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Messages - PixelPiledriver
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Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: [WIP] need help with pixel character
« on: March 18, 2012, 02:22:52 am »

I'm a huge fan of River City Ransom.
It's a great game and the Technos style characters have a lot of charm.
But by following their design so closely you are also picking up a lot of the weaker elements.

RiverCity characters are very crunched, to the point they appear to be hugging themselves.
Try adding a bit of volume and perspective by separating the different parts of his body.

An easy way to test the compactness of your sprite is to overlay each major piece with a box.
This will allow you to measure and adjust the amount of overlap:

However it's also cool to match the style verbatim if your intention is to be as retro as possible.

Here's how I work with Indexed colors in GraphicsGale.

Start a new file and draw some stuff.
This is your dude:

Then you'll want to put your image into an Indexed color mode:

If you select a color and edit it with the color sliders it will change the color anywhere it is used in the image:

But this will act as the palette for the entire animation.
So let's set an option that allows each frame of animation to use its own palette:

Now add some new frames:

I like to use the Hotkeys:
1 - Copy frame
2 - Paste frame to the right
They are simple and accessible. But it's up to you.

Now when you edit colors they will be isolated per frame:

More Hotkeys:
Q - Previous frame
E - Next frame
That way we can jump between them quickly.

The preview window will be flashing all of the color palettes like crazy.
If you find the Preview window annoying you can pause it:

Save your work. Make a backup. Eat a sandwich.
When you're done if you really want to see them side by side you have to change back the color mode:

Then export the frames:

and you'll get an image like this:

A lot of the UI shown has been edited to be more compact.
It will look similar but not exactly the same in GraphicsGale.
You can start drawing in one of the Index Color modes right from the start if you like.

Why are you bombarding him with all that complicated, unnecessary stuff? This is pretty scary for a newbie you know.
Knowing more stuff can never hurt you.
I'm a graphics programmer doing dev work on games so I'm able to elaborate on such topics.
I was more responding to this sort of side conversation:

I would hope I wouldn't have to change the tint for every level.
Of course, most game engines will easily allow you to tint your sprites through code anyway, so you actually *could* tint your sprites to match their environment if you wanted to.

rather than offering an art process solution to working with his sprites.
Just sharing some info on what is possible.

Please do!
Cool. I'm actually rather sick so it'll take me a bit to put it together.

Depending on the hardware some games do actually run on an Color Table or Index based graphics engine.
But it is not necessary to run in an indexed color mode (some graphics APIs such as OpenGL give you the option) as you can write your own code to handle color palettes.

You can totally alter image data using Pixel Shaders:

Many different effects can be achieved including palette swaps.
How you write the Shader to handle the color swap is very flexible.
The data can be passed in as RGBA values or you could pass in a tiny texture that has your palette of choice lined up.
Then using some simple index math you can access each of the colors as if it were an array.
Conceptually it would be something like this:

But really you could pass in a texture with a single pixel of each color (I've made a 2x2 just for a bit more clarity):

So now that you have a base table if you pass in another palette as a texture:

you can compare them and make the color swaps inside the shader.
This is HLSL code:

float4 ColorSwap(InStruct data) : COLOR  <-------- Pixel Shader function signature
  float4 color = tex2D(image, data.texel);  <-------- Get the image data of the current texel

  if(color == colorTable1(0))                    <-------- Compare current texel color to the "Base" Color Table's index 0
    color = colorTable2(0);                        <-------- Swap the current texel color to the new Color Table's index 0

  if(color == colorTable1(1))                    <-------- Compare current texel color to the "Base" Color Table's index 1
    color = colorTable2(1);                        <-------- Swap the current texel color to the new Color Table's index 1

  .....for each index......

  return color;                                       <-------- Set the current texel color to be drawn

Of course if you're looking to do something like this it requires some prerequisites:
- C and C++ coding knowledge
- DirectX, OpenGL or some other graphics API
- HLSL or GLSL or other Shading language
- Basic game engine

If you are not a coder some of the more "Game Maker" type programs also support Shaders.
I know that MultimediaFuison2 HWA does. Not sure what other programs do.
There is a few decent packs of Shaders that you can download for MMF2.
But if you want to make your own you'd have to learn HLSL or some similar shading language.

I want to do another post about how to do quick palette swaps in Graphics Gale.
But I'm off to eat lunch.

Pixel Art / Re: Prehistoric Hunt
« on: March 15, 2012, 11:20:51 pm »

You've got a handful of tangents.
Tangents are when parts of an image align or nearly align, causing them appear to "interact" when not intended to.
This is usually considered unintentional if the 2 elements exist in different perspective planes.
It is distracting to the flow and space of the image.

A classic example of Tangent:

and the full image:

You can however use Tangents intentionally to create focal points. So don't just assume that they are all bad and avoid them for your entire life.
They aren't even that big of a deal. But if you can weed out unintentional tangents you will have much more control over the flow of your image.
There might be a few more lurking about but these jumped out as being the most damaging.

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] Gnome Walking animation
« on: March 15, 2012, 10:52:27 am »

There are many different things you can consider when making animation.
This is commonly how animation is taught:

However it is not necessary that you use all of the principles in every animation that you make.
It is better to focus on a few at a time and practice them.

I know that you said you are happy with your design.
However I felt compelled to add the hat and arms to illustrate follow through and secondary animation.
Just adding a few simple props will give you more to play with and helps bring the character to life when he moves.

Comparison is one of the most powerful art tools.
Save multiple files as you work and always check against your previous version.
Keep what is good, and continue to rework what is not.

Typically you won't bake particle effects into an animation.
It is much more flexible to do particles code side, but its fun to pencil some in to get an idea of what you want them to look like.

Have fun, try different stuff, and just go for it!

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] Things That Are Not Lizard People
« on: March 13, 2012, 04:25:14 am »

Took a stab at making this character more reptilian.
May be a bit more iconic than what you are going for.
Also yours gives off a female vibe, which my edit does not help at all.
Sorry bout that!

2D & 3D / Re: Official OT-Creativity Thread 2
« on: December 21, 2010, 11:47:58 pm »
nice! :o thanks Helm. thats really useful.

So I just completed my first semester of an RTIS degree. In game class we had to dev a small project by ourselves using a pre-built engine and function libraries. so i made:

For me part of making games is letting other people play them. And hopefully they enjoy it.
But legally I am unable to distribute the game publicly. However I can share it with friends and family in a private manner.
I have a small presence on this board but I'd still consider you guys friends, so it should be all good.

I can't post the link directly. If anyone is interested in playing the game send me a PM and I will send you the link. if not no biggie. :(
Feel free to give + and - feedback. tho the game is complete and turned in I could use comments to make my next game better.
Dev time was 6-8 weeks (with plenty of other homework to do). Some bugs still exist.

enjoy!  :)

2D & 3D / Re: Official OT-Creativity Thread 2
« on: December 21, 2010, 10:10:17 pm »
oops! forgot to mention. yes that's Photoshop stuff.
you can open 2 of the same image? in Photoshop CS3 or above? Trying now and doesn't seem to work unless I'm missing something.
unless you mean in windows or something else?
Teach me Helm!

2D & 3D / Re: Official OT-Creativity Thread 2
« on: December 21, 2010, 09:50:34 pm »
agreed. Cintiq is a bit off color. Sometimes to the point where I see no difference between two colors at all.
To overcome that I:
1. Create a Smart Object from all layers.
2. Edit the SM by double clicking. This opens a 2nd window.
3. Leave the original window on your monitor. Drag the SM window to your Cintiq.
4. Draw some stuff.
5. Hit your 'save' hotkey.
6. The original will be updated.
7. Compare and continue.

That way you can see both at the same time without having to move the window back and forth.
I suggest you don't return it. I've really enjoyed mine. :) but its your call.

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