Critique => Pixel Art => Pixel Art Feature Chest => Topic started by: LarkoftheRiver on July 19, 2014, 06:23:45 pm

Title: GR#209 - Larks Sprites - Form, Shading
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 19, 2014, 06:23:45 pm
and sort of fails idk.

Anyway, I've been doing some more form tests, and kind of developed another style of shading my pixels. They look more pastel-y than before. I'm not sure if I like them too much now, but I'm sort of trying to refine it a bit and make them look more 3d.

(http://i.imgur.com/XXZ5WNn.png) (http://i.imgur.com/nFIT7hS.png)
Hey its umbreon again.

Just shading tests and such.

(http://i.imgur.com/T0ocKKk.gif) (http://i.imgur.com/sDujQe4.gif) (http://i.imgur.com/XSdrfXy.gif) (http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2014/191/b/3/pixel_by_larkoftheriver-d7q4jvq.gif)

Also, I tried out a bit of dittering. I do like this one.

I also need to do humans. But I get lazy and go back to animals.
Humans will come soon.
I promise.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: Snow Fenrir on July 20, 2014, 01:24:26 am
Looking a lot better!  ;D

But you need to establish a light source and maybe add some texturization to the wolves' pelts. Check out this sprite from Castlevania:


Lightsource comes clearly from the top left despite of the shaggy fur's depth and coloration!
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 20, 2014, 02:05:49 am
Yeah, texturing is my next step! I'm trying to get the shapes and such down before I start with textures, and hopefully I won't overtexture.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: Fizzick on July 20, 2014, 02:46:27 pm
texture is just a facet of form  ;)
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 20, 2014, 11:36:14 pm
Did a bit of fur texture.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: Snow Fenrir on July 21, 2014, 01:20:29 am

Did a small edit!  :)
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: astraldata on July 21, 2014, 08:50:16 pm
Additional colors like large patches and stripes are secondary and are added only after the flat-color forms are lit. That being said, I recommend you back off of these fancy multicolored furry animals for a while.

You really should work with more simplified forms like a horse or person or something else *not furry* to learn how to light forms. Don't mess with fur/texture until you can get a full-on understanding of how to light things like rocks or faces / muscles first. Once you get past that, then go to something like gravel/sediment/stones, then to bushes and grass, and finally hair and long grass. Then you will be able to work with fur a lot better, but then only dull fur until you get better at things like metal, plastic, etc. since shiny fur is not too incredibly different from other such shiny materials -- it's really just a shiny material with a texture. You won't get good at textured shines like that until you get good at simply-lit forms and materials first. A good example is that Snow Fenrir's creature looks like it has bear fur, which is a great deal more thick, dull, and coarse than shiny wolf fur in each strand. Until you get a sense for how to represent forms, and then all these sorts of textures and materials accurately, I wouldn't suggest adding any stripes/colors/etc. because you will only confuse yourself and run into walls otherwise.

A key thing to remember though is this:

Form and texture happen simultaneously, but are lit differently depending on the material and the texture.

Start with forms, then work your way toward materials and texture simultaneously once you've mastered basic form lighting. With your *first* white wolf above your shading tests, you weren't too far off, but with your others you still have a ways to go. Look at Snow Fenrir's edit of your forms to see the difference in lighting to indicate 3d depth your second white wolf needs and try applying those principles to a horse or something else without fur.

Also, keep in mind, shadows are kind of like pools of water -- they tend to reach out to grab one another like water tends to collect in drops, and, wherever possible, they tend to slide their center-of-mass toward the deepest crevices. This might help you a bit with thinking about form.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 21, 2014, 09:09:26 pm
Sorry about the multicolored furry animals, I opened requests to practice on another site so most are not my characters. (I did close them today, as I want to work on more personal projects that don't involve pixels too, and my afternoons have been very busy lately.)

Anyway, thank you for the pointers. Specifically, what object/creature/subject do you think I should do? Should I just draw a circle and start shading it like clay, rock, metal, etc to practice that, or should I pick a creature?
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: Daimoth on July 22, 2014, 02:29:34 am
That trick with the outline fading to black is a simple yet interesting effect.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 22, 2014, 10:27:51 pm
Last furry thing for a while (I currently have a horse ready to be pixeled), finished the last of my requests.
Better with the light source?
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: Snow Fenrir on July 23, 2014, 03:05:03 am
That's a LOT better, good job! :D

Now about the texture, I see you've got a lot of noise going on there especially in the face and tail.

Noise = random lone pixels or clusters thrown about that don't communicate any form color or shape and just clutter the image. Look at that castlevania warg I posted, he doesnt have any artifacts (noise) in his fur but the texture of it is done with long strands of lighter color.

If you dont want your critter to have hair as long as the castlevania wolf you should just draw the hair strand texture where a lighter color meets a darker one like you did in its belly.

Here is a lazy texture edit:
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on July 24, 2014, 08:39:42 pm

What is this?
It seems like you want to draw a fox?
Why not just draw a fox (http://www.tierchenwelt.de/images/stories/fotos/saeugetiere/raubtiere/fuchs/fuchs_rotfuchs.jpg) and leave all that oc stuff, the big dreamy eyes, the creative marks etc for later?
Look up references, study how the thing actually looks.
It also helps estimating how the texture is supposed to look.

Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 24, 2014, 08:49:59 pm
I am going to defend myself on the anatomy stuff, just a bit. Its not a fox, its a dog. The constrained proportions of the canvas itself (it has to be 100x100 for an icon) meant that I had to do something with the head in order to fit it and get as much detail as possible using the pose that was given (alas, my last request). The sketch was done where I couldn't look at a reference as well, no phones allowed in driver's ed (yet, somehow, I am allowed to doodle the entire time right under the teacher's nose? I'll never understand..)
I'm currently working on retexturing the piece, mainly to get rid of the noise and fix the strange texture in the legs. (I'm also working on a horse pixel, but the sketch is giving me problems, my equine anatomy is very sketchy at best)
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on July 24, 2014, 08:55:56 pm
What dog is this then?
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 24, 2014, 08:58:22 pm
Shiba inu, if I recall correctly.
Man, I made the neck way too long.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on July 24, 2014, 09:03:22 pm
Well there you have it.
I take it you're not interested in improving this piece on such a fundamental level though?
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 24, 2014, 09:09:15 pm
Normally I'd just move on (only because this was a request), but honestly that's a huge mistake and I think it needs to be fixed. I'm taking the time to go back and reshade/texture, bringing the head down a bit won't hurt and probably won't take much time. The legs are really bugging me too, especially the left front..

Edit- Neck brought down, the legs were also trimmed up. I also edited the texturing of the fur, and tried to get rid of the noise as well.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on July 24, 2014, 09:58:48 pm
That dog is a lot bulkier than what you have and the headshape is still off.
The ears and eyes need to go up, muzzle needs to be broader and a mouth won't hurt since the part where the white meets the brown isn't where the mouth is.
Also the "knees" are the same height the "ellbow" is and tails don't come out of butts, they are elongated spines.
Your texturing suggests long fur, that dog has very short fur.
At times like these, less is more.

Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: astraldata on July 25, 2014, 09:11:38 am
Your new drawing / texture was *much* better than the last, but it still has a lot to go as far as form / construction goes. I did some refinement of 9_6's edit to show a bit more about texture of varying sizes/shapes and proper construction:


Head size / face/nose shape has a lot to do with the appearance of what sort of animal it was. I too thought it was a fox until you said otherwise.

I think I mentioned it before, but 9_6 is correct that you should put away the fancy for now and get familiar with the forms of what it is you'd like to draw a bit better. You can't reference from the web any original 'fantasy-pets' you created to help you get familiar with specific forms. You're best off referencing and drawing *actual* species, and drawing those until you're familiar with them. Then, and only then, should you take the liberty of combining them like some kind of mad scientist and create your own thing. At that point, you'll have enough experience with the anatomy of different species that you can pick and choose what proportions you'd like to have from what species and be able to draw them accurately.

And regarding the horse, all you have to do is look up a reference like you did with the dog and copy its proportions a bit, using some portion of the animal as a guide to the rest of your proportions. You seem to have a lot better idea on lighting and form than you did before, so I feel like you can do it.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 25, 2014, 03:57:20 pm
I did a bit of editing to the dog, any better with the texturing and anatomy?

And I sort of started the horse. Form study, yes. Anatomy study, not really. Even with a few references my horses aren't the best.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on July 25, 2014, 05:20:07 pm
That's an improvement.
To improve it even more, the head could really use the fixes I talked about earlier.


You really need to stop putting the eyes so low.
Look at your reference (http://www.horsebreedsinfo.com/images/brown_horse_running.jpg).
It's nowhere near the center of the head. It's nowhere near this large. Neither are the ears.
You should probably also stop omitting the mouth.


Horses are super shiny and have a million muscles and veins everywhere.
To achieve that, you need to put dark and bright clusters next to each other.
It is sometimes counterintuitive where to put the bright spots.
That is because horses are a nightmare to draw.
The highlights just go wherever they please so study the reference closely.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 25, 2014, 08:38:55 pm
Like this, maybe? I fixed the head and ear shape, and added more contrast in my pallet. I tried to do the shine like you said, but I'm having a lot of trouble with it, specifically on the head.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on July 26, 2014, 02:55:45 pm
Well that's a huge improvement. Well done!

The eyes could be a bit higher yet and the nostrils could be even bigger and more to the front of the snout.

One thing you should avoid are single pixels like on the tail edge and in the highlights.
Those tend to do the opposite of helping with readability and add noise.
You can make sure there are none by sketching with a 2x2 brush, then touching it up with a 1x1 one.
That also makes the sketch way more malleable so you can iron out kinks fast without obsessing over details just yet.

On another note, I also edited your umbreon.


Yours does not quite look like this:
And I guess you wanted to give it a black panther fur shading.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on July 27, 2014, 04:34:26 pm
Thank you for the edit on umbreon! I'll get started on more changes to it.

More horse edits.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LeshrotArt on July 27, 2014, 05:58:53 pm
The lighter color is in high contrast with the other colors, try to smooth it.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on August 09, 2014, 05:49:33 pm
Wow, I haven't posted in a while. Haha, sorry about that. Band, mostly. It started about two weeks ago and I have been to exhausted to do anything but sleep. (and practice.. the all-state music this year is scary!)

Quick horse edits.
I dulled the harsh highlight. Better?
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: astraldata on August 10, 2014, 08:47:08 pm
It's much better, but some of your highlights don't make sense. A good example is the line coming off of the underarm of the horse's left 'arm' as it seems to cut through the shadows for no apparent reason.

Also, there are no highlights on the face, where the light appears to be coming from (according to the diagram beside it) and the legs also have no highlights. If the highlights are from sunlight reflected from the environment, they'd be many more places on the horse, even in tiny amounts. The hooves are flat too because there's no sense of light and shadow, and thus no form. You can use a single highlight for that, but you need something if you want to indicate 3d form.

Unrelated to your horse, but since you appear to like to draw 'cute' animals, I thought I might give you some tips:

I know I haven't mentioned it since my last edit, but your 'dog' above, just after my edit, still looks way too much like a fox. The eyes and size of the head are still waaay too huge for the style of dog you said you were going for (judging by the reference you posted). You really ought to do some work in regards to taking care of the size and placement of the eyes, as well as the size/shape of the head. These are very vital areas and really make your stuff either look correctly-drawn or grossly-distorted.

The size of the head relative to the overall body size, believe it or not, really characterizes a creature, human or otherwise, so it's important to nail this first and foremost. It determines its age and also gives a sense of whether it's realistic or stylized/childlike. Size of the eyes are actually third to that because the placement of the eye is more important to determining what, and how "cute', they are than the size of the eye.


Not sure if you are familiar with Naruto, but the character Konohamaru has very small eyes, but his face works like a simple smiley-face with two dots for the eyes and a U shaped mouth, where the placement of the eyes in the center of a big moon-shaped face gives the illusion of 'cute' probably way more than that same smiley having instead large anime/chibi/etc. eyes on that same moon-shaped face. This principle is applicable to animals too, and you'd use it the same way for the most part. Unless done right, large eyes tend to make things look 'alien'. It's much easier to achieve 'cute' with more button-like eyes imo. The dog edit of mine shows this principle in action pretty well if you remove a pixel or two around the eye and make it more 'dot-like' for example.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on August 12, 2014, 10:46:34 pm
Thank you! The eye thing was something that I got into when I started pixeling (by mostly accident) and I'll try to do better with it in the future.

A commission I received the other day, would like some feedback before I post it for the commissioner. It is a silver tiger, and my first time doing stripes. I'm very proud of the stripes but something just seems odd about the shading.

Also horse.
I tried to add more highlights to the face but I'm still not very satisfied with them, and added more leg highlights too. Tried to add more form to the hooves as well.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: astraldata on August 12, 2014, 11:49:31 pm
Looking a ton better form-wise on the horse -- you've made quite a bit of progress dude.

As far as the cat above, the light-source is difficult to tell direction-wise -- why don't you keep in mind that you should shade something this organic with the basic 3d shapes in mind. You could equate the body as a long 3d rectangular 'cube' and that will help you know which parts of the body need the most light as long as you pick a solid light source.

Shading organics while keeping in mind their basic 3d shapes -- and the faceting of the larger details (which requires you to have an idea of what the thing would look like if it were "low-poly" essentially) -- will help you figure out what's wrong with the image.

The main thing I see here is that the back of your cat doesn't have enough light compared to the right if the left side of the body is where the light source originates. Also, you don't have enough contrast in your darkest shades to outline the foreground legs and stomach (if that's what that light color on the right side of the body is) because your shades are too close together contrast-wise.
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LeshrotArt on August 13, 2014, 12:40:36 am
Perhaps it give you some idea, a single edit.

Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on August 13, 2014, 10:51:04 am
silver tiger
You're making it more complicated than it is.
There aren't that many stripes but those that are there follow an underlying structure.


Big cats -as you can see here- are also quite massive.
It helps to think of their body as a box rather than a tube to convey that.
What you have there looks like a housecat.
The fact that the paws are black and the mouth is tiny doesn't help conveying the tiger either.
When I saw this from afar I thought you wanted to draw a bobcat.

Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on August 13, 2014, 10:20:00 pm
The black paws/overall color of the tiger were the commissioner's character (here (http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2014/121/8/1/new_fursona___essix_by_hiviann-d7gql6h.png)) I see the form/ stripe mistakes now, thank you! Here is my edit of it.
Agreed, the horse is coming along very nicely. Big improvement on my part. Thanks for all the input (everyone who helped out in the process!)

Edit based on LeshrotArt's edit/more muscular references

I don't even think the first horse was a horse oh my goodness did I really do that
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: 9_6 on August 14, 2014, 06:19:10 am
Oh dear.

Well for starters, the face still doesn't look like a tiger at all, the eyes and ears are too large, the nose is too small and it has no chin.
The body is still too round and the paws are not that dark.
That is something within the reference and if we stick to that, the back is very dark due to the clusterfuck of stripes and that... jewel... thing could use a fill so that it looks like something.

Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: LarkoftheRiver on August 16, 2014, 12:55:24 am
Eh, I don't like the character so much but hey.. good for practice right? Anyway, did an edit tonight during my free time.
I just gave it to the commissioner as well as its been over a week since they asked and paid, but I would like to continue with just fixing the base of the tiger a bit more without all the strange markings+jewel (thing?).
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: HarveyDentMustDie on August 16, 2014, 08:03:36 pm
If this was for commission you should at least by 9_6 a drink cause he helped you a lot. ;) :)
Title: Re: Lark Tries out form
Post by: Cyangmou on August 16, 2014, 10:00:08 pm
I know how it should be read, however the last version rather looks like a weird 2 legged creature and not like a tiger.

The silhouette is misleading as it is now because of the following reasons:
1) it's better to seperate the front legs, or at least keep a little seperation cluster in it
2) the rear paw should be visible at the rear leg
3) the neck isn't seperated (I personally would use a lower viewing angle, if you have more width to use)

even if you want to use a dynamic pose, the shilouette should be good readable.
If body parts completely overlap others, you might want to change the pose you had in mind.