AuthorTopic: "A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art" - thoughts?  (Read 16039 times)

Offline Daimoth

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

Reply #20 on: May 24, 2015, 05:54:25 pm
Seems like he feels pixel art is excruciating to produce relative to other mediums. Media? Whatever.

Pixel art is a workhorse art form; intrinsically functional. That's the reason I don't generally like mockups that aren't tile-based. Are you really going to hand-draw entire stages? No, tiling is the first thing you'll resort to. In other words, I don't think it's valid to use a splash screen as an example of why pixel art isn't worth the trouble; that's not what most pixel art is. That's a gallery piece. In truth, PA has a ton of built-in ways to safely cut corners. To use Demon's Crest as an example again:



The entire game is thin shells of detail surrounded by the 16-bit equivalent of spot black. It mitigates the burden on the artist and establishes a dramatic, almost silhouetted aesthetic, effectively spinning a limitation into something attractive. This is the sort of built-in efficiency available to us, we need only discover and take advantage of it. I think the herculean effort required to produce a game is a bigger problem than anything concerning rendering and animation. I'd rather go in with too little and address the bare spots later than shoot for the moon and end up in an inescapable productivity rabbit hole because the aesthetic I established is too rich to produce efficiently.

As pixel art became unfettered by hardware limitations, the ceiling on detail and animation frames lifted. The Neo Geo era happened, and the art form entered a state of permanent zenith. But too many artists  now shoot for the moon, expecting their animations to rival that of Studio Ghibli or something from Gobelins academy. Achieving "more with less" is imperative. Even if you can work at that level, it's useless if you produce it so slowly you'll never finish anything. I think this dynamic explains Paul Robertson's success; his work is attractive enough while also being utterly utilitarian. Doesn't hurt that he absolutely revels in nostalgia.

Thaaaat said, more power to the guy. Guacamelee sold me on vector-based graphics, maybe they could try that next.

Offline digitaldust

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

Reply #21 on: September 29, 2015, 01:04:20 pm
Sorry I'm late to this party, the guy probably even left the planet and is somewhere in a Mandalorian motel, for all I know. There's just one thing that bothers me about this guy quitting pixel art, having got a general idea of the circumstances:

Does he know about HD Index Painting? Because I wonder how much time of all those 4 years he could've saved if he knew.

Then again, I haven't tried HD Index Painting long enough to know, so I can only otherwise assume those 4 years are spent manually putting in all those pixels one-by-one, click-by-click.
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Offline Ai

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

Reply #22 on: September 29, 2015, 01:17:53 pm
HD index painting is not particularly better or faster than normal indexpainting in a program like GrafX2 or ProMotion; it's just different.
Of course, if he wasn't even using a program capable of indexpainting, then there's no excuse for that.
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Offline digitaldust

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

Reply #23 on: September 29, 2015, 01:25:39 pm
Do those applications do HD Index Painting the same way Photoshop did, like how Dan Fessler showed it? That's more what I was referring to.
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Offline Seiseki

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

Reply #24 on: September 29, 2015, 05:29:18 pm
I think most of the points he makes are valid..

But he's making mobile games, so that puts things in a completely different perspective..
The large masses might have a HD-fetisch and the casual mobile crowd doesn't understand pixelart unless it's flappy bird..

But core gamers, indie gamers, retro gamers, that's a different audience. They might not truly understand pixel art either, not in the same way as an artist would, but they see pixels and they associate it with something positive.
The large masses associate pixel art with something negative, because they can't see past the pixels, it's like not being able to see the forest for all the trees.

If you're making mobile games, you can't thread the line between HD and Pixel Art. Either you go fully retro chunky pixels that make people go "ooh retro!", or you go smooth HD painting or Vector graphics.
Anything in between will just be seen as less than HD and therefor pointless.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 06:48:47 am by Seiseki »

Offline Cyangmou

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

Reply #25 on: September 29, 2015, 07:29:11 pm
If you're making mobile games, you can't thread the line between HD and Pixel Art. Either you go fully retro chunky pixels that make people go "ooh retro!", or you go smooth HD painting or Vector graphics.
Anything in between will just be seen as less than HD and therefor pointless.

It's pretty interesting what you brought up here, especially since we talked a bit about it in the last streams Seiseki.

Sometimes I question myself if there is place for "modern" pixelart or if it's just obscure to people that this exists.

I am not particularly talking about modern aestethics, which stick out because they have an unseen style.

I am talking about detailled, yet super clean pixelart which goes along with modern tech, but which is fairly simple to animate. with tile/screen resolutions of 32x32 pixels, but clearly pixelart and taking advantage of the medium

Mainstream Audience at this point definitely seems to be oversaturated if it comes to 8-bit pixelart.
16-bit art is compared to 8 bit a lot more expensive/time-intensive to produce, but still a possibility.

8-Bit got taken up because it was feasible on an economic scale and doesn't need great artistsd (as the wave of 8-bit indie games clearly showed - seen on the overall percentage), not necessarily because it looks awesome.

The thing is that a lot of pixelart which is established has a style which is kinda "iconic", which means it's established because so many games already used it and it evokes memory.

In my eyes most pixelart looks on todays hardware terrible (most 16-Bit era games), because it was made for much blurrier screens. It would definitely need modern cluster technique and things to make them goo looking.

But then people tend to not really see a difference between that gritty (let's call it "unpolished") style of pixelart which doesn't really use cluster techniques or careful placed AA. In a lot of cases they call visual noise "details"
IMO visual noise is the reason why 90% of all pixel art sucks. And in a medium whihc should be really tightly controlled, like pixel art is there is from a reasonability standpoint very little space for "unwanted brushstrokes"

Most old games just look bad in terms of graphics (seen on the overall percentage of games released) and there weren't many game asset artists which stuck out. Most of old graphics also seem to be rather "programmer art" not done by artists, rathwer by people who just drew a bit.


Honestly I don't give much about "HD". I think that modern pixelart keeps a 16:9 ratio on screens is much more important on the first hand, because that's visible right away.
Most "HD-Worshippers" don't play 2D games anyways.

My own opinion about modern pixel-art styles should look:
-need to be easily editible (because that's a clear strength uniquely to pixelart)
-easy to animate (another clear strength of pixel-art)
-no to barely none visual noise (because of flatscreen tech)
-and of course strong underlying drawing techniques

I think the biggest thing pixelart brings to the table to be still considered as visual medium is that one doesn't get a "visual clash" of background and foreground objects, as it is the case with vector characters and painted backgrounds or painted characters which get animated by cutting them in parts - which evokes always an uncanny/uneasy effect on the viewer - similar to the uncanny valley if you look at hyperrealistic robots.

Also this regarding HD:

HD article, good read:

http://www.fortressofdoors.com/doing-an-hd-remake-the-right-way/
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 07:30:51 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Indigo

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

Reply #26 on: September 29, 2015, 09:52:49 pm
HD index painting is not particularly better or faster than normal indexpainting in a program like GrafX2 or ProMotion; it's just different.
Of course, if he wasn't even using a program capable of indexpainting, then there's no excuse for that.

I'd actually argue that it is better, and potentially faster (at reaching a desired result) than standard index painting due to it's flexible non-committal nature. But that's primarily in the first 50% of a painting.  The last 50% is largely the same as any other method (manual pixel polishing).  This point isn't fairly relevant to the discussion, just throwing it out there :P

Offline Ai

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

Reply #27 on: September 30, 2015, 04:56:09 am
HD index painting is not particularly better or faster than normal indexpainting in a program like GrafX2 or ProMotion; it's just different.
Of course, if he wasn't even using a program capable of indexpainting, then there's no excuse for that.

I'd actually argue that it is better, and potentially faster (at reaching a desired result) than standard index painting due to it's flexible non-committal nature. But that's primarily in the first 50% of a painting.  The last 50% is largely the same as any other method (manual pixel polishing).  This point isn't fairly relevant to the discussion, just throwing it out there :P
The way you described it it could be (with a program optimized for it), but isn't (because you tediously poke photoshop to get it to do what you want; I read that and I thought 'no way in hell am I putting myself through that').

Anyway that post was mainly made because digital_dust seemed to be thinking of HD Index Painting as some magic bullet, without the context that it's just an extension of an existing technology that works well. Use a technique if it actually fits your needs, not because it's impressive. Use the least-complicated tool you can get away with to do the job, because complicated tools are bad for speed.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 05:10:02 am by Ai »
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Offline Gil

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

Reply #28 on: September 30, 2015, 09:17:54 am
The way you described it it could be (with a program optimized for it), but isn't (because you tediously poke photoshop to get it to do what you want; I read that and I thought 'no way in hell am I putting myself through that').
He doesn't tediously poke PS. He creates a tedious template once and after that it's smooth sailing for any index painting he makes, which you would've realized had you tried it? Dunno. Anyway, I use similar templates, that do certain advanced things, all the time and it's a question of making sure that all the unfun layer wizardry is upfront, so you can focus on the art after that.

Offline Ai

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

Reply #29 on: September 30, 2015, 11:35:41 am
The way you described it it could be (with a program optimized for it), but isn't (because you tediously poke photoshop to get it to do what you want; I read that and I thought 'no way in hell am I putting myself through that').
He doesn't tediously poke PS. He creates a tedious template once and after that it's smooth sailing for any index painting he makes, which you would've realized had you tried it? Dunno.
Quite possibly. But I'm unlikely to pirate PS, install it in a VM, and then spend time getting it working just to try a technique that by the author's own account is fiddly ('cons' section pretty much says it all).

Quote
Anyway, I use similar templates, that do certain advanced things, all the time and it's a question of making sure that all the unfun layer wizardry is upfront, so you can focus on the art after that.
Well, maybe I'm just approaching this from too programmer-y a perspective. Anything more than one layer to achieve a single effect is fiddly. Having to handle each ramp in its own layer substack is substantially fiddly, although I grant that this trades off somewhat by making global curves adjustments of the pixels using that ramp easy.
Editing gradients at all is somewhat justifiably fiddly.

On rereading the post I link above, it seems that Indigo essentially makes the same points I'm trying to make here (ie. at a small scale, like most sprites, 'HD indexpainting' technique is not necessarily a beneficial technique to use, because it imposes additional constraints without granting proportional advantage.). I dunno, I'm not trying to say that it's not necessarily better or faster for larger scale stuff. It's just.. most pixel stuff, is not larger scale stuff, and Auro was no exception to that AFAICS, regardless of its stylistic aspirations.

It seems like Indigo's opinion may have changed since then, if we're not misunderstanding each other, though..
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 11:46:31 am by Ai »
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.