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Messages - astraldata
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1
Animation / Re: Flourish Animation
« on: October 22, 2018, 09:02:47 pm »
Almost there!

What might help is if the string had a blur when it is pulled (nearer the arm and hand that pulls), essentially making it look "thicker" just before it pulls the ball down.

The main thing is that the sudden "tension" the cord/string needs doesn't read well enough right before the ball is pulled.

Just emphasize the "tension" right before the ball is pulled, and you'll have probably nailed the motion. The key here is anticipation and the buildup of energy. A quick frame of "thick" followed by a frame of "thin" can do that (but, in this case, the thick is near the hand/arm and the thin is near the ball) -- assuming that makes any sense.

2
Animation / Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle
« on: October 22, 2018, 08:46:59 pm »


I'm not so sure about the character on the left though. His head is one pixel further back relative to the shoulder than the head of the character on the right, and it reads to me like his posture is unusually straight. I've tried pushing his head forward slightly as he walks. Do you think this looks more natural?

The problem with the guy on the left and the guy on the right is that their skulls are different sizes entirely.

The skull should be attached at the base -- right against the spine.
From this, the entire size of the skull should be determined.
The guy on the left's neck is jamming right into the center of his skull.

To be more clear -- if he fell straight down, his spine would jam right through the center of his brain, but also through his tongue and inner jaw. This is not how the spine is supposed to be configured. The back of the skull kind of "sits" or "rests" on the tip of the spine.

The guy on the right looks more natural, though his neck is particularly "thick" with musculature -- or at least that's how it comes across.

3
Pixel Art / Re: Coloring question
« on: October 04, 2018, 06:07:23 pm »
Thank you for the responses! Coloring still hurts my head, I feel like I have such a long way to go... Anyways, for now I will have to practice in traditional art and take a break from pixel art, lol. I live in NC and my computer got fried by the rolling blackouts from the hurricane. (I am writing this on my phone) Everything is gone except what I posted on here ; -; But I will remember the advice even if I can't put it into practice right away.

I'm sorry that happened to you. :(

Not sure if this is the case for you but, chances are, unless your computer was actually submerged _in_ the water, your art might actually still be salvageable on the hard drive. Usually when something fries from a power surge, it's either the power supply itself, network gear, or some small artifacts on the motherboard that fries (things that are closer to the power source). Your hard drive might actually still be fine. If you have it, I'd remove it and hang onto it (just in case) -- It's never a bad idea to revisit your old art, and for future reference, if you can find yourself a method to back it up that works for your personality and habits, you'll be set. I use imgur myself, but I used photobucket at one time too. I still have most of my pixel art across both services because of those various backups online. The working files for them... those might have fallen away to time... but as long as I have the pixels, I can still rebuild those if I need to.

Also, regarding taking a break from pixel art and learning coloring... I won't suggest not trying other mediums, but I do think it's important to point out that pixel art has some unique learning experiences you will not find in any other medium. Every medium teaches a unique skill. Even pencil and paper teaches one how to "be messy" with your art.
If you're struggling with coloring in pixel art, it might be important to mention that pixel art is actually the reason I (personally) learned how to "color" well. Had I gone to any other medium first to learn coloring, I probably would still be learning "how to color" my art.
Clearly, I struggled with coloring too. I was no prodigy. I just wanted to make art that looked presentable.
Many skilled artists might suggest the most important part of coloring is remembering that everything is made out of some kind of material, and that material gets its color-gradient properties (and texture/dithering) based on the surface roughness (or smoothness), the hue, and the ambient (environmental) lighting that happens upon it.
However, if that's hard to wrap your mind around all at once -- I totally get that.
In more practical terms -- "coloring" mainly takes place when hue-shifting your individual colors (as you pick them) to make them match better with the overall look of your image (as you go) -- which is the most important aspect of "color" that there is. If the colors don't match the image, the image fails as a whole and it doesn't matter _what_ colors are used anymore.
A pixel artist rarely has a full palette from the get-go, but they usually do have a small number of colors they stray toward (which really could be considered the "style" aspect of their coloring.) And in pixel art, when you limit yourself to a small number of colors (as pixel artists tend to train themselves to do), you start to "get" what colors will work in one place, and in what places those colors won't -- and the "magic moment" is when you get the "why" those colors will/wont work in those particular pixel placements. Once you understand this "why" aspect, you will totally (at some point) "get" the thing that broke it open for me.
Had I not done pixel art, I wouldn't have realized that the key thing I was missing was that value and hue/saturation only exist to emphasize (or de-emphasize) a color's presence to the viewer's eye/brain on a subconscious level. This key lesson in understanding color in visual design as a whole was probably the moment that broke me into a new level of art understanding.
And I wouldn't have gotten there (quickly or probably ever) without struggling with the colors of pixels that were too fat or too "something" and always wondering exactly "why" they weren't working no matter where I tried placing them to make them look "correct" to me.

I write this because you show a LOT of promise in pixel art -- and because of this, I suspect the same is true of art as a whole for you. Pixels are definitely one thing I think you should not step away from before you've learned all you can from them. It may be just my opinion, but I assure you it isn't biased -- Color selection is one of those things that pixel art is just great at teaching.
The "lessons" work better when you're either reducing the size of detailed things or creating larger things with a (very!) small number of colors that (mostly) vary only slightly (such as in an NES game mockup of an entire screen). By the time you're able to do these "lessons" well, you'll be a master of color in no time. :)

This, again, was pretty long, but I really hope you'll reconsider pixel art if you're seriously wanting to learn color.
You're on the right path to that -- I just think that you may be stepping away a bit too early -- and right before you've cracked it open for yourself. :)

PS:
Doing pixel art on the phone is terrible (I've been in your shoes, being without a computer to pixel on), but studying others' pixels posted on this forum when I couldn't pixel -- and taking and memorizing the advice and feedback given about others' pixels over a long period of time helped me to hit the ground running when I finally got a computer to try my hand at it again. The bits and pieces I picked up along the way really paid off when I sat down to actually do it. I found I had actually internalized much of it by that point, and my art improved by leaps and bounds since the last time I put a pixel on the screen. -- I've found no better forum or place to gain experience with art like that than Pixelation.

Just some food for thought. :)

4
Animation / Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle
« on: October 04, 2018, 04:03:13 pm »
I agree with eishiya on the massive improvement.
Again, I think the (ease-in and ease-out) speeds of the shoulders' movements are more to blame than the movement of the arms and elbows themselves.
Great job though! -- You're definitely getting somewhere with this! :)

This reference has helped me a lot in understanding what actually happens on walking and jogging, and you can vary lots of parameters.
https://www.biomotionlab.ca/demos/
(First demo is html5 walk, last demo is the same in Flash)

That is really cool!

https://www.biomotionlab.ca/html5-bml-walker/

I wish I had this when I started learning how to animate walks!
Being able to rotate it freely is really useful, but without the lines or a character's body in the way, this makes the overall motion easy to understand. :)

5
Animation / Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle
« on: October 03, 2018, 10:16:04 pm »
Regarding the exaggerated thing -- One thing I've learned is that is that exaggerating motion is always a good thing as long as you're in the business of making it "read" better to the audience. To do this, you can do all sorts of unusual and unexpected things -- the only holdback in this is that you follow the laws of physics enough to be convincing in how quickly things move, speedup, or slowdown. Things such as scale and angle (sometimes) can be fudged, but rarely can you fudge angle (especially on keyframes), and never fudge both at the same time. Look into "breaking joints" -- The Animator's Survival Kit (by Richard Williams of Who framed Roger Rabbit fame) teaches a lot about it, and that this can work for "realistic" characters too. I think I bought a copy for 12 bucks on Amazon once. Highly worth the price if you want to know how far you can "push" animation in a realistic way.

Regarding "drag" of the feet -- I really meant let the toes lag behind the foot more in the passing positions.

Regarding the "robot" feel and the shoulder -- Keep in mind that distance (in pixel animation) rarely matters more than actual TIMING of the pixel transitions (and their volume shifts), and in the case of your shoulder, try not to make it thrust the elbow so far forward so quickly (otherwise it makes him kind of look like he's shoving his breast forward with such quick shoulder thrusting). Again -- the number of pixels it moves is actually fine -- it's just how quickly (or gradually) you allow it to transition between those 3 pixels that defines the subtle way it comes across to the viewer.

Regarding the "lean" forward -- I think it's actually fine as-is if he's walking fairly slow like an average person might walk to get something to drink or go to do some other basic task.


Overall -- It's definitely looking really good compared to version 1.0, so keep at it. The major point of pain from my perspective is how the shoulders move (and how they make the hand have to "flop" forward to keep the inertia correct.) That's really all I've got so far. Great job!

6
Animation / Re: Flourish Animation
« on: October 03, 2018, 09:47:18 pm »
Changed the angle of the bounce to be more obtuse.  I also turned the impact green, so it co-opts the string as being partially behind the force.  The remains of the string also fade away between the hands, whereas before it sort of snapped into them.
The magic is a nice touch -- the whole action reads better imo thanks to the varied silhouette of the magic string appearing. It definitely adds to the "anticipation" or "tension" factor in terms of readability. Great call on this one. :)
I think the new angle is a little better, but it really needs to be a lot more obtuse before it hits.
To accomplish this better, you could try taking the ball's path and diverging it a little to (our) left as it is being pulled toward the ground by gravity.
The ricochet looks a lot better though -- it comes across as "superfast" now.

The only other thing is the initial "toss-up" before pulling it down -- this throws the first part of the animation off pretty badly.
The ball kind of looks like it's being pulled (very ineffectively) by one of those "sticky hand" toys (i.e. a thin, stretchy string that could break at any moment and can't even hope to hold the heavy weight of yanking a billard-ball at that speed/tension without snapping) -- This video shows a more effective "sticky hand" tension than your magic string seems to convey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOw0rQo6cPc

It's definitely coming along though -- and if you change nothing else, the angle it hits the ground must be even more obtuse (and must _feel_ natural, like it is legitimately being pulled by something. Spacing your frames is vital here -- and to truly "get this right", you'll absolutely need to hone and then utilize your sense for the natural weight and momentum of the "materials" you're simulating in this animation.

It's advanced stuff, but I really do think you're getting there! -- Keep it up! :)

7
Animation / Re: Flourish Animation
« on: October 02, 2018, 05:47:07 pm »
I want to point out that I have uploaded an animation of this character before :p


The string is magic, but I did realize it just disappears once the ball hit the ground.  I made it get sort of overdrawn and pull back towards the hand once the ball releases.  I still feel like the ball needs one more frame after it hits the ground, but I couldn't come up with anything that looked right or didn't make it seem slower.

Hehe -- I was only kidding! ^__^
The "Imabadass" pose just made him feel so much like Sasuke (to me) with his "I'm too cool to be bothered, but I guess I'll do it and maybe you'll shut up." attitude he clearly exudes prior to the animation. That's not a bad thing though -- just the impression I got. :)


Anyways, regarding the ball --

I think the problem is that it appears to be generating some kind of resistance to the "string" in your new animation before it is suddenly pulled, but that "resistance" just comes out of nowhere. Perhaps you could show the magic "string" attaching itself to the ball somehow (and possibly causing the initial anticipation before the "pull" -- the "resistance" to the pull being from the string "hitting" the ball to attach itself to it -- that you're looking for?)

Regarding the "attack" portion of it --

The "release" of the ball (where the string detaches itself from the ball -- and possibly slaps the ground after the ball takes off into the air) is a key moment to emphasize the impact and strength of the attack that will be flying toward the opponent.

That being said, changing the arc of motion to better match the energy exerted is a good option.

The resulting angle of bounce is too shallow for the direction the ball is flying (in order to maintain its momentum), which is why the ball looks like it is "slowing down" to the eye (even with a small number of frames).
If you want the ball to look convincing, have it hit the ground (from behind the arm) at a more obtuse (open) angle (*before* it bounces) than what it is right now. Currently, the "bounce" angle is too acute (closed/tight) to retain the feeling of a fast-traveling billiard ball.

The number of frames isn't the issue -- it's the angle of bounce and the speed you're trying to reach *after* the bounce that is at odds. Yeah, it works in anime that things seem to move at whatever magical speed the artist wants it to, but it only "works" because the artist keeps the magical movements as close to the action as science allows. It's just that the magical forces anime characters exude sometimes come from otherworldly sources -- and despite how it appears, these forces always stay grounded in physical rules and the angles and the quantities of force/energy used/exerted always remain consistent across the board.

"Magic" is not an exception.

8
Animation / Re: skeleton figure; first attempt on movement
« on: October 02, 2018, 04:58:28 pm »
TL;DR:

Two words -- CANVAS SIZE.


Though, to add on to what @32 said regarding 3 dimensions, it can help a LOT to use less-detailed "volumes" with a basic 2-color approach to form (light/shadow). Adding a color for shading on parts to keep motions (and their 3-dimensional movements) under control and easily-understandable is a solid approach, but there is one caveat with doing this with pixel art: -- the more colors you add, the more tedium you'll add, and this tedium increases exponentially with canvas and subject size, and with the smaller the "surface-area" a single pixel covers.

I know it might sound like blasphemy with me suggesting this on a pixel art forum, but if you are attempting to animate "pixel art" at such a large size/resolution, you would probably be better off using 3d rendering software and manually tweaking the results for the "pixel" look instead. The advantages of this are many -- the rotations will be done for you, and even coloring if you like.

This resolution is much larger than most 2D fighting game sprites, and the number of frames you're going to need to keep the motion convincing and less "jerky" is going to increase proportional to the drawing resolution / canvas size.

The smaller the pixel is you draw with, the less a "pixel" based approach is going to work.

With pixel size becoming smaller -- at a certain point, to get a solid animation done that doesn't look too jerky or janky, the number of frames you're working with is going to have to increase to account for the amount of distance being covered for larger motions.
For the moment, a very small movement -- a slight foot twist -- doesn't look too bad with a small number of frames.
However, upon moving arms or legs around across larger distances over a smaller number of frames (and moving fingers or toes to the correct position without the frames between to suggest the anticipation or recoil from such subtle motions), you will quickly notice that the animation feels to lack a sense of fluidity that gives a sense of "life" to it.

Clearly, animating pixels at this resolution "can" be done, but there is a point when you should ask yourself "is it worth it?" -- This point will come sooner when you get into adding more colors and details (like the toes). It will get tedious -- and for an audience that (in most cases) won't appreciate the effort involved -- you might want to reconsider your approach (or your canvas size!)

See this article for a good explanation of why your audience might not appreciate your love and tedium going into pixels (at this size). Despite the care and attention to detail that went into it, only the learned will really appreciate your effort -- to everyone else, pixel art is "easy" to do. That's why people have such strong feelings about it being used (or not) in games:

http://www.dinofarmgames.com/a-pixel-artist-renounces-pixel-art/


That being said!

Please don't let me discourage you from creating a solid animation though! -- What you have does look workable, and as @32 pointed out, if you had a clearer direction on what you were going for (i.e. with keyframe planning), you likely would still have a solid base for animation.

Now, if you try to add more details and shadows on top of that animation -- this is where things get tricky. And if you're going for SNES-level coloring... and are bold enough to go your own way and try SNES-level coloring -- I suggest you only attempt this AFTER accomplishing the 2-color shading on your animation. If you manage to make it through the tedium though, you will probably have some pixel animation really worth being proud of. :)

9
Animation / Re: Flourish Animation
« on: September 28, 2018, 03:51:59 pm »


Managed to throw this together in about two hours.  Only thing I'm iffy on is how the ball bounces at the end.  I want it to plink off like a billiard ball hitting an edge, but I don't think I quite got it right.  I'm really satisfied with the motion and the coat falling down slowly.

It's SASUKE!! D: D:

Lol -- jk :)


In seriousness though -- for the "plink" billard-ball thing, try shifting the ball in the *opposite* direction slowly first, rather than toward the direction it will be headed to "plink" off the ground.

Also, the ball "blur" should overlap the visible ball a bit more before it "stretches" to the ground (and maybe make that "stretch"/"blur" touch the ground in a single frame before the "bounce" frame to show hit has the kind of "hard-metal-ball-hitting-hard-metal-floor" that it looks like you're going for.

The green "string" you've got going on there should probably appear after the "bounce" (if he's putting it back into his pocket) and should act like a "sling" that released the metal ball and "pops back" a moment (to show the "release" of force) and create some recoil in the "visually-important" part your animation (that is, the act of the ball being released at a supercharged rate of speed into a bounce.) A "floppy" frame or two for the green string isn't a bad idea, as the bouncing of the ball could (and should) likely be happening in 2 frames anyway (which includes the initial release of force following the initial stretch of the green string.)

Again -- after the "plink" bounce, the "plink" blur should be NO MORE than 1 (2 frames MAX) if you want to keep the speed looking consistent (and fast). That third "small" blur frame just acts as a "slowdown" frame, which I really doubt you want.

10
Animation / Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle
« on: September 26, 2018, 09:44:29 pm »
Everything eishiya said -- plus he looks like he's about to fall backwards while walking (like a toy robot).

The arcs aren't bad, but they could be a bit more exaggerated on the arms and the feet could "drag" a little as they're coming forward.

To reduce the "robot" feel, you might want to bring the shoulder back a bit more as it moves back and emphasize a little more "twist" in the hips and shoulders. Right now (leg-wise) it's like he's walking on stilts (i.e. waaay too "vertical" of an action-line), which feeds into the "brisk robot walk" problem.

Once you figure out the side-view, only then should you really aim at the back view. However, at least the back view doesn't read too poorly except for the (our left) arm, and some strange "popping" of the shadow of the (our) right elbow from the back view.

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