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Topics - Phlakes
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Pixel Art Feature Chest / GR#160 - Metroidvania Char - Sprite Process
« on: October 19, 2013, 03:43:31 am »

I'm starting to help overhaul the art on a Metroidvania project and my first task was the player character, pretty simple stuff I guess. The palette is still super tentative but people and animals have always been my weak point, so I could use some help with the anatomy errors I can't recognize and all that business. The only thing I'm really happy with is the left (character's right) leg

Pixel Art / Large crystals
« on: September 29, 2013, 03:44:33 am »
I'm in the middle of remaking the crystal cruiser from FTL (see this thread), using Facet's ever useful post as a very close reference, and I feel like I'm really starting to lose some definition in favor of lots of detail, but even the details don't seem to come across right. I have no idea what I'm actually doing, just putting down whatever I feel like and seeing if it works, is there some kind of logic I could be following to get the forms to read better at this size and have more natural reflections on the inside?

General Discussion / FTL Remastered
« on: September 26, 2013, 06:10:17 pm »
This is something I've been doing for fun since I got the game from the Humble Bundle.

It was always on my radar since everyone I know liked it, and I knew it used pixels, but seeing it up close I realized a lot of it was pretty ugly so I figured I might try to do something about that (it turns out it's really easy to mod, just unpack - edit - repack). Still not very far, especially considering the ass loads of ships I'll have to do, but it's playable. Right now I'm kind of stuck on what to do with the UI.

General Discussion / 256 cubes, 6 colors, a year of pixel art
« on: September 05, 2013, 03:38:40 pm »
This year I'm in a really open ended class over the fundamentals of art, and considering this is the only static visual art I can do well I knew I'd work it in somehow. I did some pixels physically with squares of paper a while ago but that was a little boring, so I figured I'd take advantage of this and be a little more ambitious.

So here's what I'm thinking of doing- I'll (somehow) get 256 wooden cubes (which fills 16x16) and paint each side a certain color. These will be out in a public exhibition space, and over the year, maybe every week, I'll doodle things until I'm happy with one, probably focusing on the really important parts of pixel theory, go out and make that for display, and then work on one for the next week. Maybe I'll even encourage people to work with it themselves since it'll be made to be modular.

But since I'm nowhere near an expert there are still a few things I need to figure out, including (and some of these are partly/mostly rhetorical)-

-How do I choose the most versatile six colors possible?
-What would best represent the basics of pixel theory?
(as an aside, I just realized that I can use negative space between cubes as a seventh color)
-Where do I find 256 wooden cubes?
-How do the relationships between pixels change when viewed so close and slightly separated? Would antialiasing still work if I can't imply shapes as easily?
-Are certain kinds of art (abstract vs. realistic vs. design oriented vs. object oriented, etc.) better suited to these limitations?
-Are there ways I can take advantage of how I won't be restrained (rotating the grid 45 degrees, varying spacing between cubes)?

I'm rambling a bit but there are a lot of possibilities here, it might be interesting to see how everything we talk about holds up when you stretch the medium.

EDIT: I didn't really get into this much but the "point" of this would be how the cubes are always the same cubes with the same colors all the way through, but they can be used by anyone to make an infinite amount of anything. It's a little pretentious but it works as message of community/universality and all that, and it really hits the nail of simplicity in pixel art right on the head. I'd probably keep a blog or whatever and have people email pictures of what they do, that could make for a pretty decent project by the end of the year.

Pixel Art / A guy shooting
« on: July 08, 2013, 06:27:48 pm »

I just started my first paid work after putting it off for years (now I really need the money), but inevitably ran into the obstacle of sucking at drawing people, a terrible condition I've lived with my whole life. So this is more about the figure than the animation. The pose is okay and most of the body isn't terrible, but the real problem is the head and trying to fit some kind of recognizable face shape in an area that small, rather than a fleshy blob with half a coconut on top of it.

It's supposed to be an RPG perspective although I'm definitely cheating in favor of a side view, but with relatively realistic proportions a more accurate 3/4 view looks pretty goofy (long arms and stumpy legs) so it's an acceptable sacrifice. Plus it looks fine in action.

Pixel Art / A Loosely 8 Bit Title Screen
« on: May 18, 2013, 09:45:36 pm »
This is for a retro shooter, I'm sort of following NES restrictions (resolution, 4 colors+transparency, and the palette of course) but not worrying about tiles and scanlines and all that business. And I've probably cheated with the colors in a lot of places. But still-

I'm terrible with perspective so I'm happy that this turned out not terrible on the first pass. I'm also really liking how much green-blue is going on and the framing that the silhouettes give (although I might add some clouds to complete the frame instead of having that open area), but I figured some input would help before I get into the details.

General Discussion / The Pixel Wiki
« on: January 27, 2013, 11:00:31 pm »
I was looking through the Ramblethread, and anyone who was in there four years probably doesn't but might remember the idea of a pixel art wiki for consolidating all the kinds of things we talk about in critique, which was decided against at the time for several reasons.

But it might be worth it.

As long as I've been around, which isn't as long as a lot of people, there's never been one reliable place to get information. Over the last couple of days/weeks I've seen maybe twenty people try to explain banding on separate occasions in separate places. There are a lot of great tutorials, but none of them have everything, and what they do have is all one perspective.

Basically I think it's about time this happened.

Ideally, it would have two things-

Technical things like the mechanics behind techniques, color theory, and more general knowledge stuff like old console restrictions,


Subjective explanations of techniques and theories, preferably with multiple perspectives. Naturally, and this is what this forum is built on, the best way to learn is by getting a lot of varied and unique input.

So on the hypothetical dithering page you'd have-


This is the definition of dithering and other things about it.

Sub Header

Person 1: Here are some things about dithering I've learned.

Person 2: This is how I use dithering to buffer shades.

Person 3: This is how I dither to add texture.

And so on.

This thread posted itself early so I'll edit in the rest of what was meant to be here.

(And that's done)

As far as running it, what could work-

-Having two different types of contributors, public editors who can do all the typical wiki things, and pre-approved VIPs who would be the source of the detailed explanation. As far as what it would take to be one of them, I couldn't say, but it would definitely try to avoid being too exclusive.

-Wikia gives each wiki a dedicated forum. Being able to discuss articles was one of the big concerns in the Ramblethread, so maybe having a forum thread dedicated to each page (which would be linked to in the page) could take care of that side. What I would even do is have particularly well-written discussion from the thread be put up on the page, and going along with that first point that might be a way for a user to become one of those VIPs.

EDIT: The pages also have their own Talk section that I somehow missed until now, so it can be split into discussion of the page itself in the Talk section and discussion of the content in the forum.

-With relatively strict control over editing and separating the two types of content, moderating should be a pretty easy job of just making sure no one screws with it. At least while it's not too populated.

And there would be the obligatory tutorial dump, less educational pages on certain games, etc.

Pixel Art / Another Tile Thread [Really WIP]
« on: December 29, 2012, 05:32:22 am »
Sorry. This is the first time in years I've been working as a dedicated artist on a project that isn't mine so I'm a little out of  practice in that respect, and this is the first time in even longer that I've needed standard RPG tiles.

So I made some.

The first thing I did, started with number one, tried some variations and then decided to play around with stylization rather than realism. I eventually decided to stick with that path.

Then I made some dirt, which ended up having some awful red/green contrast with the grass, and I seriously half assed the borders.

And then a dirt wall. This is actually version two with the first being even worse.

There are a few more I did, including some sand and more types of grass, but long story short, I decided this was all a good warm up and I should get started on the real tiles.

And now I'm here.

I decided that I might as well embrace the stylization rather than riding in the uncanny valley. This started out with me blocking in shapes to be refined -> realizing I kind of liked the angles from the square brush -> making it all rectangular -> realizing it was too simple and dithering a bit -> adding highlights for more detail and sharper angles.

This is all I have right now, but I'll update the thread as I go along.

Pixel Art / 32x32 with a strange palette
« on: October 05, 2012, 08:06:47 pm »
This one's pretty simple. Just a 32x32 whatever which I'll then make with card stock squares on a base.

The only outstanding thing is that my supplies are very limited. I only have 24 colors to work with that I didn't choose.

And it's pretty much all over the place. The best parts of it are the variety of dark blues and that nice red-yellow ramp, but other than that, it's a bit of an obstacle, especially with such a big gap between the shadows and highlights.

Now, what I make actually doesn't matter, so the main focus of what I do is if it can be represented by that palette.

I started off with a beach at sunset that didn't have anything to to bridge the blue greys and yellows, tried some green mountains that could almost fade into an ugly grey sky, and this morning I actually paid attention to the colors I have and did this-

-zoomed for people like me whose browser blurs when it scales-

-which I'm not a terribly big fan of, especially because of how it doesn't work well zoomed in, which is how it would be viewed once the actual thing is made.

So it would be nice to get some input from you professionals that know a whole lot about palettes, since I've never taken the time to get into it. I usually just wing it and edit.

And again, "standing torch thing at night" is every kind of tentative. I think I'd probably prefer to do something different, but the colors are the main priority. I could even go completely abstract if I wanted.

General Discussion / Looking for a game
« on: August 08, 2012, 03:06:47 am »
It's a long shot to ask here, but a while back I saw some art from a game, found it on the Spriter's Resource and good times were had.

But then I forgot what it was and after a week of searching and asking around I haven't managed to find it again.

It's a fighting game, I'm not sure which system, but it was (obviously) pixel art, and some real sexy art at that. It wasn't one of the main franchises (SF, MvC, KoF, and all those), and it was something that I hadn't heard of before so it's probably relatively obscure, and most likely older, maybe around Genesis times.

I'm pretty sure some of the stages were named after the characters, like "X's Stage", at least at TSR, and were animated, and I think some of them had night versions. One of them was a dark city street with an train that would pass above the ground on an elevated track and shine lights on the buildings, and I think another one was in a jungle or something. And that's pretty much all I can remember.

So if anyone happens to have a guess I'd appreciate that, and I suppose the art itself is something everyone else can appreciate if it's found.

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