AuthorTopic: Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character  (Read 3653 times)

Offline JoeCreates

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Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character

on: May 05, 2014, 04:19:33 am
I'm looking for critique and suggestions for this sprite I'm working on for a game. Many thanks!

Old vs new


Running animation
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 01:17:32 pm by JoeCreates »

Offline shark jacobs

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Re: Steampunk Character Sprite

Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 06:56:16 am
big improvement overall, I kind of like the shadow under the hat in the original though

Offline JoeCreates

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Re: Steampunk Character Sprite

Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 01:27:00 pm
big improvement overall, I kind of like the shadow under the hat in the original though

Thanks for the response! I'm currently playing around with a few different ideas for more shadow under the hat. I think I'm not keen on the flatness of the old one, so I'm trying out some curves. Nothing's looking too good at the moment, though.

I've just uploaded an initial attempt at a running animation.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character

Reply #3 on: May 09, 2014, 05:34:12 pm
I'd suggest adding a little more saturation/color to the skin or the clothes -- atm it looks fairly dull color-wise since nothing really 'pops' making the sprite look fairly uninteresting, despite having a pretty solid character design. Nothing really stands out or characterizes the sprite either (for example, maybe having Uncle Fester style eye-shadow under the bottom of his eyes or something -- a plain hat/cape/goggles isn't really enough to make him iconic and your guy has a lot of potential for that with his little pocket-watch looking thingy.)

Your animation isn't bad at all, although his goggles seem to have a mind of their own and don't really work with the up/down physics of each step. You might want to consider keeping them mostly stationary except for maybe a 1px shift up/down where appropriate, and of course they should turn with the eyes/head only (not being delayed as they are currently.)

A thought for adding more characterization through animation could be to make the hat bounce off of his head as he walks or do a bit more squash/stretch. Here's an edit I did to show you some of the stuff I mean:




or




The latter image is just a version of my edit with a patch to show even more character. You can put anything there, but the issue is that the hat is essentially empty space visually and doesn't look very interesting -- even with more interesting animation -- thus the patch.

Additionally, I made the shadows on the hands and face give more of a sense of volume and depth to the skin areas and rim of the hat (also slightly reshaped the hat rim edges too in order to lead the eye better.) Other than those slight modifications to the character and hat, your overall walking animation works well. :)
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Offline JoeCreates

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Re: Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character

Reply #4 on: May 09, 2014, 07:30:42 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

I like the patch idea. A patch or rip or something there would certainly help. The undereye shadow is also pretty nice, and I prefer the way you've kept the thickness of the rim of the hat on the left. The right hand side of the rim was such an obvious improvement I'm a bit annoyed I missed it. xD

With the skintone, the reason I went so desaturated is because he is intended to be an automaton. The actual character has a large turning key sticking out of his back, though I add this in programmatically in the game as the key animation is not in sync with any of the characters actions (hence not including it here). I definitely think the increased contrast of the shadow in your edit helps bring out the form a bit more. I'll consider other skintones, though it will depend how well they work with the key, too. When adding more characterization I'd have concerns of it becoming a bit busy. I'll try to make a version with the key attached so you can see how that looks, too.

I had considered the hat bobbing, but decided I preferred the loose goggles. I'm not a fan of the sideways hat wobble, but will definitely have a go at adding some vertical squash and stretch.

Many thanks for your help.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character

Reply #5 on: May 09, 2014, 08:25:24 pm
Not a problem.

The issue with the loose goggles is that they don't really read as 'loose' -- just as maybe out of sync with the character's body and physics. I'd suggest keeping the head-turn in sync with the goggles as in my edit, but perhaps animating them up/down a bit more exaggeratedly and perhaps have one side/eye of the goggles go up higher than the other on various frames as they bounce upward instead of them wobbling left to right. After all, when the foot hits the ground, it's possible one foot steps a little harder than the other periodically, thus causing that side of the goggles to bounce upward a pixel higher than the other side.

Regarding the wobbly-hat thingy, it's definitely cliche that I just exaggerated the cutesy look your sprite had, but the real intent was to give the top portion of the sprite a little more life since the hat makes up so much of his body. If you were to put a tear in the hat, perhaps you could make the ripped portion flop while he steps or the hat bounces/squashes/stretches or something -- anything to give it a little more interest, no matter if you're going for a 'lifeless/soulless' character or not.

And yeah, I wasn't aware of that being a robotic automation sort of thing -- still though, increased colors/contrast helps a lot, even if you go with all blues/purples and some grey to blend the the red/blue shadows. I see a lot of dullness when people overuse desaturation and greys in their sprites to convey 'dark' or 'gritty' and it generally comes off as simply uninteresting, dull, and lifeless instead -- despite it having amazing animation!

While making that edit I also noted that you have a lot of colors in your palette that are used only once or twice (with very VERY slight differences). That too can make your sprite look a bit odd without the viewer or artist ever really knowing why. When I did my first sprite anim frames in Photoshop way back in the day, this happened to me a lot and I'm not sure why (maybe because PS selects an average of the colors where you click with the eyedropper instead of the actual pixel color you clicked on maybe? I dunno.) Grabbing colors straight from the sprite with right-click in Graphics Gale, which I've used pretty much exclusively since then, helped me get over that.

That being said, great character design so far! I'd love to see what you do with it from here on. ^_^
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Offline JoeCreates

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Re: Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character

Reply #6 on: May 09, 2014, 09:44:46 pm
I'm using a combination of GraphicsGale and MS Paint Classic. Any odd colors are likely just bits I missed out when lazily swapping from the previous palette. I've written a little program that I run stuff through for making sure everything is on the right palette, though. Just haven't used it on this one, yet. xD

Offline astraldata

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Re: Animated Sprite - Steampunk Character

Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 09:49:23 pm
Sweet. Mind sharing that program? It's amazingly hard to find stuff like that which deals specifically with pixel art palettes. Could be useful. :)
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