AuthorTopic: GR#070 - Rath Character Design  (Read 6708 times)

Offline reticle2020

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GR#070 - Rath Character Design

on: August 26, 2011, 04:37:21 am
Hi all,

  So my name is reticle2020 and I'm fairly new to pixel/sprite art.  I, like many, decided to learn the art of the pixel in order to create my own game graphics.  So here I am with all you lovely people.  I decided to start with a simple character which will, hopefully, be the main character for my upcoming game.  I've decided to upload the images in the order that I drew them, a sort of "time lapse" I guess, so that if I make any mistakes you'll be able to tell me at what point I should have changed something...blah blah.

  I should mention that the game is a side scrolling platformer, similar to Mega Man or Castlevania and this is a very early concept.  Additionally this piece is 100% original drawn from scratch.

Any and all crits welcome!!!

1) I wanted to start by drawing a outline of the character but found that I was loosing the shape I wanted it always looked lopsided and weird.  Instead I started by roughing out the general shape I wanted and then fine tuning it, this created a sort of silhouette of the character.



2) Next I began outlining the character with a dark brown and then proceeded to fill in the skin...and I made some eyes, which I'm not completely satisfied with.  I shaded this part even though I didn't really need to but because parts of the character would not be completely covered with clothing I figured it was best to just shade the whole darn thing :P



3) Next I began outlining some general clothes for the character, a shirt, pants and some shoes.  And again shaded them in to complete the look.  This is the part of the process I have the most trouble with...Shading that is!  I think it turned out decently enough but it can certainly use some improvement.



4) The next step was to give the character some accessories, In the game the character has a magical gauntlet so I wanted to include this.  I tried to create a belt but didn't have any luck at all :(



5) Now the final stage I decided to give this little guy some hair.  Now hair and me are bitter enemies, even my pencil drawings suffer from hideous hair disease..but I gave it my best.



So that's it!  I'm hoping for some general C+C I aim to get better and having some talented people point out my huge mistakes is a good way to start.

Peace!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 12:31:21 am by reticle2020 »

Offline reticle2020

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 03:34:27 am
  Well I made some changes to the character sprite.  I changed the hair to make it a little more interesting and added some shading to give it more depth.  I also think I fixed the eye, at least it looks better now :P



  Again any feedback is much appreciated!

Offline pistachio

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 04:01:01 am
- Not a fan of the "pelvis outwards, legs bent back" stance. While I did once use it often, as an amateur spriter, it's something I do regret now. It seemed pretty uncomfortable and unnatural for an idle position. Another common trait that sprites like these usually share, for some reason, is where you seem to begin to lose your grasp of anatomy on the limbs. They're basically tubes that get wider as they get closer to the fists and feet. I'm also confused as to how his head manages to remain attached to his body.

- Try not to build on a silhouette if you're just working on a basic body. Silhouettes would be better for exploring dynamic designs, for example, if the character has a lot of accessories or garments attached to him that would alter his/her silhouette (or if the character itself has a different frame). Even then it's probably better for more experienced artists familiar with anatomy, proportions, perspective, etc. If you just want a figure, building up from a frame to basic shapes is a good way to go.

- Banding and flat shading are two things almost featured in the sprite. The outlines seem to be serving as a crutch here. Namely on the limbs, highlights and shadows are placed around them, disregarding basic forms. On the final sprite, this is fixed in a few places, but then the direction of the lightsource is unclear.

- Palette is very saturated, yet rather bland. As far as I can tell, the only common colors are shared with the eyes and shirt. (Aspects of the sprite sharing common colors is a pretty good way to create a sense of unification, so long as the colors aren't too far from eachother.) Aside from that, there's no trace of, say, hue-shifting, which is tinting colors to a certain hue depending on how light or dark they are. For example, dark green would be tinted towards blue, giving it more of a dark teal appearance, while light green would be tinted towards yellow, thus, a yellow-green appearance.

With those points overwith, here's an edit redo.



Left to right:

1. Your character base for comparison/reference. 2: With an idea of proportions I want to convey, the basic frame is drafted. 3: Moving things around, correcting mistakes, face, shading, and general bulk added. (Some mistakes.) 4: Adding clothes and accessories, redoing face to something closer to what you have. Toning down overall saturation to something less cartoonish to something possibly more realistic--not sure if that's the direction you wanted to go in, oh well. 5. Your final sprite, also for comparison/ref.

By the way I'd like to know the context of this sprite. If it's some kind of character selection portrait for a roster, once again, you'll need a better pose, one that says something about his personality/character; more than "I like to lean backwards and stare at things". Or you could use a portrait. If it's for actual gameplay, the feet need adjusting, and my first point still stands; its pose seems rather uncomfortable.

Hope this helps. :)

EDIT: Huge unrealistic hairdo, pretty stereotypical for the character type and doesn't help with the balance, I think. I also have a feeling the previous sprite's eyes were better... Which isn't saying much, both seem pretty feminine, being wide-eyed shiny and eyebrow-less as they are. I'm assuming this character is male for a few reasons, in which case they're pretty unfitting.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 09:14:17 am by pistachio »
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Offline reticle2020

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 06:07:51 am
wow thanks pistachio that sure is a lot of information  ;D

Quote
- Try not to build on a silhouette if you're just working on a basic body. Silhouettes would be better for exploring dynamic designs, for example, if the character has a lot of accessories or garments attached to him that would alter his/her appearance (or if the character itself has a different frame). Even then it's probably better for more experienced artists. If you just want a figure, building up from a frame to basic shapes is a good way to go.

I have to agree.  The pose is unnatural and awkward looking.  Your pose is far more...relaxed and realistic!

Quote
- Banding and flat shading are two things almost featured in the sprite. The outlines seem to be serving as a crutch here. Namely on the limbs, highlights and shadows are placed around them, disregarding basic forms. On the final sprite, this is fixed in a few places, but then the direction of the lightsource is unclear.

As mentioned shading is not my strong suit, and I'll need to work on that to get better for sure.  Your completely right about the light source being unclear.  I'm not sure if I really took that into consideration.  Perhaps I should find some tutorials on lighting or shading?!?!

Quote
- Palette is very saturated, yet rather bland. As far as I can tell, the only common colors are shared with the eyes and shirt. Aside from that, there's no trace of, say, hue-shifting, which is tinting colors to a certain hue depending on how light or dark they are. For example, dark green would be tinted towards blue, giving it more of a dark teal appearance, while light green would be tinted towards yellow, thus, a yellow-green appearance.

To be honest I'm just using a very generic 32 color palette that I made it's very uninspired and highly saturated.  Again wanting to find a starting point I just made one and went with it.  After viewing some of the palettes made by users on the forums I think I may try to create one that's a little more realistic.

Quote
By the way I'd like to know the context of this sprite. If it's some kind of character selection portrait for a roster, once again, you'll need a better pose, one that says something about his personality/character; more than "I like to lean backwards and stare at things". Or you could use a portrait. If it's for actual gameplay, the feet need adjusting, and my first point still stands; its pose seems rather uncomfortable.

The sprite is meant as the standing pose or initial pose for a character within a platformer style game.  So this would just be slightly animated to show some movement, maybe breathing or something and would act as the base for any running, walking, jumping or climbing animations down the road.

Thanks again for all your feedback pistachio!  Hopefully I can have some updates soon!

Peace!
 

Offline reticle2020

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #4 on: August 29, 2011, 05:22:59 am
  Here's another attempt at this character, not crazy about it although the stance is a little better and I tried a slightly different style which is a lot less Final Fantasy and a little more original.  I used a more hands on palette instead of just some random colors and I think it's better in that regard.  :P



  Again all feedback welcome

Thanks

Offline reticle2020

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #5 on: August 29, 2011, 08:36:05 pm
Well since my last design was a complete fail I'm at it again this time with a mix of styles from the old one and the new one...the stance is hopefully a little more dynamic than the last one.  Again I'm trying to unify my palette and create a little more hue shifting for light and shadow.  Pistachio mentioned using only one color to outline the character so this time I'm trying to use lighter tones to accent the highlights and, hopefully, as a result create a more defined form.  So far I like the style and the stance seems good enough and should be fairly easy to animate...next step is to cloth the little guy so he's not so Au Naturale...



Again all feedback is welcome

Peace Geeks!

**EDIT**

So a quick update.  Added some clothes and shading.  Changed the position of the leg seems a little less stick figure-like.  Changed the color of the sword and added a bit more shading to the face.



Enjoy!
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 09:23:01 pm by reticle2020 »

Offline RedKnight91

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 10:30:25 am
I've seen your last piece, it's not bad, really!

Here's some problems that I've spotted zooming in:

1) No anti-aliasing on the stick
2) The face isn't shaded as a face, it's shaded as a "ball"
3) Too many dark outlines, even where there's light
4) head is flat on the top

AND I have a great tip for you that I've learnt in the great "So you want to be a pixel artist?" tutorial: when separating two areas, like the neck and the shirt, you could use a dark line (as you did, you used a dark green line to separate the shirt from the neck), but that suggests that there's a huge gap between the two, while not using it suggests that the two areas are closer, so in some cases you can avoid using it.

I've done a quick edit, I'm at work so I didn't do much, but I hope you get my points : )



Check out the face, I've outlined some facial features, using 5 colors, I've done some anti-aliasing on the stick, and I've improved a bit everything here and there: the shape of the head, the shirt and the boob-shadows, her feet..

I hope my feedback has been useful : )
Bear with my poor english, I'm italian!

Offline reticle2020

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 07:16:05 pm
  Thanks RedKnight.  All great tips!  I do want to mention that this is supposed to be a male character lol.  I want to try and keep the anime/cute sort of style without making all my characters looks feminine...apparently that needs work lol.

  To be honest the sword hadn't even been touched yet lol but you've shown me some really great steps there and I will try them out for sure.  I was having some issues with the shading of the face, your version looks way better.  I'm still trying to transition what I know about drawing and coloring to pixel format.

  Thanks again for the feedback it helps a lot.  And I'll have an update up soon!

Offline reticle2020

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 08:07:26 pm
So taking what I had changed last night and adding a few more finer details based on what RedKnight told me I've sone some editing on this little guy and I think it's starting to come together.

  I've tried to unify my palette a little better not sure if it's in the right direction but it seems to give the piece a little more harmony.  I've added some shading similar to what RedKnight had done by adding a fifth "darker" shade to the flesh tone.  I've removed the sword/stick until later when I have time to complete it.  I've added some sandals and changed the clothing slightly.  I've also started to flesh out some hair or a hairstyle.  Not sure really what style I want for the hair so this is more of a placeholder than the finished design.



Well I hope this is a step in the right direction.  Again all feedback is welcome.

Thanks

Offline Shiny

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Re: [WIP] Rath Character Design [C+C]

Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 08:28:03 pm
The old pose (leg extended) has a better line of action that makes it appear far more dynamic (as if they're on some kind of "adventure", one could say).

And I made an edit that tries to improve upon it (explanation of changes below):

(This is an edit of the previous version, but most of it should still be applicable (latest version was posted while I was still typing).)

- Changed the head and face. RedKnight91 already demonstrated a similar change, but I put my own spin on it (made the chin slightly more prominent, for example).
- Used warmer, higher-contrast colors with heavy "hue-shifting". These seem to complement the "cartoon-like" proportions.
    - Colors have also been reused in various areas (weapon reuses colors from the shirt, hair reuses colors from the skin and pants). Doing this gives the image a more cohesive look, simplifies animation, reduces file size, etc.
- Adjusted the elevation of their right foot so that it would work better in a standard platformer side-view, though I'm not sure if this is what you were going for.
- Changed shading somewhat.
    - Try to avoid "hugging" the outlines when shading, as it typically results in a very flat-looking image (especially evident on the shirt).
- The noodle-like arms were retained, as in the original (stylistic choice, I assume).