Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: SilverBrick on December 05, 2017, 12:44:57 am

Title: Before I begin animating...
Post by: SilverBrick on December 05, 2017, 12:44:57 am
I've been wanting to create a 2D platformer (most similar to Classic Sonic), and I've finally gotten the main character to the point where I want to begin animating. Here are the two competing versions of the character - the first one I made a few weeks back, and the second one was an edit from today.

It's too early to say which one I like best (although I'm leaning towards the second one), so which do you prefer? Are there any improvements you think I could make? I'd like to hear anything, even if it is something vague about whether it looks right or not.

Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: Based Kermit on December 12, 2017, 05:34:38 am
I like the colors you chose, they're fairly pleasing to the eye and work well, (although I can't really tell the two sprites apart other than a slight shading difference on the latter).

Imo, the shading on the shirt and pants looks a little busy, maybe just because of the contrast? I'd add a few more blending shades (it doesn't have to be a lot) to try and make it a little more relaxed and well, blended (unless that's the look you were going for).

One last thing, at first glance it's a bit hard to differentiate the face and hair from each other. Maybe lighten/darken something there to make a bit more contrast so it's easier to pick out the features.

Hope my advice made some sort of sense! :P I'm not really new to pixel art, just new to trying to give advice/critique others  :D
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: eishiya on December 12, 2017, 04:02:31 pm
This crazy amount of folds is going to be very difficult to keep consistent when animating. I recommend simplifying them to just the important ones.

You definitely don't need more colours/"blending shades", if anything, you'd probably have an easier time animating with less of them, and most of them are already hard to see.

The character looks very flat. All the folds and clothing edges are just straight, the clothing is all shaded separately of each other, the face is shaded/highlighted only at the edges as if it were a flat embossed sticker, giving the character the look of cardboard pieces rather than a 3D person. The cast shadows on their arm mitigate this a little bit, but I think you could push the volumes more even in this static pose. You'll almost certainly need to in most animations.

Lastly, you could probably push your hue-shifting more, so that the colours feel more vibrant.

An edit that incorporates most of this feedback, just to give you an idea:
Left one is yours. Middle one is edits just the shapes, shading, and gets rid of some of the highlights, which I feel were unnecessary/noisy. The right one has some minor colour tweaks to improve the contrast.

Details on the shading changes:
I moved the shading on the character's right (viewer's left) arm to the bottom of it, since the light seems to be coming from above-left. It makes no sense to have shadows on top. I used the shadows on the shirt as well as some tweaks to its silhouette to suggest folds. Highlights aren't needed for this at all, they just make the shirt look distractingly shiny.
I simplified the trousers similarly, and kept just some large folds, especially towards the bottom where they widen, which is where they're loosest and thus most fold-prone. I probably shouldn't have even added any folds to the thighs, they're unnecessary. Also notice that I don't have a line of shadow at the bottoms of the trousers. They're made of a relatively thin material, so they essentially just cut off instead of visibly curving away/into shadow. Photo example (http://static.fashionbeans.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trouserfinish.jpg).
I have the character more shadow on their cheek just to give the head more volume. However, I reduced the shadow cast by the hair, both to help it read better, and because the hair doesn't look like it's so voluminous as to cast such a large shadow. The resulting shadow is more like AA than a shadow, and I think that works. Often, fringe casts barely any shadow on the face anyway, because it's not solid, and a lot of light passes through it.
I made the head cast a shadow on the scarf. Where the scarf billows away from the body, I put it in shadow, since the downward-facing surface should receive no light. Reducing the scarf to just its lightest and darkest colours probably makes it to contrasty. Rather than adding a third colour, I think the best solution would be to darken the light colour, so that the whole thing stands out a little less. Even with three colours in your original, it stood out more than it probably should.
I have the characters a dark line along the bottoms of their shoes. This isn't intended as shadow, but rather as the soles. The actual shadows are very small and on the right. The big rounded shadows you had made the feet look too rounded and not like they're planted on the floor.
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: SilverBrick on December 12, 2017, 11:11:57 pm
Thanks for the help guys. It's clear that I need to work on the shading and a little of the shape. Will reply with an edit when I get the chance.
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: SilverBrick on December 14, 2017, 10:33:08 am

Changed the shading and shape to make it more 3D, and tried to simplify it without losing too much detail. I didn't change the scarf because that'll be animated separately so I can afford to have it more detailed.

On the original, the hands were shaded like that to try and make the individual fingers visible, so each shade would represent a finger. In hindsight that was dumb so I redid those too.

Finally, I made the colors of the torso one swatch darker, and changed the colors of the shirt, pants/hat fluff, scarf and the darkest skin tone.

I'm still not certain about it so I'll come back later and see if I can spot anything wrong.
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: eishiya on December 14, 2017, 04:07:00 pm
I feel like you've made this even more over-detailed. You'll have to keep those details/folds consistent from frame to frame when animating, while still keeping the overall figure reading well. Anything extra will tend to get in the way. That sort of consistency is very difficult even for experienced animators. It's okay to just suggest details and let the viewer's brain fill them in.

The shape of the shirt looks more 3D now, but what is making it flare out like that, why isn't gravity pulling it down? If it's meant to be gathered up into some thick folds, you haven't communicated that well with the silhouette and the shading.

The shading on the shirt is so noisy/detail-oriented that it doesn't communicate the overall form of the torso, so the character feels very flat. Aim to communicate form first, suggest detail where you have space left over. Form is usually important in general, but in character animation it is especially important because it has to be clear for the motion to read clearly.

The highlights on the legs are making them look very lumpy, since they don't correspond to anything in the silhouette or to any shapes suggested by the shadows.

There is banding on the forearm on the left, though it's hard to tell since the colours don't contrast well.
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: PixelPiledriver on December 15, 2017, 06:08:07 am
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: SilverBrick on December 15, 2017, 07:24:16 am
Welp, my last edit was clearly a step back. Now I've simplified things for real.


Left is pre-edits. Middle-left is Bad Edit. Middle-right is current edit without color changes. Right is with color changes.

Now that I've messed with the colors myself, I think I'm getting a little better at shifting. I can see what you meant by the hair color as well. I think I'll still want to make some changes, especially with the skin tone, but what do you think so far?

PixelPiledriver, I get what you're trying to say - at least, I think I do - but my game's main mechanic relies on the sprite keeping proportions at least similar to what they currently are. I also really don't want to use outlines for this one.

Anyway, I'm gonna post this now 'cause otherwise I'll be stuck trying to find mistakes.
Title: Re: Before I begin animating...
Post by: PixelPiledriver on December 15, 2017, 01:14:22 pm