Critique => Pixel Art => Pixel Art Feature Chest => Topic started by: Sigil on July 19, 2011, 05:49:39 pm

Title: GR#062 - Sigil's Stuff - Dynamism
Post by: Sigil on July 19, 2011, 05:49:39 pm
Hi guys! I'm working on my first animations and getting more comfortable with the pixel format. Here's a few things I've done which I'd love some critique on, but it's no big, especially the stuff that's over a year old I know is outdated X3

I made this icon for myself to test a few things. I'm limited to a 100x100, but as far as I can tell, no color limitations as of yet. The tail animation went better than I thought it was going to, but it could still use some work hardcore.

And the older stuff:
(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/asphyxiaicon.gif)(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/HyacinthIcon1.gif)(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/margolobluicon.gif)(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/zuki-icon.gif) - my fave from this set

(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/vannypannypixelicon.png)(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/tsunamapixelicon.png)(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/sliggleicon.png)(http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/sigilgoat/SwiftHApixelicon.png) - my fave from this set :B

[WIP]'s Below:

Working on an icon in the same style as my first, trying to tackle full body animation more in this.

Preliminary sketch for the icon, it had a few animation layers, but I didn't end up really using them

First pixels from the sketch

Cleaned up lines

Animation test. The tail and breath aren't entirely smooth, but I do really like the snort.
Title: Re: My first stuff, and some oldies c:
Post by: pistachio on July 19, 2011, 10:37:33 pm
*puts on hazmat suit*

Okay, here goes nothing.

You might find this harsh and a lot different from what you're used to. I guess you can consider this a crash course to what you might find again.

Now don't take this the wrong way, but you seem to be the classic, DeviantArt-brand furry right down to the emoticons. Loves drawing colored animals just for the sake of drawing colored animals, and lets their level of experience boldly shine through. I hope you don't claw me to death ( ::) ) when I say that working on your fundamentals is never, never a bad thing if you want to be an even better artist and draw even better furries. Hell, you'll be able to draw a lot of things! It may seem scary now, but gradually expanding your scope in the future will prove incredibly helpful in a variety of ways.

If you want to practice pixel art, use palette limitations, unlike what you seem to be doing, and even admitted to doing yourself. By the way, the palettes are a bit monochromatic. They lack contrast, hue-shifting... A lot of things which are discussed at this pixel mega-tutorial over here (http://www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11299). One thing I'd like to note is the lack of a lightsource on pretty much all of them, including your newest one. Think of the basic shapes your characters are made of, like cones and spheres and which direction the light is hitting them from. Might want to practice shading those first to get a grip on how to do it.

The poses of the characters are a bit stiff, actually. Sometimes they're off-balance, sometimes their limbs are splayed in impossible, if not very uncomfortable positions. You seem to have a bit of trouble drawing in the 3/4th view especially on your portraits, which pretty much look like stereotypical furries, sorry to say. You also seem to hiding this problem by doing what most amateur artists do, either drawing the head in profile or facing front, even when the body is placed in a position where the neck would be strained by the way the head is turned.

The head shape and placement of facial features are basically the same through all of the portraits serving them with only a thin, candy-coat of character and personality. If you stripped them of their details and their color, I'm willing to bet they'll look more or less the same. Look at the characters of Disney--namely animal ones--caricatures, and perhaps pictures of real people and animals. What makes their character and personality show through? What do their postures and facial expressions communicate? And if you're looking at pictures, studying what makes the animal recognizable probably wouldn't hurt. Don't be afraid to exaggerate those characteristics, either.

The animation of your latest addition only moves various parts of the piece without focusing on how it moves as a whole and how one thing moving can affect another. For example when the tail hits the ground, it's pretty much the only thing moving, but looks likes it would take at least effort to move. By the way, I'm not a fan of everything being pink but hey, your choice.

(I know the pieces are old, but seek to tackle problems like these in the future. That's pretty much the only way you can improve.)

Wow, that was long. Okay, I'm done for a while...
Title: Re: My first stuff, and some oldies c:
Post by: Sigil on July 19, 2011, 11:43:00 pm
Take off that suit! XD I know you guys give ACTUAL GOOD critique, which is why I wanted to post here. I want to improve, but not lose my own voice, if that makes sense? I'm going to try and give a little more background and I'm not trying to be defensive, but if that happens anyway you can tell me. AND I will try to lose some of the emoticons, since I most likely overuse them.

So first, I will not deny that 95% of the art I do is for furries (they hire me, I get to make enough money to live, you know how it goes!), so I'm used to drawing furries. There's lots of shortcuts that make the typical furry fan happy in regards to anatomy and action (Tails must always be showing! ALWAYS), and since they still are my bread and butter, I might have to stick with a few of those shortcuts for now.

I'm going to link some of my other stuff (Some is furry but commissions, some is my own exploration, some is human faced etc) just to show what else I do:

This was a 30 min piece, so attention to the man face was all I worried about:

Another 30 minute one:

Scary monster lady:

Faun/satyr/humanface girl:

Cover of a folio that was all monsters/mythical species

Gestural low-color fairy:

Hate the picture, like my attempt at lighting:

I know those things are off topic, but they're what I have the most experience with, so hopefully they should I have slightly more anatomical prowess than my pixel stuff shows? I started off on Elfwood in 98 with a lot of anime fantasy stuff. I didn't get into furry until 3 years or so ago with world of warcraft, realized I could do it as my full time job, etc etc. I was an art major in 2003-2005, but haven't taken a class since, just been playing around with my toolchest from there.

Thank you very much for linking that tutorial! The one I (lightly) followed was: http://www.derekyu.com/?page_id=219  by Derek Yu. It was nice as an overview, but didn't go into nearly as much of the detail as that new one!

I'll be taking a color theory class in the fall, which I'm very excited about. I've always been pretty afraid to use hue-shifting to get my desired effect, and pretty much wimp out and use a desaturated pale red, blue or purple for my shading/lighting. Using high contrast is something I'm a big wimp about as well, though I did try to have two shadows and a highlight in my icon. Were they just not extreme enough, or were they too pillowy?

I'll be addressing the "one part moving at a time" issue in my next set of experiments, I want to make a matching icon for my fella.

A quick note on the "candy-coat of character and personality". I have no idea how to alter that for what I'm going for...or even how to do that on humans or what not. When I think of something like Disney, I think of over-exaggeration of features, voices and stereotypes (glasses on the smart girl, a bare chest on the strong man), which I am not quite sure how to do in a like..10x10 area. In the furry circles, it's all about how the characters LOOK, not how they act or express themselves...so I suppose I'm just playing towards my audience there.

And yeah about the pink - She started out brown, but that demeanor was too much like me IRL, I had to jazz it up to make a character that was more fun to draw. I do have less eye searing ideas, however.

I have a quick question, if that's okay. I have no idea how to even set up a decent color palate. Is that just something you figure out, or is there a good way to figure that out for pixels? I saw some on the tutorial you linked, but it was still not making much sense to me.

And feel free to write me an essay any day. I would rather someone tear into me about something concrete than asspatt me all day (I really get that enough, I promise.)
Title: Re: Sigil's Older Stuff + 1 recent animation
Post by: pistachio on July 20, 2011, 01:59:30 am

Just as I suspected! Good thing I didn't take off my suit yet.

@ Setting up a palette:

The way I like to go around it is to start with a doodle; sometimes I have colors in mind for it already. If not, I like to try a few variations. Maybe I want the character's outfit to be green instead of purple, or maybe the shiny bits should be gold and not silver. Design changes usually result in changes in color. I always note to myself to keep the saturation and contrast low ( specific situations) and choose something that isn't eye-searing, but is in fact pleasing and complementary. For good color combos you might want to pull up a color, but me? I often I just experiment and see what looks best. I also remember not to choose too many colors just for, say, individual accessories. Coming from a pixel-art background, so this is pretty much second nature to me.

Also here's an idea of how to stylize things. Both drawings are of cats, hopefully you noticed. Keep in mind, I haven't drawn cats, let alone anthros for a while so my skills are a bit rusty in that department. Still, I hope this gets a point across.


Figure A is a high level of stylization. I was keeping in mind a young, bright character, possibly a bookworm. I gave her glasses and a turtleneck, and large eyes and ears. Lashes, if her gender wasn't obvious enough. This one is all about character. Her proportions were inspired by the guy who did... That video where the skunk-girl loses her work on some paint program. I don't really like touching that stuff, so I purposely tried to forget about them, which apparently didn't work. :yell: (I know the eyes are a bit off, but it's just an example.)

Figure B is a lower level of stylization. Note it still retains the realistic proportion of a cat--well, mostly. I tried to give it the facial features of an old man, then colored its fur pretty much gray to enhance that effect. Also, bushy eyebrows.

Note none of the colors used cause eyeburn. If people really do request this, adding variation wouldn't hurt, for example streaks of another color (a close one), which is what I did here in both images. Not only does it suggest the direction of fur, but it makes it more interesting, too.

Just ideas. Okay. This time I'm done. I hope. Not big about hazmat suits.

It never happened, it never happened...
EDIT: Not necessarily addressing different levels, just a better way to go about it than the "stereotypical" thing you have going on. I just can't help but feel that there's a better way to go about it and I'm just handing out ideas for different styles other than that. Eventually you'll move on, unless you really are attatched to this idea, or--oh wait. It's your job. Nevermind. You'll improve, anyway. Probably.

Also, realistic animals will likely help you improve somehow. No, it's just me, I'm not very fond of people pushing suggestions aside like that. :-X
Title: Re: Sigil's Older Stuff + 1 recent animation
Post by: Sigil on July 20, 2011, 02:24:05 am
Right, I do understand the difference between levels of stylization, that's not my issue. I have little to no interest in drawing hyper realistic animals, I'm mostly interested in my animation, color legibility, lighting and various things like that.

I understand there are people who don't care for furry art, but that's what I'm working with.

EDIT: fixed some wording at the end.

Double edit: I feel like you're being intentionally hostile and rude towards someone who is genuinely interested in the art form on this forum, but is new. I would appreciate if you toned that down a bit, or left me alone entirely if you really care that little for the subject matter I cover, or my methods of doing so.
Title: Re: Sigil's Older Stuff + 1 recent animation
Post by: EyeCraft on July 20, 2011, 05:08:18 am
Hello Sigil, and welcome to Pixelation!

Always great to see such an eager attitude towards critique.

Looking through the NPA stuff you linked, I've noticed a couple of trends:

- Neglecting line dynamic; I touched on this (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=12906.msg124924#msg124924) very briefly in another thread recently, though I didn't mention line dynamic specifically. What you have in many of your figures is a symmetrical alignment of lines. How do I explain that... I will draw it...


When your lines mirror each other you bring the eye to near stand-still. This strips the sense of life from the figure. You want the eye to move through the figure using lines to indicate both direction of movement and tempo. It's quite a long winded discussion to go into, but for the moment I think just focusing on asymmetric alignment will greatly improve the figures.

- Overuse of speculars; You have a tendency to apply sharp speculars to most surfaces, when in many cases this is inappropriate to the material. This has the effect of making everything in the image appear to be made out of goo. You can find a very brief discussion on speculars in Arne's tutorial (http://www.itchstudios.com/psg/art_tut.htm#light_stuff).

- Weakly defined shadow or unlit subjects; using very soft airbrushes to apply vague, low-contrast areas of shadow. Try drawing extremely definite areas of shadow and direct light on a subject. If you cannot do this, don't try to hide away behind vagueness. Do some studies/exercises to improve your understanding of form until you have a grip of it. This will add much, much stronger sense of form and space to your pieces. If you take a walk around and look at how things are lit, the vast majority of cases involve stark division of the subject into shadow and direct light, with a small area in between that blends to two based upon the smoothness of the surface(s) of the subject. Things are only vaguely lit when there is an absence of direct light. Essentially this places everything in shadow, with large ambient light washing over the form.

To reiterate, your lighting process in some of your work involves vague, soft shadow and midtone subjects with speculars placed on everything to compensate for the lack of areas of direct-light on the form.

- Non-harmonised colour; I've gone into (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=12622.msg123379#msg123379) this before (another link (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=12617.msg123412#msg123412)), so I'll save myself some effort!  ^-^

Umm.. I've actually been eating while typing this and I think I've lost my train of thought. I might have had more points to list, I might not have. I honestly can't remember... Oh well, I'll leave it for now maybe more will come to me.  :crazy:

Also: Please refrain from double-posting. Just edit your most recent post and add the new content.  :)
Title: Re: Sigil's Older Stuff + 1 recent animation
Post by: Sigil on July 20, 2011, 07:04:11 pm
Thank you very much! I'll probably doing the horse-sprite in the same fashion as my pink one for continuities sake, but I'll be trying another character soon where I pay more attention to these details.

That lighting link is what I'm ALWAYS looking for and can't ever find! I've bookmarked it in a special folder, thank you.