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Messages - Helm
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Pixel Art / Re: (WIP)What do you think? (Dog World Project)
« on: August 12, 2018, 06:04:15 pm »
Hi, XeDArt! This is really creative, actually.

For animation I would recommend Cosmigo Pro Motion, Graphics Gale or Aseprite, not photoshop. But I'm sure you might make do with photoshop if you really try as well, but if you're going to make pixel assets for a videogame, why not get aquainted with a program specifically designed for this express purpose? Give it a go. All those choices are good, some are more free than others.

As to organizing your color palette, you will find that once you use one of the above programs that problem will take care of it self as they have *indexed palettes* that you can directly alter on the fly. This is a powerful tool for a pixel artist. Want to give your whole scene more contrast? How about just making this and this and that slot in the index darker? Immediately you'll get results in the artwork in a WYSIWYG way. Again, experimentation with the tools of pixel artists and not photoshop will start teaching you certain good pixel artwork methodology tips by itself. The tools tell the tale.

As to your actual artwork, I like it a lot, actually. On your intro screen I would recommend making the outlines of the bones 2 pixels width and perhaps a bit darker, but they can also work as they are with their contour glow if you want. Your clouds are done fast and their shapes could be cleaned up further, but this all depends on how much of a 'clean look' you want your game to have going for it. Same for the blades of grass. You could do another pass and clean a few things up there if you want a more finished and less rough look.

Your dog sprites are quite cool. However it takes a second to parse their faces as dog faces because there's not enough contrast between the middle colour and the shadows that would describe the shapes of the snouts. It's an easy fix, however. As your skill grows as a representational artist, keep in mind this will filter down to your skill as a cartoonist, so it pays to think about construction and light and volumes and shapes LIKE a representational artist, even if your end result will be cartoony. Light that dog face in a simple and straightforward manner, with a bit more contrast, to allow the eye to read it like what it is.

Let me know if you'd like more information about anything I wrote above, and good luck with your game!

Pixel Art / Re: Second MegaMan Legends Sprite [Feedback, please]
« on: August 12, 2018, 05:54:59 pm »
Hi, thesydneylad. I think your blue guy is cool. I read him as if he's wearing kind of a dog-ear cap, perhaps of a medieval-esque variety. I know you're probably going for a robot man (given Mega Man Legends is your reference point) so we perhaps should consider how to make him look a little more like a robot.  I hope you don't mind I did a little edit of your sprite to illustrate a few points:

A few things I tried you could also try:

1. Made him darker on the whole so the highlights I did use read more like shiny metal. He's a robot! Contrast is helpful.
2. Clarified some segmentations in the body, so it looks like he's got a breast plate and a canon robot arm and black boots etc.
3. Gave him a dog-eared robot cap because I like that from the beginning, why not?
4. I recommend you play around with 4 color palettes (like the original game boy!) spanning the field from very dark to very bright with a couple of middle colours in there and play with that until you draw stuff that you show to people and they can immediately tell what you're going for with just that color range. It's a great exercise.

Personally I went with this sprite as a side-scrolling sprite, perhaps you'll like it even if it's not top-down.

Thanks for reading!

Pixel Art / Re: Nervous beach girl portrait
« on: August 12, 2018, 05:35:24 pm »
That's great incorporation of critique so far DTE462. Well done. I want to help too, but not so much with the shading (I think the 'more contrast' direction was very good) but with the construction of the character. I realize you're going for an anime-esque style, but I still think you might want to take a few steps backwards and clarify the character's construction a bit. The facial characteristics feel to me a bit 'symbolic', just placed on the face in a T shape without enough thought to the planes of the face etc. Does that make sense? I like that your character has a personality and an emotional state you're going for, so perhaps a little bit more construction will help sell that even more.

Simple things you could do back in the construction shape to sell the exhaustion etc:

1. make the head pose down, eyes looking lower, as a tired person might
2. have one hand interacting with the head, perhaps catching a strand of hair or adjusting the tennis visor
3. sweat drops! Very anime-friendly and easy to do. You don't have to do a huge one, even drops of realistic perspiration on the skin would read at this res. Show us what it is the character is doing that's making them exhausted.

On that last note, I can recommend:

4. finish the figure drawing. Even if you don't end up pixelling all of it, know what the character is doing, what their environment is in and how they're interacting with it, even if it just just by gravity. This is such an important thing that I wish someone had told me very early on. It's the best way to learn to place your characters in a setting and have them meaningfully interact with it, even if you only end up doing a bust. Challenge yourself.

I don't of course expect you to go hit the drawing board for this particular sprite just because I said so. I appreciate that you've already taken critique on board in this thread and you've already progressed from your initial sprite. Even if you don't return to this one, take the above points into account if you would for your next piece. More thought in the construction phase will ALWAYS pay off. 

General Discussion / Re: Community updates
« on: August 12, 2018, 05:10:12 pm »
re: Pixelation is Dead, attracting new members, being popular

More technically savvy people than me will synthesize what we'll come up with and figure out the best way to present Pixelation in this glorious web 2.0 reality. Your contributions are very necessary and welcome and thank you for posting in this thread with your thoughts, keep doing that!

However I wanted to communicate a spirit-of-the-thing related point of view that plays into the future of the platform in a significant way, and also in this way to touch on some criticism on the current state of affairs. I post this now because no discussion of how to be popular again will be solid without considering what it is we would endeavor to make popular again, exactly.

The core function of Pixelation as a community is that it brings artists of less experience or skill in contact with those with more experience and skill in order to exchange ideas and help each other. It's not to have a hex collab or secret santa. Activities certainly foster a community, but if it's indeed true that only 4 people care about the core function of Pixelation at this point, it's not going to be assuaged with bells and whistles of any kind.

And if it's only 4 people on the boards in the end, that's fine, as long as those 4 people are getting help with their pixel art.

Pixelation has always struggled with growth, because it's an art forum. We don't advertise, we don't make money, we don't have a 5 year plan or anything like that, we are not marketing gurus or very business-minded. Unchecked expansion and growth aren't really the point. Pixelation's prime concern is to attract the people that might benefit from it, not become bigger and bigger every year at all costs.

On that front, I want to address what can be done to help Pixelation become available to those that might need it, and how you can help, if you care and still have love in your heart for Pixelation.

1. Once we're up and running again and have got a handle on our tech, and only then, it'll be the time for everyone of you that has ever gotten better at pixel art here that's still reading this and cares, to put out the word on twitter or other social media that Pix is  back and has refocused on the educational aspect of pixel art. Not just 'as it was before' but better.

2. That means, yes, this is going to be a 'boring place', because places for learning are boring if you're not looking to learn in them. This isn't an entertainment site, and although knowledge and socialization of a craft are very exciting to me, if you do not come in Pix in good faith (that is, to learn or help others learn) then there's not many shits and giggles to find here. This is by design, and that design is only going to be streamlined and sharpened further in the future.

Whatever Pixelation loses in terms of internet-lulz-related-edge it will gain by being a safe and respectful environment for artists to grow in. That's our core benefit and we plan to redraft (and drastically condense) our ruleset soon to promote this atmosphere even further without unwarranted byproducts of elitist gatekeeping and 'either do the hard work or get out, scrub' unspoken assumptions we may have fostered in the past. Hindsight is 20/20 on that front.

3. Once we're up and running and the call has been put out by anyone and everyone that cares, I sincerely implore you (and this won't be the last time) to put in even 5-10 minutes a week picking up someone's thread with their pixel art and helping them. I will be doing this as well, I am 34 years old and swamped with work constantly, but I'll put in the effort. I'll even trade you critique-for-critique if that helps. Even if it's just 5-10 people at first, as long as we help each other, we keep things not just civil but proactively kind-hearted and we persist, the word will go out that we're back in business and serious about both helping beginners of all backgrounds, and about providing a safe environment for them to learn in. Whatever growth we can achieve by cleaning our old forum tech etc. will only become substantial if we can keep on with this mission statement.

As this conversation evolves (both internally and public-facing) I'll go into more detail about how to clarify and future-proof our community culture (from ruleset to recommended critique style) so that something like what just happened won't happen again. This is a large discussion in itself and I've got a lot of thoughts I want to bounce off of you.

If anyone has any questions or thoughts concerning any of the above, I'm all ears and I'll do my best to reply. Pixelation, as always, works best when all of us put our heads together and come up with a gameplan.

General Discussion / Re: Stepping back as a mod
« on: August 10, 2018, 10:39:10 pm »
I don't care or mind if anyone's disappointed with me for sticking up for a Pixelation that shouldn't allow bigotry, casual antisemitism, sexism, racism and the like on the premises. We have more constructive things to do right now than indulge in this empty drama.

General Discussion / Re: Stepping back as a mod
« on: August 10, 2018, 05:25:11 pm »
Pixelation is a place of learning, and as such it's not just about craft. It's about a healthy community spirit and an inclusive atmosphere. Tolerating far-right viewpoints, sexism, misogyny and bigotry of all types in an art community while just focusing on the craft is a recipe for disaster for a myriad of reasons. Pixelation is restructuring because it has to, because we can do better than this.

General Discussion / Re: Hi, I recorded a video of myself pixelling.
« on: January 16, 2018, 01:09:38 pm »
Thank you, Crow, Ryumaru. Would I mind? It's an honour.

Re: clusters, this is why eventually I want to do real-time video where I talk it out because when it's not sped up magic, one could hopefully follow the actual work of pushing little shapes around and having to change where they touch OTHER shapes so everything can live, you know, the Go element of this theory.

General Discussion / Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!
« on: January 16, 2018, 02:44:30 am »
Interesting discussion in this thread. I tend not to check up on this stuff much anymore because I've been generally disappointed at how hurtful people often are about their perceived necessity of these techniques that I had a part in shaping. But it's good to see new thought generated on the subject!

I think the linear ramp from oekaki to blurry-whatever is on one hand intuitive and clear as to what it means and therefore a useful tool but it still has a limitation in that I don't think clean and controlled, no-aa, no-dither, not a lot of single pixels work is necessarily in a middle point of the thought process of the artist that makes these choices. I think the 'middle' as it were is also a position of greater depth so - from my point of view, at least - we're back to a more three-dimensional example or perhaps a triangle. If the core of the work is of that 'depth' then it will withstand a lot of noisy nonsense on a more surface level, or a lot of blurry soft tools.

It is in a triangulation of that idea that I agree with you, Cure and concur that one can have very very controlled cluster work and then put all the lighting FX works on top of it and it will not hurt the clusters. Your example with the lady with the gradient hair is kind of brilliant for that, and it also has a historical precedent on the Amiga, where you have very pixelly pixel art and copper blitter backgrounds like in Enemy: Tempest of Violence or Lionheart.

That's why for me a strict definition of pixel art just judging by formalism is kind of a fool's errand. One first has to have the skills, the experience and possibly the intuitive idea of what tightly created pixel art looks like, why and how, and then they can take a loooot of nonsense on top without any problem, the thing is still cohesive and rings true. Just looking at the picture as if its a flat thing and examining every pixel (a 'machine pass' of 'is it pixel-art?' if you will) will not do, the eye will have to make creative judgement calls about where work went in and if it is enough to hold the whole thing together.

It's the same artist's eye that someone gets about oil painting as well. Bad oil painting seems off even if there's a few bits of the canvas where the brush strokes fell down sympathetically. And Good oil art is also apparent even if someone then took a picture of their canvas and photomanipulated it here and there.

General Discussion / Hi, I recorded a video of myself pixelling.
« on: January 16, 2018, 02:20:15 am »
Hello! I very rarely do personal pixel work nowadays so I thought the once that I got the chance I might as well share it with the kind Pixelation folk.

The final artwork is this:

I trust everyone's familiar with the William Blake original, but if not:

This piece of artwork comes with a very fascinating story you can read up on the Wiki here. Also, it's worth mentioning that aside from the spiritual confluence that I feel towards Blake, he's also a far-back in time ally to us pixel artists as his work is mostly in miniature. This picture is actually TINY, I've seen in in real life in the Tate in London.

Video link here

The video is in the timelapse style. Actual session was 2 and a half hours long, so if you set the speed to about .25 you're getting a fairly realistic (though low framerate) representation of the actual decision making in real time. Or just watch it at fast speed and chill out to the nice music and think 'huh, art is very easy to make, it just magically appears!'. Ultimately what I'd like to do is not so much timelapse but real-time videos where I talk on top and explain my thought process and the cluster solutions I come up with. More like a lecture, less like a 'look at this conjuration' kind of thing. Ideally I'd like to do some critique and editing on art people send in. Would there be interest in that?

Not looking for critique because I don't think I'm going to touch up on it. But I thought someone might enjoy watching it as a cluster study, perhaps. There's very few single pixels, as per usual with my approach to pixel art. I started out in a 4,4,4 bits per channel color space to mimic the SNES specs that ultimately inspired this but towards the end I broke from the restriction and did very minor color correction in an 8,8,8 space.

General Discussion / Re: Grid-based paradigm
« on: May 03, 2016, 06:24:01 pm »
Here's some ancient Amiga art (quite impressive) done with floating assets as you describe. There's pros and cons.

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