AuthorTopic: Pixel art genres  (Read 35395 times)

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 »

Offline RAV

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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 »

Offline Pix3M

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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 »

Offline hapiel

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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?

Offline RAV

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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.

Offline Cure

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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.

Offline hapiel

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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?

Offline Jeremy

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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 »