AuthorTopic: Pixel art genres  (Read 36223 times)

Offline hapiel

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Pixel art genres

on: July 13, 2013, 09:32:08 am
Hello kids, welcome in the think tank!
Today we talk about the history, development and most specifically the different genres of pixel art!

Can we divide pixel art in different genres?
What makes these genres what they are?
Where do they come from, when did they arrive and who started them?

This topic spawned of a tiny sum up of styles by Cure and me. Since all the people who still remember the golden age hang out here we'd thought we could continue our discussion at Pixelation!

I myself am not an art student (well technically I am, but quite a different art form) , all I know is what I have seen in pixels.  It would therefor be cool if we can stick to simple English, and not get too arty in our language.

The aim? Discover where we are coming from.
What inspires us unconsciously? How come that the non-pixel-artists believe that pixel art = dithering, but that dithering was forbidden a few years ago except if your name is helm. Did capcom start cel-out and what do we think about it now? After the inventions of 256+ color video cards, how did we go back to tight palettes? Etc etc etc...

So, let us discuss: movements/schools/styles in pixel art!

Offline hapiel

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #1 on: July 13, 2013, 09:40:54 am
To kick off, here is what I posted in the chatterbox earlier this week:

The style descriptions are partially a joke. We could get more serious in this thread..

Oldschool & improved: Ptoing, Helm, Ilkke, Tomic
Comes with superb dithering, well controlled (unsaturated) palettes and a secret love for double pixels and thick black borders

Popular computer games: This, Super Crate Box, Cave story, This
Tiny sprites in high resolution. Little detail and very cute in an '8-bit' way.

High def: Demoscene, Frost, Dex, thepixelknight
Why did this have to be pixel art? Would have looked just as impressive in another medium

Bubblegum (name coined by Skeddles): Delicious, Kenneth Fejer, Indigo, Gas13 & too many to mention
Sprites are small but well defined. Has outlines and is suitable for games. All artist in this style share an unconditional love for Pokemon.

Animator: Wayne, Stickman, FrankieSmileShow, B.O.B
Their is a lot to critique on their pixel styles, but the animation is worth an oscar!

Professional: Big Brother, Vierbit, a3um, Too many tom mention (Jalonso, Fool, Jinn, Mrmo_tarius)
A lot of colors, still super charming. Portfolios of these artists are usually well organized (similar preview images). They all love mockups, they are all productive and able to finish big things!


The wonderful cure made a similar list

Demoscene-
Tries to push the limits of the machine.
Often heavy dither and shape-bluffing.
Sub categories:
ZX Spectrum, C64, etc.

Retro-
Tries to emulate the restrictions of the machine (Particularly 8-bit Nintendo)

Old School-
Heavy dithering.
Adapted toward the faint blur of a CRT monitor.
Examples- ‘05-era st0ven or jaeden

New School-

Uses little dithering, emphasis on cluster control and anti-aliasing.
Adapted toward crispness for display on hi-def monitors.
Sub categories:
Bubblegum (New School Retro), Neo-scene

Isometric-
Subcategories: Pop Pixel (Eboy-Habbo), Da Good Stuff (Jal-Za)

Hybrid-
Mixes pixel art with automatic tools, filters, etc.
Examples: Superbrothers, Cellusious.




What do you guys think? Correct, incorrect? What is missing? How could we define categories better? Where does this all come from?

I am looking forward to see where this chat goes.  ;D

Offline ErekT

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #2 on: July 13, 2013, 01:27:32 pm
Nice lists! :)

Just some thoughts on the animation category. I dunno. For animated pixel art, pixel art principles become less important than general animation principles I feel, at least for the kind of examples you posted (except the doggie). Hard to notice good pixel clusters when they wizz by in 1/20th second, so it's more important to focus on whether or not you get the general shapes and shades to flow right from one frame to the next. Exceptions might be really low-res/low-color stuff, sub-pixel anims, and color-cycling anims maybe?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 01:30:23 pm by ErekT »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #3 on: July 13, 2013, 01:56:27 pm
I think the magic ARS "Abstraction, Realism, Symbolism" Triangle works with an indicator for the used resolution as best thing to exactly point out where styles are.

Helm's description in the ramblethread with the triangle explains things much better than some of your crude "words" which selection is rather questionable.

IMO:

I don't really think your style overview is accurate. On the one hand you'd call "professional" a own style. Usual professional artists are just artists who are making a living with their art. Their style can differ vastly, as long as they sell their stuff they are professionals.

I also won't count "popular computer games" as an own style, because they were made as computer games and because of various reasons they got popular, which doesn't mean that all of them share the same graphical style - after all it's art made for games.

Animation is an art itself, it has it's own rules and it's own impression. All animated pixels will have motion. All animations will have their own distinctive style. Animation has it's own subcategories and pixel animations are one of these with own subcategories too (as ErekT said). It's pixel art, but mainly it's an animation.

Isometric is rather a perspective than a style. Just because it's an perspective it doesn't mean that it couldn't appear in any style. There are lots of flat shaded more graphical isometric pieces and some more realistic shaded ones.


As you see there are already lots of term which are suspending or overlapping themselves partially. Some of them explain rather techniques than styles.


Of course different artists use different techniques to achieve different effects. Techniques like AA, dither, cluster-control, clean lines etc. are just related to the pixel tech.
Techniques like perspective, shading, color theory, composition, anatomy and a lot more are related to drawing tech.
For pixel art you need to master all of them, how you balance them is every artist's own decision.

I think that the key for how we can apply these techniques is resolution. If the resolution is too small and there is no place you are restricted which causes a distinctive style. 8x8 sprites don't use excessive dither or AA because there is no space for it. Even if a great artist with a well-defined style would work on a resolution like that he'd have to heavily adjust his techniques to the resolution restrictions.

If the resolution gets really big and you use a lot of colors you usually can get a much more realistical rendering than on a smaller resolution with less colors, that at least should be common sense.

The resolution however don't affects the idea, it's more that the idea affects the resolution. If someone works on a bigger resolution and don't wants to render realistically and uses the more graphical approach it's usually because he wants to have "that" distinctive look. So the "Bubblegum" as you call it is just higher resolution with more abstraction than realism.

A good example for this would be Pistachio's werewolf edit and delicious' final werewolf.
As you can see Pistachio tried to apply a lot more painting technique with interesting structure, realistic shading and clusters which look more like concept art. The edit isn't polished, but it's much more realistic than Delicious final rendered "Bubblegum" end result which throws most of the advanced painting knowledge Pistachio applied over board and concentrates much more on beautiful clusters (the subject and the proportions are exactly the same, the rendering is by far different).
I'd say that delicious'- wolf has a more "graphical" approach while Pistachio's wolf has a more "realistic approach" (which tries more to look like a traditional painting or photograph instead of a vector).

 

I think that delicious' wolf would also work good with the half resolution (if there would have been a restriction in terms of resolution) while pistachio's final rendered wolf would most probably need the size to apply all the details needed to achieve the realistic feeling he sketched out.

If you'd resize both of them delicious wolf won't loose a lot of detail while Pistachio's wolf definitely would.
Delicious wolf although would also work really good with vectors (and would most probably look much smoother)


The more pixels you have to illustrate something the smaller the need of simplification is. Simplifying things to optimize your workflow or getting a more unique rendering is just a matter of the idea or the need of the graphic. 

I think the magic ARS "Abstraction, Realism, Symbolism" Triangle works with an indicator for the used resolution as best thing to exactly point out where styles are. It's possible to clearly put in every artists pixel work.
It's basically the same as if you'd pick colors.
If there is no indication for the resolution it's hard to say if the look was caused by restrictions or if it was intented by the artist.

Like the werewolf example which is pretty much a high resolution strong abstracted piece of art there are pixels which are low resolution but try to use as less abstraction as the resolution restriction allows.


Helms initial post I built on:

{...}

As mentioned before, the goal of the pixel craftsman is twofold. On one hand he tries to make the apparent resolution finer. On the other he struggles to represent what it is he's drawing. The two goals are always in friction. Let's look at these two pieces of high art I just devised:



And this:




I posit that both images represent the same idea. A man shitting in a sine arch.

The first image has a high apparent resolution because the lines are perfect and also - more importantly - because as the viewer looks at this they cannot discern a pixel grid, they cannot see the single pixel almost at all.

In the second image the single pixel is very apparent. If we zoom in a bit more in fact,




That there is a very confined space in which to represent the human figure in its volumes and shapes means that the more colors and clusters we employ, the more the underlying grid of the image has to show.

The particular ambitions of the pixel artist, at this level, are paramount. If one wishes to convey a fully rendered object as realistically as possible, it cannot be helped that the apparent resolution will be lowered. As clusters of pixels come to interact, places where the pixels 'line up' and betray their resolution are inevitable. The trade-off is that the rendered object appears more realistic, with whatever benefits the artist might assign to that. Let's look at a schema:



Here we have a simplified model of aesthetic motivation for the pixel artist. It isn't very different from the motivations of artists in other fields, but there are some additional considerations to inspect that are very pixel-art relevant.  On this point I'd like to say that I am not using the above terms as they're usually meant in the history of art. I am appropriating the terms slightly so the layman can follow along.

With abstraction I mean that the realized object of the piece of art does not clearly refer to something in the natural world.
With realism I mean that the artist is attempting to render his object lushly enough that the viewer will interpret it relatively literally.
With symbolism I mean that the artist is attempting to convey objects with clear higher functions without allowing for literal interpretations.

Try to think of your favourite pixel artists, and place them in a space within the triangle. Try to assign specific works by them in the triangle and then make specific observations about how each artist is prioritizing their two goals: hiding the grid/increasing apparent resolution and conveying the volume, light and surface of their intended object literally. You will find that artists near the top of the triangle will have very high resolutions and very simple/naive objects, whereas artists near the left end of the triangle will have resolutions of moderate fineness while their objects will be meticulously shaded. Art towards the right edge of the triangle will both have very low resolutions and very simple shapes!

The realist pixel artist will often make large areas where the resolution is practically infinite (like the shoulder of the girl in the above Lazur bit) and then place single-pixel, low-resolution level detail on various specific pieces to rejoice in the pixel-ness of his work just a little (the highlights on the hair here for example). The ambition of the artist leans heavily towards removing the grid, but doesn't frown away from going 'hey, here's my pixel, do you love it? I love it!' once in a while.

The complete abstractionist has effectively destroyed the pixel in his work, it is in the place of Ideal Space. It could be vector art or anything else that isn't shackled to the limitations of a monitor really. We do not have examples of such pixel artists really because as you might imagine, that goal would be very self-defeating. However there are a few artists whose work is very very close to vector smooth, like Panda or Ilkke sometimes, but you can tell they're pixel artists at heart because they can't contain themselves from putting in pixel-level details in a few places after all.

The symbolist pixel artist creates art that is very informed about its being made of pixels and wants the viewer to know it also. All of the modern 'retro art' fits in that edge of the triangle for me, with the artificially low resolutions and the flat and fat pixel character designs. These retro artists are not interested in pixel art technique to make the resolution higher, they are interested in invoking nostalgia on the older viewer or to inform the younger viewer of the semiotic particulars of older video game art.


I do not judge any of these motivations. It is however my belief that regardless of which way the artist might feel drawn towards, for their art to maximize its capacity as pixel art, they should reconcile their different aspirations so as to retain a place within the relative center of the triangle (the grey circle area). The realist artist should not attempt to completely abolish the pixel-level detail and end up with a blurry mess of a piece with 250 colors in it. The symbolist artist should not completely forego the attempt to make their pixel clusters achieve their ideal state. The abstractionist should not make their resolution that fine so that in the single pixel no longer feels like it belongs.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 02:06:39 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline hapiel

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #4 on: July 13, 2013, 02:47:25 pm

I don't really think your style overview is accurate. On the one hand you'd call "professional" a own style. Usual professional artists are just artists who are making a living with their art. Their style can differ vastly, as long as they sell their stuff they are professionals.

Thanks for your reply, and thanks for reminding me of the triangle post!

My overview is definitely not accurate. It started out as a joke and the names were given for 'recognizably' not for 'correctness'. I do not intend to insult anyone by putting them or their styles on this little list! These things just seemed to be some trends I noticed over the time.

Also, I agree that animation and isometrics do not really need a place in this list.

Quote
For pixel art you need to master all techniques, how you balance them is every artist's own decision.
And how you balance them defines your 'style', right?

Thanks for your contribution to the subject, the werewolf part was interesting :)

Do you not think someone could use the same amount of realism vs iconism vs abstractism as Delicious used AND the same resolution, and still come up with something in a different style? Would the triangle + resolution really be enough for everything?

EDIT:
So perhaps we can define a style if we have the ARS triangle + Resolution + palette (number of colors, type of colors..) + techniques used? (A scale to define if there is 0% dithering or 100% for example)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 02:50:52 pm by hapiel »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #5 on: July 13, 2013, 02:53:21 pm

Quote
For pixel art you need to master all techniques, how you balance them is every artist's own decision.
And how you balance them defines your 'style', right?

Thanks for your contribution to the subject, the werewolf part was interesting :)

how you use them defines your style, how much you have mastered them affects your quality, that's at least what I think. I just pixked out some major techniqes, you could add a lot more stuff to this

Do you not think someone could use the same amount of realism vs iconism vs abstractism as Delicious used AND the same resolution, and still come up with something in a different style? Would the triangle + resolution really be enough for everything?

with changing the design, the proportions, lighting, light direction and different colors, somebody could get a completely different result of course
The werewolf looks like a heavily overdrawn Blizzard character to me.

EDIT:
So perhaps we can define a style if we have the ARS triangle + Resolution + palette (number of colors, type of colors..) + techniques used? (A scale to define if there is 0% dithering or 100% for example)

the number of colors and how you interconnect them within a palette just defines the smoothness of the ramps. if you have a "flat" style you simple define the planes, while more complex styles define also roundings and texture (noise?).
Within the triangle each piece of ar thas it's own spot.

I never have seen 100% dither within a work, only heavy used dither.
TBH we won't call pieces without cluster control, dither or AA  pixel art, because there won't be any pixel-level detailling.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 03:06:20 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Pix3M

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #6 on: July 13, 2013, 04:35:02 pm
From my perspective as an artist who's largely deviantART based, I think we could be more inclusive to include styles that would normally not be considered good or proper pixel art, but they use some pixel art tools for various reasons. I also think it's useful to start looking at the aesthetic motivations of various artists like the ARS triangle mentioned, because it's often what kind of drives home the final art style.

So, while other digital media evolved to become more powerful, pixel art starts becoming only one option and people will have to start consciously choosing why they're working with one media over another. Like photography changed the art world to be less realism-focused, better computer technology pretty much changed pixel art in a similar way. "Why do realism if you can just take a dumb photo? hurr durr" I personally see at least three major genres resulting from the general conception that pixel art ought to have visible pixels.

There's something we could probably call 'Modern Retro", a term I think I picked up from Helm but may as well use here. There's the "8-bit" artist whose goals are to have something very blocky and look 'retro', but they aren't interested in pushing the limits of a given system as much as professional artists who worked with older consoles back then. I notice that the game industry tends to try to be as state-of-the-art as possible so naturally genuine retro art will generally more effort put into them. That aesthetic motivation is no longer there so people I tend to see who works with this style don't push their pixels to their limits.

Possible subcategory could include programmer art because it's a rather popular choice of art style for those who aren't artistically inclined, and for good reason. It's not that difficult to do.


Then, there's an art movement (or art culture) that comes from deviantART where AA is largely ignored, but (sometimes unconventional) dithers are emphasized. I have no suitable name for this though. While I'm still deviantART based while applying techniques being interested in 'destroying the pixel' for teh luls, there are a couple of people who tell me that they prefer pixel art that isn't so smooth. Some people tell me they enjoy pixel art with visible pixels. It seems that while that aesthetic of dithers and no AA is probably frowned upon in this community, it seems to be very accepted in deviantART.

Even if we don't consider those styles I mentioned 'good', I think if we're gonna write this formally they ought to be mentioned anyways.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #7 on: July 13, 2013, 04:55:38 pm
I think it's pretty clear that we shouldn't write this formally as it's just a bunch of opinion bias. I have no problem with people being opinionated (me being me) but when I read "Why did this have to be pixel art? Would have looked just as impressive in another medium" it gives me a headache how unfair this is to people putting a lot of work and heart into their art. Fine as jokes and so on, but I wouldn't take any of this too seriously.

Offline Cure

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #8 on: July 13, 2013, 09:19:14 pm
I feel like a mathematical proof is trying to be settled in this thread.
I am more interested in the motivations behind the styles being discussed than creating a wiki.

How has hardware affected style through the history of pixel art?
-Larger palettes, sharper pixels, higher resolutions, etc.

Is the artist trying to push or even break the limits of (an older) computer (as is frequent in the demoscene), or are they looking backwards, to emulate old hardware limitations using a modern machine?

In amending my definitions I would probably remove old and new school, and replace it with a grey area dependent on hardware. Of hapiel's definitions, I think Bubblegum and Hi-Def are definitely observable trends. Demoscene, retro, hybrid, and iso (a perspective and a style) are also pretty easy to spot, though of course there is plenty of overlap between a lot of these.

when I read "Why did this have to be pixel art? Would have looked just as impressive in another medium" it gives me a headache
This.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #9 on: July 14, 2013, 01:09:51 am
There are many different models of understanding. It is not about which is the truest, but which one is more or less helpful in a given situation. So it is good to know many ways, and learn timing. Sometimes a more abstract and lean model helps you escape your style, sometimes a list helps you on a detail in your work suggestively. It would be good to collect an assortment of lenses through which you can look at art as is opportune.

Motivation has to do with circumstance. What is it really you are trying to achieve and what means do you have towards that?

Hardware can be circumstance, as can simply mood. Or the art is embedded in a greater cause seamless, maybe a certain crispness and clarity in the details of a large work is required by a game design for readability, or maybe giving the illusion of detail in a tiny fuzzy work. Also project pressure in your job.

In short, art doesn't exist in a vacuum. So for example, on that last point, that quote of the question "Why did this have to be pixel art? Would have looked just as impressive in another medium" makes less sense as a critique to another's study on the subject, but more sense to ask yourself that if you have professional work to get done and little time given. And it rises the question to what frame and scale makes pixel art the most sense, so that its strength and creativity does not devolve into mindless pixel-droning ad absurdum. And further, how can you take advantage of modern technology to stretch the scope in which pixel aesthetics make creative sense. Which of course opens up a whole can of worms in the minds of many a faithful pixel pusher.

That leads us to another way of many to classify pixel art: result oriented or process oriented.

Some see limits of pixel art as a way to prove yourself, a challenge in the process of creation -- getting there -- as part of the achievement in artwork, and a call for regulation of purity for comparability.
Others see themselves entirely justified in the end result -- it speaks for itself what is pixel art -- for them pixel art is another kind of pencil in their repertoire of tools, and it tends to mix the means, artistically and technically.

Both aspects make the soul of pixel art, each fascinates in its own right, each important to develop your artistic soul as a whole, each all the brighter in love of each other... and yet each loathing the other when impersonated by different people.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 03:09:18 am by RAV »

Offline Ultimaodin

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #10 on: July 14, 2013, 03:40:55 am
Wow, been a while since I posted here. I feel kind of bad.

Anyway, when it comes to style I have to agree with helm that style is a bit of a biased concept and hard to really 'categorise'. That being said I like the idea of sharing style information with others because it gives inspiring pixel artists the chance to learn different ways of approaching things. I know I certainly learnt a lot from imitating ilkke's Cat of Gold (even though I was too noob to quite capture it). There are also a bunch of things inspiring artists simply don't even consider.

Joe for example who does mostly C64 demoscene work has a habit of putting overlaying patterns on his work:
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/68407.htm
It's something that I personally find pretty neat and not something I had ever considered doing.

Some times you just run into a style when trying to be creative:
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/67986.htm#
This 'style' was design by combining African colours with a bit of a unique dithering approach. (and I was still pretty noob then)

So for me personally while defining style in it's abstract/realism/symbolism triangle is brilliant - I also feel that dither styles and colour styles are a neat thing to discuss. Colour decisions of course are important all forms of art but I find in  pixelart it holds a greater impact due to the great appeal of restricted colour pallets. It's been mentioned that a lot of artist like the desaturated pallets such as the C64 pallet as it's more flexible in the sense of connecting colours together. I for one enjoy an overly saturated pallet for how it makes images 'pop':
http://i393.photobucket.com/albums/pp16/TheUnknownArtistJak/16colourpallet_zps11a8f51a.png

Then there are dither styles (something I've been toying a lot with lately rather than actually getting anything produced). There is the pretty typical checkerboard dither but then there are a whole tonne of other dither styles such as the gradient line dither, the line dither similar to my previous 'style piece I made' dither, bubble dithering etc... Often these different styles can be used for emphasising texture (line dithering on metal etc.. but they can be used just to create something unique.

On top of those couple things there are different methods to handling the borders of objects within a piece. There is outside anti-aliasing where you AA towards a surrounding colour or to a neautral middle colour. There is the broken AA where you dither AA a given colour into the outside colour (often creates a furry vibe though). There is sell-out which is shifting the outside pixels to a darker colour or good old fashion outlining; outlining itself though can be single black outlines, to bold heavy outlines to light/shade affected outlines that change in relation to the light source.

Of course none of these is a defined style but a instead different approaches that can lead to a style when combined. So yeah, as helm stated, it can't really be categorised.

I want to post more but I'm terrible at wording stuff today and honestly I aso just want to go play a tonne of my new steam games.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #11 on: July 14, 2013, 04:22:42 am
It can be categorized in so far, that one system of categories doesn't exclude the others. When talking about pixel art, it can be useful to refer to a system that better suits the point you are trying to communicate, since the collective categories of one system represent an idea different than the collective categories of another system, providing context. Seen like this, it is possible to create a formal collection of systems and attitudes in pixel art, each made concisely different in its categorical approach.

So it doesn't exclude through bias, it includes all forms of bias. Rather it is the lack of a formal history of pixel art that creates pixel extremism, unaware of the great variety pixel art has always had, and that it can be different tomorrow, since it has been evidently pretty different yesterday. Pixel art does not get technically tainted, technology gets pixel painted, like by a bunch of graffity sprayers roaming the e-'hood at night.

"The pixel boys were here! your shiny new screens ain't save from pixel power, yo. Eat it, suckers."





A bit more elaboration on how unlikely factors shape motivations on pixel art style:

I believe that the renaissance of "retro" graphics in games happened primarily because of the harsh reality of development today. Childhood nostalgia is not the reason but the marketing spin on why lesser quality of content would be better for the consumer, when it really serves the developer first. So it's tempting to say you might as well call that category "Indy dev".

Production of assets for modern games has become so overly intense and costly -- risky -- that it hinders the spontaneity in creativity. You need a dozen specialists these days to see an asset through the pipeline. The industry is in a vicious cycle of a higher and higher fidelity race that fewer and fewer can compete with, resulting in stale sequels of a hand full blockbusters.

So doing really rough retro graphics, almost down to the symbolic level, enables very few devs with simple means to create massive amounts of content, and concentrate on fresh and finely tuned game play. Look how much fun Mathias has lately with that little animated guy, his creative focus shifted, he can pump dozens of cool animations. Or Bitslap with his little dudes.

That is to say a motivation behind a style can be efficient productivity of the artist. Maybe also see Mrmo's blocky/tiled pixeling style.

To be honest, it is a bit ironic to see the fidelity arms race spilled over to Pixel Art production, so that its greatest strength is lost as far as games development is concerned.

Merged posts - Crow
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 12:03:33 pm by Crow »

Offline Pix3M

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #12 on: July 14, 2013, 06:47:34 pm
Game development is definitely the reason why I picked up pixel art in the first place. Childhood nostalgia is hardly there personally. My gaming experience generally didn't have very much from the 'golden age' of pixel art in the generation of 16-bit consoles. Closest I had to that was RM2k/3. I was poking around with game making, but of course you're not gonna find everything you need from free resources so it was necessary that I picked up some pixel pushing skills to do stuff.

Eventually, I decided that I wanted to get started working on this talent quite a bit. I started making luls fanart (and prob too influenced by deviantART), then started paying attention to newer-school techniques just to improve when I started catching critical attention.

I wouldn't say that game development is gonna reduce pixel art into mostly the modern-retro that I like to call it, because there is definitely the chance that somebody who works with that may find that there's a place in the internet where pixel art is treated like a much more serious art form.

Which kind of gets me thinking, what is it that gets some of us into pixel art and push our pixels further than others? I have a feeling that games are a primary factor in most of us.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 06:49:58 pm by Pix3M »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #13 on: July 15, 2013, 12:44:01 am
The real trick is smart combination.

A good game engine coder will always try to have calculations as imprecise as he can get away with, putting resources to better use.
Same for a game artist who understands where attention to high definition detail has the greatest effect on user experience, and where it has diminishing returns for his effort.

We don't have all the resources and time in the world, so we have to beat the odds with smarts. Getting things done is fun.
What the game developer does is teasing the imagination of the player. Let the player's mind do the work on the detail.

For example, in a rpg, just having detailed character portraits for textbox chatter is enough to prime the fantasy of the player so he sees more in the simple world avatar than there is.
Or having a great main menu screen, or a fantastic intro screen, or "cutscene" screens between story chapters for treats on successful progress.
Or even none of all that and just great story telling and character dialog.

Fine art and retro are powerful allies for an economic development.
Does the player play the game, or is the player played by the game.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 12:58:17 am by RAV »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #14 on: July 15, 2013, 03:27:09 am
Spending too much time on deviantART again.  :-X

Ultimately, it is us as a larger collective who controls our lexicon. While there are people who knows what it means to be a purist pixel artist, there are plenty who do not but call themselves pixel artists.

I just had the pleasure of modding the largest pixel art group on deviantART, and there are going to be the occasional pieces that are obviously non-purist or with a very strong oekaki aesthetic. The group just grabbed a bunch of peeps as moderators and some of us seem to have completely different ideals of what pixel art is and what it is about, so it should be rather interesting when some of us are probably gonna be tossing pixel artist jargon others aren't familiar with... maybe. I dunno how the group will ultimately deal with non-purist/oekaki styles but either way, our general sense of what is and isn't pixel art seems to be poorly understood. There are a lot of pixel art groups that I am not familiar with (mostly keeping to my own nerdy niche focused by subject, not medium), but I do get the impression that there are gonna be different ideas of what pixel art is.

What if things continue they way it is and there are gonna be plenty of people with ideals much different from our ideals of what pixel art is? There could be a dictionary definition coming along but we're too small of a community. Heck, wikipedia's article on pixel art is a hopeless mess because they have almost no sources to work with. There's PJ and this place, but of course there are gonna be 'issues' using those places as a source.


What I think is interesting is that the deviantART 'pixel artist' community as a whole has a totally different set of interests than the sort of stuff you find on PJ. More manga and cartoons from deviantART, more games and demoscene from PJ. Of course, it's only a generalization as there are a couple realistic artists you can tell by their rendering style that they're heavily dA based (e.g. GuardianofShigeru or Bronzehalo). It would be interesting to know the sort of background of new-school artists, versus the backgrounds of artists who does the deviantART flavor of pixel art.


When I started an art hobby, I definitely thought deviantART was a good resource for information (because I didn't know anything). There's a lot of resources that present things as a norm and only explains an artist's particular style of anything. You're not gonna find something as theory-heavy the ramblethread. The ramblethread explains that good pixel artistry is about increasing the resolution of a piece. The values that deviantART tutorials teach tend to embrace the available resolution, often presenting dithering as a norm and never mention AA (or not providing the best examples of such and thus not making it look like a decent technique to ever try).

Going back to how photography changes art to be less realism-focused. Don't you guys feel that changing technologies made 'pixel artists' more inclined to embrace the available resolution rather than to fight against it? Probably a dangerous thing for me to say, since I know almost nothing about the computer art community from so long ago.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 03:35:04 am by Pix3M »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #15 on: July 15, 2013, 05:07:19 am
With the understanding that it is biased, a personal opinion and not a mathematical proof

Is there anyone who feels like naming a genre they've noticed?

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #16 on: July 15, 2013, 05:18:11 am
"Asian". I remember Cure once made some remark on that somewhere.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #17 on: July 15, 2013, 06:21:55 am
I think that one is particularly flimsy. I'd have a hard time supporting an argument for it today.

Superchunk was popular for a while. I think that was the name anyway, lots of right angles and very little AA.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #18 on: July 15, 2013, 06:30:50 am

Superchunk was popular for a while. I think that was the name anyway, lots of right angles and very little AA.

I thought at least Ptoing named it Chunk Funk. But yes, that is something.

Where does it come from?

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #19 on: July 15, 2013, 06:33:58 am
There is something identifiable about Asian artists' work (that's artists who are from the Chinese or Japanese pixelling scene), but I'm not sure quite how to quantify it. Often use outlines only slightly darker than the fill colour, tend away from very dark colours.
The ones that end up on pixeljoint tend to be quite talented too :)

So yeah, it might be the fact that members of Asian pixel communities learn from each other/subconsciously ape each others' styles (much like we all do) in isolation from what we're familiar to. You can see this at a smaller scale with the influx of Brazilians from sites like Pixelaria a couple of years ago, where they were all mini-Jinns :D

Chinese
marple
ivancat
llshadow

Japanese
Syosa
pel
seta45

Other genres...
Graphical styles that some people say would be better off in vector, OCEANSCENTED, snowk's newest stuff.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 07:20:21 am by Jeremy »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #20 on: July 15, 2013, 01:06:42 pm
Where are the Asian pixelling communities out there?

I think it may also be worth knowing that there is the possibility that the subtle things that makes 'Asian' pixel art the way it is could stem from Asian culture and not necessarily from pixelling communities.

The vector style is also interesting as there are at least two styles within that style. There's the ones who literally go for a vector-like look like my own avatar, then there's the ones that are practically oekaki-like such as snowk's recent pixel art.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 01:53:09 pm by Pix3M »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #21 on: July 15, 2013, 01:24:18 pm
@Jeremy, Pel's profile states he lives in Tokyo, not China

Where are the Asian pixelling communities out there?


As far as I am aware the Japanese hang out at Pixiv.net, which is a bit like deviantart
Some galleries here, here and here for random stuff
Make sure to register and login to see all the prettyness :)
Anyone who speaks japanese and can direct us to more pixels?

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #22 on: July 15, 2013, 03:29:02 pm
Why did this have to be pixel art? Would have looked just as impressive in another medium

The Demoscene specifically was a digital scene, and back in its hayday pixelart was the only game in town. It was not though of as pixelart is thought of today, it was just that back then the computers had lower resolutions and fewer colours to throw around.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #23 on: July 15, 2013, 03:34:55 pm
Is there a website where one could view demoscene stuff. I've tried looking around a little and can't ever find one.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #24 on: July 15, 2013, 03:38:01 pm
The Demoscene specifically was a digital scene, and back in its hayday pixelart was the only game in town. It was not though of as pixelart is thought of today, it was just that back then the computers had lower resolutions and fewer colours to throw around.
True that. I also understand the nostalgic style that the demo scene started which is one of the reasons people still make this kind of art.
For the other two works that I linked to: Both show a lot of control over their medium. If you are this skilled in pixel art I would also consider making everything I ever make in pixel art. Yet I don't like them more than similar NPA works, even though I usually have this extra appreciation trigger for pa. Somehow my respect for the pixel skill goes lost when I feel a similar result could have been achieved in other media...

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #25 on: July 19, 2013, 06:06:42 pm
I spotted a trend!
Of course straight, 45 and 26.6 (2:1) lines have always been around but it seems that more and more people know how to apply them on a scale where they don't go too noticed (like in chunkfunk) but where they also are not neccesary (like in tiny sprites)

For example this, a3um's gallery, this or MRMO

I originally became aware of this just before interviewing Mrmo, but now I notice these things everywhere. Is this a genre, a movement, do we have a name for it? Or have I been blind and has it always been around so much?

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #26 on: July 19, 2013, 06:09:38 pm
Is this a genre, a movement, do we have a name for it?

Do we need a name for it? Does it have to be a genre or a movement? I really don't think so. It's art. To be precise, pixel art. Do you really want to categorize this even further? I can see this ending up just like Metal genres, where people are arguing about what genre a specific song belongs to all the time.
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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #27 on: July 19, 2013, 06:50:18 pm
I too don't understand this need to scientifically categorize art. Why.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #28 on: July 19, 2013, 07:31:04 pm
I too don't understand this need to scientifically categorize art. Why.

It's probably the same psychology business as stereotyping.

Quote
Stereotypes can help make sense of the world. They are a form of categorization which helps to simplify and systematize information so the information is easier to be identified, recalled, predicted, and reacted to. Stereotypes are categories of objects or people. Between stereotypes, objects or people are as different from each other as possible. Within stereotypes, objects or people are as similar to each other as possible.

As to why people find it easier to understand categorized information, Gordon Allport has suggested possible answers in his 1954 publication: First, people can consult the category of something for ways to respond to that thing. Second, things are more specific when they are in a category than when they are not, because categorization accentuates properties that are shared by all members of a group. Third, people can readily describe things in a category, because, fourth and related, things in the same category have distinct characteristics. Finally, people can take for granted the characteristics of a particular category because the category itself may be an arbitrary grouping.

Moreover, stereotypes function as time- and energy-savers which allow people to act more efficiently. David Hamilton's 1981 publication gave rise to the view that stereotypes are people's biased perceptions of their social contexts. In this view, people use stereotypes as shortcuts to make sense of their social contexts, and this makes people's task of understanding their world less cognitively demanding.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #29 on: July 19, 2013, 07:41:22 pm
I supersecond Phlakes quote.
And no, I don't know if is beneficial yet. Connecting the dots might open new realisations. Generalisations might make it easier to talk about. This could be good or bad for the development of an artform, I don't know.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #30 on: July 20, 2013, 01:35:48 am
Is there a website where one could view demoscene stuff. I've tried looking around a little and can't ever find one.

http://artcity.bitfellas.org/
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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #31 on: July 20, 2013, 03:54:46 am
Thank ye.

Is Facet on artcity the Facet on here?

After seeing all the other pixelers on there I am assuming yes.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 04:40:49 am by Mr. Fahrenheit »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #32 on: July 20, 2013, 04:55:33 am
I'd be really surprised if it's the same Facet.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #33 on: July 20, 2013, 05:22:44 am
Oh...  :-X

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #34 on: July 20, 2013, 06:36:28 am
I do see some benefit in this categorization of pixel art. It has movements in the same way painting does, brought on by new tools, purposes, and view points.

I can see Fool's work coming from the likes of the demoscene era as well as Henk Neiborg's beautiful and tight game art.

Big Brother and Snake both often utilize very low color counts without sacrificing clarity or detail, but Big Brother has an earlier inspiration, where as Snake's art is very aware of newer CG imagery
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/10001.htm
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/17123.htm

Of course there is a a whole many more examples. I think nailing down categorizations would be as useful as defining impressionism, abstract expressionism, and realism ( very useful in understanding the history of pixel art and how technique is formed, and for what purpose).

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #35 on: July 20, 2013, 06:39:49 am
These art movements were usually defined by cultural critics, not the artists themselves, and often after the fact where a reading of history can be made. Furthermore it's in my opinion a bit conceited to think of oneself as part of an art movement akin to expressionism or whatever-the-hell. But all this I could take if I could see any merit to this process, which I do not. If you guys and gals - any of you - want to do cultural critique, feel free, but this is very surface.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #36 on: July 20, 2013, 07:53:17 am
Something that I'm interested in that may be helpful to study, is what makes up the components of an individual artist's style. I think the pixel art scene is small enough to warrant such narrow inspection. For example, if we look at what some of the overarching traits are in some of Fool's pieces, maybe we can deconstruct them, and learn from them. Think of it as the commercial critiques, only instead of some game we analyze one of the lauded members of our own community.

This is part of what makes the april fools challenge at pixel joint so much fun, because you have to look at the components comprising a style, deconstruct it, and then imitate it.

It could be interesting if the artist themselves weighed in on the origin of their style or why they make certain artistic decisions. I suppose this model could tread some weary conceited grounds, but I think it could work and is worth trying.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #37 on: July 20, 2013, 08:25:12 am
Quote
Stereotypes can help make sense of the world. They are a form of categorization which helps to simplify and systematize information so the information is easier to be identified, recalled, predicted, and reacted to. Stereotypes are categories of objects or people. Between stereotypes, objects or people are as different from each other as possible. Within stereotypes, objects or people are as similar to each other as possible.

As to why people find it easier to understand categorized information, Gordon Allport has suggested possible answers in his 1954 publication: First, people can consult the category of something for ways to respond to that thing. Second, things are more specific when they are in a category than when they are not, because categorization accentuates properties that are shared by all members of a group. Third, people can readily describe things in a category, because, fourth and related, things in the same category have distinct characteristics. Finally, people can take for granted the characteristics of a particular category because the category itself may be an arbitrary grouping.

Moreover, stereotypes function as time- and energy-savers which allow people to act more efficiently. David Hamilton's 1981 publication gave rise to the view that stereotypes are people's biased perceptions of their social contexts. In this view, people use stereotypes as shortcuts to make sense of their social contexts, and this makes people's task of understanding their world less cognitively demanding.

Yeah, that actually makes a ton of sense. Well expressed.



I'm am big on organization.
But I also like my experiences in consuming and creating artwork to be as organic and intuitive as possible so I naturally resist getting "mathematical" with art. This is probably influenced by the fact that I work full-time as a graphic designer for a print company where there's little room for time-consuming creative concept development. The work I'm expected to produce is very basic and generic. At first, I detested it, but I've learned to embrace it now because I've realized I can get away with churning out low-level graphics at work and then come home and still have "creative juice" left for the real stuff I do.
Thus, I over-protectively consider it sacred.

Also, I sometimes find it annoying that mine or others' original creations are just flung into a pre-existing category. Seems demeaning/cheapening at times. One positive effect though is that the artist's reaction is often extra innovation just to avoid categorization. And that has to led to great stuff, for sure.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #38 on: July 20, 2013, 09:29:03 am
These art movements were usually defined by cultural critics, not the artists themselves, and often after the fact where a reading of history can be made. Furthermore it's in my opinion a bit conceited to think of oneself as part of an art movement akin to expressionism or whatever-the-hell. But all this I could take if I could see any merit to this process, which I do not. If you guys and gals - any of you - want to do cultural critique, feel free, but this is very surface.

Often I've felt that cultural critics are less capable of such a thing than the artists themselves... either way, whose to say we can't play the role of the critic for a while? Whether you think it's conceited or not, we are all creating work in certain styles, some of which have their lineage and inspiration highly visible, and can be categorized because of it; for the benefit of organization and analyzing trends. I'm sure not every artist sat down at his easel thinking they were going to be an impressionist that day, but nevertheless they may have been categorized as such by the time they died.  I think pixel art has had a tremendous amount of growth in such a relatively short time span because of advances in technology and evolution of the artist's mind ( as it pertains to pixel art); comparable to the difference between the Woman of Willendorf and contemporary photo realism. While it may not matter so much on the large scale of things, and won't land any of us in a text book most likely, I would think the history of pixel art should be important to us- and you're the last person I would have thought that wouldn't see any benefit in exploring such things!

Here is my go at some fancy art school writings on pixel art:



In this piece, Helm has infused flat planes of the background with the grungy, amiga reminiscent rendering and palettes of games such as Lionheart,( pixeled by the artist Henk Nieborg, a prominent figure in the art of the pixel whose work has adapted and grown through the pixel and game art generations). The dither patterns are also subtly reminiscent of those favored by the demoscene era, whose artists often employed stark, 45 degree angles in their dither clusters, and were not afraid to interlace their dithering, "skipping" over a value step to indicate more texture- or perhaps just flare.
With that in mind, the palette appears more limited than these inspirations, where it seems the artist has discarded some extra colors for the sake of clarity, economy, and perhaps even time constraints that may have been in effect- as the work was for a commercial title following a popular franchise. Within this self-imposed palette constraint one can find a connection to background work produced on the gameboy advance, which rarely made full use of the allotted 16 colors per tile in the extent it was more commonly used in great SNES titles such as chromo trigger, metal slug, or even the aforementioned Lionheart on the Amiga. It seems here, the division between console and portable device may have had some influence in the output of artists working with the different devices. In any case, this level of palette control found itself onto a very modern device: the Nintendo DS, which could have easily accounted for a couple more palette entries had the artist been so inclined.
While Helm's work in this image may not fall strictly into one pixel art movement, it is certainly stemming from a renaissance with classical pixel art, and imbued with a modernity that comes from the artist being a very knowledgeable, experienced, and almost innovative pixel artist- having meditated on the medium's identity and purpose for quite some time.

Of course some of it is a bit tongue in cheek because I never really liked to write this stuff anyway, but I sincerely believe in the connections I've made there, and while you may not agree with my interpretation of your work, which is completely fine and a little expected, I think it shows pixel art can be discussed historically and stylistically with a depth that is at least as useful to a pixel artist as this sort of thing's equivalent would be to a traditional artist.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 09:31:57 am by Ryumaru »

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #39 on: July 20, 2013, 10:15:30 am
Alright, I'll bite.

I am sorry, but the text above verges on nonsense. All digital art is a product of modernity, and "stemming from a renaissance with classical pixel art" is totally meaningless to me. This is the exact opposite of what I would like to read on my or any other pixel artist's work. Some of the terms are so misused I just can't tell what you're trying to say, even.

If you're interested how much on point you are with the first part of your text, I will tell you I have studied absolutely zero dither patterns in the demoscene and most of my nonstandard influences on that come from Miascugh and Ptoing's stuff, which may or may not be influenced by certain demoscene artists. Most of my pixel art influences are from the Pixelation era, actually. I like 3-4 oldschool artists, really. There is a bitmap brothers influence on the dithering but I wouldn't say their stuff and demoscene stuff are interchangable at all. I do love Henk but I never really zoomed in and tried to immitate him. Or anyone else, really.

As to color control, the Wayforward engine played best with 16 colors per layer if memory serves, hence my choices. It's easier for me to work with a good 16 color palette anyway than 60 colors. A lot of my choices have to do with habit and convinience, as with most artists, especially on budgeted, deadline-intensive projects. My personal stuff betrays my own considerations much more.

The biggest influence in this and most of my sci-fi work is one that you miss, Flashback by Delphine Software and that also means Moebius, a comic artist that worked on the designs on that game.

The biggest thing Lionheart does is use the amiga copper blit to darken and tint the ground tilesets as they progress vertically, a feature specific to the amiga that even the mega drive which was close to it could not reproduce. I would say there's no Henk in this image at all.

Besides Cyclone, no other demoscene artists come to mind that used 45 degree cuts prominently.  I am sure they exist, they just don't come to mind. The demoscene is so vast, it's a whole world of pixel art in itself, for us to come in and call all that stuff uniformly 'demoscene'. It's the exact opposite of good art history to do that. And to what end? To stroke our own egos? Do you realize how much work it takes with archives before you can do a solid historical analysis of even 5 years of worth of art history?

Point is, what you call the 'demoscene' is I believe what you've seen by artists on Pixelation/Pixeljoint that have been influenced by it, plus 2-3 actual old scenesters reuploading their stuff. How much time have you spent actually looking at art made by people in 1992 on an Amiga?

If pixel art is important - and it might not be - leave it to people 50 years in the future from now, they'll read our threads and see our art and make much better sense of it than we do in the midst of it.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 10:17:02 am by Helm »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #40 on: July 20, 2013, 11:11:29 am
After writing all that I did up there, I did realize I forgot to talk about flashback, even thought about an edit, but here we are.

Cyclone was on my mind when I was writing that, it would have been more useful to site the exact artist rather than the entire demo scene, which I understand cannot and should not be a blanket for any one thing.

You seem to have a very large aversion to "ego stroking", When I don't see how that can happen from this discussion. If I declared that I was at the forefront of medialantialiasminimalcolorpalettism and discussed at length on how I started the movement, I would understand where you're coming from.
If you mean some sort of collective ego stroking where we are making pixel art a bigger deal than it " should be" I think it would be more silly to admit that some of us make a living in part by doing something that we ourselves don't consider important, than claim it is important.

If the comment "stemming from a renaissance with classical pixel art" doesn't have any meaning to you, then you are not seeing or allowing me to make, what I think is a very simple analogy where classical hellenistic art, which was the inspiration for the italian renaissance, is likened to the highest quality work on the Amiga such as Lionheart and of course the bitmap brothers with chaos engine. While it is a bit of a stretch because I am letting "classical" be defined more on quality than certain "style", I am simply stating that one could see in your image similar technical qualities to older, highly esteemed works in the same way the italian renaissance was built on greco-roman work that proceeded it.. You would also find these qualities in a Big Brother, and even a little in a St0ven ( although his early work drew a lot of inspiration from highly detailed static enemy sprites in ff like games), but you would not find it in a Kenneth Fejer, or much in an indigo/danfessler or a Cure.

Pixel art is not important. To "Normal" people. It's existence never has and never will influence people in the way "real" art has, but it's obviously important to us. Perhaps writing about the work of a "living" pixel artist such as yourself was not the best way to convey my message, but surely we are far away enough from work created up to, say, the GBA to study it in a historical manner? The " how much time have you spent" thing may work in your favor in other threads, but back when I was extremely active in these forums I would look at the hall of light database almost daily for inspiration and insight; this went on for well over a year. While I may not have first hand experience with these games as you do, I have utilized the zoom function on the "ancient" works of the amiga to some rather large extent. I don't claim to be a historical expert on the pixel art produced in this era, but I'm aware of some of it's more common trends.

Alls I'm saying is I see no reason to shoot down an opportunity for discussion. Even if we're both wrong about the fruitfulness of it, Letting that be found out by actually doing the talking is better than just assuming there is no point.

Offline hapiel

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #41 on: July 20, 2013, 11:19:38 am
Ryu, Helm,  I am reading your posts with high interest! Thanks for participating and keep on going.  ;D

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #42 on: July 23, 2013, 03:25:07 pm
Of course what we do to make a living is important. But it's not necessarily art that will live an enduring mark on the world and whether pixel art will (or game art, most probably) that's a thing to leave to future historians.

Re: Ego-stroking, how it occurs. Just writing all these large texts about each other's work, it's really unsettling (at least it was to me to read the above text you wrote). Analysis can give way to ass-pats very easily.

NOTHING, literally NOTHING I've ever drawn deserves to be said to have a 'classical' (or neo-classical, which is what you're talking about) ambition. My trad skills are not there. It just makes me hold my head in my hands to read 'italian renaissance' and 'Lionheart on the Amiga' in the same sentence. As good as the pixel tech might be, the art in Lionheart looks like a freakin' saturday morning cartoon more than anything else (no disrespect and I love it for what it is, I would bet Henk Nieborg would agree).

I do not agree and do not think you should get away with making a connection between Hellenistic period (which is different from Ancient Greek Golden Century period) sculpture (is that what you have in mind?) and any sort of pixel art. It's just not there. I don't see it. Where are these pixel artists with their amazing anatomy and austere grace? Where is this 500 hour workmanship to finely chisel every last edge of every last facet? Nowhere. Even the most meticulous pixel artist will spend a fraction of the time on a piece of art that, pixel technique aside, has low culture aesthetics and proudly does so. You do not make a compelling case, so you shouldn't use 'neo/classical' or renaissance to describe pixel artists.

I was looking at this today


http://wtfarthistory.com/post/25851106717/truth-coming-out-of-her-well

Have you ever seen anything as striking and technically accomplished in any pixel art ever? Of course not. So, until someone pixels something of this caliber (and doesn't copy from a photo or already existing painting, lol), let's eat some humble pie and describe pixel art as what it is: fast, rough, pop-artish, modernist or post-modernist, computery, video-gamey, lowbrow and utilitarian, symbolic, retrofuturist, bright colourful nonsense at best or worst according to your vantage.


In any case, I don't want to be misunderstood. I am not against this discussion. I just find that the way it's been happening has been simultaneously too low ("phah! Demoscene! Wouldn't it look better as something else? Why is this even pixel art???" sorry to misquote to make it sound worse but that's how it sounded to me when I first read it) and toο faux high-brow, as I've explained. It'd take a real art historian or three to put things in their proper context and we don't have them at hand, but they might be out there, working on it.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 03:29:36 pm by Helm »

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #43 on: July 23, 2013, 04:14:22 pm
That reading is a bit too literal maybe. At least within each different craft there can be "figurative" equivalence of importance and influence internally, even if not comparable in totality of it beyond.

The attempt of listing movements I found useful so far, actually all the more useful the more specific it was, with concrete examples. To this, "Superchunk" I found particularly interesting, and served better than "Demo Scene". This mention already made the topic worth it for me personally.

Basically, what this topic should be about is what Pixel Art can be like visually. There are all these tutorials about specialist techniques, but what newbies also need is stylistic inspirations, at least a rough orientation of styles that worked out well in PA, like for certain types of games or scenes, and the particular details of circumstances and motivations (e.g. I liked when you mentioned the amiga copper blit). If anything, it is the little but interesting details you may be able to document better now than 50 years in the future; little as they are, they are often significant to understand, yet are lost first in history.

So, towards this I have a question:
How significant to PA do you believe are outlines? What ramifications does it have when doing without (like, colours)?  Do you have examples of works that did really well totally without? What is it like working with or without?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 04:41:39 pm by RAV »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #44 on: July 23, 2013, 04:48:52 pm
Funny you picked that painting. Gerome used photographs extensively in his work. Neo-Grec isn't exactly ground-breaking artistically, either.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #45 on: July 23, 2013, 05:19:40 pm
Nitpicking, but sure: It's one thing to use photos and another to copy them and the difference is clear on the above painting, I hope. I am the last person to be against using photo sources for art, but I am against copying - a staple of the demoscene community.

Also re: groundbreaking, wasn't my point. Effort and result differs, I don't care what's new, particularily, not does this thread seem to be about that.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #46 on: July 23, 2013, 09:44:59 pm
About the "Superchunk" thing. Yes hapiel is correct, I called it "Chunk Funk" and it came simply from me playing around with the C64 hires restrictions. I did not want to hide them, and so I put emphasis on them which resulted in exactly that style. I am not claiming that I came up with it first, but I was not consciously inspired by anything at that time. It was even before I knew about Chuck Close.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #47 on: July 24, 2013, 12:15:15 am
Personally I don't find that particular painting (result) too interesting. It's nice. I suppose it's evocative to some, but I often find these kind of pieces a little shallow (where I stand, if you imagine the painting as a pond) because I'm not searching for the things that are presented.

Show of effort can certainly give a painting an interesting background story and value (it was painted using the nose), but ultimately I find myself captivated the most by the ideas expressed (novelty of cleverness?) (in particular pertaining to physical form and not emotional impact, because I'm a monster/scifi concept artist and damaged like that), and perhaps I also like how sensitive the creation is to failure... i.e... was the artist so meticulous/skilled that a random change would ruin the piece? What's the degree of arbitrariness allowed? How deep did the artist go in optimizing each... brick? I don't mean to say that it's the artist's skill which impresses me, but rather something like... if each brick was optimized, the whole of the design is probably interesting and then I reflect on the artist's skill. As an example, I rarely find random Zbrush'ed alien heads that interesting because there can be a lot of arbitrary detail. Same with many greebly spaceships, and scifi exo armours with random plates.

With pixel art, we (almost) literally have bricks to work with, and show of optimization becomes interesting on many levels (not just likeness and pixel double duty, but also byte-use beauty / restrictions / mathematics, tile double duty on the larger scale, etc). Just like a traditional artist might appreciate a painting technique (and others can be blind to it), a pixel artist (may be same person) can appreciate the deeper layers of a sprite.

These pieces are on my wall for other reasons though

Anyways. Not sure if that was a defense of pixel art. I find that the pixel art medium often too lowrez and crude for doing the type of design work that I expressed appreciation for above... though on the other hand... lowrez is just imagination highrez and I often feel like highrez detail work is a bit of a wank. A happy accident pixel blob can be as evocative to some as the naked lady popping out of the well, I suppose.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #48 on: July 24, 2013, 02:34:41 am
Helm, you have gravely misunderstood the way I was utilizing my comparisons to the renaissance and ancient greek sculpture to pixel art. I meant to create parallels to pixel art's own history, independent of art in general. I was under the impression that this thread was treating pixel art as separated from the large scale view of art. In this manner, any work that is created now with similar aesthetics to artistically successful amiga games would be considered "renaissance" in pixel art history. There are no perfect equivalents, but work produced with a comparable level of technique and representation without the visible inspiration of classical pixel art could be contemporary pixel realism or im-pixelism depending on the style, in the same way that impressionism and artists like John Singer Sargent were not working in the same modes and methods as neoclassical ( which was yet another resurgence of classical art) artists but still creating work of great beauty and importance.

I utilize the terms " classical" "renaissance" and the like only as they are important in the timeline and development of art, and make those connections on the micro scale to that of the history of pixel art-not so much their aesthetic qualities or technical prowess.

If you have problems with me using these words simply because of the attachment they have to those qualities and level of technique ( I agree that you cannot compare the work of what we do to that of what was done in the past at an equal level upon these grounds) I can only tell you that they had meaning before those movements and that is what I am after here. Classical pixel art is art created early on in the timeline of pixel art history whose technical and aesthetic level is many degrees higher than the majority of what has been at the time. Renaissance pixel art is any art that honors those artists and time tested techniques, and modern pixel artists are ones discarding those techniques and aesthetic qualities in search of something new and innovative.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #49 on: July 24, 2013, 05:17:56 am
Hay guys.

I kinda understand where Helm's coming from because there was a time in purple Pixelation when some people would call other people PixelGods,  nobody was sick enough to say yeah, I'm a pixel god, but that did give pixelation somewhat of an air of exclusiity and avant garde.  in retrospective I can see I was caught up in that and it was not very good for my development as an artist. That kind of atmosphere paved the way for stuff that is seen as not very helpful nowdays like the idea of selout and whatnot.

At the same time, I think Happiel was doing this in a very, very playful way and I think no one here really sees the mouse(joystick?) of demoscene art as something comparable to the chisel of helenistic art...or whatever.

I think we should be allowed to play a little pretend, as long as nobody starts buying the pretend and going a little insane thinking the history of pixelart has the same relevance as the rest of history, or is even relevant to history. At this point, I think it's been made clear enough.

I think treating these words (genre, helenistic, whatever) as sacred might be in a similar level of egocentrism as treating pixelart as something to be revered, simply because it's another form of taking things too seriously.

Personally, the idea of genres doesnt interest me that much, it does seem like the kind of classification done by people who dont do art.

Now, if you want to tell me how you think demoscene people did a specific kind of dithering that you like, I'm interested in that.....call it a genre if you may, as long as you know that's a little nutty and you dont take yourself too seriously :p

TLDR: So yeah, we are not historians, but should we really be worked up about this? I dont really think anyone came here with the attitude "lo and behold, tis the story of how them pixels changed the world" let's keep it real and see what we can get out of the discussion, regardless of erroneous terms and weak logic
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 05:28:45 am by Conceit »

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #50 on: July 24, 2013, 08:47:04 am
Categories are so innate to the working of the human mind -- we do it regardless whether we talk about it consciously or not. But the moment we verbalize it, at least it becomes questionable and directable as you become aware of how you tick. Even this discussion about the sense of it uncovers what needs to be uncovered. Just that you are not better off having no discourse at all, but the right discourse at the right measure. I guess as of now we have established what this should be about and what not.

re: photo & "copy", since we are at it...
Post-modernism has not only defeated the idea of authenticity, but of originality at large. It's not anymore about whether a work is derivative, but more or less complex composition of derivative -- what transformative effort was added. Photo-sourcing is only consequential philosophically. The integration of literal photo copy into artwork is no invention of computers, it existed long before in kinds of installations/collages/mashups; Photoshop merely "perfected" this artform, not least on non-literal grounds. It's a different effort rather than less, as is a different taste. Personally I come from the modding scene of games; the approach of re-use, interpretation and modifaction of assets is a natural idea to me, and I recognize admirable skill there in its own right, it's not so much about some cheap "tricks", it's about having good ideas, it focuses on the conceptual aspect of art -- that's why few are actually good at it even though everyone thinks it looks easy enough to be good at it; like, most custom maps in Warcraft3 terribly sucked, it needed very special personalities to pull off the good stuff, and I don't mean Dota...

Frankly, it is weird I find myself "defending" techy art here, when in other places I mostly held high the classic history of arts at large and pixel art in form of age old cross-stitches and tapestry in direct ancestry. I don't think there is just this big mainstream of anti-classic art out there. Now there are countless of concurrent streams out there, non of them really threatening the other. Maybe there is this sense that some form of art is felt under-appreciated than it deserves. But in the end it's all ... you know... holistic. It's all there to learn from and have fun in. Aside from a professional job in which you serve demand.

Classic and pixel art should not feel so high-brow as to ignore trend and Zeitgeist. Rather it should search for ways to invade every other (plat)form, an active effort for relevancy, rather than taking attention for granted. That is to say, the artist must realize his existence beyond egoistical interest, and absorb society's interest as part of his own. A wholly growth experience, a grown-up existence. "I" is nothing without "we". "you" are irrelevant, and "we" are incomplete.

So the purpose of this topic might as much be the past of pixel art as its future off-spring, with their own peculiar challenges but obvious lineage in translation.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 09:09:17 am by RAV »

Offline Arne

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #51 on: July 24, 2013, 10:42:27 am
Pixel art was really only a subject to truly forced restrictions for... what, 10-15 years? There was only one time in history when computers were barely able to do graphics, and that time is already over, and it has been well documented. From that perspective, the works done during this unique window are very much historically significant, I'd say. It's also closely coupled with a technology which changes mankind more than any other.

On the other hand, this window was so narrow that not many people experienced it or remember much of it.

On the other hand, there's a certain economical beauty to it which might have a universal, timeless appeal. Looking at you Arecibo pixel-man.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #52 on: July 24, 2013, 12:00:29 pm
On copying, we had this conversation before, as in, where is it? Where is the great art that has been created using copying? I have not seen it, it has not affected me, therefore it's hard to be excited in principle.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #53 on: July 24, 2013, 12:11:51 pm
I have seen it in various expressions. But I sense nothing I tell or show you, you would like. Like, you don't want to like, and likely you are looking out for the "wrong" aspects by which you judge it. To each his own I guess. :)

The techniques you have seen so far are much more than just "copying", and they are more than just clicking Ok in a tool. If there is nothing you found interesting in what you've been shown, what more is there to say.

Besides, photography itself is just one more form of literal copying off of reality. I guess there is nothing artistic about photography as well? Other than the arrangement of the real set pieces maybe? But then why wouldn't the re-arrangement of photo content as set pieces suddenly not be...?

Really, it's in your initiative as an artist to explore on potential when you see sense in the thought. Maybe it would be more decent to have no opinion on it for the time being rather than pejorative until proven otherwise.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 12:56:53 pm by RAV »

Offline Ai

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #54 on: July 24, 2013, 01:06:16 pm
@RAV: Quite flatly, that seems like a copout to me. Either a work stands up on its own or it doesn't. If it stands up, there's no reason not to show it when challenged.

My own dislike of copies is essentially about the metaphorical archaeology of art. A piece of art being like an historical artefact -- perhaps even a kind of journal entry -- showing more than anything else, what, in a general sense, was going on in the mind of the artist when they produced it.

When I look at demoscene copies, most of the history that is apparent is merely in terms of technique; there is a glaring absence of the artist's personal relationship with the -subject-. To be frank, it is stark enough that it does not 'read' as art at all; 'impersonal' and 'mercenary' are two words that come to mind to describe it. No matter how much effort they put into it, the final result is not much moved from the source(s); it conveys a collage or factory/filter process, no matter how sophisticated.

While I can't speak for others, I am confident that this aspect makes up at least part of the reasons that copies are frequently regarded with disdain or even contempt. So, any argument for the artistic merits of copies could begin with a solid rebuttal to this assertion 'copies only demonstrate technique, not relationship to the subject'. And demonstrate confidence in the artistic merits of copies by clearly displaying some outstanding concrete examples of meritorious copies.

BTW, I say this as a *consumer* of art, that is, it's a statement about what I don't want to *consume* -- what fails to appeal to my artistic palate as a *consumer*. My experience of producing -- performing the process of copying is not favorable either, but it's far less clear to me that -doing- a copy is unconditionally unrewarding. I would never recommend it, but I'm not condemning it either -- just saying that when I look at the result from outside, I find it outstandingly dull.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 01:22:53 pm by Ai »
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #55 on: July 24, 2013, 01:15:28 pm
Examples have been already given, but it seems to me that the focus in critique has been too lopsided, and I don't expect that to improve. You may have missed my edit in the earlier post fielding points about photography itself as art as much as literal copy technique, the *arrangement* is the relation to subject. If you've ever been impressed by photography, you've been impressed by copying. And if not, your definition of art seems narrow to me. I don't think that's a copout.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 01:18:06 pm by RAV »

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #56 on: July 24, 2013, 01:19:25 pm
I might sound hard-assed or whatever but I am not inordinately predisposed against the possibility of something great being made with reappropriated material, I just haven't seen it yet. I have my ear on the ground, if it shows up, let's discuss it. If a photo-sourced super metroid screenshot is it (which was decent) then I vote a loud yay for these means to act as a entryway for people into their creativity but a nay as to whether these means have produced great art yet.

I do not mean to discourage anyone from making art in any capacity and by using any means. I am excited for their excitement. But as a person with limited time/means, I have to filter and be selective and go for essential experiences in art. Other people don't have such a fussy filter, that's fine, I have no bone to pick.

re: photography, of course it is arrangement, but it's not copying because our real life 3d experience is not 2d and snapshotted. The power and capacity of photography is in distilling real moments into unreality, making canvases out of fleeting microseconds. Of course that's not copying.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 01:23:05 pm by Helm »

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #57 on: July 24, 2013, 01:23:55 pm
So it comes down to nitpicking definitions. :) From my point of view photography is or is not copying, as much as photo-sourcing is or is not copying, really, because creatively there is no difference between a real life set piece and a photo-source of a set piece as a set piece re-arranged in an artificial photo -- other than some mythical authenticity, and we've been over that.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 01:25:44 pm by RAV »

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #58 on: July 24, 2013, 01:48:12 pm
I'd say photography capture light, ambiance, composition into a frame. People who practice photography do not simply "flatten reality": they do their best so that the flattened reality speaks to the audience better, or communicate some feeling. That's why shooting photographs of your holiday turns to be so disappointing unless you mastered the techniques.

As for "copy-paste" in arts, it make me immediately think about those miniature (japanese?) gardens that you build with items, flowers, plants, moss, etc. to mimmic a lilliput place. Up to a level, it is art, and yet, it's merely pre-existing material chopped and arranged, just like photosourcing (iiuc) chops and re-arrange pre-existing images.

just my 2 cents.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #59 on: July 24, 2013, 01:58:44 pm
So are we at the yearly "what is art?" discussion again? Bleh...

On the subject of photography. Being a good photographer takes a bunch of skills. You have to recognise a good scene, you have to be able to frame that scene in a compositionally nice/interesting way. Also how you do this will to a certain degree have something to do with how you are as a human, your personality. So I would not say that taking a photo is a copy in the sense of painting a painting/photo or something else that someone else already painted is. Most modern artists who do figurative work at all used and use photos, in most cases ones they have done themselves, nothing wrong with that. Old masters and painters before the camera was available often used wire grids for their paintings up to a certain point. You could also argue that this is cheating (I don't think so).

Everything has to be seen in the context of what the painting is for. If it is contract work, if it is pure l'art pour l'art, if the artist is experimenting with new approaches, what have you.

I also would agree with Helm on the "no great art in pixelart" thing. Technically there is a lot of great stuff. Most of my stuff I would say is not overly deep or anything, I just like to try and make fun stuff which also is interesting to make in some way, as far as process goes (limitations and such). But there are not many pixel pieces I can think of which are very evocative. One that pops to mind is this one by Arachne:



But as far as putting real work into the "meaning/evoking complex reactions" phase in pixelart is very rare.
People like Elk might put 100s of hours into their pieces, but they just look like a scene from a AAA videogame reimagined in pixelart. So I guess I have to be boring here and fully agree with Helm.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #60 on: July 24, 2013, 02:03:24 pm
Maybe our disconnect comes from discussing copying in different context unaware? I speak of copying in a value-free manner, you seem to mean copying as in ripping other people's work off uncredited and for personal profit -- I am against that. As much as I am for fair use.

However, in that sense, when looking at photography strictly, does every photo show only assets owned by the photographer? Are photos showing objects not in your possession ripping someone else off? Or is it the arrangement itself that makes you own your photo, and an obvious effort in arrangement of photo-sources that makes you own the mashup?

Obvious effort in arrangement makes the difference. Just copy pasting someone else's carefully arranged photo art, and that's fuck all, is rats, we agree altogether wholeheartedly. But if the new work is so intensely involved that small samples of various sources become an almost unrecognizeable and minor footnote each on its own, I don't think that's rats, or kinda everything is rats on merest inspiration in any form of art. Frankly, as much as photographers "do not simply flatten reality", photo-sourcers, as demonstrated some day earlier, do not simply "copy&paste", there is definitely much skill involved. There is obvious care in creating the illusion of light, ambiance and composition, and real photography is not any better than the chopping and arranging of objects real life as well. All that talk of differences is romantically super-inflated, to be honest.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 02:10:41 pm by RAV »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #61 on: July 24, 2013, 02:13:36 pm
When I mean copy I mean in the sense of plagiarism. Like what most of the demoscene artists did and many still do - translating a piece by someone like Vallejo into pixelart.

I agree that it is possible to take a photo that is not yours and using it in your art for reference. Many artists, esp in the comic world have done this. Moebius, an artist I hold in high esteem has done this. As long as the artist doing it brings enough of his own to it, and it is in a larger context of the artwork, that is generally fine.

Of course photos showing things other than what is in your possession is not ripping someone else off. Then you could not photograph nature, a city scene, or most things. And even if you would photograph stuff only in your house where you own everything, you likely have not made everything in that house yourself. But this is a kinda nonsense argument. The way in which you capture the scene is what you bring to the table.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #62 on: July 24, 2013, 02:20:00 pm
It is only a non-sense argument if we are not talking about the same kind of copying, the kind that was discussed in the other thread, the concrete show-off cases of artists at work. That in particular really was not plagiarism, and I thought that everyone talking about copying here is aware of that context. As I explained, like you say for photography "the way you capture the scene is what you bring to the table", I say the way you create a scene is what you bring to the table in photo-sourcing as well, by that it be judged, and it is that obvious effort there that differentiates it absolutely from rip-off the same way photographing random objects outside is not.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #63 on: July 24, 2013, 02:23:12 pm
I likewise mean plagiarism with copying. It's worst when it's 100% stealthmode uncredited (hello, demoscene). Stolen strength.

Rav, what makes great photography great first of all is that the end result (the photographic series) evoke strong emotions. Art that delivers will be taken seriously. There's a lot of technique that goes into getting such an end result as I'm sure you know (I realize you're playing devil's advocate with the photography parallel) and even then it might not stir up emotions. But art that does achieve that ,even one tenth of the time is art that in the public imagination has the *capacity* to achieve emotional resonance.

Pixel art doesn't have this capacity, I do not think, in the public imagination, though I agree I've seen pieces that do things for me. VIDEOGAMES, now, they do have this capacity (arguably). But it's not the same thing.

Art made with new means, photosourcing, public domain 3d models etc, what I've seen mostly looks cheap and utilitarian and it itself seems to feel fine with that. Much of it is fanart, it's a mode of self-expression that has communal benefit (as in fan-art needs fan-communities). But it doesn't have high goals and it doesn't try to bring out big emotions. That painting with truth coming out of the Well did, for me. I sat there and looked at it for minutes on and it was an experience. It might just be me.

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #64 on: July 24, 2013, 02:35:44 pm
Bla bla bla bla you guys know how to talk! Teatime :)


So are we at the yearly "what is art?" discussion again? Bleh...


Quote
I also would agree with Helm on the "no great art in pixelart" thing.

Yup, I agree too. That is why this topic was never intended for super serious pretentious ego boosting.

But great or not great, we can't deny that there quick developments, different genres and preferences, different influences and inspirations..
Shall we try to get away from the 'is pixel art worth discussion' topic (which magically branched into 'what is copying', don't ask me how) and get back into discussing pixel art?

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #65 on: July 24, 2013, 02:39:13 pm
@Hapiel
We'll come back to it when it's time hap, no worry, but this here is interesting enough to warrant a little detour.

@Helm
You see, that painting did for me as well, I absolutely am a fan of that kind of almost mythological or super-sense-ical stuff, it probably is my personal preference as well. But I also can very much enjoy a broad spectrum of art altogether, each for its own merits. I have you know that I am indeed playing devil's advocate here as you assume, it's not that I have my own creative stake in it, but this touches a lot of philosophical interest I am curious about indeed, and I believe this needs in-depth debate as has happened. I like this place here.

What evokes emotion is in the eye of the beholder I believe. It probably is problematic to make the title of art depend on one persons impression of emotion. Maybe it's better to search for the creator's intend, and many of them, cheap and utilitarian they may be in the aspects you care most about, have other aspects you can clearly see an artistic aspiration, that work on someone open for it.

For example, on that fighting choreography fan-art video, you can clearly sense the animator's experience with dancing, which by itself is a form of emotionally expressive art, as is martial arts in its forms and traditions. In many moments of that video you can sense beautiful elegance and emotional impact. Aspired movement as an emotive language, and thus animation, is art, as is arrangement of scenes, and dramaturgical direction, even if the assets themselves are doubted in their artistic origin, the result contains artistic effort enough to be art. The paper and pencil, as tools and you may even call them assets, are not art, but the drawing is, and that the result also contains "doubtful" elements beyond as a means to an artistic end, you may call these assets also tools as much, still makes it art in the end.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 03:18:52 pm by RAV »

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #66 on: July 24, 2013, 03:26:34 pm
This isn't a debate for me on what art is, but what great art is. I'm 100% fine with that fight choreography being art. But it didn't touch me. And of course it's subjective, I make no qualms about this. But the wider impact and cultural relevance of a piece of art can be measured and analysed by how it is integrated in popular imagination. I do not think the fight choreography video with the public domain 3d models will ever achieve this, but I could be wrong.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #67 on: July 24, 2013, 03:34:46 pm
Actually we both agree on this. Whether you know it or not, we probably agree on a lot more than disagree. Just this moment I wanted to point out the same, that this really shouldn't be a discussion about whether this is art at all -- be it the choreography or advanced creative photo-sourcing by the same tenets, that's how it came heavily implied in many comments really, so this was up to clarification in my mind -- but whether a particular work is great as an art, or at least whether you like it personally. I also certainly agree on all the nitpicks you would do on the results, the same I want to point out what about it I like still.

I want to get back to topic now as well, I later will put up to discussion what personally interests me in this topic here about styles and pixel art.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 03:52:18 pm by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #68 on: July 26, 2013, 01:08:34 pm
*bump*

In a transitioning interlope to topic, let's talk about this greatness of art.

Is art shallow when it doesn't claim "something deep", is art pretentious when it does?
Is something deep only if it is melancholic, mysterious, sad and tragic?
Great only if you are compelled to stare at it for hours, great for all people?
Great only if it has lasting mark historically on culture, maybe a great message?
Must you have put a lifetime of effort into a work to have it be any great?

I like Albrecht Dürer, but if every work of art were to become like his, because it is so great an art, it would have a harder and harder time affecting me, no matter how great it is technically and symbolically, its greatness cannot be greater than my moment of mood. The human soul is varied, and so is the greatness of art, and every element of this variety is deeply heartfelt, even the most cheesy romantic giggly huffpuff, even aggression, even hyperventilating rush, cruelty and mockery, or maybe tranquillity, maybe elegance, cliché beauty, or arrogance in technical superiority, and everything else... it's all part of how it feels to be, it's all truly deep, and it stops being deep without all the variety, that's when it becomes shallow and pretentious.

But you can look at this and say, this is the cutest thing I've ever seen, omg look, so cute! and marvel giggling stupid at it for hours, and for you that's a deep experience, as is for the one creating it, while everybody else deems you two shallow, maybe because they are too sad to feel the depth of simple happiness, and vice versa. Or you are mesmerized by a detail of the work, a specialist accomplishment, maybe even something about the process of work, and the big picture doesn't matter for you, maybe not even the result (some even say any result itself of art at work is worthless, and audience can only be shallow), at this moment all you care about is this little something that captured your curiosity, whatever it is, it is so peculiar, it's great, this little thing is a deep world for you, and right now you couldn't care less about the deep greatness of those other big things that are great art, and no one else's opinion changes that, while at the same time you become super shallow for super-imposing its greatness on everything else, to everything's disgrace.

Maybe rather than "great art", we should say "This artwork is great at ... when you are looking for ...". It doesn't need to be super popular to be great, it just needs to be great at something to someone, not at everything it wasn't meant to be, to everyone who cannot see. Popularity is a quality in itself, yet it doesn't measure every other quality of it in greatness nor graveness.

You know Kant's "the critique of pure reason"?, we're talking the artistic limit of pure critique here.
And beyond either limit is the true greatness, and the only way to get there is humility -- a great critique roots in appreciative humility and curiosity in a benefit of doubt.
So that the notion of "great art" doesn't devolve into a question of "real art" -- maybe an oxymoron.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 06:53:07 pm by RAV »

Offline Pix3M

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Re: Pixel art genres

Reply #69 on: July 26, 2013, 03:37:16 pm
Oh boy. I've had more than enough experiences over at various art communities to know the wide variety of artistic tastes you can find on different people, probably as wide as the variety of art styles people work with. There are people who really like the artists who work with comics while there are people who like artists who work with more semi-real or realistic styles. There's the possibility I could shrug off differing opinions as "Oh, that person isn't as well-read in art as I am so it's probably an 'idiot' opinion", but ultimately I'm not the one who decides what 'great' art is. There's a good amount of art that is bad on a technical level but there are other things, big or small, that people appreciate about it.