AuthorTopic: Help Needed!  (Read 2659 times)

Offline hcjlin

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Help Needed!

on: September 09, 2013, 08:59:59 am
Hi! Today is the first time I looked into the actual mechanics of pixel art and gave my first tries. My very first tutorials are [here] and [here].

The tutorials mention but don't explain AA very well, so I had to research online on my own, and I came across this [explanation]. I read this explanation after I my first attempts:





Because I haven't exactly figured out how to tailor Photoshop settings for pixel art, I ended up entirely relying on the automatic AA function Photoshop provides. I feel fairly lukewarm about how it turned out because some parts are overly AA'd while other parts are not AA'd at all due to my unfamiliarity with the software functions and my lack of understanding regarding the technicalities of AA. So here are my questions: How can I practice manual AA and exactly how do I do it? Had I done manual AA, how would the aesthetic change? How can I improve this generally?


Thank you for reading and more exercises to come!

Offline Arne

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Re: Help Needed!

Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 11:48:31 am
I wouldn't focus on anti-aliasing too much. It's often an artifact of not-pixelart because it's blurry and not very space efficient. I suppose it sort of depends on the scale you're working at and the size of your palette (and whether you actually want a smooth looking surface or not). For me, there's some joy in finding ways to not use AA and solve the detail representation by tweaking the alignment of the pixels and angles.



Shrunk and reduced to 9 colors. Added leafwork and iso perspective guide. Colors go from cold to warm (to cold for the little teal highlight at top of the tree which... probably isn't needed). Trees tend to look a little strange when highlighted a lot with super greens. The leaf work was done by first establishing larger lumps in perspective with the iso box, then I divided that into clusters of 6 pixels +-2 or so (a leaf). The clusters (leafs) are separated by darker values, sometimes gradually with color ramping, sometimes suddenly to keep things interesting.

Edit: Also note that the leafs have more subtle separation (less values used) within the larger groups/lumps. Sometimes there's no separation at all, but a big color field.


« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 12:04:56 pm by Arne »

Offline hcjlin

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Re: Help Needed!

Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 09:00:19 pm

Hi Arne, thanks so much for the tips. I tried to work with 9 colors but I'm still having problem coming up with a more dynamic palette and understanding the structure of the tree. The grouping of the leaves and them individually are giving me a hard time.



I think part of the problem is that I'm not working in the same dimensions your example was in, but I'm not quite sure how to fix that.

Offline Decroded

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Re: Help Needed!

Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 07:21:35 am
Yes you need help!  :lol:

Arne's version is pretty advanced in a beautifully raw way.
Its probably hard to grasp the nuances of what he's done here so I suggest you save this for future reference and keep inspecting it as time goes on if you stick with pixel art.

I don't have time to edit so I'd say forget about leaf-level detail and anti-aliasing for now.

Try following these points and post another attempt:
1) You're working too large IMO. Arne's edit was posted 2x scale. You then took that and started editing directly instead of reducing the size by 50%.
2) Your palette has no mid-tone green. The jump from the "mid" (slightly less dark), to the next brightest colour is too great so its going to make it pretty challenging to work with. Try going cooler (blue and usually less saturation as in Arne's) in the shadow areas too. Arne was a bit mean to throw in a cool highlight (hue bounce is more advanced) so you might find it easier to blend to a yellow sunlight.
3) You're tree-top structure is out of perspective, the bottom is not round enough giving a cardboard cut-out effect.
Maybe try drawing yourself some elipses (on a layer above if you have that facility) that fit into the iso-square and use them as a guide at different heights of the tree.
Someone (Cyangmou?) did a tut of that method but I can't find  ::)
4) Be consistent with you're light source, it can't be shining on the left and the right at the same time as the top.
5) As tempting as it is to highlight all over the shape, generally reserve your brightest highlight for the top clump where the light is hitting directly. Likewise, reserve use of your lighter greens on the outer edges to smaller clusters for just the odd leaves that break away from the clump to catch light.
6) Don't use single pixel noise. I personally like to start with a larger square brush to roughly block in the forms, then maybe draw the shadowy "outlines" of the main clumps using single pixel lines (or you can start with line-art if you like), then I use a 2px square brush to tap in the suggestion of leaves - tap sparingly and unevenly. At this point you should have a pretty good impression of a tree ready for pixel-level detail.
7) There's no way the trunk would receive that much light unless the sun is low (which colours don't suggest) or you've setup a weird spot light there. Look how Arne has more shadow and then bent the shadow around the shapes of the roots to accentuate the forms.

Offline hcjlin

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Re: Help Needed!

Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 12:32:20 am

Hi Decroded, thank you so much for the tips. Here's what I tried to do, taking your suggestions and Arne's edit into consideration:

I like this a lot better but I'm still having problem trying to figure out an effective and dynamic palette. I wasn't sure if I wanted to include the indent of the leaves, but I added in just to experiment. My least favorite part is probably the bark and the roots, but I'm not quite sure how to do it better in such a small area. Thanks again.