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Messages - Phoenix849
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Devlogs & Projects / Re: [C+C] The Trapped Heart (7DRL 2016)
« on: July 31, 2016, 08:07:57 pm »

The game was finished by Darren Grey for 7DRL in March and you can check it here:

I contributed tiles and character sprites, but sadly haven't managed to finish everything. I know they have some serious problems with contrast between walls and floor, but that's just how it is now. I've moved to other projects since, just wanted to share final version here.

Pixel Art / Re: Foliage grinding quest
« on: July 30, 2016, 10:33:39 pm »

Okay, you know what? I think it may actually work. I'm frustrated a bit less this time and starting to like how some of these turn out. Of course, this won't make me a foliage expert, but rather help me feel more confident as props artist for games.

Pixel Art / Re: Foliage grinding quest
« on: July 29, 2016, 09:17:32 pm »
That's exactly the point of this exercise. I remember advice on some youtube video "if you hate working with something, try drawing it until you love it". Can't remember the source, but it got stuck with me.

Pixel Art / Re: Foliage grinding quest
« on: July 27, 2016, 10:38:40 pm »
Thank you, guys.

Try other palettes, not just one ramp. Long leaves that taper gradiently into a different color. Different colored leaves here and there.

You could tackle some trees. They could occupy 4 grid squares per, if not more.
Yeah, I was planning to move onto trees next, after I solve why foliage itself is so damn frustrating to me. I was focusing more on textures, forms and lightning when I started this quest. Valid point about palettes though.

Pixel Art / Re: Foliage grinding quest
« on: July 26, 2016, 03:58:14 pm »
This is surely the most frustrating practice I've done so far. Not sure if I can find strength to reach 64. Maybe practicing the thing you hate tempers yourself, who knows.

Pixel Art / Re: Foliage grinding quest
« on: June 02, 2016, 07:14:57 am »
try doing some irregularly-shaped plants, like topiary sculptures or tree-towers
Yeah, it's in the plans!

Pixel Art / Re: Foliage grinding quest
« on: June 01, 2016, 07:53:43 pm »
Tried slym's tutorial, but seems I don't get it at all, because it's a mess of pixels rather than bushes.

Pixel Art / Foliage grinding quest
« on: May 29, 2016, 02:23:06 am »
Long story short... I'm awful with foliage, so I decided to grind the hell out of that skill. Can I git gud at it? We'll see.

I was going to do this for a long time. Marmontel Boris posted this on twitter, and it gave me initial push to start. First I'm going to run through tutorials and references in my reach or saved on my HDD. Current goal is to get 64 32x32 areas filled with all kinds of leaves, grass and what not.

Critique and useful links or explanation how foliage "works" are of course appreciated. And yes, I lurked Good Reads and most of the tree threads here. Too sad most of the images are dead :c

I always felt I were too dumb and uneducated to have a valid opinion on this topic. One of the main problems I see is that "1px limbs" style is very easy to replicate, and pixel art in general helps to mask your insufficient artistic skillset a lot. So there're a lot of people doing this because it's "easy", while lacking experience of making good and consistent gameart as a whole. The result is often messy and incoherent.

Of course that's unfair towards people who put a lot of work into their games. Hyper Light Drifter sure took a lot of thought and passion towards it. I totally love art direction, but have problems with clarity, terrain readability and general level of visual noise. Maybe it's a professional "purist disease" that causes me to nitpick at certain minor things no one will notice.

In general I've seen very few discussions of this outside of pixel art communities, and I'm sure that absolute majority of players won't even notice things we are talking about.

You can also check comments here, particulary response by FlyGuy:
I don't know if I would consider this "next level" although it looks amazing.. but I do agree with beetleking and Thu about the popularity of a certain style that I personally think has infected indie pixel art games. And I think it's because many of the artists working on these games have recently picked up pixel art because of the fad. They might not fully understand all of the techniques that have been created through millions of hours of experimentation by experienced pixel artists. Not to say it looks bad, it's just boring at this point. It's time for something new.
A common approach with this "lazy style" (for lack of a better term) are skinny sprites. (Once again, some can look good, but I believe a lot of them choose to pixel like this due to a lack of experience, or simply because everyone else is doing it.) Another thing you might see is a lot of banding, a whole lot of unnecessary colors, stray pixels, and generally what pixel purists would consider sloppy form...probably becuase less time is spent on each asset in order to get the product to launch date faster? Here are some examples.. Sword and Sorcery, Riot, Paradise Lost, Gods Will Be Watching, Witchmarsh, Galactic Princess, Curious Expedition, Irkalla... Then there are games that don't really go the whole skinny sprite route, but alter it a little, they generally still use most of the same fast/messy techniques for tiles/backgrounds. Project Rainworld, Hyper Light Drifter, A.N.N.E., Super Time Force, Crawl.. Like I said, it can still be done tastefully. And some of these examples might be reaching a little..But It's hard to argue that the style in each of these games is drastically new or aren't "HEAVILY" inspired by each other. This argument could be used with 3D games as well (like Call of Duty), so all of this might just be me wasting my breath.. I think the frustration of only seeing a certain style be really popular is what might cause people like Thu to try something else. I applaud him...I for one am bored of the skinny sprites and messier backdrops.

As for personal input, I think one of the most important pixel art strength is good detail simplification, stylization, clarity and coherency. That's why I dislike glow post-effects, stray pixel noise, overlay gradients and palettes with millions of colors. It's not playing to pixel art strength in my opinion. To my taste "1 pixel limbs" is mostly a fad for people who think that pixel art is "style", "cheap" and "easy". And I found Sword and Sworcery to be frustratingly boring and pretentious. But that's just me, I've met plenty of artists who think otherwise.

I may be too damn stupid to understand cluster theory or arguable cases of banding and consider them too elitist to my taste. I think it all comes down to personal preferences only. Pixel art "rules" are mostly advocated only by a small number of people on pixelation and pixeljoint and may be highly subjective. Though they were suggested by people far, far more experienced, skilled, clever and educated than me, so I at least grew to respect them.

Closing thought: do whatever the hell you want, your life and art are only yours to command :)

Thanks for talking about palettes. Studying screenshots with 16px grid in Photoshop on I've envountered another questionable area. Look how tiles are 50% displaced from the grid. Also we have those 8px tall black bars on top and bottom. What are they? Can we use them?

I figured it has something to do with a thing called "overscan". While NES PPU generates a 256x240 picture, most TVs display area about 256x224. Like resolution of screenshots in this thread.

I guess the main question is if we can put tiles there. And also how to correctly check it for 16px regions? Just forget about all that and move it for 8 pixels to align with the grid?

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