AuthorTopic: GR#143 - Blacksmith - Sprite Process  (Read 10620 times)

Offline Johasu

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GR#143 - Blacksmith - Sprite Process

on: November 01, 2013, 04:56:04 pm
Hello all,
I have been watching this forum periodically for a while.  First posting.
New to pixel art and hoping to get some helpful tips and advice here.  Feel free to criticize and point out flaws or better ways to do things.
I started working from a white page and used only black to draw the figure.  Spent a few hours on this (yes hours I'm terribly slow and use a mouse) and decided to move towards coloring it (terrible at this as well).
I worked hard to choose ranges of colors that I felt would lighten, shade, and give depth to the figure.
I particularly like the hat, body, and beard.  However, I feel like I don't know how to improve the flat paneled hammer or the blotchy feeling pants.
Advice is greatly appreciated.

Current Progress  [Still WIP On Scene]
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 10:14:13 pm by Johasu »
Gallery:  http://johasu.deviantart.com/gallery/
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Offline Tidbit

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 09:12:22 pm
Hello there!
While I might not be the most experienced pixel artist out there, I think your biggest concern right now is the direction of the lighting. The way you've shaded the hat and the pants it seems to be coming from behind, but with the body and the rest of him it seems to be coming from the front of him. You have a candle attached to his head so I would assume that the main light source would be coming from there. With that in mind you should also be thinking of your character as a 3 dimensional object as opposed to a flat one as your lighting at the current time makes him appear that way.
So if you think of it that way, your candle flame is creating a three dimensional sphere of light and any object affected by that light will react to it accordingly. So in the case of your character a lot of him will be covered in shadow save for some places that should have highlights. I would edit your sprite to show you what I mean but I'm afraid I don't have the time to at the moment.

Offline Johasu

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 09:36:51 pm

Blew it up proportionally to show a bigger representation.  Actual size is in corner.
I've been working on it throughout the day, since posting.
Took your advice and tried to redirect my lighting somewhat.
I adjusted my palette more and tried to show more texture on surfaces as well.
Thank you for the advice by the way.  I appreciate it.  Let me know if I'm way off on how I tried this.  (Thanks again!) :lol:
Gallery:  http://johasu.deviantart.com/gallery/
Twitter:  @johasu232

Offline Tidbit

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 10:29:35 pm
That is definitely a step in the right direction! I see you're trying to use dithering to shade your had and a few other places on the body. You may want to clean that up a bit to help the readability of your sprite. Aside from that I think the thing that stands out the most to me are the super round shoulders and the way that you're drawing the muscles on his chest and arms. Instead of using lines to show that he uses muscles, try to use your lighting to make those forms more visible and realistic looking.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 10:43:55 pm
I liked your first version much better. The skin color is much nicer to look at and the overall image is much smoother (less unnecessary pixels)

I think  what could majorly improve your image are some proportional inconsistencies.

His left leg seems to short. Try to make it only slightly shorter (about 2 pixels) if you want to keep the belt as straight line and darken it.
If your environment graphics need that much difference, you also should adjust the belt slightly.

The upper arms seem to be to short and have different lengths. Usually the point where the arm bends is on a circular line with the belly button.

Left lower arm is practically not there, right lower arm is to long.

Hands might be to big.

Before you think of fixing that, think about the pose you gave him. What is he doing currently?--
He holds up his hammer, but that's to unnatural for an idle frame andit rather seems to be an inbeetween frame of an movement.
Look up photos of people or drawings with hammers or equivalent tools and look how they hold it - try to apply those observations to your drawing.





Once you got your pose and proportions alright there is enough time to play around with shading, But I fear better shading won't really help the drawing.
"Because the beauty of the human body is that it hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man."

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Offline Johasu

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #5 on: November 01, 2013, 11:03:16 pm

I worked some more on the things that were suggested.

I can see that there are certain anatomical abnormalities on the character, but I will mention briefly that I was aiming for a cartoonish exaggeration of certain features.  That is why the hands are overly large, the rounded muscle lines, and even the legs being shorter and the arms being somewhat exaggerated as well.  Though I have to admit I don't understand how to use colors to emphasize anatomy without drawing lines on small features like his abs.  If I just used colors it would just be a solid splotch on his torso.  (explanation?)

I did do a bad job with the legs and the arm lengths are somewhat uneven.  I will try to bring it more in line with my goal, but my goal isn't expressly human perfection.
I am  not certain I understand where to go with the colors.  This is one of my questions and I was looking for advice on that, but I'm receiving conflicting feedback from three different sources on it. I understand that potentially this is stylistic.  I do struggle with those choices though.  It's hard for me to picture in my mind what colors to start with and how to build a range off of a particular choice.  :huh:
Thank you for your advice, both of you.  Your time is appreciated.
Im going to get back to work on another edit.
Gallery:  http://johasu.deviantart.com/gallery/
Twitter:  @johasu232

Offline Tidbit

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 11:20:17 pm
Have you tried using the solid colors for the chest and then sort of sculpting out his muscles by using highlights and shadows instead of individual lines? Think of it as if you're molding clay, fill the chest with your middle tone of skin color and then fill in the darks and lights where needed  :). I know that it probably sounds weird and a bit of a strange technique but I think it'll work out for your sprite really well.

Offline Johasu

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #7 on: November 02, 2013, 12:33:09 am

Okay so I attempted the no line shading on the musculature.  Im not sure if I am doing it well--or correctly.
I pulled his arms out a bit to give them a bit more length.  I rotated his left hand a tiny bit so it didn't feel so big and adjusted things a touch accordingly.
I brought his legs in line so they don't appear to be of differing lengths as well.

Touched up some of the shading I had done to eliminate stray pixels.  I have to work really hard to pull out the shapes using solid masses of color because it seems to look a bit blobby well before it approaches looking a bit correct.  :(

Can you clarify what you meant about the belt before?  I'm not certain I understand.
Thanks again!
Gallery:  http://johasu.deviantart.com/gallery/
Twitter:  @johasu232

Offline Johasu

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 02:55:35 am

I worked on the hammer some more and a bit more shading/shaping work.  Turned the head of the hammer somewhat and found shape suddenly.  I also did a side by side of the two skin tone palettes the one on the right is the set with the original colors I was using.

Are the arms looking any better?
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Offline Tidbit

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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #9 on: November 02, 2013, 05:07:18 am
I love the new hammer ;D! These new versions are definitely the best and I think you're heading in the right direction with the muscle structure but I think you need a color right below the brightest skin tone to apply around the highlights to soften them just a bit. They're a bit harsh right now as can be seen on his arms and pecks. You're making great strides though!