AuthorTopic: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please  (Read 6375 times)

Offline Garfunkel

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Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

on: April 24, 2013, 06:59:19 pm
Hi,

I'm a programmer trying to do pixelart. At the moment I'd like to tie down the style for the characters in an rpg I'm making. Which is why I read a bunch of tutorials and made this guy below sort of as a guide and as a placeholder.

I know there are a bunch of rules, and I'm breaking a couple, for instance the jaggies on the lower sleeves or the color count. Those two I do not care about. Also his posture/stance is outright bad and wooden, doll like. These things I know and am ok with.

What I want is a cartoon style, so I thought simple shading, no secret of mana crazyness. But I'm not sure if I'm in the ballpark. The picture evolved from left to right, but at times I think the harsh black outline on the left looks great.
So I'm trying to get a feel for it, I'm sort of satisfied, but not quite.
Is the hue change in the shading a good idea for this style for example? (right most column)

Also the sprite has to look good zoomed in and out, as I will only create art at the target size, and then zoom the game depending on target platform (please no flaming about this). There's such a huge difference between how a sprite looks at different zoom levels. That's also a balancing act I'm trying to figure out, and have not found any tutorials or words of wisdom about.

Last thing, this is less pixelart related I guess, any general tips on making him less doll like, but still basically super deformed, apart from the stance and the big head are much appreciated. But I can totally understand if this is not the place for that. I just need to learn to draw. What I do wonder is: is there a limit to super-deformed/chibi character design in regards to resolution? I assume big heads were initially used to make tiny sprites still express emotion, or be more recognizable. But does it stop working at higher resolutions, sort of similar to the uncanny valley? (Some dreadful gradient ff chibi illustrations come to mind) Or do I just suck? (Way more likely) Do I need to exaggerate more?

Not looking for praise, I have thick skin, please be very critical.
There's a chance I'll modify the image, start over completely, or leave it. It depends on feedback and my own head, sorry for not commiting to one or the other. Thank you nonetheless.

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 10:30:00 am
So I tried something completely different. I took some pokemon trainer sprites, scaled them down and simply tried to imitate that. It's quick and dirty, his right hand is very wrong for instance. Here's the result:


As you can see I failed. It looks more like dawn of sorrow or something...

Which is a great looking game, but it's not super deformed enough.

I'll try blowing up the head a bit I think, and probably change the viewpoint to be more frontal.

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #2 on: April 25, 2013, 04:27:45 pm
Hm, I guess I should make him a poser since this is way to stiff and symmetric, kind of like suikoden.
Well.. we'll see.


Edit:
To be honest, I'm starting to think this resolution isn't very suited for the style, 80 pixels high and it'll look pretty and cartoony, but at 60? Hm. It's probably that I just suck, but can it be pulled off?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 04:42:10 pm by Garfunkel »

Offline Ymedron

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #3 on: April 25, 2013, 07:48:30 pm
I commend you for keeping on going even without any responds. :D (I don't really know what advice to give you, sadly...)

Here are some suggestions to try out:
-Thick outlines?
-Fluidity in shapes and pose?
-Less "hostile" eyes?
-More cheerful colors?

I also tried to draw something chibi because I feel like there's something missing from the first one's chibi-proportions. I'm not sure what conclusion I drew, or whether it's even usable in pixel form.
When it comes to stylization, simpler is more endearing. Humans like to humanize vaguely human things, and are repulsed by something that's in the awkward realm of almost-realistic.
Also my art tumblr: ymedronart.tumblr.com

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #4 on: April 25, 2013, 08:47:16 pm
Thanks for the drawing, looks really cool.

Yesterday I messed around with the proportions, but nothing satisfactory. It seems you can make the body as small as you want and it'll work as a character.

(these proportions probably even work beter)

I guess it's his stare or expression. Darwin apparently wasn't pleased with his looks, and he was underappreciated, so I kind of wanted him to express sorrow and insecurity, but still be this very insightful and wise person.

But that might not mix well with cartoony-chibi style :)

That almost-realistic thing is definitely something to consider. Dolls are kind of a weird in-between and this darwin sprite kind of goes there and creeps me out. Like a scary leprechaun that stares into your bedroom window at night.

- I'm avoiding thick outlines as it was a nono in all the tutorials I read. And the sprite will be placed on all sorts of backgrounds.
- Colors I also would like to keep the same, but maybe I can use the same hue and just up the brightness and maybe the saturation... I'm not very eager to do that because cartoons can work fine with dark colors.
- Fluidity is a complete weakness here I agree. I am just crap at it. (And I also want to pull of this dreadful, idling boring professor pose. Upon which I'll base the typical rpg walk animations).

Dunno. It can't hurt to go completely overboard on some of those things, just to have another opposite. So I'll try that tomorrow.

Offline Ymedron

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 09:18:32 pm
Well, you can always try. :o
Yoshi's island uses thick outlines to a great stylistic result, so it's certainly not completetly unheard of to use it in games.

Perhaps rather than a glare, he might just have a shaded eye area with low eyebrows?


I tried with thicker outlines, but I kept reducing until they are what you see now.

I also noticed that you have a lot of unneeded colors, but I won't go into that. You'd get by with just about three colors for the jacket, or so.
Also my art tumblr: ymedronart.tumblr.com

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #6 on: April 26, 2013, 10:19:10 am
Yeah, Yoshi's Island looks phenomenal. But it's more the environment that has thick outlines, or was it?


And the effect when they move over a black background is pretty obvious:


Well, I dabbled and doodled a little, and I think I've come up with something that I like.
The trick was to NOT sketch beforehand, I just pixeled and that worked  :-\
Thanks very much for the pointers Ymedron.


Any negative feedback / critique is still very welcome.

I'm personally not happy with the more dynamic pose, that's cheating :)
But maybe I can make good animations off of this.
See where it goes.

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Cartoon Charles Darwin C+C & tips please

Reply #7 on: April 26, 2013, 11:31:32 am
Yeah, Yoshi's Island looks phenomenal. But it's more the environment that has thick outlines, or was it?
Note that Yoshi's Island wanted to look like "drawn by kids", hence the pastel strokes on the background in addition to strong black outlines, just like Yoshi Story was meant to look like a baby's fabric book.

That's not an innocent choice and it's strongly linked to the presence of Baby Mario in the game, imho.