AuthorTopic: OUTLINES: discussion  (Read 4162 times)

Offline xhunterko

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OUTLINES: discussion

on: May 14, 2010, 09:22:31 pm
Yep, it's that time again. So far, I've asked about animation and stlye, now it's outlines turn.

I know mr. Jad's (and a good number of people here) take on the use of lines/outlines on pixel art. I use them because, well, I generally suck at using color and everything else, but aside from that, mostly I think it's cause most commercial games use them.

I mean, look at 'em all! There are very few games that don't have an outline on the characters/objects that they do. So, I think, that's when a player decides to make his own, he instantly thinks that outlines are the only way to go to make it look good. Since every other game he's played has had outlines, his must have outlines too. Otherwise, it won't be "standard". Then they get here, post they're stuff, and everyone goes 'what the heck are you doing using outlines!!!!!'. I'm not using that as an excuse, mind you, just as analogy. (even though it mostly is accurate depiction of what i do here)

So, I'm just wondering what you all think about some things. When we played all those games as kids/young people, why did/do they all have outlines/black outlines on all/most of they're pixel art?
Why is it also, then, when we do something with outlines, (which is a habit that needs to be forcibly broken), that it looks better without them after all?

Also, what are you thoughts on the use of color vs outlines? Should they ever be used? And where should they be used if at all?

Offline Pawige

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 10:19:16 pm
It's all up to the particular artist and the piece he or she is working on. Asking whether outlines or no outlines are good or bad is like asking whether oil or acrylic paint is better. There's no superior option, they're just different. The reason you get the opposition to your outlines here in the forums is that the basic structure and form is not good. You can do anything with your outlines you want, but if the underlying sprite is not good, changing the outlines will have no effect.

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #2 on: May 14, 2010, 10:31:50 pm
The problem arises when you are working on such a small format that outlines do nothing but clutter your pixel space. In your thread, reo made a very good edit that wasn't completely devoid of outline- but more attention was paid to the major light shapes.

You can use outlines, but honestly the advice artists have given to eliminate outlines is usually given to artists that don't exibit a piece of pixel art that uses outlines well. It's not just an all across the board hate for outlines.

Offline Arne

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #3 on: May 14, 2010, 11:21:47 pm
I like to use them where contrast/separation is needed. If the sprite is small, then lines can be wasting space. With a black backgrounds, the silhouette of the figure will read without black/dark outlines. In the case of grass or sky backgrounds, an outline can be quite useful, but I think it's a trap to think that they need to be added around all things just for consistency. If the contrast between two shapes is enough to separate them, I'd strongly consider omitting the line.

Also, I might omit a line under the feet of the character since it lines near ground contact parts can make things look floaty and cut-out. I'd also do lost lines in other situations. The top of the sprite, gun muzzles, boob cleavages, etc.

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #4 on: May 15, 2010, 11:18:22 am
outlines are for creating contrast where there are none.
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Offline 7321551

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #5 on: May 15, 2010, 01:35:46 pm
Any examples? Examples that would clearly be worse without outlines?

Offline Gil

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #6 on: May 15, 2010, 04:16:28 pm
I like outlines on the outsides, but none or few on the inside. Something like this maybe?

Offline xhunterko

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #7 on: May 15, 2010, 04:30:31 pm
Most likely what gil has posted.

But where you talking about commercial games?

A few names for starters:
Megaman, Megaman X, Mario, and the early Final Fantasy sprite come to mind.

I was going to say street fighter, but that's only cause I thought tsugomu had outlines on his fighter sprite tutorial.

Offline 7321551

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 02:29:18 am
Thanks Gil, nice example. I had in mind a comparison - emphasis on examples that would "clearly be worse without outlines".

I needed an appropriate environment so I used this nice mockup by Vierbit (thankyou, PM me if you want it removed)


All I did was remove the outline, which caused him to lose a lot of weight. Also, the environment lacks outlines, which might make the character seem incongruous (although outlines being limited to characters isn't unusual)

I'll reserve my judgment for an additional post, but clearly both look alright. What do others think?

commercial games?
Nah, not necessarily commercial games. I wouldn't hold up a design choice as ideal just because it was in a commercial game - or even a popular one.

Offline Dusty

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Re: OUTLINES: discussion

Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 03:00:36 am
I find myself fighting to see the character in the second mockup. It might not be very hard(due to the highly saturated blue), though, but it's definitely easier to recognize the character in the first one.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 03:02:26 am by Dusty »