Case Studies

Case study: Cyberpunks a Roleplaying show

By 13 August, 2015 No Comments
Cyberpunks Feature

When writing the Eat My Diction case study and mentioned that I was working on more stuff. This is that. The game they will run is Cyberpunk 2020. I think I’ve become the go to guy for big role-playing shows and getting them that look. There was no different for Cyberpunks.

The brief

I had already worked and re-searched Cyberpunk 2020 for itmeJP’s Mirrorshades. It was still sort of fresh in the back of my head. Eat My Diction didn’t need/want as many cards as other shows I’ve produced. It all came down to a logo, main card and a dice/stats card. When you’re working with a setting that already has a firm brand in it self, it can both me easier and harder to make something from it.

It’s easier since there’s a lot of reference material and lore that you can read and look at to get a good feel of the universe. The downside is that all of those things are there and you actually have to take all of that into consideration. You can’t leave out certain key things only because you personally like something different. You need to look at the end goal, and the end goal is to convey the feeling and look of Cyberpunk 2020 in a form that’s both familiar and new. A fine line to walk but it’s no impossible, and I’ll outline my ideas and thoughts below and how I apply it to the Cyberpunks overlays


Cyberpunks MoodboardAs you can see it’s pretty straight forward in this case. I wanted to use some of the old but mix it with the newer stuff that you also can see in this moodboard. The retro style of substance was an important part of the whole creation. Knowing what style to apply and the amount of each to make them both work together was going to be the big challenge.

We also agreed that we wanted something darker, not shown here is the movies/anime that was take into consideration. Both Johnny Mnemonic and Ergo Proxy was a source of inspiration for me.

What you can see here is the start of a color scheme. I knew I wanted to you bright, almost neon, colors to contrast the dark metallic futuristic look. Landed on red and cyan toned color. Being very careful not to go too green, since at that point it would be less future and more Christmas.


Cyberpunks Pass 1Doing overlays for roleplaying shows involve a lot more layout than if you would make one for a regular stream. You want to consider that Skype uses a 4:3 format, and since people are going to roleplay and you want them to be animated, you don’t want to limit the space they can move in. It’s not something they’re going to think about as they start playing anyway and will fall out of frame constantly, that’s bad.

As you can see in the first pass it’s all color blocks. They will service two purposes. 1. They will show me where I want things to go and so I can make sure everything fits. 2. They’ll actually become the workspace that a draw on. I will clip new layers to them, add texture, effects and draw on the new layer, using my Wacom Tablet.

You want what’s around the camera windows to give you the entire feel of the show with one look. No second guessing what it might be about. It would be spelled out clearly so the viewer can focus their attention on the players. All while you still want it all to be appealing. Again a very fine line to walk between looking good but not over work it so it takes away from the experience.

Cyberpunks Pass 2When the second pass comes in we’ve moved forward and you can now see that I’ve added textures and a few layer styles. Ignore that there’s a logo there, I’ll explain that in more detail later. Everything in the second pass is really only moving forward and it can feel very boring and it will at times look bad, but I do this so I have a solid canvas I can work on.

Cyberpunks Pass 3In the third pass  as you can see is as close as we will get to the final version as we can get. There are a few things missing, that Eat My Diction brought up during the conversation following me sending him this preview. If you look at my older stuff I actually didn’t use a Wacom Tablet for that, and I must say having the tablet have let me do a lot more things. I’m now able to really take the whole RollPlay style we put in motion to a new level. I hope that you can feel that there’s real depth when you look at the Cyberpunks final version below, and that’s also what the Wacom Tablet (not sponsored) is letting me do.


The Cyberpunks logo creation is always a lot of fun, it’s something I’m getting better and better at (as in the “RollPlay” style, logos in general I’ve been doing for a long time) but, again, making these type of logos using a Wacom Tablet makes it a lot easier.

Cyberpunk LogoIf you look at the first pass, above, you can see that I already made a decision where I wanted the logo to go and that I wanted wires to go all the way to it. That’s also you suddenly see the logo in the second pass. I actually did the logo before starting with the rest. Mainly since a lot of times I want to replicate things I’ve used in the logo and apply it to the overlay itself. I find it easier to go Logo > Overlay than taking elements from the overlay and putting it into the logo.

The main reason? There tend to be a lot more fine details in the logo and the reason for that is in turn that I make the logo in 300DPI so I then re-size it down, that way it will have a lot sharper look than if I made it “the correct” size from the start.

In coming months there will be a few other things I’ve changed in my process, but that’s another case study for another time.


Final Cyberpunks Version Main CardA few final words. Adding in the social media, at least in my opinion works best on top of the camera window, it’s a new thing for me, but I like it more.

Eat My Diction wanted a final change from the around the third pass, he wanted a dice window in the main card as well. That was a pretty easy fix, already had the assets from the dice/stats card but still made some custom hand drawn effects on it.

Final Cyberpunks Version Dice/Stats cardRemoved the social media from the dice/stats card, since they are going to spend most of the time on the main card anyway and I would rather leave space for the players than trying to force in more text. I also utilized what I did for the logo in the stats screen, again it ties everything together giving it all a nice red thread through the entire brand.

Finally I added faded social and dice icons, with a mask and a custom brush, I feel it gave it a bit more life and felt as if it belonged rather than having a clear icon.

Next week I’m going to do a BIG guide post on emoticons. I will walk you through my new process when I make them, give tips on what you can think about if you’re doing them yourself or if you are a designer and are wondering what steps you can take.

I’ve also lined up some really interesting people for the podcast that I’m starting next week. In contact with a few more that hopefully will be on-board if not for the coming episodes at least for future ones. Eventually I want YOU to be on the show as well. I’ll explain more about that in the future for now have a great day and check out Cyberpunks!

Follow me on Twitter [mks_icon icon=”fa-twitter” color=”#000000″ type=”fa”] @visiblespeech to get more design, branding, marketing and other cool stuff.



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