AuthorTopic: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?  (Read 16040 times)

Offline Helm

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #10 on: May 13, 2015, 12:40:02 pm
Right, sure that's an important distinction. I shouldn't really talk to the motivations of oil painting masters because I'm not one of them, anyway, on a more constructive note, here's why I still engage with pixel art although most of the principles of good art seem to me to be translatable in other media and/or methods of making pictures:

Clusters. It's very beautiful for me to make something harmonious out of interlocking squares where you have a good sense of 'atom' count, distances become clearer, bigger/smaller shape contrasts are more apparent than in a higher resolution medium.

On a secondary level, there is a traditional, archival quality to pixel art in gaming and whomever wants to make a pixel art game with an appreciation to it knows where they're trying to slot it, historically. Retro games reference eras, new-school purposefully is iconoclaustic and so on.

Talking to Auro in particular, game looks like this:



To me immediately there's four problems:

1. It looks like a typical Amiga-era incomprehensible UI, but the game looks Japanese-cute. Historically this is a mish-mash that I don't understand, which wouldn't be a problem on its own if

2. This looks like a hexy tactics game and it has no Final Fantasy Tactics/Ogre Battle isometric miniature world to marvel at. I'm not great at tactics games and I still gravitated towards them and wanted to play them to look at the little iso arenas, and pixel art *is the medium for iso cuteness* and the designer decided to opt for generic hexes that look so featureless they could just as well be vectors/hd art with sprites on top.

3 That makes it look like the game is mish-mashing pixel assets on top of non pixel-terrain. 

4. Clusters : the spites scream pixel art but the technique is not clean and bold, it doesn't look to me like a game that wants to be made of pixels and has thought about what to do with its pixelly self. Pixel art games that actually are seeing success (even casual ones) usually have an apparent identity at one glance (think of perhaps Sword and Sworcery). A constructive way to move forward with pixel art for this studio would be to actually *do more advanced pixel art*.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #11 on: May 13, 2015, 12:56:54 pm
Not a problem for me: the quality of the character sprites - they have very nice forms, colors and portray a lot of character - I think this is the most outstanding artwork in the game
They could get polished on an ultra purist pixel level with clusters and stuff, but I think it won't make a big difference because there are points which are much worse and would change the impression on a whole different level:

to add up some problems I see with it:

1) very small visible gaming space - the characters seem to be to big to have a good overview over the overall action going on on the battlefield

2) Hud is not unified - the HUD duts in at all 4 corners and you have to look at weverything to get the information necessary to play the game

3) Same as your point - the background looks bland and doesn't live up to the characters. It makes the characters look much worse, because it feels like a different "world" - there is no consistency in aestethics between the chars and the environment

Facit: While the assets on their are very well crafted (purely from a technical perspective), the overall look is crowded, cluttered and there is nothing for me as user I would love to explore/investigate further if it comes to the game-world
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 12:58:54 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline 32

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #12 on: May 13, 2015, 01:02:27 pm
I completely agree with that assessment. Having not seen the game much before, just bits and pieces of the pixel art, my impression after looking at it a bit is: It looks pixelated. What I mean is the characters should be high res, the style looks like it fits it already and mix and matching makes the pixelation of the characters very apparent. I also would say having not played the game that it doesn't intrigue me, the lack of backgrounds is almost certainly the reason, I don't want to spend my time in the world they're presenting.

It's nice pixel work but the game lacks an overall pixel art identity. I mean people love games like Minecraft/ Nidhogg/ Hotline Miami despite the subpar pixelling because they have still have a very strong visual identity. But more importantly they're damn fun games. If you measured their success by the reviews of their art you would see a very different picture. I can't imagine that any negative response to Auro has been significantly as a result of the art, people just aren't that perceptive and I think to most people this game looks more or less as good as any other high res phone game out there.

Edit: I wrote this under the impression that the UI and Tiles were actually high res, which looking at more screens obviously they are not. But it supports the point that it looks like it wants to be a high res game.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 01:30:46 pm by 32 »

Offline Helm

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #13 on: May 13, 2015, 01:07:26 pm
I concur that the character designs and sprite work are excellent, just that the technique is a bit too trad for my tastes and in trying newer methods perhaps new avenues for achieving a 'look' to this game would present themselves.

Offline Cure

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #14 on: May 13, 2015, 03:59:39 pm
Purism is a dead-end. You shouldn't try to have a small palette to have a small palette and nobody should care or commend you for your small palette. You should have a controlled palette (of whatever size, as long as you can control it) if that leads to more coherent art.

preach it

Offline ptoing

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #15 on: May 13, 2015, 07:24:14 pm
Fully agree with what has been said by Helm and others.

Purism is indeed a dead end. I enjoy working with limited amounts of colour, but all recent stuff I did with limitations was either working with actual old systems stuff and a face collection I started with made up ones because they can be fun (and you can also make something be coherent through limitations).

But I would agree that having a small palette for the same of a small palette is somewhat pointless.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline PixelPiledriver

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #16 on: May 13, 2015, 09:55:27 pm
Read the thing.
There's some decent info and examples here and there about... stuff.
But all together it's kind of confusing.

It really comes across as a guy being salty rather than informative about art and games.
I kind of wondered if a long dev time and low sales prompted writing this article.
So I looked up Auro on my phone.
$2.99, 1 thousand downloads.
Not the greatest return on 4 years of development.
I might be a bit salty as well.
The lack of a demo might attribute to the low sales.
But I'm not very familiar with the flow of the mobile market.
*shrugs*

The HUD is really weird for sure.
The numbers on the pink bubbles are very hard to read.
The overall composition of the screen is... creative... but weird.
The character animations are fun but completely unresponsive to the actions of the game.
A point that was amusingly illustrated with the street fighter example, say cheese, but disregarded in their own project.
The 15 minute video tutorial is somewhat hard to digest.
Etc.

Aside from talking about pixels and announcing that they won't use them anymore, this article basically just raised awareness of Auro.
Seems like a solid marketing move.
And it worked, on me at least.
Regardless of odd choices, I like weird puzzle games.
Countless hours of my life have been spent playing Builders Block and  One Piece Mansion.
A weird game was presented to me and now that I know it exists, I'll probly buy it.

There's definitely deep interesting conversations about pixel art, game art, graphics tech, etc to be had.
But I don't really think this one comes together all that well.
And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1

Offline Arne

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #17 on: May 16, 2015, 07:30:11 pm
Mm, for me, pixel art/optimization is fun and useful when resolution is a bit lower. If I were to guess, the guy was working so large that the medium lost much of it's usefulness, and the work turned into a vector-edge AA and gradient dither chore (e.g. the HUD/GUI).

Small-ish and consistent palettes are sometimes very useful for nudging the artist in good or surprising directions. Judging by a lot of the beginner pixel art I see, it is indeed easier to mess up by adding colors (or detail) than removing. And didn't this place use to have Bruce Lee in the banner? Remember what he said about hacking away - he was clearly talking about colors and pixels... right? I mean, look at him, he was a master at it and eventually turned into a tiny little two color widepixel figure.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #18 on: May 17, 2015, 01:28:42 am
I read some dijsointed comments about the worth of pixelart on twitter and didnt know what that was about....until I came here and saw this.

I agree with the general concensus. Good informed readings by the guy but ultimately the motive for the article is misguided, placing blame on medium rather than his focus when making the game's art.

I think there's still avenues to mix pixelart up with other mediums and see it in new ways. I still want to see a game with emulation of CRT artifacts, all sorts of glitch effects could be done with that.

Offline 0xDB

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Re: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?

Reply #19 on: May 17, 2015, 02:03:18 pm
Quote from: http://www.dinofarmgames.com/a-pixel-artist-renounces-pixel-art/
Itís not about what I like. It never is.
It is all about what I like. It always is.