AuthorTopic: [C + C] Cat Portrait  (Read 1677 times)

Offline tibbycat

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[C + C] Cat Portrait

on: December 06, 2014, 08:45:04 am
Hi, this is my first time posting here. I'm relatively new to pixel art and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on the following cat portrait I've been working on? Thanks! :)

Offline AlcopopStar

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Re: [C + C] Cat Portrait

Reply #1 on: December 06, 2014, 08:58:37 am
Welcome to the forum. Good start and a nice pallet, but the whole picture is very flat and contains a lot of problematic banding.

I suggest you work less precisely, treat your pixel art like blobs of paint and block out shapes. Working with a wacom/tablet would make that a lot easier. Reference some pictures if you haven't been. After you have more of a three dimensional figure down you can go up close and start refining. Also try working in maybe three colours or so to begin with, you can add detail and additional colours after but this will help focus you on the base form of what you are looking at.

Offline Manupix

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Re: [C + C] Cat Portrait

Reply #2 on: December 06, 2014, 09:50:51 am
What Alcopop said.

Also you have lots of unneeded colors in there, many of which being used in one or a few pixels only (hover over the color patches to locate them).
Always try to reuse an existing color, and only create a new one when you have a compelling reason to do so.

Recommended reading ;)

Offline Decroded

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Re: [C + C] Cat Portrait

Reply #3 on: December 06, 2014, 10:53:04 am
Hi, this is my first time posting here. I'm relatively new to pixel art and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on the following cat portrait I've been working on? Thanks! :)


Please post your reference if you're using one.

You usually don't even need outlines on an image this size.
Avoid double-outlining things like you've done with the blue in the eyes, it doesn't do you any favours.
Pillow-shading is bad and you've got it all around the edges of the ears and kind of happening on the nose and brow.

Remove very similar colours.

I suggest a paint over on another layer if your software supports it.
Here's a workflow you can't go wrong with:
First establish a light source or 2 and try to block in your basic forms, you can even use pure greys at this point just to get values.
As mentioned by others, work rough and painterly and don't get into detail.
You only need about 3 shades at this point.
Now block in basic details like the eyes, still using grey to just get the values.
Once you clean it up a bit and are happy with the shapes you can start to blend in some saturation (use a colour picker HSB mode).
Then you'll need to tweak colours again as adding saturation usually affects the perceived value.
Around this point is a good time to start adding details like fur texture.

I suggest spending some time studying pixel texturing techniques.
What you'll see is its easier to create texture along the edges between light and dark.
So you can experiment with stuff like grass around the edges of a tree's shadow.
Same technique can be applied to many textures such as fur.

Texturing example (don't freak out! just look at the grass  :lol:):

Offline tibbycat

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Re: [C + C] Cat Portrait

Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 10:32:00 am
Thanks heaps for all of your feedback. I appreciate it :)

Here's the original reference photo I based my image on:



I've had a second attempt:



I reduced the amount of colours used although it's still quite flat. I suppose the lighting in the original reference photo was rather flat though also :/

Also added in some dithering but I'm not sure if that works.


I was a bit hesitant initially to post here and ask for feedback because when one's confidence in one's work is fragile, it can be dangerous to invite criticism, but at the same time, criticism is necessary to improve I figure.

Anyway, I'm glad I did. For example, I'd read about banding but I don't think I understood how it was a problem until you pointed it out AlcopopStar and I looked at my image and could see it. I'm probably (?) still doing it in my latest version so I have awhile yet before I completely understand.

I've never worked with a wacom/table for pixel art before. I've only ever used one for digital painting. Pixel art always seemed too finicky and precise to use a tablet, although I can see what you're saying about how it can be helpful to blob out the shapes first before applying detail.

Actually, that workflow you wrote Decroded reminds me of when I took a brief painting class and our teacher would have us sketch our composition first on the canvas to get down the shadows and highlights. Then we'd do a monochome paint over it (in hues of blue or brown), and then finally we'd start painting with other colours and apply details. It was time consuming but the results were good. I can kinda see how something similar could work for pixel art.

p.s. I'm not sure what you mean Decroded by "avoid double-outlining things like you've done with the blue in the eyes"?

Offline Decroded

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Re: [C + C] Cat Portrait

Reply #5 on: December 11, 2014, 12:41:36 am
Yes flat lighting in reference doesn't do you any favors.
I suspected that was the case that's why I asked u to post it :-P
it looks good btw  :y:
at a glance u have the shapes pretty good except the shoulders could be better separated from the head.

None-the-less u can make much improvement.

Pixel art is THE most precise and controllable art form I can think of, and thus easily comes the danger of rigidity and less natural forms.
U have banding around the eyes by just clicking consecutive lines of colour, u should use ur colours to smooth out those lines and make them more.suggested and less cartoony.
The reference actually has and light source from top right so try working with that.
Exaggerating the light source is only going to do u favors by giving u more to shape ur forms and textures.
The end result can more be more striking that the reference.