Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: Aniki on April 18, 2020, 06:38:27 am

Title: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: Aniki on April 18, 2020, 06:38:27 am
I sketched out this background and have been filling in the details for awhile now. I blocked in this pink flower patch on the right side and I like it compositionally.

Now I'm trying to detail this flower patch but I can't figure out how to make it look okay.


I was able to avoid drawing every leaf on every tree by implying the leafyness around the edges. I'm wondering if there is a way to do something similar with the flower patch, but I can't find a good reference image. Ideally I wouldn't have to carefully draw each individual flower, any thoughts?
Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: EvilEye on April 18, 2020, 08:43:29 am
Oh boy, do you really want to do something this size using pixel art?

That's a decent job on the trees so far.

The flower patch looks pretty good to me so far. Add some flower heads here and there. Like blotches of white or whatever the color is. I see you have a few, but those look like sparkles. You need something that looks like  a flower at an angle.
Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: Mathias on April 18, 2020, 04:13:24 pm
Welp this one's ambitious isn't it.

I can't fathom why this needs to be so huge. Just the size alone will force you to compromise drastically on quality, otherwise you're going to log so many hours in this piece you WILL hate it before you finish it.
In cases like this I find it helpful to ask - Are you SURE you want to use a low color pixel art style for this? Why not full color?

some thoughts that come to mind -
What is the goal here for this image? What is to be used for? What is it trying to do? What's the mood? What's the story?
Looking at your WIP image, I don't really get it. I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

And there's a lot to look at . . . but at the same time there's nothing to look at.
Where do you want to me look? Will you be adding some sort of focal point?

-Why do the trees get bigger as they get further away from the viewpoint? Most perspective cues are way off.
-Sky and ground clash terribly - while the sky is trying to be surreal and whacky, the ground is very mundane, lacking any of the surreal oddness seen in the sky. It's easy to believe that the sky layer was copied from something entirely different and pasted behind the green ground layer. Only bit of continuity I can find are the 5-pointed stars stamped here and there.
-If clouds get dither, other things should too. Dither consistently as you render surfaces.

I ADMIRE the effort and the ambition. If/when you start to feel like you're in over your head, don't be afraid to dial this back a bunch, or take what you learned and start a new one.
Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: Aniki on April 18, 2020, 06:12:38 pm
Haha, alright I was hoping to lampshade the fact that this image is absurd, but I think now I owe you some context.

This is a background for an exploration game I've been working on for a couple of months. A lot of why it's so ridiculous is partially because "I'm a doofus" and partially because "it's a backdrop for my game", I'll let you decide in what proportions.

I am definitely in over my head- but that's sort of the point so I would like to continue with this piece. All that being said, thank you for the feedback, I've become pretty numb to this image over the last week so it's good to hear from some fresh eyes.

Here is how it looks in game:

I know the graphics styles are somewhat inconsistent across the board, I think that's just how it's going to be for this project. However for an individual piece such as this background I would like to try to unify the style a bit more.

You're right about the perspective, it's supposed to be a ring of trees around this sort of panoramic clearing. I definitely did not draw any perspective guidelines before I started- so that's a lesson learned. I will try to sort this out.

I think it's the right move to keep this image from having a strong focal point but correct me if you disagree. I'm hoping to use this backdrop a couple of times in a row. I haven't seen how that looks in my game yet, but I'm using Kirby as my reference which uses backdrops such as these repeated throughout the same levels:


I guess I'm hoping for my backdrops to set the general atmosphere of the current game area and for individual pieces of it to briefly be admired by the player at different times. But on the other hand I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for it being cacophonous.

I do want the ground to be a bit more wacky- not as much as the sky I want there to be a contrast- but it is too mundane.

I'll try to post an update in a day or few, let me know if any of your advice changes now that you have some context.

(Also if anyone has advice/ideas on what I can do for my flowers, I'm still spinning my wheels on that)
Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: Chonky Pixel on April 18, 2020, 06:36:27 pm
Quick note on clouds. If you use a band of dither between two colours, you probably need another colour. See my avatar as an example. ;)

A whole band of dithering looks a little industrial to me.

If you use subtle dithering occasionally around the image, it can imply fluffy texture. Here are some examples from when I was practising clouds a while back.

Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: Chonky Pixel on April 18, 2020, 06:45:37 pm
Regarding the patch, I'm a sucker for punishment, so I would define areas that I wanted seem above other areas, then put shadows underneath them. Then add some leaf detail and leaf shadows across the whole patch. Then add some flowers.

But then I would do every single leaf in those trees by hand.


Maybe not for a background, come to think of it.

I was practising some leaves recently. The flowers in the internal detail tiles might be worth a look?


Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: dpixel on April 19, 2020, 04:01:13 am
I would think in terms of tiling. Draw a few clumps of flowers that are close up and a few more that are further away, etc.  Then arrange them into a patch.

This has a real trippy feel, esp. the sky.  Love it!
Title: Re: Detailing flower patch on flat-shaded background
Post by: Mathias on April 19, 2020, 10:56:25 am
OHHHH ok. It's a game background. alright alright

It looks good in-game. I like it. You're doing a Super Meat Boy/End is Nigh/Celeste type platformer.
Next time, I recommend giving context like this when posting for crit, it's immensely helpful. I just assumed you were bent on creating a huge standalone landscape image. (I know I never commented on your flower problem haha)

Now it makes perfect sense to not have any focal points present in the bg. I prefer it not have them, given that it's merely a supportive background set piece for a game, where your focus should always be on what the protagonist is doing.

Instead my concerns now shift to your platform tiles - they get lost in the bg. You need to massively boost how much they contrast the bg. Might just hue shift the green platforms to blue and make the death thorns purple or red. Maybe add an outline like the thorns have.


(disregard the jacked up pixel quality; had to mod a youtube screenshot. i feel dirty.)