AuthorTopic: Would this be considered bad practice?  (Read 6246 times)

Offline 1ucas

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Would this be considered bad practice?

on: March 27, 2010, 09:39:13 pm
I've been thinking about this a lot, and I really don't know if this would be considered an issue.

Here's the deal: I want to create a pixel art animation, but what I have right now is traced over a very simple 3D model I created and rendered myself (POV-Ray source here). I tried to render it as neutrally as possible, since all I wanted were the shapes.
The render used a neutral lighting (directly at the top and bottom) so I would still have to figure out highlights and shadows myself on the final piece, and I also rendered the animation with only a simple rotation on the vertical axis, after the model was tilted a bit.

Here are the rendered frames:



After tracing the outlines over that, I animated a back and forth wobble by hand, which looks like this:



So, at this point, the animation looks really smooth and nice, and I'm really excited to work the actual pixel art on it. My plan is to have three light sources, a ray gun at the bottom and lots of other interesting details, so there's still 95% of the work to be done here.

Either way, the whole bit about tracing over the 3D render has been bothering me. I took as many measures as I could to avoid any computer-aided help, besides the actual shape of the saucer in each frame.

The issue with tracing is usually over existing works, which was not really the case here. Still, the 3D renders were computer generated, which might be considered cheating.

So, what would be the consensus?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2010, 10:24:01 pm by 1ucas »

Offline Red_Mist

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #1 on: March 27, 2010, 09:55:19 pm
Me and 1ucas talked about this a little in the chat room.

I think its a neat idea personally and find myself wanting to see more. Would really like to see a 3d walk cycle render turned into pixels :D
So the question is this cheating?
The subject kinda parallels this thread http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=7291.msg109226#msg109226

I dont think it really is cheating in my world and I'm sure alot of people will disagree.
Cheating is ripping someones work, modifying it or not, and calling it your own.
Cheating is also doing what 1ucas did, but with somebody elses render... but its his so I say no worries.
Curious to see what other people have to say about this.
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Offline Jad

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #2 on: March 27, 2010, 10:25:18 pm
So like I felt like cooking and most people in my hood make pasta, but I wanted to try sushi, am I cheating?

All I can say is rock on. It looks cool. Just be honest - trying to pass this off as planned hand animation would, of course, be dishonest and 'cheating' other people.

Also feel free to post art made with this technique in the forums, since it's a lot of work on the pixel level - if you're doing pure pixel art rendering then go go go, let us help with it. <3
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Offline Atnas

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #3 on: March 27, 2010, 10:33:49 pm
I used to think it was cheating and all that. I was silly. How is it cheating! : D It may not make you be like OK THREE DEE RENDER FROM HEAD TIME but not everything needs to be like that! you gotta just get what you wanna get done done sometimes.

And the important thing is that this is a pixel art forum and if you use 3d renders then it just means we can get all that repetitive l2dawr stuff outta the way and get down to the nitty pixely. this is good C:

Offline Mathias

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 04:36:05 am
No, it's great. You're achieved that familiar pixel aesthetic we all love. Like Jad says though, you just can't call it hand-rendered, which yes, pixel art is typically assumed to be, but doesn't have to be. You've essentially rotoscoped the animation - like when old cartoon animators would trace from life.

It's nearly impossible to hand-draw complicated 3D animations so your solution is logical. The downside is that all other animations in the same production better be on par with this saucer's smoothness or your graphics will look randomly piecemealed.

So, is it cheating? No, you're not claiming this work as being done through purist methods. The end-result is pixel art, you just used hi-tech means to get there.

Offline 9_6

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 12:30:05 pm
Of course you could build the house out of toothpicks but bricks are obviously the better choice.
Thinking in terms of "cheating" is just limiting yourself in the same way as thinking you need to cling to a certain "style" all the time.
You want to get the job done and not let some "rules" that everyone has their own interpretation of slow you down, right?
In the end of the day, it's the result that matters.

Now whether or not this actually is a bad practice is another thing.
I believe, it most likely is since the movement is already there and you won't learn how to plan it on a frame-by-frame level that way.

The subject kinda parallels this thread http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=7291.msg109226#msg109226
Except it doesn't in any way.
"Art theft" is a whole different story.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 12:35:30 pm by 9_6 »
Does scaling an image blur it?
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Offline 1ucas

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 01:00:00 pm
Now whether or not this actually is a bad practice is another thing.
I believe, it most likely is since the movement is already there and you won't learn how to plan it on a frame-by-frame level that way.

Well, the back and forth movement was animated by hand, at least. The only shortcut here is on the rotation of the saucer's shape in space. The way I see it, if I did it perfectly by hand I would get the exact same results as the 3D render (which is perfect). Since I'm aware I'm not that perfect, I'd probably spend a good portion of the project cleaning up outlines for a smooth animation (as close to that ideal one as I could), what would still be just the start of the entire project.

It just seemed like a waste of effort, and jumping all that tedious and long process of smoothing it out and getting straight to the pixel art part seemed like a good idea.

I still feel a bit bad about it, though. :P

Offline huZba

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 02:03:06 pm
This kind of things are perfectly fine if you're aware of what kind of hit it might have on the overall visuals of a game for example. Let's say you have hand made not-so-perfect character animations and then this 3D saucer guy. The perfection of the volume in the 3D saucer would really stand out, no? So you gotta make sure you use some trickery to make the aesthetic consistent, like Mathias pointed out.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 02:06:11 pm by huZba »

Offline 1ucas

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 02:26:01 pm
This kind of things are perfectly fine if you're aware of what kind of hit it might have on the overall visuals of a game for example. Let's say you have hand made not-so-perfect character animations and then this 3D saucer guy. The perfection of the volume in the 3D saucer would really stand out, no? So you gotta make sure you use some trickery to make the aesthetic consistent, like Mathias pointed out.


Yes, this makes a lot of sense. This piece, however, is a stand-alone and not part of anything in particular, so I guess it's not an issue here. But it is an interesting caveat to consider in applying this technique elsewhere.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 03:33:58 pm by 1ucas »

Offline Red_Mist

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 09:23:40 pm
The subject kinda parallels this thread http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=7291.msg109226#msg109226
Except it doesn't in any way.
"Art theft" is a whole different story.

I guess I worded that poorly,(I didnt mean the whole thread) If you follow the link, you can clearly see I was referring mostly to Helms quote.
to be honest I don't think much of it is tracing, just copying. Is that less bad?

And I agree with you completely that its not even close to the subject of stealing art... unless you were to take somebody elses 3d renders and pixel them, especially without permission...I believe there is minor commonalitys going on with what was discussed in topic 7291 and what is being discussed here in topic 10161
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Offline Conzeit

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 05:21:38 am
I think pixeljoint may not take this but I really dont think Pixelation will have an issue, just look at the low spec forum and Howard's topic...we're aware that the whole world isnt solely dedicated to pixelart and that's fine, really. I think it's a great way to study movements of the basic solids.

Personally the biggest issue I take with 3D software in general is how frames are just evenly spaced and they never play with using frame spacing to create anticipation...I think you've played with the differences of pixelart and 3D already, you could also try looking at what it looks like when removing some of the frames.

Offline 1ucas

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #11 on: March 30, 2010, 06:14:54 am
Personally the biggest issue I take with 3D software in general is how frames are just evenly spaced and they never play with using frame spacing to create anticipation...I think you've played with the differences of pixelart and 3D already, you could also try looking at what it looks like when removing some of the frames.

I also hate evenly spaced animation, and I cringe whenever I see any linear interpolation of movements. That's why I always use something else. I'm very fond of this little normalized equation to map the [0,1] interval into a basic slow in-out movement (actually, half a sine curve): sinē x*pi/2. Looks very natural, since it's basically half of a harmonic motion.

If you check the source code, you'll notice that I'm already avoiding that rigid rotation with something similar:  rotate 360*y*(clock+pow(sin(clock*pi/2),2))/2

This looks like this (red line):



But you know, removing a few frames might make it look more interesting, and it'll probably help me finish it sooner. I'll give it a shot.

Offline Vercingetorix

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 11:07:52 am
This definately springs to mind when reading this topic:
http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/info/15th_anniv/2d_dot/creation/index.php

I hate how in the build up to it's release so many people kept saying KOF XII's art was completely hand draw when technically it isn't - but the approach itself I found quite interesting & even clever.

personally I don't think I'd consider it cheating, a time saver perphaps but it hardly removes any need for some major skill on the artists part.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 11:09:23 am by Vercingetorix »

Offline The B.O.B.

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #13 on: March 31, 2010, 03:32:56 pm
I really think it's a pretty simple answer. To me, if the process in which it was done is pretty transparent, and artist isn't taking credit for someone else's art, it's ok. In this case, these type of tools can make whatever they want, however complicated they want, but the main point is in the end, does it truly have all the needed traits for great quality pixel art(or the media/style of art in question), and was it all done by the artist him or herself. When dealing with submissions, these are the things that are most important to me. I never much liked when artists used existing works, edited them, and called it their own; I think that is what most artists can't stand, whether it pertains to their favorite type of media, or not.
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Offline Mike

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Re: Would this be considered bad practice?

Reply #14 on: April 06, 2010, 09:29:51 pm
This definately springs to mind when reading this topic:
http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/info/15th_anniv/2d_dot/creation/index.php

I hate how in the build up to it's release so many people kept saying KOF XII's art was completely hand draw when technically it isn't - but the approach itself I found quite interesting & even clever.

personally I don't think I'd consider it cheating, a time saver perphaps but it hardly removes any need for some major skill on the artists part.



Gah I really don't like the finished result!!  If they just stopped when only a few colors were applied I think it would look better.  As they are in the final version there is banding everywhere!!

On the original topic, I would love to get into making animations by using a 3D model as a base.  I have a good eye for what looks cool and right but my actual skills with the pencil don't translate.