Visuals and Roleplaying

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Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby maccotango on Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:08 am

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Visuals and Roleplaying
A GUIDE ON WHY AESTHETICS ARE IMPORTANT AND HOW TO DO IT WITHOUT BREAKING YOUR BACK

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Okay, I get it. Everyone's definition of what's nice/pretty/whatever is different, but there are certain aspects of aesthetic that surpass opinion. I'm not talking about what should be your focal image or making those fancy-schmansy banners I'm relatively known for. I'm talking about things as simple as font choice, body text, colors and image placement. These are things most members of the site have a basic grasp on. While using the defaults are fine, there are very quick and painless ways you can make your roleplay visually appealing.

But first, why is this important? It's easier to explain with an analogy. Would you rather enter an okay-looking home, or one that looks well kept? There aren't any big differences; it could be something as simple as the latter's leaves being raked in, or their plants looking healthier. For most, they would answer the second. When something looks cared for, you can assume whoever made it is committed to the subject matter. It's no different when presenting your roleplays. When a roleplay is visually appealing, you can see the owner's dedication. When they take the time to make sure it's easy to understand, it becomes easier for the reader to become invested in the roleplay. They've then bagged themselves a potential member of their story.



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Font Choices
FOR BOTH TITLE AND BODY TEXT; WHY SOME FONTS ARE BETTER OTHERS

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Fonts are probably the most important visual aspect of text-based roleplaying because gdi I am not going to want to read your post if it's written entirely in something like Curlz MT/Harrington/Papyrus. Did you have to highlight/copy+paste/reread that line? Then that already shows you the issue with the font. They're fine as title fonts, but as body text, they're not easily legible due to several factors which include uneven coloring and unnecessary attachments.


Most typefaces can work as Title Fonts. Their job is to grab your attention after all, so using them at a large font size + optional bold command suffices. To add a bit of flare to them you can change the color, add/remove spacing, all caps or no caps, use alt codes (which I'll further discuss)... and these are changes you can do with just simple default fonts. Below I've only used the fonts Didot, Times, Helvetica and Century Gothic:

【 M I K I T O 】 x x β—ž aliceinfreezer
β—€deathdisco x x
▸┇U N F R A G M E N T


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Body text font, meanwhile, should be kept simple and subtle. Even coloring is a must. I highly suggest sticking to websafe/cross-platform compatible typefaces when choosing the font for your body text. You can generally categorize fonts into two: Serif and Sans Serif. Rather than explain, you can look at the examples for both types below.

x x x x x xSerif
β–• Cambria
β–• Georgia
β–• Times New Roman
x x x x xSans Serif
β–• Tahoma
β–• Helvetica
β–• Calibri
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Color Choices
GENERAL RULES OF THUMB WHEN PICKING COLORS FOR RPG

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This particular section of the guide is specific to RPG, as it uses a blue-green-gray color as its background. As you've probably already figured out, certain colors are particularly difficult to see against the this shade, so avoid using these colors as much as possible. I've noticed that highly saturated colors contrast the best against our beloved home's background. Red and Magenta colors work particularly well against it. Yellow, Teal and Lavender are difficult and don't work out too well. Lighter colors rarely work.

There are exceptions to the guide below, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb.

Image


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Text Alignment
CENTERED IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST CHOICE

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Centered text is good for headlines, or if you want to bring attention to something. It is not, however, a good idea to use it as body text alignment. Having the "starting point" of your text differing with every line makes it more difficult to read. Someone's reading your words; if you want to keep their attention, you make it easy for them to understand. The more they have to think just to get the information, the more likely they'll get frustrated and give up.

Using smaller paragraph widths also help in keeping attention. It's one of the primary reasons why magazines never use the full width of the page for their articles. Your eyes are more likely to get tired jumping from one end of the line to the other. Decreasing the paragraph width shortens the jump, making it easier for you to read. You can use the list command with that, or do the same thing I do and use transparent text to adjust my margins.


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Image Placement
USING MULTIPLE IMAGES IS NOT ALWAYS ADVISABLE

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Now this is one aspect I see many struggle with. Adding a lot of images does not automatically make your Roleplay/CS "pretty". If anything, image vomit is annoying, and a bitch to roleplayers who run older systems.

Have you ever thought about why you add images to the left or right of your paragraphs? In all likelihood, it has a lot to do with the principle of shortening the paragraph width for better readability. From there, we can assume that images should only supplement your text. Many users may disagree with me, but this is one of the main reasons why I disapprove of the use of GIFs. Using a GIF as a focal/main image is fine, but using them as supplementary images for your text is not. What do you want your reader to concentrate on, the GIF or your text?

Should text and image be next to each other, it's best to go somewhere around 4:5 to 1:1 ratio of image to text. Always keep in mind that you are making them read the text, not the image.

Adding multiple alt symbols and fancy icons isn't always the best way to go about decorating your Roleplay/CS. Something as simple as a block of color can do the trick! Tomohisa's CS and IRL liberally use blocks of color to keep it visually appealing yet still clean. You can easily do the same, especially if you choose a main image with a defined color scheme.

Remember that empty space is not always a bad thing. Good use of negative space can make for very tasteful designs, and bring focus to important points in your roleplay. It helps to visualize the flow of information, and design your roleplay/CS with that in mind. With good design, you can easily dictate how a person reads a page.


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Special Characters
AN EASY WAY TO MAKE YOUR CODING APPEAR INTERESTING

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Using special or alt code characters are an easy way to decorate your roleplays, as long as you don't go overboard with them. These are the ones I personally find most useful but many more exist and can be easily found with a quick google search. You can use them in your title text (not your actual roleplay title though, or you'll break the page /laughs) or to indicate bulletpoints... whatever you want really.

And so that's it for my guide on how to create visually appealing roleplays. It's not meant to give you specific instructions, but instead a sort of starting point/standard for your roleplays. I'm always available for questions and such, so don't hesitate to shoot me a PM! Feel free to discuss in the thread any point you'd like to elaborate on. c:

        β™š β™› β™œ ♝ β™ž β™Ÿ β˜… ✦ ✿
        β™” β™• β™– β™— β™˜ β™™ β˜† ✧ ❀
        β˜‚ β†· ✱ ⊹ ⊰ ⊱ β†Ί ⇣ γ€Š 》
        β—œ ◝ β—ž β—Ÿ γ€Œ 」 β—’ β—£ β—₯ β—€
Γ—Γ— thanksοΉ—
I HOPE YOU FOUND THIS USEFUL IN SOME WAY

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maccotango
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Re: Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Absenthia on Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:54 pm

Good stuff. Someone finally said what a lot of us have thought, don't make things cluttered, make it readable/usable.

Font choices and color are always super important. I have a rule of thumb, if I can't read it without enlarging my text, you can't use it in my RP.

Color wise.. I find it really depends on how the forum you're using is skinned. Darker themes do better with pastel fonts rather than brights I find.

Also, love your use of BBCode for this post. Super slick and cool.
Image

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Re: Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Moonstruck on Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:28 pm

Loved this post~ All very good advice and I definitely learned some things. Your rps and profiles are all very appealing. :)

I cringe when I look back at some of my old posts and stuff: unreadable fonts, neon colors, and big gifs shoved into tiny posts.. And I thought I was so cool lol I'm still learning but definitely better off than where I started.

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Re: Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Beau<3 on Tue May 03, 2016 12:51 am

I love this! I need to figure out formatting on this site, lord knows I'm not going to make a roleplay or profile with naked text, wouldn't do my Gaia history proud. Though to be honest on Gaia things could get a little overzealous in decoration.

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Re: Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zodia195 on Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:24 pm

Yeah, visual appeal is pretty much the bait on your hook here. You first have to grab a potential roleplayer's attention with that intro and icon, but you make them stay by making the main page look good.

I can't tell you how many rpgs I didn't join when I just saw few paragraphs of black text.

Image

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Re: Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby MayContainPlagiarism on Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:11 am

The default font, color, and size are perfect. Why anyone fucks with it is beyond me.
Do you feel like you're a bad writer? PM me, and let's talk about it. :)

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Re: Visuals and Roleplaying

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Reliquary on Fri Jun 24, 2016 4:59 pm

This is a lovely post, very helpful indeed!
"Yet, even amidst the hatred and carnage, life is still worth living. It is possible for wonderful encounters and beautiful things to exist"
- Hayao Miyazaki

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