AuthorTopic: Very new. Looking for some C+C  (Read 11273 times)

Offline coffee

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #20 on: May 09, 2014, 11:06:06 am
Quote
If your cat looks like an alien, there are no magical shading tricks we can give you to make it look like a cat
So when you see his sprite you rather think this?:

than this?:


On to more important things

Hey Pixelalex and welcome!

Pixelation can be tricky as a forum at first. A lot of people here might come off as harsh and overly critical, that's a fact and I've experienced it myself many times. Try to overlook the tone people have towards you when you are new. If pixelation is anything it's a lot about the "hard school", many here are very technical and that's good, since it's why we are here writing. Just coop with it for a while, try to pick out what you think is suitable for your style/goal and ignore things that stray too far away from it. I don't want to bring up the discussion about what pixel art is, but it is an artform afterall and art is free, so even if there are basics that are good to know, don't be discuraged by the ones trying to pull you towards a very pixel purist way.(If you don't want to go that way of course)

At the same time, people do what they think is best, so be gentle towards them who put time into trying to helping you.(Not saying that you aren't, just a tip)

Now on to your cat & apple.

There are plenty of art out there that doesn't look what it is supposed to be. It's always better to go to yourself when you are doing something and ask yourself two questions, "What do I want this to look like?", "What do I want other people to perceive it as?".

I ask myself this a lot when I do art for games. Things doesn't have to make complete sense, but you do have to mix these two up a little to get a pleasing result to everyone, including yourself.
If on the otherhand you do want both of these questions to have the answer: "It's a cat" you do need to put a real cat in front of you, if you havn't practised drawing cats for a long time.

Regarding your apple, if you ask me the question "What fruit is this?". My first thought would probably be a paprika or something like it. If you ask yourself, you would say an apple 'cos that's what you want it to be.

You have a good reference picture of an apple but you've thought too much in "pixels". A good start if you are not used to pixel art is to block out the colours. Like you would do with a set of crayons. If you want, shrink the picture to the size you want your sprite to be and study how the pixels behave in clusters on such a small scale to get the result you want.

I did this version of your apple in 2 minutes, looking at your reference picture.


Here is sort of what I did:



1. Picking colours suitable for an apple, studying quickly what the largest spots of colours are, making something similar.
2. Creating a rough shape to start working with, think sculpture.
3. Refine shape and define lightsource.
4. Add the other larger parts of colour
5. Add extra colours for AA etc.
6. Add the rest of the details, more colours etc.
-polish*
-polish
-polish

(*Polish being looking over the sprite on a pixular level, adding, changing things around to get closer to the goal result)

Hope this helps you on your way!

Good luck
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 12:24:31 pm by coffee »

Offline pixelalex

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #21 on: May 09, 2014, 12:36:29 pm
Quote
If your cat looks like an alien, there are no magical shading tricks we can give you to make it look like a cat
So when you see his sprite you rather think this?:

than this?:


On to more important things

Hey Pixelalex and welcome!

==Pixelation can be tricky as a forum at first. A lot of people here might come off as harsh and overly critical, that's a fact and I've experienced it myself many times. Try to overlook the tone people have towards you when you are new. If pixelation is anything it's a lot about the "hard school", many here are very technical and that's good, since it's why we are here writing. Just coop with it for a while, try to pick out what you think is suitable for your style/goal and ignore things that stray too far away from it. I don't want to bring up the discussion about what pixel art is, but it is an artform afterall and art is free, so even if there are basics that are good to know, don't be discuraged by the ones trying to pull you towards a very pixel purist way.(If you don't want to go that way of course)==

 :y:

At the same time, people do what they think is best, so be gentle towards them who put time into trying to helping you.(Not saying that you aren't, just a tip)

Now on to your cat & apple.

There are plenty of art out there that doesn't look what it is supposed to be. It's always better to go to yourself when you are doing something and ask yourself two questions, "What do I want this to look like?", "What do I want other people to perceive it as?".

I ask myself this a lot when I do art for games. Things doesn't have to make complete sense, but you do have to mix these two up a little to get a pleasing result to everyone, including yourself.
If on the otherhand you do want both of these questions to have the answer: "It's a cat" you do need to put a real cat in front of you, if you havn't practised drawing cats for a long time.

Regarding your apple, if you ask me the question "What fruit is this?". My first thought would probably be a paprika or something like it. If you ask yourself, you would say an apple 'cos that's what you want it to be.

You have a good reference picture of an apple but you've thought too much in "pixels". A good start if you are not used to pixel art is to block out the colours. Like you would do with a set of crayons. If you want, shrink the picture to the size you want your sprite to be and study how the pixels behave in clusters on such a small scale to get the result you want.

I did this version of your apple in 2 minutes, looking at your reference picture.


Here is sort of what I did:



1. Picking colours suitable for an apple, studying quickly what the largest spots of colours are, making something similar.
2. Creating a rough shape to start working with, think sculpture.
3. Refine shape and define lightsource.
4. Add the other larger parts of colour
5. Add extra colours for AA etc.
6. Add the rest of the details, more colours etc.
-polish*
-polish
-polish

(*Polish being looking over the sprite on a pixular level, adding, changing things around to get closer to the goal result)

Hope this helps you on your way!

Good luck

I definitely see what you're talking about and now it looks like a paprika to me as well! haha

Thank you so much for your help! These are definitely all very helpful tips!  I had actually used a different reference on mine because I couldn't find the same one when I was putting it up on my screen as reference.  (It's here actually: http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/1369381208_89403.jpg) I did leave off the leaf intentionally and the shape/lighting isn't quite as off as it looks when you compare it to the original reference pic. 

I'm trying to limit my colors to the 4 colors available to the original gameboy in an attempt to improve my technique and that's making it a little more difficult to me but, shapewise, I think that I'm off a bit as well.

I also really liked your version of the apple and will study that plus I loved your suggestion to shrink my reference down to the size that I want and study the way that the pixels interact.  Thanks for your time!

Thanks again for your help!  Admittedly, I was getting a little discouraged so it's nice to have some positivity!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 12:44:17 pm by pixelalex »

Offline coffee

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #22 on: May 09, 2014, 01:05:56 pm
Quote
Thanks again for your help!  Admittedly, I was getting a little discouraged so it's nice to have some positivity!

Yeah, In my own humble and honest opinion I think this forum could use a bit more love. Not saying that Cyangmou, PPD or anyone else had bad intentions. I just know that even if you say "think" instead of "feel" people do have feelings and art is feeling just as much as technique, in many cases more.

So, if you still want to go for a Gameboy look and feel I made another version:


Maybe, now I feel that it looks more like a peach. Anyhow, it can hopefully give you some ideas of how to play around, even with a limited palette
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 01:07:46 pm by coffee »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #23 on: May 09, 2014, 01:18:39 pm
Just a critique of a critique

People shouldn't go to a critique forum if they expect praise in first case.

[sarcasm] if one wants to get love give the drawing to your mom, since it's mother's day soon and let it put her on the fridge [/sarcasm]

If someone wants to get praise, he rather should post his stuff on gallery sites.
If one says someones art looks off, it's not a personal insult.
There is not much connection between the feelings we have for a person and the feelings we have of a piece of art that person did.
IMO If one takes critique to his art as personal insult, he is just a douchebag who can't distance himself, get a neutral and unattached point of view and look objectively at things.

Art is free, of course. One basically could call two lines describing the soul of the universe, find a moneybag who pays for it since the artist who did it is popular and the piece of art is an article of value, like a gold ingot, since the artists name is worth a lot. That's what the art market looks like. If one pays for it, it's OK.

However if we follow an illustrational scientifical and technical approach in order to describe something which we want to illustrate or to get our point across we need the basics.
Here we try to describe something, so we need the basics.
In this thread people tried to teach the OP some valuable basics.
Everyone needs a technical approach for the basics, since it's hard work to learn and master them.
There aren't neither shortcuts which will lead around learning them, nor any shortcuts which will lead around mastering them.
Every decision we make in drawing is closely connected to the outcome of the illustrationv.
One could call his issues „his style“, however they will perceived as issues and the more realistic we go the more exact we have to be.

Coffee, on the one hand you say the cat looks like a cat and how one couldn't see this, while the apple looks like a paprica? Really? I mean it don't makes sense at all.
Then the apple should be exactly an apple as well.





The starter of the thread obviously don't gets his point across what he wants to describe, in fact he failed 2 times by now.
That's not a problem, we all failed like that earlier. The OP will also fail a lot more often, but also will nail it more often if he proceeds and gets experience.

I mean it's nice that you try to encourage Pixelalex, and that's honorable, however neither the cat nor the apple look like what they are supposed to illustrate. The critique of what's off was there multiple times.
And as earlier brought up in this thread the main problem why stuff don't looks like what it should be supposed to be is shape or proportion.
There was a good edit of PPD which exactly showed off what has to be done in order to get it better. The next edit of Pixelalex don't addressed any of the big issues. In fact it don't even looked a lot different then the initial piece of art.
Means Pixelalex don't understood what we tried to explain to him. Well it's ok for me if one don't understand things immediately.

However from an educational point what you did there with your „step by step“ approach to show off how easy it is to get to a result – which basically reads like a quick shortcut – you don't help the OP, since it adresses the biggest issues with a quick note „Refine shape and define lightsource.“

As the OP already stated with his edits, he neither understand how to refine a shape, nor how basic lighting works.
It's great that you can do this result in 2 minutes, but it won't help Pixelalex at all.
He will just jump over step 3 - compare the progress of Pixelalex's first edit, and PPDs rough edit:
)yeah, PPD refined just the shape, he don't even set light, although it looks like a cat now)



The OP however will proceed with steps 4, 5 and 6 and his apple still wouldn't look like an apple and his cat not like a cat even after step 6.
Also just if we look at step 4, do you really think if the opener has problems with shading a sphere he will be able to shade a sphere with a gray backlight, add a desaturated teflection like in step 5, which is advanced knowledge of light or he will be able to polish up his clusters like in step 6? DO you think he will see those things as you do if he don't knows the underlying concepts?

If drawing something would be that easy to understand, there would just be great artists around. In reality everything you showed of in 2 minutes takes hundreds and thousands of hours to understand. It's not more than a tutorial approach how you would do things.

You are basically selling there a lie how easy it is to create an apple. The OP will fail and get frustrated, because he can imitate it, but the result will look still off, because there is no underlying understanding of all the techniques you used. He will try it, maybe get a decent apple, but fail if he has to draw a... pineapple? or anything else still will look like the initial piece of art.

The critique introduces a bunch more advanced concepts we haven't talked of so far, while the OP hasn't even understood the most basic concept yet of how to fix the shape, which if he understands will help him in the long run.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 01:38:49 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline jams0988

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #24 on: May 09, 2014, 02:29:50 pm
Quote
So when you see his sprite you rather think this?:
@coffee:I think of neither, which is a unique problem for this drawing.  :lol:
@Cyangmou: Yes, that.
@Pixelalax: Don't get discouraged by a few honest critiques. It's going to take thousands of hours for you to be able to draw a cat realistically. Which is fine, because that's simply how drawing is. Take all the critique you get to heart, and remember that you are *not* your art. As long as you're working to improve, you're doing what you need to do as an artist. Skill and the praise that come along with it will come with (lots) of time and hard work, so don't worry too much about it.

I've been drawing awhile now, and I'm still pretty terrible. If you asked me to draw a cat without reference, I'd be pretty hard pressed to do it. :lol:
Did you check out the channel I sent you? You might think I'm a jerk, but my advice to you was honest. That channel covers the basic building blocks of drawing, which will help you improve a LOT faster than drawing cats right now. Cheers. o/

« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 02:36:46 pm by jams0988 »

Offline coffee

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #25 on: May 09, 2014, 02:44:38 pm
@Cyangmou

I'm not going to quote that entire piece of text. What I was talking about when mentioning "love" is that most people can't distant themselves to their feelings on command (Which you have proven multiple times on this forum that you can and it's always fun to read when you don't understand it yourself) and most people will only be scared away or discouraged instead.

You can learn by looking and copying just as well as learning the theory behind a proffession. It's called being an apprentice usually and is being applied to many proffessions other than the artist one.

If you want people to learn, you have to be educational with your criticism and that is not done with an essay, explaining how you think Pixelalex is more or less shit and unable to learn.

So no, sorry, I think your approach on things probably harms a great deal more people than it helps them.

We clearly have different perspectives when it comes to pixel art and art in general. Yours is obviously, vigorously technical and theoretical.

NOTE:
Saying that people are douchebags because they can't distant themselves from their feelings is complete nonsense and an ability almost solely possessed by psychopaths.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 03:43:23 pm by coffee »

Offline pixelalex

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #26 on: May 09, 2014, 03:01:36 pm


You are correct that I don't understand the entirety of the proportional issues that you all are pointing out.  However, I do see an obvious length issue that is there and, I believe, that would correct the bulk of the issues.  I'm not attempting to make a cat that looks like it is in a photograph I am simply drawing a cartoon cat and trying to make it look alright.  Therefore, legs being a little fatter than those of a cat or thinner or anything aren't an issue in my eyes.  I agree that the length of the body/shading/form needs work but, I decided to drop the cat for now because, obviously, I have more basic things to work on.  That said, I didn't want to spend the time that it would take to lengthen the body (which I stated) but fixed the simple things that were personally bothering me such as the ear size (which you mentioned) and the nose.  However, I do understand the issue there and, if I made another cat, I would definitely work more on length especially if I was going for a photographic look to my cat. 

I didn't come here hoping for praise I just expected a little more friendly discussion.  I'm not going to follow you into name calling but when someone comes on a forum and, in a friendly manor, asks for comments and criticism and the first guy beats down his work by saying that he never would've guessed that it was supposed to be a cat instead of being objective about it, that person goes on the defensive.  I understand that you view it differently than I do and I apologize for jumping on the defensive but, I believe, it is within the human nature.  I haven't seen any of your work but, if I had, and I didn't like it so I said "Wow, all of this guy's work is total shit!" I'm pretty sure that you'd feel a little down as well.  If not, I'm sorry that you are more robot than I. 

I agree that we should follow technical and scientific approaches because it's really the only way to describe certain things.  That said, I have been reading up on this stuff and trying to understand it as much as possible.

coffee being able to see the cat and not the apple does make sense.  My drawing, while not perfectly proportioned, has cat-like features and is colored like a cat may be.  A 32x32 monochrome drawing of an apple comes all down to shape, which, I flubbed on a little.

I don't really know what I expected but I'm done rambling.

@coffee, thank you.  You explained my feelings completely (Especially with "explaining how you think Pixelalex is more less shit and unable to learn") which is a relief that someone else gets it because I was having trouble proving to myself that it was more than just feeling bad because "he insulted my work", ya know?  It's just something about the tone of it.

@jams0988: Admittedly, I was a little put off by your first sentence or 2 in your post but I did read it and don't think that you're a jerk haha.  However, I'm not sure how I missed your suggestion to check out that guy's channel.  That sounds like it may be exactly what I'm looking for and I'll definitely look over that tonight when I can!  Thanks! 


I definitely appreciate all of the suggestions here and hope to improve!

Thanks guys!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 03:08:32 pm by pixelalex »

Offline RAV

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #27 on: May 09, 2014, 03:52:05 pm
Maybe it's like, if you want to attain the secret knowledge of the devil, you gotta live with getting your feet burned on the way through hell.
I could sell you this newest model of fire-fighter shoes. It's a bargain, a steal even, it just costs your soul.
No biggie though, you can draw yourself a new one then, to put in place of that hole.
=)

Offline pixelalex

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #28 on: May 09, 2014, 03:57:07 pm
Maybe it's like, if you want to attain the secret knowledge of the devil, you gotta live with getting your feet burned on the way through hell.
I could sell you this newest model of fire-fighter shoes. It's a bargain, a steal even, it just costs your soul.
No biggie though, you can draw yourself a new one then, to put in place of that hole.
=)

 :y:

Offline wolfenoctis

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Re: Very new. Looking for some C+C

Reply #29 on: May 09, 2014, 07:25:21 pm
The main weakness of your cat is as others have already said the shape(also I know you said you wanted to draw a cartoon cat, but what I have to say will still be relevant even if applied to a cartoon):

As you can see, it is rather difficult to see, just by looking at your silhouette, what exactly it is. It is obviously a mammalian quatroped of some kind, but it is unclear what species it is. This is because as Cyangmou rightly points out, the proportions are off. The ears in relation to the head, the head in relation to the body, the tail's shape and the oddly shaped hind quarters are key issues that make the shape ambiguous. He had no intent to insult you, and clearly was putting a lot of effort into trying to explain his points to you. He also wouldn't waste time trying to teach you something if he thought you incapable of progressing. Try not to take things personally, while a natural thing for people to do, it can be of no benefit to either you or the people dedicating time to help you. Not saying you should be a robot, no one is, but that you should learn to restrain your emotions long enough to analyze the validity of the arguments you are presented with.

In my silhouette, you can see clearly that what you are observing is indeed a cat. Why do you suppose that is? There is literally no shading applied to the specimen, so how can you possibly tell what it is, much less what species it is? All the shading skill in the world can't make the shape of the first more recognizable.

It should be clear that the shape communicates the most information about the subject, before you can master shading you have to understand shape. After that it is important to grasp 3 dimensional form and how light affects said form and lastly you can worry about shading :


Finally, you should be aware that many members of this forum are not native English speakers, myself included, and it is worth bearing in mind that meaning is often lost in translation as it were.
Don't give up on your cat, pour your passion into learning to make him look great  ;D

Good luck  :y: