Critique => 2D & 3D => Topic started by: rodrigolira on January 06, 2013, 05:38:06 am

Title: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: rodrigolira on January 06, 2013, 05:38:06 am
Hi all!

I want to make some characters with high res. Something like the mmorpg Wakfu (not the iso style, just the quality).

I dont know how to make the pixel characters and assets look so clean.
I've tried a lot but its very dificult for me without a base to start. If someone know how to make pixel art like that, give me some guidance and you'll make my new year better.

When i find the light to guide my paths i'll post some works on Pixel Art to receive comment and critiques (positive, i hope so).
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: tim on January 06, 2013, 06:51:54 am
Wakfu isn't pixel art.


It mixes two different techniques :

• Probably vector art for characters. Allows easy and lightweight animation, beautiful
smooth curves and lines you can zoom in, but gradients are limited and you can't really
add textures. You have to learn how to use a vector software like Flash to create and animate
clean assets, but trust me (I have a huge background in Flash), obtaining good results is extremely
hard. Most of the time you'll get a really cheap vector look if you don't have 1-2 years experience
in vector art.

• The background is mostly made of simple tiles painted in Photoshop or another advanced
software. You need to have a solid art background to achieve this kind of rendering. There is
a lot of places to learn, like http://psd.tutsplus.com/ or youtube.

So there is no magic here, you can't cheat time, experience and talent. You have to earn
them hardly if you want a result that clean, by spending a lot of time to try, compare,
understand, learn, observe, photograph…
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: API-Beast on January 06, 2013, 07:20:36 am
To me this looks like 3D with effects applied so it has that vector/cartoony look. But yeah, that's a lot work and learning too.
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: Cage on January 06, 2013, 11:18:23 am
Tim hits the nail on the head here. :)

Personally, the bigger the artwork, the less I recommend pixel art, since it's more time consuming and increases your workload. This is from my experience, but I'm sure I still don't have enough practice and it's possible to work a lot faster than I do. :) Either way, if you're digital painting the, or doing vectors of smaller game gfx pixel art principles are very helpful - especially with readability.

Straying away from the style and tools used for the artwork you've said something about having a hard time doing a character without a base - no matter, if you have problems with just drawing the character or the actual rendering, this is something where general art knowledge and practice comes in and I'm afraid this is something you can't jump over. Don't be discouraged though, it's not some mystical secret knowledge available to the limited few - they are more of a principles which you should follow, and practice a lot. Look for some art books, there are some which are available for free since they're out of print etc. Once you have the access to the principles, only thing what's left is practice ;) both from your imagination and real life. A good idea how things work in real life - like shading, anatomy, augment your art tremendously, even stylized or cartoon art.

You've specifically mentioned characters - how about you start with some characters from the game you like and disassemble them? What 3d blocks are they made of? How light behaves on those blocks? What colors are used?
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: r1k on January 06, 2013, 10:23:50 pm
pixel art becomes less useful at high resolutions.  At low resolutions, a single pixel has an impact on the graphics, but is inconsequential at high resolutions.  So it makes since to work at a pixel level for small things but not very big things.  Even at high resolution, pixel art might help though for smaller objects, even if just to define to outlines or something.  Heres another good picture showing a digital painting and some pixel art by Hank Nieborg
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: rodrigolira on January 07, 2013, 02:46:25 am
@Tim   I know that wakfu isn't pixel art. What i'm trying to achieve is quality that some way can be compared to vector art but with the pixel limitations. I've seen some pixel games that can make the best vector artists rethink their styles. Not to mention the 16/32 bits era, when the art was so wonderful that some games still populate our minds (Alundra is a good example).

@Cage   The hard time i've had was trying to make the pixel characters more readable and cleaner, not the concept art. I have a good time of traditional drawing and i don't have problems with the characters concept art.

@r1K   Hank's art is incredible. Thanks for the images r1K.

What i need is to improve my pixeling techniques. I'm new in this type of art and i want to be an environment/character artist for mobile games. I don't want to work with vector, not for now, and if i can't do impossible things with pixel, i'll try to push the pixels to the limit.
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: tim on January 07, 2013, 04:30:15 pm
Simply forget pixels. It's not pixel-level work here. This is not about "pixeling techniques".

You just need to learn how to paint using anti-aliased tools like the brush tool of Photoshop
(instead of the Pen tool). Basically, you ask us how to become a great illustrator. There is no
short answer to this. It's not about tools or techniques. It's about learning perspectives,
composition, color theory, anatomy, lighting, art direction, clothing, etc…

I recommand watching Feng Zhu videos if you want to improve your painting skills, however
he only learns you how to paint concept art-quality, not how to finish your pieces ready for production :
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: rodrigolira on January 07, 2013, 09:46:52 pm
Thanks tim!

I'll study the videos but my focus is on the pixels. I know that a better understand of traditional drawing and painting skills (digital or not) are an indispensable ally. If i can put the studies about painting direct in the pixel works, i'll try that approach. Some can say that is not the right way, but i've tried this some time ago with other studies and had progress. Anyway i'll post some work after some studies and take my own conclusions. And expect some comments and critiques.
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: Dr D on January 08, 2013, 12:29:21 am
My question is, (and I think what others are alluding to) why do you want to do this in pixels specifically? You're right that ultra-smooth graphics can be done with pixel art, but they can also be done other ways and save you much more effort. There's a reason most people use the mediums to their advantage.
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: tim on January 08, 2013, 12:43:00 am
I think you don't understand me. Dr D is right.
FORGET about pixel. This is NOT pixel art. You have to simply paint using brush tools.
That's all. All the pretty doesn't come from techniques, but from talent & experience.
Forget pixels. You will never edit pixels independantly if you want a clean, smooth,
anti-aliased result like Wakfu.
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: rodrigolira on January 08, 2013, 03:23:46 am
You hit the point Dr. D. If we can make ultra-smooth graphics with pixel, then is what i want to do. I love the graphics made with pixels and i don't want to use other medium.

You all don't comprehend my question. The point is, we can make HQ graphics with pixel and we love it, why not make the best use that we can? You misunderstood tim, i don't want to make something "like" Wakfu, and i already know that the art of the game is not pixel. I want to make something with pixel that can be "compared" to Wakfu or the games of the 32 bits era.

And the answer to "why don't i forget pixel?" is i want to make the best use that i can, even if  it is more time consuming than this or that.

Anyway, thanks for the good debate till now.
Title: Re: Help with high res pixel art
Post by: tim on January 08, 2013, 05:16:05 am
It's not viable to do high resolution anti-aliased pieces…

 410~ pure work hours. It can be done in like 10-20 hours using more suited tools.

So if you want to lose your time on pixel craziness to impress people,
do it, but you can't achieve anything more than a few pieces…

It's not suited to make games, it's not suited to animate characters,
it's not suitable to parallax… Trust me, I am actually working on my very own
HD pixel art game since six months, and it's fucking hard, I use all sort of tips
and tricks to work faster and better (like using a lot of dark areas because they
don't need as much details, animating particles using After Effects, etc).

You can also look at the workflow of KOF XIII, SNK was very smart using 3D to
pose the characters more easily and grab the generated lighting before pixelling
everything :


Anyway, to make clean pieces, you need a clean workflow, you need learn how to add anti-aliasing
yourself, etc… Good luck and show us what you do !  ;D