I've talked a lot about clusters and all my theories and examples involve the new school clean pixel displays we now work on. However pixel art came to be mostly on old bleedy CRT monitors both for computers and - more importantly for us - on arcade cabinets. Many of these CRTs running all day were blown out all to hell. Phosphorous glow would leave red trails after sprites, curvy screens would deform the art, flickery scanlines would change pixel values, and non-standard pixel ratios would squish or stretch accordingly.
We won't be emulating all of these effects, but even at the best of times, The artist would have to live with phosphorous glow, scanlines and different aspect ratios.
What I want you to do is take a look at Capcom arcade classic, Knights of the Round
We'll be focusing on the Arthur sprite in particular
It's interesting, isn't it? Running on CPS1 hardware. Like all (most?) old arcade cabinets, it has a weird pixel aspect ratio. 12:7, 384x224 pixels, but still stretched into 4:3 screen aspect (something CRTs are a lot better at than modern non-CRT ones). It has a 16 bit color range, which is pretty much limitless for our intents.
The original sprite has 26 colors. CPS1 was really powerful, compared to any 16 bit home console!
I was wrong, Carnivac below catches the the sprite is 16 colours without the sword! So feel free to work with a 16 color palette just for the sprite either with a weapon separate (good time to make your own completely original weapon!) and its separate weapon palette, or one using the same palette as the sprite for extra challenge!
What I want you to do is to edit this to your heart's content. Change the colors and use whatever shading method you'd like. Just try to keep it within the aesthetic context of the old arcade game as you understand it. For my edit I based my changes on the thought that this game is trying to convey the bright, well-light context of a board game and the characters are pawns on a meticulously crafted battle map. My theory is supported by the in-between level assessment with people shuffling figures about. I took it as an approximation of a paper and pencil and lead figurine dungeons and dragons-esque session. So I tried to color and tint my sprite like someone would paint a lead figurine. Keeping the strong, saturated primaries but adding tints and dirt and stuff. Still not making it more realistic, just adding more clarity and refining the areas of complexity at the same time. I removed a lot of colors, as well.
You can look at my edit after you've done yours by clicking here
And then you can look at the filtered version
. We'll be filtering your edits Pixelation-side as well. Don't bother trying to filter them on your own, the exercise is exactly about not knowing how your art would look on an old CRT first, and then comparing and picking up practical knowledge. I have many notes on what I've learned from comparing the filtered version to the crisp edit, but I'll save them for after we've done a round of edits.HUGEASS scanline filtered image!NEW AND BETTER SCANLINES