AuthorTopic: HD Index Painting in Photoshop  (Read 28082 times)

Offline Indigo

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HD Index Painting in Photoshop

on: April 12, 2014, 11:08:56 am
I posted a blog covering a new method I've been developing allowing you to index paint in Photoshop - but with a fundamentally more powerful process which retains HD data to manipulate the pixels.  It's a bit lengthy but I figured you guys would find it useful.

Blog post here:
http://danfessler.com/blog/hd-index-painting-in-photoshop

Here's what you can do with it:
Quote
Pixel-bush, AA-brush, Soft-brush


Procedural Dithering


Dither Sampling


Smudge


Gradient


AA transforms


Alpha-blending


Blend Modes


Fixed index Adjustments


Dynamic index Adjustments


Dynamic re-indexing


Let me know what you think

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #1 on: April 12, 2014, 11:51:21 am
definitely useful and workflow wise much more forgiving for higher resolution pixel art pieces than the more traditional approach.
Looks cool for certain fields of use

Dunno how useful it will be for small scale were you define details with 1-2 pixel details by hand or minor cluster arrangement. For that it seems not to be necessary.

For larger areas and pixel painted background pieces (cloudscapes) it will definitely fasten things up a lot

Over all it seems to be a lot like grafx2, I wonder how it works with more than a single straight ramp.

@Edit:: ah well, just saw you also added the link of how to do it... jus thave seen your examples earlier at TIGsource.


Well one question:
which version of photoshop do you need to get it work?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 12:48:44 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Pix3M

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #2 on: April 12, 2014, 05:52:11 pm
There's something about index painting that makes it have a more authentic old school look. Been wondering if it could still be done today, then this came along  ;D

I'm bookmarking this so I can look at this when I have the time

Offline r1k

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #3 on: April 12, 2014, 06:49:40 pm
Ill definetly have to give this a try at some point too.  Never did index painting before, but seems useful for large background elements.

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #4 on: April 13, 2014, 10:40:04 am
definitely useful and workflow wise much more forgiving for higher resolution pixel art pieces than the more traditional approach.
Looks cool for certain fields of use

Dunno how useful it will be for small scale were you define details with 1-2 pixel details by hand or minor cluster arrangement. For that it seems not to be necessary.

For larger areas and pixel painted background pieces (cloudscapes) it will definitely fasten things up a lot

Over all it seems to be a lot like grafx2, I wonder how it works with more than a single straight ramp.

@Edit:: ah well, just saw you also added the link of how to do it... jus thave seen your examples earlier at TIGsource.


Well one question:
which version of photoshop do you need to get it work?


Yeah it definitely has it's strengths and weaknesses.  I wouldn't pixel super small sprites with it.  Interestingly I have found good use of it on chasm on quite small tiles.  Just depends on the situation.  Compared to GraFX, this method can do a heck of a lot more - but I suppose the price for that is it's a bit clunky doing so.

To answer your question, I'm note sure.  The basic features to do this have been there since CS3 I believe.  There might be some things you have to work around with older versions such as a lack of a black-and-white adjustment layer or the lack of the same eye-dropper settings, but for the most part you should be able to get it working in pretty old versions of PS.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #5 on: April 13, 2014, 05:50:53 pm
I'm pretty sure it works on cs4, not because I've tried this exactly but because on a design job I needed to take the colors out of a photo and match it to a different color ramp (I was thinking of threating colors LIKE pixelart but obviously didnt try to fully replicate it like you achieved) so this doesnt look too far off.

EDIT: just tried it in cs4. works fine. you tricky little devil I never would've thought of using posterize :p

this method is great, I think I'd actually welcome having each layer be a different ramp.

This kind of stuff is exactly what we need. I think the future of pixelart is applying all of the lessons in many different mediums, effectively making it simply an aesthetic. Hexels, employing color ramps and modifiable colors like this,  voxels, lo-poly, ascii art...even just tile art and generally modular art are all things we should be looking at
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 07:25:44 pm by Conceit »

Offline huZba

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #6 on: April 13, 2014, 08:39:04 pm
Oh booger, I was so eager to try, but it seems this thing has gotten so much attention you exceeded your bandwidth.

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #7 on: April 13, 2014, 08:57:55 pm
Site is back up - sorry about that.  Looks like I'm going to have to pay for some extra bandwidth this month :P

Offline Lanarky

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 09:31:40 pm
Is there a way to do this in GIMP? I've been trying to figure it out, but I can't seem to find the equivalent of Photoshop's Effect layers. If not, is it possible to index paint with GraphicsGale? I notice quite a few people on the forum use/recommend the program.

I already know ProMotion can since I've tried the trial, but it's a little too pricey for me right now.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 09:41:43 pm
you can do some form of index painting on ProMotion, but that wouldnt reallly be equivalent to this.

You can use promotion to draw with a brush that can draw with different blending effects in real time, if that's what you want out of this you can do that with ProMotion, but that isnt really what Indigo is talking about here.

The big thing is the "non commital" part that Indigo keeps emphasizing, that's exactly what adjustment layers (you called them effect layers) are about.  What's different about this is you're basically drawing within a color ramp with normal photoshop tools, and you get to decide after you've drawn it how many shades it should have, what hueshifting it should have and chose between a variety of dithers.

I know how I could set up all the layers in photoshop but I still dont think I'd come out with the same results as indigo, he has acquired a certain level of comfort with this tool that anybody just trying it doesnt have. That's the part that many reading the tutorial might not get, it takes a very specific way of painting to get this to look right, this is isnt a shortcut to drawing tiled backgrounds of the level of quality that there is in the Owlboy game or Indigo's work. Like indigo said, just a tool.

I suppose what you could do in gimp is find an alternative for posterize and alternative for gradient map and apply those effects on an image you've drawn in grayscale. if you know exactly how you have to draw it every time I guess you could come up with similar results but you wouldnt be drawing pixelart with "dirty" tools in real time.

Dont you have any friend that has photoshop CS3 or higher? just take the psd to his house and mess around with it, you'll see what it is about, you'll calm your curiosity and know whether you NEED this or not :p
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 10:03:06 pm by Conceit »

Offline surt

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 10:59:10 pm
I had a look at Krita to see if this would be possible. Sadly, it looks not so.
Got
  • Filter layers (same thing as adjustment layers).
  • Has levels, colour adjustment layers.
  • Has generated layers to fill the dither pattern.
Not
  • No posterize.  :o
  • No gradient mapping.

Offline Lanarky

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 11:23:06 pm
Haha, no I don't know anybody that has Photoshop (around $500 right?). I understand the process is nondestructive in Photoshop, I just figured GraphicsGale might have a "destructive" equivalent way, since GIMP disables AA brushes when the colors are indexed.

EDIT: Krita looks interesting, like a Photoshop + Sketchbook (the android app) approach. I'll have to try it out sometime.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 11:31:00 pm by Lanarky »

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 02:13:00 am
I had a look at Krita to see if this would be possible. Sadly, it looks not so.
Got
  • Filter layers (same thing as adjustment layers).
  • Has levels, colour adjustment layers.
  • Has generated layers to fill the dither pattern.
Not
  • No posterize.  :o
  • No gradient mapping.

Sooo close!  It's open source so somebody get on that!

Offline Probo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 02:54:11 pm
this is really cool, I saw some of it in the Google hangout and its great. ill definitely try this for backgrounds next time i make something high-colour/realistic. Thanks Indigo

Offline Conzeit

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 04:32:16 pm
a wild feature request topic appeared at kriya =O
http://forum.kde.org/viewtopic.php?f=156&t=120742
I figure we can use that as a hub for whenever any coder feels like supporting that.

Offline Ymedron

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 08:03:40 pm
This is a really cool trick, and it can work with normal paintings a little bit too (though with less controlled results)
Tried it with this painting (shrunk down a lot first and didn't apply the gradient map)
Also my art tumblr: ymedronart.tumblr.com

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #16 on: April 22, 2014, 05:47:31 am
Took like a 6 year old piece and started fudging around for a few minutes with the new method.  Back then I started this piece as a sort of impressive feat.  Now it's not all too impressive.

old -> New
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 05:50:24 am by Indigo »

Offline Lanarky

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #17 on: April 22, 2014, 06:26:42 am
Looks pretty awesome indigo! It doesn't matter the process, as long as you get to the end result IMO. I myself still pixel pretty slow, but I think it's either my process (aka, no process) or I over edit any little change  ::)

A little off topic, but if anybody knows any tutorials for creating pixel art (by that I mean different creation methods: grayscale, larger brush to rough it out, etc...) Feel free to send me a PM,  I pretty much know the rest by heart, but I'm curious on the steps you guys take to make pixel art.  ;D

Offline Tijjer

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #18 on: May 09, 2014, 10:21:05 pm
Notified this thread!  Really interesting!  Is it possible if something like this could be done in Gimp perhaps?  ;)

Offline surt

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #19 on: May 10, 2014, 02:23:11 am
Looks like there's been some movement on the Krita front: http://forum.kde.org/viewtopic.php?f=156&t=120742#p309044

Tijjer: Gimp should be able to manage the end result, but can't manage the workflow.

Offline Tijjer

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #20 on: May 10, 2014, 02:45:04 am
Looks like there's been some movement on the Krita front: http://forum.kde.org/viewtopic.php?f=156&t=120742#p309044

Tijjer: Gimp should be able to manage the end result, but can't manage the workflow.

How would I exactly be able to get a start to finding this end result?  Eh if it crashes gimp it crashes but I sure love to give it a try!

Offline surt

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #21 on: May 10, 2014, 02:55:04 am
In place of layers apply the relevant filters (I'm pretty sure Gimp should have everything needed).
But obviously you lose the key "non-committal and non-destructive" nature of Indigo's method.

Offline surt

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #22 on: June 20, 2014, 06:43:15 am
Krita guys posted a video about doing this kind of thing with experimental build: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/krita/krita-open-source-digital-painting-accelerate-deve/posts/883388

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #23 on: July 06, 2014, 09:45:12 pm
Posted a video version of the photoshop tutorial to youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q36EyvaYG8

I'd be very interest to see what other people have made using this method and what they think of it in practice.  Did anybody play with it?

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #24 on: July 06, 2014, 11:12:23 pm
Ran into a really annoying bug with photoshop, where the colour picker wasn't picking the correct colour, making the index painting impossible.   :(  Figured out it was possibly something like a color profile mismatch between monitors - as long as my monitor is the only display it seems to work fine.  Was weird though, only seemed to mess up once adjustment layers were introduced. 

I utilised it on some backgrounds for a project and found it really nice that you can have dithering as strong or subtle as you like - you can even effect different areas more/less by painting in a mask for the dither layer.  Didn't really like the look of anything I did that much though, really looked more colour reduction than intentional, but maybe with some practice I can use it better. 

Offline 32

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #25 on: July 07, 2014, 03:22:27 am
I used this method for a couple of effects for a game. Probably shouldn't show them but I can show my first attempt at an explosion which didn't really turn out, it has a lot more dithering than it probably should but only cause I did some last minute resizing and recolouring in photoshop in an attempt to save it. The method gelled pretty nicely with photoshop animation, I just ended up putting all of the frame layers into a group and clipping the adjustments to that.

I'll have to play with it some more to see how it goes for still images but for effect animation it was insanely useful since the amount of time you can put into a single frame wouldn't usually bring it anywhere near that level of detail and the pixel level care would probably be just as sloppy. Just being able to really integrate all of the photoshop tools into the workflow makes the job a hell of a lot easier, custom brushes and intuitive colour control makes rough work a breeze and gets you a lot closer to the finish line than a normal colour reduced painting would.

I see myself using this a fair bit in the future, thanks for sharing  :D

Offline LarkoftheRiver

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #26 on: July 07, 2014, 02:35:32 pm
Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm going to try it after I get back from driver's ed, just to see how it turns out. I might post it if it looks good enough. But this looks really cool and fun, and I can't wait to try.

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #27 on: August 23, 2014, 06:22:55 am
Played with some FX animation with the method:

Offline Crow

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #28 on: August 23, 2014, 08:45:18 am
 :o :huh:
Discord: Ennea#9999

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #29 on: August 23, 2014, 08:58:52 am
*Updated the image for better smoke effect*

Offline Mathias

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #30 on: August 23, 2014, 03:30:10 pm
Dan, is that 100% photoshop or some 3D particle rendering used as the base?
If using a 3D base, would you mind posting it?

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #31 on: August 23, 2014, 03:31:31 pm
100% photoshop.  The texture actually comes from photoshops default "bubbles" pattern ;)

Now with 100% more wavey

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #32 on: August 23, 2014, 08:16:59 pm
You are doing something with scrolling layers, right? Looks like it anyway.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #33 on: August 23, 2014, 09:01:12 pm
Looks pretty awesome, but perhaps a bit too smooth animation-wise to look convincingly pixelly.

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #34 on: August 23, 2014, 10:38:15 pm
You are doing something with scrolling layers, right? Looks like it anyway.
yeah, lots of scrolling textures masked off moving in different directions/speeds

Looks pretty awesome, but perhaps a bit too smooth animation-wise to look convincingly pixelly.
yeah, I may have gone a bit overboard with it.  80 frame loop at 30FPS doesn't feel authentic ;)  I'll see how it looks when I reduce it

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #35 on: August 23, 2014, 11:00:24 pm
Something like this would probably have had 8 or so frames in a game like Metal Slug. And it should be possible to make it look decent with 8 frames I think.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #36 on: August 23, 2014, 11:17:05 pm
I HAVE to get into this HD index painting.. That fire and smoke is crazy impressive.

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #37 on: August 24, 2014, 02:53:54 am
Something like this would probably have had 8 or so frames in a game like Metal Slug. And it should be possible to make it look decent with 8 frames I think.

The motion paths of this flame are too large to pull off an 8 - i'd have to tone back the animation quite a bit and make it feel a lot higher-frequency in detail/motion.  16 is doable though, why artificially limit yourself to what metal slug did?

16 frame version:


and here's the same uncompressed version again (64 frames now), but this time at 24fps - makes it feel a bit less liquid smooth.  Feels better imo
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 03:10:48 am by Indigo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #38 on: August 24, 2014, 03:05:48 am
Looks pretty good. What looks kinda odd is how you have red bits randomly plopping through the smoke. I think some hand done pixel pass would be warranted. To fix stuff like that, clean up some bits and add stuff like flying glowy ash flakes.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Indigo

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #39 on: August 24, 2014, 03:08:33 am
totally agreed, but I am quite impressed with how clean it is for there being no pixel-pass yet.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #40 on: August 24, 2014, 03:10:48 am
How does it look if you do it without dithering? And maybe if needed a few more colours per ramp.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #41 on: August 24, 2014, 05:43:49 am
Index painting like this has saved me a lot of time in the past few months, thank you very much. Lots of instances of people just wanting the low color dithery look without actually caring about the pixels - and for less than half the time I'd of spent on the image anyway.

Oh and I actually prefer the 16 frame version. But it depends on what sort of game it would be used on in the first place. The 'resolution' of the animation should match the 'resolution' of detail imo, so I can see the source animation working in a very detailed game.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 05:46:43 am by Atnas »

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #42 on: August 24, 2014, 01:19:36 pm
It's a great technique. I tried implementations of this same trick in the past but never got it to work this well.

Looked at your blog article's PSD, finally. (using Photoshop CC 2014)
Smoothing out a pixel art workflow in Photoshop always interests me so I messed around a little:



Got 3 set of layers, for 3 different dynamically indexed elements in the canvas - two mountain ranges and the sky bg.

DITHER
Used Fill Layers set to Fill 0%, used Pattern Overlay in Layer Style.
Just a preference, really.
I find handling the dither pattern overlay easier this way.
Also, you can't accidentally draw on it and have any effect since its Fill is set to 0%.
I made sure to use the Position Lock (top of Layer Panel) for all Dither layers so I can click through them, since I leave my Move Tool's Auto-Select on all the time.
If you want to selectively dither only certain parts, use a Layer Mask on the Fill Layer. Use multiple selectively masked dither layers each using a different dither pattern.

ADJUSTMENT LAYERS MASKING
Rather than mask the indexing adjustment layers to one layer, I've masked them to groups that can contain other layers and layer groups.
This allows composite layers to all live in one layer group, getting the indexing effects. No need to commit to merging layers together - like the foreground figure in your youtube video. Multiple sets of indexed elements all in one PSD.
Notice all the cloud bg spiral Smart Objects (made into SO's just so I can rotate them freely) inside the "spiral moons" layer group. That layer group's blend mode is set to Lighten, affecting all layers within, without affecting the "clouds" layer.
Infinite possibilities.

LAYER COLORS
Using a Layer Panel color-coding standard can help when working with a PSD with lots of layers.
I have my own little meanings I've attached to the available colors.
Main goal is making things easier/faster to find.

And I wanted to find a way to eliminate all alpha transparency in a pixely way.



Using the Dissolve blend mode is all I really came up with. Always ugly, though.
But it does allow you to draw uninhibited with AA tools on a non transparency locked layer - all feathered transparency gets completely removed.
Maybe it's only useful as a safeguard - when using it, you know there won't be any accidental alpha blending going on (if you don't want it).




Quote
The motion paths of this flame are too large to pull off an 8 - i'd have to tone back the animation quite a bit and make it feel a lot higher-frequency in detail/motion. 

You're saying you'd have to use a much smaller patterns so the motion actually loops quicker, right?
Tween the pattern on the right moving over, and blending into, an underlying texture.



Once you've moved the smaller pattern a distance equal to the tile's dimensions you have a complete loop.
Just thinking out loud . . . visually . . . in a forum.



Anyway, super cool.
Thanks for posting your technique and opening my eyes to this.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 01:26:31 pm by Mathias »

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #43 on: August 26, 2014, 09:14:42 am
Very cool stuff Mathias.

Quote
DITHER
Used Fill Layers set to Fill 0%, used Pattern Overlay in Layer Style.
Just a preference, really.
I find handling the dither pattern overlay easier this way.
Probably an easier shortcut which I've adopted that accomplishes the same thing is to use a pattern "fill layer" (Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern).  This ensures you can't paint on it, and you can easily select between multiple dither presets with just a couple clicks.

Quote
ADJUSTMENT LAYERS MASKING
Rather than mask the indexing adjustment layers to one layer, I've masked them to groups that can contain other layers and layer groups.
This is brilliant for organization, and I have no idea why I hadn't thought to do that.  Very good tip.

Quote
Using the Dissolve blend mode is all I really came up with. Always ugly, though.
So there's a trick to getting photoshop to handle the 1bit alpha for you, it's just a little less straight-forward to set up.  Basically, lets say you have a 16 color palette, what you'd do is define the ramp as though it's 17 colors, and make the darkest color on the ramp pure black.  On your paint layer, instead of painting on top of transparency, fill the entire layer with black.  Finally, open up the layer style for the paint layer and change the blend-if option for "this layer" so the dark-end is set to '1'.  This will ensure that pure black gets treated as transparent.





Quote
You're saying you'd have to use a much smaller patterns so the motion actually loops quicker, right?
Yup that's what i'm saying, but it's not just the bubbles texture i'm talking about.  I have even larger lower-frequency textures that produce the billowing wave effect of the overall flame.  Of course, it's not impossible to switch to higher frequency-textures for shorter loops, it just takes away a lot of depth from the animation and I didn't want to sacrifice that.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #44 on: August 27, 2014, 02:11:17 am
Oh now we're getting somewhere! This is truly SUHWEET.
Glad to be able to contribute a little.


Quote
Probably an easier shortcut which I've adopted that accomplishes the same thing is to use a pattern "fill layer" (Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern).
I've ignored pattern fill layers. Will try next time. Thank you for the reminder.
I finally read the comments on your site blog post. Good comments in there.
(A lot of confusion too, though. This technique is unfortunately rather advanced. I feel that even intermediate users will still have trouble it and/or not fully understand what they're doing even if they can get it to work. Not much can be done about that.)
I think you ought to update your tutorial information with this new stuff. I consider this a ground-breaking technique and your blog post is THEE how-to source.
And despite that, I'm getting the feeling even pixel artists aren't realizing how great this is. I am LOVING using this method.


Quote
This is brilliant for organization, and I have no idea why I hadn't thought to do that.  Very good tip.
The implementation of the ability to mask layers to layer groups is fairly new. CS6, I think. But it's absolutely revolutionary, in my opinion.


Quote
blend-if option
Aaaaaaaaaand I had to kick myself when I read your reply today - your 1-bit transparency solution is excellent.
I've never gotten useful results from the Blend-If layer settings (kinda fallen off the pixel art wagon so I'm always after smooth AA these days . . .) so, while I know what they do I've never really assimilated them into my little mental toolset. CRAP. So yeah . . . good call there!
Sure it means you can't use a pure black on the Blend-If layer/group, but you can probably mask an adjustment layer to it that darkens the darkest index in the ramp to MAKE it black again.
May have to tweak the "Advanced Blending" checkboxes in Layer Style to make it do what you want, but I think it might work. Need to just test it . . .
(Have you tried using ALT+RIGHT-CLICK DRAG to change your PS brush's size and feathering? Note the "Vary Round Brush Hardness based on HUD vertical movement" option in Preferences > General.)




I have another trick I'll post here, but you probably already know it - Using the Gradient Map adjustment layer to recolor underlying layers with an already existing palette.
Just like you've already been demonstrating, but with one additional gimmick - strictly stepped ramps. Like this:



Where you see the hard transition between colors there's two gradient stop thingies, both occupying the same exact location in the gradient ramp area.
This eliminates ALL intermediate colors. As you can see, I've created a ramp that uses the browns from the Commodore64 palette.
Otherwise, you get random intermediate colors re-coloring your underlying HD layers' pixels. If you still want to use the Poster adjustment layer, you can. But it's not needed.
Made a few more grads too, saving them as presets. GRAB MY PHOTOSHOP GRADIENT PRESETS FILE
When setting up the stops, it's necessary to click on ones that are stacked up on each other to toggle their stacking order. You'll see why.



Applying all these techniques:



32 frames          13 colors          1x version



What else?
Let's perfect this system.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 03:18:55 pm by Mathias »

Offline 9_6

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #45 on: August 27, 2014, 04:49:55 pm
I have an older version of photoshop without the colorpicker that only picks from the current layer so I had to come up with a way to control dithering.



1) Set everything up as described and make a black to white gradient.
With the box selection tool set to a fixed size, select areas in which you see each color level and dithering respectively.

2) With your drawing layer selected, press ctrl+c and ctrl+v.
You will get a new layer with your palette.
Make sure to move this layer above the pattern and posterize thingamajig!

3) Feel free to lay your palette out in any way you are comfortable working with.
You can copy it just above the drawing layer to get a preview of the colors you pick from.

Edit:


I thought my photoshop was bugged at first but then I found out that you need to untick "Blend Clipped Layers as Group" for it to work.

Edit 2:
Never mind.
Seems like that blend if option is bugged on cs2 and won't count as "transparency" for clipping groups.
Pencil eraser is the only option then.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 05:22:13 pm by 9_6 »
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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #46 on: August 27, 2014, 08:48:05 pm
This is absolutely breathtaking. Thank you Dan.
It opens a lot of possibilities.

Right now I'm playing with Retro Dither, a color palette / dithering plugin for After Effects.
http://aescripts.com/retrodither/

It could really help for those of us who are familiar with After Effects. It would be very easy
to make pixel art ocean, windy trees, or any too complex / subpixel effect with this.
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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #47 on: August 27, 2014, 11:56:02 pm
Well now, instead of using filters in AE, you can render out your video or complex object animations and import them (even cut up into layers if you want, with alpha masking so they composite correctly in PS) and apply The Dan Technique selectively - different HD indexing settings per layer or masked area.

Hopefully this means The Last Night is about to get even more aWeSoMeR!

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #48 on: August 28, 2014, 12:43:38 am

Oh so I get to have animated dither patterns now.
Well that's neat.

« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 01:12:24 am by 9_6 »
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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #49 on: August 29, 2014, 03:59:48 pm


What else?
Let's perfect this system.

I thought the blend if option was bugged since it'll not treat the cut off values as transparency for masks but that's not how it works.
If you want to use the blend if transparency method, you need to include black in the color ramp.
Got a bit caught up in the "correct way to set up a ramp" large picture eyecatcher and missed when indigo said it so here's a ramp that supports the blend if transparency method:



This is just for clarities sake though, personally I prefer to take the dissolve spraycan hit and clean that up later.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 05:15:39 pm by 9_6 »
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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #50 on: August 29, 2014, 06:00:14 pm
Setting Up Indexed Gradient Ramps   (no intermediate colors allowed)

SUP

What version you running?
I'm on CC 2014.1 (current version), so it might be different for me, but to solve the issue you're having all I have to do is click where the stops are. Careful not to drag at all. JUST one click.
When I click two stops stacked up in the same exact location, Photoshop will toggle between which one is getting selected to allow me to see it and drag, but at the same it actually changes the overall gradient.
Where there are two stops stacked on each other, it looks like only one is there. So, if there's a red and a green one stacked up, when you I click that red stop, it looks like it turns green, but it's just the green stop being brought to the top of the stack.



The last few versions of Photoshop implemented a number of little ui tweaks and workflow smoothing gimmicks so the toggling click I can do might be a recent thing. I don't know.

But if so, that's ok. There's another way I found.
When stacking up stops, you want them to affect the overall gradient ramp in a certain order. I found that you can alter stacked stop ordering if you drag one stop out of the stack and then just put it back. Just keep doing that until PS gets it right.
Let me know if this still doesn't work. I wanna know.

Some 1-bit anims, using this method, would be awesome. Just like your avatar.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 04:32:32 pm by Mathias »

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #51 on: August 29, 2014, 06:19:11 pm
Like I said, I use photoshop cs2.
The one that's available for free. The old one.

Some 1-bit anims, using this method, would be awesome. Just like your avatar.

I was wondering how to do that and came up with a method using blend if ranges.



Rinse and repeat for each dither pattern layer.



And there you go. Non-destructive 1-bit dithering.

« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 07:04:36 pm by 9_6 »
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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #52 on: August 29, 2014, 07:34:49 pm
-snip-

damn dude, that's really nice.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #53 on: August 29, 2014, 09:43:13 pm
 :'( I should have noticed the preset gradient file posted there by Mathias..
 my palette was slightly off cause  the gradient I made was all blendy and the posterize layer auto picked a couple of  the colors for me.. wasn't a big deal but slowed me down slightly in the end when I had to manually change the palette once flattened.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #54 on: August 30, 2014, 02:39:43 pm
This keeps getting better. Thanks for posting that, 9_6!


@ pipeipeipepiepiepipeipiepipe,   Yep! No reason to flatten and clean-up afterward unless you just want to for some reason.  With The Dan Fessler High Definition Pixel Art Feels Awesome For Mathias Again System (TDFHDPAFAFMAS) you have complete and utter palette control.


___


Someone needs to link Paul Robertson here.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 06:04:30 pm by Mathias »

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #55 on: August 30, 2014, 09:08:50 pm
I've been using all these things in photoshop but I never figured it could be used like this for pixel art..
Honestly, I have been avoiding the thread because I thought you were using some complicated script, but this is all just stuff I'm familiar with already!

Amazing..

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #56 on: September 03, 2014, 02:22:48 pm
I played with the Pdf file and this result I did get.... Did I fail??
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 08:52:16 pm by Beetleking22 »

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #57 on: September 04, 2014, 12:53:08 am
I don't know, looks more like it's saved as a gif rather than hand placed pixels.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #58 on: September 04, 2014, 12:56:50 am
Same. You can't transform any image into pixel art, otherwise it just looks like a threshold filter…
Your image is too high resolution, has anti-aliasing, gradients are too smooths instead of a clever patterns, etc…
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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #59 on: September 04, 2014, 01:06:00 am
Bad application, but it looks like he's got the technique right.
8 color ramp applied. Got the dither working, too.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #60 on: September 04, 2014, 05:46:51 am
Yeah method was right as Mathias said... but  I see now my problem.. Image was too large and the original pic had too much anti-aliasing.. So it need to be aliased and smaller like in the pdf file scene!

Better?


« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 07:54:53 am by Beetleking22 »

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #61 on: September 04, 2014, 08:46:38 am
I think the main problem is you're treating it as a means to reduce rather than as a means to craft.  This process is not intended to convert HD art into pixel art.  This process is meant to *craft* pixel art by means of HD data.  Typically speaking, you don't even ever look at the HD source while you're painting.  It's just a means to provide you the ability to work with more powerful tools while you pixel.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #62 on: September 06, 2014, 06:52:50 pm
hey, I read your blogpost a few weeks ago and started writing simple painting programm that allows for 2-dimensional palettes. it's still pretty basic, lots of general functionality is missing but I have reached a point where I am comfortable releasing an early build and get feedback what functions would be essential to implement.

so, anyway, here it is:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/kj7s0a2oysxbanu/Editor.zip

press 1 to export the image and press 2 to save the indices.


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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #63 on: September 07, 2014, 07:19:00 pm
Has anyone tried using vector graphics?
I sometimes cheat when doing lowres icons by making them in vector with pixel snapping and then just using sharpening to get more crisp AA.

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #64 on: February 28, 2015, 10:07:33 pm
Hi,
So I just came across this today and it's really amazing!
I just thought I might jump in and say you can get pretty accurate multicolor ramps. I played with this a lot today and found that you can even force preexisting pixel art to work with this in the same palette, the gradient has no limit to it's colors and you can use the curve and/or the exposure adjustment layer to make sure it uses the colors you want and only them.  Each ramp obviously needs it's own layer but you can reuse colors(the colors look the same but aren't the exact same value, this can be solved when saving).

I believe this can have broad implications on pixeling like animation for instance, you could aa transform sprites, or do an automated subpixeling animation using clipping-mask layers. I made this quick demonstration using 2 frames and no cleaning.

I also like the idea of being able to play with the palette real time without it being destructive, you just create a new gradient layer on top and/ or stuck with different adjustment layers like color lookup.
I'm currently looking for more things you can do with this technique, I'm very excited :) 

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #65 on: March 01, 2015, 04:08:53 pm
my mind is blown!!!
Image size doesn't matter! It's what you do with your pixels that counts!

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Re: HD Index Painting in Photoshop

Reply #66 on: March 01, 2015, 05:54:27 pm
By the way, I found a way to assign exact values but it's a bit clunky.
Oops, I just read a bit backwards and found I basically reinvented something already known lol...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 06:19:43 pm by Nirel »