AuthorTopic: Two sprites and a skull  (Read 885 times)

Offline Portokal

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Two sprites and a skull

on: June 08, 2017, 03:53:46 am
Hi all! I've been noodling around with a game for a little while, and decided to make some sprites for it. I've come up with a vampire and a skeleton (legs, hands, and scimitar still incomplete) so far:




I'm trying to go for a more 'painterly' look with the color palettes and shading. Unfortunately, I'm a programmer with no real drawing experience, so I don't really know what I'm doing. This skull I drew as practice probably gives a better idea of the sort of look I'm going for:


Any advice and criticism, especially of the shading but also of any other issues, would be greatly appreciated— thanks!

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 07:22:58 am
Clean up your pixel clusters! The way you're scattering pixels about makes it look all gritty and messy, ideally you should try to group colors together as much as possible!

Try going back over the skull, make it as solid-looking as you can!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Portokal

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 09:28:04 pm
Thanks for the advice! I've gone over it and tried to reduce the number of single-pixel groups as much as I could without compromising the shape; is something like this better?

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 02:03:23 am
Not quite! Here, I've gone over and done an illustrative edit to really clear up what I meant!

Basically, try to think in terms of tetris shapes. Pixel art is all about CLARITY, so you want to try and prevent messy shapes and visual noise as much as humanly possible.

To that end, you want to create groupings of colors rather than try for speckling or various other kinds of visual noise unless you're going for color limitations or very specific textures or effects!
Note that I wasn't QUITE following your shading (it's been a while since I'be done some skull studies) so some bits might be innacurate or weird lookin', this was just to show off the kind of thing I meant!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
MAJOR BORK TALLY: |

Offline Portokal

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #4 on: June 10, 2017, 01:19:09 am
Well, I tried to rework it while thinking about tetris pieces, but I'm not sure it's really an improvement  :P :

But, in all seriousness, thanks for the edit (and no worries about changing the shape; I'm not exactly an expert on skull anatomy). I think I understand a little better, at least. Here's my latest attempt:

The most obvious difference I see between yours and mine is that mine still has some single-pixel irregularities breaking up the lines (e.g. along the shadows forming the brow, and on the upper lip). When I remove those, it looks too smooth and, for lack of a better word, plasticky compared to the effect I'm going for. Is there a better way to suggest irregularities while still making the shape clear? Or am I just overthinking this whole thing?

(just for fun, I recolored the tetris-ified one:

I'm not really sure why. I spent way too long on this stupid joke, anyway...)

Offline 32

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #5 on: June 10, 2017, 04:14:51 am
Not as much of a joke as you may think. That's actual a very useful way of thinking about pixel clusters and actually good practice (have a look at my avatar for an example of what MysteryMeat is talking about). You obviously don't need to do it everywhere and don't need to stick to the traditional tetrominos but using small distinct clusters of pixels is a very good way to work. It helps you to avoid banding and single pixel noise. Your recoloured tetris piece is in fact the best version so far ;D

You just need to work on really carving out the important forms. The eye sockets and nasal cavity are too soft. Likewise the cheekbone could be stronger, darker along the underside. And there should be a stronger division and holes above the jaw bone. There shouldn't be anything connecting them beyond the teeth. The rear cheekbone should probably protrude a little bit more.

Just quickly on the sprites I think you need to focus more on the overall forms and less on the details.

Offline Portokal

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #6 on: June 10, 2017, 11:08:53 pm
 :o Your avatar is something else— I feel like I'm looking at a Mary Cassatt painting!

Not sure if it stands up in comparison with Tetris McTetrisface up there, but here's my latest rework:

I tried reshading the cheekbone and separating the jawbone, as well as hinting at the hidden cheekbone and emphasizing the various cavities as you suggested. Somewhere along the way it seems to have become quite shiny, but I'm not sure what I can do to fix that with the colors I have now.

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #7 on: June 10, 2017, 11:45:34 pm
You can change the colors in post, you know
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
MAJOR BORK TALLY: |

Offline Portokal

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Re: The Skulls Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Reply #8 on: June 11, 2017, 08:08:46 am
Yet another skull rework, now in a whole 8 vibrant(er) colors!

I managed to make it entirely out of {d-, tri-, pent-}ominos this time. As a preemptive criticism, the eye sockets and nasal cavity are defined much less crisply now. OTOH I'm happy with how the front-facing eye socket widened out, and I think the forehead shading is more accurate to life.

Offline Portokal

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Re: One Sprite and No Skull

Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 06:36:44 am
Not sure if I should keep these in the same thread, but I think I'm willing to declare the skull something like done (thanks again for the help with it!) and the sprites best off redrawn. I'm working on two more assets: a portrait for a shaman character and a swordswoman sprite. The shaman portrait I'm pretty happy with so far:

The sprite is still a wip. As per 32's recommendation, I'm trying to get the actual pose down before I do anything more:

Any criticism of either is welcome!

Offline skittlefuck

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #10 on: June 14, 2017, 07:59:07 pm
The overall silhouette of the skull is fine, right now the biggest issue is your lighting and some minor anatomy problems. You should try thinking about the skull in terms of a sphere, with the sides being flat as shown with sketch.

Since the lighting is coming from above, it should be creating a sort of gradient; with the jaw being the darkest
 and continuing with the top of the cranium being the lightest, since it's receiving the light head-on (ahaaaa)



Would really recommend looking at references for the skull so you can pick up on the anatomy.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 08:05:00 pm by skittlefuck »

Offline Portokal

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #11 on: June 14, 2017, 10:15:41 pm
Thanks for the advice! I'm not sure if I plan on revisiting the skull anytime soon, since I'm not planning on using it for anything, but if and when I do this is sure to be helpful.

A couple points:
  • I did in fact use a reference, though looking at it now I strayed from it a whole bunch:
  • I also visualized the cranium as a sphere with flat sides (and a face, natch) when first drawing it, so any lighting problems I have there are probably more fundamental ><
  • Are any of the anatomy issues better in the most recent (more candy-colored) skull? I feel like the eye sockets at least are better proportioned, and the shading on the side of the head is at least a slight improvement, though the nose is still too far down, and the jaw hinge is still somewhat whacked up. Beyond those I'm not sure what's anatomy errors and what's bad lighting.

Offline LoreSmyth

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 08:34:04 am
On the shaman buste, I think the style from the chest/torso differs too much from how you render the face (which has more shading). I think it can be very interesting to keep all your sprites very flat, sort of cell shaded. At least I would choose a uniform style. Right now the torso looks unfinished, because the face has more shading.

Offline Portokal

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Re: Two sprites and a skull

Reply #13 on: June 18, 2017, 09:49:41 pm
@LoreSmyth: you're right, it's inconsistent. I do think cell-shading can look cool, but I'm worried about taking too stylized an approach here, since I'm very much still learning to draw and it might make it too easy to just brush anatomy/whatever errors under the rug. To that end, here's a somewhat more muscular edit:

Not really happy with the shading on the abs.