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Messages - Retronator
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Pixel Art / Re: Sunset background
« on: November 24, 2018, 01:02:51 am »
I like the overall mood of the piece, you're onto something good, but some of the fundamentals like perspective and shading are not correct enough.

The top half of the image looks like a classical view of a sunset, but the way you have the water foam patterns at the same scale across the whole bottom half, it makes that part look like it's in orthographic view (like a top-down RPG). If it's a flat surface as a beach is expected to be and the whole image is in perspective, the patterns need to become smaller and smaller as they go into the distance.

As for lighting, there's no difference between the face of the wave (which should be in shadow, as it's shown) and the part breaking on the beach (which should be lit by the sun). Right now they're both the same shade.

One minor stylistic (and more subjective) thing that bothers me is that the only thing dithered is the sky, while in reality that's the only thing with a smooth gradient and other things (sand, clouds) would be the ones with more texture. It's not wrong, and I'm not saying you can only have dither everywhere or nowhere, it's just the least logical choice of what to dither and what not to in my eyes. When I look at the top quarter of the picture at a glance, it makes the bright orange appear as light clouds over dark red background, which is exactly the opposite of the actual scene.

The patterns and colors are overall very pleasant and well executed, just needs that correct foundation so that the rest can really shine.

Pixel Art / Re: Walk cycle arms cleanup
« on: November 23, 2018, 09:47:28 pm »
I agree with what was written, but I think the paintover can demonstrate it better. It's not enough that the head bobs, the whole body bobs. I've exaggerated everything to make the point more clear, although leg keyframes would have to be redone to incorporate this.

The arm movement itself I think it's actually quite fine, smooth, with a nice swing to it. The problem is much more in the legs. Your frame 1 and 5 were the same and the rest of keyframes are not combined correctly. When legs are in the inverted V shape they should be mostly straight and as far apart as possible. After that the feet should come closer. In your case the leg farthest back is not when it's on the ground, but one frame after when it's already up in the air. I can only see that happening while running since you have some time when you're completely in the air. Just look up some walking references to study keyframes more closely.

EDIT: I offset leg positions by one frame so the arm extremes match leg extremes more closely, but really what it needs is complete reworking of the legs to match up with the pacing of the arms. If they are lively like that, the legs need to pick up some of that pace as well.

Pixel Art / Re: Isometric character walk cycle beginning
« on: September 22, 2018, 08:37:18 am »
You can apply everything from side view, except you have to translate depth according to your isometric projection. What helps me in this case is think of having a light above the character and imagine where the shadow of the foot will be on the ground. Then, draw a line up from the shadow by the amount it would be off the floor in side view. You can apply this for any joint on the body (knee etc) to figure out where it needs to appear in this projection.

Another way to do this translation is to place side-view keyframes directly into your scene (copy-paste), and then use skew transform to place it in side view in isometric. Imagine this is a slice going down the middle of the character. Then, instead of going floor up, you extrude joints left and right from this middle slice, following isometric projection (so the lines will go diagonally down-right, and up-left). You need to do this for all joints that are not in the middle plane (hips, knees, foot, shoulder, arm). Spine and head joints remain in the center. Do this for all the frames of animation (just drawing lines between joints) and you should have a proper skeleton base in isometric.

Pixel Art / Re: isometric room project + color palette, help!
« on: September 20, 2018, 10:22:33 pm »
One thing I want to mention are the creases in the middle of the bed. Since they are folds of the sheets, there should be highlights on the side towards the window. Every fold (or bump) like that will have one side lighter, the other dark (very subtle shades though). Now that the color is only dark, that more implies a crease (a hole), like cracked wood.

And to be consistent with the source of light (assuming the window), the bottom and right edge of the sheet on the bed shouldn't have highlights, but the top and left should. Although that's not a hard rule because it's also down to art style. You can do equally dark outlines, or equally dark outer outlines (but not inner), properly shaded outlines (but darker than local color), no outlines etc. So defining your light source and art style should clear some of the confusion when deciding on outline colors.

General Discussion / Re: Posting pixel art and animation to instagram
« on: September 17, 2018, 10:02:20 pm »
Scale it up big over 1000px like Kiana said and I don't even think it matters exactly how much. You do the same for animations in Photoshop, but instead of exporting them as GIF, you render to video (at the huge 1000px+ size). Personally I haven't had problems with this approach.

One extra thing to know with all this is: when a person browses posts on Instagram, they take a 1 sec look, flick to the next image, 1 sec look, flick If something catches their attention you might get 3 or 5 seconds of their time. While you might care about perfectly sharp pixels, I guarantee you, nobody else does, including pixel art aficionados (I'm extrapolating a bit here, but you get the point). It used to be different in the early days of phones, but now with high density displays, it really isn't a big deal. The problem is only when beginners post native or barely upscaled sprites and they get upscaled by the platforms into a blurry mess.

Pixel Art / Re: help
« on: September 12, 2018, 09:57:17 am »
That is still so vague.

Anyway, I'm writing a study guide (it's a draft for now) and it has many sections on how to learn and improve:

- Study plan
- Learning
- Improving
- Reflection

I hope it helps you get started and when you have some more specific questions, maybe we can also help with something more specific.

Pixel Art / Re: help
« on: September 12, 2018, 09:19:08 am »
You seem to be doing quite fine. Can you be a bit more specific what you're struggling with?

The boat and horse look lovely, but without knowing what your goal was, it's hard to say what you should do to improve (anything I would say would go towards a specific art style of my choice, but is not my idea to influence your direction). Isometric piece looks good too, although I'm not sure if you literally copied one of their pieces or just did something on your own in their style.

So in general:
1. know what you want to draw
2. try and draw it
3. see where the end result deviates from what you wanted to draw
4. find internet resource for those specific problems
5. apply the new knowledge on your next work

That's my approach to improving anyway. Sometimes there's also step 1.5 (similar to #4) where I look for tutorials in advance if I'm not sure about the process.

Pixel Art / Re: isometric room project + color pallette
« on: September 12, 2018, 08:58:36 am »
My (draft) article about Lineart includes a section on isometric. Scroll down to 2.4.4 Construction for a general overview of this approach to drawing and then 2.4.5 Isometric projection is what you're mostly looking for. Lots of great content linked to from that section.

Pixel Art / Re: help with steel walkway and stairs
« on: September 11, 2018, 11:04:11 pm »
Here's a repaint, without looking at any references (which is what I would usually do if I were starting from scratch and just copy how these things look in real life). So my focus here was just to fix perspective/construction. Let me preface that I'm not really happy with the result, but it might point you in the right direction.

(click on the images to zoom in)

Things I fixed:
  • You had some weird transparency on the platforms. I removed that and cleaned it up to just 3 shades.
  • The platform going left-right in the back was just a rotated up-down. You can't do that, because the perspective gets wrong. You can only rotate the top (lightest pixels), but then you have to extrude the dark part down, just like it's extruded down on the up-down platform. (Technically you also can't rotate the top if you're going for a 3/4 top-down, but this looks like what I call 1/2 cavalier projection where you start from a completely top-down view and extrude down without foreshortening the height)
  • Stairs usually don't overlap, unless they're very steep, but then they're more of a titled ladder. So I made them next to each other. Also, you only dropped down half a tile, but like you said, the platform is 1 tile high. So the stairs also need to go 1 tile down. So I made them go 2 tiles right, 1 down, and also made them wider so they fill the full tile. Also there's no need for the first step to be on the same level as the platform, so I only made 3 steps that are all between the floor and platform (25, 50, 75% height).
  • A good way to indicate height is if things throw cast shadows. So I made the whole floor under the platform and stairs darker.
  • In general I toned down (less contrast) in the floor/wall tiles because they were being very noisy (high frequency detail) and stealing attention. I also made platform darker because it felt to fit into the scene better. This might have lost a bit of readability so might not be the best.
  • I added the railing and used different offsets for stairs and top railing so they don't blend together. Adding more items behind the railing (boxes, etc) will also help read the railing better. The top railing also has a highlight of 1 shade lighter to make it stand out and guide the player.

Like I said, it's far from good looking, but I tried to just fix the existing assets without starting from scratch.

General Discussion / Re: background sizes and time to finish
« on: September 11, 2018, 11:59:21 am »
Thanks, they are a lot of fun to do. Also relaxing, I watch many TV shows in the long hours this takes to make.

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