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Messages - cels
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Pixel Art / Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
« on: May 14, 2021, 08:51:10 am »
Hmmm! On a positive note, totally removing the highlights from his hair actually improves readability when viewed at 1X. With only 4 colors, the brighter hair made it a bit more challenging to process the difference between face and hair. Now it's very obvious and you can see it at a glance. Although the smallest portrait now stands out from the others on account of hair brightness.  :lala:

And really, I have to say that removing the deep dark brown wrinkles from the eyes to the cheeks makes him look younger and more healthy to me.

When you have time, I'd love to hear more about what you're planning for the game. Unless it's kind of secret and will be revealed in dramatic fashion. Is there a particular type of game you're emulating, like Golden Axe, or is this something different?

Pixel Art / Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
« on: May 13, 2021, 10:38:41 pm »
Cool, cool! And yeah, you've certainly set the bar high at this size with so few colors! I'm starting to see why you sometimes indulge in spending time working on my larger characters with no color limit. 4 colors can be rough. But you're doing great and I really love the combination of 80's NES graphics with 80's fantasy aesthetic.

Personally, I would not go for a bright single pixel cheek. As you say it makes him look old, reinforcing that skeletal look. However, I totally get what you mean by Frazetta-ish resemblance. The guy loved dramatic lighting with sunken eyes and raised cheekbones. It gives characters more of that predator look. So I get it, even though I would personally dial it down a bit.

The new 32x32 portrait looks fabulous!  :y:

Pixel Art / Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
« on: May 13, 2021, 09:02:33 am »
This looks great! Love the 80's barbarian bangs! I bet he loves to hear the lamentation of women.

I can't really fault it, so it's more about personal preferences. I made some changes and I also accidentally ended up with the same chin butt as SeinRuhe and similar changes to the strands of hair. Tiny edit, I think I changed a total of 8 pixels or something. I felt like those cheeks were a bit too gaunt.  :lol:

I really like SeinRuhe's edit of the smaller 16x16 portrait because I feel that his version looks more healthy and fearsome, whereas the original looks more skeletal by comparison.

I did not perceive any baldness but I do like the readability on SeinRuhe's hair. Depends how raven haired you want this Cimmerian to be, I suppose.

Great to see some progress for this project! Can't wait to see this guy punch warlocks and dragons in the face.

Pixel Art / Re: Some characters
« on: May 10, 2021, 11:27:12 pm »
Definitely not pedantic, I'm just happy for all the CC and wary of turning down good advice, because I know the feeling of investing time in CC and then being ignored. And also, I tried to start this project of pixel art world building in 2015 and I quickly gave up because I realized I didn't have the skills yet, so I'm really thankful for the help to continue.

In 2015, I burned out and lost interesting PA for a while. Partially because of my own issues and partially because I felt like there was too much apathy in the community (being more apathetic myself probably contributed). Started pixelling again during the pandemic and now I can continue the project in 2021. I think I'd have been fairly pleased with my latest work if I could see it in 2015. And I'm only just getting started, hopefully. But there's no way I'd get to this level without heaps of CC and many edits.

(Some of these skirts / dresses don't make any physical sense at the moment, in terms of how the fabric folds, but I'm already on the case.)

Thanks for the tips, recommendations and edits. I like many of the things you did and tomorrow I'll get back to work and update some of my designs.

EDIT: Will work on improvements later. Just posting the character I did this morning while having coffee. Hoping to crank out one per day and I'll stop at 120 characters. Reference HERE.


Thanks for the crits, fskn!
- Tried to improve the lower arm of the mason.
- Tried to find a compromise with the ginger lady's hair, also worked on her clothes and her arm. I don't want her hair to look like tentacles or thick braids but I think I do like something in between.
- I bit the bullet and added another colour for the hair. Maybe it's a bit too yellow. After looking at your improved versions, I looked at a bunch of references (should have started there) of shiny blonde hair and I feel like I have a better grip on it. When it's super shiny, hair looks almost like metal (which is also shiny, so why didn't I think of that?) and tends to reflect most light at its most concave rather than its convex parts. But I don't know if I managed to get that across. Maybe there aren't enough pixels to get it 100% right.
- Your edit of the archer's hand was absolutely Michelangelo's Adam level pixel art. Really amazing and I tried to recreate it without copying it. Good point about holding the longbow, I realize that I should have been looking at how archers in real life fire their bows instead of simply looking at that statue. And I do like the look of the partially transparent bow string but I'm not sure it fits with the style. On the other hand, maybe it looks daft to have no string. I'll have to think about this. I also looked at a lot of slow motion video of longbows (and recurve bows) and I didn't see any examples of super dynamic bow strings upon release. I think your version looks good and intuitive but I'm not sure I want to exaggerate that much. Choices, choices. I also updated the bow quiver. Nice detail of having one grounded arrow not totally vertical.

Pixel Art / Re: Some characters
« on: May 10, 2021, 10:17:09 am »
Phew! Ok, here we go! First of all, thanks to all three of you for continuing to educate me. Frankly, I feel more and more like I just need to go do my homework. In short, I'm very humbled, motivated, encouraged and happy with your replies. As always, I hope I can return the favour in the near future, somehow.

@fskn: How do you recommend I go on learning more about anatomy after watching some videos? Should I just devote x hours every week to drawing skeletons and muscles from those 3D models and trying to copy? Thanks for the links, btw, those are extremely valuable to me.

@SeinRuhe: I'm not surprised to hear that big studios and programmers treat artists better than regular people as customers. It's the same thing with construction workers, carpenters, etc, I believe. Professionals know what to expect, regular people have unrealistic expectations. Great to hear that you've improved your life with pixel art, that sounds amazing! Although to be fair, it's thanks to people like you that I'll never be able to be a pixel artist.  >:( I live in Norway, there's no way I can compete with your prices or skills. I do have some family in Venezuela though, so I could move there and become a professional pixel artist. And emigrate to Colombia if things don't work out.  :-\ So what is your long term goal of doing what you love for yourself? Patreon? Making your own games? Muumuu on Onlyfans? Kickstarter?

@SeDiceBisonte: Thanks for the feedback and suggestions! I won't go into detail about every decision but I do like the look of her knife as a diagonal. If I put on my pretentious artsy thinking cap, I would say that her left side (seen from our view) demonstrates stability, being rooted and building a home, while her right side now looks more dynamic, with a diagonal dagger at the ready, a flowing skirt and flowing hair. A turbulent, violent past. Definitely some interesting symbolism going on, I think. :lol:

Note that nothing is final and please explain if something is wrong due to me missing an important point (as opposed to choosing a deliberate direction)

Let me see if I can comment on all the changes:
- Tried to fix the hand of the sledgehammer lady now that I finally understood your point, fskn. I can be a bit slow sometimes.
- Tried to make my own version of the stonemason with a bucket, although I'm not sure I succeeded. I didn't want to simply copy-paste so I tried to do it a different way and I may have introduced some new problems in the process.
- Tried to improve the drinking redhead a bit. Which is to say, I tried to improve her a lot but I didn't know where to go. I do want to keep her heroic proportions (keeping the head small) and keep her fairly straight rather than leaning back and taking huge chugs. Maybe I'm just rationalising my umbrella-tendencies, I don't know. I'll make up for that by trying some more dynamic poses in the future. I understand that the reference's hips may be positioned slightly different to how I pictured them but I'm not sure if that has a big impact that I'm missing, unless I choose to exaggerate that.
- Tried to make the mother a super saiyan with shiny blonde hair although I'm not sure the color or reflections really accomplished that.
- Changed the baby's shape.
- Kept the plain face on the baby and the mother because I'm still trying to be minimalistic and avoid my personal uncanny valley of pixel art. I do admit that your details on nose and mouth look good tho.
- Made changes to the brown coat and dress. Tried to find a good compromise for the legs based on fskn's visual explanations (thank you x 1000!!) and Bisonte's version.

In regards to the mother and baby and our different interpretations, I definitely see where you're coming from and at this point it's kind of like the visual illusions where I can see different things. I wonder if practicing more anatomy, gesture and fabrics will make this easier for me in the future. When I copied the silhouette of your sketches, fksn, and shrunk them down, it also gave me a better understanding of what I'm doing with all these characters. I seem to be making all my people wider and chunkier than intended. Their limbs are too thick, their shoulders too wide, their hips too wide, heads too big, etc. Not sure if this is a personal misperception or just a common consequence of working at a really small scale. After all, a lot of miniatures and pixel art sprites tend to have the same problem. It's just annoying that I started out wanting to emulate Flashback and I'm moving more towards Super Mario.

Again, thanks a million and a special thanks to you for the really comprehensive visual explanations, fskn! Very motivating and insightful, even if my amended versions rarely seem to reflect that.

Also, next project. This archer dude who is inexplicably wearing a helmet that obscures vision simply because it looks cool. I may change the helmet, reluctantly.

Trying to use more dynamic poses. You may recognize the statue by Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl

Pixel Art / Re: Swordsman Dancer
« 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 ] . png [/ img ]

Pixel Art / Re: Some characters
« on: May 08, 2021, 08:52:07 am »
Ok, I think I have to get to the roots of the problem, which again seem to be anatomy and gesture.

I really appreciate the edits, they are really helpful for me to rewire my brain. And I think before I spend any time thinking about how to improve the clothing, the belt or the hair on these two examples (and those were some really nice details), I have to get a better understanding of the skeleton and how to read these references.

Example 1: The mother and baby.
Leaving aside the fact that your version is superior in a number of ways on account of fabric shading, hair, baby head, arm volume, etc, there is definitely a discrepancy of how we're reading the reference. Or perhaps we're deviating from the reference in different ways on account of preference, I don't know. But I read the reference as having hips faced squarely towards the camera. Her feet may be slightly to the left or the right, but she's essentially facing towards us and turning her head and torso. I'm not reading fskn's version the same way. I admit my version isn't doing that either, my version seems to be turning away from the baby. To be honest, that's only because I couldn't figure out how to make the feet look good while pointing directly towards us.  :-[

But am I reading the reference wrong or is something else going on? I realize that one shouldn't necessarily imitate the reference 100%, it's more about making the viewer feel the movements as we perceive them (senpai, I'm quoting Glenn Vilppu) but I actually like the static pose of the reference picture. She looks like a statue, she's not going anywhere.

Example 2:
I had two references for this, just to be on the safe side. The lady with the sunglasses looks more feminine to me in the way her hips are pivoted and putting weight on one leg. Is that what one would call a contrapposto? However, I'm not seeing much contrapposto in the lady in white. As I read that picture, she's standing in a more masculine way. One leg is vertical, so she probably has more weight there but she still reads as very stable and grounded, not twisting her shoulders or hips to compensate. I don't see much contrapposto when I'm looking at her hips or stomach. She's solid, she's in balance. I don't mean to be vulgar, but she stands almost the way I stand when I'm taking a leak in the woods.

I see that my own version has some flaws in the angle of the feet (and knees), the size and position of the arms and shoulders, but I can't figure out how to fix the shoulders and hips without exaggerating or changing the original gesture in the reference. In this case, I want her to be more of a scary Amazon (and I don't mean Gal Gadot) rather than a pin-up girl. I do take your point about exaggerating poses, and I think it compensates for preconceived ideas in addition to improving readability and making the characters more interesting. So I'm not opposed to exaggerating poses, despite my umbrella fetish. And I do see that the silhouette of my hieroglyph is kind of uninspiring.

I hope I don't come across as too obstinate or obtuse, I'm just trying to maintain my artistic integrity and get my idea across.

By the way, how's life treating you as a professional, SeinRuhe? Is it how you thought it would be? Clients with no artistic appreciation telling you to make lo-res Clint Eastwood games? Do you have some assignments that you love with your heart and soul as well?

PS: Will definitely move on to using pen and paper and/or tablet. Thanks to you guys, I'm more motivated to take these tiny pixel people seriously.
PPS: It seems to be called a waterskin, wineskin or bota bag. The outfit is from Rey in Star Wars episode 7, so I think we can take some liberties without ruining historical accuracy.  ;D

Pixel Art / Re: Some characters
« on: May 07, 2021, 05:43:34 pm »
Thanks! I'm happy you brought that up. I've been staring at that woman for a while and convincing myself that it was ok because her thick hanging sheepskin-jacket would hide her posture underneath. But I guess the head wasn't aligned and the details on the chest weren't aligned. I've tried to make it more clear. Also, thanks for the punny tip about arm length!

And yes, the knight was supposed to have a 'come at me bro', 'are you not entertained', kind of barbarian taunt (for Diablo 2 fans out there) pose. Or at least mildly evocative of that by exposing his chest and holding his shield behind him. But I was working with different references and different ideas so it all got diluted.

Interesting point about the traps by the way. It's something I hadn't considered. The idea was definitely to turn him into something like the Mountain from GoT and I hadn't considered finding a way to illustrate that beyond simply making him... bigger. I guess showing him slightly from the side tends to hide the width of his shoulders too. This operational way of thinking in art is so new to me.

Pixel Art / Re: Swordsman Dancer
« 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.

Pixel Art / Re: Some characters
« on: May 07, 2021, 05:56:36 am »
Thanks, guys!  ;D

As of right now, I go straight to the pixels with a mouse. I do have a laptop with a touch screen and a pen but I don't feel like I know enough about anatomy and gestures to really freehand characters without references. However, it's possible that I would learn more and get better results for my characters if I added this extra step combined with references so maybe it's time to try this.

That's a great illustration, fskn. Definitely next level compared to what I'm doing now. Although I also tried to imitate THIS style of illustration in order to keep the task appropriate for my skill level. Not too much foreshortening or dramatic poses.

So far I've just been going by references and trying to translate that directly to sprites in Aseprite.

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