AuthorTopic: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?  (Read 42310 times)

Offline Night

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #20 on: March 06, 2016, 12:49:13 pm
Sorry  :P

That's really quite wonderful though, Athas, great job!

I think that your remark at the end "If you want to draw a fox really well, you need to understand the fox really well." is very true and is applicable not only in this situation, but quite broadly with art. When drawing any creature, I think it is at the utmost importance for you to understand the structure of that creature, the anatomy, in order to draw it well.
Furthermore, I think that this can be applicable to even non-living things; say you're drawing a landscape - you see trees, mountains, a small lake and a cloudy sky. In order to draw all of these things well, I believe you must know why they look they way they do, what causes them to bend the way they do, what causes them to be the shape they are, etc. While you might do a decent job without acknowledging all of these things, I think you can do much better when you do.
Take the trees for example, they have some very clear patterns in their branches (similar to lightning, river deltas, veins, and numerous other things I can't quite remember at the moment). Or perhaps the mountains (being considerably harder) -- their topology also has a predictable pattern.

It is quite off-topic, but I believe everything in nature has a pattern, rules; that is why nature is beautiful. And because of this fact, it is also possible to learn these rules and apply them yourself in your art. It is hard, but very rewarding.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #21 on: March 07, 2016, 01:54:36 am
I... wha...  :o Let me just pick my jaw up off the floor. Atnas, that was eye-opening, I can't thank you enough! I suppose it was foolish to think I could escape having a working knowledge of form & anatomy and still get by. I think my biggest struggle with art in general is visualizing things in 3D. That and colour theory apparently haha. I agree that it's way too over-saturated. For some reason, my instinct was to increase saturation as things got brighter. I'm going to read this over a few more times, take in as much as I can, and take another shot at this. Thanks.

Thanks also to API-beast and Night, I really appreciate all the edits and advice!

EDIT: Went ahead and spent some time looking at bones. And muscles. Then fur.
I tried working mainly from reference photos and anatomy diagrams but it still draws a lot of inspiration from Atnas' edit (especially the colours).
I'll keep refining this though (I deviated a bit from the bone structure in a few places, and his right hind leg looks a little off to me, for example).

« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 06:24:26 am by Q.K. »

Offline Indigo

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #22 on: March 07, 2016, 11:46:39 pm
Awesome progress!  *featured*

Offline Atnas

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #23 on: March 07, 2016, 11:58:46 pm
 :D

You've made my day, Q.K. People often become intimidated by having their fundamentals critiqued, and they run away.

Excellent progress. And while I can see it's heavily influenced, you've brought a wealth of your own observations and decisions to the table, and I'm very excited to see that.



Some fresh crits:

There doesn't seem to be a clear plane separation between both of the back legs, so when looking closely I become confused. The lit interior of the recessed hind leg is whats doing it. Maybe it should be dimmer/flatter lit.

Looking forward to seeing what you do next! And gratz on the feature. :)

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #24 on: March 08, 2016, 05:41:03 am
Whoa, that's awesome, I never expected this to get featured haha. Thanks!
And the critique was more motivating than anything :) I agree about the back legs though, so I'm going to try a few things...


« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 05:20:37 am by Q.K. »

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #25 on: March 22, 2016, 05:41:53 am
I normally wouldn't double post, but I made some minor edits to the fox.
Also tried going another route and making a simpler, tiny fox.
I've been playing Momodora lately so I drew some inspiration from that.



Offline astraldata

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #26 on: April 10, 2016, 04:51:20 am
Although I can't add much to this post (almost everything I'd want to say has been said well already!), I can offer general purpose advice to the community in the form of two ways to practice texturing in Pixel Art so that you can get better in a hurry with texture (as long as you are already familiar with pixel art and practice this stuff of course!)



I've offered two examples of practice in this image -- the first, of course, is learning to animate texture, such as fur or grass, by rotating it or disturbing it somehow using wind or other such means, and the second is learning texture by dramatically altering the light source while retaining the form/silhouette of the subject. You will need both to effectively animate naturally dynamic substances such as fur/water/etc.

Be warned -- Both of the following methods are pretty advanced pixel art techniques, so if you're not familiar with pixels as a medium to describe form in general, you're likely to have a lot of trouble using these as effective practice. You need to understand first how to render forms in pixel art via silhouette and use color/light to indicate depth and form to begin with. After which, you should be skilled enough using these methods to practice texturing.



Practice method 1: Texture Disturbance (Wind/Rotation/Shimmering)

The goal here (at least for the long hair) is to maintain the silhouette of the clumps as much as possible while offering accurate cast shadows across the form by keeping in mind foreshortening of clumps facing the viewer that are otherwise invisible. You will need to maintain a sense of the position in space of each foreshortened clump (independent of the pixels!) and convert that as best as you can into the pixels and resolution you have available. In a lot of ways, this is like doing a complex 3D shape transformation in your head, but instead of the computer doing it, you are doing it intuitively and then trying to fit the resulting 2D shape on the screen into a sort of LEGO pattern (using nice clusters wherever possible!) If this first method seems hard and/or time-consuming to learn -- it is -- but it is also possible, as I and many others have accomplished it (with a LOT of practice in most cases of course!), and we're no more special than you are. It's just practice at getting a sense of where the FORM is in space AFTER it has moved, and then translating that to nice looking pixel clumps in a nice-looking silhouette, all of which there is NO science behind, although basic art principles will help a ton here if you have them at your disposal.

Short hair or tiny substance disturbances (see the side of the big fox's stomach area) are a lot more simple to describe, as you generally tend to need only to alternate the dither grid pattern from dark/light/dark to light/dark/light and vice versa. In cases where there are minimal disturbances, you may only need to shift a single pixel or two of the dither pattern in far away areas to indicate a very light wind. Heavier wind requires more pixels to be altered, but the pattern alteration remains the same.


Practice method 2: Dramatic Light-Source Change

The second method is pretty self-explanatory -- you simply change the light source dramatically from what it was originally. If it's from the front-left, you make it directly overhead. If it's from directly overhead, you make it from the back and on the right. In the example image, I did this with the small fox. The original fox's light source was from the front-left, so I made it directly overhead as best as I could in order to still maintain the baby fox's form. This is when it's very important to have a strong 3D understanding of your subject, and this starts in the silhouette stages. What I basically did was reduce the baby fox to a flat shade (next-to-darkest orange) and redid the lighting from that point onward.

In regards to texture, once again, you must maintain a sense of any major three-dimensional protrusions across the form, so it's important to know where these occur from silhouette and beyond so that you can light them accordingly. In the case of the face, I altered it a little to have a more plane-like structure around the cheeks so I could indicate a hint of some fur there with the lighting. Places like these are very important to have to indicate form better since they offer an opportunity to cast shadows across the rest of the form which adds a greater sense of depth to the image. Practice this and not only will your sense of depth become more honed, your sprites (and drawings) will look a lot better too.



In Closing, and for any Beginners reading this:

Texture is generally technical in nature, as far as the creation process goes, so it's not very difficult to achieve in most mediums where you have more room to describe it -- although, at the same time, that also means you have to know exactly what it is you're describing. Those techniques I mentioned above help you cheat this a little, as pixel-art gives you very little room to describe specific materials and textures, since you generally only deal with shiny/dull/rough/bumpy/jagged materials/textures at most. That being said, you still need to know how they work, especially in motion. Even the thinness of a spider-web vs. the thickness of rope is possible to describe in pixel art, but these sorts of things can only be suggested if you know how both they and the pixels work together, although I'll save that explanation for another time.

In short, nothing can beat a full visceral understanding (if possible, not just reference images!) of your subject/reference when it comes to describing it in any medium -- especially when using more accurate mediums like good ol' pencil and paper. Pixels can only take you so far in how much you understand a subject (due to its limited resolution). Though despite this obvious fact, I see a LOT of new artists trying to learn art by learning pixel-art so they can escape having to learn to draw first (which is not necessarily WRONG, but it is very backwards and will take you [yes, YOU.] a LOT longer to get mastery over technical art skills in general if you go this route!)

Art, in general, as far as technical skills go, is, in a nutshell, learning how to describe form in order to achieve a certain impact on the observer.

Learning form (of which texture is also a part) through any medium (such as pixel-art) first rather than through intense analytic drawing studies of subjects (a lot more common nowadays with everyone wanting to learn to make games) is not something I would recommend.

Assuming you're learning art for the first time while doing pixel art, and you're just going to continue working to understand your subjects through pixel-art first, if I could offer any medium to do this in first, I'd actually recommend 3D sculpting. I suggest this for one reason only: you can't skimp on form at all, and it'll really show you just how much work you really need to put into your subject knowledge before you can render anything at all convincingly enough in 2D since forms can become very complex VERY quickly -- especially when you add lighting and materials, and in this case, texture -- and it ALL has to be done manually in 2D.

If you're serious about pixel-art, whether you ever intend to animate pixels or not, getting to the point where you understand how to render textures and materials to the point where you can animate them (convincingly!) is a place you should strive to reach, but if you're just beginning pixel art, don't worry if it's difficult -- as I said before, this is an advanced technique. You ought to first learn how to fully render basic 3d forms -- then, and ONLY then, should you begin to worry about texture, materials, and animation.

Remember though -- this is still art! So, no matter your skill level -- just have fun! Everything, even hard-won skill, comes in time! :)
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 04:53:45 am by astraldata »
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Offline LarryLarington

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #27 on: May 02, 2016, 03:48:29 am
Wow there is so much beautiful art here and plenty of great advice to boot. I'm a beginner pixel art so I'm not sure how much I can contribute, but you all inspired me to draw a fox of my own.



The first fox is mine (based on a reference image) and the following two are Q.K.'s (love them!). I used his or her color palette for mine to make one big happy fox family!

Comments/critique are totally welcome! :)

Offline Chadtech

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #28 on: May 02, 2016, 08:19:23 pm
Drew my own, also some what guided by Ambivorouss edit.



Then I realized it was more like a Shiba so I fixed its tail to match.



I kinda like the contrast in the fox tail version.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #29 on: May 02, 2016, 11:43:46 pm

much edits. many beige. so time. wow overkill