Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: ronaldaam on May 07, 2021, 08:11:12 am

Title: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: ronaldaam on May 07, 2021, 08:11:12 am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQh5FOrTTJA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQh5FOrTTJA)


I created this character to be a swordsman dancer that entertains the king by dancing while slicing fruit and objects thrown at him with his sword.  That idea is pretty elaborate for my skill level at animation, so before I attempt it, I wanted to get some feedback on the character in general.  Particularly, if you have animation skills, do you think he's too hi-res for animation?  Any feedback is appreciated.  Thanks!

Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: cels on May 07, 2021, 09:30:20 am
It's definitely not impossible but it's probably way too ambitious if this is your first time animating dance. Both in size and detail. I would probably start with something that was 20-30 pixels tall, just to learn. And looking at your previous marching animation, I think was the same issue. Very ambitious. Better to start simple, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: fskn on May 07, 2021, 01:57:29 pm
Things like big areas of flat colors should be somewhat easy, but you will most likely have problems with finer stuff like fringes.

But: If you're looking for feedback, please post images and animations in formats such as PNG or GIF, and in 1:1, not scaled up. If you do, then it would be easier for people to paint over or redraw your stuff.
Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: SeinRuhe on May 08, 2021, 01:45:34 am
Hi Ronaldaam,

The idea you have in mind may be too elaborate even for seasoned animators, dancing is one of the most complex things to animate, can't imagine adding slicing on top of it, you can try to animate your idea as it is, just clear your weekend schedule because it will take all of it to do so!

Regarding the character, is a bit big for a pixel art animation but the flat shading compensates for this so no need to change size.

My only advice would be to get rid of some small details like the fringes of the clothes and the sash, animating this kind of details takes even more time than animating the body itself.

As Fskn said, we need a .PNG or .GIF without scaling to be able to provide feedback, you can post your images on imgur.com and post them here using the "Insert Image" function.

Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: ronaldaam on May 08, 2021, 02:38:55 am

Thanks everyone for your feedback.  Above is the original image.  I understand why my idea sounds ambitious, but I think back to the classic SNK game Samurai Shodown 4 (or even Street Fighter 3).  Those characters seemed high res and were very lively.  My skill set is not there, but I wanted to aim high and see where I could go.

As far as dancing is concerned, my approach would be pose to pose.  So I just figured make the right poses, then make a few inbetweens.  Fringes and details would be placed last, but I can see that would be a lot of work.

I think the toughest part would be the fruit being sliced, or special effects to make the sword action believable.  Also timing to the music seems challenging, especially for a dance.

My thinking is, where are you going to go if you don't push yourself?  So with that in mind, I am trying to strategize this, to see the most effective way to go about with without taking forever to do.  I don't really want to use stick figures first, because I don't find them to be accurate in terms of the fullness of the actual character.  So right now, it's pose to pose, and inbetweens.


Thanks again for the feedback.

Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: cels on May 08, 2021, 09:08:28 am
As I see it, it's always about judging your own psychology when it comes to this. There's nothing wrong with aiming for the stars if you're prepared that it might involve more work than you thought or that you may not get it quite the way you had imagined. It also depends on what your expectations are - you may be happy to call it done even at a stage where you can still see some flaws.

It sounds like you're determined to go ahead with this, so I think you should just dive in and give it your best shot. As you say, you'll have to learn a lot of things at the same time. But it depends how realistic and fluid you want the animation to be.

Btw, if you right click the imgur picture and copy the URL, you can post it here directly like this:

[ img ] https://i.imgur.com/44lVGLj . png [/ img ]

Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: fskn on May 08, 2021, 01:21:03 pm
So with that in mind, I am trying to strategize this, to see the most effective way to go about with without taking forever to do.
I think rotoscoping would be the easiest way.
You would film yourself doing the dance (placing your camera at a certain distance to get your whole body with the least lens distortion as possible, standing in front of a neutral background), or somebody else doing the dance, then you follow that as a guide.
There are some tutorials out there, like this one:

If instead you wanna do everything by hand, then you could start with a stick figure. Do the whole animation just with sticks and circles (for the hands and head, maybe joints like the shoulders and the elbows), and then after the animation is done you would start adding flat shapes on top of that to flesh your character out. Forget adding finer details at this point, leave that for last. Work with just the bigger shapes. Head, torso, arms and legs.
You could try and separate the limbs in different layers to more easily follow each of their movements. Paint them each in a different color, ignore your actual colors for now. Just be sure to be able to see each limb and the torso separately.
After that is done, then you would go and add another level of detail on top, painting with your actual palette, refining the shapes of the character. And then you could add the chain and fringes and whatnot. But as Sein said, that's gonna take a lot of work... Not just because it will be hard to draw each frame, but because they would move with a little delay in relation to the body. That's called secondary action.

I'm sure you can find animation tutorials about that too.

Btw, if you right click the imgur picture and copy the URL, you can post it here directly like this:
Alternatively, you can click the "..." button on the top right corner of the image and then "Get share links", then copying the "BBCode (Forums)" link.
(dunno how that works if you're on a phone or tablet.)
Title: Re: Swordsman Dancer
Post by: SeinRuhe on May 08, 2021, 07:40:37 pm
Hi Ronaldaam,

As Cels said, it depends on your mental state and judging yourself accurately. There's nothing wrong on aiming to the stats and pushing yourself to the limit as long as you are prepared for the fall in case you miss the target.

The approach of rotoscoping that fskn suggested may be the best approach if your skill level at animation is a bit behind the task. Rotoscope just the body and animate clothes later.

If you really want to go with the method you have in mind, key frames (pose to pose) and then inbetweens is the correct way to go. If a stick figure is not your cup of tea, animate silhouettes first, then add detail.

Animate with the beat tempo of your song in mind and loop the animation.

From a pixel art specific point of view There's an extra reason for me to tell you to get rid of the fringes and sash. Pixel art is not the right media to animate small strings that are so near one from each other, they will end up blending in most frames and end up looking jittery.

From my experience, rotoscoping or using keyframes plus inbetweens, and asuming you will loop the animation after a few seconds you are looking at 2 days of work which is normal.

As you said, Samurai Showdown 4 is made by SNK, and that's why I think you are aiming a bit high in size and complexity even for an excercise. Saying the top animators in Japan worked at SNK is not an stretch.

In any case, it doesn't matter what techinque or path you choose for your project, are willing to give the best advice and critique possible.