BrandingCase Studies

Case study: Dicing With Death, a roleplaying show

By 17 September, 2015 No Comments

Back to doing some more roleplaying overlays. We’re also back to doing them for Neal aka koibu0. For those who don’t know he’s part of Team RollPlay and the DM of the first RollPlay show Solum produced by itmeJP.

I actually met Neal when he visited Sweden earlier this summer. Both a great guy and a great client. Anyway, we chatted over Skype a bit later to figure out exactly what Dicing With Death needed. Since he already had an intro video for the show, that was used as both inspiration and moodboard.

Inspiration from video

Dicing With Death

Frames from intro

Here are a few frames from the intro video for Dicing With Death. I didn’t want to stray too far away from the concept presented in the video, since it’s still going to be used. Just because I do branding doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t follow something that’s already set in place. I can improve it but there’s not always a need to reinvent the wheel.

The first things I looked at were the colors: black, white, and gold. White as the backdrop, black as the main color, and gold as a highlight. Next were the textures and imagery. Here I took in the following: marble, stone, dice, gold, and blood. I now had the building blocks, and knowing the theme I could start to do the layout and add the RollPlay style to both overlays.


The layout for a show like this is very important. I’ve seen a lot of different ways others have done their overlays, and the main thing that they miss is how to utilize space. It’s something that we didn’t do for earlier RollPlay shows but it’s something that we’re doing now.

Dicing With Death Preview


I also don’t want to use 16:9 camera windows. That would work if everyone sent a 16:9 feed but since that’s not the case with Skype, we need to adjust the size slightly. The reason? It gives the player the ability to move around without having to worry about not being in the frame. The closer it is to their regular Skype camera the better. No more mouths under name plate issues, hopefully.

Since Dicing With Death only have two players, there was a lot of space to use for the main card. When I got to the second card (with map, dice and camera windows) it was a bit different. As you can see I added the cameras on top. As with most roleplaying shows, and very much like the RollPlay R&D: Icelanders, having the windows touch the end of the screen, utilizes all the available space.

In this preview you can already see where I want the logo; that did change later for aesthetic reasons. You can also see that I’ve selected the color scheme in the upper right corner. I later added the colors to my palette for easy access.

The Dicing With Death Logo

Dicing With Death Logo


I’m aware that there’s already a logo in the intro video. However it isn’t the style of RollPlay. Now I don’t usually do the logos for RollPlay, but whenever I do something outside of RollPlay I do the logos as well, as in this case.

With the logo I wanted to incorporate all of the elements that I wrote about earlier, but also adding in blades. I didn’t want to overdo it with the blades so they only appear on the first and last letters in each word.

The D20 dice is first structured with vector paths (in different shades to create a 3D effect) and then textured over that. Modifying this texture emphasizes the 3D effect. After that blood is thrown over behind the logo, giving it a harsh and deadly look.

Final version

When I start the project, I do 150DPI instead of 72DPI: it makes it easier to draw and when I resize it down it will look really good even if each stroke ins’t perfect. As you can see I’ve added a few small details. All of these details are what really makes or breaks a roleplaying overlay. You don’t want to overdo it but you also want to add those small touches to really give it “life”.

Final Dicing With Death

Final version

Even small details like highlights and shadows give shape and dimension that you won’t be able to get with a flat surface. If you’re going to draw the overlay by hand, and I’ve seen that style as well, a good thing to do is to add a noise layer with Multiply blend mode. Doing this won’t make it feel “fake.” I don’t always do this, but in this case it worked very well. Because I was doing it in the 150DPI version, the 72DPI version looked really nice and sharp.

Lastly Neal still uses a older version of Photoshop so I had to output a PSD file that only contained a merged layer of everything but the text. Then above that I added back the text files. They’re fully editable so Neal can decide names himself and modify them if they ever needed to be changed.

These overlays come out looking awesome, if you ask me. I also love the way the logo worked out. Not sure how much detail you want on this but if you do want more in-depth detail let me know on Twitter @visiblespeech. If you’re reading this on the day of publish then I’m going to stream tomorrow. Doing a channel setup and working on 3-4 projects. Will teach different techniques and you’ll get to hear me talking about each decision along the way.

I post two article a month and starting next week there will be a podcast every Tuesday! Bringing on all type of guests but to discuss one topic for 2-3 weeks and then move on to the next. The first weeks we’re talking development around Twitch and with platforms that you might want to use as a streamer.




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