Pixelation

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Seefour on February 09, 2016, 12:41:12 am

Title: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Seefour on February 09, 2016, 12:41:12 am
I would just like to take a moment here and share my thoughts.  As someone completely new to art, I feel that I had pigeon holed myself into being a "pixel artist".
It is the style I want, so the hell with everything else right?

no...

About a week ago, I reluctantly decided to do something I should have done from the beginning.  I put a pen in my hand, and sat in front of a piece of paper, and started drawing basic lines, shapes, and forms.
I hooked up a cheap drawing tablet and began to invest time in front of the computer drawing as well, freestyle.  At first, I got juvenile looking shapes and wobbly lines both on paper and on my screen.  but as the hours past, things started (and continue) to improve for both my regular drawing, and pixel art.

I understand a big part of all of this, is finding something that works for the individual.  But even this seems kind of a blurred line.  With all kinds of information available on the internet, and kind of a green and naive view about everything, it seems pretty easy to fall into "you have to do it like this" mentality.

So, what it boils down to is this -

Where does pixel art stand in the spectrum?  If i strictly draw and sketch the old fashioned way, will my pixel art improve at the same rate as well?
right now i am pretty content pixeling way less than I draw.   Should I pixel more?  are traditional art and pixel art apples and oranges, or granny smiths and red Delicious?






Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Atnas on February 09, 2016, 04:29:18 am
First, welcome to Pixelation!  c:

When you create any representative art there are a few basic things that influence the result.

Firstly you have a mental library, a catalog of models in your brain, which is how you understand an object or form to be.

At the beginning we understand very iconic models of objects, this is symbolism, the impression of a thing.
This is where you draw almonds for eyes, or triangle noses, feet that are pointing towards and perpendicular to the camera, the list goes on. 
Spotting these are really fun, it can appear subtly in even your favorite artist's work (not by choice) :crazy:

As we study, we update our mental model, and we drift from our shorthand of the object towards a better understanding of how it works/exists and how it's constructed.

Through drawing we investigate our hypothesis on how well we understand a thing, and can see where it does not match up to real life.

Construction and the ability to represent what is in our mind are iterative processes that simply require work. Along with this, is the study of light, and how to render, of materials; the fields you can choose to study beyond simple construction are numerous.

Past the more scientific/analytical fields of representative art are combinations of mental factors which are far too complicated to generalize, but very fruitful to analyze and dissect on your own. These are your interests, your desires, your personal feelings. The expression that comes about through reflecting on what parts of reality you want to represent, or have a certain fetish for, will be your inherent style. This is where you will find yourself purposefully creating a shorthand for a construction, essentially deconstructing the real thing to communicate it how you want it to be seen.

On to pixel art..

Pixel art is a medium, if you evaluate each pixel in a piece of artwork, it is pixel art. This means that we will usually be working with smaller images, because it's too much of a task to check every pixel at very high image resolutions.

For Pixel art, it is more forgiving than other mediums, because it hides the artist's hand in a way like no other medium. You are working with literal "picture elements", the rawest form of manipulation available.

Pixel art itself has certain techniques that you can use to represent things in a smaller space, and it's essentially all math. Once you learn these relationships and patterns, pixel art is simple, almost automatic. However, that is just the beginning, like learning to hold a paintbrush or pen. There are many other occurrences in pixel art that are still emerging, being discovered, and researched by artists every day. Optical illusions, new ways to hide the pixel, optimization of clusters within pixel art, just check out the Ramblethread to see some loose thoughts by some members here. Pixel art is a very new medium.

There are very many talented pixel artists. But they might not be skilled artists in the general sense of the word. You may find as your critical eye develops that some of the impressive pixel artwork you once thought was amazing now has serious flaws in fields you have studied. Pixel art has a way of masking the artist's drawing ability, because it is sometimes very far from drawing. For instance, their idea of what a hand looks like may be very off model from the real thing (assuming they were aiming for a realistic hand), and they represented their idea of a hand beautifully, to the degree it is impressive, but it still communicates the wrong forms.

There is a beautiful flipside to this: because a refined pixel art process is far removed from drawing, it is easy to simply take our mental model of construction and lighting, and render them onto the canvas without flaws in our hand's execution. You do not have to struggle with paint, or ink, or graphite, or even fine motor control. You can endlessly revise without fear of destroying undoable aspects of the work, like the energy found in brush strokes, or even the physical integrity of paper.

This said you probably won't find many artists who don't draw or blob out their work before they begins the process of evaluating and refining the pixels.

--------------

To your final question, and TL;DR (please do read,  :P )

Pixel art techniques are few, and simple to learn. General art principles make up the vast majority of a work's success. You can draw/paint 90% of the time, pixel the other 10%, and be way better off for it. Drawing and painting update and refine your mental library, and will directly influence how well you can create pixel art in the future. Closely watch the work of a new pixel artist who is already a magnificent painter, it will be telling in their work just how much of its merit is general artistic skill and how much is pixel specific skill.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Wes on February 09, 2016, 04:55:24 am
ok so here's my take on it:

so pretty much everybody comes to pixel art from a games background but a lot of people here have backgrounds in "real art" too. eh don't get me wrong i've been drawing my whole life but never with the level and dedication of some of these guys. personally for me I'm not an artist first. i'm a game designer first. pixel art for me is a means to an end. i've never really made a "pixel art piece" like some of the gorgeous pixel paintings you see around here. i make sprites and tiles, and I approach pixel art with the mindset that everything needs a function or purpose. otherwise, like if your goal is just to make beautiful art or be "an artist", then you're probably better off doing something in glorious hd instead anyways
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Atnas on February 09, 2016, 05:14:47 am
@Wes: That's another great perspective, and perhaps one that I overlooked a bit too much in trying to break down the relation between general art and pixel art... ignoring my own perspective as well.

I'm mostly a commercial artist, at least when it comes to pixel art, and I need to do things within a certain timeframe according to a budget. I can't afford to seek the best representation in every piece of pixel artwork I do. Where the balance comes from (and why pixel art is still hugely relevant beyond fads) is in how well it masks deficiencies, or straight up encompasses them with the correct approach due to how large a pixel is relative to the thing you're making at small resolutions.

If you imagine a loose sketch, containing multiple lines representing a single contour, each one is an approximation at the correct line. Once you pick a single line from the bunch, you could give off a worse impression if you select an incorrect contour.

In low res pixel art, because lines and shapes are so relatively huge and simplified, it can encapsulate a lot of that guesswork into a single definite line or contour, and make things drastically more efficient.

Ultimately, finding your personal balance depends on how you want to use pixel art.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 09, 2016, 12:21:31 pm
I've seen people practice just pixel art for years and I've seen people practice fundamentals for years, then try their hand at pixel art. The second category always has the best results. I'd say for an optimal result, Atnas is about right, 90% art fundamentals, 10% pixel techniques for your practice.

Why do I say art fundamentals instead of just drawing/painting/digital painting? I've seen the same issue with people practicing manga for years. It's not really the medium that matters, but the subject matter. Starting with simple shapes is good, moving onto anatomy is good (even if you don't plan on drawing realistic people, studying anatomy is THE best way to understand contours, volumes, value, etc). One major point, I feel is important: when practicing, don't focus on "finishing" your sketches. I see Youtube comments on art videos all the time of people saying "I have the hardest time finishing my sketches" and that's probably problem number 1. You shouldn't try to finish your sketches, you should be focusing on the task at hand. If you are studying contours, shading those contours won't help much. Taking the time it takes you to shade those contours to make another 2 contour drawings however, that will give great results.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Helm on February 09, 2016, 01:38:07 pm
Pixel art is something you can get the handle on in 3-6 months if you come to it with solid fundamentals. Learning to draw what you see instead of what you thought you saw, conveying volumes and textures and their interplay with light will take a lifetime.

If you can help it, go 90% fundamentals 10% pixels.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: yrizoud on February 09, 2016, 02:52:58 pm
Practicing other art forms / techniques "on the side" is not only a mean to improve your technique(s), it can also help a lot with motivation.
Pixel art is known to be time-consuming, and early bad decisions are unforgiving. I find it a real breath of fresh air to sometimes doodle with watercolor or india ink, even though I suck royally at it and don't take them seriously enough to learn.
Software which mimics traditional arts tools are very handy for this, since you can go wild, you don't pay for the art supplies :)
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Seefour on February 10, 2016, 07:04:18 pm
Thank you all for the wonderful insights :)

Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Cyangmou on February 13, 2016, 02:07:54 am
I think pixel art is a medium.
Like watercolors, pencils or crayons it comes with it's own limitations.
And pixelart also has some unique workflows to it when you should apply what technique to be "effective" in a professional sense

The question is what does pixelart what other mediums don't?
-no gradients: pixelart don't has "true" gradients. It's mostly a style with flat colors, without any subtle color change, stuff like dither is an approximation.
-limited palettes: with limited values and ramps,pixelart forces you to think really a lot about color usage
-limited resolution: can heavily impact the detail, can also get used to hide stuff effectively. YOu have to think about how to represent something with a limited space. The choice of resolution for pixelart is really a critical one which has maybe the biggest impact on any piece of pixelart.
-very strong angles: pixel art usually is very angular, because only straight, 45, 2:1 and 3:1 lines tend to look clean
-no line thickness/weight: because outlines will most likely consist out of  1px thickness, you can't apply subtle changes in line thickness to support weight
-no soft/hard edges: this can get in your way if you want to have a lense-focus on something. Pixel art stays usually always crisp&sharp
-great for animation: because pixel art is so simple and clean it's great to animate with and the more painterly approach makes it imo superior to any line approach in this
-great to recolor/edit/copypaste together: this can mean a ton of output with fairly minimalistic input. For projects like games this is something which musn't be overlooked.

All those things have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the pixelart.

In fact is that you can learn/practice some things really good with pixelart , like recognizing angles, making beautiful balanced palettes, or even deconstructing stuff to make it work with just a few dots of color.
Stuff like proportion, exact lines, gesture and more are incredible hard to learn with pixelart, because the medium excludes a lot of those aspects.

Like with every artform pixel art will improve with general understandment of the medium.
But like with every medium there is a lifelong experimentation involved in how to construct and deconstruct things with it to make it work.


If you practice quick line sketches with pencils, that's usually more effective, because lines are faster drawn with pencils.
But as soon as you want to think about how to represent something you know how to draw with pixels, you have to switch to pixelart.
Animation studies, color palette studies and ofc. how to interpret stuff just with a few pixels you could do really efficiently with pixelart.


It's important to find a good balance between pixel art and other mediums. Nail it down where it brings you forward and where it hampers you. Do the stuff where it brings you forward and the stuff where it hampers you, are maybe bette routsourced to other medias for practice-purposes.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Friend on February 15, 2016, 06:22:05 pm
I'm glad cyangmou described what pixel art does over other mediums, because i found previous answers a little to implicative that pixeling is more a "style" that is achieved through rote mathematical and mechanical "pixel pushing". 

This, of course, is not true, and though there are pixel artists who do treat pixel art more in this way, but I believe the best pixel artists seek to do something special within the medium.  Basically, as a separate medium, a pixel artist should develop an artistic touch or eye for the medium, similarly to how an ink artist's "touch" will derive its artistic poignancy by emphasizing or thinking critically about how they can take advantage of the unique aspects of the medium.

For example, this piece by Thu brilliantly capitalizes on the low res of the medium, an attribute which typically means implying certain details or features is often more effective than trying to fully recreate something.  10 pixels may create a super realistic ear, whereas actually trying to draw an ear may turn out ineffective.  (Being able to make a beautiful ear in 10 pixels is not just a matter of whether you can draw a beautiful ear, a fundamental artistry, but whether you can imply it in a handful of squares, and thus requires pixel artistry.)  Notice the crystals below.

Another great great aspect of low image size typical to pixel art is that every "pixel", like an "atom that makes up all matter", is given meticulous care, and is really the only digital medium that can claim this attribute.  The benefit of this attribute is of course a usually unbeaten sharpness, but also the ability to reach an unbeaten level of control, because it goes deep all the way to the most basic unit of digital art, the pixel.  Notice also the pixel clusters and how being controlled on the most basic level affects its visual quality.

(http://pixeljoint.com/files/icons/full/advent253.png)

This piece works as a great piece of not just art, but captivating pixel art, because it capitalizes on the medium.

It is good advice now to focus mostly on art fundamentals, but if you decide once youre a solid artist that you want to be a great pixel artist, I think it is erroneous to say that it'll take a few months to master.  I believe being a great pixel artist too is a long term endeavor.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 15, 2016, 07:55:14 pm
I think that there is a creative depth unique to pixel art that often manifests as a "style", that means a very dedicated use of technique, focusing on a special visual ruleset. I noticed that in some art circles, style has an almost negative connotation; that it would lock you down and hamper your artistic growth. You are supposed to prove your skills in doing proper anatomy, perspective, lights, etc, and transfer from there. Doing it differently is almost synonym with cheaping out on the art. But I noticed often a creative brilliance in specialized style experimentation, and even though someone would think of it easy at first, when tried to emulate, it somehow misses that creative brilliance that made the first one work, what made the most out of it, and how it transfers itself across many situations. That maybe its inventive depth was underestimated. That maybe your generalist knowledge too can be a cognitive burden that locks down your kind of creativity.

There is a difference in understanding the basic rules of execution, and being very experienced and passionate with it. The difference may seem small at first, but often it's the last 10% of perfection that are the toughest, longest to learn, and make or break it. Style can end up being its own grounds of study, besides more general art knowledge, and you noticed who's been most into what. And I think that pixel art at large already can be seen as such style of art. That you see if someone really wanted to paint, but applied the bare necessity to make it pass as pixel art, or if someone's been really into pixel art through and through, with the understanding of general art and pixel art having grown into one organic unity not quite so easily divisible or imitable anymore.

I wouldn't say any of the recommendations are wrong so far. I think you need to see what kind of creativity you enjoy yourself most playing with, that really decides your own balance. What keeps you engaged in regularly doing art? that's most important. But I do also think that a professional freelance artist for hire needs to be more general and adaptive. And the strong synergies growing from a broader understanding and exercise of art can be very powerful and most impressive indeed.


Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 15, 2016, 10:41:09 pm
I noticed that in some art circles, style has an almost negative connotation; that it would lock you down and hamper your artistic growth. You are supposed to prove your skills in doing proper anatomy, perspective, lights, etc, and transfer from there. Doing it differently is almost synonym with cheaping out on the art.
I pretty much think that yes. Studying in a certain style (retro pixel style, manga style, comic style) without knowing your fundamentals is always going to result in mediocre art. There's a ceiling to how much you can learn about anatomy by studying manga comics. You study anatomy, perspective, lighting, etc and then you'll notice your retro pixels, your manga will be better afterwards. Neglecting fundamentals and studying a style in-depth, like you suggest, is going to result in mediocre art (not bad per se, just has a ceiling).

I wouldn't say any of the recommendations are wrong so far. I think you need to see what kind of creativity you enjoy yourself most playing with, that really decides your own balance.
Enjoying yourself is important, but some pain is to be expected. If you go to the gym to have fun, you probably won't get anywhere either. "Training doesn't make perfect, perfect training makes perfect". If your art practice is just for fun, focused on a certain style and just something you do once a month, you can study for years and years and not see a lot of progress. I'm not saying my way is THE way, by the way, you might discover better training techniques, but you need to read books on this stuff, look for the good teachers, emulate how they're doing it, ask others for critique, try to compare older and newer work, etc.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 15, 2016, 11:53:35 pm
Hrrm. I'm not sure I really suggest neglecting fundamentals when I mention the merit of style study. But while there is a ceiling to what you can learn about anatomy in manga, there's a ceiling to what you can learn about the flow of gesture and impact of action in anatomy study. And maybe an insistence on correct anatomy even takes away from the flow of action. Styles, in their strength and weakness, were often developed for a good reason. In their specialization, you don't learn everything, but you often do learn something, some fundamental, especially well, and communicate it very satisfying in its emphasis. Maybe it doesn't actually make sense to evaluate a manga for correct anatomy, and thus call it mediocre art. And maybe a 10% exercise of anatomy is all you need to make the best out of your 90% manga. Pain is to be expected, but fun is important. And I think the fun comes out of finding a work that fits your character, an enjoyment that has you forget some of the pain, likely to keep you on it more than once a month. And that this is positively visible in whatever work you do.


Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 16, 2016, 12:14:27 am
Maybe it doesn't actually make sense to evaluate a manga for correct anatomy, and thus call it mediocre art.
Just a small correction, I never said that manga is mediocre. I'm just saying that good manga artists have good fundamentals first :)
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Ai on February 16, 2016, 12:15:21 am
I pretty much think that yes. Studying in a certain style (retro pixel style, manga style, comic style) without knowing your fundamentals is always going to result in mediocre art.
I think this could stand to be expanded slightly: studying art can be good for learning methods / techniques of representating X (whatever you are studying). Whether you can put those methods to good use, judge which are good and bad, and adapt them, is limited by your understanding of fundamentals.

Quote
Enjoying yourself is important, but some pain is to be expected. If you go to the gym to have fun, you probably won't get anywhere either. "Training doesn't make perfect, perfect training makes perfect". If your art practice is just for fun, focused on a certain style and just something you do once a month, you can study for years and years and not see a lot of progress.
Strongly agree. I think learning to enjoy training is the way to go, which might seem like a pipe dream to some I guess.. Training is always hard work IME, but you can adjust your focus and the context of the training to make it easier to approach. (for example, being able to log that I did X amount of work on Y subject is helpful to me. Particularly in a continuous log/journal, so that it's possible to tune your expectations to be reasonable but challenging over time)

While there is a ceiling to what you can learn about anatomy in manga, there's a ceiling to what you can learn about the flow of gesture and impact of action in anatomy study. And maybe an insistence on correct anatomy may even take away from the flow of action.
I don't.. quite agree with this? Gesture is its own area of -- not exactly realist, but reality-focused -- study. Personally, what studying cartoons did for my gestures was reinforce that the gestures are ideas that don't have to strictly match reality, and in fact are often better off exaggerated.
I think this is the kind of understanding where you need to go back and forth --- understand real anatomy, and then look at how artists represent it -- to really get it. And do practical exercises to stretch the methods you think you've picked up until they break, so you can try to tell if you picked up something actually good or not.
If you are not going back and forth, then IMO you are probably not getting the most valuable thing you can get from art study, which is understanding of how the artist is thinking about - deconstructing and eliding and exaggerating and appending to - the subject.
IMO that is what best allows another artist to deconstruct the style and repurpose it effectively.

Quote
Maybe it doesn't actually make sense to evaluate a manga for correct anatomy, and thus call it mediocre art.
I specifically disagree with this. Manga, like cartooning, has a strong relation to typography or graphic design, in that it's quite evident that 'characters' are.. well.. constructed from a collection of 'characters' (more-or-less-binary design elements); there is often no real attempt to hide this. That's fine, and manga -doesn't- have to be realist... but it is nonetheless evident if an artist doesn't understand anatomy, from how they place and size these design elements.. and at least IME, this does impact how expressive they can be in communicating the story.

EDIT: while I was writing that, it seems Gil has said basically the same thing.. :)
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 16, 2016, 12:32:29 am
I was going to reply to everything, but Ai just did a better job than I could :)
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 16, 2016, 12:47:46 am
Hrrrm. Again, I'm not arguing there is no value in fundamentals, and that you shouldn't do what you said. But I do think there is a greater variety in emphasis viable than has been suggested. For example, is the only way to understand anatomy fairly enough for the purpose of a convincing manga by training 90% anatomy and 10% manga? How much of that is actually beneficial without getting in the way of a manga's better purpose? You see, to me at least, since a manga is not about correct anatomy, evaluating it in that is like evaluating a spoon in how well it cuts bread. Of course you can do that, but how much sense does that really make. And what if the gesture training is already sufficiently inherent to sketching manga. But well, even though I felt like testing some points on this issue, there is a limit how far I can argue about these things with you, since I do very little actual art. So I'm at a point, I'm not comfortable giving advice on the matter.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Cyangmou on February 16, 2016, 12:53:58 am
And maybe a 10% exercise of anatomy is all you need to make the best out of your 90% manga. Pain is to be expected, but fun is important. And I think the fun comes out of finding a work that fits your character, an enjoyment that has you forget some of the pain, likely to keep you on it more than once a month. And that this is positively visible in whatever work you do.

Fun is important, do what you like.
But good stylization or a well designed "style", requires a very good grasp on realism and what gets stylized, then just studying a style.

If you study a style without knowing why the style came together the way it is and what exactly got stylized, you maybe will produce ok art for that style.
But you can only transcend it and make it your own if you really understood how that style was "designed".

Manga in it's truest form is a stylization of reality, same applies to pixelart.
Manga can be drawn with just aligning symbols. Pixelart can be drawn by just putting down pixels.
a lot of people who ar ehobbyists handle it this way.

If you want to be professional or "a professional result", you have to know how to draw realism and the fundamentals of art.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 16, 2016, 01:39:38 am
What you guys say makes sense of course. I'm still wondering about those exact proportions in the training to accomplish that for your target art style. And how much an artist's experience must derive from a deconstructed reality, how much can from a feedback loop of a style's inspired interpretations. Does an artist's understanding of the style only root in his own reality, or as much within that of others? Is all an art's worthwhile originality and progress based on only researched reality, or also on an inspired mesh of other interpretations, including self-inspired, that its own system logic bears as much creative potential as reality itself? I especially wonder about pixel art.

Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 16, 2016, 01:51:04 am
RAV, fundamentals is all about creating a language in which you can communicate. You can probably express deep emotions using just a basic grasp of English, but I think mostly, you're going to write shitty poems if you don't grasp the language. It's the same with art. Fundamentals build the language, style is how you use it.

Concrete example: someone with bad fundamentals looks at a manga drawing and thinks: "hmm, they represent the mouth with just a single line, and the eyes are big, I can do that!"

Someone with good fundamentals looks at a good manga drawing and thinks: "hmm, there's a small indentation in the line that represents the contour of the thigh. That's because the quadriceps wraps around there. That's a clever way to symbolize that muscle. How would that work from other directions? I'll study all the manga legs I can find."
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 16, 2016, 02:47:17 am
RAV, fundamentals is all about creating a language in which you can communicate. You can probably express deep emotions using just a basic grasp of English, but I think mostly, you're going to write shitty poems if you don't grasp the language. It's the same with art. Fundamentals build the language, style is how you use it.

Concrete example: someone with bad fundamentals looks at a manga drawing and thinks: "hmm, they represent the mouth with just a single line, and the eyes are big, I can do that!"

Someone with good fundamentals looks at a good manga drawing and thinks: "hmm, there's a small indentation in the line that represents the contour of the thigh. That's because the quadriceps wraps around there. That's a clever way to symbolize that muscle. How would that work from other directions? I'll study all the manga legs I can find."

So, talking about pixel art, if we take into account that properly studying it is as much about understanding the works of other artists, as it is about the very basics of technique, that to me sounds time intensive enough to go along 50/50 to art fundamentals supporting that, instead of 90/10. I think that immersing yourself in the existing style culture can be a rich part of building your visual language.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 16, 2016, 04:54:04 am
So, talking about pixel art, if we take into account that properly studying it is as much about understanding the works of other artists, as it is about the very basics of technique, that to me sounds time intensive enough to go along 50/50 to art fundamentals supporting that, instead of 90/10. I think that immersing yourself in the existing style culture can be a rich part of building your visual language.
And I'm saying that without proper fundamentals, it is intrinsically impossible to immerse yourself in that style culture as you don't have the comprehension to even see it, let alone understand it. The time you put in will be essentially useless. In the end though, the number is not that important, you find it out yourself as you go along. All we provided is the number we use ourselves. If it's 50/50 for you, great, whatever works for you.

Just out of curiosity, how long have you been practicing art, how many hours per week and can we see some examples of style studies? I don't think I've seen your work yet, so it's hard for me to gauge what you mean when you say you do 50% style studies?
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: AlexHW on February 16, 2016, 05:11:57 am
I style my mind everyday with understanding. My thoughts are all stylized.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Ai on February 16, 2016, 08:37:57 am
I style my mind everyday with understanding. My thoughts are all stylized.
I now have the image of a 'brain-dresser' running a comb through your nicely lathered brain.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 16, 2016, 12:47:30 pm
I wonder even if these percentages also change in time for one person. And if people are spending more time with something in ways they don't realize, which kind of distorts recommendations.

I noticed in other subjects, that while students start out most busy learning fundamentals at school, in time the focus changes more to the analysis of other people's work by those fundamentals in university. And what of these higher works are in the realm of fundamentals, and what in another's style, becomes a bit diffuse even. Because style derives from fundamentals, there is always a little to be learned even about fundamentals in just style.

There seems a point of saturation in most subjects, where people concentrate more on a sort of style specialization, even though fundamentals remain important, and are even subject to ongoing research still, by others that keep concentrating on them instead. But usually that isn't to say either is wrong in their different emphasis and goals. Rather even synergetic.

So from a more general perpective, looking at universal problems of life, it keeps making me wonder.

On the other hand, I also do agree a lot, that I often think that most people in the field of programming too are not well enough educated on the fundamentals of computing, and that this hurts them badly in their higher level decisions very often. Usually, they will argue in favour of the quick results they are getting by relying on other people's style interpretation of computing, in languages/frameworks/engines, results they seem content with in the scope of their project. And even though it has so many obvious flaws, unwitting misuse, and unnecessary limitations, hidden behind a shiny surface, maybe they are still right, even in that other things matter more to most people using it. But it can be frustrating of course, to watch them over-do their justification, that nothing else would make sense than living these abstractions. Why they shouldn't aim for more, for going deeper. Why others shouldn't waste their time trying. Often stating strong opinions as fact, while at best relying on hear-say, without ever having done themselves work on compiler construction and language design to qualify their statements. Sometimes I think, a coder isn't a coder, unless coding in his own language. Still, I try to see more the creative opportunity they have in not having to do all that, what aspect makes their work worthwhile, and how it may not really work well otherwise the way it does, all things considered, that they'd miss other opportunities in bogging themselves down too much with fundamentals. Maybe. Or maybe, people really do not spend enough time in the fundamentals of anything, and we should be more consistent in our critique.

Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Helm on February 16, 2016, 02:00:52 pm
I've seen similar discussion in Pix a lot and it's kind of doing injustice to the topic in my opinion to just read what seem like endless academic philosophizing on a subject by people who don't really present artwork. I mean, sure, it's great to philosophize, but these blocks of text just end up seeming like signal noise in a thread which could be useful if it contained more practical advice than philosophizing.

For example Alex's contribution to the thread. I look at his art and I completely get how his approach is true to his art and I know if I tried to think more like that, my art would benefit in a similar way.

Is it 50/50? Is it 90/10? Is it blue/red? For a person wanting to learn, they can look at my art and make up their mind if the path I took would be useful to them or not (this comes with a lot of caveats attached, but still). If they read the block text of people just writing philosophy without artistic output, how can they assess if that's a worthwhile path to take?
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Gil on February 16, 2016, 02:51:23 pm
Helm, you're completely right you know. I should probably start sharing more of my weekly studies, but I find taking pictures of sketches so dull :/

Also, a lot of my practice lately has been on beer coasters at a bar (I really enjoy drawing at bars for some reason).

In any case, the best way to see how to practice is probably to read through the Daily Sketch thread. Lots of great stuff there.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: RAV on February 16, 2016, 02:59:20 pm
I've seen similar discussion in Pix a lot and it's kind of doing injustice to the topic in my opinion to just read what seem like endless academic philosophizing on a subject by people who don't really present artwork. I mean, sure, it's great to philosophize, but these blocks of text just end up seeming like signal noise in a thread which could be useful if it contained more practical advice than philosophizing.

For example Alex's contribution to the thread. I look at his art and I completely get how his approach is true to his art and I know if I tried to think more like that, my art would benefit in a similar way.

Is it 50/50? Is it 90/10? Is it blue/red? For a person wanting to learn, they can look at my art and make up their mind if the path I took would be useful to them or not (this comes with a lot of caveats attached, but still). If they read the block text of people just writing philosophy without artistic output, how can they assess if that's a worthwhile path to take?

I wonder if disparaging and trash talking the styles of youth culture by a very academic approach on art, is too an injustice. I guess people do tend to philosophize a little about a topic they have no actual investment in, searching for possible alternatives to a prevalent opinion that sometimes comes across a bit too judgemental. Happens, I heard.

But it's true, though I have a deeper practical reason for why I openly wonder about these things here, it probably isn't much relevant to most of you at this point, and I wouldn't want to drag down the quality of topic with my bothersome philosophy. So I consider the matter settled in favour of the most experienced artists here.


Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Cyangmou on February 22, 2016, 03:17:09 am
at the end of the day there are just individual solutions fitting to every individuum.
No need to discuss how many percent or so - it's pointless.

Fact is that one needs time to learn something. How much depends on the individual skill level, understanding, interest, motivation and a bunch of factors.
It's important for every individual to strike a balance.

I guess if we are working a lot of us have at some point a gut feeling "i should practice this more"
If you feel you do too little quick work, to little studies, to little whatever, step back with the stuff you do and focus more on what's pressing against the backside of your brain.

step back, analyze the issue and practice what you think needs to get practiced.
How long it takes is irrelevant, as long as you truly understood it at the end.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Basketcase on February 25, 2016, 08:55:39 am
I'm totally unbalanced. I've been pixel art-ing on and off for over a decade. I'm good at specific pixelwork techniques. I can hand anti-alias a smooth curve with the best of 'em. But I almost totally neglected fundamentals, natural media, hand-drawing. Whoops. Overall I'm still an amateur. Oh well. I still get joy from this!

I'm a professional programmer so perhaps I'll live pixel art mastery vicariously by developing a fantastic drawing application for y'all to use.
Title: Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.
Post by: Ai on March 01, 2016, 02:41:44 am
Am an oldskhool artist and did in the past game graphics; so far the best tool that you can use in my opinion is WinUAE and find a copy of Deluxe Paint (possibly AGA but for me best results with less colors [...]
.. wrong thread? This isn't really a thread about tools, but about how to learn art.