It’s been a difficult task trying to figure out the exact shade of a typical Cherry Blossom, because there just isn’t one. I’ve had to come to the conclusion that most shades of pink work.
I picked this close-up photo (believe it or not it’s from an old myspace layout!) to be my official blossom reference. I can’t guarantee its authenticity, but it does show a promising contrast in colour from its very pale pastel tips to its desaturated centre. And the colours aren’t affected by any other sources, such as vibrant lights or contrasting backgrounds. I found a really great site called Color Explorer which rips colours straight from images and creates a colour palette for you, complete with RGB values. Here’s what it made of this photo:
It’s just as I was hoping really, you’ve almost got a completely smooth gradient from light to dark, without too many anomalous colours in between! I won’t need all of these colours for one very low-res flower, but the full colour palette can now be used for anything to create some consistency. I haven’t put much thought into my User Interface yet, but I would assume this would be a good application of this particular palette!
I made myself a little colour card to reference the flower colours, from the dark centre to the light petals. For each colour, I picked a slightly darker shade and a slightly lighter shade to act as shadows and highlights:
This is the result when applied to a 16×16 Cherry Blossom:
The shape of the flower was fairly difficult to apply to such a small image, however I’ve tried to give the impression of some depth as the original flower is far from 2D. Obviously at this stage, the flower is roughly the same size as the character, throwing away any hope of proportion! The flower object will work at half this size, although a lot of the detail is lost.
The size I use will have to depend on which looks better in the game. The flowers needs to be conspicuous enough to stand out as collectable objects, but subtle enough to add an aspect of challenge. As it’s an important part of the game, I don’t think its colossal size will seem out of place, but aesthetics may prove otherwise.
To make the game a little less samey, I’ve been considering varying shapes and shades of flowers. This example is a very “standard” flower, with no irregularities. I was particular inspired to do a little palette-swapping by this image, which I included in my previous mood board:
This photo shows the Sakura Blossom in a completely different light (I’m being serious, no pun intended!) Color Explorer mainly picked out shades of blue from this example of the same flower (although it could be argued that this image had a lot more background influence…)
I especially like the silhouette in this image, which is kind of recognised as the official shape of the flower. It inspired me to recreate it in simplified vector form in Illustrator, which may well be transformed into a game asset later.