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Messages - SwapBrain
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General Discussion / Re: Official Off-Topic Thread
« on: November 01, 2010, 10:42:07 pm »
I seem to have very low patience with paper and pencil, which I find odd considering that I enjoy pixel art. With pixel art I can spend hours on a piece... however when I try to draw on paper I seem to want to get it over with as fast as possible. I rush through, I don't spend enough time cleaning up as I should, and I just don't seem to want to put the effort into it. It doesn't seem subconscious, but it seems like while I'm drawing I don't seem to want to put the effort into things like accurate lines, and I get bored fast.

IMO artists do three things that allow them to do what they do - the see things differently, they make decisions about what they will represent and how, and they translate those decisions through a medium.

Try switching up your 1)work-flow 2) your subject matter, or your 3)media for example:

1) Go find a good book on drawing, and re-start from the basics, if you sketch with line-art, try starting with mass or volume or value studies, and proceeding from there. You will likely make new connections or find it was your work-flow that was broken.

2) Grab a big sketch pad and head out, draw things you normally pass over, like one of R Crumb's things that he paid attention to was the power poles and electrical lines in his city images. It might just be that you are bored with your subject matter. Talk to/read about other artists and find out how they see the world.  There is a fantastic book about new drawing practice called 'Vitamin D - New Perspectives in Drawing" put out by Phaidon which is likely in your local bookstore - have a look. Also there are probably cheap, or depending on where you live free, open model drawing sessions - try attending one of those.

3) Switch to conte crayon, charcoal, graphite stick, or india ink, and wrestle with the medium a bit. It may be that your technique is too, well, technical. You may find, as I did, the you just seem to click with one (for me it was crow quill and india ink.)

Finally, a lesson from pixel art, use all of these things to start imposing restrictions on a drawing piece before hand - you may find that the structure of having certain decisions out of your hands re-invigorates your love of the process.

Also I tend to agree with 9_6 that while I do 'inspired'-feeling by seeing work that I like, it does tend to jam me up creatively.

Pixel Art / Re: [WIP] Prison tilemap
« on: October 31, 2010, 05:21:17 am »
Something you may want to check out for ideas are Piranesi's Prisons, not so much for overall structure necessarily, but the various details he uses to express the power of the prison:

Firstly, the work at the pixel level is impressive, or at least I like it.

Sorry if this sounds like the same rigmarole that you have been dealing with in the MC forums but: My first impressions of some of these tiles is that they all look like they were pictures taken on a cloudy day - and I suppose that works what with the mist and all, but it would be nice to see some of the tiles intended for outside use shifted a bit towards the yellow end of the spectrum. Even the reds all appear to be a bit cool.

But, the takeaway here should be that overall my feelings are positive.

Pixel Art / Re: Fable Hobbe (WIP) Working Again
« on: October 30, 2010, 06:17:05 pm »
Part of the issue here appears to be that you are shading every part independently rather than shading the whole image, which leads me to believe that you do not have the volumes involved firmly in mind. It might not be a bad idea to break this image down into three-dimensional shapes and do a 4-value gray scale study of just the volumes, then transfer what you find there back onto the image you are working on now, and then start coloring from there.

Overall i think the head-on pose that you have chosen is working against you because the volumes are hard to make out. I, for one, am not familiar with the character and so have no idea what the volumes might be, and have a hard time judging from your image.

Pixel Art / Compulsory Tree Tile
« on: October 30, 2010, 05:35:55 pm »
I started this as a way to work out some of my ideas about how to help people who post "Here is my tree - help!"

Understand that this has no context, no characters, no other tiles, and frankly I would not want to play a game with this tile, since there is soooooo much space obscured by it.

I tried to keep the color count down in the beginning, but got less concerned with that as time went on.  There are some AA/banding horrors and the contrast is regrettable.

All that said, this is still WIP, C&C welcome, edits even more so.

I am including wip stages so you can get a feel for its development. I have to say that while I miss some of the gestural qualities in the earlier picture, when I got down into the nuts and bolts of rendering I had a blast.

Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: sea monsters from outer space
« on: October 23, 2010, 11:29:00 pm »
Great update!

The perspective on the salamander's head seems off, and the pink highlights on the manta ray work, but should be broken up, in my opinion. I also have sortof a love-hate relationship with the catfish-slug. It seems like something is missing there, but I can't put my finger on it.

Pixel Art / Re: Critique on portrait
« on: October 23, 2010, 05:29:33 am »
Oh ya, what the hell is this?

S'funny - This is my first encounter with it's Japanese name, though I first came across this principle some time ago while reading a document on body language during interrogation. As with many things related to these schools of thought (happy feet, telephone pose, etc.,) it is hardly a hard and fast rule of course. Remember kids, it is the changes in body language, not the individual poses!

Anyway, the reason I point it out is that it is unusual for the 3 sides of the whites to be showing without shock, surprise, or if someone is looking up at you. In this case, you might be able to argue that last point depending on how the facial structure edits work out. The head may be bowed slightly, for instance.

Pixel Art / Re: Critique on portrait
« on: October 22, 2010, 05:11:18 pm »

My initial response is that even for anime facial structure, the cheekbone on the left is far far too low, and at the very least does not seem to match up with the cheekbone on the opposite side of the face (as indicated by the light/shadow). Also, based on my (extremely slapdash) edit, the eyes may be off-center. Lastly, I would reckon that you could lose some colors, although I myself am not particularly obsessed with low color counts.

From a content point-of-view, the facial expression is very creepy/generic anime. Yes I understand that he is a fun-loving and golden-hearted youthful ne'er-do-well, or something, but I think the style carries that baggage and not the facial expression, if you follow. A portrait is an opportunity for the character to interact with the viewer as a person, (not necessarily by staring directly at them, mind.) Here he seems to be the victim of those unfortunate photographs taken of people mid-word.

Finally, this person has 3 'sides' of the whites of his eyes showing. Look at the link below for a highly unscientific explanation to why this may be a concern.

All that said, there is much to like in this picture, and I hope my nitpicking is helpful.

Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: sea monsters from outer space
« on: October 22, 2010, 08:03:39 am »
I am really enjoying watching this develop.

crits on color choices (within a sprite, or if a sprite seems not to fit with the rest) are especially welcome.

An excessively nit-picky crit re: the sharkamander and the fellow above him is that the red highlight tends to make them seem more infernal than abysmal (so to speak).

In general, if I may say so, there is something less developed and refined about some of the more recent ones vs the first 3 especially. For instance, with top-lefty, you make some surprising color choices that are perhaps somewhat risky, but they pay off. I am talking here about the iridescent eyes and the dark green > light blue > yellow transition on his chest. The surface texture and volumes seem somewhat more varied on those first two especially as well. Lastly I think that some of the more recent ones could use more color variation, colored fringe on gills, creepy soft white underbellies, mottled flesh, that sort of thing. Refs would be more helpful here than I could be.

Also, I could just be full of bananas.

Finally I'd like to vote for a lamprey, goblin shark or a horseshoe crab. Those things are just creepy.

Pixel Art / Re: Need help w/Bright Color Characters [WIP]
« on: October 21, 2010, 10:29:51 pm »
on the off chance you have not see this already, using light to define what material an object is made out of is discussed briefly here:

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