Critique => Pixel Art => Pixel Art Feature Chest => Topic started by: st0ven on January 04, 2013, 06:39:03 pm

Title: GR#118 - Ryu Revisited - Sprite Progression Thread
Post by: st0ven on January 04, 2013, 06:39:03 pm
So every now and then i get a bug to do writeups on stuff that everyone else has already done a billion times. This particular exercise has been largely motivated by the latest cluster exercise threads helm has going on in the general discussion forum.

Essentially i got wondering what a classic sprite might look like with a more modern aesthetic. Both Capcom and SNK have their takes on this in their crossover series. Both with distinctively cleaner styles, but both still maintaining their general classic signature styles. Being either vein or courageously stupid, i wanted to have a go at recreating a classic from scratch, using my own rules and other community influences.

Heres the final sprite rendition i came up with, and ill follow up with the progression.
(http://spriteart.com/junk2/ryu_pixel_clean_final_edits.png)updated and edited version

I originated with a high-res sketch. i was originally intending perhaps to do a high-def sprite render along side of this (and i still might give it a go). the rough result looked something as follows.


this was likely sufficient for my purposes as a pixel sprite sketch, but i spent a little time blocking in some values and came to a final 'sketch' version.

the face is starting to get away from me here along with a few other details. this would have to be addressed if doing an HD render right away

This is where you can go several different ways -and perhaps worth pursuing further. I opted not to color the higher res sketch to a more formal color render and scale down to begin working in pixels immediately.

My first scale down was rather interesting, i was rather pleased with the overall results for a base. Ultimately while shrinking down using NN interpolation, i also limited the color sampling to a workable range of values (8). Knowing that im going to have to rework just about every pixel anyway, save the flat areas of color, i didnt care much for too many values.


To continue on, its really a matter of progressive pixel rendering from here. Trying to keep things sharp, clean, not overblend things where they neednt be. here are some progression images to illustrate my progress.


I am feeling about 97% good about the end result. there may be some very minor changes to make imo from here but its largely a matter of the last touches as i have fresh eyes to see them and perhaps some personal rendering style/choice. I may make some tiny fiddles but this is largely done.
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: Cyangmou on January 04, 2013, 07:23:46 pm
In terms of aesthetics and rendering it's definitely pretty nice made. I was also really entertained by reading the progress  :y:

I am not too confident about the pose. The part which is bugging me most is his right arm, it doesn' tlook really ready for battle. I also think that the upper arm is too short and the foreshortening isn't there or looks distorted in a bad way.
Also that the feet are facing away from the enemy is odd in terms of my knowledge about martial arts. I don't know if it's a stylistic choice, but usually the feet of any kind of fighter are positioned in the direction of the enemy to maintain a save stand.

4 smaller points which I spotted but not completely sure about (could be artistical choices):
-The hands looks nice compared to the head size, compared to the arm size they look a bit small though. I think if somebody has big arms like this he should have hands which are fitting to the arms, but I don't necessarily know if it looks better.
-Also the infraspinatus looks too big, too round or out of place.
-The angle of the shoulder belt is a bit strong, however it could also correlate with the imo weird position of his right arm and the earlier spotted points.
-The eyes seems to be a touch to high, if the head would be only a skull it would be fine, but the hair has some volume too.

nitpicking on the extremely high niveau - I know that you are incredible good:
the position of the highlight isn't really consistent within the sprite. I also can't say for sure where the lightsource is coming from, since both of the upper legs seems to vary in light direction and his right arm seems like lit from the front if you neglect the highlight. Especially if you compare the lighting of the deltoid/bizeps with the lighting of the belly.
Were you going for a sculptural lighting or was this just a product of inattention?   
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: Dex on January 04, 2013, 08:26:15 pm
First of all-- I really love the extremities between the white values. Going from such a light range to a dark range works only in certain cases, and I feel it works really well here. The sprite is very well done; the clustering is excellent and there are only a few instances of banding, which are incredibly minor at that. Overall it's a very good sprite and I think it's a certain improvement over your original Ryu sprite.

I must agree with Cyangmou that the right arm (his) looks a bit out of place. It seems as though it's a tad short and the angle and positioning of it don't quite work in this instance, I'd say. It works a bit better in the large sketch of the sprite due to its' size, but scaled down it loses a degree of readability. I would also agree with Cyangmou about the positioning of the feet and legs in regards to the art of fighting, but for the aesthetic it achieves I'd say it could certainly be overlooked in this case. The palette is also a bit dull. For a sprite that would be utilized in a game, I can see this palette being beneficial, but for an experiment such as this I would say that seeing as Ryu's entire outfit is white perhaps the skin tones could be a bit more dynamic, the hues could vary a bit more on the white color ramp, something along those lines? When I changed this sprite to just basic black and white colors, there was little variance in the tones. Also, don't be afraid to utilize all of your colors. The white color ramp is used only on the outfit whereas the skin tones are used only on the skin. Intertwining these colors could possibly help things find relation and maybe even stand out a bit more than they do currently.

Another thing that I feel as though doesn't add anything to the piece are the white highlights on the skin; they seem out of place and don't add much at that size. I fooled around with removing them and it doesn't detract a thing from the sprite, so I would try it and see how you feel about that! To nitpick just a tad more, I'd say the belt could benefit from a bit of AA on the edges.

Otherwise, aside from the things that have been mentioned, I really do think it's a successful sprite and could see it in a professional game (but I don't expect any less from you of course :) ) Good stuff! Hopefully we'll see more step-by-steps from you, they're always a blast to read. :y:
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: st0ven on January 04, 2013, 08:39:52 pm
fellas thanks for the initial feedback. I appreciate the constructive efforts to point out areas for improvement and i largely agree on all points made so far.

I think the most un-fixable at this point without a much larger round of edits would be the pose. IMO ryu's pose (the classical one) has always seemed a tad awkward to me. his feet dont point forward. His right knee is almost always cocked back counter direction to his facing. I can see where criticism can be made of my render on the stance with the arms. his left arm drops a little too low from elbow to forearm. thats probably the most edit-requiring region perhaps to have an immediate impact on stance.

Ive upped the color saturation on the palette some. My high-gamut monitor makes it look blown out, but my secondary monitor makes it look a little washed out. its hard to trust which one is right. but i pushed some more saturation in the gi which has some interesting hues in there i think, and complement the skintones well im hoping.

fixed some hand size/forearm length issues in the edit. these were the most lost during scaledown as you can see in the progression so reinterpreting these were the most challenging.

Fixed eyes and minor facial edit for better readability (not so bright highlight on nose)

pared down skintone speculars in edit
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: pistachio on January 04, 2013, 09:27:28 pm
Real quick and sloppy, I was thinking less 90 degree angles + more foreshortening = more depth:


...Fixing a minor issue with the silhouette as well. This is just putting a previously made point into practice. Also a possibility--his left elbow could be raised a bit higher in an active stance.
It's great to see your work again man, easily among the best on pixelation. Good luck with this piece and future pieces between life, jobs and whatnot.
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: st0ven on January 04, 2013, 09:37:04 pm
pistachio i think that nails the pose issues. after comparing it to the original sketch that seems to be where my figure drawing weakness essentially doomed the pose from the start. thanks for the kind words.
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: Helm on January 04, 2013, 11:40:08 pm
Ah, the Ryu vision quest!

This is a beautiful sprite and I think you achieve the novelty you want in the rendering style. But the problems are there and they're mostly foundational, in your figure drawing and construction, as the critique in the thread says and you've also pinpointed.

Here's an edit putting the critique of the thread in action, mostly for my own benefit, I think, because my own art suffers from most of the same problems.


First of all I think on what Ryu stands for.  Some of the words that come to mind are willpower, focus, drive, directness, compact power and sturdiness.

1. Here I start with a cluster edit of the face. It helps sometimes when I come in cold to focus on one area until I've gotten used to the resolution and colors in the particular sprite. I add a white eye pixel. I am not sure it helps but it makes him look more determined.

2. Compact power and sturdiness. Your sprite has a dropped guard. What it looks most like is an inbetween frame from an animation where he threw a haymaker and got parried so his arm is slapped off. This won't do! So I pull the hands up, tighten them to the body, foreshorten his right forearm, make him look focused and determined. Here I am missing the bright red of the gloves. I think for a game, I'd put that it to separate the form completely from the face.

3. This is the most significant critique not mentioned in the thread thus far: You have too much torso/groin in relation to the legs. I am not 100% on my own construction, but it immediately looks better if you flip between the two frames, for me at least. I think where you've gone astray here is that you didn't do a nude anatomy study before you clothed him. The gi obscures a lot and that hurts you. You have had similar problems with proportions, usually top-heavy sprites, keep an eye out!

I also widen the stance to give him better grounding and turn his left foot at a 90 degree angle to the opponent. I don't know karate but it looks better, I think.

4. Finish. I thought it best to actually finish the sprite this time and I was correct: I ended up increasing the darkened area contrasts a lot to give separation to the different parts.

Side by side


It's important to look at the sprite and think a while about what it's trying to convey, as a story or aesthetically. Ryu is a righteous fighter and he's super-focused and he's a wall of energy ready to burst out. First a straight jab then the step-in body shot, then a point-blank sho-ryuken and a dragon punch for the finish. I didn't learn this from extraneous 'mythos' surrounding Street Fighter, I learned it from playing the game itself. That's what you have to serve.
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: ErekT on January 05, 2013, 12:27:36 am
Just thought I'd chime in with something I notice. The shading overall is top stuff, and the shin area is no exception. Good as it is tho, it does give the impression that he's out of balance, like he's about to drop down on his knees towards the camera. Part of it looks like it's due to shin length/angle, and Helm's edit helps with that. But the shins still look like they're too much in shadow I think.


It's a sloppy edit but you get the idea.
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: API-Beast on January 05, 2013, 11:01:48 am
What nobody seemed to point out yet is the rather unfortunate shading on the face. It's not "wrong" or anything but that it is all in the shadow is quite unfortunate, we are humans and as social beings we read a lot from the face, now if the face is obscured or hard to read then we have a immediate distrust towards it. The eye-area is especially important for that, so make sure that you have enough contrast there. (Also the reason why things have such big eyes in anime and cartoons and why they are defying the physics of light so often)

Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: Conzeit on January 06, 2013, 03:10:14 am
Steve? um, maybe my eyes lost the pixel-level finesse to see what you're doing but...I feel lost here O.O this IS about the rendering of the sprite more than anything, right?

The general impression of depth I see is cel-shading, a dark area and a lit one. if you take a closer look there are small speculars on his muscles and some small shadows in his folds. There's also an outline which makes use of selout without calling attention to it.

That all looks fine and good and I have no criticisms, but I don't see the modern element you are adding
Title: Re: Ryu Revisited - a new progression thread
Post by: st0ven on January 07, 2013, 02:56:41 am
I have faced the reality that my lax figure sketching has completely botched this whole experiment and probably has made me look rather derp. But in the essence of not giving up and after having your hand at giving me serious criticisms to improve, i took a long edit on this based on the feedback provided. Helm, Pistachio - your edits were immensely helpful. everyone thanks for your constructive comments.

here is my updated version of Ryu. updated stance, details and palette.

(http://spriteart.com/junk2/ryu_pixel_revised.png) (http://spriteart.com/junk2/ryu_pixel_clean_final.png)

my eyes are burnt and ill do a proper thread edit tomorrow and do some animating stuff to compare differences, but if there are more glaring/confounding errors id appreciate some sustained feedback.

@conceit - perhaps ive failed miserably, perhaps i overstated my intentions of what im trying to do. Cel shading obviously isnt anything new, particlarly given capcom's affinity towards the style. Im trying to utilize what ive been learning in experimenting in the cluster study threads to apply it to a sprite created from scratch. cel shading cant necessarily not be a part of that. i prefer the rather clear distinction in light and dark compared to SNK's take on these sprites which can look a little 'stripey' or band-y in their own particular way.

edit: argh - now that im looking again with fresher eyes - the legs are still off weight as pointed out in helms edit. also i feel like ive redrawn both arms completely but amazingly they dont look dramatically different. still some editing needing to be done.