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Messages - Johasu
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Pixel Art / Re: Tiles First attempt
« on: November 06, 2013, 05:52:03 pm »
I'm very new to pixel art myself, which I think gives me some solid insight into your biggest problems.  While many of the more experienced artists can show you giant leaping strides forward on how to improve, they might also struggle to show you intermediate steps on how to move forward because it's like stepping backward in their skill level.  While I'm not suggesting they aren't capable in any way, I feel my own lack of developed skill gives me a closer ability to show you stepping stones to move forward from.

You set up three layers on your stone as if the light cascading from the top dims downward.  The move from green to purple shows the gradually darkening transformation.  The problem is that you drew a straight line across where the color shifts.  Light and colors don't work this way. They blend and gradually shift.  I did a quick edit in which I took three colors from your palette and then created bridging colors  to make smoother transitions.  Then I broke the even line of transition by staggering the lighting a bit. This could be taken much further if you really took the time to do the same with the lighting on each individual stone.  Showing a light to shadow transition and gradually darkening them down.  For now I just showed what a simple fill on your colors could do to break up those straight lines.

Another issue your are having is using a very dark solid line to break your stones apart. The darkness is a massive portion of the tile and this pulls away from the stones.  Stagger that with an intermediate color some and thin it out and this will look better still.
Practice and don't be afraid to look for other examples.

Edit:  I should mention that the palette choices I took from yours were your brightest green, median grey, and darkest purple.  That gave me good contrast to work with and then I found colors that were fairly middle ground between each, green to grey, grey to purple.  I changed the dark color between the bricks to a darker purple since that was your shadow tone.  Then I dimmed that a bit at the top where it was brightest.

I know my process has been sorta linear.  I guess I was okay letting myself make those sort of mistakes because I tell myself that if I do something wrong and out of place I can force myself to learn how to fix it.  So, allowing the improper positioning forced me to have to learn how to construct the anatomy better.  Doing the lighting improperly for the scene is making me learn how to work with lighting as the piece evolves.  I originally was sort of aiming for miner but then decided to redirect into an anvil because it just sounded better to me suddenly.  Sorry for the curve on that.

Now I'm working on altering the positioning of his arm and figuring out how to work with two competing light sources at the same time.  It's really challenging and I will have an edit up on that soon.

I'm ok making mistakes. I always feel like I learn better that way.  My art was all feeling very flat until I started getting advice and critiques from you guys and now I can see how to start rounding things out and giving definition.  Several comments have radically changed my ideas on how to go about creating pixel pieces.

In the future I will begin a new piece with a more complete idea of where it's going. I'm fully enjoying forcing myself to make changes to this one and figuring out how to make it work.

Thanks again for the help!

I have made a lot of changes to him today.  Feel like my confidence in showing form is growing as i experiment with lighting and color tones.
Completely changed his skin color palette again.
Altered the hammer to be more in line with something a smith would use on this sort of work.  Not sure if I am digging the head on the mallet yet. I rotated his hand and redesigned his arm entirely.  Changed the other hand and reworked his pants some.  I dimmed the whole thing down some to make it feel like he is working in a darker space.  The candle light and the light from the iron are competing a bit to light different areas and I struggled with that a lot.  I haven't figured out a red tone to light his torso with but I feel like the glow I put on his chest and cast on his hand and underarm are in line with how it should be.  Still experimenting with colors on that red glow.  I found a way to round his face a bit and dimmed his eyes some.  The new copper tone on his hat is working better for me than previous versions as well.

I feel as if maybe his upper left arm is a bit too long. Any input on this?  I may wait on some critique before moving on with his physique or lighting as I'm not sure how to improve it more at this point.

Hopefully someone can give me some sound input as to where I can improve this more, or how I can fix any issues I'm having that I am not aware of yet.


I didn't disregard his words or his advice.  But, I wasn't ready to simply drop what I was working on to completely redesign my character around someone else's design whether they are a better artist than I am or not.  My goal(and I think the goal of anyone trying to learn an art medium) should be to find a way to portray the vision you have in your mind in a way that shows what you want to show.  With that said, I have already stated several times on the thread that I have listened to comments regarding my character's shape and anatomy and while I have given sound acknowledgement that they are not in direct line with purely human shapes or PixelPiledriver's particular vision of a cartoonish shape I have accepted all of their words kindly and noted them down as something to work experimenting with when I'm done getting what I want with this.

For now I am mostly trying to find ways to make the shape that I am working with show properly.  Learning about shadows and light sources. My color choices are something that I have asked for advice on several times.  Thank you for your input in that regard.  I was noticing a bit of flatness to his face but haven't found a good way to round it out a bit (a bit because I want his head to have a blocky wide shape to it). I am not rooted in a particular color style yet for the skin tones.  I have changed the palette a bit here and there throughout as I am experimenting with learning the coloring as well.  So nothing is set in stone so much in that regard and I thank you for the advice.

I like where his ears are, but I will take some time and play with his facial alignment and see if I can get something that turns out nicely.  I had worked a bit with the iron glow on the skin but it was coming out super orange and looked really bad. It's my next solid goal area to play with. I haven't decided whether I want to keep the full leathery boot or go back to the plated toe and play with the metal coloring again. (Glad to get some feedback on that one though.)

I have been analyzing everything everyone has said, and I'm fairly confident in saying that it is pretty evident that I have taken advice from everyone here. Just because I haven't scrapped my old design to follow someone else's vision for my character doesn't mean I have disrespected anyone's help or time.  I am very grateful for all of the help.  As an exhibition of the learning and growth I have managed by listening to the words and advice of others, I created a .gif which exemplifies the transformation of my original piece to where I am now.

Thank you again so much for the advice.

I took those suggestions and played some with his face.  Moved the eye, the ear, and tried to reshade his face.  Tried to round his eyeballs with a bit of a shadow in the corner. Recolored the hat with a new palette in an attempt to come closer to the copper tone I was after. (any tips on this?)
Tried to build out his shoulders instead of having a massive rounded deltoid that functioned as a spherical attachment to his trunk.
Haven't yet figured out a higher flesh tone contrast to round his features well. I plan to work on this more in the next day or so. Any tips on how to think that through are greatly appreciated.
Replaced the metal plating on the toe and recolored it to more closely match the hammer. Then, I spent a lot of time working on the red lighting cast by the iron and I feel like I made progress though I don't know how well I actually did. My palette choices are a struggle area still. Are there good lessons for this somewhere specifically for pixeling or is this something you just get better with in time as you work with it?
Finally I moved his arm to more of a crest on the upstroke. I don't think it's terrible for what I was going for, but feel a need to reangle his hand and the hammer so they don't look like they are parallel behind his head.


Bringing this closer to my vision.  Feeling fairly satisfied with the overall look.  I am not sure how I like the hand holding the metal. I made a few subtle attempts at shifting its angle but haven't come up with a satisfactory alternative form.
I worked pretty hard to get the anvil the way I want it.  It feels good to me.
The base stone was a challenge and even though it's sorta messy with all the AA I put into it(and like a dozen shades of grey) I feel like it looks decent.

Im still hoping to get some creative inputs on how I can improve the colors or any other critiques on the form and designs.
I really appreciate all the advice and inputs I have received so far.  To think that my jiggy looking mess has evolved into this in a couple days with the assistance of a few more experienced individuals!  Wow and thanks.

Hoping for more help and tips and any input is welcome.  Thanks again!  :y:


Wow on that musculature.  Made an attempt at this myself.
Touched up the hammer some.  Experimented with the yellow lighting on the metal a bit and put a few extra touches there too.  Really surprised that I didn't notice the handle hand issue until Vermolius pointed it out.
I have been working on this anvil as the next step forward in this piece.  (I know the hammer isn't really the right kind for this sort of thing and that it doesn't fit the piece exactly but I am pushing my boundaries and hope to make some modifications to make it all fit as I get better at this.)

I like the knees but I felt like maybe the popped a bit too much so I tried to tone that down just a little.  Removed a color from the pants in an effort to make them seem less messy.
A few other touch ups in small places.

At this point I am working on the anvil a lot.  This is about the fourth full version I have done and I finally feel like the angle is approximating what it needs to be.  My color choices started with a sort of rusty brown that I pulled from an actual anvil image, but I found them way to difficult to work with so I moved to this sort of dark purple range and stuck there.  The shape and shadows are giving me problems still and I keep making small adjustments over the whole piece.

Comments, suggestions, ideas, and critiques are more than welcome!

Pixel Art / Re: A Robot I Made
« on: November 03, 2013, 09:49:31 pm »
Total newb here, but I would like to make an attempt on this when I have time. I don't at the moment.
Instead I will help you with posing image references to help you with what has been suggested.  Look at the shape and shadows.

Real shadows on a plastic figure.

An image version of another similar robot.

Robocop because hey, this is his thing.  Also a toy with real shadows.

Im sure if you looked around you could find a bajillion examples of this sort of pose.  I recommend just practicing on one portion of the body at a time if you can't get the full anatomy going.  For example, just play with the arm.  Then maybe the head and the upper torso to link in to the arm.  Then the other arm.  Only go on when you have one the way you want it and tweak it slowly.  Zoom in and out a lot.  Stare at examples.


Small changes across the board taking advice and inspiration from all those inputs I received.  I modified the candle flame and the shading of the candle a small bit to give it that sort of flame-like curl that PixelPiledriver showed.  I also pulled inspiration from his method for eyebrows and added some of my own.  I had originally tried placing eyebrows but the bulgy form of my eyes had cause this to look terrible in every attempt.  He showed me a flatter form of eye design that allowed eyebrows to work for me.  I really like his/her example for the way the chest is broadened and it felt much more barrel-like than I portrayed my character to be.  I may work on widening his musculature out and broadening his chest to pull away from some of the uniform blockiness of his shape in the future.
I also enjoyed the way his beard was modified with the solid color and shading so I tried to do a new version of the beard while still maintaining the uneven scraggle I originally went for.  Im not sure how it turned out but changes to his face, mouth, and the shape of the beard were involved.

I really love the way Tidbits lighting adaptation put much more emphasis on the depth of the figure.  So I made an attempt to imitate him by finding another skin tone in the middle range and recoloring the skin everywhere.  I tweaked his nose some to allow the removal of hard lines and worked on that molding trick in places.  I think it turned out better than I imagined it would when I started.  I didn't feel like the changes that were made to the hammer made that much of a difference but I tweaked mine some in line with what you did on yours.

A change to the character's left leg and a bit of a recoloring on his pants followed.  Then a little something different on the boots as well.

I haven't been willing to alter the overall shape of the character yet by changing the shape/size of his hands or the proportions of his musculature and build.  I wanted to see how well I could carry the current structure along before branching away on another variety or "versioning".  I really enjoy the current shape of the helmet but I removed a color and tweaked the lighting a bit to take away some of the splotchy pattern on it as well.

Let me know what you guys think of his current form.  Anything I am still doing blatantly wrong or not very well?  I understand that his anatomy has been a key point of concern and I'm definitely taking that into consideration even though I haven't changed his shape much. Still hoping for some advice on color palette.  I feel like I am particularly struggling on his pants, and I wouldn't mind making an attempt at giving his hat a light copper or brass tone (which is what im trying to do but probably not well.)
Thanks again!

 :o  You guys are great!

I was gone for a day and come back to see so many helpful inputs and ideas.  So very much appreciated.
I haven't had time to do any changes yet, as I am still trying to soak in everything that was said and suggested.

@Tidbit~ Wow that really gives me some good ideas on how to do lighting effects and shading. Not simply the color modification but also the manner in which you went about laying the colors on the curves to emphasize form. Thank you.

@jahasaja~ I can acknowledge that this has been a challenging little guy to work on.  I didn't really think about the size when I began.  I started with the hat and just went from there.  B&W face eventually stretched into a body and I decided to try coloring him.  I felt that he was sort of ideal in size because I had room to learn and also I could make large changes with single pixels at this size. I have learned a lot already though, so I'm not complaining.
   I also think you may be onto something about the placement of his feet.  Yours feels more correct than my newest version to me.  I am going to stare at it for a while and consider.  Biceps definitely show on yours and Tidbit's better than mine ever managed.

@PixelPiledriver~  Woah!  What a radically different vision for this guy.  It's great!  I'm definitely going to spend time looking it over and considering all the strong points.  It's a bit off the track of my goal for the character's shape but wow.  The way you used such simple color range to show so much shape and form.  O_O  Mind boggled.  What would you suggest I change about the palette?  That was one of my big stress points on posting.  I need to find some sort of lessons or method for choosing my colors better. Right now I feel like Im just dragging sliders back and forth searching for darker and lighter versions of colors and trying them to see if they work.  (Not exactly, but it certainly feels that way when I'm doubting my choices.)

Again, you guys are awesome.  Im going to take some time to soak this all up and come back with another edit later.  Thanks for the help! ;D


Thank you.
Mostly small touchups here.  The lighting on his toe plates, the candle and its flame recolored slightly and adjusted to feel more like a small flame.  Worked on shading the wrist bands a bit better.  The solid splotchy look has been bugging me.

The skin tone highlight was only very slightly higher than the next tone down so I really don't know how I can dim the brightness on it with a softer color. (Aside from another full palette adjustment)  So instead, for this attempt I simply removed the highest level tone.  (It was only in a few small places emphasizing lighting and I am not sure it is even necessary at this point.)

So here it is and I'm really not sure how to improve him further from here without more guidance.  Is there anything else that is off or feels wrong?  Does this new three tone skin setup tone down some of that killer brightness of the highlights?

I feel that the haft of his mallet is a bit askew with both the head and lower portion of the haft. So I will be making an effort soon to correct that.  Any more thoughts or ideas?
I appreciate all the assistance.  Your comment about molding the colors into shape like clay was brilliant. (Eye opening really.  Totally changes the way I think about pixeling.)


I worked on the hammer some more and a bit more shading/shaping work.  Turned the head of the hammer somewhat and found shape suddenly.  I also did a side by side of the two skin tone palettes the one on the right is the set with the original colors I was using.

Are the arms looking any better?

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