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Messages - OriginalAdric
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Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: [WIP] Death Korps Portrait
« on: August 28, 2010, 01:54:25 pm »
Man, that looks a whole lot better with your edits. I always get blank-canvas syndrome when choosing colors, your paintover's given me a pretty good idea of how to get started on it now. I like the feel what adding the sketch on top does, even if it is starting to get away from that clean, controlled pixel art look.

I'll have to go thru the keyboards hotlist and take a look at what things I do most often. I like your suggestion of using the standard gaming controls for the main hotkeys. For people with tablets, putting your main controls on the tablet itself is a huge timesaver. I've got my Intuos' ExpressKeys set to Brush Size Up/Down, and History Step Fwd/Back; the pen's rocker switch is set to Alt for the forward switch (eyedropper with the brush tool), and the Hand/Pan tool with the back switch

I'll take a whack at cleaning this thing up a bit more and trying some new color combos, then post the results when I get the chance (today, I hope). Thanks for the advice.

Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: [WIP] Death Korps Portrait
« on: August 28, 2010, 06:40:03 am »
Thanks for the feedback.

I had hoped that I'd made myself clear as to why I (unconsciously) chose this way of working. Breaking the image into render layers, so to speak, gives a flexibility in editing that you can't get otherwise. I have to admit, the whole one-paint-layer business freaks me out. I can see why it works for doing single images, but for animation (which is the mindset with which i approach my work) it seems suicidal in comparison to breaking elements into layers. The actual movement part of animation doesn't take all that long in comparison to the time it takes to clean up and paint the image. To me, any means of making that easier and faster is going to more than make up for the initial setup cost.

The real "problem" I'm facing, though, is the color. I think the full shaded version is too muddy, but I'm relatively happy with the direction in which the flat-shade is going. However, color is a weak spot for me, and picking palette colors is difficult. Any advice or tips on punching up the color would be appreciated.

Pixel Art Feature Chest / GR#034 - Death Korps - Portrait
« on: August 28, 2010, 04:55:20 am »
I've got a bit of a backburner project I had some time to work on tonight, and I figured I could use some C+C to get a feel for how I'm going. I have what is probably considered an unorthodox workflow for pixel art, but I've got a background in animation and CG that leads me to favor things like shadow masks and multilayer compositing. I've split the process into multiple images to help clarify how I think about my work.

L1 is a down-rez'd scan of a sketch from my sketchbook. L2 is a cleanup done using a standard round brush tool and a Wacom tablet. In L3, I've broken the forms down into planes to use as reference for working out the shading. L4 is a WIP snapshot of doing a full clean on the lineart.

C1 is a continuation of the work from L3, working out the shading of the faces relative to their angle from the light source, irrespective of any shadowing or ambient occlusion. C2 is a lighting mask showing cast shadows, ambient occlusion, and ambient/reflected light. C3 is a flat color layer to block in the basic forms for painting. The colors in C3 are actually significantly darker and duller-looking than this image indicates because the layer uses the "Hard Light" blend mode.

This shows how the layers composite to create a flat-shaded image. The C2 light mask is set as a "Multiply" layer over top the C3 color map. (In this instance, C3 could be converted to a straight color layer without the Hard Light blend mode, but the reason for retaining that setting will be apparent in the full shaded image.) Finally, the L4 line art layer is multiplied over top of the color layers to finish the look. In the final artwork, there will be another color layer added over the line art as a clipping mask so that I can color the line art w/o having to go back with a single pixel brush.

This is the same image as the flat-shaded art, except that I have added the C1 shade map underneath the C2 color map. This adds an extra level of detail to the overall lighting effect of the image.

I realize that this setup is overkill for basic pixel art, but my reasoning is that I'm still trying to work out how I want the elements of the image to look, so by modularizing the different aspects of the image, I can alter some parts without having to re-do whole sections. Additionally, if I want to start animating stuff, this makes it very easy to flesh out the overall motion of a piece, then add in the light and shade without risking the original art.

The C+C I'm looking for mainly is about the aesthetics, but I'd love to hear what you think about *how* I'm working as well.

Pixel Art / Re: Rediscover
« on: August 23, 2010, 07:24:04 pm »
That's pretty sweet. The only crit that comes to mind is how his boots kinda fade into the background *and* the ground.

(also, is this for the games shop on spadina? that place is awesome!)

I don't know of any specific guides for pixel art walks. If you want to learn how to do walks, my biggest suggestion for resources would be The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams. The book is one of the best technical guides for animators. He talks a lot about how to approach thinking about doing walks, along with other physical performances. The other biggest resource would be your own time and dedication, and applying that to your art as much as you can.

Animation isn't one of those things that you can do well going from how-to's and guides alone. They'll get you started with the basic process, but to make it really pop, you have to understand both the mechanics (how) and psychology (why) of the movement. The only way to get to that point is to animate and think about animating.

That said, I'll try to break down the way I do walks.

I start by blocking in the extreme key frames (or just "extremes" for short). These are the absolutely crucial images which form the foundation of the animation. For a walk, these would be the stride and passing poses. The stride pose is when one foot is farthest out front, and the other is farthest out back. The passing pose is when one leg is directly under the body, and the other is lifted on its way forward. These poses generally define the highest/lowest bounds of how much the torso will travel up and down. At this point, if I'm just doing a mechanical walk (as opposed to an acted or "character" walk), I'll only block in the basic body shape and the legs. For an 8-frame walk, these would be positioned like this: [Frame 1: Passing, Frame 3: Stride, Frame 5: Passing, Frame 7: Stride] (The strides are not at 4 and 8 for a reason I'll explain shortly). Just getting the extremes down means I've roughed in half my animation already!

I then block in the Breakdown keys. These are also important story-telling frames, but they are not as foundationally necessary as the extremes. In something like an 8-frame walk, all of the frames end up being breakdown keys. Frames 4 and 8 form the Down position keys. When you walk, the stride is where you reach out to begin to catch yourself from falling. The "Down" position is the result of you catching yourself as you fall. The front leg goes from relatively straight to bending a bit as you transfer your weight onto it. Frames 2 and 6 don't have a specific name, but they are the keys where you determine how high the forward-traveling foot will lift before being planted in the Stride frame.

If you were doing more than 8-frames for your animation, you'd then move on to your in-betweens, which are just the filler drawings to complete the smooth motion from one key to the next. For simple or very mechanical motion, you may have one key every 6-12 frames, with a lot of inbetweens. For more complicated motion, you may end up having only a few, or even NO, in-betweens.

I've been glossing over it a bit, but as you're doing this, you should be making sure that the torso is moving up and down smoothly b/w the high and low points. In something as low-rez as the walk you're doing here, a 1-pixel shift is all you need.

So far, I've covered everything to get to where my paintover finishes. Once the basic torso and legs are done, you can go in and layer on torso twist, arm swings, head bobs, whatever. If you keep up the same Extremes/Breakdowns/InBetweens workflow, you should be able to tackle things more easily b/c you're breaking them down into manageable chunks instead of trying to do it all at once.

As a side note: don't animate with "finished" art. As you can see with my paintover, I'm just using broad shapes to get the motion down. Once everything is moving nicely, then you can go back, clean it up, and make it pretty. Trying to animate with full outlines/colors/shading just means you have to scrap more work when you need to fix it.

I've kinda trailed off b/c it's late and my brain is frying, so if any of this doesn't make sense, just ask and I'll post a response sometime tomorrow.

How do you do that stuff so quick. It takes me forever to make a walking state >.<

4 years of sweat, blood, tears, no showers, no sleep, and no social life. I have a bachelor's degree in animation from Sheridan College.

Walk cycles are a basic skill in learning to animate, but they're like so many things in art: a minute to learn, a lifetime to master. However, you don't need a fancy edumacation to be an awesome animator/artist/whatever, as long as you're willing to stick out the practice and always push yourself to improve.

Here's a quick paintover I did to demonstrate how a basic proper walk works w/ the legs and the bounce.

You can see that the torso goes down on the stride keys (b/c the legs are spread widest), and goes up on the passing keys (b/c all the weight is focused directly over the one supporting leg). I think it's pretty clear how much the proper weight livens up the walk, even w/o the arms. Also, I added a bit of rotation to the location of the hips to give it a bit more believability.

Not bad, but it could definitely use some work. As was pointed out earlier, the moving arms/legs look odd on a torso that doesn't move at all. When you walk, you're constantly falling and catching yourself, so there should be a bit of up/down bob to the torso as a whole. The timing in the loop seems a bit off. He brings his arm forward normally, then moves it back more quickly. You might want to pace the forward/back swing more evenly.

The legs don't move like walking legs would. It looks like you're animating the way you think a walk looks rather than how someone moves when they walk. They aren't extending their legs and pulling them under themselves, they're pushing off, falling forward, catching, pushing, falling, etc.

Pixel Art / Re: Warhammer 40K WIP
« on: August 22, 2010, 08:22:46 pm »
Thanks for the crit. I'm pretty confident with my technical ability, but my color theory and overall artistic sensibilities are areas where I think I need the most improvement.

Pixel Art / Re: Warhammer 40K WIP
« on: August 22, 2010, 08:14:53 pm »
I may do that in the future. The image was originally just going to be a still portrait shot, but I ended up adding the flames b/c I had a little extra time to kill and I wanted to try out some fx work.

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