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Messages - KaiserFate
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General Discussion / GraphicsGale exporting transparency improperly
« on: March 22, 2010, 08:06:14 am »
I feel the need to post a "god help me" thread here because I've been pulling my hair out over this one for some time now.
The long and short of it is that GraphicsGale (I am using the full licensed edition, version 1.93.12) is saving animated gifs with transparent backgrounds in an awful stacked formation, producing such horrorible oddities as this:

When in fact, the sequence of frames is this:

The short term solution I tried was doing away with transparency entirely and just filling the back with a junk colour and making that the transparency colour manually in ImageReady, but this is a whole extra step that is cumbersome and time consuming, and sometimes doesn't even work, adding more to my frustration.

The fact that I like GraphicsGale and intend to keep using it doesn't help either. PLEASE tell me there is a solution to this problem that I have somehow missed.

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 15, 2010, 07:11:28 am »
There's doesn't need to be a consensus. If a crit is correct, it'll make you say to yourself "Oh! Right! That makes sense." May the best crit win.

In any case I've come away from this thread so far with vastly improved skills so I hope I didn't sound ungrateful just before. Thanks to everyone for your awesome insights, they've really helped!!

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 15, 2010, 04:44:38 am »
Yeah okay I'm officially getting really confused because it seems like everyone is contradicting each other with my critiques, lol.

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 14, 2010, 02:18:56 pm »
PypeBros and Mr. Numbers, thank you very much for your insights.

Makes a lot of sense, actually. I see what you mean about how as my sprites get smaller, black becomes more dominant.
Winston in particular gave me a lot of trouble because he is very complex but also very small. I'm going to have another go at some of the characters who seem too 'packed' - Winston is surely in that category, and I was also thinking of giving Victor Hedwig and Elvis Gloom a bit of a facelift (but that is in general owing a lot to the fact that I started with them and got to a stage well past them as I worked on the newer sprites).

Edit: Just finished an edit of Winston.

He now has a five-o-clock shadow, his metallic hilights and glints are now far less busy (and as a result, the gunshape is clearer), and I incorporated the chestplate suggestion. I think overall the design looks a lot tighter now, and at this resolution especially, the forms are more obvious.

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 14, 2010, 12:24:28 am »
Okay, let me ask you guys something.

I've given it some thought and I've decided to edit out the black outlines. Personally I like the look of black outlines on these sprites but I'm hearing from just about everyone that it's 'not right' and that it's not how real artists of this variety create their images.

So the question is, if I want these sprites to look just a little bit more than 8-bittish - they give off a Nintendo 'vibe' but with less restrictions (we'll say it was one of the first games of the 16-bit era and made by a team of seasoned 8-bit artists who were still finding their feet);

What exactly do I do with the outlines? Do I give them the 'knockout' treatment, and make each line a darker colour of the fill colour neighbouring it? Do I do this to all of the lines, including the outside ones? Should I ever use black, anywhere? What exactly IS the 'correct method'?

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 13, 2010, 03:42:32 am »
I'm currently studying what NES games do use black outlines to see why it works for those games (note that not every NES game even uses black outlines for sprites), but for now it's extremely important to work with the form over the lines, and try to avoid over emphasizing the lines.

Yeah, not all games use the black outlines, I just liked the look of the games that do. But thank you all for your help, it's been extremely helpful so far!!

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 12, 2010, 07:50:48 am »
Haha, thanks, a quick edit would be very much appreciated.
Although I do understand the basic gist of what you're saying.
I actually come from an illustration background and because of this, I do think very strongly in terms of lines, shapes and treating each 'part' with a light source.
The main problem I'm having with pixelart right now is that I'm finding it's very limiting, but when I work within those limitations I'm apparently not doing it properly (black lines, dithering etc). There's a whole art to this that I am quite new to, I'm trying to start out slow but it may take a while before I start hitting all the right keys.

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 11, 2010, 03:54:44 pm »
Interesting point. Reminds me of when I used to compare Super Mario World to Super Metroid.

Super Mario World sprites look a bit more colourful than what you see on the NES but not much more complex than the spritework on some of the better games on the NES. The way it's shaded is more like how I've approached these ones, except I kept the NES black outlines prevalent in many games.
Then there's Metroid, which while not infinitely more complicated, is much more sophisticated in its approach than the Mario sprites. They sat down and thought hard about how to use the resources to look like solid, real-looking 3D shapes. I wasn't going for that, myself, aiming for a more primitive look.

I think for the time being I'll probably keep going with these sprites in a kind of limbo "12-bit" - the project itself is purely for fun and is not a diehard Nintendo tribute by any means - but in future I'll always know to pay special attention to what my imagined "system" can handle. Let's say these were made for the ill-fated GameStation X. :I

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 11, 2010, 11:27:00 am »

How about this? I tackled the three main offenders for dithering and decided to just flatten them out.
Are these an improvement?

I also realised that since drawing these sprites, I added a new grey for Winston which I implemented as a buffer shade for Bauer at the bottom.

Pixel Art / Re: Deep Blues Gang lineup
« on: March 11, 2010, 07:06:32 am »
Wicked critique, thanks a lot.

Let me explain myself for how I approached these sprites, but I will definitely be taking your advice into consideration.

-The internal lines and very limited pallette (I deliberately avoided using more colours than necessary) were attributed to the fact that I want this to look like a game from the 8-bit era, i.e. the NES. If anything I almost felt like I was using *too* many colours for this purpose. A lot of your advice (which is excellent, and duly noted, by the way) applies more to 16-bit consoles; they'd look much better on the SNES or GBA. Internal black lines and dithering seem to be very common on the 8-bit systems out of necessity.
As for the wayward pixels on Winston's chestplate, I was trying to go for bolts running up his chest, but the resolution here is probably too slow.

As it happens, I am actually thinking of making two sets of sprites for all these characters - one set for use on an isometric plane (the sprites you see here), limited to a more 8-bit look, and a second more complicated set once I've warmed up in a sidescrolling shooter look. I had intended these second sets to look better qual, higher resolution etc, so perhaps I will bump it up to 16-bit altogether with those sets using buffer shades and coloured inner lines.

Sound good?

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