AuthorTopic: Oddly shaped ship shading help.  (Read 868 times)

Offline Noba

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Oddly shaped ship shading help.

on: June 06, 2017, 09:42:49 pm
Hi.

So as said in one of my posts, which was... God. I think about 3 months ago now? I said I was fairly new to pixel art. Anyways, that's not the subject for this post.

I recently got back into making pixel art after giving up for a while, it was too frustrating, and then exams happened, but I've started it again and I think I'm doing okay.

So my problem here lies in the fact I don't know how to shade this spaceship. The main body of the ship is pretty much shaped how you would see one of those stereotypical clip art rockets, but I can't figure out how to shade that. Can anyone show me, tell me, or give me advice?


Not sure if that would have worked, probably.
(Thank you Silenia!)
PS:

Any critiques on the other shading, E.G., wings and engines, would be nice too. Thanks.

PPS:

Sorry if I snap at you or come off as moody, it's sort of late here, haha.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 01:16:55 pm by Noba »

Offline Silenia

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 01:38:37 am
Image isn't showing (you need to use the url that has 'http://i.imgur.com' in it, not the 'http://imgur.com/a/' one. If you can't find that one among the sharing options, or can't find the sharing options at all, and you're at the /a/ one, right-clicking the image and selecting 'copy image location' works too).



Not a bad start. :)

One thing I notice is that the section of the wings between the 'body' and the engines doesn't quite match the angle or width of the external-most wingsections.

You're also using more colours than necessary: the image has 64 of them while you would be able to reach the same effect you currently have with maybe 9-12 of them. (3-4 blues, cyans and greys each should be quite sufficient for this until/unless you get to further shading. Even so, I'd increase the contrast between them some, and it's probably also possible to have one of the light cyans/light greys be the same shade and use it for both.)

As for further shading, there's a few things to keep in mind. Light (including direction, brightness and colour), shape (which determines where light does or does not hit and thus where there are shadows--combined with direction of light, at least) and material (does it absorb most light? Does it strongly reflect? Does light pass through it?) Before going too deep into further shading, though, it'd be a good idea to reduce the colours you already have, else you likely end up with an unmanageable number of them.

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 09:50:07 am
I echo the above but a bit more hardline. Redo those blues from scratch, it looks like you used a gradient tool and as a result the blue parts look incongruous with the rest of the picture! Everything looks like that soft silicone plastic they make chew toys out of because of how soft the lighting is from the gradient. I don't think that fits the sleek fiberglass look I'm assuming you're going for!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #3 on: June 07, 2017, 01:14:54 pm
I don't think that fits the sleek fiberglass look I'm assuming you're going for!
Yes, kinda like that!
Do you mind giving me an example? The engines/thrusters have really given me some trouble with their shading, I can't seem to get them to look round enough.

One thing I notice is that the section of the wings between the 'body' and the engines doesn't quite match the angle or width of the external-most wingsections.

Thank you! I'll try to sort this out, it shouldn't be too hard i hope.

You're also using more colours than necessary: the image has 64 of them while you would be able to reach the same effect you currently have with maybe 9-12 of them. (3-4 blues, cyans and greys each should be quite sufficient for this until/unless you get to further shading. Even so, I'd increase the contrast between them some, and it's probably also possible to have one of the light cyans/light greys be the same shade and use it for both.)

As for further shading, there's a few things to keep in mind. Light (including direction, brightness and colour), shape (which determines where light does or does not hit and thus where there are shadows--combined with direction of light, at least) and material (does it absorb most light? Does it strongly reflect? Does light pass through it?) Before going too deep into further shading, though, it'd be a good idea to reduce the colours you already have, else you likely end up with an unmanageable number of them.

Again, is there any way you can give me an example? I'm not sure how to change the colours. This ship was mainly to help with shading, and while i think I've done an okay job, an example would be nice.


Thanks to the both of you either way!

Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 02:54:10 pm
Update!

I've organised the colours, I had to add in some more greys and blacks, but I think this is better!
Or, at least... Slightly. I think the colours on the blue needs to be altered slightly, it doesn't have that sleek metal look yet...
I'm trying to go for very reflective metal, or something along those lines.

Offline Tycho Magnetic Anomaly

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 03:57:46 pm
Hi, I had a fiddle with this before your last post there... anyway to be honest I was not sure if the perspective of this little ship was top-down or  top-down+behind .. from looking at your engines, in particular the circular vents I assumed this was top-down+behind.

Ok so love your ship, very cute, it reminds me of the very very first things I did with pixel art too which was little ships much like yours for a shooter game concept.

Anyway I think you did pretty well with things, but I could not help but make a few changes, in particular to the perspective and shading. I have provided you a strip of images so you can see the iterations and perhaps get some hints with how to improve your shading and highlighting.

If your idea was to have a top-down look, then I think you need to start by changing your vents to ovals (squashed horizontally) and work up from there. I didn't have time to make you a top-down version.




This is a bit of a drastic change (at the end) from your original but I hope you get some general tips from it. Keep up the great work.

Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 04:22:46 pm
Hi, I had a fiddle with this before your last post there... anyway to be honest I was not sure if the perspective of this little ship was top-down or  top-down+behind .. from looking at your engines, in particular the circular vents I assumed this was top-down+behind.

Yes you're right! It was meant to be top-down+behind.

Ok so love your ship, very cute, it reminds me of the very very first things I did with pixel art too which was little ships much like yours for a shooter game concept.

Anyway I think you did pretty well with things, but I could not help but make a few changes, in particular to the perspective and shading. I have provided you a strip of images so you can see the iterations and perhaps get some hints with how to improve your shading and highlighting.

If your idea was to have a top-down look, then I think you need to start by changing your vents to ovals (squashed horizontally) and work up from there. I didn't have time to make you a top-down version.



Thank you!
I do like the way the ship looks now, I sort of based it off of this:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/41/4b/f7/414bf78283804a8c9901da0e7b912a70.png
(It's a very big picture, so I'm just posting the link.)
But the way you've remade it looks interesting. I really like those engine pods!
I'll take what you've said into consideration, especially the shading. That should help a lot. Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 04:26:27 pm by Noba »

Offline Curly

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 05:15:34 pm
Yeah, the perspective looks a bit weird.

The shapes are good, but your color ramps need more contrast.
Read this if you haven't: http://pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11299

Offline Silenia

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 07:50:54 pm
Made a quick (didn't have much time, sadly, and didn't want you to have to wait a few days) edit of your old art (so basically, a response to your response to me rather than your more recent posts) and didn't have much time to look at your in-progress rework yet, though from a quick glance, yeah, your blues don't have quite enough contrast yet.

(My edit is, due to being a quick one, nowhere near perfect and could use some tweaking. In particular the greys could use further tweaking. While the blues and aquas are now at perfectly manageable levels (4 and 3 of them respectively), there's still six greys used and even with the further detailing/shading I've done, that could probably be reduced to five perfectly well. The darkest blue and second-darkest grey are also a bit closer in appearance than I'd prefer. There's also still some banding on the wing edges and the wings in general could use a bit more work--I was in a bit of a hurry near the end)

Tried to stay as close to the shape you had as possible.



The main problem you have with making 'round' (or rather, cylindrical) things seem round is that you're dealing with a slightly misaligned perspective. It looks like you want to portray it as 'mostly above* and slightly behind/level*', but you ended up portraying some parts as almost straight above (part of the body and such), while other parts are shown from a near-level/behind* perspective (the engine openings especially). (*what would be above/behind/level if it was a jet or plane on the runway, at least. Space or airspace and directions can be a bit iffy, yeah?)

Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 09:54:11 pm
Made a quick (didn't have much time, sadly, and didn't want you to have to wait a few days) edit of your old art (so basically, a response to your response to me rather than your more recent posts) and didn't have much time to look at your in-progress rework yet, though from a quick glance, yeah, your blues don't have quite enough contrast yet.

Ah thank you for taking the time to make an edit!
I haven't been able to cut down my colours too far yet...
There are:
7 blues
6 greys
4 dark-greys/blacks
and 4 cyan or light blue colours.

I haven't been able to quite work out a way i like which involves cutting down colours yet, but I did make a decent effort to organise and delete colours which don't really fit well together, and/or aren't needed! The greys look much better together now, but I haven't done the blacks or blues yet. (Working on it!)

Here is what i have so far:

(Thank you Tycho Magnetic Anomaly for the engine inspiration!)
Although I am getting somewhere!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 09:56:17 pm by Noba »

Offline Silenia

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 04:13:33 am
You're making nice progress. :)

Keep working a little on cutting those down, but 21 certainly is a lot closer to a "sane" number of colours for an image like this than 64. ;D

Yeah, I could tell you hadn't done your blues yet, as they are still rather numerous. Not necessarily bad if they'd all serve distinct purposes, but the fact that one has to zoom to properly tell apart the different shades means you can fairly safely cut at least one or two of those out. Especially the darker half of the blue ramp is really, *really* close together. If nothing else, consider at least merging 1d53c6 and 1e55cc. (2nd & 3rd darkest blue respectively) At 2x or even 4x zoom one has to pay a lot of attention to tell those two apart--meaning the difference is effectively invisible at 1x. Probably worth it to darken your darkest blue a bit or merge it in with those two, for that matter.

Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 12:09:09 pm
You're making nice progress. :)

Keep working a little on cutting those down, but 21 certainly is a lot closer to a "sane" number of colours for an image like this than 64. ;D
Thank you!

Yeah, I could tell you hadn't done your blues yet, as they are still rather numerous. Not necessarily bad if they'd all serve distinct purposes, but the fact that one has to zoom to properly tell apart the different shades means you can fairly safely cut at least one or two of those out. Especially the darker half of the blue ramp is really, *really* close together. If nothing else, consider at least merging 1d53c6 and 1e55cc. (2nd & 3rd darkest blue respectively) At 2x or even 4x zoom one has to pay a lot of attention to tell those two apart--meaning the difference is effectively invisible at 1x. Probably worth it to darken your darkest blue a bit or merge it in with those two, for that matter.

I've managed to cut down some more blues, plus managed the colours, but before I continue I'm kinda stuck with something.

I really like your shading. It's great, but I'm not sure what to do. The simplistic style looks really good, very much like that metal look I was going for originally (Plus, easy to make with little colours!) But I also like what I've done so far. I guess I could always make a repaint with more simplistic colours when I'm done, and compare both ships then.

Also, I've redone the blues! Hopefully they're better. Or they should be a little.

Offline Silenia

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 07:08:18 pm
Yeah, nothing wrong with trying out different styles, but probably best to first finish up what you're currently doing and then do another one in a different style if you're still interested in trying then--you learn more that way than by halfway abandoning attempts to switch to another style (and quite possibly then another, and another, etc.) because, beyond the basics, a lot of learning how to get the effect you want shading things hinges on that later-stage tweaking you'd otherwise miss out on.

Plus it's remarkably easy to get into the bad habit of abandoning (or postpone to work on "later" which becomes indefinite postponing real easy) pixel art attempts when they become difficult, but rather hard to get out of said habit. Even more so when you don't have much if any completed stuff to fall back on to convince yourself that yes, you're capable not just of starting stuff but also of finishing it.

Blues are certainly better. Not perfect, perhaps, and I'd personally throw in a little hue-shifting* and playing with saturation*, but I can tell the different shades apart when looking at the colour-ramp at 1x without having to stare too much. That's pretty great improvement. Or, to properly visualize how much improvement it is:



On the left side, from top to bottom, the blues you've used in each successive image. The ones in the grey-bordered box on the right are the blues I used in my edit, for comparison purposes etc. I'm sure you'll agree with me that your current blue ramp looks a lot better than that original monstrosity of a blue ramp, yes?

*hue-shifting and playing with saturation: Just because they're all blues doesn't mean they have to all be identically-blue blues. You can for example have the lighter end of the blue ramp tend a little more towards cyan and the darker end more towards purple, as I did in my blue-ramp.
Other than your lightest blue, all your blues have the same saturation (85, if you were wondering; the light blue has 67 saturation). Since they're also all in the exact same part of the blue range ("hue"; 221 in your case), the sole difference between them is light/darkness ("value"). For one, this is not particularly realistic, but more than that it makes building proper contrast and providing visual interest a bit more difficult.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 07:18:07 pm by Silenia »

Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #13 on: June 08, 2017, 09:15:09 pm
Yeah, nothing wrong with trying out different styles, but probably best to first finish up what you're currently doing and then do another one in a different style if you're still interested in trying then--you learn more that way than by halfway abandoning attempts to switch to another style (and quite possibly then another, and another, etc.) because, beyond the basics, a lot of learning how to get the effect you want shading things hinges on that later-stage tweaking you'd otherwise miss out on.

Plus it's remarkably easy to get into the bad habit of abandoning (or postpone to work on "later" which becomes indefinite postponing real easy) pixel art attempts when they become difficult, but rather hard to get out of said habit. Even more so when you don't have much if any completed stuff to fall back on to convince yourself that yes, you're capable not just of starting stuff but also of finishing it.

Indeed. I tend to have this problem a lot.
(I make music! But it's not that good...)
It shouldn't be too bad to continue with this project though. After getting back into pixel art and actually knowing what I'm doing, it's become much more enjoyable and I actually have the motivation to finish it!
(Thanks to all of you, of course! ;) )

Blues are certainly better. Not perfect, perhaps, and I'd personally throw in a little hue-shifting* and playing with saturation*, but I can tell the different shades apart when looking at the colour-ramp at 1x without having to stare too much. That's pretty great improvement. Or, to properly visualize how much improvement it is:



On the left side, from top to bottom, the blues you've used in each successive image. The ones in the grey-bordered box on the right are the blues I used in my edit, for comparison purposes etc. I'm sure you'll agree with me that your current blue ramp looks a lot better than that original monstrosity of a blue ramp, yes?
Yes! Definitely! I will continue to tweak it before i begin shading the main body of the ship + adding in the small details. (I don't want it to be just blue, of course! It'll look boring that way, unless it has really good shading, which I don't think I'll be good enough at till I get enough practise. But Anyways.)

Other than your lightest blue, all your blues have the same saturation (85, if you were wondering; the light blue has 67 saturation). Since they're also all in the exact same part of the blue range ("hue"; 221 in your case), the sole difference between them is light/darkness ("value"). For one, this is not particularly realistic, but more than that it makes building proper contrast and providing visual interest a bit more difficult.
Ah yes! I changed the hue just to make it as light as I could while still keeping it, um, looking "blue", if you get what i mean. I have a question about this though; Should I consistently change the hue as I decrease saturation, or chunks?

Edit:

I ended up doing just that, and I kinda like how it came out!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 11:00:30 pm by Noba »

Offline Silenia

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #14 on: June 09, 2017, 02:15:28 am
Hope you don't mind another novella-sized reply. I tend to ramble on a bit and my tendency to provide (written) examples with everything doesn't really help there. Just give me a (digital) slap if you want me to tone it down a little.

Indeed. I tend to have this problem a lot.
(I make music! But it's not that good...)
It shouldn't be too bad to continue with this project though. After getting back into pixel art and actually knowing what I'm doing, it's become much more enjoyable and I actually have the motivation to finish it!
(Thanks to all of you, of course! ;) )

It's a pretty common problem when it comes to creative stuff--whether art or music or writing (or whatever other creative pursuit)--that tends to get acerbated when in a digital environment because computers make it so easy to put incomplete stuff away with the thought of 'will get back to it later' and because things remain malleable to a great degree. Whereas with some of the non-digital creative pursuits you're far more  bound to physical limitations both regarding the 'how' and the 'when'. (e.g. you can't really decide in the middle of mixing paints to get the right shade that 'oh well, this isn't what I want but I'm gonna use it and replace all of these drab browns with a more vivid shade later' and if you keep hopping from stone sculpture project to stone sculpture project, eventually you're going to run out of room to put those darn half-finished rocks in)

Quote
Yes! Definitely! I will continue to tweak it before i begin shading the main body of the ship + adding in the small details. (I don't want it to be just blue, of course! It'll look boring that way, unless it has really good shading, which I don't think I'll be good enough at till I get enough practise. But Anyways.)
Aye, practice helps a lot. Tweaking is good, but you'll eventually notice that just because colours look good as a ramp doesn't necessarily mean they'll also work as intended in an actual piece of art. Don't get discouraged if you find you have to tweak your ramps a little again when you get to shading and detailing.

Nearby colours influence the perception of other colours a lot, so what looks one way on an organized monochromatic light-to-dark ramp may give off a different look when surrounded also by colours from your other colour ramps, or when surrounded by colours with a wildly different saturation.

For example, if you put a red with low saturation (so tending a lot towards grey) among a bunch of pure greys, it'll appear pink/red-like by contrast. (Indeed, if you've got a low-saturation piece of art, putting any highly-saturated shades among them will generally look very, very jarring. Like "eek, my eyes are burning if I stare at that shade too long!" jarring, sometimes) Put that exact same low-saturation red among a lot of highly-saturated colours (red or otherwise) and it'll look very, very grey. 

Quote
Ah yes! I changed the hue just to make it as light as I could while still keeping it, um, looking "blue", if you get what i mean. I have a question about this though; Should I consistently change the hue as I decrease saturation, or chunks?

Edit:

I ended up doing just that, and I kinda like how it came out!

Think you may be mixing up 'hue' and 'value' and 'saturation' here. Value is how light or dark a colour is. High value means close to white, low value means close to black. Hue is which shade it has (so, blue, or purple-ish blue or magenta or cyan or yellow--etc.) and saturation is how close or far it is from being grey. No saturation=greyscale; high saturation=bright colour.

As to changing hue alongside value and/or saturation: sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on what you're drawing, what kind of shading, what sort of light, etc. In this case, it works, at least in part because all your blues are really just depicting one blue--the jet/engine--that appears different due to light and shadows. Perhaps not the clearest way to explain it. Think of it this way: if the airship was a real, physical object, it'd have the same blue paint used across its body. Which parts look lighter and darker isn't something innate to said body, but dependent on if, how strong and where light hits it. It's not that someone painted the left side with a lighter paint than the right side, or that it got some sort of damage or staining resulting in one side being darker. It's the same material all across. It's just not the same light all across.

Sometimes, however, you use a colour ramp to depict multiple different "blues" (or greens, or yellows or whatever). Say, rather than a space-ship alone, you're depicting a full scene...and maybe other than the metallic-paintcoat of the jet's body, there's also the woollen sweater with three shades of blue stripes an off-duty crewbie is wearing. And oh my, look, someone used some blue spray paint to leave some off-colour ditties on the walls of the spacedock, claiming the only reason the capt'n has such a large ship is to compensate for something .

In that case, you may well still have a single colour-ramp of your blue-shades, but while some are probably used for more than one, maybe even every blue, you may also have shades that are used for only one or two blues, and when arranging purely on a light-to-dark order, saturation and hue may flit back and forth a bit more because of the different ways light and shadows interacts with different materials. (Dark blue wool won't brightly reflect light the way metallic paint does, for one) Or maybe not and you just have a simple, short ramp of blue shades all of which are reused across every blue. It all depends on the exact piece of art.

There's also artistic concerns that may influence things: maybe you're experimenting with a wildly different style. Or for whichever reason, you've taken up a challenge to create a full scene in just 8 colours and you really can't spare more than three on the blues and that's if one doubles for "black" as well. You're making something within the limitations of some of the old consoles. You plan to fully animate the image, making keeping the colour-count down a real good idea. You're going for a "washed out picture" effect. You're going for a bright cartoony feel. You're doing something surrealistic.

So, to summarize: it can work (and in this case does, mostly*), but there really isn't a "one way works for every piece of art". It depends on many considerations, both on an artistic level and regarding the material and lighting you're depicting.

*mostly: your darkest two shades of blue in your newest ramp could do with either some increased contrast, merging or removal of one, though as you don't seem to currently even use the darkest shade, I'd lean towards merging/removal myself.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 02:18:34 am by Silenia »

Offline Noba

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Re: Oddly shaped ship shading help.

Reply #15 on: June 14, 2017, 08:15:18 pm
Ah sorry for the late reply! I'm a bit busy with stuff, which I am now, so sorry about the lack of an indepth reply to, your, well, reply.

Yeah, I did get them mixed up! It happened to be late again when I made my message, but I think the way the ramp looks now is okay. Atleast for now.

I had an attempt at shading the main body, and i think it looks okay, but it needs work.
(The small grey part with the yellow lights at the back may be temporary, it was just to make it easier to actually see it as being 3D, originally it looked flat.)




Again, I'm really sorry for the tiny reply! I haven't got much time before I have to go again.

PS: Your most recent reply was a tad long, but I managed ;)


Edit:
I don't know if you've seen this so I'll quote part of your message just to see if it notifies you.
(Not even sure if that works, but it's worth a shot!)

Hope you don't mind another novella-sized reply. I tend to ramble on a bit and my tendency to provide (written) examples with everything doesn't really help there. Just give me a (digital) slap if you want me to tone it down a little.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 10:15:48 pm by Noba »