AuthorTopic: Cartoony? give me a break  (Read 9964 times)

Offline Conzeit

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Cartoony? give me a break

on: May 03, 2006, 11:29:09 pm
http://www.gamasutra.com/upload/features/20060417/sondergaard_01.shtml

it's like he's saying all what I want to say for me.

This should be a good guide for C&Cing and make a good discussion piece.

Offline goat

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #1 on: May 04, 2006, 01:12:02 am
I read that when it was fairly recent, and sent it to all my friends at school, and we all laughed at how completely crappy it is. 

All art is an abstraction the second you translate it to its medium.  Thinking of realism, fantasy, and style in those terms leads to quantification of intangible concepts, which is misleading IMO.

Not to mention, it doesn't seem like an article that was actually designed to "help" anything.  It seems like most reactions would either be "well, duh" or "bzzt, wrong!"  On the other hand, that makes it designed to spark debate.  Scintillating conversation awaits!
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Offline Helm

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #2 on: May 04, 2006, 01:17:18 am
I didn't read all of that because it was written badly. But the first page that I did read, I don't follow you, goat. In the sense I understand what you're saying, of course I agree, and representation is abstractive, as is trying to communicate an already disparate idea through any medium, artistic or otherwise. He [the author of that piece] wasn't discussing on such a bare level, but a few ones higher.

What you're saying doesn't invalidate the usefulness of more fully catalogued steps between the opposing ends of attempted realism/abstraction.

Offline goat

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #3 on: May 04, 2006, 01:38:33 am
I take exception to the suggestion that they oppose, I think they can coexist without compromising 50/50 or 70/30, and I'd say that many of the examples he gives support the coexistance of both better than any sliding rule he imposes.  My standpoint is one that opens up the boundaries of cartoony and realistic art.

Maybe it all depends on background and practice.  The way I do things, it all stems from the same process, and the difference between a "realistic" piece and a cartoony one is at which point in certain stages I decide to move ahead to the next step (shading before anatomically correct linework is finished, etc).

edit: I know the third point in the pyramid kinda mitigates that a little, but it's ambiguous.  Fantasy can be boiled down to abstract/unrealistic elements that are placed in a context and executed in a manner in which be believe it is "real".  Any visual representation of artistic style that relies on every piece of art ever made falling within a set of boundaries doesn't feel right on a very basic level for me :p
« Last Edit: May 04, 2006, 01:47:24 am by goat »
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Offline Conzeit

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #4 on: May 04, 2006, 02:14:23 am
I take exception to the suggestion that they oppose, I think they can coexist without compromising 50/50 or 70/30, and I'd say that many of the examples he gives support the coexistance of both better than any sliding rule he imposes.  My standpoint is one that opens up the boundaries of cartoony and realistic art.

Maybe it all depends on background and practice.  The way I do things, it all stems from the same process, and the difference between a "realistic" piece and a cartoony one is at which point in certain stages I decide to move ahead to the next step (shading before anatomically correct linework is finished, etc).

edit: I know the third point in the pyramid kinda mitigates that a little, but it's ambiguous.  Fantasy can be boiled down to abstract/unrealistic elements that are placed in a context and executed in a manner in which be believe it is "real".  Any visual representation of artistic style that relies on every piece of art ever made falling within a set of boundaries doesn't feel right on a very basic level for me :p

heheh.

I'm not...proposing this as a way to see art, or some kind of intrincate way to analyze it, just a step up from the usual cartoon/realism cataloguing we do here.

it's not a piece of genius, but it'd make for better discussion when someone goes "this piece is cartoony" when they want to avoid an anatomical error, so that it can be argued with a little more depth.

Offline goat

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #5 on: May 04, 2006, 02:19:42 am
Oh yeah, I definitely hear ya.  I just read your post as a prompt to post our two cents, so I threw in about five.
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Offline Helm

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #6 on: May 04, 2006, 05:15:55 am
Oh I see, and I agree with you both. I don't like style as an excuse, although I probably do a hell of a lot more of this myself than I'd like to admit, and when an artist uses it as a shield against critique it's just sad most of the time. That being said, there's tech critique (on this board, pixel art tech) and there's style critique. The latter isn't my biggest concern when I at least critique here, and I try to encourage other people to help each other with techniques more than they just discuss how things look and how they could look, mostly because there's a million places to go for style critique (from eatpoo, right down to asking your dad or something) but as far as I know this is the only hardcore pixel tech critiquing place around. People come when they want to learn pixel gameart, dithering, aa, selouts, pixel-art-related color theory, palette management and the like... you know, the tech. This is good. We're keeping the medium alive and self-informed. This is why I usually don't go too much into anatomy and construction and the like in critique. I might mention, but it's secondary stuff to the pixel.

About cartoony being just a variation of your realistic proccess, goat: I have to disagree. I know how to draw a human face semi-coherently and signify a lot more than just the basic symbolic information about it (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, even 'happy face' or 'sad face') and still sometimes in design I make conscious decisions to alter my usually-realistic approach, tint it with a different rule set that one would say is 'cartoony' or whatnot. It's not just 'lazy lineart that managed to live up to rendering'. At least not always. These things are always blurred.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #7 on: May 04, 2006, 10:15:16 am
im dont see this piece as attempting to describe the process, but more the end result, though even then im not sre i agree with it.  a solid foundadtion in tradional studies and realism is imperative no matter what type of art you create. i believe that there is realism, and then there is simplification and stylization, both of which being inherint in the artistic process.  the difference between abstract and iconic is nonexistant, people simply recognize some abstractions better than others.  if i were to make a face with 5 strokes of a brush, that would be considered stylized abstraction.  if those 5 storkes happened to be two small slashes a horizontal line and a circle around them though, that would make it iconic, and not abstract?  the difference to me is in popular recognition of the abstraction and nothing else.
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Offline big brother

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #8 on: May 04, 2006, 03:38:50 pm
In the picture plane, I'm not sure why abstraction, reality, and iconic interpretations are positioned in an equidistant formation. I would propose the realism and iconography both vie for the viewer's instant recognition (just in a different way), while abstraction focuses less on subject to emphasize the design mechanic.

In fact, I would argue that the iconic and the abstract can exist more as a Roland Barthes-esque spectacle than the realistic model can imply (due to its inherent constraints).

Once the writer delves into specific traits of the system, he succumbs to the fallacies of over-categorization. His lack of a trained eye becomes especially noticeable in his description of the "enhanced realism" label. Simply by the inclusion of "different combinations of the above" on his "new set of categories", he destroys the differentiation that could make the model plausible.

Of course, the Junior HS level writing ability also detracts from his credibility.

At least he thought about it enough to attempt an article.

Offline Helm

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #9 on: May 04, 2006, 09:19:43 pm
Symbolism isn't 'against' realism. A symbol is when you use one thing to say another (how's that for HS level of writing? I rock) and has very little to do with how you render said thing, really. Icons are also yes, socially mutable and therefore very difficult to approach and codify in such a rigid format. But since he's borrowing from Scott McCloud, do read Understanding Comics for the full model of the triangle, which is quite useful as far as representational sequental storytelling goes. Can it be applied to game art? Probably, although it takes a bit more of skill than that author posesses or put to use. Art, generally? not so much.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #10 on: May 04, 2006, 10:49:56 pm
there are 2 meaning of symbolism here, first using something to actually symbolize another, like a dead rose represents lost love etc etc., where the other symbolism is when students learn representational concepts that help them to visualize (though in my mind ultimately lead to failure if proper techniques are not learned because an eye is not a football and birds' wings are not V marks, though it is usefull to help beginners)
when a person begins to use symbols (icons) in their work, it can as i said be useful to beginners, but i think it should be discouraged EVEN AS A STYLE POINT.  When a person uses icons, widely recognized abstrations, they cease to draw actual things and being to focus on the chosen icon.  The a terrible but common happening related to iconic usage is that people draw 'their own' DBZ characters /sailor moon/ gundam and what have you for years without learning.  Again, i really do believe that one cannot attain success without first beginning with observation from life and then proceding to represent life through their own experiences.  icons are for people who do not wish to truely delve into representational expression by personally simplifying what they see or dream in a way that is true to them or the person their movement.

as far as this chart is concerned, i think it would be more accurately represented by realism on the left (with hyper/photorealism in the corner) and with representation on right (with extremely simplified and cartoony work in the corner).  The top part of the rectangle would be that which is tangeble and the lower regions that which is purely imagined or sense by some other meathod than worldly preception.
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Offline Helm

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #11 on: May 04, 2006, 10:56:06 pm
You're using some of the terminology wrongly, I guess. Symbols are other things. Icons are other things. They share some characteristics but they're not the same. The 'other use' of symbolism you speak of is your own invention really, and I don't mind to go along with it, just as long as we don't get confused. When pelople learn to draw and they first use abstractions like 'a face is eye, eye, nose, mouth, in a circle. Face!' this isn't symbolism. Symbolism is a very concrete literary and artistic methodology.

Offline goat

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #12 on: May 04, 2006, 10:57:15 pm
Quote from: The sexiest man alive
About cartoony being just a variation of your realistic proccess, goat: I have to disagree. I know how to draw a human face semi-coherently and signify a lot more than just the basic symbolic information about it (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, even 'happy face' or 'sad face') and still sometimes in design I make conscious decisions to alter my usually-realistic approach, tint it with a different rule set that one would say is 'cartoony' or whatnot. It's not just 'lazy lineart that managed to live up to rendering'. At least not always. These things are always blurred.

Much like the slight disagreements in the perceived usefulness of this article, I think our disagreement stems mostly from differences in personal process (which is cool, it's nice to gain insight into another artist's process) and partially from the fact that I always use the wrong terms for everything (which is cool, because it causes me a lot of unnecessary grief.. doh).  I don't consider cartoony as part of its own independent process.  I do, however, consider the summation of shapes and colors to imply significant details to be a part of abstraction, and I incorporate it to varying degrees in both "cartoony" and "realistic" art.  The nature of my process is so additive that a piece that ends up looking more "realistic" (quotes because I don't typically have the patience for photorealism, plus it bores me) looks like a cartoon five hours before it's done.  

Perhaps if the way you do things is to push a finalized look sooner, and then revise it (a lot of pixel artists work this way) then cartoony-realistic requires an immediate conscious choice of action before you even start drawing.  Conversely, there are several pieces that I do in which I slip into "comfort mode" and due to experience with the subject matter I can skip several steps of said process. 

EDIT: 2 replies got posted before I hit submit :X sneaky effers

For the sake of this discussion I'm assuming the artist already has a solid foundations background and is capable of producing a level of fidelity in art that would be considered "realistic", therefore not using style or abstraction as a crutch.  For a developing artist looking to improve their skills, the rules get turned upside down.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2006, 11:04:40 pm by goat »
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Offline Helm

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #13 on: May 04, 2006, 11:07:34 pm
Yes. Probably different methodologies because I start out to make something realistic, or I start out to make it MORE than realistic (naturalism) or I start out to make something else than realistic. Whether I manage or not is besides the point. For me at least it's not just 'when I stop rendering it tells me what it is'.

And now a picture of a majestic goat.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #14 on: May 04, 2006, 11:39:29 pm
i think the problem is not improper use, but overlapping definitions.  i wont guarantee that ive used everything corretly, we all make mistakes, but doesnt it seem a bit concieted to assume that you know all the uses for a term, and that anything else must be wrong? 

I certainly have not 'invented' the idea of teaching symbols (icons), its a practice taught as a part of rudementary art education and the term is common, though it is not the one you are used to using (you call it an icon, or use the broader term abstraction, which in this case is the same thing as a symbol, but in other cases as you said, not).  My whole point is that there are multiple uses for the same term.  The term symbol can be used to describe an icon, OR it can be used to describe anything concrete that symbolizes the abstract (same definition as used in leterature), and there may be more working uses that im not thinking of at the moment.  A smiley-face  symbol does not necessarily symbolize anything (though it certainly can), yet it is what is refered to as a symbol (icon).

i will call them icons from now on, to avoid further confusion, but i would like to say there is no quicker way to end a discussion than to tell somebody they are wrong.  simply because something has a concrete definition does not mean it is the only one used.  is not a stone both an object and a measurement? is not a stilus both a spear and a pen?  when people have learned a great deal, ive noticed they can fall victim to believeing they have learned everything, and that inhibits further learning.  if you dont believe me, talk to a professor of any subject and try to tell them about something new :P

As far as methodologies are concerned, i believe the abstract and fantastic comes only from that which is can be percieved, and the strongest foundation for perception comes from life. 

@ Helm, im not sure what you mean by more than realistic; naturalism is realism in the extreme, but you cannot be more 'realistic' than what is real, or else you are imposing your mental perceptions onto the subject to actually make something that becomes an very detailed abstraction.  perhaps your realistic is really representative, and your more than realistic simply realism?
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Offline Helm

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #15 on: May 04, 2006, 11:56:59 pm
Adarias, sorry if I came off conceited or in I MUST SHUT THIS DOWN mode. I did not want this, as this conversation is interesting to me. I guess I should preface everything I say with a hefty dose of 'my opinion is just an opinion, I don't believe I'm right' (in fact I have a strong case of.. epistemological dispondency which doesn't allow me to toy with the concept of being 'right' at all anyway. We are all equally wrong!). When I said you used the term wrongly (which was in retrospect... wrong :P) I ment that it does not follow with the most popular use of 'symbolism' within the context of history of art and art theory. Not a case of stone versus stone. And anyway I am prepared to use any language you like as long as we both understand more or less what the words stand for.

More than reality: I mean when you look at something, your eyes have finite focus and finite viewpoint range and finite spatial coverage etc. When you look at a tree you see the foliage as you do, but naturalistic art as in sitting down and drawing every individual vein on the leaves and every bit of cracked bark and so on, bending light and construction 'rules' of reality to give a picture that is seems much fuller than what you gather in a single gaze from reality.

Offline goat

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #16 on: May 05, 2006, 04:08:29 pm
Yarr, I usually think of naturalism in terms of rendering details that are normally obscured by distance, atmosphere, and lighting.  I also hear it referred to as "hyper-realism" by some.  More or less what Helm said.
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Offline Rox

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #17 on: May 05, 2006, 06:26:49 pm
That article told me absolutely nothing... and this thread makes my head hurt.


Just thought I'd say that.

Offline Turbo

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #18 on: May 05, 2006, 06:51:40 pm
I'd never read or even heard of anything that tried to catalog each "art style" in terms of realism, iconic, abstract, etc, and this article did a great job in summing it up. Food for thought in the future, i rather enjoyed it. (And badly written? why?)
I had a few intuitive notions of these concepts, but i think it's relevant and important to have a categorization of  them. Maybe it will help artists who are trying to reach a certain style but are stuck on another, or maybe it will help to mix the styles (reach the middle of the triangle :)). Maybe it will do none of these things, but it's nice to have it nonetheless.

And it was easier to read than this thread! (because it had pictures perhaps?)

Offline snake

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #19 on: May 05, 2006, 11:10:21 pm
A teacher once told *my* teacher: You have to know realism before you can make abstractions.

All manners of art are abstractions and are all based on realistic principles. Think about a walksycle. Caricatures. Art needs to make sense in order to be interpreted.

Personally, I don't like to lock art-style into a set of rules as I feel it limits my way of thinking creatively. The way art looks depends on the message you want to show your observer.

Now, discussing why people go blindly for realistic graphics and think that anyting with a more abstract or stylized look is childish is an entirely different discussion alltogether.

Offline Rox

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #20 on: May 06, 2006, 09:15:42 am
Answering that question should be easy. Mostly, I think it's because the majority of everything we do, is realistic. I mean, we obviously life in the real life. Most everything we see on TV was made using real life people and objects. Most things that don't, are intended for a younger audience, or are very stylized in themselves. It's natural to transfer that into the game world as well. Besides, it's always been harder to make something super-realistic rather than stylized, and everyone likes a challenge.

People strive for realism because we like things to be real. If nothing else, it at least helps a lot with the immersion.

Offline Xion

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #21 on: May 06, 2006, 08:57:02 pm
Quote
You have to know realism before you can make abstractions.
Completely agreed.

As for why we go for realism, It's because realism is perfection, and it is in our nature to strive for perfection. Would we as humans really be so efficient if we were just stick people, or would the world look so beautiful if it was pillowshaded? Would our planet be so navigatable if it were made like "Rez," and would certain actions be possible if we were built like the people of Katamari Damacy? No, the world works because it is stylized into a state which we call realistic, and since the world cannot work in any other style, it is perfect.

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #22 on: May 07, 2006, 12:15:20 am

Quote
As for why we go for realism, It's because realism is perfection, and it is in our nature to strive for perfection. Would we as humans really be so efficient if we were just stick people, or would the world look so beautiful if it was pillowshaded? Would our planet be so navigatable if it were made like "Rez," and would certain actions be possible if we were built like the people of Katamari Damacy? No, the world works because it is stylized into a state which we call realistic, and since the world cannot work in any other style, it is perfect.
heh,
If anything were different in the reality, the difference would not be seen as un-normal but rather expected.
Whatever is, is natural in it's existence, and the perception and reactions to it would be normal with their unique conditions.
Also, if one fantacizes of a specific change in reality, it would be realistic to think about how one change would change other things aswell because if this isn't taken into consideration, the aspects of change itself are also changed and well, things get pretty messed up after that I'd think.
o_O

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #23 on: May 07, 2006, 02:23:35 am
actually i have to disagree; while i think that skill can come only from perception and observation, i think that we strive for style because reality can totally suck.  people like style because if they wanted to see something real, they wouldnt be sitting down looking at art :P

just to cover my ass, i also appreciate naturalism as the most honest of art forms, and also one of the most difficult to master, as it requires making dumb old reality look good ^^
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Offline Darien

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #24 on: May 07, 2006, 04:46:25 am
actually i have to disagree; while i think that skill can come only from perception and observation, i think that we strive for style because reality can totally suck.  people like style because if they wanted to see something real, they wouldnt be sitting down looking at art :P

Good point.  Also, I think artists began to develop style more consciously once we developed photographs.

Offline Xion

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #25 on: May 07, 2006, 05:47:09 am
actually i have to disagree; while i think that skill can come only from perception and observation, i think that we strive for style because reality can totally suck.  people like style because if they wanted to see something real, they wouldnt be sitting down looking at art :P
True, but I don't think reality sucks. Sometimes life sucks, but reality has seemed pretty sweet to me for the most of my life. Reality is just so commonplace that once we escape from the childish, "I've never seen that before" stage of life, reality quickly becomes boring. So it's the boredom that drives us - actually, I should say me - to seek style. But then I always come back to Reality to see if I can look at something so closely that I say "I've never seen that before" and try to get that realistic detail into my art. When that becomes commonplace once more, I return to style, sometimes incorporating my newly-gained insight. But still, when I'm not bored with reality, I will always try to achieve the most perfect representation of reality that I can.

Quote
heh,
If anything were different in the reality, the difference would not be seen as un-normal but rather expected.
Whatever is, is natural in it's existence, and the perception and reactions to it would be normal with their unique conditions.
Also, if one fantacizes of a specific change in reality, it would be realistic to think about how one change would change other things aswell because if this isn't taken into consideration, the aspects of change itself are also changed and well, things get pretty messed up after that I'd think.
o_O

Wow. I see whatcha mean. Man, my head's starting to throb.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #26 on: May 07, 2006, 08:41:54 pm
the bitch of it is that sometimes the same style becomes so instantly recognizeable that even boring old reality starts to look good (for the last time, there is no such thing as 'your own super-sayan,' and when people are embarassed, they dont actually get little diagonal lines over their eyes, so people should just stop drawing them)

thats not directed at anybody here, but jsut a little rant

and stop using chrono trigger and sd3 edits!  if you must edit, choose something new!

now im actually done
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Offline GOODNIGHTdestroyer

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #27 on: May 08, 2006, 11:18:48 am
Jesus christ.
And I am finally seeing that you were the one worth eating.

Offline Faktablad

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #28 on: May 15, 2006, 01:01:37 am
Superstar.

Offline Dusty

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Re: Cartoony? give me a break

Reply #29 on: May 23, 2006, 02:22:21 pm
I wouldn't go as far as saying pixel art started off cartoony. I'd go along the lines of 'unrefined'. Back then pixel art was pretty much new with the age of computers, and everyone had to start out learning just as we do today... except there weren't artists before them to guide them along like we have today. I didn't read much of it, I think he really dragged it out more than it should be.