AuthorTopic: Things to practice  (Read 2930 times)

Offline lithander

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Things to practice

on: June 07, 2010, 03:05:29 pm
My next personal project is quite ambitious and I'd like to sharpen my pixel-skills before I start with it and get frustrated with myself. You guys always try so hard to give helpful critizism and I'm sure I have a lot to learn so please follow my learning and give me a nudge in the right directions.

I did this apple today at work in the forced breaks when I had code to rebuild.



I'm gonna add to this thread when I got new stuff. Any suggestions what I should try to pixel next?

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #1 on: June 07, 2010, 03:14:26 pm
A tree. It's simple but complicated enough to be a challenge.
Photocopier: the fact that arne can also code so well
Photocopier: is horrificly unfair

Offline lithander

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #2 on: June 07, 2010, 08:26:25 pm
I did a tree a couple of days ago in reply to this thread.



But I guess I could do better now that I see it again! :)

Offline lithander

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #3 on: June 11, 2010, 05:16:45 pm
I tried to do another tree. And pretty much failed...

1st version after maybe 20 minutes:



and then I "refined" it and made it worse and the real problem for me is that I don't exactly understand why it looks worse then the first version. I mean there are less pixels then leaves on a decent tree - how am I supposed to pixel branches and leaves?



Also, you might not see it but the perspective is meant to have a 45 angle (whatever the correct term for that is) but all two versions of the tree (just like the first one post above) look flat and as if viewed from a much lower angle.

Critizism and tips very welcome. Don't restrain yourself - i have no feelings towards this tree and my artistic skills in general that you could hurt! :)

Offline Tourist

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 02:29:16 am
You inspired me to try a tree.  It was terrible. 

So I went to the local library and found a book 'The Oil Painter's Guide to Painting Trees.'   The author shows a series of different trees.  For each there is a photo of a tree followed by a painting based on the photo, and some discussion of tricky elements and the choices the artist made.  The book is only ok, I wouldn't recommend buying it, but you could see if your local library has something similar.

Here is what I've picked up so far:
  • If the leaves are smaller than a single pixel, then don't try and pixel single leaves.  Instead pixel clumps of leaves (masses, clusters, etc).
  • You probably don't need to use so many colors.  While real trees have a great variety of colors in the foliage, with an image so small you only need to convey the idea of a tree, so 3-4 colors is fine.
  • Different types of trees have very different shapes.  For a generic tree the clumps of leaves might look like green cloud shapes.  Sort of. 
  • When viewed from the side, many trees have lots of branches visible and gaps where the background can be seen.  This is probably less so when viewed from above.

Hope this helps,
Tourist

Offline lithander

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 11:54:38 pm
Time for another *drumm roll* tree... right...



Tourist is correct of course: There's no point in trying to pixel individual leaves and plenty branches. So this time I tried to be a more abstract and capture the "essence" of a tree instead of using a lot of leaf-pixels and branch pixels and hoping for the sum of it to become a tree.

Also I cheated and used a trick to get better shading: I started with creating a green sphere with decent lighting. Used like 6 colors. No dithering. Then I build a treetop by just copy and pasting that base sphere a couple of times into a new image. Then I pixeled a trunk under it. Lastly I blended the spheres together, got rid of seems etc and applied dithering to make it look more rough and hint at all the little leaves that are there sub-pixel-sized.

I think I improved but again C&C is very welcome.

Offline ErekT

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 12:56:47 am
The way you shade your trunks right now gives the impression you're viewing them from the side and pointing a flashlight at them; trunks shouldn't get that much light because they have foilage directly above them. I think that's mainly what messes with your 45 angle. I like the way your new tree is going, but you might want to try messing the spheres up some more and make their sizes different from each other to remove the manicured look.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 01:00:14 am by ErekT »

Offline Tourist

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Re: Things to practice

Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010, 01:41:04 am
I think this is a big improvement over the previous tree.  The next step is to get rid of the gumballs  - make the leaves less regular.

Quick and dirty edit using your trunk.  Scribbled a bunch of pixels with a 1 pixel brush, using your spheres and the reference pic to come up with shapes.  Also used fewer colors.  This could be cleaned up a lot, I wanted to show where you could go with this kind of thing.  Also the gaps in the leaves seem to add something.



As a side note, a good type of tree to search for a generic tree with lots of leaves is maple.  That's what is in the edit above.  Also, 'deciduous trees' returns some good results.

Hope this helps,
Tourist