Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: Sersch on February 11, 2017, 11:34:58 pm

Title: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Sersch on February 11, 2017, 11:34:58 pm
Hello there,

I was lurking the forum for quite some time and decided to make a post. Since its my first post i would like to make a quick introduction of myself. I'm working as a programmer in the game industry. In my free time i'm working on pixel art game projects where i do everything myself. Since my pixel art isn't quite on a professional level yet, i would apretiate critique and suggestions what how i can improve.

The project i'm working on is a 16 bit monster collecting metroidvania game, project title "16bit Monsters". I would like to use this thread to post monsters i'm working on (there are not so many yet ;) ). The current idea is to use a mix of own creations, references to mythology and references to either popular monster from JRPGs of the 16 bit era or reintepretations of specific monsters from popular games of the 16bit era.






also here some of the animated ingame:
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Reo on February 12, 2017, 11:50:32 am
Hi there Sersch! Welcome to Pixelation. :)
That's a charming band of characters you have there!
I hope you don't mind that I took the time to make an edit of your little robot friend!
Since all his colors are very close in both hue and value details like his arms are lost. If you have a player with a dark or poorly calibrated monitor they would not be able to see what is going on. In fact your 4 darkest colors are all similar enough that they're pretty much indistinguishable. To remedy this I brought the color count down from 18 to 10. The reason to utilize a small palette for a sprite this size is so that you have more control over every pixel and you don't end up using the wrong colors on the wrong objects. I also tried to bring in more highlights, not only to better illustrate the texture of metal but also to contrast the different sections, to make the limbs stand out next to the body. You've used your most dark color only in his visor and parts of the "chimney" if you instead use that color in the entire sprite it will give it more balance and your colors will pop more as they contrast to the dark.

Still the colors of the limbs are still quite close to the ones on the body, similar earthly tones. So in my next version I tinted the body more towards a metallic blue and the limbs to more of an orange which are complementary colors.
Now the different sections pop and the sprite can be clearly read, this will also help it standout next to dark and busy backgrounds. In this version I also got the color count down to 7, which might be a bit frugal. But I like to keep it low.

Another thing I tried to do throughout my edit was to think more in "pixel clusters" what is meant by that is try to minimize the use of single pixels or outlines and instead try to think as much as possible in shapes that fit together, sort of like Tetris blocks! This help separate the forms in the sprite which is especially important at this size!

Hope this feedback is of help. Cheers! :y:
I would also make the tengu's nose wobble a whole lot more! A nose that long is an asset!
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Sersch on February 12, 2017, 03:10:05 pm
Thanks a lot for taking your time Reo, great hints.
I also realized that i need to make sure the light source is the same for all my monsters.
Here is my take on it with your suggestions:


luckily i did the animation for this one completly based on layers, so i have that for free:

Also thanks for the suggestion with tengu, i can imagine that it would look better indeed.
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: rocifier on February 13, 2017, 09:13:48 am
really nice improvement!
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: odedrt9 on February 14, 2017, 05:39:13 pm
Hey so Reo said pretty much everything I can think of, but I took the liberty to edit the slime because I love them :P


Basically yours has almost no contrast whatsoever, I had to zoom to see the darker green you used, so i tweaked the colors a bit(top line).
Also In my edit I tried to shift the hues to blue when it gets darker and yellow when it gets warmer(bottom line).

It might not be the best edit but I think you can learn something from it  ;D
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Sersch on February 14, 2017, 09:21:22 pm
Thanks, i can see the improvement there. But i kinda want to keep the face and it was quite tricky for it to not look weird when applying harder shades, i came up with that:

Also i forgot to mention that the blob was currently somewhat translucent ingame. With the harder shades i'm not sure thought if it is still a good idea, here are the comparisons:
(from left to right: 40% translucency, 20%, 0%, old version)

Also, i iterated on the tengu monster:
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: CFKaligula on February 14, 2017, 09:57:23 pm
small edit on your tengu thing. I think the biggest improvements lie in clusters. Try making your clusters kind of blocky, it makes the sprite more readable and nice to look at. Secondly I would recommend not using outlines inside the sprite. You can see i replaced those with a lighter colour in the hair fore example.
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: odedrt9 on February 15, 2017, 02:34:42 pm
No problem, though I can't see why you think the face isn't possible :P

Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Sersch on February 15, 2017, 07:20:21 pm
ah yes if we flip the light source it works, not sure about that thought, i think i should have an unified light source for all the monsters and for the mech golem its a bit left from the center.
@kaligula: ah yes i see the point with the outlines and the blocky clusters. I also like your version of his nose.
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Reo on February 16, 2017, 12:37:14 pm
You've made great progress on all your sprites so far, kudos!

And CFKaligula raises some good points about clusters and colors. But I think it could be pushed even further.
The reason again, to think about clusters at this size is to maximize the readability of your sprite, getting the most out of the pixels you had. What I did here is I used the darkest color you had, and distributed it across the whole of the sprite to bring about contrast. But I also used it to imply depth, currently your Tengu is looking a little big flat and 2D. You can use color and contrast to imply volume.

Anyhow you are making great progress, but I think you need to unify your palette more, and introduce colors to make your sprites pop. Like in your Tengu you have a darker grey you only use as outline for the legs.
Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Sersch on February 16, 2017, 09:41:23 pm
Thanks! I've incorporated some of the mentioned ideas:

Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: Sersch on February 17, 2017, 11:16:10 pm
drawn a new monster, minotaur:

Title: Re: 16bit Monsters
Post by: CFKaligula on February 18, 2017, 10:31:12 am
I think your minotaur sprite is really good. There is 1 important mistake tho. His axe is made of metal, Metal is very shiny, which means your shades have to be very different, otherwise it just looks like an axe made out of rock. Apart from that I also made some slight changes to the clusters in the axe, I also replaced the colours of the stick attached to the axe, with the colours from his horns, to make it a more cohesive palette.