AuthorTopic: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique  (Read 1004 times)

Online wanderer123

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Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

on: February 26, 2017, 03:17:48 am


Zoom in to those hairs. Those hairs inside have different colors. I think it's always brighter colors in the hair. So please answer this and help me understand this. I have other pixel arts (on my computer this time) that have various colors inside the hair. I just don't understand the purpose of those colors. I want to learn this to use this if needed (as I take it it is needed) and use it in my own pixel art.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 03:37:48 am by wanderer123 »

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #1 on: February 26, 2017, 04:45:49 am
That's called a highlight, and it's where the light shines strongest on the hair! It's even in the word, "High Light"!
It's apparent in non-pixelart too, and is primarily used both for lighting accuracy and to provide hair texture!

Here's an example of highlighting done outside the pixel art medium!


You can also see this phenomenon in real life too, as in this glamour photo! Spoilered because it is QUITE LARGE.

PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #2 on: February 26, 2017, 04:48:40 am
Hey MysteryMeat. Thank you for your answer. So how can I apply highlight on my pixel art hairs? Do I just apply regular shading on the hair? I am not sure I fully understand why those pixels are there. I mean both highly bright highlights and more dark (but different) colors there.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 04:50:42 am by wanderer123 »

Offline yaomon17

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #3 on: February 26, 2017, 05:08:26 am
You could apply highlights onto your hair. It helps define the shape of the hair and indicates that your characters have a healthy, voluminous head of hair.

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #4 on: February 26, 2017, 05:09:45 am
It's simply part of shading! When you shade you're actually emulating the flow of light around an object, highlights are simply an extension of that! To apply it, figure out where your light source is and how glossy the material should be. If it's skin, for example, highlighting would be next to nothing. On hair though, which is somewhat shiny... well, I've already posted several examples!

Experiment, watch some youtube videos on shading (proko is pretty tops), and keep practicing!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #5 on: February 26, 2017, 05:24:46 am
Thank you guys again.

MysteryMeat: I can experiment pixel art to learn it? It will actually teach me through experimenting? I should youtube proko for shading?

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #6 on: February 26, 2017, 06:13:45 am
Experimentation is always helpful, just don't make my mistake and do your experiments in the pixelart format! Get a pencil and paper and practice these concepts there, THEN transfer over to digital! You'll find it far easier to learn new concepts that way, at least as i've experienced it. Your mileage may vary there!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #7 on: February 26, 2017, 06:25:27 am
I don't learn pixel art by first drawing pencil and paper dude. I learn by copying pixel art pixel-by-pixel.

Offline yaomon17

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #8 on: February 26, 2017, 09:15:32 am
Eh, copying pixel by pixel doesn't really help in the long run if your goal is to learn. If your goal is to get a decent looking product it is fine, but without understanding the 'why' behind doing something, you won't really learn to improve at producing art.

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #9 on: February 26, 2017, 12:48:53 pm
No copying pixel-by-pixel does work dude. I've improved on it. But I also need to learn this intellectually I think.

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #10 on: February 26, 2017, 03:41:18 pm
Aye, I was a bit late to respond because I had to sleep, but copying is one of many tools you should be using! It's a VERY underrated tool (for good reason unfortunately, places like DeviantArt have some pretty shifty reputations for misuse of the technique), but it is by far not the only one you should rely on lest it becomes a crutch. This is true of anything!
Also, don't copy from pixel art , copy from life! Good stylization for me always came in three big steps:

-learn anatomy and basics like shading complex shapes
-study how other people stylize and twist out from that base of understanding
-tear off bits and pieces of those styles to create my own frankensteinian hodgepodge of my own, because nothing is actually original and everyone is inspired by something

The former is the MOST important to learn, in my opinion, since it drills into you a sense of consistency and understanding of 3 dimensional space. Construction is also a big thing you pick up.

Again, start with traditional and practice exercises. There's a whole world of artistry information out there, do what I did and start bingeing on art technique guides scattered through the internet! Your process may vary wildly from my own, and I encourage you to explore that since that's simply the way it goes!

Just don't be too afraid to jut out of that comfort zone! if you start getting frustrated with your art that's a sign you're able to see the old flaws better now, meaning you're on your way to fixing them.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #11 on: February 26, 2017, 07:31:03 pm
So I've watched this Proko light & shadow video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3WmrWUEIJo and I have looked at the hairs of the characters I've originally posted here. I still can't seem to "get" why those colors/highlights are at those places and why there are darker colors are different places. What is the logic behind putting those pixels there? I think the darker ones are hair strands though. At different hairs what should the shape(s) of the highlight should be? Please help me out.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 07:45:47 pm by wanderer123 »

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #12 on: February 26, 2017, 08:56:04 pm
Ok, the important part to remember is that hair is glossy, uneven, and stringy.  This means some bits come out towards the light (those are the strands that get highlighted) while others delve under those forward hairs. The reason these bits of lighting are there is to establish a texture to the hair, like ridges or folds. In the sprites linked it's not really used very well, but how you use those can create different effects. On the guy with the tall hair it gives his hair a sort of stiff, noodly appearance, like his hair is just shooting STRAIGHT OUT OF HIS SKULL. On the kid to the left of him, it creates direction for his hair spikes, showing off that his hair spikes towards the camera and guiding the eye a bit.

There's a lot of cheating there, realistically the highlight would be more spread out, but it's a part of stylization. Figuring out how to break rules best!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #13 on: February 26, 2017, 09:57:43 pm
Okay it seems there's a lot for me to learn about hair highlights. How can I go about doing that?

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #14 on: February 26, 2017, 10:00:47 pm
Generally, google is your friend! I kind of grasped mine as an extension of texture and shading concepts, but there's plenty of material out there! If it's not something you can figure out yet, don't stress too much over it and focus on something else like anatomy to clear your head out before coming back to it again.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #15 on: February 26, 2017, 10:25:18 pm
So then if I were to google search this, what key terms should I input? I am thinking (without quotes) "hair pixel art", "texture" but I don't think those are good enough.

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #16 on: February 26, 2017, 10:33:14 pm
oh, no no! Try the terms for the concepts instead, like "highlight guide art" or "how to shading guide hair"

PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Ai

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #17 on: February 27, 2017, 02:35:10 am
So I've watched this Proko light & shadow video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3WmrWUEIJo and I have looked at the hairs of the characters I've originally posted here. I still can't seem to "get" why those colors/highlights are at those places and why there are darker colors are different places.
That's because those people have considered their memories and references of real life hair and decided to place those highlights there because of how they understood hair.  Then they probably changed it many times until it looked 'right' (as they compared it with their references)

Looking at finished art or viewing tutorials cannot teach you to see. You can understand what those people are doing it by doing it yourself, starting at the start ('What is hair really? How is it structured? How does light work? Where do highlights appear?'). Then you draw hair --as pixel art, as a painting, as a pencil drawing.. doesn't matter, if you understand hair you will be able to draw it in any medium. You have to break things down. 


AA tutorial about handling irregular lines.

If you're not at least a little uncomfortable, chances are you're not learning that much.

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #18 on: February 27, 2017, 03:02:50 am
MysteryMeat- I've googled your terms or something similar and just couldn't find anything relative. Do I need to learn Pixel Art specifically or just any hairs? I've looked at video tutorials on Youtube and the google articles using your terms and I just couldn't find anything relative.

Ai- How do I start to learn how hair shading works? I don't get it.

Everyone, I have contacted a professional pixel artist to make me a video of him doing hair. He hasn't responded to this proposal. Can he truly help me in any way?

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #19 on: February 27, 2017, 06:29:14 am
Get a light and some objects and shine the light on the objects from different angles and next to different materials and write/draw down what you see. Then make connections/patterns from your observations and see if you can recreate an image from what you wrote/drew down.

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #20 on: February 27, 2017, 06:29:29 am
Ai- How do I start to learn how hair shading works? I don't get it.
Learn to see. Try seeing, try to reproduce what you see, compare what you drew to what you see, repeat.

Offline Ai

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #21 on: February 27, 2017, 07:08:16 am
Ai- How do I start to learn how hair shading works? I don't get it.
You don't learn how 'hair shading' works.
Like I said, you break it down.

You learn how light works, generally.
You learn the structure of hair.
You learn the limitations and features of pixel art

You don't attempt to learn all of them at the same time. That's just a recipe for confusion.

You learn them one at a time, making hundreds of drawings, trying to notice to what you put down accurately and what you didn't, and trying to fix it in the next drawing.
As your mileage increases, you will have ideas how to combine the different types of understanding you acquired.

Study materials:

* how light works, general summary by Arne
* Andrew Loomis' now-public-domain book 'Successful Drawing' has a good description of how light works (start on page 93).
* Loomis' "Drawing the head and hands" shows on page 59+60 an approach to drawing hair by breaking it into large chunks and refining these chunks.

As Surt and yaomon say, this is about learning to see. There is no substitute for making lots of drawings, trying to understand the real life things in front of you. The pointers above are only a place you can begin from as you develop your own understanding.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:29:30 am by Ai »
AA tutorial about handling irregular lines.

If you're not at least a little uncomfortable, chances are you're not learning that much.

Online wanderer123

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #22 on: February 27, 2017, 09:20:58 pm
I know I need to learn to "see". I have figured that out on my own. From copying pixel art pixel-by-pixel I feel I have improved. I guess I'll copy pixel art hair too. I need to get an answer from someone about this.

Ai- I don't understand how on that loomis on hair 59-60 is learning about the hair. It's Analysis of facial markings and drawing faces of all ages. Did you give me the right page?

Oh! I may have had an epiphany. I feel that the hair strands that are sticking out to your camera (pixel art or not) are highlighted so that's why the second character from the right is highlighted there. The hair that is top right is also sticking out towards you so it's highlighted. If the hair is depressed, there is less light than usual. Please tell me if it's true.

Here's the character he's based off of:



What about the third guy from the right?
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 09:42:36 pm by wanderer123 »

Offline Ai

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #23 on: February 28, 2017, 12:21:22 am
I know I need to learn to "see". I have figured that out on my own. From copying pixel art pixel-by-pixel I feel I have improved. I guess I'll copy pixel art hair too. I need to get an answer from someone about this.

Ai- I don't understand how on that loomis on hair 59-60 is learning about the hair. It's Analysis of facial markings and drawing faces of all ages. Did you give me the right page?
It also covers hair. Look how he starts by marking out chunks of hair. dividing them into broad planes and shading those planes. Then he divides up those chunks and refines the shading. You can see he uses this for the face too (meaning that the exact same methods are applicable no matter what you are shading)

Quote
Oh! I may have had an epiphany. I feel that the hair strands that are sticking out to your camera (pixel art or not) are highlighted so that's why the second character from the right is highlighted there. The hair that is top right is also sticking out towards you so it's highlighted. If the hair is depressed, there is less light than usual. Please tell me if it's true.
Sort of.. Shading is all about "how much light can reach your eye". Light hits a surface and bounces off. If it hits your eye at all, then the surface doesn't appear totally black. The more rays hit your eye, the more the color of the surface is revealed. Specular Highlights occur when there are an overwhelming excess of rays hitting your eye.

The whole thing is about angles. Highlights mostly appear on parts of a surface that are facing fairly directly towards the viewer (this is the circumstance in which it's easy for the most light to get to your eye). On faces that are not pointing directly at the camera, highlights are possible but it requires proportionally more light to produce a highlight (since a percentage of these light rays will bounce off in a direction that *doesn't* hit the eye)

Naturally, less light rays manage to hit recessed areas to begin with.

So 'what is sticking out' is one part. 'Where is the light source' is another (for example, you wouldn't expect highlights on the front of the object if the lightsource was behind the object)

The third guy from the right doesn't seem any different in this regard -- I guess he is lit from the front+above, creating the ring of highlights you see.
But this is one of the reasons people recommend study from life. An artist's portrayal of light is always imperfect and inconsistent to some extent, nature is not.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 12:31:37 am by Ai »
AA tutorial about handling irregular lines.

If you're not at least a little uncomfortable, chances are you're not learning that much.

Online wanderer123

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Re: Please explain to me this Pixel Art technique

Reply #24 on: February 28, 2017, 03:30:26 am
Okay I think I am beginning to understand this better. Thanks for the extra info Ai!