AuthorTopic: GR#189 - Monster Girl - Anatomy, Shading  (Read 10620 times)

Offline Jesia

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GR#189 - Monster Girl - Anatomy, Shading

on: January 25, 2014, 08:42:03 pm
Hello everyone ^^

So i just started pixel art. I have been doing digital and traditional drawing for a while, and decided that i would try out pixel art as well. I quickly realized that it was something befitting me, so i have decided to develop it further. Yesterday and today i created two characters, after having looked up a bunch of tutorials. I am still very unclear as to what is right and wrong in the pixel world. So a little guidance would be nice.

#Note that these two characters aren't meant to be used in any game. Their purpose is to be "eye candy" haha ^^


They are both based on some of my old designs, from a few years back

Offline Pix3M

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 09:14:43 pm
Eye candy?

If that was your intent, I think we can be more artistically brave and go with a saucier pose  :lol:

Otherwise, they come off as stiff pictures meant only for character reference.

Offline astraldata

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 11:51:58 pm
I agree with Pix3M on the pose. In addition, I would suggest to limit or totally eliminate the dithering on pixel art that size unless you are going for a technical limitation of some sort on purpose.

Since you stated your intent was "eye candy", you should add more colors to buffer the transitions between shades, preferably implementing hue-shifting when you do. This would increase its visual appeal depending on how well you implement it.

Another issue I have is that there are small highlights in odd places that don't seem to add anything to the image. It's best to either leave these out completely or increase their area to include a larger cluster of pixels instead of dotting them here and there (see your chars' knees, elbows, and wrist joints). On pieces this large, a pixel or two has a much smaller effect in providing contrast you seem to be trying to apply.

One last thing is that stray single pixels on the outline silhouette is something you ought to avoid where possible. You did mention this wasn't for game art, but if you wanted this to work on darker backgrounds, it simply won't without double or triple pixels around the outline of very thin parts of your characters to allow it to 'blend' into black.

This technique isn't talked about too much in tutorials, but looking at old SNES sprites, particularly RPG character sprites, you will see that they all tend to look fine on different backgrounds of any shade or color, including the exact shade of their outline color.

To illustrate this, if you picked the color of your pink character's horn tips (I'm assuming that's a horn of a goat or something), and filled the background in with this exact color, chances are, your image will look really bad in the sense that it has no real form anymore aside from the inside colors, which should be used to create a sort of "reverse outline".  This technique will cover scenarios like that. Unless you know exactly what BG color your art will be placed on, you should keep this in mind -- even for non-game-related pixel artwork.
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Offline Jesia

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 12:51:50 am
Thanks to both of you for replying. Some of the small odd things that you have pointed out, like the small highlights, come from the fact that i usually paint more realistically, and i guess those sorta small highlights just don't read well in pixel haha (same goes for the small ones on the knees and such, cause i wanna convey the natural texture of skin, guess i shouldn't) I'll try and stay away from that.

I got a few questions, regarding some of the things you pointed out.

- Is dithering really that bad in this size? Cause i find it aesthetically appealing. What size is it then ideal for?

- I also thought that too much color was a no go when it came to pixel art? I purposely kept myself restrained not to use too many colors. Is there are ratio between pixel character size and the recommended number of colors?

- I'm at the moment working on creating an actual pose, but i'm not sure i can lose the stiffness, as i feel pixels in generally makes it still. I can't seem to hold on to the gesture of the original sketch. Any tips or ideas as to how to proceed with that? 

Thank you again for taking your time to comment ^^

Offline Probo

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 01:14:15 am
It is unusual to have lots of dithering on large sprites. although dithering big sprites isnt intrinsically bad, it could be a stylistic choice. but you should know exactly why youre doing it.

what looks off to me, is that the dithering on the cloth of the purple lady for example, seems at odds with the shading elsewhere on her.

Offline coffee

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 03:04:10 pm
Dithering is basically just used when you have a color restriction, or like Probo said, for a personal challenge or style. However, like people here said, it tends to look pretty bad for a trained eye
when you don't really know what it is used for. It's basically for blending two colours together to eliminate some size to the image file, by creating a third colour for example by blending two colours together, or make a nice gradient with minimal amount of colours used.

Here's a good tutorial:
http://www.spriteland.com/tutorials/pixel-art-dithering-tutorial-what-is-dithering.html]]http://www.spriteland.com/tutorials/pixel-art-dithering-tutorial-what-is-dithering.html
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 03:08:06 pm by coffee »

Offline Jesia

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 03:20:25 pm
Kay so i took everything you guys had to say and made a new version of the first character.
- saucier pose
- Less stiff (tried to make it less stiff atleast)
- No dithering
- more colors
- no small highlights
- no small pixels in outline

I hope it is any better

Offline 32

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 04:04:42 pm
Absolutely fantastic improvement  :o

I think if you just keep on working on stuff and studying some pixel art you'll be fine. In terms of pixel art specific stuff you just really need to focus on keeping the edges of your colour clusters clean and descriptive. What I mean is to make sure your lines are as smooth as possible and making sure your shading describes real topography.

I would suggest seeing what happens when you try to remove outlines, they are far from necessary and pixel art can just be another form of painting if you want. I think in particular that the line along the bicep looks quite out of place, mostly due to how straight it is though. Definitely look into anti-aliasing, it will help immensely in adding fine detail to your lines and shapes.

Read Helm's post on banding and do a forum search if you don't understand it for a wealth of information on the subject. You're not offending too badly but there are some places, especially the face, which are suffering from it.

Lastly, it's pretty clear that you aren't going for completely realistic anatomy but your characters legs confuse me. Are they supposed to have really tiny feet? Do they have two leg joints or just bulgy ankles? I think you would be best off when inventing anatomy to really think about how it functions in terms of joints, bones and muscles. Also her crotch looks misplaced.

Can't wait to see the next update :).
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 04:06:53 pm by 32 »

Offline Jesia

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 04:12:58 pm
Thank you for the nice comment. I'm happy to hear that it has improved. About the anatomy... It was supposed to be semi realistic, but i am having troubles making curves with pixels, which makes especially my arms and legs look strange. I will work on it the best i can. balancing a natural feel and flow and still keeping an eye on jaggies, is harder than i imagined xD

I will make sure to research more about banding and anti-aliasing. ^^



So i decided to try making a simpler character. Smaller and without an outline.

Original size

Resized x3

and i thought, what the heck, why not try and animate it xD It's most likely a bit stiff, but it is also my first  :-[

Orignal

Resized x3

wasn't really sure what to do with her other leg :/
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 12:54:11 am by PixelPiledriver »

Offline r4c7

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Re: First Pixel art. (Need direction)

Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 02:45:04 am
Edit:
Mainly tweaked the colors. Heightened contrast and saturation. Some other color and design ideas and tweaks. I don't know if you were going for pastel colors, but it looked washed out. Unless they are supposed to be a ballerina, I'm guessing they should be more solid on the ground. I also messed around with the lighting a bit, but that isn't necessarily the best, just something to think more about.