AuthorTopic: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]  (Read 6659 times)

Offline PsylentKnight

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Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

on: December 16, 2013, 05:48:17 pm
I'm working on a platformer.  This is just my third character, a NPC that will reside in the hub world (a dark carnival). I'm fairly new to pixel art, graphite is my usual medium. I've read a lot of tutorials and gained a lot of experience from the first two characters, but I feel like I'm missing something, so I came to see what you guys thought before I started animating. Should I outline the character with a darker outline so he'll stand out against the background better? Are the colors too highly saturated?




Just for reference, the doodad on his head wipes his tears away as his eyes fill up, and the balloon is tied to a noose around his neck. Hopefully those will become more evident once I begin animation. Thanks in advance.
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Offline astraldata

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 07:34:45 am
Definitely too highly saturated. My eyes feel like they're going to bleed. lol

The other major problem with your colors is that your color ramp is directly toward white and black. You need some hue shifts to make it look less flat and more interesting. There's no indication of sunlight or shadow/backlight/ambient-lighting in your image at all. The brightest colors closest to the light source should all tend toward yellow (assuming it's a sunny day), or whatever the color of the main light source, and the shadows should tend toward blue (or whatever color of the ambient/reflected light).

Aside from the color, your image just doesn't read well -- his face looks like a blob of colors with no clear direction, so it makes it very difficult to tell what his features are or where they even are since there's just no contrast between them value-wise. I think if you add some darker shading to outline his mouth (by shifting the light source to, say, above and in front of the character) the face would be easier to read due to the downward-cast shadows. As it is, if you flip the guy horizontally, the light source would look really weird since it's apparently biased to the right side of the image.

The last critique I can really make atm is that his silhouette just doesn't read very clear. As in, his face doesn't give any indication of a nose/mouth if you were to change all the color of the character to a single black color. The same goes with his body language, since you wouldn't have a clue what that thing sticking out above his stomach was (his left arm of course, though at first glance, it doesn't appear to be adding anything to the image -- it'd be better to just hide it behind his body if you're going for a slouch sort of position)

Despite the harsh critique, you've got an interesting character idea at least. :)
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Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 04:06:59 pm
Ok, I think it'll help clean up the clutter on his face a lot if I shorten his nose to the traditional round clown nose rather than the droopy thing he has lol. I'll also just erase the left arm.

I'll try to tone the colors down a notch, change the light source and try some hue shifting... I would have done that earlier, but I'm working in ASEprite and editing the color palette is such a pain.

Will report back later with Sad Clown 2.0.... thanks for the help.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 04:09:21 pm by PsylentKnight »
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Offline Stava

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 06:14:56 pm
You should probably simplify it.. to make it all more readable

I made a edit based on what Astraldata pointed out..

Offline Agent K

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 10:44:21 pm
I usually do an edit for every thread created on here just to practice, and I never upload just because I figure someone more capable will probably handle it. I figured what the heck i'll go ahead and post this one.  Really all I did was add blacks to your shadows for higher contrast and I think it helps with the highly saturated colors you have, and I also like what stava did with the clowns posture.  That left arm sorta looks crippled (don't know if thats the purpose, kinda a "take my strong hand" gimp?).  I don't think you should change the nose if you don't want to, its your char and you designed him like that for a reason. Anyway I hope this helped a little, but if not feel free to disregard.

Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 11:54:05 pm
@Stava: Thank you, I really like that... the shading is nice and crisp. However, his head shape and especially his yellow skin are important to the character.

@AgentK: Wow, thanks, just doing that really helped a lot. I think I'll do some tweaks with that one and experiment with hue shifting and saturation. I'll probably also either shorten the nose or bend it towards his right a little so that its more separate from his hair.

And yea, his arm is supposed to be crippled, he's just generally a pathetic character. However I don't think its adding anything to the character, so I'll just take it out as I said before.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 02:50:31 am by PsylentKnight »
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Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #6 on: December 18, 2013, 03:49:33 am
Ok guys... I desaturated the brightest shades of each color, chopped his arm off, shortened his nose, gave his body more shape, and most importantly provided some more contrast.


Its not a dramatic improvement but I think its much better. Thanks for what you guys have already done, let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 12:50:40 pm by PsylentKnight »
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Offline astraldata

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #7 on: December 18, 2013, 06:28:43 am
You should throw some IMG tags around that link -- I'm having a hard time zooming in without browser-blurring so it's difficult to critique your new design.

One thing I can say from looking at the art is that I liked your original character's droopy nose better. It just needs to be pulled away from the corner of the mouth. I'd suggest simply making it shorter, but still droop over the center of the mouth. Agent K's edit, even with added contrast, didn't solve that issue, though the contrast really did pull forward the forms.

I'll comment more about the colors when you add the IMG tags around your link since I can't see the forms very well.

As for the crippled arm, I think it's a good characterization to keep -- it just needs to be executed a little differently. For example I suggest putting the elbow on that arm in an upside-down 'V' shape to accentuate the cripple-ness of the arm. That, or put a cast on that arm and perhaps give him a broken leg and a crutch to signify he's had some rough times. At that point, I could see why he'd need a windshield-wiper device floating on a balloon to wipe away his tears (which also needs to be tweaked to indicate what it actually is, since right now I can't even guess why it's an upside-down cross shape except that I'd imagine it to have windshield wiper blades that fold out and slosh his tears off periodically).

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Offline Agent K

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #8 on: December 18, 2013, 05:31:35 pm


I tried to shape his body and push the right side hair back behind the face mors.  I still don't know exactly how to work the nose, I think it will take someone more capable than myself.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Sad Clown [WIP] [C + C]

Reply #9 on: December 18, 2013, 08:17:11 pm


I edited his colors to show you what "hueshift" means as well as added in a nose that looks like it belongs, fitting to the original concept a little better. I also tweaked his body shape as well as the balloon a little to make it work better as game art on multiple types of background colors. He could still use some more work in that department, but overall, he looks okay. I didn't add in the arm/leg cast or crutch (although I was tempted) so that you could see your original in contrast to the new image. You should still attempt those just to practice imo.

One other thing I did was bring the values closer together and desaturated the hell out of them (without overdoing it and making them dull-looking). Even if they're supposed to be primary colors, nature rarely ever displays them without some form of desaturation (otherwise, they'll burn your eyes lol), whether that's from the atmosphere, ambient/reflective light, whatever -- almost no color is pure to the eye -- even in the most baby-friendly cartoons out there.
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