General => General Discussion => Resources => Topic started by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:49:27 pm

Title: FAQ
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:49:27 pm
Pixelation FAQ


Privacy & Ownership Policy

We cannot verify the security of any content you provide to the forum, including but not limited to pixel works, personal information, and comments. We appreciate the desire most people have for privacy, thus we will not sell any information you provide to the forum or give that information to any profiteering external entities. However, we do conduct activities in which works may be used to promote or support this forum. The staff shall clarify beforehand when such vents occur and to what extent use is permitted, or otherwise request to use material from a member individually.

We enjoy an open and collaborative environment, but it's prudent to declare the origins of work that you post. All works you post are technically considered published material, and presumes that you are the rightful owner or author of said works, unless otherwise noted.

NB: Due to the technical problems we have been experiencing over the last couple of weeks we cannot get the single links to open in the same window, so please resort to the search function of your browser (Ctrl+F for Internet Explorer and Firefox), which is easy to use with the consecutively numbered posts.
Title: #01 What is this place all about?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:51:53 pm

What is this place all about?

Pixelation is a message board about pixel art, first and foremost. Its role is to provide a setting in which people may sharpen their skills by posting work and receiving critique from others, and to offer critique when others request it.
Title: #02 Why should I register?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:52:45 pm

Why should I register?

If you wish to post on the board, you must register, simple as that. When you register, you must provide a valid e-mail address. If you do not wish to have your E-Mail address visible to the public, you may select the appropriate option during registration, or access and modify your profile settings at any time later on. The Pixelation staff despises unsolicited E-Mail and spam posting with the burning passion of 10,000 suns, so rest assured that we will work diligently to eliminate such activity from the forums. Pixelation respects your privacy.
Title: #03 What are the rules?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:53:33 pm

What are the rules?

The Pixelation Rules document (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=2002.0) contains the basics. Our primary rule is don't be an ass. Common sense prevails on this forum. Avoid unconstructive criticism, misrepresentation of yourself or works you provide, and any other behavior becoming of a miscreant.
Title: #04 What are these board sections?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:54:17 pm
What are these board sections?

Things of Importance and Interest (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=9.0) contains many important bits of information regarding forum usage, image posting tips and conduct as well as the Pixelation FAQ, which you're reading right now!
General Discussion (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=1.0) is for posting about anything related to Pixel Art, Gaming, or Coding. If you wish to ask a question, first look in the FAQ or Rules before posting; such courtesy is appreciated. DO NOT POST A WELCOME THREAD: Use the Introduction Thread in the section above for greetings and the Official Pixelation Off-Topic thread for personal messages and chit-chat. The Official Pixelation OT Creativity Thread is for posting your paintings, sketches, music compositions, links to software, poetry, writing, etc...

Pixel Art (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=2.0) is a place to post your works and receive critique, or comment on the works of others. The Feature Chest (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=11.0) child-board is located here: When a thread of exemplary stature is spotted, chances are that it will be featured in the Feature Chest. After a thread becomes inactive, it may be retired here, and a link from the news box shall be published. The act of highlighting great threads serves as an incentive for others to post great art and outstanding critique so that they too may see their deeds recognized.
Low Spec Art (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=17.0) is for art and graphics geared towards hand-held devices or applications with similar specifications that are not Pixel Art.
Challenges & Activities (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=5.0) is a place for people to participate in various group activities. Most of these activities are non-competitive as the focus at this forum is primarily educational. Commercial Critiques are used as a means to discuss commercial games and Challenges test one's understanding of the Pixel Arts by setting certain goals and limitations.

Job offers (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=6.0) is a place to advertise projects or jobs.  Unpaid Work offers (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=14.0) go here.
Portfolios (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=8.0) can be posted here.
Title: #05 What exactly is Pixel Art?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:55:08 pm

What exactly is Pixel Art?

Pixel Art is a discipline by which images are created with pixel-level intent or precision. It is more than an end product - It is a methodology focusing on techniques such as hand drawn dithering, anti-aliasing, shading, animation, geometry, and some color theory. Here on this forum, people develop these skills and in turn teach them to others.

When you post work that focuses on these methods, you will receive useful feedback that will help you to improve. While there's no static law that says something IS or IS NOT Pixel Art, some works can certainly be more in line with what is discussed here. For example, Oekaki, a web based drawing phenomenon, does not consistently represent the methods. Also, just because a game uses a sprite, that does not immediately qualify it as pixel art since some games have been known to convert 3D rendered models into sprite stills. Posting works like this is not encouraged.

Members at this forum are interested in many subjects and artistic mediums, and we do offer places on the forum more appropriate for the posting of non-pixel work. If you're posting reference images for pixel work, this is an exceptional case. Blatant disregard for the purposes of the forum will not be tolerated.
Title: #06 What about hand-drawn art?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:55:39 pm
What about hand-drawn art? I drew this cool ninja and airbrushed it in Photoshop. I want some feedback!

If the majority of the work isn't even done using the methods described above, post it to the Official OT Creativity Thread. If you want to learn to be a good digital illustrator in general, try one of the other art forums out there. Again, this forum is not just about cool art, it's about learning the Pixel Art methods. Check the General Discussion (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=1.0) section for the Official OT Creativity Thread.
Title: #07 What is a sprite, or a tile? Isometric?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:56:27 pm

What is a sprite, or a tile? What is this Isometric thing the kids are raving about?

Sprites and tiles are terms often used for video games. A sprite is typically a character or enemy, made to move around on the screen or animate depending on how the game is coded. Tiles are typically used as background elements, and can be laid out to create a larger scene or image. Isometric refers to both the Pixel Art style and a way of coding a game to create the illusion of three dimensional play using 2D art. Rise of Nations or even Sim City have been known to implement Isometric 'perspective' in their games.
Title: #08 I can't do it, somebody help me!
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:57:01 pm

How do I draw a water tile? How do I animate a sword slash? I can't do it, somebody help me!

Try. If you post a message asking for help without posting any work, no one will be able to truly help you except to give you vague replies such as "uhh, use blue and click the mouse button to place pixels where you want them until it looks like water." If you TRY first, and even if you TOTALLY and COMPLETELY suck at it, people will at least be able to give you advice on what direction to take and tell you what to watch out for so you can improve. This can't happen if you don't post anything, and if you don't post anything, you're probably going to be ignored or your thread could be locked.
Title: #09 C64? ZX-Spectrum? Demoscene?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:57:39 pm

I hear a lot of people talking about the c64-palette or ZX-Spectrum restrictions, or the 'demoscene'. What's that?

C64 (Commodore 64) and the ZX-Spectrum are popular computer systems from the '80s with relatively limited pixel-count and color limitations compared to modern systems that use powerful graphics cards able to render 3D, support millions of colors, and offer high pixel-count resolution options. For more information on these particular systems, try Wikipedia or use the forumís search engine.
Title: #10 Will I ever be as good as the "pixel gods"?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:58:37 pm

Will I ever be as good as the "pixel gods"?

That is all up to you. If you have the determination and will to do it, you can. The only way you can improve is to sit down and work at it. No one is born with magical drawing talent, they just put themselves in a position to draw more often than other people. If you work at it, there's no reason why you can't do graphics like SquareEnix or Capcom... the only difference between their art and yours is that they've had more experience, and the only way to get experience is to practice.
Title: #11 What is the best program to create Pixel Art with?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 03:59:15 pm

What is the best program to create Pixel Art with? What about animation? How can I do that?

This, of course, is a matter of preference and depends on your platform. Newer mainstream graphics software is not typically focused on the task of doing pixel-level work, so older software, or software built especially for the task is generally recommended. For a list of software please refer to the Resource Thread (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=3467.0).
Title: #12 What is C+C?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:00:23 pm

What is C+C?

It stands for "Comment and Critique". If you want critique so you can get general advice or make revisions, let people know by asking for it. If you're not looking for suggestions, as with finished work for projects or with work you're not planning on updating, then let people know, else you are likely to get a few critiques by default.
Title: #13 Why should I critique someone's art?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:01:39 pm

Why should I critique someone's art?

Something that few people understand is that when you give a critique, you're not just helping the person you are critiquing, but you are sharpening your own skills as well. If you learn from others' success/mistakes rather than just your own, you will improve much faster than someone who is just sitting in a corner working all alone. When you see an impressive sprite, analyze it. Ask yourself "Why does this look good?" Is it the colors? Is it a stylistic choice? Conversely, when you see an ugly sprite, ask yourself "Why is this so terrible? Am I creating similar mistakes in my own work? How could this be fixed?" By doing this, you'll be able to create Pixel Art with much more success and in less time.

You are not required to give critiques, but it is HIGHLY encouraged. It is ESPECIALLY encouraged in Challenges and Activities since everybody is working from the same limitations and themes. When people work together and share critique, it can spawn an absurd amount of improvement for everybody involved. A good rule of thumb is to critique something once per week.
Title: #14 That mistake was intentional!
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:02:50 pm

Someone gave me really harsh critique and pointed out lots of stuff... I meant to make that leg extra long, it's not a mistake!

The only thing harder than giving critique is receiving it. Many people ask for critique but don't REALLY want it. They're only interested in praise, or what is generally termed as 'ass-patting'. Everyone, at one time or another has been irritated that someone was harsh on their work pointed out every single mistake, but you should try to appreciate their point of view and avoid taking anything in critique personally, unless they're attacking you, in which case you should report that behavior.

The first natural reaction people have is to make excuses like "That's just my style, I meant to do that. This is just a practice sprite anyway, so it doesn't matter. I was just messing around, it's not supposed to be perfect." If you find yourself doing this, just back away from the computer for a bit until you can calm down and then take a serious look at your sprite and see if there are some valid points in the critique you've received. It IS entirely possible that  you really DID intend some things, or that you really WERE just focusing on coloring and not the anatomy, or what-have-you, and you should express that when you first post the sprite, not just after someone calls you on it.

And be honest with yourself... if you didn't consciously decide to do it when you created the sprite, it's probably a mistake. And that's absolutely fine, because now someone has pointed it out to you so you can fix it.
Title: #15 What's a strike?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:04:25 pm

What's a strike?

Strikes are penalties added to a member's record for violating the rules. Members who get out of line usually first get a warning, but with each other violation, one strike will be added to their record: Three strikes invokes a ban. However, strikes are not permanent: as time passes without incident they wear off.

Taking illegitimate credit for works you've ripped is usually cause for an immediate ban.
Title: #16 What is an Avatar?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:05:52 pm
What is an Avatar?

Avatars are personal images that you can set up in your profile. You're far more likely to be remembered if you use one, and members here often create their own. Use the profile button near the top of the page, then click on 'forum profile information'. Remember to keep your avatar under 128x128 pixels or it may not show up.
Title: #17 What is a 'one-liner', and why do people keep telling me to stop it?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:07:11 pm

What is a 'one-liner', and why do people keep telling me to stop posting them?

When you post a short reply like "that rocks!." or "it's crap!", or something that serves no real purpose, that is a one-liner. If you want to compliment someone on their work, take a little time to explain exactly why you think it looks good, or add to what someone else has already stated. Just try to avoid pointless posting.
Title: #18 How do I post an image?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:08:42 pm

How do I post an image?

First, you have to upload it to the internet. You can't post an image located on your own computer, unless you have a permanent connection and a fixed IP address. If you don't understand that, then chances are very high that you don't. So what you will need is an image hosting service or website that does not restrict external image linking. Unfortunately, many free services restrict this sort of off-site linking. Check the Image Host Guide (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=3466.0) for more information on how to get your art on the internet.

Once you do have an image online, click on the bulletin board code (BBC) button for creating IMG tags, and then paste the URL to your image file.
Title: #19 Why GIF or PNG?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:10:12 pm

Someone told me I should save my image file as a GIF or PNG instead of a BMP/PSP/PS/etc... what gives?

It is not recommended that you use BMP, and formats besides JPG, PNG, SVG, or GIF are very proprietary in nature and not suited to posting on the web.
Title: #20 Can I just rename my image from "sprite.psd" to "sprite.gif"?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:11:18 pm

Can I just rename my image from "sprite.psd" to "sprite.gif"?

No, you can't simply change the file extension in order to make it work. You must use a program to convert this file into one of the accepted web formats. If you must post a special file, upload or zip that file and post it as a text link. This includes media such as movies (AVI, MOV), since most people do not want to automatically load large files or view movies embedded into web pages.
Title: #21 Over 40 views and no reply yet?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:12:31 pm

I posted a new thread with artwork and it has 40 views, but nobody has replied! What's the deal?

Be patient, and for the love of all that is pixel-related, DO NOT double-post to bump the topic unless it has fallen off the first page. Pixelation has many lurkers who merely browse the site and do not post, so chances are that 35 of those 40 hits may be random visitors passing by. Writing a critique takes time and effort, so members might view your thread and check out your work, but reply later in the day or week when it is convenient for them.
Title: #22 I'm ready to make a game, where do I go from here?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:15:13 pm
I am a l33t artist, ph33r my mad skillz! I'm ready to make a game, where do I go from here?

Check out the Employment section, or visit one of these excellent coding sites:

Game Developer’s Refuge (http://gamedevelopersrefuge.org/GDR/index.php), GameDev.net (http://www.gamedev.net/), tigs (http://www.tigsource.com/), Gamasutra (http://www.gamasutra.com/), and many more… (http://www.google.com)
Title: #23 Can I pad my post-count with lots of short replies so my rank is higher?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:19:19 pm
I want a cool rank now so people respect me!!! Can I pad my post-count with lots of short replies so my rank is higher?

No. If you do, you'll have your post count dropped back to 0 and you might risk being banned. No one likes when people pad their post-count because it fills the forum with wasteful topics and posts, taking away attention from useful comments or critique. While the occasional one-liner won't get you into trouble, if you do it constantly you will get on everyone's bad side and the moderators will have to step in.
Title: #24 What are Announcements, Pinned topics, and Locked topics?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:20:39 pm
What are Announcements, Pinned topics, and Locked topics?

If something big is currently happening or coming up soon on the board, it will be found as an announcement. We also list important activities and events in the news box located at the top of the forum page.

Pinned topics rank under Announcements, but float above normal topics and tend to advertise a challenge or lesser priority Announcement.

Locked topics are threads which are closed to member posting for any number of reasons, such as flame wars, off-topic content or general stupidity, outdated content, or for topics such as Rules or the FAQ which do not require feedback on. Typically topics closed for violating the rules will include a reason for it being closed.
Title: #25 How old are the members here?
Post by: FAQ on June 13, 2007, 04:22:09 pm
How old are the members here?

The average age is about 15-18. There are many older artists, some in their 30's, but the majority of members are around 16, or so it seems. Most of the moderators and administrators are in their 20's. And no, you don't have to wait until you are as old as the senior members of the board to be good at Pixel Art: There are several very young members who are excellent artists. In this game, it is practice that counts, not age.
Title: #26 Help me! I need a tutorial!
Post by: FAQ on June 14, 2007, 08:58:54 am
Help me! I need a tutorial!

Pixelation has a variety of useful links to resources and tutorials compiled into the Tools, Resources and Linkage Thread (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=3467.0) -- it covers the most popular ones. Please note though, that tutorials may be a pointer in the right direction, but they are no shortcuts - improvement comes with practice. Also keep in mind that what is described in tutorials is no universal truth, rather one of many approaches, and that you have to find out yourself what you can learn from it.
Title: #27 Where can I satisfy my off-topic needs?
Post by: FAQ on June 14, 2007, 09:06:20 am
I spend more time surfing the Internet than most of you spend being awake, where can I share my latest off-topic findings?

Feel free to post your findings, bare your soul or just tell us how awesome you are in the current Official Pixelation Off-Topic Thread, located in the General Discussion (http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?board=1.0). Spamming, harassment or trolling is not acceptable at any rate.
Title: #28 This place rocks! I'd love to link to you. Do you have an official banner?
Post by: FAQ on June 14, 2007, 09:20:18 am
This place rocks! I'd love to link to you. Do you have an official banner?

Sure do! Just be sure to link to the following:

Images are listed below: