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Messages - Darien
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General Discussion / Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!
« on: June 08, 2010, 04:48:05 am »
Well to answer that I think I'll have to try to explain what I perceive to be retro pixel art.  There are a lot of examples that would work just as well but I'll pick a screenshot from snake's Owlboy:

To me, this is about as retro as it gets.  Not timeline-wise, as we have pixel art that references C64 or Atari or art, but in terms of intention or goal.  Owlboy seems to be trying to elicit from the viewer the reaction of "hey this looks just like SNES!" or perhaps more accurately "this looks just like SNES but better!"  And most pixel artists out there, it seems to me, are going for the same reaction, even if they aren't actually making a game and are just making sprites or mock ups.  That "I wish I could play this" reaction, which seems to aim specifically as though these pieces of pixel art were something you could have popped into your SNES at one point.  These styles deliberately appeal to the viewers (and the artist's) nostalgia, which is, I think, incredible indulgent.  Which is fine; I can't deny that I look for a download button when I see a screenshot like this.  I don't know snake's story but I imagine it goes like this: he got into pixel art because he wanted to make games like he used to play when he was young; over the years he got incredibly good, even better than most of the old 'masters' and still makes art like he wanted to see in a game when he was young.  That may not actually be snake's story, but it's a common enough story regardless (it would be my own story if I had ever gotten good at pixel art).  Most of the old talented pixelation members are still making big-headed sprites or muscly warriors or the like as though there is nothing else to do with the medium, and that's what most people want to see.  To me, this sort of continuing progress in technical skill is, while impressive on one level, ultimately boring, because most of the art is still focused around the sensibilities of games from the 90s.  In my view not much better than the 'bad pixel art' stuff Gil was talking about that focuses completely on the nostalgia trip.


But superbrothers... it is retro, to an extent, and I wont say it isn't indulgent at all--I think you'd be hard pressed to find any art that isn't indulgent in one way or another--but it seems much more self conscious.  The left screen looks a lot like a videogame, and superficially looks like it is all retro--it's lo-fi, you can see all the pixels in a relatively simple style, and it is some sort of warrior we like we could see in an old-school RPG.  But I can't imagine that existing when I was a kid.  It's anti-retro because it doesn't appeal to nostalgia like Owlboy does because nobody made games that looked like that back then--and I don't think many people would have liked to see it back then either--most people wanted a prettier Zelda or a more badass Contra or an upgraded game of choice.  It eschews old game sensibilities like the bright colors or big muscles and heads or dramatic poses.  I guess I see it as anti-retro because the big pixels make me want to say "just like old games" but when I look at how it's presented I just think, no, games weren't like that at all.  

I had a lot more trouble articulating that than I thought I would... I'll continue to think on the subject.

General Discussion / Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!
« on: June 07, 2010, 10:40:59 pm »
I think there could be a lot more interesting stuff done with low resolution work, like superbrothers--I wouldn't say their stuff isn't retro at all, but I would also say it is also anti-retro

General Discussion / Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!
« on: June 06, 2010, 04:48:30 am »
What are some of those games, Gil?  Can you give some examples?

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] Bruce Lee
« on: June 04, 2010, 03:14:50 am »
Hey colin, good to see you around here again with your RCR type guys.  Those animations are really great, I think.  Maybe Bruce's hair should be a little bigger/popping off the top of his head or something?  I don't think the likeness is quite there, but then again maybe it's not necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Pixel art Documentary
« on: May 27, 2010, 04:18:08 am »
I think those are all good points, but I don't think a fair overview of pixel art could be crammed into 10 minutes.  Perhaps the video should have been more conscious of its focus on retrogaming or indiegames (which, as I said, is a natural angle to approach it from for a short piece since it seems to be the most prominent form of pixel art today).  I would certainly like to see a longer treatment.

To lavalevel:  I'm sure Helm is too modest to say so, and I'm sure his post already made it clear, but he knows more than most about pixel art and its history and he would be a good person to talk to for specific areas of interest or directing you to possible interviewees, (or for an interview himself, as for the past several years he's been the most visible moderator of one of the most prominent pixel art forums on the web).

General Discussion / Re: Pixel art Documentary
« on: May 26, 2010, 06:01:50 pm »
I think these critiques of the video are a bit silly.  I don't think the goal of the documentary was wow anyone with amazing pixel art; it was more about examining how in recent years pixel art has begun to be noticed more in popular culture.  For better or worse, the pixel art that people have been paying attention to is usually put into the media of games or videos, and is not what is considered around here to be great pixel art.  Passage may not have great pixel art, but it is much more culturally relevant than just about everything on pixeljoint.

General Discussion / Re: Mac users
« on: May 20, 2010, 02:47:44 pm »
I have never been able to pixel comfortably on my mac, no matter the program--Pixen, Pro Motion via CrossOver, whatever--there's something about it that just doesn't feel right with the mouse.  As though the cursor isn't as precise as I'm used to on a Windows machine.  I can never figure out what it is, exactly, that's wrong.  I fiddle with the mouse settings, buy new mice, but it always feels awkward.  Over the past four years I would now and then try to get back into it but I always give up because it never feels right  :(

General Discussion / Re: How do you keep yourself motivated?
« on: April 28, 2010, 04:45:35 am »
I just want to say that just because you work hard on something for a project that ultimately doesn't come to fruition doesn't mean you 'wasted' any time--you've probably learned a ton working on that one character, even if it isn't immediately obvious to you.  IMO self-growth is often more important than any final project you might create.

Not that seeing things through to completion isn't meritorious--that, too, is a very important skill, but perhaps keeping in mind that with every step you take where you challenge yourself and learn something is valuable in itself will help you stay motivated even if it seems to be taking longer to get where you wanted when you started out.

Pixel Art / Re: The Adventures of Blade and RasputinXX2
« on: April 01, 2010, 04:30:54 am »
I'm not sure what your point is.  Care to elaborate/take this somewhere where it belongs?

Pixel Art / Rusty roof
« on: January 27, 2010, 02:05:49 am »

It's been a long time since I've pixelled, but a few days ago I started tinkering again.  This is a work in progress--I'm trying to do a dilapidated house for this little large man to live in, but I think those many years of only drawing people show themselves in my rendering!  I'm particularly worried that by trying to do the rusty roof and the fading paint are making it much too messy for the style I made the character in.

Anyway, some suggestions for a cleaner rendering or any edits would be very helpful.  Ignore the door completely, please!



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