Critique => Pixel Art => Pixel Art Feature Chest => Topic started by: halffish on August 15, 2012, 10:00:44 am

Title: GR#107 - Aurora Poster - Text, Composition, Animation
Post by: halffish on August 15, 2012, 10:00:44 am
First off... I had no idea pixelation still exists!

I posted this over at PJ, but it shouldn't to get more feedback. This is a pixel poster (but for 11x17in print) as part of a promo for a music video I'm doing. The MV itself is for a local artist, and will be styled int he form of an arcade game (Think scott pilgrim).

Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Helm on August 15, 2012, 01:48:08 pm
Hello, halffish. Here's a Pixelation welcome for you.

Your image is excellent. I get a strong Wolfteam type of vibe from this, a pc-engine era type of pixelling which I enjoy. You did a great job faking the glows with proper pixelling instead of doing it in photoshop like other people would, that's commedable. The composition is strong and I enjoy looking at it! However, here's some minor pieces of critique


The whole piece can use an Antialiasing pass. I guess you know this? It honestly won't take as much time as you think it might, if that's what's keeping you. A single point of antialiasing between sharp black lines would take an hour to do the pass for the whole image on. A couple of points (which might hurt the whole Wolfteam vibe here actually) an hour more. Is the polish worth it? I think it would be, personally. Oldschool vibe is cool and all but antialiasing is a useful effect for a very real reason.

I have edited the girl legs because I think we should push away at least a little bit from generoanime anatomy. Women have knees and curves and they're beautiful, I think. They shouldn't have tube legs, I know it's a common shortcut and a reason a lot of people turn to anime depiction (which you've pulled off quite nicely here I think - it looks like it came from Japan if you ask me) but well... the edit speaks for itself. If you think it looks better, perhaps consider that.

The tip of the girl's chin is the byproduct of you not antialiasing. I did some jawline antialiasing for you to check out to see if that's a direction you want to head to.

And the guy's face edit is because that's a difficult angle and you're disregarding perspective by showing all of that hat and cheating a bit by having the whole under-jaw area cloaked in darkness. Do a study from a photo of a man's face in this perspective and incorporate that into the anime drawing, it can work. Anime artists do this all the time with odd angles where the usual anime facial feature symbol tropes fail them.

Great work again, hope you do the extra mile's worth of work on this, actually.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: rikfuzz on August 15, 2012, 02:08:02 pm
Super pretty!  love it.  Helm's edit looks great too.  Have to admit that I prefer the original's legs though.  The shape could be a little less streamed for the curves, but I prefer how they're a little simpler, and get darker at the bottom. 

Looking great!
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Helm on August 15, 2012, 02:10:32 pm
But why would they get darker at the bottom? This is a very common pixel artist trope I've seen. Staircase knees and below that, darkness. Where does it come from? SNK fighting sprites?
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: rikfuzz on August 15, 2012, 02:15:02 pm
I don't think it's unique to pixel art, it's a standard character design thing, brighter at the top, darker at the bottom, that's generally the hierarchy of importance and detail, and lighting is generally up above, the bottom is furthest away.

(random googled image):
http://watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-800796239-Full-length-portrait-of-a-stylish-young-man-standing-isolated-on-white-background.jpg (http://watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-800796239-Full-length-portrait-of-a-stylish-young-man-standing-isolated-on-white-background.jpg)
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Kazuya Mochu on August 15, 2012, 02:18:41 pm
@helm: probably yeah. most fighting game poses bend at the knees, making the thighs be brighter then the bottom of the leg.
@ rikfuzz: you must remember that that guy is lit by a point light, wich gets weaker as the light  goes away from the source, in oposition to a spot light. meaning that at the top of the legs the light is brighter, and as it reached the feet, its has lost some strength. the light you see on the shoes looks like reflected light that we get to see cause the shoes are more reflective then the cloth

my issue with the poster is that I cant make out what that bit under the eyes and above the center guys hands is. it looks like someone's face and shoulders, but its such a small shape its not very clear. I sugest making it clearer or getting rid of it.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: rikfuzz on August 15, 2012, 02:29:57 pm
Well compositionally it looks better (in my opinion, and subjectively of course), and it doesn't seem to be inconceivable that the lighting conditions exist for it to look that way. 

Helm's version has the legs taking quite a bit of focus, looks like a detraction to me, but totally up to halffish. :)
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Cyangmou on August 15, 2012, 03:01:52 pm
like helm already pointed out, it could use a lot of AA refining - I recommend this too.

Some other things

YOu have lots of jaggy lines in your text. Maybe it'd be also better to smoothen out the dither and get a cleaner impression


Just a comment about inconsistency: the height of the chest. I think the small sprite looks fine, the anatomy of the big one is definitely off. If it's the same charakter the proportions must be consistent.


A note about composition and lighting.
I think it's pretty interesting that the brightest highlight is in the background. On the other hand the 2 big charakter images are also quite bright - and the eyes of the evil one have the strongest contrast. THe light positioning is cluttered, maybe it helps if you get rid of the brightest highlight of the background or by toning down the brightness of the faces - I don't know what you want to achieve but simplifying it a bit would help a lot.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: halffish on August 15, 2012, 06:17:14 pm

I remember you - if it is the same Helm. Really love your work. Thanks for the welcome.

You're anatomy knowledge is much more adept than mine (mine is actually pretty bad) I'm going to defend some things on my comp:
AA - It is simply because I have to pull off a entire mock "game" by the end of this month which is why I am foregoing intense AAing, and also adapted the style of black outlines for all the sprites (for simplicity and ease of animation, but something that I've never really done before as I usually color my outlines), so far the assets for the game are a little more intense than the Scott Pilgrim game in keeping black lines. The only things which lightens the black lines will be the additive glows added "in-game" -- in fact I might have to give up on the pixel flares I added on the poster and go with... not 8/16-bit ones, to build that atmosphere without pulling out my hair.

Jawline - I agree the anatomy is a bit in want, it does feel a bit cheated. While it can still be fixed, I do want to keep some sort of darker shadow there (thick Tron legacy poster) rather than a rounded chin. In fact the edit you made was closer to what I had at first, but I felt it wasn't dramatic enough. Perhaps my current result may not be a very good solution...

Tube legs - I do love the way you defined it, however again like you said, I am going for that more slender look --  the new legs are too Western if the girl is Asian, and her thighs end up too close together at the top which may be anatomically more correct but, makes her a bit more chub chub than I wanted.

On the portrait shot, her head is a bit big for her body haha I need to fix that. Her boobs were moved an inch down already in this one, I'll show you the original which is eve more off. I think the comparison is a bit dramatic though, but I understand what you mean. She is also looking upward in the smaller version. I also have a super deformed in game character (which I made before the portrait, which is why as a reference the portrait ended up with too big a head) -- so I am not sure about super consistent proportions.

If I have time, I will animate the portrait (3-5 frame loop). The girl anatomy is even more off (this was the original, her body is too small/boobs are too high). With the AA issue on the lines in poster... well the hands on the mask guy is going to make you cringe.

(http://www.singcon.com/riko/goweport.png) (http://www.singcon.com/riko/girlport.png) (http://www.singcon.com/riko/maskport.png)
(http://www.singcon.com/riko/gowe_punch.gif) (http://www.singcon.com/riko/girl.gif) (http://www.singcon.com/riko/mask.gif)
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: PixelPiledriver on August 15, 2012, 07:09:25 pm
I find myself darkening  the lower leg quite often as I tend to lay on plane change fairly thick.
There's multiple reasons why but the most common reason I do it is to show normals of a bent leg.


Helms edit is a little more appropriate.
Because of the placement of the change in light to shadow it reads as tho her knees are bent, so it looks a little strange for the pose, "straight" extended legs leaning.
This essentially creates an incidental Tangent if its meant to be more like a point light.
If you want a point light effect you could move the line of transition up or down.


The guys legs have more interesting lighting, due from the fact that his clothes create complex normals.
but they actually seem to go from dark on top to light on bottom.
Often the case of a leg in shadow because of the foot creating a 90 degree transition.
Might wanna try reversing the light on hers as well.


Overall its a really nice image!
Nice smaller sprites too.
Might do an edit later.
Good luck with your time restrictions.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Kren on August 15, 2012, 07:19:42 pm
the girl pose looks unbalanced, mostly the legs need some fix, :p, everything else looks excepcional.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: jams0988 on August 15, 2012, 08:55:06 pm
I'll take Halffish's legs over Helm's. The lighting on OP's matches the style and composition of the piece more. Helm's legs also look too chunky, in my opinion. Most Japanese girls I've seen are very slender. =)
Also, am I imagining it, or are the knees on Helm's edit about four inches lower than they should be? The lower legs look noticeably shorter than the upper legs in the edit, in my opinion...PPP's edit might be a bit more accurate, but I'm still liking the original the most, for the general feel of it...
I do like Helm's AA work, though. The piece could do with a bit of polish, though it looks great as-is!

Anyway, this piece is pretty gorgeous overall. Welcome (back?) to the forums, Halffish!
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Helm on August 16, 2012, 01:41:10 pm

Also, am I imagining it, or are the knees on Helm's edit about four inches lower than they should be?


Anyway, I do not see how my edit classifies as 'chub chub' but that's up to taste. The point I wanted to make more than anything is that knees exist and what PPP explained much better about resorting to the usual darker under knee leg shading thing on straight legs does not work.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Friend on August 16, 2012, 03:11:55 pm
I combined Helm's AA tip, Cyangmou's text edit, and your hint of oakaki vibe into an edit of my own.  I think it preserves the sharpness you were going for, while cleaning up some of the oakaki scribble to make an overall cleaner image.

Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: jams0988 on August 16, 2012, 07:17:53 pm
Anyway, I do not see how my edit classifies as 'chub chub' but that's up to taste. The point I wanted to make more than anything is that knees exist and what PPP explained much better about resorting to the usual darker under knee leg shading thing on straight legs does not work.
Huh. The length really is correct. It's strange, though. When I look at the side by side of yours and fish's, yours still seems too short. I guess I need to study more!
And your edit didn't look chubby to me as a realistic person, just as an anime character. I think the overly slender tube-legs suit the style here more, is all. Like you say, up to taste.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Stab on August 16, 2012, 11:18:52 pm

Is it possible that anime tends to intentionally force/break/exaggerate proportions in a specific way that you've become accustomed to, so a female anime character with normal proportions seems out of place because of it? I mean, anime is practically made on the fact that it pushes everything beyond reality to form some sort of pleasant aesthetic... it stands to reason that anime actually has some superhuman degree of "anime normal" proportion that most anime followers will recognize.
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Grimsane on August 17, 2012, 06:12:30 am
nice poster, and some great feedback.

I don't think there is anything wrong with helm's edit and each leg on their own is fine, but I don't think he went out of his way to change/fix some fundamental flaws with the source, and as an example of alternate rendering it serves great purpose

a run down of what I can see is that the hip tilt is slightly off compared to the shoulder tilt, her left leg is tilted far too outward, and her right leg's knee doesn't line up parallel to her other knee when you regard the leg's length from the hip, I'm finding it's a really difficult thing to correct all up but here's my attempt and suggestion, it's not fixed, also it points out another issue with his leg which no one's brought up.

(http://i.imgur.com/bx16T.png) <moar attempt gah fail  :yell:, it's even worse

very paul robertson style sprites, unless you are paul robertson?  ???  :lol:
Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: halffish on August 17, 2012, 08:50:01 am
Thanks for all the great feedback, its helping a lot!
Helm's edit is the most accurate of all, but maybe could thin the upper thigh a little bit (either that or the skirt is way too high) as long as the thighs never appear too touch. I do want to go for that highly stylized anime look, without being too careless with anatomy. But not as close to Greek/western proportions.

SNSD? http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/23700000/SNSD-kpop-23773639-1600-1066.jpg

I quite like the reversed gradation from dark to light downwards actually.

As for Paul Robertson -- I'm flattered but obviously no where near his caliber. He is a inspiration at least for some of the sprites (again first time for black outlines and first time for dithering). The style of the music video is a throwback to retro gaming, and of course with that Scott Pilgrim comes to mind as well.


Title: Re: Aurora poster
Post by: Helm on August 17, 2012, 01:07:38 pm
Actually I do think the problem is that the skirt is too high. Hm, the female sprite needs to be restructured from the ground up based on the bodytype reference you've supplied. Mostly in the interests of learning though because what you have in your image is fine as it is. But if you want to better your anatomy, it would help as a sideproject to do some structural female drawing. Tell me if you want my help in that detour, otherwise I think you've gotten a lot of critique on most parts of the image I can think of would take extra care, you could work on those.