AuthorTopic: Practicing with a newer style  (Read 13170 times)

Offline Rosier

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Practicing with a newer style

on: April 27, 2014, 06:16:28 am
  These are the 'human' forms of these drifters:



This is the style that I do most of my spriting in.  The Hyper Light Drifters are one of many new styles I'm working on so I don't become too monotonous.

C+C appreciated; if this is my main style I'd like to be good at it.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 10:24:25 pm by Rosier »

Offline astraldata

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #1 on: April 28, 2014, 03:26:53 pm
Not too sure what you mean by which one is your main 'style' (larger or smaller?), but I'll critique the larger ones simply because I can't see how you might improve on the smaller ones technique-wise (their 'style' would only be apparent in their animations instead of stationary images).

Anyhow, it's clear you have a specific character design you want to convey with the top ones -- the bottom ones are a lot less clear due to their size -- though, I'm getting a sense of pillow-shading with the top characters (no clear light source on, for example, the girl's pants vs. her shirt since the light seems to be coming from the bottom on her pants but her shirt seems to have lighting from the top/front).

Additionally, the muted and highly desaturated overall sense of color these sprites have really crush any sense of vibrancy these characters might achieve otherwise, which in turn makes them difficult to appreciate at first glance. Even if they are meant to be on dull, muted/dark backgrounds, I think the over-use of pure greys/blacks is what's giving off that sense of dullness. Most sprites use either some mix of red or blue in their shadows/highlights to make them appear more vibrant. The only time grey tends to be used is when it is used as a buffer color, mixing between two values of different hues, on minimal palettes. Grey absorbs the nearby colors and, in turn, mutes them by stealing a bit of their vibrancy, allowing them to mix together.

Finally, the outline on the hair should be somewhat near the value of the body's outline in terms of intensity -- it's waaay too bright and gives a sense of the head popping off into the background. The only other issue I can see atm in terms of color is that the black outline on the body fights too much with the internal colors, so you could try lightening it up a bit instead of darkening the hair.

Lastly, the crotch area is much too low compared to the location of the hands for a human skeleton. They'd have difficulty keeping their topheavy body balanced if they were to walk. The wrists should end somewhere on the thigh area at least (but simply extending their arms would make them look more like an ape than they already do with their seemingly tiny legs, so you'll have to go the tougher route and lift their crotch areas up a bit to make them look believable).
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Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 01:57:28 am
Quote from: astraldata
Not too sure what you mean by which one is your main 'style' (larger or smaller?), but I'll critique the larger ones simply because I can't see how you might improve on the smaller ones technique-wise (their 'style' would only be apparent in their animations instead of stationary images).

The larger ones are in the style that I do most of my usual spriting in.  The bottom ones are the things I've shown on this forum since I got here.

Quote from: astraldata
Anyhow, it's clear you have a specific character design you want to convey with the top ones, I'm getting a sense of pillow-shading with the top characters (no clear light source on, for example, the girl's pants vs. her shirt since the light seems to be coming from the bottom on her pants but her shirt seems to have lighting from the top/front).

Pillow shading, got it.

Quote from: astraldata
Additionally, the muted and highly desaturated overall sense of color these sprites have really crush any sense of vibrancy these characters might achieve otherwise, which in turn makes them difficult to appreciate at first glance. Even if they are meant to be on dull, muted/dark backgrounds, I think the over-use of pure greys/blacks is what's giving off that sense of dullness. Most sprites use either some mix of red or blue in their shadows/highlights to make them appear more vibrant. The only time grey tends to be used is when it is used as a buffer color, mixing between two values of different hues, on minimal palettes. Grey absorbs the nearby colors and, in turn, mutes them by stealing a bit of their vibrancy, allowing them to mix together.
Quote from: astraldata
Finally, the outline on the hair should be somewhat near the value of the body's outline in terms of intensity -- it's waaay too bright and gives a sense of the head popping off into the background. The only other issue I can see atm in terms of color is that the black outline on the body fights too much with the internal colors, so you could try lightening it up a bit instead of darkening the hair.

I've been told either colored outlines or a complete removal of outlines might help this kind of issue.  Would this work?

Quote from: astraldata
Lastly, the crotch area is much too low compared to the location of the hands for a human skeleton. They'd have difficulty keeping their topheavy body balanced if they were to walk. The wrists should end somewhere on the thigh area at least (but simply extending their arms would make them look more like an ape than they already do with their seemingly tiny legs, so you'll have to go the tougher route and lift their crotch areas up a bit to make them look believable).

I'll do a mix of this and lengthening legs.

Offline astraldata

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 05:48:49 pm
Removing or coloring the outlines would help the issue, but since this is your 'style' you want to refine, you should consider the pros/cons of each.

The first thing I'd suggest to consider is whether these are game sprites, and if they are, then you'll need to determine a way to keep them separate from the background 'style' they're put against. There are multiple ways of separating something from its background aside from just using outlines -- such as employing more vibrant saturation, value-intensity, reserving certain hues for objects/types, (GOOD) selout, etc. -- but that's all a matter of style-preference and what you find yourself to be more capable of over the long-haul. An additional method would be to think of adding a hue + saturation to your black outlines and making them a little less black. That would help to prevent the dull washed-out look that too much pure black/grey invoke in pixel art.

I would suggest practicing with good selout techniques and flat colors first rather than trying to salvage the outline. Once you get good at doing that sort of outline, it can be combined with the kind of outline you're using now, but rather than the outline eating into parts of your character's form (preventing you from using all the internal pixel space for details like in the area around the last guy's necklace), the outline would be useful for emphasizing the silohuette and also separating the character from a very dark background (that is, the color of the outline) where the selout would cover where the outline itself disappears and thus fails. If you don't consider this aspect, throwing your characters on a pure black background (especially if they were smaller) would make some parts appear to be floating outside of the body where the outlines cut into the colored form.

Hopefully you understand what I mean enough to understand why it's a good idea to practice selout techniques before the outline. Although it's natural to want to draw your character with a line, using flat colors to represent form is far more manageable in the longrun since the outline (when added later) can be modified to make the silhouette more clear, and the minimal use of it allows you to completely erase it and tweak, for example, the pose of the legs or other details without having to figure out how to redraw them with lines in a small area of space.

Aside from those suggestions, I think that's about all I can offer you. Your sprites work minimally with what you have now + the improvements I mentioned in my previous post, but I suggested these to help you take them that extra mile in the case that you want to improve your spriting abilities overall. Though there are still other techniques you might want to try, these skills cover a very broad spectrum of well-regarded sprite styles.
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Offline Gil

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 06:53:51 pm
I would start with silhouettes to improve these. Try making a believable silhouette, get critique on that, then turn it into a sprite.



As you can see, your silhouettes are rather weak and it's more immediately obvious which ones are the stronger designs.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 01:13:53 am
I would start with silhouettes to improve these. Try making a believable silhouette, get critique on that, then turn it into a sprite.



As you can see, your silhouettes are rather weak and it's more immediately obvious which ones are the stronger designs.

Bit of an excuse, but I do want to keep them in the same general pose for consistency, but for the future I'll definitely differentiate the poses a bit more.


@astral
I'll look into selout and all that and see what I come up with.

Offline coffee

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 07:31:11 pm
Quote
Bit of an excuse, but I do want to keep them in the same general pose for consistency, but for the future I'll definitely differentiate the poses a bit more.

I think you can work with other elements rather than pose to get a consistency. Like colour, which you've already done. Like said before there are a lot of "bad" shading and colours that aren't effective.

Also using keeping the style as an excuse won't get you anywhere. There are issues that are non style related to both of the versions.
One of these are the anatomy. Even if you can go far regarding this for style there has to be some limit before the character just look weird and non believable. Like said before the proportions of the body just looks so off that you can't excuse it as style.
Another concern is the colours. I think you can try to be more creative with how you think with colours and take it up a notch. Dare play around with palette a bit. There's so much grey and white going on that it just makes the characters uninteresting. So in my brain there aren't really a big difference between the two different styles you've served. They give the same reaction.

I take it as you want to go for a sort of anime look for your ordinary style, here's my take on it:



Also, I have as a thing to avoid using the colour I use for outlines inside the sprite as much as possible or at least keep them seperated.

Hope it helps you on your way!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 01:29:34 pm by coffee »

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 11:58:36 pm
Quote
Bit of an excuse, but I do want to keep them in the same general pose for consistency, but for the future I'll definitely differentiate the poses a bit more.

I think you can work with other elements rather than pose to get a consistency. Like colour, which you've already done. Like said before there are a lot of "bad" shading and colours that aren't effective.

Also using keeping the style as an excuse won't get you anywhere. There are issues that are non style related to both of the versions.
One of these are the anatomy. Even if you can go far regarding this for style there has to be some limit before the character just look weird and non believable. Like said before the proportions of the body just looks so off that you can't excuse it as style.
Another concern is the colours. I think you can try to be more creative with how you think with colours and take it up a notch. Dare play around with palette a bit. There's so much grey and white going on that it just makes the characters uninteresting. So in my brain there aren't really a big difference between the two different styles you've served. They give the same reaction.

I take it as you want to go for a sort of anime look for your ordinary style, here's my take on it:



Also, I have as a thing to avoid using the colour you use for outlines inside the sprite.

Hope it helps you on your way!

I meant pose, not style.  Their silhouettes are similar because they have similar poses.  If they were in more diverse poses, the silhouettes would be better.

Regardless, everything else is totally relevant.  I need to check on outlines, color, anatomy and a bunch of other stuff and get back to you.

Offline Fizzick

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 01:20:43 pm
No, the issue is not with the pose, but the sillhoutte. Characters in the same pose can still have weaker or stronger sillhouttes, without variation from your intended body pose. You should make an effort to incorporate his criticism.

Always remember that style comes in only second to technical skill. You should work to develop your skill, and a unique style will come naturally!  ;D

Offline SharpKing

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 05:07:47 pm
Can someone explain what they mean by improve his silhouettes?  I have been lurking and am also curious.  It seems no one has explained WHY his silhouettes aren't good and I can understand why he thought you people meant the pose.  I see multiple posts saying they are "weak" but none explain what aspect is weak, why it is weak, and offer any paths to a solution?  One can not improve if they don't know what they are doing wrong.   ;D