AuthorTopic: pixel art at 2x view  (Read 3276 times)

Offline Friend

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pixel art at 2x view

on: September 02, 2012, 07:41:32 pm
Hi,

what do you all think of pixel art viewed at 2x?

I know pieces exist that are meant to be viewed at a certain size, but lately I've come to terms with realizing that I think just about ALL pixel art looks better (to me) when viewed at 2x or twice its normal viewing size.  I just think it really pushes the pixels in your face and you can see all of those hand pixeled squares and finely chosen colors, clusters, AA etc.  working in harmony.  At 1x, you lose some of this and you usually just get a very clean and sharp image. 

Take for example this wonderful new piece from PJ's OCEANSCENTED:



As you see, at 1x, you can't really see the yellow AA of the clouds or the sky blue AA inside the white clusters, and the mixture of black outline even gives the piece a sort of vectory feel.

But, at 2x, OCEANSCENTED's beautiful pixels and clusters and use of color for AA can really shine through.  And just imagine the difference between 1x and 2x if it were an animated scene:



What do you all think? 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 07:55:34 pm by Friend »

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 08:46:16 pm
What once would have filled a 32" tv now takes up one inch of your monitor, so yeah I don't think there's any contention that postage stamp sizes aren't the best sizes for admiring a work of art.  1x or 2x doesn't really mean much - in reality the end dimensions / viewing distance are what's important. 

Offline Friend

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 08:59:46 pm
Thanks for clearing up that which I hadn't considered due to my lack of age/experience. 

What I believe you are saying is that there's not much debate that when we view pixel art on our monitors at standard res/dimensions today that that size isn't the best for admiring the pixel art. 

So why do we impose rules or standards or expectations of pixel art to be viewed at that size?  Why does it need to always be restated that pixel artists should post their works or WIP's at 1x?  Yes we have tools to simply double the size at the click of a button, but why default to a size that I believe you describe as not optimal?

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 09:12:39 pm
- pixel art looks better to pixel artists at 2x because we like pixels. Just like an oil painter wants to put his nose on a rembrandt and the random person wants to look from afar and enjoy the illusion.

- pixel art should be posted at 1x here on the forums because we have our own zoom function. this allows the members as a critic to judge it from all zoom levels.

- generally speaking, as pixel artists we should strive to make work that reads well even at 1x and looks even pixely yummier at 2x.

Offline Mr. Fahrenheit

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 10:02:41 pm
About seeing AA, I dont think you are really supposed to notice the AA. Its supposed to be a subtle effect to smooth the image not to have you notice a sometimes off colored pixel or two between a color and its background. Pixel art also relies on illusions which are not as effective at 2x. Dithering at 2x is not as effective as dithering at 1x. I do think that alot of the time pixel art does look better, its just a different side of the argument.

Offline Friend

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 10:37:48 pm
About seeing AA, I dont think you are really supposed to notice the AA. Its supposed to be a subtle effect to smooth the image not to have you notice a sometimes off colored pixel or two between a color and its background. Pixel art also relies on illusions which are not as effective at 2x. Dithering at 2x is not as effective as dithering at 1x. I do think that alot of the time pixel art does look better, its just a different side of the argument.

I disagree though that the smoothing effect is lost at 2x, and that it isn't supposed to be noticed (always.)  I like when you see unique AA colors like greens or so used as AA around a black line and so on.  I actually think the effect is increased at 2x.  It's especially apparent if you zoom up a picture and then remove the AA.  Same goes for dithering.  Though obviously harsh ugly dithering won't look any better at 2x, but it often can, I think, just because the illusion of dithering is spread over a larger viewing area. 

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 11:35:15 pm
So why do we impose rules or standards or expectations of pixel art to be viewed at that size?  Why does it need to always be restated that pixel artists should post their works or WIP's at 1x?  Yes we have tools to simply double the size at the click of a button, but why default to a size that I believe you describe as not optimal?

Well, 1x is optimal for editing each other's works.  Easy to mess up and mix resolutions if people start posting 2x/3x stuff.  Potential for a lot of accidents, bilinear resizes, rounding errors (2x cropped to an odd number) etc.  I generally pixel for games, and the games are either 1x (low resolution devices like mobile phones or older consoles) or I let the user choose the zoom level but default to 2x if the resolution is low.  But when posting for critique, posting the genuine work is always best, as not to inconvenience helpful souls that might be bringing it into their editors. 

Offline Tourist

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #7 on: September 03, 2012, 04:59:48 am
Here is a failed attempt to build a scaling algorithm, but maybe relevant to this discussion.



The faces (originals in the upper right) were scaled to 3x, and I tried working out the math for the smoothing on half of each of the faces rather in order to have an easy comparison.   The faces on the left have two additional colors inserted between each value step, the two large faces on the right only have one additional step added.  And they look about the same to me.

This suggests if you scale up pixels by 3x, the color ramps don't need to have more than twice as many steps to appear smooth.  Conversely, if you reduce the size of your pixel art by 3, like when you go from a 320 pixel screen to a 1024 pixel screen on the same physical display, you should roughly double the visual distance between colors in your ramps in order to achieve the same level of visual impact.

I say that with plenty of caveats.  This is only based on this one gray scale image, so the ratios are probably wrong, and it may not apply to hue shifting.  This was also done with RGB light values, so that's going to be a wonky scale.

I imagine that while modern monitors may have a greater range of real values (light output) than older models, the difference is not all that large.  Which means the maximum effective visual distance between two pixels is a net decrease on modern higher resolution monitors.  This supports the original assertion that pixel art looks better at 2x.  Someone could do a school science project on this sort of thing, I imagine.

On the other hand, if retina displays (200+ dpi) become more common, a lot of this is moot.

Tourist

Offline yrizoud

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Re: pixel art at 2x view

Reply #8 on: September 03, 2012, 12:25:24 pm
On Pixeljoint and Pixelation, if you pre-scale by x2, the users won't be able to zoom by x3. (It will start at x2 and jump to x4, x6 etc.)