AuthorTopic: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)  (Read 13727 times)

Offline HughSpectrum

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Back from a hiatus of being depressed from realizing that I am terrible at readability.

The idea behind this is what would happen if Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh were a dungeon master, complete with all of his holographic technology.

This is a SUPER ROUGH coloring still, probably shouldn't be considered pixel art yet, but I need to post a WIP sooner or later.  Also not every detail is drawn in or fleshed out yet and I'm sure there are readability issues everywhere despite my best attempts.

Offline Crow

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 05:13:32 pm
I'm not sure why, but I really like where this is (seems to be) going. Colors already seem quite nice, too, expect for the fact that some could be a little more saturated, I guess. What bugs me right now is that something below the screen (?). Is that some sort of monster? It doesn't read very well, and at first glance I thought it was part of the screen due to the colors being used both in that object and in the screen. You should definitely work on separating these two.

Also, do you plan on doing something fancy with the floor, or do you plan on keeping this sort of tiled floor? It gives off some kind of virtual reality feeling, which (I suppose) fits Kaiba..?
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Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 05:20:38 pm
Yeah, I plan keeping the floor tiled like a virtual grid.

Quote
What bugs me right now is that something below the screen (?). Is that some sort of monster? It doesn't read very well, and at first glance I thought it was part of the screen due to the colors being used both in that object and in the screen. You should definitely work on separating these two.
I'm not sure which thing you mean (one of them I haven't started cleaning up yet).  Whenever I post an update you'll have to tell me if I did better on that.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 05:25:42 pm by HughSpectrum »

Offline Crow

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #3 on: April 19, 2012, 05:28:53 pm


Boxed it. I really hope this is just a single entity of.. whatever it is. It reads as a single object, but also blends too much with the screen above.
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Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 05:36:54 pm
Okay, yeah, that's actually two separate objects.  I'll work on both separating them and keeping them from blending into the screen too much.

Offline BladeJunker

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 06:05:58 pm
Back from a hiatus of being depressed from realizing that I am terrible at readability.

The idea behind this is what would happen if Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh were a dungeon master, complete with all of his holographic technology.

This is a SUPER ROUGH coloring still, probably shouldn't be considered pixel art yet, but I need to post a WIP sooner or later.  Also not every detail is drawn in or fleshed out yet and I'm sure there are readability issues everywhere despite my best attempts.


Oh don't feel bad, we all have our weaknesses. :)

I think it reads pretty well composition but I have to agree with Crow on more saturation in the colors. I had a chance to look at some of your work since your statement of depression got me curious, in general I see 2 things that are hampering the readability in your work.

-The aforementioned saturation, I noticed that when using a contrasting "system set" palette like EGA for example you're fine but when using a custom color palette you lean too far into pastels or overall greying of the colors.

-You often try to cram a disproportionate amount of detail into small resolutions, its a fine line between detail and homogeneous noise. A good reference actually can be found in Anime production practices where in distant or smaller scale renderings of characters uses a more simplified version of the characters not just to speed up the process but also that the dimensional scale at which the cells are drawn are very small that it would next to impossible to draw the same amount of detail as a closeup.
So in general broader strokes and less dither.

Don't get down Hugh, I think you are a very good artist that could become a great one. Now me on the other hand idk. :-\

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 07:45:34 pm
As a yugioh fan I found this quite readable ( and awesome) in a matter of seconds. Now, contrary to what everyone is saying I think blue eyes ultimate should have LESS saturation, and be a little darker. Push him back in space and give him a strong, simple silhouette. Get rid of the dust clouds or whatever that is behind him so that it can read as one light value shape against the dark background ( or at least subdue that area a lot)

Also I know it's early, but a gradient on the floor, darker in the distance would be great too.

I really look forward to seeing this progress! :D

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #7 on: April 21, 2012, 07:21:01 pm
UPDATE



This is still extremely messy and still very incomplete because I was changing a bunch of stuff at once and still working out how I want to do things, and I only now made some major changes in the last couple of hours.

Biggest change is that I removed the little pillars at the corners and between walls, creating a lot of mess.  I just didn't think they were appropriate in the end.  I also had the idea of lining the walls with green lines to show that they are part of the game's grid.

For the floor tiles, I don't think I want to gradiate towards darkness, since the game board is probably technically a light source, but I'm thinking of doing where each tile darkens towards the center like you would see in Metal Gear Solid VR Training missions (two of the tiles show this, just two for now in case I change my mind or get a better suggestion).

I tried to make Kaiba at his dome more perceivable and not a part of the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon.  I haven't made that part very clean yet though.

As for colors, I did desaturate the 2nd lightest blue (thinking of undoing that) and saturate a lot of the darker colors, but I don't think I want to darken that color just yet.

Offline Helm

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #8 on: April 22, 2012, 04:45:27 pm
Hi. This is an ambitious piece. Readability is an issue, yes. You've already made great progress. Here's some more ideas.
My edit is dirty as all hell (used photoshop to alter colours and make the three levels separate, then I outputted a 64 colour composite and fucked around in pro motion with every paint modifier there is, blend, darkness/lightness, smooth, whatever. Just to give you a mockup of what you could be heading towards if you want.



The tools I'm using here to achieve readability are the following:

1. More colors. I do not believe what you're trying to do here can be accomplished with so few colours, unless you're willing to sacrifice detail and simplify the threee 'zones' of the perspective to the point where they're more symbolic. I'll explain both points of view here. If you want this to be complex and realistic (to a degree) you need to look at what demoscene artists do. The first thing a demoscene artist would do is steal from an established real-world non-digital painter. That's bad, don't do that. But the second thing they'd do is establish a large palette with which they can convey what the real-world, non-digital painter did. The real-world artist probably knows about composition and depth and stuff like that so it trickles down through the demoscene even through their bad practices. This is why you should study the demoscene regardless of their problems, which you can avoid with honesty and hard work.

Either a big palette that gives you a lot of options, or a small palette and very simple shapes and constructs. For example, where there are figures, the brickpattern on the walls should not touch their lineart. That's a very simple example. Or another example, characters could use straight-up black outlines to be readable even with NES colors or whatever.

You can go either way, but in the middle the space is more uncomfortable and it requires you to be more crafty to achieve a balance.

2. Less focal points. I'm no master of composition but even I know that what you've got going right now is too dense and waaaay the hell too bright/hurts eyes. If you want flashing lights, give us some darkness. There's an issue of mood you're trying to convey and me trying to convey a different, darker mood, but I thought 'dungeonify a kiddie cartoon' calls for some darkness. Ominous clouds and a castle in the distance instead of caramel clounds and a blue castle in the distance. However, with more colours and smart outlining and simplifying of shapes here and there I don't think you necessarily need the black far-ground in the distance like I chose. But it's a trick that works, no?

3. Less sharpness on less important, distant or otherwise disconnected points of interest. Pixel art is a hard medium in which to convey blurry flashes of light, but you can go SOME of the way towards that direction without horrible banding (like my use of the blend brush introduced in my mockup). If you set your mind to it, good pixel technique can get you somewhere in the ballpark. I also toned the digital dungeon master screen down in the distance, I think it sorta works. You can do without that, but you'd need more colour separation between DM_screen and blue_dragon layers.

4. Warming the colors in the foreground, making them more cold in the distance. Not much to say to this, very common trick. Also pushing saturation on the digital aspects of the playfield (the green vectorish grid, most of all. It's not the future unless it's saturated).

5. Fancy FX to signify the digitalness of this setup, which you should absolutely do if it helps with readability as well. Mostly around the DM_screen

6. Dramatic lighting. Well, it's cheap. But you've got spotights on your crew after all! I did this last, so I know the edit works without the contour lightning as well, but it looks much better like this in my opinion.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 07:08:14 pm
I'm probably not going to have an update until Wednesday, depending on how much I get done on it.

On #1, the way I select colors is a bad habit and I always forget to consider making a proper palette before.  I tend to select new colors as I go until I don't need any more new ones, and recycle colors when possible, and later remove colors that are either redundant or not used enough.

What I'll do is create a 2nd set of extra colors for when I start truly polishing the piece later.

On your advice, I haven't really established every bit lighting all that well yet (this is still in the early stages but I'll eventually have lighting on the characters), but I want to say the direction your edit has went is different from what I want to go for, since the stadium they're in is supposed to be lit as well as a football stadium and I want to go for a very "fake" holographic game look that doesn't truly respect a dreary atmosphere.

Offline Helm

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 07:20:57 pm
Yes, that's fine. I'll wait for updates before I give any more critique or edits now that I know what you want to do. I feel the direction will have to go towards simplicity/symbolism if readability is still paramount for you, if you want to have a 12-lightsource football field-type uniform brightness going on.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #11 on: April 24, 2012, 09:50:58 pm
Looking back on earlier versions where the colors are much darker than they are now and thinking about past lighting conditions I've done (as a side note: I will never dither like that again), I can see where my mistakes and habits have come from in terms of lighting.  I also need to fix a palette that I pull a lot of colors from.

Either way, I think the point is ultimately that a lot of background elements are too strong, and need to be nerfed.



I pushed the two big lights more towards the back, and with the new implied distance I was able to have another light where the close spotlight used to be, to help have something to fill negative space and frame the image.

I'm trying to imply that the grid is sort of glowing without it being distracting.  Unfortunately the shading here might be banding, and I'm not sure what to do about that (I also might not have cleaned up a lot of dirty artifacts that may exist by the grid lines.)

Started adding more colors.  Unfortunately this leads to a lot of colors currently underused as a result, and a lot of straight ramps (but I can adjust the hues later on once a lot of the colors find their uses and I start intermixing ramps).

I also have to apologize, but despite it being better to have warm colors up front, I just love the kind of atmosphere the warmer colors of the holographic backdrop behind the monster has.  Making the castle very light was an accidental decision.

Again, very incomplete and a lot of messy clusters here and there still.

I also want to note: I'll be adding outlines last or close to last, as a sort of cherry on top of a finished cake once I get everything else working.

Offline Mike

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 10:44:16 pm
This is how i would do it.  I've seen this type of scene before in anime.  It's normally at either before the commercial break or at the end of the show.  A sort of omnious bit of either color pencil or water color work.  Anyway what they normally do in this scenario is position the bad guy as this sort of omniscient god like creature.  Positioned above the main characters and larger than life.  Here is an edit I cobbled together.

 It's a bit messy because I don't have my tablet with me so I can't do any sort of skillful edit.  Anyway what I did was made Kaiba bigger and higher in the sky.  As well as lowering the contrast and slightly desaturating him.  Basically blending Kaiba in with the cooler color of the sky.  Also the Blue Eyes White Dragon overlaps with Kaiba that way it's more of an obvious separation from the background.  Also it too is bigger and a bit more saturated.  

Oh and it would be cool if Kaiba was drawn sort of curving inward like he is enveloping the heroes.

Other than that it's look great!  I look forward to the finished piece.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 11:02:17 pm by Mike »

Offline Mathias

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 11:01:58 pm
I dig that edit, Mike. It achieves much more of an epic movie poster sort of composition.

So this is from Yu-Gi-Oh? Haven't seen much of it, but I don't remember seeing the whole TRON-esque virtual grid idea in it before. Is that mandatory here? Or was it maybe a way to make that portion of the scene just easier to draw?
If you want to go with computer generated look/feel for the terrain, you might consider making the floor and maze walls partially clear illuminated glass instead. Would require palette tweaks.

I wouldn't crop the left-most character so much, it minimizes him/her unnecessarily.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 11:12:13 pm
That idea is too good.  I feel like it's almost stealing if I went ahead and enlarged the screen this late in the game.  I think something like that I should try and consider for a future project so I can actually learn from the advice.

@Mathias: I originally didn't intend it to be Tron-like, but I probably overdid it in trying to communicate that environment is a visual display and not a physical object.  It's been awhile since I've actually seen the show, to be honest, so I likely got a lot of things wrong.

Offline Mike

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 11:18:11 pm
I wouldn't consider it stealing.  It's just a suggestion if you think it will work go for it :D  You would do it much more justice than me.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #16 on: April 25, 2012, 12:29:40 am
Okay...  What I'm probably gonna do later...

1) Say "screw it" and assume the playing board is physical, and the characters will cast shadows over it, and nerf the sci-finess of it.

2) Enlarge the screen (although I won't go for a super dramatic effect).

Offline Mathias

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #17 on: April 25, 2012, 03:47:38 am
Since this project is in such rough WIP state, I recommend going for it, as far as the composition improvement suggested by Mike.

See if you can glean anything from this collection of movie posters.

It's your project, just do what you think is best/feasible to actually finish.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #18 on: April 25, 2012, 10:47:13 pm
I caved in and made the screen bigger, but now I'm bitter at how much of an annoyance it was to do.



Since the screen is so much bigger now, I figured it'd be neat to have another screen at a surrounding angle.

Anyway, changed light source (though I'm probably abusing light physics here, I really don't want to bring the light source in view), and other changes I either don't remember or feel like mentioning.

I don't want to make another big change now, I really need to start finishing this up.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #19 on: April 26, 2012, 01:25:33 am
I just outdid my topic title.  THIS is the worst idea I've ever had, and it might actually be in all seriousness.

What I am thinking of attempting is probably bad form, so I'm gonna go ahead and present the idea.  It's something I've been wanting to try for awhile, but is highly inefficient when it comes to color count and the pixel form.



It's a combination of adding an extremely low contrasting shade and dithering to create a super smooth and subtle gradient, because some times I want to add an extremely subtle curve or shading to a surface, but can't do so without drawing too much attention to it.

It's a debate with myself, because it's not pixel information that's necessary or maybe not even useful, and it also begs the question "why not just use another medium that better facilitates such a task"?

There must be something else I can do, because most pixel artists seem to do fine without having to resort to choices like this.

Offline Crow

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #20 on: April 26, 2012, 08:52:19 am
Maybe that's just me, but I don't think it's a bad thing to do. True, in most situations, you'll want to do something else. But sometimes, there's just nothing else you could do instead. Elk also did a lot of dithering between low contrasting shades on his Deathwing piece.
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Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #21 on: April 26, 2012, 11:16:00 pm
I guess I'll try it in several areas, and then later cry and regret it.



I'm now in what I like to think of as the "polishing the turd" phase (regardless of whether or not it's a turd, but I should assume the former for my own benefit).

I'm mostly detailing the walls right now.  As you can see I've added splashes of what I like to call a "wtf" color where I add a strange color and try to make it work, in order to add a bit of shazam.  In this case though it somehow managed to make sense as coming off as dirty.  Green might work too, though I'll stick with that color.

I'll have to move the Blue Eye's hands too, I just now realize upon typing this post (I notice a lot of mistakes in embarrassing ways) that its hands are a bit low now that I've moved a couple of heads.  Should be an easy fix.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #22 on: April 28, 2012, 01:51:01 am
Not much has changed in the grand scheme of things, just working on walls and other little adjustments.



As usual, the detail is a mess right now.  I not only need to go back to it later with the image fresh out of my mind to see where I need to simplify (I'm pretty sure I overdid it), but I'll also have to clean up any unintended banding and clean up a lot of the pixel clusters and whatnot.

Offline Magides

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #23 on: April 28, 2012, 05:12:51 am
you should add the guy in the tv screen to the screen in the top left corner. It would only show the corner of his hand, but would emphasize that virtual-esque feeling to it.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #24 on: April 28, 2012, 06:05:05 am
I forgot about that screen.  I'll get to it for sure.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #25 on: April 29, 2012, 02:38:23 am
Starting to get closer and closer to finished.



Left wall designed, started cleaning up clusters/dithering/anti-aliasing on the wall plane facing the viewer.

Added a new color for the light blue.

Will clean up characters' pixel clusters, add shazam colors to them and anything else if I can, will eventually start outlining everything and anti-aliasing everything as well.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #26 on: April 30, 2012, 10:53:54 pm
Still not finished!  I am hoping to finish tonight but that's looking less like a possibility.



I can never be sure whether I used dithering properly or not, I just like the crispness.  It's black magic and I can't wish or recommend my faults and my habits upon anybody wanting to learn.

Anyway...  Still trying to clean up the clusters of all of the characters and still haven't gotten to the point where I want to say, "okay, now to add some outlining and AA and call it done".  I'm not even sure I'll even add outlining.

Obviously I reduced the color count, from about 31 to 25, and well...  I recycle colors.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #27 on: May 03, 2012, 10:45:11 pm


I am calling this "finished enough to upload to PixelJoint", because it can be more finished but I'm really tired of working on it and I can always tweak it later.

Link to PixelJoint page: http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/70098.htm

Offline Ashbad

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #28 on: May 06, 2012, 12:21:28 pm
Wow, that final rendition looks really nice!  I honestly don't see much to improve upon that other than some of the dithering on the walls -- some places don't seem to fit the style of the rest of the image, but they're honestly pretty minor spots.    :y:

Offline Mathias

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #29 on: May 08, 2012, 01:34:37 am
Yes, nice work.

Though, I am bugged by the weirdlt colored purple walls, and also the strange, colorful, ambiguous BG elements. They cause me to trail off, wondering . . .  =  distraction.

Also, the whole "digital grid" concept is totally lost - there being realistic (although purple) stone walls mixed with the floor grid. If a computer grid, it ought to be comprised of squares, not rectangles. And, it doesn't recede into the distance correctly - distance between left-to-right lines doesn't taper down at a constant.

The dwarf is funny.

Pixel art, man . . . takes so much dang work for what seems like so little pay-off.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #30 on: May 08, 2012, 11:05:16 am
@Mathias: I ditched making everything super digital, with the exception of the background, because it just wasn't worth the sacrifices and like what happened earlier it became too Tron-like.

Also I know the background is bad and distracting, but I love it too much.

The "Dwarf" is actually Beaver Warrior, whom I chose to represent the "Dwarf" of the group, which will probably just make it even funnier.

Quote
Pixel art, man . . . takes so much dang work for what seems like so little pay-off.
This is probably the only piece I've ever done that's actually paid off in some way, even though it doesn't hold a candle to a lot of better pieces that have come out at the same time.

Offline Grimsane

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #31 on: May 29, 2012, 03:00:27 am
only just noticed this (wasn't too long ago :lala:) actually reckon It's quite a strong composition and came out pretty well, the palette however looked a tad washed out and low in contrast, it doesn't look so bad after staring at it after awhile, but it should be comfortable at first glance. Don't know if it'll help, on future pixel works, as you kinda pushed that you were over this, but in the vein of hopefully being helpful. I did a quick colour edit, mostly using curves and other colour dialogues and minor individual colour tweaking .

and also then tried converting my shifted palette back onto yours to see if the colours transposed and but a few tones of colours failed to match up, it's indicative of the contrast differences etc, hope it's self explanatory because I can't articulate it well enough.


but then again your palette looks kinda like a GBA palette in some regards, and i didn't so much mind your original palette minus an under-saturated tone or two. anyway goodstuff  :y:

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #32 on: May 29, 2012, 03:42:15 am
I will be using more saturated colors from now on.  I actually hate a lot of GBA palettes and approach to color due to often being too bright and too awkwardly calibrated to work on a screen other than a GBA, so I don't agree that is a good thing.

Offline Grimsane

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Re: This is the worst idea I have ever had (WARNING: Anime)

Reply #33 on: May 29, 2012, 04:01:14 am
i entirely agree and hold the same opinion ;) btw I meant goodstuff at your design and rendering skills, was just throwing out the possibility you intended it to be like that, glad to hear you didn't, anyway hope my edit helped in some way, only other real edit i noticed was helms which I think is a tad too intense in regards to darkness and contrast  :-X atleast on my monitor

btw it's more the colour value/contrast than the saturation, saturating alone won't work, you need to consider them in synch with each other
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 04:05:14 am by Grimsane »