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Topics - Tourist
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Pixel Art / Walk (failure)
« on: December 30, 2014, 08:44:22 pm »

Lesson learned:  Mocap data is rather boring.  Also, if you don't include the toes, the walk looks clumsy.  I guess I have to actually learn this animation stuff instead of taking shortcuts.

Image is mocap on a Poser skeleton figure, colored lines and head added by me.  The bobbing head is just a copy-paste thing that I didn't bother to edit out.


General Discussion / Portrait generator
« on: January 27, 2013, 07:27:40 pm »
I found a random portrait generator today on a different forum.  It produces things like this:

Here's the link to the forum thread describing it and a download as well.

It raises an interesting question of just how different faces have to be before one's brain decides that the portrait is a different person.  Anyone use or develop something like this in their pixel art?  I know I've seen a couple of doll makers around the web.


General Discussion / More fun with colors (a failure I think)
« on: August 17, 2011, 05:48:18 pm »
I had an idea, I don't think it worked out.  I post this so that others may benefit from my failure.

The idea:
1) Start with a spread of hues.
2) Use a non-linear spread of values, weighted towards the lighter colors.
3) Adjust the set of values of each hue based on how light or dark a saturated color of that hue is (yellows are lighter than blues, so bump up all the yellow values).
4) For each hue, build a small set of colors, with each value step and a few steps in saturation.
5) Organize as a web of ramps, shifting hues each step.

The result is a bunch of 5 and 6 color ramps, which are sort of unified.  But ...

Doesn't support ramps of different sizes that well.
The blue and purple hues aren't working very well, probably one too many orange hues.
The darkest colors are suitable for outlines, but not much else.
Too many light, desaturated colors, I think.  Not enough of the strong mid-tones.  Rescaling the saturation means possibly breaking some of the ramps.  Add another level of saturation?  Don't really know what to do here.

Perhaps a less even spread of hues across different saturation?  By which I mean, the desaturated colors for several different hues are very close to each other. Instead of spokes on a wheel, perhaps it should spread from a few desaturated hues, to a greater number of saturated ones?

I was hoping to represent moderately saturated hues, earth tones, skin tones, and shadow colors.  This was not successful.  Hopefully others can benefit from my experiment.


Pixel Art / [WIP] Bloodlines demake
« on: April 21, 2011, 05:37:40 am »

Someone on another forum mentioned that a lot of modern 3d games would work just as well 2d, and I wanted to try that out.  Here is a WIP of a demake of the Vampire: Bloodlines video game.  It's the apartment that the player can acquire later in the game.

This is the third version.  The first version was large.  After beating myself up trying to approximate the textures I realized that most of the apartment didn't matter.  There's only about half a dozen things to interact with, and I could chop out the kitchen, bathrooms, etc, without affecting the 'game' at all.

The second version is the tiny version at the top of the screen.  This was too small.  The scale of the stairs was all wrong.

The third version is the one in the middle.  Less complete at this point, but it seems like a good balance.  The nearby figure (NPC Heather Poe) is intentionally oversized because it is a more important aspect of the game.  Most of the apartment is just scenery.


1) Explore the 3:4 view instead of 1:2 iso

Overall I like the effect, although it requires a lot of AA work.

2) Explore color spaces, texturing

The second (smaller) version uses colors pulled from the Munsell set, with some interpolation  They look pretty good.  For the third version I used the IPT color space, although some of the placeholder colors are from the smaller image.  This mix contributes to the high color count.  It should probably be closer to 100 at this point.  Overall, I like the IPT color space, but need more practice with textures.

3) Draw a larger portrait than I usually work with

This is the second version of the portrait.  The first was drawn from reference and looked rather bad.  Overall, good enough for a first draft (even though it's a second draft).

4) Design a UI

Didn't get very far on this yet, just some scratchpad doodles on the right hand side.  Incomplete.

Things left to do:

Let's just say a lot.

Lessons learned so far

If I was doing this for a real game, the first thing I would do is build a level editor.  The second thing I would do is create the bitmap font(s).

Also learned that this game is rather poorly designed.  Too many objects that are utterly useless, like the entire kitchen.

I keep getting bogged down in the fine details, which slows progress.  Pushing the boundaries of my current skills is also slow.  If I had to design all of the furniture and characters and whatnot, it would be even slower.

Feedback welcome,

General Discussion / Munsell data
« on: March 30, 2011, 06:06:51 pm »
I downloaded a copy of the Munsell color charts ( and converted them to RGB.  Similar to here: if you want to look at doing it yourself.  I didn't follow his exact steps, but the results should be similar.

The problem is that instead of a nice simple palette, the data set has over 4000 entries.  Filtering the data to those that fit in RGB space and even removing the very darkest colors (<10% luminance), the set still has about 1500 or so.  Assuming I did the math right.  It's still too large, all of the software I have only handles palettes of 256 colors at a time.

So, I'm not quite sure what to do next.  Any suggestions?  Anyone want to see the data plotted in some images?


edit: Found a free pre-computed set here:   Although they use illuminant C instead of d65.

Pixel Art / Apple Thief (experimenting with colors)
« on: February 02, 2011, 01:52:08 am »
A couple of experiments in colors.  The art is not a finished work, but complete enough to ponder the techniques, I think.

Instead of a color ramp, I tried a color wedge.  Started with a triangle, with corners marked light, dark, and saturation.  Used three different hues, and blended.  The result is a set of colors that can be sliced in several different ways and the whole set remains harmonious.  I think this approach has promise. 

There are still some limitations:
* The short ramps make AA is difficult
* Integrating different wedges into a whole
* Separating light/dark/saturation prevents colors that are both dark and saturated, or both light and saturated.

This is a dithering experiment.  A set of 8 grays dithered with a set of hues + saturation.  Expanded the previous image to 2x and changed each 2x pixel into a 50/50 dither gray scale and hue.  The box shapes could be smoothed.  Also, the color set really needs a brown.

This came from trying to use colored pencils on graph paper to make some offline pixel art.  That didn't work out so well, so I wondered what would happen with dithering.  I can't say I like the results, but maybe someone can find it useful, even as an example of what doesn't really work.


Pixel Art / Stalling out on character design
« on: August 28, 2010, 12:57:48 am »
My creativity is stalling out on a character design.  Suggestions are welcome.

This is potentially for a game.  The setting is a forest world, where the character will be climbing giant trees and gliding around on the parachute/flying squirrel wings.  The wings attach at forearm, lower leg, and down the spine.

The image is a bit of a quick sketch at this point, much of the figure is incomplete.  Pixels on top of a 3d rendered figure, with much of it reworked or added in post-render.  The pose is dull because I wanted to work on the outfit.

I've been looking at this since yesterday and the figure just bores the hell out of me.  Add in a pocket or pouch at the waist.  It's still boring.  Adjust the colors once I get a sample mockup of the background.  Zzzzz.  I'm just not sure how to come up with interesting details.

Would you find this character appealing to drive around in an adventure with light platforming elements?
Does it need a third color scheme?  A better hairstyle?
Suggestions on improving the character's design, or general character design tips?


Pixel Art / [wip] Face
« on: May 07, 2010, 10:48:31 pm »
This will be part of a larger piece.  Lots of work left.  I'm starting on the hair next, the skullcap is just a placeholder.

Feedback is welcomed.


General Discussion / The neck-breaker pose
« on: March 06, 2010, 06:29:14 pm »
There's a pose I've seen used by a couple of different artists and I don't understand it.  The figure has a torso and hips facing one way, typically 30-45 degrees to one side, and the head is turned strongly in the opposite direction, almost in profile.  It almost looks like the figure has a snapped neck, although it's within the range of human motion.

Is this an exaggerated attempt at contrapposto or something similar? 


Pixel Art / Character mashup
« on: February 21, 2010, 11:41:36 pm »
There's not much originality in a character mashup, but I need the practice at doing figures. 

C +C welcome.  I don't think I've got the legs correct.  Maybe push the hue shift on the color ramps too?


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