colour
  • Ran first playtest
  • Refined game
  • Create a design-ready prototype for photography and further development
  • Worked as the middleman, project manager, and between client and ad prototype manufacturer
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Creating a board game prototype ( overview )

The aim of the game was to create something that teaches children and teenagers the dangers of youth homelessness. It is the ‘gamification’ of how to better manage personal finances, and work with general property pitfalls and debt. All these situations can lead to you losing your house and home.

The message of the game was stark, but we needed to establish a way to make the game both enjoyable, educational, and palatable.

For the brief, I was initially given a spreadsheet of depressing phrases that were more akin to a sad flashcard game than a board game. I used these phrases and situations as inspiration for the game mechanics. These phrases acted as a springboard.

After all, the main purpose was to create an educational game with a root meaning: try to look after yourself and not end up homeless. That, would be my hook for how you lose the game.

“I didn’t want to make the game so hard and depressing that it completely crushed the players’ souls. The game ‘could’ be beaten.”

But even with the best-laid plans, and being careful with money, things can occur. That is another core mechanic built into the rules. It was another lesson subliminally buried in the core game play.

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1 ) Crafting the basic rules

When creating a board game prototype, a viable game mechanic and rules are essential to a game that is both playable and fun.

I hate it when you buy a board game and realise that gameplay is not only flawed but utterly broken. I feel cheated.

When making the rules, I didn’t want to make the game so hard and depressing that it completely crushed the players’ souls. The game ‘could’ be beaten.

Nor did I want to make a game that could be cheated. This is why playtesting your game is important. and with strangers better still.

These rules were alpha-tested by me.

Notes were taken, the game was enhanced, and artwork was then ( Note then, after making a playable mock-up) created.

Here is more on creating a mock-up for creating a board game prototype.

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2 )The first iteration of the game

In the very early form of the game, I constructed it from bits and pieces from my studio and my partner’s office. Nothing fancy.

Creating a board game prototype the initial game pieces

Photo taken from the earliest iteration of the game.

When creating the early form of the board game prototype, here is an example of those bits and pieces.

Creating a board game prototype – Alpha Scrap Components

  • Post-it notes
  • Bits of bric-a-brac as game pieces
  • A sheet of white A3 paper
  • Note paper
  • Scraps of paper as currency

As I said, nothing fancy at all when developing the game mechanics.

It was whatever I could fashion together to make a playable game. For this project, this was all that was required, but you can buy prototype kits also.

Once I had established some very basic rules and core game mechanics. I then set about testing what some of the different cards might work and play like.

cards and tokens

When creating a board game prototype, this is a crucial stage! Before graphic design was even considered. They game needed to be half-decent to play.

Seeing what components you need earlier in the development process rather than later, will save time, money, and headaches. You can then move on to the graphic design stages and artwork. Which brings me to the next part.

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3 ) Characters & the visual design for creating a board game prototype

Once the first iteration of a playable game was created, I stress-tested the rules. I then set about creating some initial visual design for the game – the graphic design.

I sketched out some characters, titles, the general look and feel of the game, and the cover of the box of which there were several iterations. And a segment for the game board for the client to see. I will often refer to this stage as ‘Early design, design roughs, early development or first phase of development’.

There is no use in creating an entire project only to show the client at the end something they don’t like. Make life easier on yourself, and create a sample. Speaking of which, here is a sample from this projects of some of my process and journey.

Initial artwork for a board game ( design ideas )

Creating a board game prototype early idea generation

in this part, you can see me experimenting with different card designs to present to the client. The preferred cards would be funneled and developed further in later stages.

Character illustration for board game
Characters
Cover artwork

Creating a general look and feel for the cover and some of the typographic experimentation. This is in essence part of the cover and box packaging ( including the cover art )

Creating a board game prototype early board segment

An early sample of the game board! More game board design can be seen either in this post – snakes and ladders game or The London Pub Crawl.

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4 ) Graphic Design & Core Components ( Development )

Below are some of the components I designed and illustrated for the prototype. After the first stages of the visual design which was a large part of the project, the ideas that were short-listed were developed further.

These designs were readied in Adobe Illustrator before being imported into a cutter guide. These cutter guide templates and PDF’s were then sent off to a factory for a batch print. ( although I made a more basic version for further playtesting )

The same premise was similar to the cards, rules and the first designs, only polished and developed further.

Here is another post on how to import text into card artwork using Indesign.

The developed graphic components

Card design for the board game
event card designs
Creating a board game prototype developed board segment for game
Top down of board game visual
Creating a board game prototype full game board graphic
Tokens for a board game - illustration

“Then playtest it again. And then… when you have had enough. Playtest it once or twice more. “

5 ) Playtesting

When creating a whole game, I always advise my clients to play test their games, and this project was no different.

Being the one at the helm of making a fully working game, I wanted to practice what I preach. And if money would have allowed, I would have carried out more player testing on a wider audience.

For those of you wondering how to make a board game prototype ( 3rd party link ) Never ‘ever’ skip this step, playtest your game.

Then playtest it again. And then… when you have had enough. Playtest it once or twice more.

I have a post here ( the play test of a client project ) that goes into greater detail. This is another important stage when creating a board game prototype.

Creating a board game prototype board game play test photo

6 ) Take notes from the playtest, and adjust accordingly

After watching real players play the game on 3 separate occasions, I took notes on people’s play styles.

People playing board games try to break the rules. Many players I have witnessed when creating a game will try and break or circumnavigate ( cheat ) the core rules or ‘interpret’ the rules differently. There is no right or wrong here, you need to observe and shut up as a board gamer developer and see how people may realistically play your game.

Remember this when making a board game.

For this project, I had to tweak some of the rules, re-jig the board, and amend the artwork after running the latter playtests.

Although I was by and large relieved, not much needed to be amended. Mostly re-working and some graphical aspects of the board, and rewording. This comes under “development”.

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7 ) Final Stage – helping the client get a prototype made

In addition to coming up with the core design, the rules, making a playable prototype, play testing, and everything else in-between, that is involved with making this game.

I was commissioned to liaise and organise a prototype production of the game.


Basically, I helped to guide the client through the first iterations of making a viable, polished prototype. ( and the batch production ) I amended or prepared the artwork as was necessary for prototype makers.

Here are some photos of the board which I took on my bridge camera, and isolated on white in Photoshop.

Printed game board
Creating a board game prototype game board in action
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Creating a board game prototype | The Unique Challenges

This project came with a range of different and unique challenges that I’ve never encountered before.

Initially, I wasn’t given an exact brief outside of “make a game”. The initial brief that was given to me amounted to little more than a set of unfortunate key phrases listed inside an Excel spreadsheet.

This did not amount to a full brief. I had to convert these statements listed in Excel, from a long list of misery into a playable game to educate children and teenagers about youth homelessness.

Here are some details about the projects, and lessons I may have learned!

Wordy

Fundamentally this is an educational game and not a game for fun sake.

With each card, there would be a short paragraph describing an ‘event’ and whether a point is lost or gained. In addition to this, there would also be the Welsh translation.

The cards were very busy as each card needed two statements placed in them. Saying that the space became tight was an understatement. Some cards needed to have the amount of text reduced to fit.

Instead of creating 2 different languages for the game, 2 languages were usually next to or near to each other which did offer some unique challenges for the graphic design. This was carried through not only on the cards but all visual and written components of the game. I feel I managed to make it work though – just. Please observe this card again with the double language on a single face.

Unable to read Welsh

I have nothing against the Welsh language, I just don’t know how to read or write it.

With this in mind, this is potentially one of the most unusual challenges I’ve had to work with on a project. Not being able to read or write the copy whatsoever, even at a superficial level posed a significant challenge for this project.

By and large, I technically didn’t need to know how to speak, read or write in Welsh. But, when copying and pasting the Welsh language onto the cards, even by happenstance, I couldn’t flag any issues.

You may be correct in assuming as I am not the copywriter, that I don’t need to worry about it. But in the same breath, I needed my client to complete and finish this project. I needed to be paid. And generally the more eyes on a project, the more likely you are to pick things up and share your concerns. I was unable to do this here.

Waiting and relying on their team to spot or change their mind with the wording on an already very wordy game, made this very challenging to work on in the latter stages.

Not being able to read it, even at a basic level, slowed the project down at the last hurdles as I could not make edits to the text properly from my side, it was then that I thought about this type of article, how to edit card text for your game would be very helpful for my clients.

A member of their team could amend the text on their side, For me to spot these edits was near impossible and impractical in both capability, time, and budget.

I spy with my retail eye

With my past experience in both designing and creating mostly flat 2D products and games. These past products and projects have always been with retail intention at the fore.

As a designer, I was sympathetic to the product and helping a business make a sale, not all designers think like this, especially junior designers or design generalists. Not all graphic designers, think and operate in the same way. I was taught how to design for retail, build a brand, etc.

I understood that the packaging needed areas for barcodes, addresses, strap lines, age badges, warnings etc. In addition to all of this, making games appealing to the masses and shelf-ready.

This post here shows some of my past retail packaging.

For this project, the above didn’t necessarily apply, as it was for demonstration purposes mostly in an educational setting such as a school or town hall.

Retail design example

I hope that Conwy Council took care of this game and that children are enjoying it, and playing today… and perhaps better off than some of the characters I created for the project as part of the vector art.

Project Post | Creating a board game prototype, Testimonial



Jimmdesigns is the perfect partner for anyone interested in creating a board game.  Jimm supports with all aspects of creation from the initial concept, design process, development, play test sessions, through to the production of the prototype and manufacture. 
Jimm is able to break down the complex processes into easy to follow step-by-step actions for individuals who are new to the game making process. 

Jimm has essential contacts in the industry and is able to manage all stages of the process.  We highly recommend Jimm’s services, he is extremely patient and flexible with timescales and concepts” 5****

Faye Willet – Conwy Youth Service

And that concludes making ‘streetwise’

Or if you need a board game designer, please get in touch

3rd party websites ( Dragon Bone Games )

My Adventure Creator Project | Lockdown Foray

Adventure Creator Project

My Adventure Creator project…

For those of you who don’t already know, at the start of the lockdown, I set myself the task of creating a graphic adventure game! Or, I should say, I started to learn how to make a graphic adventure game in Unity.

There was a time in Lockdown – what can I say!

For those of you who don’t know me, I studied Multimedia Design and Digital Animation as a follow-up course to my HND in Graphic Design at university. All those years ago! I also have a yellow belt cert in Unity too.

My Adventure Creator Project character sprite

In the early days of the 2000s, Adobe Flash was king, ( Check this blog post out on why to avoid Flash player on another website ) and I used to make a lot of multimedia applications, both personal and commercial. Most of these early projects were micro games or small interactive animations – all of this stuff was pre-smartphone.

My first project on this sort of scale, where I had to try and create my own project, was at University. I set about making an e-learning game for children, which was all built in Flash. Sadly, with the demise of Flash Player, this is tricky to play now although I may still have a projector for the game somewhere.

Here is a picture of it.

Adobe Animate adventure - Adventure Creator Project
Adventure Creator Project – My first project of this scale was in Flash.

From a game creation perspective, In hindsight, really it was a narrative game with educational elements to it. You may also be interested to see in theory how to make a story game in Adobe Animate.

But now to the crunch.

Adventure Creator Project.

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Adventure Creator Project | Fools Errand

A name for a game that exists solely as a learning exercise – it could have been called anything really, as I had no intention of monetizing it. The game was based on classic 2D point-and-click graphic adventures that you could buy in the 90’s – the humble point and click game.

You point… and you click.

I created this game a greybox prototype to see how Adventure Creator works. It was something to learn during the Lockdown.

The brief – Learn AC.

My Adventure Creator Project
More can be read on this post on this website – game-gunk.com. Is Adventure Creator good for 2D games?

If you are interested, you can play the game on itch.io. It is free to play with bugs and all. ( however, it should be noted that you can’t save it via the browser version )

My Adventure Creator Project - The tools + GUI

Do I think Adventure Creator with Unity is good?

‘I’ think it is great.

Actually, saying AC ( Adventure Creator ) is good is a massive understatement. It is excellent, I have never been able to assemble a graphic adventure game in the most time and cost-effective way until I used AC. The standard that Adventure Creator offers is just excellent compared to some of the game engines or tool sets I have used in the past.

I have written a post about it on this website – is Adventure Creator good for 2D games on game-gunk.com.

What is my Adventure Creator Project about?

I called it Lost Hat, AKA Fools Errand. The title leaves very little to the imagination of what you need to do.

Who knows where the hat got to?

Or who could be wearing it!

Oh, the trifles of life.

You will need to use your wits to get through this 3 level game to find your hat. Perhaps if I see enough people play it, I might write up a shot hints and tips guide. But I have largely moved on to other things.

Adventure Creator Project
Mock up application icon
In-game background – my Adventure Creator Project

The components of the project – AC ( What was involved )

For a personal development project – more than I would care to admit.

This project has a of artwork, basic 2D animation created in Photoshop, some rough and ready characters, Sprites and sprite sheets, sound effects, dialogue, conversations, and logic, and I’ve even decided on a small video clip at the end of the project to see how that would work too. And, of course, Adventure Creator. To summerise it is best to mention it this way.

  • NPC character sprites
  • Player character sprites + and custom animations spites
  • Background artwork
  • Scene and item artwork ( such as coins )
  • UI design
  • End scene video animation ( video )
  • The AC logo for every object and item that can be interacted with in the game
  • The Icon artwork
  • Writing all the dialogue for the game
  • SFX

Adventure Creator Project | Sprites

The sprites, or the characters, however you’d prefer to see them, comprise of all NPCs, the animals, the main player, and various other bits and pieces that were used in the environment. If it moved or was animated, it was probably a sprite.

To quickly paint these characters in various states of animation, I used Photoshop to sketch and brush in the black and white ‘wash’.

The main player in particular has a 4-way direction and various other obscure animations in its repertoire!

The main player was the most time-consuming to create, even as a rough sketch. 8-direction would have taken more time still.

player face down
player left
player right
Dog - Adventure Creator Project
landord serves

Adventure Creator Project | The Scenes

I don’t wish to spoil too much of the game just in case you do decide to play it, as there are only three levels. But in each level, there was a background image that was quickly drawn in Photoshop and then imported as an asset to my project.

Adventure Creator Project - background artwork for indie game - grey box black and white

Adventure Creator Project | Motion & Animation

I gave very little time to the motion graphics and animation sadly.

After all, I needed to think about the project as a whole and produce this game it quickly. I was invested more in the learning of Adventure Creator than the actual product itself. However, creating some basic frame-by-frame animations was still essential for making the sprites.

To create basic in-game animations, I used Photoshop and painted a couple of layers with my Wacom Tablet as if I were to make a GIF before exporting out the layers as frames.

How did I feel about the project?

As a semi-personal project learning experience, I feel pretty good about it. This was never going to be a polished game for the whole world to play. I created it so I could learn and share. It was undertaken during the Lockdowns. It was a grey boxing experiment.

The project as a whole, taught me more about AC and how I could potentially create a bigger and bolder game in the future using Adventure Creator.

You can play the game here on Itch.io if interested. Warts and bugs included ( you can’t save via the browser version ). It should be noted that the browser version of the game won’t allow you to save! Enjoy. Or you may find some information on this website interesting if you are at game projects.

You may also find this subject on game-gunk interesting: is Adventure Creator good for 2D?

Without divulging too much. I’m currently remaking an old project in Adventure Creator.

Adventure Creator Project - live in game action
Adventure Creator Project – actual gameplay screenshot.

Adventure Creator Project – Other subjects around making games

Okay Aardman! Wallace & Gromit Project

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project – flex those Adobe Illustrator muscles. I have a new post to share… kindly, the team over at Paper Engine has now said that I can share and discuss my part in creating some of the packaging concepts for a new range of Wallace & Gromit themed products.

The artwork shown in this post was used to pitch to Aardman for a new range of British designed card products, otherwise known as – Build Your Own, For Paper Engine.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project - box
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project Wrong trousers

Aardman Project | The Brief

The Brief | I was commissioned by Paper Engine to help create the core design for the packaging concepts for a new range of of Wallace and Gromit themed paper products.

Aardman had set up an agreement with Paper Engine for them to come up with a range of products, themed around Wallace & Gromit.

If you don’t know Aardman, they are the animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, Arthur Christmas, and Shaun the Sheep to name a few.

Paper Engine got in touch with me and asked for assistance in coming up with the core packaging concept to pitch to Aardman.

I won’t lie, I was excited and honoured.

Under a strict NDA, I was called in to help come up with some of the core concepts for the new eye-catching packaging.

The NDA has been relaxed now, as the products have been released onto the market. So don’t worry. And I asked the crew over at Paper Engine and they were happy to allow me to show my my part!

(All artwork on this page is the intellectual property of Aardman and Paper Engine. Do not copy, save, or download any of this content for commercial use ).

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Packaging For Paper Engine… Which was actually for Aardman

To spill the beans on the projects.

Here is a bit of extra information on the project process. Once Paper Engine had sent the brief across to me, and we did all the admin, the project was set in motion!

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | The design process involved…

  • Coming up with some very early ideas for speech bubbles, titles, typography, backgrounds, and other accents and parts for the project.
  • Creating a variety of packaging front ideas for both products.
  • Developing rough designs into polished designs.
  • These were presented to Aardman ( gulp ).

It should also be said that this project was quite particular and that there were 2 companies involved in the approval process. Nonetheless, it still allowed room for design creativity.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project Typography
Background idea

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | Developing The Design

While I was allowed to work conceptually and creatively, I also had to adhere to 2 sets brand guidelines! One set was supplied by Paper Engine for Paper Engine and, the other was for Aardman!

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project
box
Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project - 2 rockets
badges

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | The Delivery

After working on the polished designs, Paper Engine pitched the artwork to Aardman. I was told on the grapevine that they were pleased with the project – with very few changes to the pitch!

Thank you Paper Engine, it was an honour! From there the look and feel for the range was set. It was an awesome project.

How I approached the project

When creating the packaging, I tried to create artwork that was exciting and matched the tone of Wallace & Gromit. I also tried to create packaging concepts that would excite both children and adults if they saw them on the shelf!

‘wow look at that!’

type of thinking with the hopes somebody would pick the product up and purchase it. The product did most of the selling in all fairness, these are very cool products.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | Paper Engine Testimonial

‘We worked with Jimm on some early packaging concepts for our collaboration with Aardman on three Build Your Own kits. He delivered some superb designs which enabled us to get ahead of the curve by keeping the client on board with approvals and saved us some valuable in-house studio hours. We would definitely work with Jimm again in the future when the occasion arises. Top marks. 5 stars.’

Geff – Creative Director, Paper Engine Ltd.

Aardman Wallace & Gromit Project | You may be interested in some of the following

Retail packaging projects
Stem Project samples
Snakes & Ladders type board game
Board game playtesting post

Why not read more on my playtesting post?

3rd Party

Jimmsdesign Services

Dragon Bone Games ( Board game website )