AuthorTopic: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.  (Read 3281 times)

Offline Soundlust

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Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

on: February 02, 2013, 09:39:21 am
Hi, I'm fairly new to pixeling, and it's been a lot of fun just diving in. I've been reading through a lot of threads here and a bunch of the suggested
tutorials they linked to. Been a few things I've been hitting bumps with, trying to wrap my head around.
The main three things are palettes, reducing the repetition in tiles, and just in general clueless with sprites.

The palette thing is, no matter what I do I end up with several hundred to a thousand colors in an image I
thought I had 20. And I end up having to reduce it by force when I save an image and then go back over it,
fixing colors and ending up at a few hundred again.

Tiles, I've read Tsugumo tutorial, and I can see the issues when it's pointed out, but I'm struggling trying to
take them out. I been going in circles for a few days so here are my best examples of where I'm at(which are
oddly the first attempts I've done).


Offline yrizoud

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Re: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 03:32:33 pm
Tiles look very good. Remember that no matter how good a single tile is, it will look dull if you repeat it too many times. You'll want to create tile variants that tile well with the others. If you scatter the variations "almost randomly", the viewer will not easily detect that there are in fact only 3 different grass tiles.

Offline Ashbad

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Re: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

Reply #2 on: February 02, 2013, 05:43:53 pm
The palette thing is, no matter what I do I end up with several hundred to a thousand colors in an image I
thought I had 20. And I end up having to reduce it by force when I save an image and then go back over it,
fixing colors and ending up at a few hundred again.

This sounds more like a problem with the pixel-pushing program you're using, or the tools themselves.  Make sure you're not using dirty tools (tools that increase color count with little effect and/or push pixels in an unpredictable way), and instead stick to using the clean, precise ones.  For an example of both, just look at the tools in MS Paint: the pen/brush tools introduced in Win7's paint are considered dirty; the pencil tool is clean.  If you zoom up to look at what both produce, the pencil only uses a single color, and the brushes do a lot of anti-aliasing automatically, using hundreds of colors to do so.

Another possible problem could be that you're saving your images as JPEGs; doing so will produce artifacts, which basically ruin color counts and mess everything up.  PNG and GIF are good formats; PNG if you're using MS Paint, because paint isn't able to handle GIF well.

You could always look into using tools dedicated towards pixel-pushing cleanly; GrafX2, GraphicsGale, Cosmigo Promotion, etc. are often cited recommendations around here.

Offline Soundlust

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Re: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 07:59:01 am
Thanks yrizoud, I didn't know that! I thought they were just so well made or there was some trick I wasn't getting. I'll be taking another stab at it with that in mind.

Ashbad, I use Photoshop. I've tried a few like graphicsgale and cosmigo, but I've been using Photoshop so long, the hotkeys and the methods are just so hard for me to
give up.  I found some guide on settings up photoshop tools for pixelart, so that's the methods I've been using. Is it just not possible to have clean pixeling tools in
that program or is there more tweaking I need to do?

Offline Cage

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Re: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 10:47:28 am
I'm using photoshop too - had my share of "extra colors" but I've got it under control. :) Some tips from me:

First of all, if you're using a graphics tablet, make sure you don't have any pen pressure settings adjusting the opacity of the brush etc. Also be sure to use the pencil tool (and pencil/block mode of the eraser tool) - those don't produce any anti aliasing. Remember to turn off anti aliasing for the selection tools like lasso/polygonal lasso, too.

Watch out for layers - it's easy to replace a color on a single layer instead of the whole picture by mistake - extra color.

Also, if you're using masks, make sure that they are strictly 0/1 - either fully white (255/255/255/) or black (0/0/0). Accidental transparencies were most often the cause of unnecessary colors in my workflow.

To keep track of your colors and keep them uniform over the whole piece, you can use the extra space of your artwork to place the blotches of the colors to work as your palette or use the swatch window.

As a means of cleaning up the color, you can use the forced color in the index color conversion dialog ( forced -> custom ) and just select only the colors you want to use (the palette mentioned above helps, since you can use the eyedropper)

As far as your artwork:
I like your shading and color choices, looks like you know what you're doing ;) I recommend you read up more on pixel-specific - alternatives to black outlines, manual AA and cleaning up lines - it's great you've cleaned up you're lines, but they're very angular in some places which isn't always desired - practice cleaning up some oval/curved lines for example.

The mushrooms in the tileset could use some shadow (they blend in a bit). Besides that, there's something weird going on - not sure if that's intentional, but it looks like the tileset was scaled up from a smaller size and cleaned up, but it's still kinda blocky - mainly the grass and bush tile give off this vibe.

Offline Steneslore

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Re: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 02:26:32 pm
Hey man, I'm new too. Your stuff is pretty good, I like your grass and the little guy with the cleaver. If you're having problems with your image program, I recommend trying Paint.net, it's very simple but quite powerful and intuitive. It's also free!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:29:00 pm by Steneslore »

Offline Soundlust

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Re: Beginner, stuck with sprites and tiling.

Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 06:44:42 am
Whoa, thanks for explaining all that cage. I'm going to setup a profile and workspace in photoshop and make those changes.
Maybe I won't have to learn a new program after all.

Thanks Steneslore, much appreciated.
I looked into some of the stuff Ashbad was suggesting. Did some more reading and made an attempt at
not using a full black outline. I feel like it needs more contrast but I tried bumping it up and it burned my eyes
or just didn't read right.