Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: Yumipiku on October 20, 2020, 04:14:06 pm

Title: [CC] [WIP] Character sprite feedback
Post by: Yumipiku on October 20, 2020, 04:14:06 pm
Hello :) ! I'm doing some Genshin Impact fan-art and I would like to know what I can improve on this sprite. I tried to keep it simple but I'm not sure about the pose and the contrast/clusters on the clothes.

My sprite:

And here's the character for reference :

Thanks in advance !
Title: Re: [CC] [WIP] Character sprite feedback
Post by: bengo on November 09, 2020, 09:18:11 am

Cute sprite! I've done some modifications-
1) I think you're using too many colors. When I say too many colors what I mean is you have colors that don't really serve a purpose. It's a fairly small amount but I think the palette could be further down-sized. Too many colors that serve a similar value purpose it's just unnecessary. Also, not enough saturation sprinkled in there for my taste.
2) Break the line. With pixel art we're limited to a very small size typically which means we can't make a line thinner than 1px. So in order to give the illusion of an even thinner line you can simply get rid of the outline. At this size it's so small adding an outline can make a shape look fatter than you want it to be. You can also use SelOut (selective outlining). You'll see Boktai use this technique of breaking the line and it works quite well.
3) Give more importance to areas of interest and less important to areas that are secondary. As you can see, most of my color variation is higher up especially on the head and hair. The hair gets 5 colors for instance and there's more detail. The eyes and head have a lot of color too. Meanwhile the legs are practically black except for the addons she has (I've also made the legs skinner like in her original art).
4) Simplify! I think this sums up really what I was doing, it's one of the reasons I changed the bird's palette completely. In art, but especially at small resolutions like this, you want to make sure you simplify and verify the audience knows what it's looking at.

Hope it helps.  :y:

PS This is a bit of a sloppy edit so you may find some small errors (like a pixel sticking out on her pants). I wanted to do enough to get my point across but that was all. Hope to see it finished it looks nice.
Title: Re: [CC] [WIP] Character sprite feedback
Post by: eishiya on November 09, 2020, 03:47:10 pm
While I agree with most of bengo's advice, I feel their edit goes overboard and completely changes the style (and in the case of the bird, changes the design/species), loses some readability, and loses the lovely sense of volume the original had. I think it's a good edit to study, but I think it can be difficult to figure out how to incorporate those changes into one's own work, since it's so different.

To help bridge the gap somewhat, here's a different take that incorporates most of what bengo said to a lesser degree, keeping most of the original style.
It uses more colours (14 instead of 9; original had 18) and keeps the external outlines because I feel they improve readability, but makes some similar changes to the silhouette and adds/corrects some of the same details from the reference that were missing/off-model in the original. Mostly I focused on adding the big details from the ref while getting rid of the small ones that weren't reading well (folds, etc), and removing highlights that weren't important or helping define the forms.
I kept the details and lighting on the legs because I don't think they were clashing with the head at all, the contrast there is much lower. I even added more contrast and I still don't feel it clashes.

The things I "corrected" were the heights of the shoulder pads, and the relative sizes of the boots and gloves. Looks like you struggle with keeping those consistent, OP, so that's something you should try to focus on specifically. I also made their trousers tighter (=legs thinner) to be consistent with the ref.
Title: Re: [CC] [WIP] Character sprite feedback
Post by: bengo on November 09, 2020, 09:15:19 pm
Good edit that retains the style but I would like to clarify why I did what I did in my edit.

The reason I went so extreme with my edit was to showcase the advice I stated below (e.g. breaking the line/not using outline fully though admittedly I could've used more of an outline, using less colors, importance hierarchy and simplifying). Not sure if I fully agree on the readability, of course when you have a black outline it's gonna immediately stick out against mostly anything but, I think the lack of outline while technically "sacrificing" some readability has its own perks (related to a sense of 3dness and the breaking the line principle I stated). An outline around something will definitely make it more readable but I think ultimately it comes down to design.

Changing the bird was just to show how much you could simplify it. Keeping it the same kind of bird is fine too. The colors I chose were to demonstrate how little is really needed. I still don't think the shadow color on the jacket is needed... it's so close in value to the dark "black" outline color which is why I got rid of it in mine. This kinda decision is really up to if you care about palette size (I personally am not a big fan of limited palettes but I do think trying to limit your colors to "only the necessary" can be good practice).

So, when you're talking about volume, you've got light hitting areas where it wouldn't be receiving light (like the legs) assuming the light is coming from above (the hair and the specular on the hair indicates from above). I opted to simplify and stylize to avoid this lighting issue (that shirt in reality wouldn't be that white because it wouldn't get hit by light for the most part) though the other way would be to of course keep it consistent... but since we're at suc ha small size that could be a problem. Personally I think the change from top on the hair, to the the side on the chest and arms, to the other side light on the legs is too major of a difference. I suppose you're still technically showing the volume this way but lighting-wise will be logically confusing.

Ultimately it comes down to when there's errors or when there's design choices. Sometimes it can be a design choice and even an error could be a design choice if it arguably looks better. I felt the design choices I made helped improve the sprite over-all (I don't think the un-logic of the lighting works) or at least helped demonstrate the critiques I gave. It's up to you to decide what you want to do or how you want to tackle this. The critiques I would say you certainly want to do though is make the legs skinner make them less bent, modify the shoulders so they're not awkwardly tilted and make sure the lighting follows one direction. The lighting thing can be quite difficult though, since even in my edit the bird's lighting is slightly different from the girl's but I felt it wasn't drastic enough to be super noticeable and helps the readability of the bird (though who knows, you could probably do top lighting and it'd look fine, it's really close to that as is).