AuthorTopic: Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE  (Read 4211 times)

Offline gipsonad

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Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE

on: January 23, 2014, 07:56:34 pm


Im working a sky factory background for a game, Im still learning the ins and outs of pixel art, but anyway, I sure could use some help as far as spacial illusion goes. The thing in the front is supposed to be like a machine, I made the design up myself of course I wanted to give it a sci fi like look, It needs a lot of work, Im nowhere near calling it done of course, some pointers would be greatly appreciated

Offline felicitousArtisan

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Re: Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE

Reply #1 on: January 24, 2014, 01:34:41 pm
I'm actually pretty new to pixel art myself, but I have some experience in general illustration and games creation so maybe I can help get the ball rolling and then some experts can chime in...

Okay, I think before I can really offer any really good advice, I need to know, or at least you need to think about some things:

-Is the thing in the foreground something you can stand on? If it's not, it may help to see what the actual stuff the character stands on looks like. It looks like a thing I ought to be able to stand on because it's so much more defined than everything else in the scene as well as being a lot more strongly and darkly coloured. If it's not something I can stand on, it may be a bit high contrast with the rest of the background.

-What is the intended mood of this area and the game in general? Right now, the pastel hues and warm, soft peachy pinks evoke a serene, light sort of mood.  Now, it's possible that this is not your intention, but rather that the only means you have been taught of rendering depth is to get lighter and lighter with distance, or maybe you do want it to feel like a peaceful, gentle sort of place (but I'd be quite surprised since a smoggy factory isn't generally a nice place to be). Be aware that you don't necessarily need to just get lighter to create the illustion of atmospheric scattering with your background scenery, you just have to get closer to the colour of your sky as you go further away.

-Do you have particular specifications or enforced restrictions in mind for things like colour palette and tile size? background size and resolution?

I think one piece of advice I can definitely give without knowing anything is that those soft straight gradients need to go, especially if you want this background to be pixel art.

Offline gipsonad

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Re: Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE

Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 07:08:43 pm
@felicitousArtisan yes one of my main goals is to create space. I actually have my art training in traditional media painting and drawing, in painting I learned to use glazing to help create space. In the pixel program I use they have the transparent function and layers, I use these two because they are akin to layers of color like Im used to working in. I also look at examples of Skys with buildings and shapes in the far off to help me get a better idea of what it should look like, and you are right about it not nessecarily having to get lighter to go back in space, some of the skys, and as far as the mood I am going for, Im going for massive, um how do I say this, grandious space, so I need some tips on creating realistic going back way far space.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE

Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 10:42:10 pm
I think something that would really help people get an understanding is to post some of the foreground tileset tiles (and walkable surface) as a layer over the front of your background so that they (and you) can see the entirety of what you're working with color-wise in order to offer better critique/advice.

And I agree with felicitousArtisan. The mood of a smoggy factory probably shouldn't be so peaceful/relaxing and I also favor removing the blurry + auto-gradient stuff in order for this to be considered pixel art. You should definitely keep in mind that gradients should be done manually if they are required (in order to retain that old-school pixel-art feel), regardless of how many colors are needed.
I'm offering free pixel-art mentorship for promising pixel artists. For details, click here.

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Offline gipsonad

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Re: Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE

Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 12:48:52 am


Okay, so there have been a lot of changes done to this background since the last time I posted it. The color scheme, and the overall fell. This background is intended to serve mainly as what I call it a background, it will be behind the area where the players will do the fighting. So nothing in the photo serves as a prop its all background imagery.

What I am going for is big wide open grand space for the mood of this background. last time I received advice on the clouds and the smoke from the pipes. It was great advice to suggest that I make it where its hard to tell the difference from the factory smoke or the clouds. I like where this is going, but I know I have a good ways to go on this

A fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective will be greatly appreciated,

Thanks

Offline felicitousArtisan

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Re: Sky Factory Work in Progress TIPS and CRITIQUE

Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 10:27:53 am
Okay, well firstly, this is a definite big improvement on the first one. So don't get disheartened by the fact I'm about to criticise it, because the very fact that I am able to give clear, focused criticism now is a sign of the big improvement, because with the previous example, I wasn't even sure what you were going for, which made it impossible to give focused criticism. On this one, I can see what you are trying to do and give advice on how to improve it.

Alright, so I took the piece and I made some changes, I'll explain below my thought processes. Please bear in mind these were done quickly and are not necessarily neat or well done! Also be aware: I am not a pixel art specialist. I am a n00b at pixel art, so the pixel techniques here  will be not on the level of a lot of people here.



So the first thing I did was to remove those cloudy things from around the aparatus. I'm not sure what they're supposed to represent. If you want a foggy atmosphere or the equipment to be giving off steam or condensation, there are probably better ways to do it. If you've been trained in painting, you should understand the importance of observation of how things look. Pixel artists don't get a free pass to ignore that rule. Also, unless they're intended to be on a different sprite layer, do not ever ever ever use partial transparency while working with pixels! The whole point of pixel art is to use the limitations of the style to evoke nostalgia, but also to give a crisp, bold, vibrant look.  So think of it more like painting with oils rather than water colours. There is either paint or there is no paint. There is no in-between.

One thing to note is that I read the stuff at the bottom as water, and have treated it as such. If it wasn't supposed to be water and was actually cloud, then you need to go and study how to render cloud. If it was meant to be water, then okay, cool. So continuing with the assumption it is water, I flattened out the horison. If you look at the horison looking out to sea, if you can see as far as we can in this image, the horison will be pretty flat. This helps with the illusion that the chimneys are coming out of the water. I added some little crests to the small waves in the foreground to give a feeling of them lapping against the large chimney.

Something I have done with the colours and highlighting that is an absolute cornerstone of spriting is to limit the number of colours and bring everything closer together in hue. Some of the highlights I found to be randomly more orange in value than the things they were highlighting, which doesn't work in this case because the ambient light suggested by the background we're fading into seems to be white/yellow/. I noticed some of the highlights, like on the smoke and on the background water, were so pale as to be barely visible. If you're gonna put in a highlight that close to the colour it is highlighting, it may as well not be there, so be a bit more confident! Either be flat and proud OR give your highlights a bit more of a punch and a purpose by making them clearly lighter so that they pick out edges effectively.

Personally for future images like this, with a limited palette, I would strongly recommend coming up with a single limited colour ramp or two to work from. You'll find that using a more limited palette constrains you a bit and you'll learn to use your shadows and highlights more effectively. Even with the edits I made, this image was over 20 colours, which is really too many for such a simple image focused around a single theming colour.

Here's a useful site! http://www.pixelfor.me/crc/
Use it to make something like this:

Then make your image using ONLY colours from that ramp! You will learn loads from doing this, and it will improve not only your pixel skills, but your general painting skills too.

I also would recommend a really excellent book on painting and colour called "Colour and Light - A Guide for the Realist Painter" by James Gurney.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 10:29:40 am by felicitousArtisan »