AuthorTopic: Practicing with a newer style  (Read 13168 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

Offline coffee

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #10 on: May 02, 2014, 08:16:06 pm
They don't stand out as individual sprites, they look bland and there's barely anything that can tell them apart as individuals. Improving the silhouettes by; Giving each sprite that something that makes them the "person" they are. Some might have really spikey hair, one a large cape, one some big weapon etc. Things that you can recognize even if it was only a silhouette.

I don't know if any of you watch One piece or have heard of it, but this is a great example:



I have no trouble telling these characters apart even though they are only black. Depends of course if you know them from the start, but they all give their own impression.

I wouldn't say silhouettes are extremely important, but more a way of seeing things and perhaps improve your sprites. A strong silhouette doesn't necessarily mean a great sprite, but it's a lot
better ground to start building on.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 08:19:49 pm by coffee »

Offline PixelPiledriver

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 09:42:58 pm
Some really messy thoughts on the above advice:


Quote
Can someone explain what they mean by improve his silhouettes?
Coffee's explanation is accurate.
As stated, it's a design tool that can be used to help create unique and collectively distinct characters.
One nice way to do this is to use onion skinning and draw new characters on top of previous ones in a new frame.
This lets you see the differences in local space making it easy to compose structures that are not the same as the others.
Google around and find out what other artists have to say about it as well.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 09:46:54 pm by PixelPiledriver »
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Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #12 on: May 03, 2014, 12:16:58 am
IMO it's a bit of both same pose and the One Piece example.

I do want them to look like relatively normal humans.  One Piece takes things to the extreme.  To take another anime example, Naruto has almost all human characters and their silhouettes can't always be distinguished, but that doesn't mean the design is bad.  Regardless, looking at PPD's edits, I can definitely see where some steps can taken to improve this.

For posing, I can differentiate them by putting them in more dynamic poses with their gear.  The second one has a sword for example and I can make a sprite of his using it, rather than just stand there.


I think a decent course of action is to use other characters that aren't supposed to have similar body types, and improve the posing on the current ones.

Offline coffee

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #13 on: May 03, 2014, 12:23:58 am
Naruto do have less exaggerated characters normally but they do have things that tells them apart to make them interesting as persons, I couldn't find any decent amount of silhouettes for it except this one:
http://media.moddb.com/images/games/1/9/8088/Shippuden.jpg
I think I could point out quite a few chars of Naruto only based on their silhouettes as well as in One piece.

The point we are trying to make is not that you should make all your characters extremely different. But like you said, adding a sword to someones back/side and other things will tell your characters apart a lot more than what they are now.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #14 on: May 03, 2014, 12:54:29 am
Naruto do have less exaggerated characters normally but they do have things that tells them apart to make them interesting as persons, I couldn't find any decent amount of silhouettes for it except this one:
http://media.moddb.com/images/games/1/9/8088/Shippuden.jpg
I think I could point out quite a few chars of Naruto only based on their silhouettes as well as in One piece.

The point we are trying to make is not that you should make all your characters extremely different. But like you said, adding a sword to someones back/side and other things will tell your characters apart a lot more than what they are now.

I'll go with a combination.  I have a character design that's pretty distinct in mind, and then I'll make some improvements to the others.

Offline Gil

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #15 on: May 03, 2014, 01:06:10 pm
I'll try to do a better explanation of what I meant with silhouettes. I'm lacking in time lately, so here's the cliff notes for now:

- Most of what I meant has been mentioned
- What wasn't mentioned is gesture. Look up gesture drawing and compare to your poses. Compare to the posted Naruto characters.
- Droopy shoulders. Droopy shoulders are a result of bad posture. It's a good way to make your character seem either aloof, weak or "cool". Drooping all the shoulders in every character goes a long way in why they look so alike.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #16 on: May 18, 2014, 11:20:14 pm
  Experimenting with some Selout, though I'm not quite sure I've grasped it quite yet.  Also played with some posing.

  Again, posing, but an attempt at the decidedly more anime style.




Also, I went back to some of my older sprites where I played around with posing/stronger silhouettes a bit more.

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #17 on: May 18, 2014, 11:56:40 pm
I think that you need to practice drawing more. Even if it looks that pixel medium can hide lack of drawing skills, actually its the opposite. You don't have to become Da Vinci but you have to know the basics. Draw every day, that will improve your overall skill. Great example is Cyangmou who draws every day in traditional medium for practice and study even if he is very good pixel artist, I support that.  :y:

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Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #18 on: June 03, 2014, 03:47:44 am


Took me long enough, but I tried practicing a bit more in this style.

With and without strong outlines.

Offline HarveyDentMustDie

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #19 on: June 03, 2014, 08:19:54 am
Skin color and that pink color are almost the same which makes some areas very hard to read. I like shirt design on her chest.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #20 on: June 03, 2014, 11:06:45 pm
Skin color and that pink color are almost the same which makes some areas very hard to read. I like shirt design on her chest.


I'm running into the problem of the colors either being too similar or having them look a bit washed out when I would prefer nice and bright.  Color wise, this contrasts a bit better, but she seems duller because of it. 

And to be honest, it was a spur of the moment flower design I thought of.  Glad it worked out.

Offline astraldata

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #21 on: June 04, 2014, 01:40:08 am
For better brightness, just increase the saturation on a select color or two -- you will find that the more prominently used a color is to emphasize other forms or details (such as shadows), increasing its saturation will help brighten your overall sprite without every color appearing too saturated.

That being said, I'm having trouble understanding the area under her neck and around her chest/shoulders due to that color HDMD mentioned.

Is it a shadow? Is it a necklace chain? Whatever it is, I would suggest either doing away with it and leaving it bare-skin there, or tweaking the shoulder outlines down a little so that her neck appears longer and that we can understand it's a shadow of the neck/chin area if that's indeed what it is. Atm, it kind of reads like a necklace or brooch of some kind, which is just too much detail for one cramped area on the sprite. Not to mention it's difficult to see the difference in its color from the 'jewel' unless I'm zoomed in 500% to begin with.

Just food for thought.
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Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #22 on: June 04, 2014, 04:07:52 am
For better brightness, just increase the saturation on a select color or two -- you will find that the more prominently used a color is to emphasize other forms or details (such as shadows), increasing its saturation will help brighten your overall sprite without every color appearing too saturated.

That being said, I'm having trouble understanding the area under her neck and around her chest/shoulders due to that color HDMD mentioned.

Is it a shadow? Is it a necklace chain? Whatever it is, I would suggest either doing away with it and leaving it bare-skin there, or tweaking the shoulder outlines down a little so that her neck appears longer and that we can understand it's a shadow of the neck/chin area if that's indeed what it is. Atm, it kind of reads like a necklace or brooch of some kind, which is just too much detail for one cramped area on the sprite. Not to mention it's difficult to see the difference in its color from the 'jewel' unless I'm zoomed in 500% to begin with.

Just food for thought.


It was supposed to be a necklace, but it does make it look really cluttered.
Also, definitely more in line with the color I wanted.

Offline astraldata

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #23 on: June 05, 2014, 12:18:48 am
Looks more bright and cheery now. I would darken that bright grey on the sleeve on the closer arm just a little though. It blends way too much with the pink.
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Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #24 on: June 10, 2014, 12:17:23 am


Minor change, but I was uploading other things, so bluh.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #25 on: July 01, 2014, 06:26:43 am
Bout time I updated this.



 
Still getting used to this style, so probably a number of mistakes to be fixed.

Odd posing is deliberate, though.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #26 on: July 07, 2014, 06:50:31 am


http://cakeordeath.fr/content/illo_23.jpg

A trace for a bit of practice.  Really like how it turned out.

Offline Fizzick

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #27 on: July 07, 2014, 06:46:19 pm
i think you're moving forward, and i'm going to sound like an ass saying this but i think you need to use some more care choosing palettes and practice more basic anatomy. you're getting pretty good at animation itself judging by your other thread (better than me at least) but those animations do not address more simple problems like color and artful knowledge ignoring personal style.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #28 on: July 08, 2014, 05:01:23 am
i think you're moving forward, and i'm going to sound like an ass saying this but i think you need to use some more care choosing palettes and practice more basic anatomy. you're getting pretty good at animation itself judging by your other thread (better than me at least) but those animations do not address more simple problems like color and artful knowledge ignoring personal style.

Palette has definitely been a major issue for me, but I thought this last one might have been a step up.  Usually everything has been dark and subdued, but I went for super bright for this one.

Offline Rosier

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Re: More my Usual Style

Reply #29 on: July 29, 2014, 05:58:50 am


Playing with character design with this one in addition to practice.  I had an idea in mind, but this expanded it. 

Not 100% happy with it, but I'm getting the style a bit more.

Offline Rosier

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Re: Practicing with a newer style

Reply #30 on: August 04, 2014, 10:26:40 pm


A self sprite based off my avatar.

This looks a lot better than the last one.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Practicing with a newer style

Reply #31 on: August 10, 2014, 10:43:15 pm
He's got gorilla arms. You should really consider head-to-body ratio on this one too. It will make a ton of difference in how it comes across. His legs are much too short. No offense intended, but he really does have the proportions of donkey kong.

A key thing to keep in mind is that the arms, when outstretched to the side in T pose, should equal the height of the person from head to toe, from the tip of the fingers on one arm to the tip of the fingers on the other arm. Keep this in mind as you draw and pose your characters.
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Offline Rosier

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Re: Practicing with a newer style

Reply #32 on: August 11, 2014, 04:41:44 am
He's got gorilla arms. You should really consider head-to-body ratio on this one too. It will make a ton of difference in how it comes across. His legs are much too short. No offense intended, but he really does have the proportions of donkey kong.

A key thing to keep in mind is that the arms, when outstretched to the side in T pose, should equal the height of the person from head to toe, from the tip of the fingers on one arm to the tip of the fingers on the other arm. Keep this in mind as you draw and pose your characters.


I'll try to keep that in mind.  Legs were lengthened, and arms were shortened.

And another one I was working on.  He had short legs as well.