Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: Cocheese on May 14, 2020, 05:37:32 pm

Title: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Cocheese on May 14, 2020, 05:37:32 pm

I was wondering if you guys could give me any critique/advice on a scene/room from a project I'm making.
The character sprite uses the one from Yume Nikki as a base to give credit where it belongs. (horribly unoriginal, I know.)

I feel like I've refined it to the point that my limited knowledge can take me for now but I still can't help but feel like something is "missing," or "off" about it, so I apologize for the lack of a specific question.


Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Chonky Pixel on May 15, 2020, 08:28:07 am
This is looking good! I like the style.

There are a few things I'd like to suggest to get rid of some of the 'offness'.

The clock. Normally a clock face is flat and the surrounding frame is bevelled. The way you've shaded the bottom-right of the clock face makes it look like the face is rounded. If something's flat, I think it's often a good idea to keep it the same shade throughout (except for reflections like you have on the floor, or shadows where appropriate, of course.)

The panels. The top ones are casting a shadow over the next ones down, and so on. So looking at those, I think the top ones should be sticking out further into the room. However, the shadows on the sides are all the same, so that makes them all seem to be the same distance from the wall. This dissonance feels a little off to me.

The bed looks like it's floating. The reflection probably needs to be handled differently, I'll get back to you on that one.

The other furniture in the room doesn't reflect.

As a matter of taste, I'd prefer if the crossed window reflection was anti-aliased, or if it was straight on. But that really is a taste thing.

The character has a dark outline and a shadow. Everything else has light outlines and reflections.

These should all be easy things to experiment with, to see if you can make it feel more cohesive.


If you want to make reflections part of the style, chat to whoever is developing this (or if that's you, chat to yourself) about how they'll need to be implemented and if that impacts on what's possible in the artistic style.
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Chonky Pixel on May 15, 2020, 10:14:31 am
Here's a tutorial for making reflections in Photoshop. You should be able to adapt the techniques to pixel art, just using good ol' elbow grease instead of Photoshop tools.


Hopefully it gets across why the reflection isn't working. The bed is a more complex shape than a coke can though.


Let me know if you want me to attempt that reflection for you.

One other thing I notice is that the only obvious light source comes from the right, but the shadows also go TO the right. The clock in particular looks pasted-on, and the panels also seem out of place.
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Cocheese on May 16, 2020, 08:13:34 pm
First off, thank you so much for giving such an in-depth critique! Your explanations were crystal-clear and devoid of any jargon, which from a beginner's perspective is super appreciated.

Anyways, I tried to give the room another crack with your advice in mind.
I feel like the biggest difficulty I'm running into now is balancing my global light source (which, in theory is supposed to be in the upper-left) and local one (the window), leaving the panel's/television's shadows in particular very jarring. I've experimented a lot with those and not really gotten anything satisfying so far. I'm quite inexperienced so if this is more of an art fundamentals thing and less pixel-specific don't be afraid to tell me! I don't want to be wasting anyone's time demanding them to instruct me on basic artistic principles.


I think I understand the reflection business, minus the television, but if they're super off and i'm just unaware here's a sprite of the bed for ease of editing.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: eishiya on May 16, 2020, 11:52:19 pm
Your reflection of the doors is pretty good, the reflection is seen from "below" since we're looking at the scene from above. The monitor near the bed also seems to get this right. However, the bed and bin are completely off - we should not be seeing the top of the bin and the top of the bed in the reflection, because those surfaces are facing away from the floor.

Unfortunately there's no shortcut to this kind of thing, you will have to draw versions of these sprites seen from below.

Think of the reflection as an upside-down copy of your environment that we're looking into, with the floor serving as the window.
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Chonky Pixel on May 17, 2020, 06:38:03 am
Thanks, I was struggling to find the words to describe the issue with reflections!

With the bed, you wouldn't see the sheets, pillow, etc. However, every pixel that represents something touching the floor should have pixels of reflection below it.

With the bin, this cup might help as a reference:


The reflection of the base needs to curve back up to touch the base of the original. The reflection shouldn't show the open top of the container.

I guess... Imagine you've got two bins. Glue their bases together, then draw that resulting shape from the angle you need? There's no orientation where you'll be able to see into the top of both bins.

You might want to experiment with fading out your reflections as they get further away from the original. It means fewer pixels getting in the way, less to think about, and it can look good overall. Up to you though, doing gradients in pixel art can also take a lot of work and look a bit shonky... And the use of a tool is frowned upon by some. ;)
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Chonky Pixel on May 17, 2020, 07:50:16 pm

Just a couple of very roughly sketched quick ideas. The two reflections in question and an alternative way of rendering that clock.

Hopefully this makes it clear what the reflections need. Also, the clock face was uneven and looked to me like it had jaggies. I tried to even it up, then apply some shading to the bevelled parts.

I hope it's helpful.
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: eishiya on May 17, 2020, 09:43:15 pm
Building on Chonky's excellent edit, some more reflection stuff:
Notice how the distance between any given reflected feature to the floor is the same as the distance of the corresponding real feature to the floor. This means the reflected door shouldn't be so tall, and the panels on the wall should be higher in the image, closer to the floor-wall boundary. I also added in the clock just to illustrate this some more. Overall, I agree with Chonky's suggestion to fade the reflections out away from where the floor and reflected object meet, as it leads to a tidier, less noisy scene, but wanted to include these reflections to illustrate how they work. I also tossed in a quick reflection for the TV stand in the foreground.
Title: Re: Feedback on Beginner RPG Assets
Post by: Chonky Pixel on May 18, 2020, 08:35:31 am
Well spotted, Eishiya. I completely missed that.

Cocheese, when I was working with the image, I noticed a lot of very similar shades. Can I ask you to provide a dump of your palette (some software lets you export it as an image for example)? Also, how are you handling the lighting effect from the window? Are you lightening the area pixel-by-pixel or are you using a transparent layer?