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Messages - Manupix
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Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] Horse with no name.
« on: December 12, 2014, 06:27:21 pm »
I had no idea what this was when I first saw it, as I don't know the song. Both last posts clarified it a bit, but just in case it is important that the context is understood without knowing the song, it's not. This is a composition problem in a large sense: layout + visual priorities + intent.

The layout is pretty weird, I can't help feeling that it's a cropped part from a larger pic showing more of the bottom.
The guy's head is almost centered; the general symmetry makes it rather weak.

I only saw the desert because of the previous posts. At first I only saw sky, and even knowing that there is landscape, the contrast and style are so different between fg and bg that it's almost not there.
Also the light is totally not a sunset light: the desert should be much darker than the sky if the light came from the setting sun; and the foreground light source isn't obviously defined.

The pixeling is soooo different between fg and bg. Yes, there is over-pixeling and over-dithering in the sky, this is made worse because there is no dithering at all in the fg (not that there should be, I'd rather remove most of it in the bg but that's a matter of taste). Moreover, the pixeling is pretty solid in the center group but much more sloppy in the trees. Why outlines (almost) only in the center, for one thing?

Fg colors are nice, bg lacks something. Sunset reds? More saturation?

In short, this has potential, but you need to decide where you're going with it!

Pixel Art / Re: Animated Portrait
« on: December 07, 2014, 07:22:24 pm »
I can't see the issue with the middle ones eyes tbh

I'm afraid I can't be very helpful. I'll just say that they almost look good at 1x, but the more I zoom in, the less sense I can make of the pixel choices. At 1x the only issue is the bright pixels look cut off in 2 clusters per eye, which zooming confirms, and the surrounding dark clusters get pretty smooth / over-AAed with no apparent structural reason (that I can think of). I'd have expected the bright clusters to be AAed more (by 'clusters' I don't mean strict monochrome clusters, just broad regions of related pixels).
Part of the problem may result from keeping some dark outline, esp. in the inside of her right eye.

I wish I could be more specific and offer solutions, but unfortunately the very few times I tried to pixel eyes I failed miserably.
The only general advice I'd give is to get rid of as much outlines as you can at these small scales, contrary to your usual work. The littler one is an example of this: the arms are all banded outline.

Pixel Art / Re: Animated Portrait
« on: December 06, 2014, 09:58:06 am »
I love the little one =)

Doesn't look quite finished to me though. Some readability issues remain (small one's hands, medium one's eyes), lines are still a bit messy.
There's a glaring case of banding in the portrait's right eye (hers); her ear anatomy is questionable!

Pixel Art / Re: [C + C] Cat Portrait
« on: December 06, 2014, 09:50:51 am »
What Alcopop said.

Also you have lots of unneeded colors in there, many of which being used in one or a few pixels only (hover over the color patches to locate them).
Always try to reuse an existing color, and only create a new one when you have a compelling reason to do so.

Recommended reading ;)

Pixel Art / Re: New to MAKING Pixel art
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:16:10 pm »
There are many problems here, but none that practice (lots!) can't fix  ;)

You need to prioritize what has to be seen in this character. ATM it's mostly unreadable in its details and volumes.
Contrast is random: use it for rendering volume with strong shadows (the shaded areas of the face and hair are almost not visible at first sight because their contrast is so low compared with other elements).

There are too many colors, some of which are used in one or a few pixels only and not even in your palette (they might be accidental; see their location by hovering over the color samples). 12 or 16 should be enough for a small sprite like this. You might try using a good pre-set palette like Arne's or Dawnbringer's (you should find them using the search function here or googling). You'll learn a lot about color use by sticking to a given palette (the smaller and crazier the better!).

Other than that, just soak your brain in tutos and good critique. Have fun!

Pixel Art / Re: Sega Megadrive box art
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:03:34 pm »
Good start, I like the dynamism here =)

The main problem is the size, which makes it unmanageable and also will deprive the final work from most of the pixel-art feel. I'd recommend something closer to 200x300.

The perspective might benefit from a 'fish-eye'-like view, with a curved bg, it would help read the 'folded' ground plane.
I don't know why the palm trees are aligned, if no reason there should be some in the bg (which will pose its own perspective challenge).
The lower right bug shouldn't be cut, it's not well seen at first; the triangle made by the two bugs + hunter is the main composition element and should be carefully thought out.

Shading is weird, there's an almost pillowshading-like technique of concentric, equidistant tone bands regardless of light source and shape.
See for instance a typical cylinder shading, compared to your palm trees:

The highlight area is wider than the next shaded areas.

The light source on the lower right bug is from below left, from front left on the hunter's belly, and from above left elsewhere.
The way the trees shading progresses from left to right would imply a very close source, like a candle.

The palette looks like it suffers the classic mistake of independent color ramps, with little or no hue- and saturation-shift.
It's hard to study though because of the NPA title area which messes with color count tools. Can you post a pixel-only version?
More about palette building here and there.

Any cheap tablet is good enough for pixels, I think. But if you do other kinds of digital art, a good tablet is worth it. Small tablets (A6) are good for any kind of work except large life-like drawing gestures.

Pixel Art / Re: [C+C] Mock up for a top down RPG
« on: November 22, 2014, 01:03:53 am »
I drew this as an exploration in styles

If you mean this is not the start of pixel art piece, fine. Because it is not pixel art!  ???
In case you thought it was, keep on reading ;)


It's what is called oekaki: sketching with a 1px pencil, with no regard for precise pixel placement. Nothing wrong with that as it has its own merits, it's just a different kind of art from what we study here.

For starters, it's waaaaaay too large: 900x900 is close to 1 million pixels, and you are supposed to control each and every one of them! Start with 100x100, you can easily spend a few hours refining that or even smaller ;)

Pixel Art / Re: [C+C]Looking for advice
« on: November 22, 2014, 12:54:29 am »
Draw from life, otherwise you'll always depend on somebody else doing the hardest part of the work (composition, perspective, light). Even more than that, you need to unlearn how you think things look like, and just look at them as if you had never seen them before and had no idea what they are. Only this will teach you how they do look like.

Using refs is great but should be restricted to getting info about how to draw things that are not readily available, not whole images to copy.

I think you're applying AA in an automatic sort of way, like a recipe: classic beginner mistake (no prob with that!)
There is actually only one criterion about AA and other pixel refining techniques: it has to look good (for AA, this means smooth).
You can only check that at 100 or 200%, the intended viewing size and the one where the viewer can see and appreciate at once the overall image AND the pixeling niceness (or brush or pencil strokes, in analog media). If you apply AA at the large zoom factor you're working at without checking at those lower scales, you'll only see the trees (pixels), not the forest (piece).
You'll have to either open 2 windows of the same image if your software allows it (one large to work and one small to check), or constantly zoom in and out, for almost every single pixel you place. Tedious, but there's no workaround.

For the animation, the only crit I'd have is the face (eyes + mouth) look disconnected from the body, because the 'wings' don't appear to move along with it. I have no idea how this could be done, because of the near absence of detail.

Pixel Art / Re: (WIP) Seeking advice/critiques
« on: November 22, 2014, 12:33:56 am »
I think the point of both color edits is to show you that your colors are too 'basic', in a mental kind of way, and thus neither realistic nor visually striking: you need to get rid of the 'grass is green, earth is brown, stone is grey' mind set.
Look at reference images, or actual nature and look at the true colors that are actually there, especially those which are 'at the edge' of perception, like blue/purple shadows.

You have 19 colors, the last one (grey) likely accidental as it covers one pixel only (I couldn't find where). A piece with that much detail can have 32 or more without shame (if needed, of course).

Your color ramps (greens, browns etc) have very little hue shifting, they are disconnected in both color space and pixel space. Also you should avoid the use of pure (or nearly pure) greys: stone is rarely neutral. There are no dark tones.

Think of your palette as an interconnected whole, and recycle colors throughout the piece. More about this here and there.

The composition is good, but it makes the tree more the focal point than the building, which kind of contradicts the color balance (and maybe your intentions): the viewers eye is a bit torn between both.

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