AuthorTopic: The History of Pixel Art  (Read 41473 times)

Offline 0xDB

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #50 on: February 27, 2016, 12:11:41 pm
I do not consider the Game Of Life to be pixel art but just because the output is procedural does not mean there is no creator. The creative process was to develop the algorithms. The fact that there is one or more layers of indirection between the creator/creative process and the results, does not eliminate the fact that there still is/was a creator.

There is not really such a thing as "computer generated". There is always the creator who develops the algorithms and the computer is merely a tool to execute a huge amount of actions really fast, faster than a human creator could without the indirection through a programmed machine or use of a (dirty!) tool ( ;) ). Interesting things happen in the realm of AI where the computer, still based on a first generation of parameters/algorithms given by the programmer, can evolve algorithms on "their own" and create new mutations themselves. Even that does not eliminate the original creator and does not make the result "computer generated" or if it does... our own precious human intelligence is also "just" a computer and not really less artificial than any intelligence we(mankind) will manage to create in the future.


To write algorithms which generate 'pixel art' with nice 'clusters' would mean to create an AI which understands concepts of aesthetics as they appeal to human observers. It would have to understand human emotions, volumes, gesture, light and shadow, human perception and how to trick human perception, know about structure, physics, biology, chemistry,... In its decision making process it would need to not just observe the pixel it currently ponders but also all the pixels around it and then the clusters and superclusters around the current cluster and it would have to keep in mind the big picture at all times, know about 'balance' and be able to make decisions on how to best shape the cluster(s) in accordance to how a human will end up perceiving the clusters orientation, direction, depth, color, brightness, ..., and how it will contribute to the overall impression/effect the viewer is going to feel from seeing the whole piece. I don't know much about AI to be honest but it feels to me like an AI like this is science fiction that we're not going to see becoming a reality in our lifetime. Its impact, historical relevance on Pixel Art would be... you'd all be unemployed.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 12:14:55 pm by 0xDB »

Offline doimus

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #51 on: March 07, 2016, 12:04:03 pm
I believe there's an important division between pixelart as a necessity vs. pixelart as a choice.

As a necessity, pixelart is tied to computer history, but it doesn't really represent artistic choice. It's just how things were back in the day, so to speak. If you were digital artist, you did pixel art.
Just like playing piano in 18th century. There weren't any classical pianists back then. Either you played music or you didn't. But if you play Mozart on a piano nowadays, it is by choice. If you play acoustic jazz guitar today, it's by choice.

So, I think the whole indie thing is actually very important as it marks the period where it became the art of choice and not the art of technical necessity. So, in a sense, today's pixel art has more in common with pointilism, rather than 1990s digital art.

It's the acknowledgement of artistic value of the past and bringing it into the present day, by choice.
The fact that pixel art looks better at lower cost than high res art doesn't make it any less relevant. Either it looks good and inspires you or it doesn't, regardless of cost.

Because, well, pointilism technique in painting does save a lot of time and paint compared to "proper" oil painting. It doesn't make it any less art, though. Or any more at that matter.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 12:07:17 pm by doimus »

Offline Gil

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #52 on: March 07, 2016, 02:30:03 pm
I believe there's an important division between pixelart as a necessity vs. pixelart as a choice.

As a necessity, pixelart is tied to computer history, but it doesn't really represent artistic choice. It's just how things were back in the day, so to speak. If you were digital artist, you did pixel art.
I'm not sure if that's true to current definitions of pixel art. Not all art made for NES is pixel art, though a significantly larger percentage was? There's heaps of examples of early digital art that was not pixel art by any standards I think.

Offline Atnas

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #53 on: March 15, 2016, 07:29:37 am

Maybe the first thing that hypothetical aliens will see of us is pixel art. Thoughts on its relevance to the timeline?

Offline Reo

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #54 on: March 16, 2016, 01:32:27 pm
Huh had no idea you had actually added the Överhogdal tapestry! I was gonna suggest that as it is actually located in my hometown.  :huh:

Offline MAVW

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #55 on: March 17, 2016, 07:15:03 pm
Maybe the first thing that hypothetical aliens will see of us is pixel art. Thoughts on its relevance to the timeline?

"those guys on earth really don't know what classic pixel art is all about, they're just trying to be artsy"

ok, serious now. I don't know if it holds relevance to the timeline because, as I understand, the arecibo message is not about graphic content and rather displays a series of informations that just happens to be in squares.
I'd (kinda) compare it to converting image to a sound format, it's just another form to display the information.

I believe the only exception is the human figure as it is literally the graphic representation, for this I think it shows that even "non artists" agree that squares are really good way to go for lo-fi communication.

maybe an honorable mention for the human figure?

Offline Jeremy

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #56 on: March 19, 2016, 05:01:30 am
I'm glad Susan Kare is on the list, she's somebody who's had a great influence outside of the pixel art space as well.

Offline hapiel

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #57 on: June 18, 2016, 03:45:16 pm
It's insane to say eBoy didn't leave an impression on the popular perception of pixel art. It's like, a thousand times more influential than the cultural footprint of pixelation.

Speaking of eBoy:
Perhaps there should be a mention of the iso-era? A time when dozens of isometric pixel art tutorials popped up, such as the Rhys Davies complete guide? When deviantArt was flooded by isometric artwork and created subcategories for this.. When isocity, pixeldam, the joint and many more isometric collaboration projects opened. It seems to be in the early 00's to me.
I joined the pixel world thanks to the iso-era! (And playing Habbo Hotel)

Also, another popular culture thing which I haven't seen mentioned yet: The post-it wars, and all the other popular forms that people recreate old game sprites!

And how about software? Does the availability of ProMotion, GraphicsGale and MSpaint influence us and our history?
Come check out the OpenPixelProject!

Offline Cure

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #58 on: October 25, 2016, 12:05:31 am
I've added a lot of new images, and condensed some entries.

New additions to the timeline:
1964 George H. Heilmeier invents the LCD
-maybe it's better to use the year in which refined LCDs really took off as computer screens and affected change in pixel art? whenever that was...

1994 Hagenuk MT-2000

1989 Atari Lynx

1990 SEGA Game Gear

Vari-Vue is interesting, but I'm not sure that it's specific to pixel art. Either way, It's been difficult to find any precise information on the company and their products, and with lenticular images dating back to the 17th century, this technology might be tough to pin to a single date.
- - -

With that, a few questions for the community:

Does anyone have an early screen-grab from the early days of pixelation? Or any information on early graphing calculator games?

Is it worth mentioning early game developers for cellphones? Jamdat? Glu Mobile? Gameloft?

I will also take suggestions on what to remove from the list to make it more succinct or relevant.

Offline RAV

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Re: The History of Pixel Art

Reply #59 on: October 26, 2016, 04:29:27 am
I think you handled LCD well by foreshadowing its later importance. I'm not sure about mentioning dither in particular at the very end.
The rise and fall of dither in popularity had several factors, has a bit more to do with the processing than the display.

Don't you think the first IBM PC and Mac are worth mentioning though? Today, pixel art is most of all an indie PC phenomenon.
Their first popular 3d shooters like Wolfenstein employed pixel art textures, as a precursor to Minecraft. The Pixel moved on as Texel.
Also, the introduction of the voxel as "3d pixel" seems relevant to me. Both mark the move from the literal physical pixel to the virtual logical pixel.
Both of these are significant steps that all modern implementations of pixel art games today very much rely on, even as pure 2d games.

Then what's become as important today as hardware in the past, is software development frameworks and game engines. They are the new consoles. From RPG Maker / Game Maker to Unity, to the Internet web browser, that's how pixel art gained massive popularity again. That's what made all the new pixel smash hits possible. Hrrm, maybe even mention emulators and homebrew scene?

Good work by the way.


« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 04:37:41 am by RAV »