AuthorTopic: GR#143 - Blacksmith - Sprite Process  (Read 13596 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 »
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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:
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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.
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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!
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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!

Offline Johasu

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

Reply #10 on: November 02, 2013, 01:51:11 pm

Thank you.
Mostly small touchups here.  The lighting on his toe plates, the candle and its flame recolored slightly and adjusted to feel more like a small flame.  Worked on shading the wrist bands a bit better.  The solid splotchy look has been bugging me.

The skin tone highlight was only very slightly higher than the next tone down so I really don't know how I can dim the brightness on it with a softer color. (Aside from another full palette adjustment)  So instead, for this attempt I simply removed the highest level tone.  (It was only in a few small places emphasizing lighting and I am not sure it is even necessary at this point.)

So here it is and I'm really not sure how to improve him further from here without more guidance.  Is there anything else that is off or feels wrong?  Does this new three tone skin setup tone down some of that killer brightness of the highlights?

I feel that the haft of his mallet is a bit askew with both the head and lower portion of the haft. So I will be making an effort soon to correct that.  Any more thoughts or ideas?
I appreciate all the assistance.  Your comment about molding the colors into shape like clay was brilliant. (Eye opening really.  Totally changes the way I think about pixeling.)
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Offline Tidbit

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

Reply #11 on: November 02, 2013, 06:35:25 pm

Here's my take on how you should do the lighting on his body, hands and also his hammer. For my edit I removed the amount of the darkest skin tone you had to just the outline and filled the rest with the second darkest tone. I then added a fourth color which is brighter than the slightly dark skin tone but darker than the highlight and filled in the edges of the highlight with that. I tweaked the flame on the helmet to look a bit more vibrant by adding the brown from the hammer handle to a few spots in the flame and added a few pixels. I also edited the hammer head to look a bit more metallic and reflective. I don't really like how I did the hands but I wasn't sure how to add the fourth color to them but I think what I did looks pretty good. I tried removing the outline for the upper part of the nose and use the midtone color to sort of look like it's protruding from his face but it looks a bit strange and needs a little touching up.
I hope you can understand more clearly what I was saying before with this little edit :). You were one the right track with the colors but instead of removing one you just needed an extra one that was right in the middle, sometimes its the little things that really bring something together.

Offline jahasaja

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

Reply #12 on: November 02, 2013, 08:22:53 pm
I tried to do a version. (The version just above look better though).

I did not have so much time so I focused on the shadows and changing the feets which looked wrong to me. Also tried to give him biceps.



I think the biggest problem is that you made him too big. I am also a beginner and I find that making smaller pictures usually looks better. like maximum 60 pixles high. 

Offline Tidbit

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

Reply #13 on: November 02, 2013, 09:10:49 pm
Made him bigger? I didn't change his height at all, all I did was add that fourth shade of color which was a midtone and filled out the structure of your character better. The height is the exact same as before and if you compare their heights together, they are indeed the same. You need to have another shade of color that's darker than your highlights because the lighting to have needs to be softened to make it look better, like how I did in mine. But I suppose it's all a matter of personal preference.

Offline jahasaja

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

Reply #14 on: November 02, 2013, 09:29:09 pm
Tidbit: I am not Johasu  :). I mean that he made his character too big in the first place since it is easier to make small characters when you are learning (at least I think so).

Your edit was nice, way better than mine.

Offline PixelPiledriver

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

Reply #15 on: November 03, 2013, 01:44:02 am


I didn't change any colors but they could use some tweaking.
As Cyangmou suggested, you could spend more time exploring the character and image.
If you want him to be more cartoony add more variation to the scale of his parts.
You've drawn much of him roughly the same size.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 02:16:17 am by PixelPiledriver »
And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1

Offline YellowLime

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

Reply #16 on: November 03, 2013, 01:21:07 pm
Nice edit! Though I think that the difference between the width of the ribcage and the arm is too big...
If you want him to be more cartoony add more variation to the scale of his parts.
That's right, but instead of exaggerating the cartoon's strength, I feel like the opposite is achieved with those puny arms :lol:

Offline Johasu

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

Reply #17 on: November 03, 2013, 02:02:06 pm
 :o  You guys are great!

I was gone for a day and come back to see so many helpful inputs and ideas.  So very much appreciated.
I haven't had time to do any changes yet, as I am still trying to soak in everything that was said and suggested.

@Tidbit~ Wow that really gives me some good ideas on how to do lighting effects and shading. Not simply the color modification but also the manner in which you went about laying the colors on the curves to emphasize form. Thank you.

@jahasaja~ I can acknowledge that this has been a challenging little guy to work on.  I didn't really think about the size when I began.  I started with the hat and just went from there.  B&W face eventually stretched into a body and I decided to try coloring him.  I felt that he was sort of ideal in size because I had room to learn and also I could make large changes with single pixels at this size. I have learned a lot already though, so I'm not complaining.
   I also think you may be onto something about the placement of his feet.  Yours feels more correct than my newest version to me.  I am going to stare at it for a while and consider.  Biceps definitely show on yours and Tidbit's better than mine ever managed.

@PixelPiledriver~  Woah!  What a radically different vision for this guy.  It's great!  I'm definitely going to spend time looking it over and considering all the strong points.  It's a bit off the track of my goal for the character's shape but wow.  The way you used such simple color range to show so much shape and form.  O_O  Mind boggled.  What would you suggest I change about the palette?  That was one of my big stress points on posting.  I need to find some sort of lessons or method for choosing my colors better. Right now I feel like Im just dragging sliders back and forth searching for darker and lighter versions of colors and trying them to see if they work.  (Not exactly, but it certainly feels that way when I'm doubting my choices.)

Again, you guys are awesome.  Im going to take some time to soak this all up and come back with another edit later.  Thanks for the help! ;D
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Offline Johasu

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

Reply #18 on: November 03, 2013, 09:31:57 pm


Small changes across the board taking advice and inspiration from all those inputs I received.  I modified the candle flame and the shading of the candle a small bit to give it that sort of flame-like curl that PixelPiledriver showed.  I also pulled inspiration from his method for eyebrows and added some of my own.  I had originally tried placing eyebrows but the bulgy form of my eyes had cause this to look terrible in every attempt.  He showed me a flatter form of eye design that allowed eyebrows to work for me.  I really like his/her example for the way the chest is broadened and it felt much more barrel-like than I portrayed my character to be.  I may work on widening his musculature out and broadening his chest to pull away from some of the uniform blockiness of his shape in the future.
I also enjoyed the way his beard was modified with the solid color and shading so I tried to do a new version of the beard while still maintaining the uneven scraggle I originally went for.  Im not sure how it turned out but changes to his face, mouth, and the shape of the beard were involved.

I really love the way Tidbits lighting adaptation put much more emphasis on the depth of the figure.  So I made an attempt to imitate him by finding another skin tone in the middle range and recoloring the skin everywhere.  I tweaked his nose some to allow the removal of hard lines and worked on that molding trick in places.  I think it turned out better than I imagined it would when I started.  I didn't feel like the changes that were made to the hammer made that much of a difference but I tweaked mine some in line with what you did on yours.

A change to the character's left leg and a bit of a recoloring on his pants followed.  Then a little something different on the boots as well.

I haven't been willing to alter the overall shape of the character yet by changing the shape/size of his hands or the proportions of his musculature and build.  I wanted to see how well I could carry the current structure along before branching away on another variety or "versioning".  I really enjoy the current shape of the helmet but I removed a color and tweaked the lighting a bit to take away some of the splotchy pattern on it as well.

Let me know what you guys think of his current form.  Anything I am still doing blatantly wrong or not very well?  I understand that his anatomy has been a key point of concern and I'm definitely taking that into consideration even though I haven't changed his shape much. Still hoping for some advice on color palette.  I feel like I am particularly struggling on his pants, and I wouldn't mind making an attempt at giving his hat a light copper or brass tone (which is what im trying to do but probably not well.)
Thanks again!
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Offline Vermolius

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

Reply #19 on: November 04, 2013, 12:27:04 am

Tried my hand at an edit. Mostly playing around.
  • Pronounced his muscles.
  • Gave him squinty eyes.
  • Changed the size of his hands
  • Tried to clear up some of the blur on his right hand but failed.
  • Put the handle of the hammer through his hand instead of 'behind' it.
  • Gave him knees.
  • Toyed with the notion of casting a yellow light around but only got so far as to cast it onto the hammer
  • Other things I don't remember...
;D

Offline Johasu

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

Reply #20 on: November 04, 2013, 04:56:11 am


Wow on that musculature.  Made an attempt at this myself.
Touched up the hammer some.  Experimented with the yellow lighting on the metal a bit and put a few extra touches there too.  Really surprised that I didn't notice the handle hand issue until Vermolius pointed it out.
I have been working on this anvil as the next step forward in this piece.  (I know the hammer isn't really the right kind for this sort of thing and that it doesn't fit the piece exactly but I am pushing my boundaries and hope to make some modifications to make it all fit as I get better at this.)

I like the knees but I felt like maybe the popped a bit too much so I tried to tone that down just a little.  Removed a color from the pants in an effort to make them seem less messy.
A few other touch ups in small places.

At this point I am working on the anvil a lot.  This is about the fourth full version I have done and I finally feel like the angle is approximating what it needs to be.  My color choices started with a sort of rusty brown that I pulled from an actual anvil image, but I found them way to difficult to work with so I moved to this sort of dark purple range and stuck there.  The shape and shadows are giving me problems still and I keep making small adjustments over the whole piece.

Comments, suggestions, ideas, and critiques are more than welcome!
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Offline Johasu

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

Reply #21 on: November 04, 2013, 11:38:59 pm


Bringing this closer to my vision.  Feeling fairly satisfied with the overall look.  I am not sure how I like the hand holding the metal. I made a few subtle attempts at shifting its angle but haven't come up with a satisfactory alternative form.
I worked pretty hard to get the anvil the way I want it.  It feels good to me.
The base stone was a challenge and even though it's sorta messy with all the AA I put into it(and like a dozen shades of grey) I feel like it looks decent.

Im still hoping to get some creative inputs on how I can improve the colors or any other critiques on the form and designs.
I really appreciate all the advice and inputs I have received so far.  To think that my jiggy looking mess has evolved into this in a couple days with the assistance of a few more experienced individuals!  Wow and thanks.

Hoping for more help and tips and any input is welcome.  Thanks again!  :y:
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Offline HarveyDentMustDie

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

Reply #22 on: November 05, 2013, 01:03:43 am
Your shading makes his face looks flat. You should choose higher contrast flesh tone colors. If he is in dark area an candle is main source of light, all parts of his body shouldn't be so bright. Also red light from the iron should be reflected of him as a highlights. Why the front part of his hat is not highlighted if the candle is right above it? You should choose main light source and stick with it.

Shape of his head and position of his ears is weird, ears should be placed higher and left part of his face and left eye are too far out. Boots in previous post were better, now they look puffy like slippers.

You received edit from Pixel Piledriver, one of the best artists here, and you didn't pay close attention. Hammer position, legs, hat, body proportions. You should go back and analyze it again. You shouldn't exactly copy his work but try to learn from it.

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

Reply #23 on: November 05, 2013, 01:33:06 am
I didn't disregard his words or his advice.  But, I wasn't ready to simply drop what I was working on to completely redesign my character around someone else's design whether they are a better artist than I am or not.  My goal(and I think the goal of anyone trying to learn an art medium) should be to find a way to portray the vision you have in your mind in a way that shows what you want to show.  With that said, I have already stated several times on the thread that I have listened to comments regarding my character's shape and anatomy and while I have given sound acknowledgement that they are not in direct line with purely human shapes or PixelPiledriver's particular vision of a cartoonish shape I have accepted all of their words kindly and noted them down as something to work experimenting with when I'm done getting what I want with this.

For now I am mostly trying to find ways to make the shape that I am working with show properly.  Learning about shadows and light sources. My color choices are something that I have asked for advice on several times.  Thank you for your input in that regard.  I was noticing a bit of flatness to his face but haven't found a good way to round it out a bit (a bit because I want his head to have a blocky wide shape to it). I am not rooted in a particular color style yet for the skin tones.  I have changed the palette a bit here and there throughout as I am experimenting with learning the coloring as well.  So nothing is set in stone so much in that regard and I thank you for the advice.

I like where his ears are, but I will take some time and play with his facial alignment and see if I can get something that turns out nicely.  I had worked a bit with the iron glow on the skin but it was coming out super orange and looked really bad. It's my next solid goal area to play with. I haven't decided whether I want to keep the full leathery boot or go back to the plated toe and play with the metal coloring again. (Glad to get some feedback on that one though.)

I have been analyzing everything everyone has said, and I'm fairly confident in saying that it is pretty evident that I have taken advice from everyone here. Just because I haven't scrapped my old design to follow someone else's vision for my character doesn't mean I have disrespected anyone's help or time.  I am very grateful for all of the help.  As an exhibition of the learning and growth I have managed by listening to the words and advice of others, I created a .gif which exemplifies the transformation of my original piece to where I am now.

Thank you again so much for the advice.




I took those suggestions and played some with his face.  Moved the eye, the ear, and tried to reshade his face.  Tried to round his eyeballs with a bit of a shadow in the corner. Recolored the hat with a new palette in an attempt to come closer to the copper tone I was after. (any tips on this?)
Tried to build out his shoulders instead of having a massive rounded deltoid that functioned as a spherical attachment to his trunk.
Haven't yet figured out a higher flesh tone contrast to round his features well. I plan to work on this more in the next day or so. Any tips on how to think that through are greatly appreciated.
Replaced the metal plating on the toe and recolored it to more closely match the hammer. Then, I spent a lot of time working on the red lighting cast by the iron and I feel like I made progress though I don't know how well I actually did. My palette choices are a struggle area still. Are there good lessons for this somewhere specifically for pixeling or is this something you just get better with in time as you work with it?
 
Finally I moved his arm to more of a crest on the upstroke. I don't think it's terrible for what I was going for, but feel a need to reangle his hand and the hammer so they don't look like they are parallel behind his head.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 09:57:26 pm by PixelPiledriver »
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Offline PixelPiledriver

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

Reply #24 on: November 05, 2013, 10:33:25 pm
Quote
You received edit from Pixel Piledriver, one of the best artists here, and you didn't pay close attention.
I assure you I am not the best, nor do I think that is a healthy structure.
I'd rather be thought of as helpful.
My post is just to illustrate a concept.

Johasu your process on this image is very linear.
I didn't expect the anvil, I kinda thought this guy was a miner or something.  :blind:
It would have been better to sketch all objects into the scene from the black and white start, even if very rough.
But don't worry about it.
I often end up drawing stuff with no real plan of what it's going to be, adding this and that as I think of new things.
Just realize that if you do know what it should end up as, designing all the parts together usually results in a more cohesive image, especially interactions between characters and objects etc.

One of the best things you can ask yourself about anything in art is: What's it for?
The more specifically you answer that question the more direction you will have.
This will also allow you to choose your colors more easily.
I've written some stuff about color purpose a while ago.
I didn't fill in examples but perhaps it will be useful for you.
Many of the colors you have chosen are object driven, as opposed to being scene/mood driven.



There isn't a right or wrong here, it's just helpful to know which side you want to be on.
And there is a middle ground of course.
And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1

Offline Johasu

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

Reply #25 on: November 05, 2013, 10:42:27 pm
 ;D
I know my process has been sorta linear.  I guess I was okay letting myself make those sort of mistakes because I tell myself that if I do something wrong and out of place I can force myself to learn how to fix it.  So, allowing the improper positioning forced me to have to learn how to construct the anatomy better.  Doing the lighting improperly for the scene is making me learn how to work with lighting as the piece evolves.  I originally was sort of aiming for miner but then decided to redirect into an anvil because it just sounded better to me suddenly.  Sorry for the curve on that.

Now I'm working on altering the positioning of his arm and figuring out how to work with two competing light sources at the same time.  It's really challenging and I will have an edit up on that soon.

I'm ok making mistakes. I always feel like I learn better that way.  My art was all feeling very flat until I started getting advice and critiques from you guys and now I can see how to start rounding things out and giving definition.  Several comments have radically changed my ideas on how to go about creating pixel pieces.

In the future I will begin a new piece with a more complete idea of where it's going. I'm fully enjoying forcing myself to make changes to this one and figuring out how to make it work.

Thanks again for the help!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE:

I have made a lot of changes to him today.  Feel like my confidence in showing form is growing as i experiment with lighting and color tones.
Completely changed his skin color palette again.
Altered the hammer to be more in line with something a smith would use on this sort of work.  Not sure if I am digging the head on the mallet yet. I rotated his hand and redesigned his arm entirely.  Changed the other hand and reworked his pants some.  I dimmed the whole thing down some to make it feel like he is working in a darker space.  The candle light and the light from the iron are competing a bit to light different areas and I struggled with that a lot.  I haven't figured out a red tone to light his torso with but I feel like the glow I put on his chest and cast on his hand and underarm are in line with how it should be.  Still experimenting with colors on that red glow.  I found a way to round his face a bit and dimmed his eyes some.  The new copper tone on his hat is working better for me than previous versions as well.

I feel as if maybe his upper left arm is a bit too long. Any input on this?  I may wait on some critique before moving on with his physique or lighting as I'm not sure how to improve it more at this point.

Hopefully someone can give me some sound input as to where I can improve this more, or how I can fix any issues I'm having that I am not aware of yet.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 02:06:11 am by Johasu »
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Offline Tidbit

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

Reply #26 on: November 09, 2013, 12:26:19 am
You've come a really long way! I think the only thing that stands out to me now is that right hand. Fix that and I'd call your piece done  ;D

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

Reply #27 on: November 09, 2013, 12:42:23 am
 ::)  Thanks.  I'm still monkeying with that hand a bit. I feel like it's more a matter of the angle of his pose than anything else causing the problem. Artistically I wasn't good enough to set it up with the correct angles and found myself struggling to get it to come together.
I'm a little too stubborn to accept a need to simply redesign the whole arrangement to get them to fit better.  So at the moment, I am still fighting the hand.
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Offline Mrwhitepantz

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

Reply #28 on: November 09, 2013, 07:24:52 am
Hey dude, looking at your first and last pictures, you have really done some impressive work here. As I'm quite new to pixel art myself, I can't offer you any advice on the pixels themselves, but I would like to comment on a few things.

While I'm not 100 per cent sure how to fix it, his left arm does look just a skosh too long, and his bicep up there looks a wee bit big to my eye. Please take that with a grain of salt, as I'm certainly no expert on proportions.

Your sledge is pretty good, as is your sense of where shadows would fall. Just a sidebar here, I worked as a blacksmith for awhile, and you might be surprised by how little light hot metal actually puts out, particularly at the color you have it, which is probably around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, assuming it's iron. It is often exaggerated, like so many things, in movies and pictures and such.

A word about the right hand, if I may. Your biggest problem is that his hand (and the anvil) are at a really unnatural angle to his body. You might try bringing the anvil in a bit and more towards the center of his body, and then you could bring his right arm out a little and make his hand wrap around the piece of metal (don't do that in real life) instead how of right nowit looks like he is barely grabbing it with his thumb and forefinger. Don't forget to adjust the angle of your metal as well, it should probably be a bit closer to parallel of his shoulders.

Some of these are definitely style choices, so feel free to ignore whatever you wish, I am excited to see this guy finished.

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

Reply #29 on: November 09, 2013, 04:48:37 pm

Spent some time reworking his arm and hand.  I'm not entirely content with how it turned out yet.
Moved the anvil some, but again not sure how I feel about it yet.  I almost feel like I need to alter the angle of the anvil to pull it more level with his  stance and positioning.
I tried angling the bar a bit. Found that I didn't enjoy pulling it away from a straight edge to angle it.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to C&C some more on the stance and his build. I am beginning to feel more comfortable recomposing his stance as I improve with my ability to draw and color.  :crazy:
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Offline Mrwhitepantz

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

Reply #30 on: November 09, 2013, 05:15:29 pm
Spent some time reworking his arm and hand.  I'm not entirely content with how it turned out yet.
Moved the anvil some, but again not sure how I feel about it yet.  I almost feel like I need to alter the angle of the anvil to pull it more level with his  stance and positioning.
I tried angling the bar a bit. Found that I didn't enjoy pulling it away from a straight edge to angle it.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to C&C some more on the stance and his build. I am beginning to feel more comfortable recomposing his stance as I improve with my ability to draw and color.  :crazy:

That hand looks a lot better, nice job. I think the the anvil is working well, the angle could maybe be adjusted a little bit, but I think it would also be fine the way it is. The bar, even though it is still straight, looks pretty good. Pulling it over and changing his hand made it look a lot more natural. The only thing bugging me now is that his right arm feels stiff and like it's sticking straight out, elbow locked type of deal. I think if you put just a slight bend in that arm, maybe show the elbow a little or deepen the shadows on the inside of the bend, you'd be pretty happy with the result.

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

Reply #31 on: November 09, 2013, 05:36:52 pm
 :P Those were my exact thoughts when I posted it. That I should probably find a way to pull that arm back so it doesn't look so straight. Give some depth shading to the elbow and pull it inward some so it looks bent more. Edit will be coming along at some point later today.



Attempted to bend the arm some. I keep fiddling with it more, but this was the closest I came to being satisfied with it at so far.  I'm switching over to something else for a few hours and hope that when I return to it that something clicks for me.
Any comments or assistance are, as always, greatly appreciated.   ;D
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 08:41:04 pm by Johasu »
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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #32 on: November 09, 2013, 11:57:53 pm
The separation between his pecs and his lower torso has a bit too much contrast.  His bicep should be a bit smaller. Something like this is what I was imagining:


You've definitely come bounds since your start. Maybe try giving his lighting some color from the glowing metal and the candle.

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

Reply #33 on: November 10, 2013, 12:54:54 am
Thanks for the input. My progress has been at no small expense of time and effort. I have been using this particular piece to basically ram in dozens of hours of pixel/art study. I decided I wanted to learn so I'm giving it my all. The guidance of others has helped me to grow in ways I never could have managed on my own.
I will get an edit up shortly taking into consideration your pointers. I doubt I will play with the orange/red lighting from the bar too much at this point. I have previously, but everything I came up with felt far TOO orange and I couldn't seem to get it to work right. I'm just not good enough with the palette choices yet.
Thanks again for your help!  I really appreciate it.   ;D


Played with the right and left arms some more.  Worked his waistline some and took that advice on dimming the contrast line in his midsection.
I'm feeling fairly good about it at this point. Although I have yet to find a way to create the light effect with offset colors. ~Still trying~
If anyone has some more feedback, I would love to hear it. I'm looking for new ways to challenge myself with this piece. I've started another major edit but haven't yet brought it to a level I feel comfortable showing as it is still heavy [WIP].
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 03:42:31 am by Johasu »
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Offline PixelPiledriver

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

Reply #34 on: November 10, 2013, 07:39:45 am
I did some edits a few posts back but forgot about them.



Sorry no time for text.
And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1

Offline Mrwhitepantz

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

Reply #35 on: November 10, 2013, 08:01:41 am
I did some edits a few posts back but forgot about them.



Sorry no time for text.

I love the ones with super manly chest and armpit hair. Very manly.

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

Reply #36 on: November 10, 2013, 01:00:31 pm
 :lol:  That's sorta where I was taking this but I'm working on the individual components a bit first. I found an image of a smithy in an old castle and was trying to use it for reference. I'm not very quick, as I still take quite a bit of time selecting my colors and tweaking them back and forth. I will get a rudimentary update of my version of the scene up sometime soon.

These are super cool.  I hadn't even considered the idea of placing more body hair on him. I love the way different takes on his eyes and nose can completely change his face in a way that gives him an entirely different personality.  Pixel art is so fun.  :y:



[[WIP WARNING]] This is what I have been working on now. I realize that I am going to have to alter the lighting angles on everything as I place a fire in. I'm posting an update to show where it's going and maybe get some critique on the overall layout. Making silly mistakes that just don't seem congruous after I look it over.
Questions:

1: Does the angle of the tiles on the floor (they aren't finished at all) look odd when lined up with the furnace/wall.

2: Does the furnace to wall angle seem a bit awkward?  Should I angle either one away?  I wasn't really going for a smooth quadrangle room, but are the odd angles off putting enough to be bothersome?  I'm thinking about turning the furnace more downward or laterally to match the wall or feel more apart from the wall.  ~It might be easier to angle the wall away though, not that easy was my goal.~

3:  Finally any advice on color palette shifts for the wall and/or advice on how to do the stone tiles on the floor.  I was aiming for a sort of diagonal layout of offset square tiles to challenge myself.  [Maybe bit off more than I was ready to chew there. :'(

4: Does the off center placement of the character force more attention on the furnace layout?  Should I move him back to the center by widening the shot or cutting off the edge of the furnace?

Anyway, my thanks for any comments or critical assistance on this. Advice is greatly appreciated and I'm really looking to push my limits to new levels with this new layout.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 07:55:27 pm by Johasu »
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Offline Mrwhitepantz

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

Reply #37 on: November 12, 2013, 05:41:14 pm
1: Does the angle of the tiles on the floor (they aren't finished at all) look odd when lined up with the furnace/wall.

I don't think your floor tiles look odd when they are lined up with the furnace or the wall, however, they do look odd because the left side is much more angled than the right side.

2: Does the furnace to wall angle seem a bit awkward?  Should I angle either one away?  I wasn't really going for a smooth quadrangle room, but are the odd angles off putting enough to be bothersome?  I'm thinking about turning the furnace more downward or laterally to match the wall or feel more apart from the wall.  ~It might be easier to angle the wall away though, not that easy was my goal.~

You should definitely pull the furnace off of the wall. It's a decent position, right behind him, but there isn't really anything to indicate that it is closer than wall, which it should be. I'm not sure how to explain this exactly, maybe all it needs is shading on the wall, but it should be a separate entity, rather than like a part of the wall.

3:  Finally any advice on color palette shifts for the wall and/or advice on how to do the stone tiles on the floor.  I was aiming for a sort of diagonal layout of offset square tiles to challenge myself.  [Maybe bit off more than I was ready to chew there. :'(

I think the diagonal offset could work out fine, but you might try using a color closer to the stone that the anvil is sitting on, rather than the blue thing you've got going on there. I think the bricks on the forge could stand to be a bit darker/redder, but I'm not exactly certain what effect you're going for there.

4: Does the off center placement of the character force more attention on the furnace layout?  Should I move him back to the center by widening the shot or cutting off the edge of the furnace?

Are you familiar with the rule of thirds? I don't think that the off-center hurts necessarily, but you could definitely widen the whole shot if you wanted to create a larger scene. I wouldn't cut off more of the furnace, but maybe if you widened it to show the sides of it as well, possibly shrinking the whole thing by a bit it could help.

Another thing I just noticed, it looks to me like the forge is slanting downwards. The line on the bottom of the opening should be parallel to the floor line, but it looks like they get narrower as the go to the left. Maybe I'm just seeing things, but it also feels like the bricks on the bottom half which should be farther away (on the right) are bigger than the ones that should be closer (on the left).

These are just my initial thoughts as a viewer, I'm certainly no art critic; I just wanted to give you a different perspective, since you've probably been staring at for awhile.

Offline Ai

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

Reply #38 on: November 12, 2013, 07:34:04 pm
The furnace to wall angle is not 'awkward' so much as 'impossible' -- it appears that the back corner of the furnace would most likely be within the wall.

This is basically because the perspective is inconsistent.



* eyes are out of perspective ( though this is somewhat excusable, it would still look better if fixed)
* back wall is out of perspective.

There are two basic guidelines to go by here:
A) vanishing points should fit onto the same line. Usually, but not always, this is a straight horizontal line.
B) If you're using a non-perspective view (this is called an 'orthographic' view, size does not diminish with distance), then the angle on the canvas of any plane along the normal axes (X,Y,Z) should be uniform.

In this case, I suspect you are using an orthographic projection. Your back wall is at an angle which is about 15 degrees off the possible angles defined by the faces of the anvil. Therefore, the furnace is at 15 degrees to the wall, rather than what I suspect you wanted, 90 degrees.


(I also had setup a very quick+dirty illustration of how to make the furnace visually stand in front of the wall, before I noticed the perspective/projection issues. Basically just enforced a jump in value between the wall and the furnace.)

EDIT:
BTW, the floor tiles, they're out of perspective no matter what: the floor is projected in perspective whereas most other elements are projected orthographically. That said I think it's a nice effect, but you would have to redo the projection of most other objects to match it in order to eliminate the current 'objects float above the ground rather than rest on it' effect.
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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.[WIP]

Reply #39 on: November 12, 2013, 08:58:35 pm
Feeling like I have been a bit verbose in my replies and postings so, I'm going to try to keep it a touch more concise.
[First]                [New]                      [Framing]

Started by trying to push wall back away. Didn't like it. Worked on redesigning the layout with a new perspective arrangement.
Testing the layout of the furnace with some bad wire framing technique to see how it lines up. Reworked floor.  Preparing for wall revamp.
Any crits on current layout? I lined up the perspective based on the lines of the anvil base.  It was the only thing I had which was concrete(snicker) in it's form.  I'm no expert on perspective yet so I may need to do a bit more tweaking before I do any heavy coloring such.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 03:56:43 am by Johasu »
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Offline Ai

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

Reply #40 on: November 13, 2013, 08:06:51 am
Perspective looks sound now aside from some remaining furnace cleanup, and the new furnace's base colors are much more readable.

On a compositional note, I generally try to avoid having the bottom of posts and other stiff objects underlap a characters head, for basically the same reason that 'tangents' are a bad idea -- it creates a weird pattern where your eye reaches the top of their head and then tries to exit out of the top of the picture.

A few options:
* flip the character (and his anvil+block) in the X axis
* create some value separation by darkening the support timber. Given it's trapped in a corner with a large object next to it, and only candle+fire light, it should probably be fairly shadowed anyway, which would make it less eye-catching (good, since it's not actually important to the picture, right?)
* Shove the post around (Probably towards the right so that its interaction with his silhouette is minimal.


I only just realised he has a candle stuck to his hat. Doh.  :lol:

EDIT: When I think about it, the basic message I was trying for here was "a background element can either confuse or help define the silhouette of a foreground element, according to how you manage it." (for example, the furnace does a good job of helping define his shoulder.)
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 08:10:53 am by Ai »
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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #41 on: November 14, 2013, 05:37:27 pm

I've been hammering on this quite a bit, although most of the work I have done isn't visible with this result.  I have played with moving things around and changed a lot of angles.
Several hours working on perspectives and color palettes have left me with a really bad wall (though it's grid work is what I am using to develop my perspective in an anchored direction.  I will probably return to a dirt or stonework wall after I have finished using it to layout the scene better.

The furnace isn't quite there yet on it's shape but it's definitely getting closer. The opening and bottom are both in line with the perspective and the colors are closing in on what I'm aiming to use.
I still need to round the top better and then spend some time laying out the bricks as I want them. I imagine that will be time consuming so I am trying to get the scene fully ready before really coloring anything with any dedication.

I realize now just how out of perspective the character is, particularly his hat and face which are/were created with a straight 2D mindset.   :blind:   ~Learning~
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Offline Decroded

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

Reply #42 on: November 16, 2013, 05:59:11 am
Haven't read so forgive any repeats.
Perspective issues aside, there is composition issue of how he is facing the outward edge which leads the eye straight out of the image.
Quick switch-around:


Background perspective still doesn't match subject.
You COULD easily change his hat, shoulders, torso etc. to fall into perspective but I wouldn't because background perspective is unnatural unless he's a dwarf and we're looking down on him.
Before you spend hours messing with perspective, simply imagine yourself standing in the room and sketch roughly.
Don't forget you can use a larger canvas to get a better feel for the surroundings, then crop out the bit you want.
Better to have the primary subject on a separate layer so you can move him around once you're finished drafting the background.

Also consider what you're going to do with lighting.
The obvious choice is harsh red and gold lighting from the fire and glowing metal with high contrast shadows.
Can always add some blue ambient backlight to balance things out, show part of a window or doorway if you want to make it obvious where the light is coming from.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 06:20:42 am by Decroded »

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

Reply #43 on: November 16, 2013, 08:22:49 am
^ I considered proposing a transposition like your edit shows, but I realized it makes the picture more nonsensical -- if he needs to keep the metal hot, then the hand holding it must easily swing to reach the furnace. In your edit, the only thing he can safely stick in the furnace is his hammer :)
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Re: C+C/Assist with advice on palette choices and shading please.

Reply #44 on: November 18, 2013, 11:48:29 am
obvious solution is  to widen the canvas. cant hurt to see a rack of some of his previous handywork for example.

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

Reply #45 on: November 19, 2013, 10:11:30 pm
Sorry for taking so long to reply.
I don't have a proper edit yet because I'm not quite sure how I want to proceed yet. I HAVE spent some time on your comments and considered my problems as they are.

First of all on the left:
I took some time to lay out my problems with perspective.  I started with the character from a primarily front on perspective. Then I screwed everything up by throwing this anvil in with a different perspective because I wasn't skilled enough at the time to draw it properly.

Then I continued to make mistakes by finding a way to jam a bar into his hand in a front on perspective to match his body that DID NOT match the anvil.  While this forced me to fix his anatomy issues substantially, it did not fix the image at all.

I used red lines to show how I have lined the room out with perspective matching the lines on the anvil. I was cheating and not using any form of real 2 point perspective, but instead just running parallel lines.

I used green circles/lines to show how his body plateaus are lined up straight across.  Looking at it this way I see that my image simply cannot work as it is.
In conclusion, I must either redraw his form or the room and the anvil upon which I rooted the setting's lines.  :blind:

Next, I considered your comments on broadening the shot and using the image to flow the focus inward on the character.  (Basics that I forgot as I struggled with my lack of experience on the perspectives.)
I used simple tools to mockup a new layout for the room.
I will probably pull the anvil across more and level it out to match his body alignment.  Then I will use a single vanishing point to make minor modifications on the layout and line up everything in a parallel room.  I put in some details on the furnace(which I pulled to the back wall.  A basin for an oil quench beside him, and a grinding wheel which I put on the other side to force attention inward.

I have a few open areas.  I think that with these items I can get away with using lighting to pull the attention onto the figure though.  Comments and criticism on this before I move forward to any sort of REAL heavy work on it would be greatly appreciated.  And thanks a lot for your time and patience guys!   ;)
Gallery:  http://johasu.deviantart.com/gallery/
Twitter:  @johasu232