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The Last Birdling: Background development process

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InvertMouse

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Backgrounds are sometimes overlooked when we play visual novels. I for one am guilty of this, so today I would like to, well, I guess you can say repent.

When you have multiple illustrators, there is always a chance your art styles will clash. The easiest solution, of course, would be to feature a single artist in your project. In reality, however, other concerns come into play. Schedules, motivation, workload—there are many factors to juggle.

In The Last Birdling, I have opted for a relatively safe route. That is, to feature different artists for the backgrounds and characters. Since these elements are quite separate, it makes clashes less likely.

Tooaya is The Last Birdling’s artist, while Juliestorybored is our background illustrator. As the assets trickled in, we first put together a test to make sure the elements fit:

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Lighting changes based on the time of day, so we must have all our bases covered:

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Once the test is complete, we can proceed with production:

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I prefer not to use language like “my team” or “my artist”. Once someone joins the team, we are in this together. When it was time to design Tayo’s village, Julia took the lead and did a great job:

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The Last Birdling has been in production for two years. During that time, I often study other visual novels for inspiration. The Starcraft VN caught my interest back when it first released. I was particularly awestruck by the city nightscape that animated into place:

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My previous project, Cursed Sight, featured backgrounds painted by the talented Tooaya. However, none of them animated during the game:

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As I learn from other creators, I apply those lessons into future projects. In The Last Birdling, I have coded CGs and backgrounds that contain parallax animations, which work especially well for long distance shots:

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Sometimes I am tempted to say my ideas are my own. If I ever claim that in the future, you can call me out for being a liar. I am a fan as much as anyone, so I will always be a student first.

Thank you for reading!

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