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Messages - Chonky Pixel
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Pixel Art / Re: Pixel coloring
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:27:01 am »
I recognise that art. Harveydentmd on Fiverr. One of the few great artists on there IMO.

Pixel Art / Re: Help with clouds and sky
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:05:03 am »
I spent a while looking at different styles of sky and cloud. There are so many directions you can go. These are some conclusions I came to, you may or may not find they work with your style.

My take on it these days is to think of clouds as objects, draw them in roughly, then progressively add detail. Broadly speaking they're collections of spheres or bubbles, but you want to rough up the curves to avoid them looking too bubbly. (Although bubbly clouds can be an artistic choice.)

If you look at a real cloud, it's made partly of sharp edges between areas and partly of soft blends where wisps of vapour blur the edges. Sometimes this happens along the same edge.

I settled on using dithering sparingly to represent the parts where the edge of the cloud becomes fluffy.

There are other ways to think of pixel art clouds. Instead of thinking 3D and using spheres, you could use layers of circles and partial circle shapes in progressive shades, with each layer taking chunks out of the layer of circles before.


3D bubbly clouds with subtle dithering...

Another 3D cloud shape.

A couple of ideas for roughing up the edges and making it less bubbly...

(Apologies for the large images, I can't find the original scale versions right now)

Using circles and partial circle shapes in layers (not mine! this is @tofupixel on Twitter):

For expansive skies and floating islands, my mind naturally moves to Owlboy. The artist here seems to combine both ideas, giving an overall 3D shape made (roughly) of spheres, but roughing up the edges with partial circle shapes in layers.

I would say: don't be afraid of leaving some areas of sky as plain blue. You don't *need* to fill it all in with cloud, unless you really want to.

Finally, I found this video helpful when thinking about palettes.

Pixel Art / Re: How to improve the hair and the rest?
« on: June 26, 2020, 12:01:33 pm »
When it comes to the details, I think you have a very cute look! However I'm getting some cognitive dissonance between the roundness and proportions of the face (signifying a young girl) and the length of the legs (perhaps suggesting someone a bit older). It could just be me, but I would think that a face with more length and angles (like in the reference) would fit the body shape better. I could be way off here though.

Another thing is the eyes. In the reference, they're massive, yes. But emphasis is given to the width. As a result, she looks comfortable with herself. To me at least. The eyes fit, again, with a slightly older look.

In your image, you're emphasizing the height of the eyes. To me this makes her look a bit surprised or startled. Maybe worried.

Pixel Art / Re: How to improve the hair and the rest?
« on: June 26, 2020, 10:47:07 am »
This is normally the point where I repeat something that's been said previously on the board so it sounds like I know what I'm talking about.

So here goes:

Compared to the reference image I don't think you have a very recognisable silhouette. If you look at the reference, you can see:

The two hands are visible and out on their own. You can see the whole shape of the straight leg. The arms are both in the same plane so there's no foreshortening. The hair is separated out into fronds, so looks like hair in motion. Even the snowflake necklace is recognisable.

Here's a rough example. Apologies for the rough edges.

Compare with yours.

In my opinion, the legs are difficult to read, as they overlap so much. Much of the arms are hidden by hair or overlap the body, so I'm confused about where they really are. You don't have a hand-shaped outline for the end of the visible arm, it looks a bit stump-like.

In this situation, I might try to cheat a bit. I have a poseable doll, so I might try using that to create something I think has a stronger outline:

Or there are versions of this kind of thing online, like

I mean, I'm not spending much time on this as it isn't my piece, but with a bit of time and effort I'm sure you could make some great looking poses. Much better than these! :)

Just an idea, anyway. Good luck!

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] Sarah Connor (Terminator 2)
« on: June 24, 2020, 02:09:40 pm »
Just a quick 2c. I'm not a portrait guy really, but a couple of things I noticed:

 - You've given her small nostrils. In the photos her nostrils are a lot more exaggerated. Larger and wider.
 - A common feature of the references is the large lips with the down-turn at the corners. I think you need to make the top lip fuller and curl the bottom lip up into the top lip earlier, to make the bottom lip a bit more narrow and curvy.
 - The lips are one of her defining features, so where you go into the shaded part of the face you could carry on the shape rather than losing definition to the shadow. This could either be by using another shade or by suggesting an outline for a few pixels, to give the viewer something to grasp hold of.

In general terms, she's beautiful but she's been made hard by the horrors of her life. Tighten up the musculature so she looks toned. Change the expression from "worry" to "business-like"

Finally, the hair gives me the impression of being something like dreads, which isn't the right look. Her hair is pretty wispy...

This is all pretty general but I don't have loads of time. Good luck, I believe you're on the right track. :)

Pixel Art / Re: Feedback on a boardgame-based pixel art
« on: June 02, 2020, 09:56:28 am »
"Also, the stairs weren't random, they represent the piece of the board game, you can check it here."

I didn't think they were. I believe I said they were added deliberately.

"But I have a question, the walls are all in a 45 angle, should all of them be the same color?"

If you ignore the kind of gradient effect you originally applied and you ignore shadows, then all walls pointing in the same direction should be the same colour I guess.

"they represent the piece of the board game, you can check it here."

This puts things in a different light. As it were.

What do you want the final work to be or do? Is it a piece of art based on the game, or is it going to be sprites for a game? If the former, then deliberately shading your pieces will work. If it's for the latter then shading by hand will make things really tricky when you want to move pieces around. In that case you could look at the game engine to see if there's a way to get the effect you want. Some will allow lighting effects of different types. Or possibly you could code up similar kind of shading process to the one I described in an earlier comment. That's not my really area though, I haven't had much experience with lighting in game engines.

I echo SeinRuhe's comments about the domes. The originals don't really gel with the image and the edit is a lot better. The palette works better with the walls IMO. What material do you imagine they should be made of? This will help determine the type of shading and texture you need to apply to them.

Pixel Art / Re: Feedback on a boardgame-based pixel art
« on: June 01, 2020, 06:37:46 am »
I thought so.

It's a valid technique. If I were going to use this kind of thing, I would apply it only to the layer with foreground elements and avoid the sky. Depending on your package, you can do things like:

 - use the wand tool in non-contiguous mode to select the sky, move to the gradient layer and delete.
 - after selecting the sky you could invert the selection, create a new layer and create the gradient.

(The first will delete parts of the gradient you don't want, the second will only allow the gradient to be applied to the areas you want.)

I would avoid the sky because the bands of dark blue look unnatural.

All that said, and to quote Eishiya on a nearby thread, "You will almost always get better results by manually choosing your colours instead of trying to blend a particular colour over them."

The main trouble with your image here is that the diagonal bands cut across your flat surfaces. Having two shades together like this gives the impression either of a corner, a shadow, or something recessed (like the stairways you added deliberately.) And they're all in wrong places.

I might experiment with some simple rules like:

 - Start on the left using the brightest shades for each building.
 - As I move right, check: is there a building to the left of the building I'm shading? If so, use a set of shades one value(*) lower than the building on the left.

* By value, I mean a value in the chosen colour palette, not a point on the HSV value slider.

This process may give an effect close to what you want. Or it may have to be adapted to give an overall pleasing colour balance, like by using similar shades for some middle buildings for example. You will have to feel your way around.

If it does end up giving a result you like, you could think about shadows. As the light is coming from the top-left, shadows will follow diagonal lines from the top-left to the bottom-right. Another problem I see with the gradient technique is that it creates things that look like shadows, but make no sense according to the light source. They're going the wrong way. If you carefully apply shadows by hand you can use them to give a lot more depth to the image.

I suppose there's a half-way-house technique where you apply the gradient, then go through image and fix issues. So, if a gradient cuts through a building wall, choose a shade and make the wall a solid colour. Use the tool to give a head-start, then tidy up.

A couple of reasons not to use a gradient in my opinion:

 - It can give a flat-looking palette. If you choose your colours by hand you can, for example, tint your brighter colours towards yellow/orange and your darker colours towards blue/purple. This 'hue shifting' can really bring an image to life if done sensitively. Or blatantly depending on the style of the image. I mean, sometimes you want the palette to be flat, depends on the image.

 - The computer is choosing the HSV of your pixels and the number of shades in your palette. Some people consider this to be breaking the aesthetic of pixel art, a style which could be characterised as "the artist having conscious control over the contents of each pixel."

The Pixel Joint pixel art primer describes this second point well.

In fact, if you submitted this image to the Pixel Joint gallery it would probably be rejected because of obvious use of a gradient tool. (I've had that happen to me.)

Why is this important? Well, depending on the situation it probably isn't. In a game nobody will care if you've used a gradient tool. On the other hand, people tend to strive for a reduced colour count in pixel art. Using too many shades can lead to a messy image, and using fewer shades deliberately can, in my opinion, make things look more like pixel art. And also "better". Either way, I believe it's a very useful skill to be able to shade using a limited palette, so I think it's worth practising and experimenting with.

I hope you find something useful in there, and, if you do try shading by hand, that you find a process that works for you. Let me know if you're interested in me putting my money where my mouth is and trying an edit. :)

Pixel Art / Re: [C+C] Three portraits based on One Piece characters
« on: June 01, 2020, 05:49:15 am »
I think that's a massive improvement to the nose, great work. I did prefer when the hair highlights were more visible, matching the other two portraits.

Pixel Art / Re: Feedback on a boardgame-based pixel art
« on: May 31, 2020, 10:04:34 am »
I like this, there's a cleanness to the lines.

Can you tell me what the theory is behind the diagonal bands of darkness?

Pixel Art / Re: [C+C] Three portraits based on One Piece characters
« on: May 31, 2020, 09:49:46 am »
After a quick look around, I noticed that the tops of Perona's ears were normally in line with, roughly, the top third of her eyes. Unless she was looking upwards. And they were normally a bit longer (taller?) than yours. Yours look just a touch low on her face to me. But like I said, it's not my area.

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