AuthorTopic: Altered Beast - a cluster study  (Read 28228 times)

Offline st0ven

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #50 on: December 31, 2012, 11:34:50 pm
my edit original
cleaned up edit

@Helm

You know that im not exactly up to date on pixel cluster theory, you frequently have a field day with my work editing for cluster clarity. After seeing your edit i was inspired to create one of my own to perhaps supply an alternative view on cluster simplification.

Of course readability should not fall second to cluster theory. The original sprite palette offered little contrast making distinction between 'groups' rather difficult in certain situations particularly in the legs and right arm.

I refused to alter the palette and didnt bother much changing much of the proportions, though admittedly the feet length is ridiculously long and the boot aesthetic is originally inconsistent from one leg to the other.

This is the solution that i came up with.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 03:43:41 pm by st0ven »

Offline Helm

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #51 on: January 01, 2013, 05:19:15 pm
Seems to me your pixel tech is as current as it can be! I don't think some of these single pixel speculars should definitely HAVE to align (on the chest and leg) but otherwise this is one of the cleanest and strongest cluster-edits in the thread. Here's some extra solutions to a few areas, at this stage of your development I am sure you'll understand where I'm coming from with them.



These aren't the only solutions. There's some aesthetic choice in this that doesn't have to do with pixels lining up, but not too much. I avoid single pixels where I can and I err on the side of a bigger buffer cluster than a smaller buffer cluster at some areas than you do which isn't necessary, but you catch my drift.

It's very refreshing to see one of the best pixel artists of the old guard tackle the cluster idea and capture it so intuitively.

The next cluster study is where you - and others - can get your revenge! We can test whether better clusters and new pixel art tech still matter or not under CRT emulation like in the old Capcom arcade games. You know, where 'sel out' was born and everything was bandy as hell. We'll see if it matters or not to avoid these things and if the end result is pleasing under circumstances that no longer exist for pixel art, but which are increasingly emulated.

Offline st0ven

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #52 on: January 01, 2013, 06:55:03 pm
@Helm - I approve of all your edits. Theyre good in their subtlety, and i like the choice placement of some of the edits. The highlight adjustments are subtle but feel better, and i like the stronger cuts on the right shoulder and bicep (i actually darkened the same bicep region on my cleanup in a nearly identical manner you did) I was hoping that you would spend a few moments to do this, because i was hoping to gain some insight on your intuition on pixel placement with specific cluster regions i wasnt quite sure about.

I had fun doing this and im glad you posted another one - im going to go check out that thread right now to give it a shot. One thing that capcom seemed to have learned along the years was a concept similar to clusters when they came around to re-rendering their CVS sprites - but im quite sure this was largely a forced adaptation from the already superior SNK pixel technique.

Also for what its worth, Ive tried to really take to heart some of those edits youve given me over the past year or more involving clusters, and re-read your tutorial several times, to help me adapt to a cleaner pixel style. i feel its crucial for readability on small sprites and tiles, and allowed me to advance from the heavily AA'ed work that i had clung to in the past. Sometimes its hard to admit there are better ways to do things other than the way one is currently doing them and its natural to resist change. but i think these types of studies are doing their part to advance pixel art as an art in the same spirit that this forum was blessed with when it was first conceptualized.

Offline Carnivac

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #53 on: January 01, 2013, 07:16:49 pm
Even after all these edits, I still don't get what this cluster thing is all about.  And from the ones Helm says shows it best they don't look that appealing to me at all, sorry.  I found the ones by Illke, Big Brother and Dex to be the most visually interesting and well defined (though I don't care for the latter two's usage of the costume's pink in the skintone as it makes the overall sprite look a bit overwhelmed with that one color and seemingly much more 'mono' than Illke's).  But whatever, I clearly lack the the ability to understand all this pixel technique stuff. 
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Offline PixelPiledriver

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #54 on: January 01, 2013, 10:46:35 pm
It's the same idea as a N-Gon.

And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1

Offline Carnivac

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #55 on: January 01, 2013, 10:55:37 pm
Was that aimed at me?  Cos I have absolutely no idea what the heck that image is meant to explaining here.
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Offline Ashbad

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #56 on: January 01, 2013, 11:03:47 pm
Was that aimed at me?  Cos I have absolutely no idea what the heck that image is meant to explaining here.

I think that PPD misunderstood what you meant with the "I still don't get what this cluster thing is all about," thinking you were saying something like "I don't know what clusters are," instead of (what I assume is more like) an intended "I don't understand all of the fuss over these cluster edits."

Offline Carnivac

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #57 on: January 01, 2013, 11:07:30 pm
I think that PPD misunderstood what you meant with the "I still don't get what this cluster thing is all about," thinking you were saying something like "I don't know what clusters are," instead of (what I assume is more like) an intended "I don't understand all of the fuss over these cluster edits."

Actually it's both.   :blind:  I think I'm better just leaving all this stuff to the experts.  I prefer just pixelling the hell out of something til I'm happy with it.  The time I take to tweak a sprite of mine seems to be even longer than creating it in the first place.  Every single pixel counts to me.   Ah well, I had a go.  I didn't like it.  Moving on.
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Offline Helm

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #58 on: January 02, 2013, 12:10:50 am
You're well on the record on your opinion on clusters, Carnivac :P If you want to have a conversation about it you should be willing to do the work to understand the opposite point of view. If not, that's fine, your opinion counts because you're a wonderful artist, but you've stated it enough times. I don't expect all pixel artists around the world to care or agree with me in my theories on pixel art, but if some feel their art has been bettered by it - like st0ven - that makes me as happy as a munchkin cat with a piece of short string.

St0ven: thank you. I do not think heavily AA'ed pieces of pixel art are intrinsically worse. It's very much to do with the cultural climate. If you're making a game that wants to look like a 16bit golden era snes rpg, I would expect lush rendering and AA over sharpness and clean pixels and so would that game's audience. Pixel art will more than partly survive as a method because of nostalgia and fond memories so it pays to know how to emulate the past.

But there also might be the case that learning good cluster theory helps *any* sort of digital artist control their art, so it's a valuable theory to look at. I'm certain people in the future will integrate the pixel-specific thoughts I've had over the years (as expressed in the ramblethread) back into the larger theoretical framework for how to do art fast, precisely and beautifully. Cluster theory isn't very different from some grandmaster painter's approach 300 years ago, I'm willing to bet (even though what the master painted and what I pixelled are nowhere in the same league). We'll see the correlations eventually.

Offline Arne

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Re: Altered Beast - a cluster study

Reply #59 on: January 02, 2013, 03:43:07 am
Not sure if this has been mentioned:

Check out Red Heat for the Amiga for some musclemen fights. I think I got it bundled with my machine back in the day. What a terrible thing to do to a child.

Also, I've been keeping an eye on arcade games and their ports, and it seems like arcade games were played on monitors which were calibrated differently, so when the games are played on Mame now, or when they were sloppily ported, they inherited a very light palette (almost as if behind a foggy window).

Hard to tell from videos (of arcade games played on original systems, not LCD+Mame setups), but check out a couple of games (Space Harrier, Contra, Quartet, Alien Syndrome) and I think you'll see the effect I'm talking about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPXLe-oazCA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCZrt_H7GxE

To view the gfx as the artist intended, you need to fiddle around with curves. Simply setting gamma seems to give bad results. You might remember me ranting about this earlier, during my Probotector project.


...I see "The Scream" in the FG parallax
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:11:20 am by Arne »