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Messages - Stefano
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2D & 3D / Re: Official Anatomy Thread
« on: April 16, 2011, 01:10:35 am »
Do you know Google Body? I've just discovered it today and found it to be extremely useful (and also extremely free).

I had to update my browser/video drivers in order to see it, though.

Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: After a year I relieved myself.. ';..;'
« on: February 21, 2011, 02:43:25 pm »
This water and clouds suits the rest of the image a lot better, IMO. Very nice progress!!  :y:

I still think it looks a tad too cartooney, though! It's not a bad thing at all if you were aiming for a cuter kind of look.
But I believe you're trying to convey actual death and menace, maybe related to the toxicity (metaphoric or not) of cities.

Maybe the skull needs to be less expressive and fleshy? I did a quick edit to illustrate:

Pixel Art / Re: Greasy?
« on: February 21, 2011, 02:11:40 pm »
Adding to what Mathias said, when you have an uneven, rugged surface (such as clean skin), light will be reflected in varying angles and directions. The visual aspect of the reflection will be fuzzy and distributed, such as we see in velvet, for instance.
On the other hand, on polished or glossy surfaces light bounces on even angles and directions, creating a distinctive area of reflection called specular highlight. The effect is commonly seen on resins, glass, metal and other reflexive materials. If you have oily skin (grease), you eliminate its imperfections, thus creating the clear areas of reflection. It's what you currently have on your piece.

A couple of years ago, Arne has put together a very concise and yet broad tutorial, that covers most aspects of the basics of the classical approach to painting.
Check out the "Light Stuff" and "Materials" sections for some interesting examples!

Try reducing the specular highlights and you'll reduce shininess (and thus greasiness).
Where exactly is your light source?

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] C64 tiles: water and sand.
« on: February 19, 2011, 01:25:04 pm »
Thank you for your help and for the reference, Mathias.
I've been processing your input, reading more, consulting other people's posts and experimenting with (what I felt) could lead me to more personally satisfying and fairly authentic results.
The palette is indeed tricky, but once you start to digest and incorporate its well documented restrictions and advantages, the learning process gets really a pleasing and addictive. Almost like solving a puzzle.

A. Answering to your question, I'm working with no other restrictions, except respecting the original tile sheet positions/quantities.
That alone is difficult enough for me, as it means I can't unify the perspective of tiles and it's driving me crazy. Some tiles end up representing multiple views. It's the case of walls. Due to the lack of perspective and continuous disposition of the brick blocks, I tend to perceive them viewed from above, but then there are windows, indicating it's actually a front view; on top of that there is the furniture suggesting perspective.
The pointy things are, indeed, supposed to be mountains! I don't like them, but I'm having a hard time conciliating the multiple views in order to convincingly portray them. If I addopt the "viewed from above" approach, it looks shallow, as if it was large pool on the ground. If I try to represent "full frontal" height, it works for the cliffs with invisible tops (the ones on the edge of the map), but looks really unconvincing for mountains on the middle of the screen.

The pointy scaily things were my attempt of creating something as symbolic as the brick walls - that would represent it in the logic of the game, without really replicating reality. It makes sense to me, but I'm not that good with abstractions when it comes to visual espatial description and scale.

B.To the next topic: I agree the purple tiles look dull. They are low contrasting if compared to the background tiles, thus pushing them back into the floor plane. I have tried to address address the issue, as you may see below.
The sand was just crap, like I've mentioned, and was completely redone. It look less like typical RPG sand, but the yellow was too prominent against all other colours, lighting it up and pushing it toward the viewer.

C. I think I'm searching for a balance between caricaturized and life-like (part of the "authenticity" I have so boldly mentioned before), but I just feel I'm managing to get mostly unoriginal and generic tiles. I can't blame it all on the palette, though. It's also due to my lack of experience experience, but the solution is keep thinking, pushing pixels around and coming back for more help/different points-of-view.

(I've also updated the tiles set on 1st post)

Not entirely sure if I like it, but it's starting to take shape, at least. Enough over-thinking sh** for today.  :crazy:

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP]C64 tiles: water and sand.
« on: February 10, 2011, 03:21:04 pm »
Thank you very much for your two cents, heyy13!
A fresh set of eyes always help us think outside our own decision loops.

1. Water:
I agree that the bottom left water tiles look the most convincing. But the thing is, they also stand out as the most clichéd (as in: overused in every cheap RPG), don't you think?
To me, the high crests (pointy and shiny at times) add to the feeling of caricatured water, close to what a child would draw if asked to represent water.
The other designs are simply not fun to look at. Their perspective and predominant horizontal lines imply that the observer is close to the surface, contradicting the game perspective. So, yeah, they're crap.

I'm still trying and I did try to come up with something else but it looks like coral sprouting from the ground.  :D
Maybe the pallette limitations won't let me take it further than the results I got?
I guess I'll just have to be patient and resilient to find out.

2. Sand:
Yellow/gray were the only basic colours I've found to be satisfying in the portrayal of sand.
Again, maybe I need to experiment a little bit more, but it seems to me that sand can't use any lower values without looking like dirt or other non-sandy soils.
On my previous attempts, the dunes were just too big and made of too contrasting colours, thus creating too noticeable (highlighted) patterns.
It just wasn't working on the mock-up. Not knowing what else to do, I've decided to keep the yellow/gray base and spread speckles over it (these are WIPs!), as gracefully as I could.
Maybe I'll just settle for plain colors... haven't decided yet.

Any thoughts or good examples??

I'm finding this palette/restrictions to be very interesting and educative in many aspects.

[EDIT] Adding an early mock-up to make the thread less dull.

[EDIT  02.11.11] I'm still updating the image above, as you can see (and the complete tiles sheet link, seen on 1st post).
If you feel like critiquing any other tile, please go right ahead.

Apart from what I already said, I'm still unhappy with my grass, because I think it reads as stubble, but I haven't been able to improve it any further so far.
The trees look blobby and have too many details. Is it affecting its readability? I'll have to work on those some more.

Since this is a remake for an existing game, there's some things I just can't change, like the lack of perspective/outlines on he brick walls tiles.

Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: My game WIP
« on: January 31, 2011, 11:34:45 pm »
Hey, it's quite nice!

My only critiques would be:
1. I think there's too much noise (stray single pixels and unpatterned dither) going on, though. It's as if everything is rugous or spongy.
My tip would be: create less lines/dots of colour (except when the crisp look is required!) and work with more defined and strategically placed areas of colour, dithering with moderation.

2. The calves of your character are too perpendicular to the ground, which makes him look unbalanced, as if he's sitting on something to hold the pose.
Try to crouching in front of a mirror. You'll see your knee will go forward and the calf will necessarily follow it, leaning forward.

Pixel Art / Re: Shading
« on: January 31, 2011, 11:14:39 pm »
I'm also experimenting with the C64 palette and I agree it's pretty restrictive.
But for that very reason, if you're planning to use it, I think you shouldn't take colours so literally (as in photographic transcriptions of colour), but experiment with the available ramps and see which ones best conveys the idea of that material. For that purpose, I've found Ptoing's post to be extremely valuable for learning the basics without exaustive reading/searching through the forums.

For instance (skins and other abstract stuff):

It's a crappy example I did some time ago, just to illustrate.
There are plenty examples around the web and scattered these forums.

Pixel Art / [WIP] C64 tiles: water and sand.
« on: January 30, 2011, 06:04:21 pm »
This is obviously not good, but I can't find new approaches to try, so I've decided to ask for help.
I've looked at both water photos and game tiles. Then I've tried to come up with something of my own, but failed.

I'm using Ptoing's slightly lighter C64 table () and figured less contrasting colours would work better for ground tiles.
Water: 4 best results, 4 tiles each.

Sand: I need 2 types of sand... My best 2 attempts.

Anyone has ideas on how to improve them?

If you feel like taking a look at the rest of the tiles (for curiosity or to critique), please do: HERE.

Pixel Art / Re: SFX Dept. Weapons
« on: January 16, 2010, 10:54:00 am »
I have found some interesting fantasy axes and halberds . I think all your blades are currently too eliptical.

General Discussion / Re: Official Off-Topic Thread
« on: January 13, 2010, 10:55:52 am »
Haha! I do that too (and laugh every time).
Every tried the "Hulk Hogan"? How about the "Katamari damacy" or the "vigilante"?

Funny stuff.

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