AuthorTopic: Bramblethread  (Read 7223 times)

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #10 on: November 01, 2015, 04:19:45 pm
I think the exact problem lies in Helms exact wording and in communication.
And the urge to take ideas as "rules" if you can't understand the big picture.

If we speak science this whole thing rather would be a "cluster hypothesis", than a "cluster theory".

And there are even vids explaining the terms.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqk3TKuGNBA

If we speak science we should do it right.

"Cluster Theory" is worth to discuss it to gain more insight.
The whole discussion is pointless, unless one can't take away something for himself.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 04:53:20 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline RAV

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #11 on: November 01, 2015, 07:05:55 pm
The work done on clusters has been sufficiently correct and largely useful.

There are artists that are not into clusters, and yet whose work I like a lot.

What I don't appreciate is simple spitefulness and foregone conclusions.
There are reasons for clusters, there are reasons against them.

But also, there needs to be a space for concentrated discussion of either paradigm.

When we discuss it we don't want to feel a need to apologize and relativate every second sentence.
And it's not constructive to fall into another's word every few lines with harsh disagreement.
It's good that things can flow out a while to see where the adventure can go.
Sometimes being bold in our statements helps us get a distance to work with.
But that also requires trust into maintaining a reasonable distance to self in the end.

There are a lot of people on the internet saying many things. It's hopeless to want correct them all.
The best argument for either clusters or non-clusters as conscient design choice is doing good work.
The beauty of the work itself says it all, the verifiable proof in favour of an art theory.

Trying to convince anyone of anything with chats is a waste of time, tbh.

You can be in the non-clustering camp, yet not be spiteful anti-clustering, and vice versa.
I have a lot of respect for people that manage to keep their composure, especially when they got it tough.




« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 07:31:03 pm by RAV »

Offline YellowLime

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #12 on: November 01, 2015, 07:34:20 pm

Offline Ai

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #13 on: November 02, 2015, 12:58:23 am
Pretty fair IMO, except to himself -- he seems a bit down on himself honestly. Personally I would say there's nothing wrong with saying 'you don't need to know x'. You don't need to 'know' cluster theory, or dither theory, or aa theory, in detail to make good pixel art --
you just need the 10000ft views 'blocks of color visually "stick together" to create the impression of volumes'; 'evenly distributed mixes of pixels can simulate extra colors', 'placing intermediate colors in accordance with how much of your intended (infinite-resolution) shape falls into a pixel, can give the impression of a higher res image'. Once you're accustomed to how the general ideas work, more research could pay off.

. It's only the way that it was dismissed that was problematic. If he had said 'I think that for beginners, cluster theory is an unnecessary complication' (which seems to be the sentiment he's expressing in his reply)... that would have been pretty reasonable.  I would probably disagree (IMO how shapes cluster is a very basic and important aspect of pixel art, and once you venture beyond merely 'making art which happens to be done with pixels' to 'making pixel art', one of the first things to explore), but I wouldn't feel that anything had been misrepresented.

His original OP was not that problematic either -- it was the narrative 'cluster theory is irrelevant', created through the progression of the thread including his subsequent replies, that was unhelpful, IMO.
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline RAV

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #14 on: November 04, 2015, 01:37:28 pm
Things are not quite settled yet though. A lot of common fallacies have been further popularized that we need to address now. At times a bit salted.

I never understood the "science versus art" attitude. I regard it as a decadence of modernity through the over-specialization of professions and social clique.

Believing that you'd be a better artist for not knowing the science of your work, or a better scientist for not knowing the art with it, that you'd have to protect your soul from the other's foul taint so you could be truthful to your respective work, is hilariously stupid. You better also avoid black cats crossing the street at a full moon's midnight. Renaissance masters especially would have just laughed at that. For it was analytic method that brought their art to the next level. The good artist has always taken much interest in the world every way of understanding, to seek out new opportunity for art. Seeing how many other fundamental aspects of art are so incredibly laborious and difficult to study, from Perspectives to Anatomy to reference material compilation, art is very tough, has always been, unafraid of science.

Art is serious enough that you can study it at university for a qualifying degree. It is serious enough that there are thick books about its problems, understanding of which improves your art considerably, but require an advanced reading comprehension. The seriousness of in-depth studies, not taking things for granted, putting in the detailed research effort, methodical and disciplined, is very much what differentiates a pro artist from a kid "having fun with pixels", as much as a chef cook's food from that in an average home kitchen. The more you reduce your art to a matter of "taste", the smaller do you keep yourself as an artist. And if you can't take your own work serious enough in study, why would anyone else take you seriously?

What is it now, are clusters too obvious or too difficult?

So what are your tutorials for then? kids stuff? a form of entertainment? or introducing people to becoming pixel artists, expanding their horizon in a meaningful way? The people that read your tutorial might think of it too obvious as well otherwise. Well, if we split target audience up like that, maybe that's the audience best served on Pixelation then. For ambitious people that want to bring their pixel art to the next level. To be honest, seeing the quality of artwork from a Helm, makes me much more interested in the explanation of his art, than reading some twitter gang throwing around one-liners. Presenting that as adding anything to the art discourse is too convenient. Debates are not about having the same opinion, but it can be way too easy having an "opinion", and whether benefit or damage comes from throwing that around is a gamble. Fortunately the people of Pixelation don't like gambling the quality of talk.. or art.

What is obvious to an experienced artist, hardly ever is to a beginner. Your work is about pedagogical teaching, making knowledge accessible, not how to protect your audience from knowledge that has influenced so many pixel artists. Your ability and method of teaching is what gives your work worth.  And there's a quite the difference observable in the work of someone who just happens to do something and someone who knows very much what he's doing.

You see, there is a chain of inspirations here. You may have never cared to study clusters, but you very likely have been inspired by the works of those who did. It's too easy to call their hard work obvious then, as much as it is too careless to call the backround of concluding it too complicated. Many useful things can be boiled down to a simple formula, but concluding it never is quite so simple, and if you want to get the most out of it, you need to know more about it.

Pixel artists always needed to be exposed to a lot or arcane technical knowledge to do their work. Because pixel art was on the cutting edge of making the impossible possible. Cluster theory has historical context. It was made in a time the most popular techniques were quite different paradigms. So that was the achievement, a conscient approach to dissecting problems differently, and adapting the art to different times. Of course art theories let you make predictions. That is why you make use of their resulting techniques, because you expect a certain effect on your work. You want your work to look cleaner or smoother or whatever, so you employ a method known to achieve that. That is why clusters have been studied, to understand their consequences, and find ways this could improve your art. How much you employ this tool is everyone's own decision. The knowledge is there to serve.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 05:48:46 pm by RAV »

Offline Atnas

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #15 on: November 04, 2015, 08:20:06 pm
I've been talking to Michael since this went down and he's offered to let me proofread future installments and has sent me the already published ones to revise.

He's been very friendly and receptive to taking another look at things he may have dismissed before, and his expanded opinion is obviously not the various opinions of the comments. At least currently he seems to see clusters in a light free of "scary pixelation science" that he saw as a prohibitive feature of the research here. A light under which an alarming number of pixel artists view it.

The pixelation approach to dissecting clusters appeared too comprehensive to include in a beginners guide before this discussion, but it will be covered and I'll make certain to represent the work put forth by the artists in this thread and elsewhere. In my opinion, clusters are the foundation of pixel art, and equivalent to the brush strokes found in a painting. You can not avoid using clusters.

RAV: I agree. Many of the points you brought up in the latter half of your post were iterated to Michael in our emails. Public perception of this forum, as well as how people treat pixel art methodologies as extraneous tools to use or disregard without consideration are perhaps the most prohibitive parts of this whole issue.

Offline Helm

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #16 on: February 03, 2016, 02:56:14 pm
I became upset reading that twitter thread, although I shouldn't have.

Sadly, a lot of cluster theory has become synonymous with Pixelation and because Pixelation is a place with history and continuity, it has been painted by Pixelation's power. Any historical institution (as a long-lasting web forum) generates power, and that power turns things from radical new concepts into old stone to be smashed by new young punks. All well and good, honestly. That's why I left, to try to divorce the cluster theory stuff from my persona, Helm, a long-time moderator in Pixelation. That's why I'm so glad cure reconceptualized and cleaned up the ramblethread into a compact, neutral and highly useful tutorial. I think that knowledge has gotten around in that form in a much more useful way.

Obv. it's not enough and now cluster theory (which is pretty fucking out there compared to LET'S MAKE SOME GAME ART, GUYS!!) is seen as an old, conservative thing, highly academic and not worth the trouble.

I'm glad several people stuck up for concepts and methods that have positively impacted their artwork in the past. Thank you :)

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #17 on: February 03, 2016, 03:38:52 pm
The problem is that a lot of people seem to take your simple line of "no single pixels in pixelart to have it clean" as a dogma.
You don't have to get upset about how people use your perspective on things.

After overthinking all the stuff you said as I practiced and experimented over the last years since you came up with it, I think your approach definitely has it's good points - but only seen in relation and in balance to certain styles of pixelart BUT it also can hurt other styles quite significantly.

The problem I think which arises is that people who don't have practised enough, can't see the big image of techniques and how they correlate, because they just haven't had the time to experiment with all techniques.
THey don't ended up with their own solution, which they really think is the most superior way of handling things, they replicate a "slice of knowledge".

What I learned is that beginners tend to take one simplified "concept" as a "rule" which then gets used for everything. And the simpler it's to reproduce, the more it will affect the total beginners.
Just think of dither, or hue shift and how it gets "misused" by beginners and the same happens with "cluster hypothesis" (it's no theory according to my understanding of science)

There is another discussion going on:
https://twitter.com/jonasvanman/status/694185352291094530

People are pro-"cluster-hypothesis" and others "con-cluster-hypothesis"


I don't get why people quarrel about techniques and what's right and wrong. I don't get why there needs to be just one right way - I know that there are several successful solutions to a problem all with their advantages and disadvantages.
I mean one is anyways always right with his stuff if he believes in it.
And it's just art, noone gets hurt by it.

What I learned from that whole cluster thing is that one has to be really careful by putting out thoughts.
And no, you shouldn't get upset by any means.
Just shrug and let it stand as an idea/concept.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 03:42:21 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Helm

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #18 on: February 03, 2016, 05:45:09 pm
I never wanted these ideas to be condensed into any sort of ruleset. It's just that the gravity of history and the continuity of a place like Pixelation makes it seem like they are.

Offline Friend

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Re: Bramblethread

Reply #19 on: February 03, 2016, 08:32:42 pm
I never wanted these ideas to be condensed into any sort of ruleset. It's just that the gravity of history and the continuity of a place like Pixelation makes it seem like they are.

this is how i interpreted your insight.  i dont get why people assumed you were being dogmatic because your language wasn't ditsy and unsure of itself.  i think this is just a sour case of a few misinterpretations ruining the whole discussion.