AuthorTopic: Pattern Recognition  (Read 4793 times)

Offline RAV

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Pattern Recognition

on: February 26, 2016, 04:20:44 am
The question of art "fundamentals" and "style" is a difficult discussion.

The problem is that it's very loaded words for many people involved in the arts.
There are many negative examples and experiences, that made you conclude a certain way that works for you.
And when I try to see things from your point of view, I agree with you folks a lot, and your work speaks for itself.

But I also want to try make you better understand what this means for me, and how it connects with my work.
What kind of discussion I am really trying to have, and that I believe there is something good in it for you.
My involvement in pixel art is very special interest, it's not always directly relevant, but give it a chance.

I'd like you to appreciate that I took care in observing art work, and that I have often argued in your favour.
But in my own work, many weird things are happening, things that make me very curious, wondering.





I think the biggest problem is the question what kind of artwork we are looking for in this.
I mean, it's not just a question whether you do pixel art or pencil sketch.
What is it you want to create concretely, and what creative experience you're after?

A typical mistake I see in many newcomers to art is, that their subject matter far exceeds their current abilities.
Whether they start out on a way too large canvas, or that they go in with the expectation to draw convincing objects of real life, it gotta be recognizable as a real house, an actual person, or an animal you know. And they approach it as any other drawing. without knowing drawing.
But to accomplish that you need a kind of studies in the art that is indeed beyond the scope of pixel art.
When you try that without training, it's so easy to look so bad, because people know well how it's supposed to look.
Everyone has references in their head they compare it to and qualify in that.

There is a thought that's kind of nagging away on me for some time now, that the subject matter and style have a relevance in pronouncing the art form. And whether there is an artistic creativity that is beautiful, yet free from other conception, that you cannot train and study in other art forms but pixel art. A visual language, from design to execution unique to pixel art. In my experiments, I've seen remarkable mechanics innate to pixel art, a surprising power.





So for example, consider: Does Pacman look bad to you?

Please, for the purpose of this exercise, try best to assume distance to yourself, try not to burden it or yourself too much with your own motivation and conception.

For just a moment, lean back and try forget about yourself, and ask yourself, does Pacman look bad to you? Do you feel the need to criticize it?

Do you believe it would have been really better in a different approach exercising the art,
how much meaningful is drawing in informing Pacman, instead of just doing it as pixel art straight away?

In many ways you can call it an unaccomplished art work. It probably wasn't even made by a person that would identify as an artist.
And Pacman inspired many much more accomplished interpretations of how it could look more elaborate.

Wait a minute... it inspired? Pacman? huh? you gotta be kidding, right?... but it did. hrrrrm.
Pacman is visually striking, and burned into our cultural conscience forever. Its interpretations much less so.

Strange. this pixel art.

Again, try not to think about yourself. That this is unfair, how much work you put into studying anatomy.
There are plenty artworks that left a greater impression on humanity, your effort is not for nought.

But right now we're looking on the meaning of pixel art, forget the rest for a moment.






So we got something that has no shading, no anatomy, no gesture, no this or that.
It doesn't use pixel art technique to implement and accentuate any of that.

So what's left after that? Is there left anything meaningful? fun? creative?
Maybe we have something that is just pixel technique for the sake of looking beautiful by itself.
We have patterns in the grid. mesmerizing patterns. beautiful patterns, mechanically unique to pixel art.

But even in these patterns, we may recognize forms and even concepts, and a feel,
very loosely, but we can't help start seeing them, it's how our mind works.

And an artist knowing more about art, may be tempted to hint at that more.





So if you don't know much art yet, and maybe you're not certain you ever really want to,
why don't you just embrace having fun with the patterns of pixel art.
Even that by itself has infinite potential and brilliance.



Look, this video is not pixel art, and it is not made by an artist even.
But it is done by a dude who likes to play with patterns.
It's procedural, code meets art. Science and art always had an especially close relationship in computer graphics.
A merry go around of inspirations and requirements. But there are manual ways to doodle fractals like this too.
But even before computers, and millennia back, cultures worked with patterns in art, with close ties to what would become geometric math.

This video has an incredible atmosphere, provoking imagination, it's a mysterious world by itself.
It got jack shit to do with the real world. It's not a classic tree, a rock, or a rabbit.
You don't save a princess, defeat a dragon, and learn more about good or evil.

You don't need to know anything. Just look at this world, it has its own rules, you don't need to know anything else but it.
It is your all, this is your study, this you try understand, and from that you take your clues and build your imagination, in audacity.


Try to think how an inhabitant of such an environment could look like, what a house could mean there.
What else could this life there be about? How do even physics work there?
Don't be afraid of not looking how it's supposed to be, don't be afraid of being weird or making a mistake.
Being intimidated is a mistake and makes first for bad visuals. If you don't know traditional art, be bold to be different.
Don't make concessions. Don't "try" to be what you're not ready for, when you need to look good meanwhile.
Exercise that, but also dare experiment wildly with creative "non art" in your gaps when you need to make do.







I'm no artist, I'm not good at art. But look at this scene I made.

Look at the wall and the roof. I simply didn't know what to do.
So I started to embrace the pixel grid mechanic of patterns,
I could have done anything, it's amazing to play with.

Did I skimp out on doing real art there? did I cut corners in my work?
Maybe I should have done something else? Maybe you could have done something more amazing?
A real castle interior maybe. Personally, I felt I put effort into it and enjoyed myself.
I felt creatively engaged, but differently. But do I grow as artist like that? hrmm.
what artist? what art? and is any creativity that's different a waste of time, no progress?
Over time, I felt I get better at something. I don't know at what. is it relevant?

To me at least, it looks cool. You don't look at it thinking or feeling immediately that it's wrong art.

Maybe at some point, I'd look at some real things, and step the line, and mix and introduce real elements
into my grid patterns. maybe it looks like this? That doesn't try too hard, but it's going somewhere already.
Who knows what your journey is, what you're most into, where you start and where you end up.
Let your visual cortex run wild. fuck the system. break the rules. be free to dream. be unafraid.







Is that an advice to upstarting artists?
trying to become like your idols as fast as possible?
No. No advice, no recommendation, no anything.
If you're worried about wasting your time, stop reading me.


It's just my personal curiosity, trying to find things out for myself.
no matter where that leads me, if it is useful, and who likes it.
It's another perspective on this art with different motivations.





TL;DR

So what else is this thread about? Maybe discussing more patterns, and what it means for pixel art.

Even in traditional arts, ornament patterns often played an important role.

What examples do you have for artwork featuring patterns prominently in beautiful and influential ways?
Cross culture, Western, Chinese, India, Africa, millennia back or just yesterday. Show some patterns. What can we do with it?


« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 09:39:44 am by Indigo »

Offline Gil

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 08:36:08 am
I don't get what this thread is about, so I'll just answer the Pacman question I guess. Pacman is beautiful pixel art. Why do you assume we think Pacman is bad art? Do you just assume that if it doesn't have highly detailed pixel muscles that we won't like it?

Sure, you can do nifty things with patterns. That doesn't help one bit if you want to draw a human. What's your point?

Offline RAV

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #2 on: February 26, 2016, 08:47:00 am
Not to want draw a human. but pixel a pacman.

Offline Gil

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 09:36:22 am
To pixel stuff like Pacman, one of the icons of pop art, you need an impeccable design sense. Now, maybe you don't have that (god knows I couldn't come up with something as stunningly beautiful and iconic). So how do you learn how to do similar art?

You study art fundamentals. Pacman is all about geometric shapes, composition, color use, so that's where you start. In terms of studying the greats, you'd look to classic design and pop art. You do studies of Andy Warhol and Toulouse Lautrec.

Again, what's your point? That somehow one can learn how to pixel stuff on the level of Pacman without learning fundamentals? I would highly beg to differ.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 10:29:42 am
I think there can be more backrounds for thinking similar. It's true that it's not guaranteed to look good, just because it goes more basic. But at any case, there is a difference in emphasis on what fundamentals and to which extend, what opportunity or kinds of mistakes. Not all fundamentals are relevant, and there is even a sense of having its own fundamentals, that you go about pixeling very differently than from drawing sketches. What interests me in re-investigating pixel art, is not simply trying to remake a Final Fantasy in 3d. It's a much deeper interest, that goes from a willing regression of the art in the content, to re-tool its approach, orientation and creativity, before stepping it up from there. So that's a direction I'm curious exploring here. It's not so much wanting to convince someone steadfast in a different take on the art.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 10:33:51 am by RAV »

Offline Gil

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 02:12:00 pm
No one is telling you you should work on fundamentals, you haven't posted much art. We are telling other people that do want to draw realistic humans in pixel art that they should focus on fundamentals. There's no single right method. The only reason people tend to emphasize the importance of doing sketches is that some people seem to think that good pixel art is made by people studying lots of pixel art, which is simply not true for the vast majority of pixel artists.

If you found an area of interest worth exploring in-depth and you feel that's worthwhile, then you should do that. There's no one telling you otherwise. You are creating tessellated 3D art in a limited environment, using procedural techniques. That's not what most people are doing and it's not really what most people would define as pixel art, though I assume there's a lot of similarities (so much so, that I would call it at least related to, if not pixel art). Best of luck?

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 03:50:04 pm
The only reason people tend to emphasize the importance of doing sketches is that some people seem to think that good pixel art is made by people studying lots of pixel art, which is simply not true for the vast majority of pixel artists.

I think a lot of people actually do that, mainly looking at other pixelart to get inspiration. Which is why there is so much style inbreeding going on. Examples being the sword and sworcery style being copied all over the place, and an older example are Seiken Densetsu like trees. I personally find that it is always better to look at real life for reference and for inspiration look outside of your own medium. As far as pixeltech and things like palette handling goes, that is where you look at game art. Just my 2 cents on this small part of this topic.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 05:28:51 pm
Yes indeed, people are making many mistakes. Much of it has to do with their abilities as much as their goals. They can work on the fundamentals of their abilities, or they can adapt their goals, or maybe there's goals that suddenly require all new abilities.

And if you are to finish your game next week, and you have no time for looking into any of that, your best choice could be to rather play with the patterns of the Ascii code priming imagination. That can look then a lot more charming than obviously flawed attempts at art on short notice, in many ways.

The question we have then is taking into account what a person seeking advice really wants. Do they want to master art? your art? or do they want the realistic chance to cope with their project in an amusing way meanwhile?

Other than that however, even when you are used to fundamentals as you understand them here, and as I agree you probably best should, there is another side to pixel art that isn't covered by that, that doesn't make sense training differently than by doing pixel art, and that as I keep experimenting with, surprises me almost daily with its visual ingenuity, and how unique and compelling it works and guides you. And so that has me wondering.

A large part of that has to do with how the tiling works for me now. It's easy to underestimate as just some quirky gimmick at first. But if you remember the last video, somewhere at the middle when I started to play with some of that, a couple interesting things happened, and I would hope it's not impossible to feel the direction that takes. It is even so that it has a very fundamental impact on how you see your art. Suddenly, you are not just looking for picking colour, but to pick patterns, and that the natural ease of changing scope selection in picking and tiling of macro and micro, has a radical impact on you, and becomes very powerful the more experienced you are with it, and very unique to exercising pixel art.

And to make sure, this new feature is given the proper curiosity and care, to get the most out of it, I want to talk about patterns in art. That your first attempt at getting used to that mechanic has an emphasis on non-descript patterns of beauty, before trying to draw a correct Cow in it. Talking about the realization, that the kind of content matters to what you want to exercise effectively. That the kind of content also matters in what we understand for pixel art, what emphasizes pixel art.


« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 06:49:47 pm by RAV »

Offline Gil

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 07:53:40 pm
The question we have then is taking into account what a person seeking advice really wants. Do they want to master art? your art? or do they want the realistic chance to cope with their project in an amusing way meanwhile?
It's not a question about what the person seeking advice wants. It's about the goals and rules of this forum. Pixelation has always been about pushing for artistic limit and seeking ever-increasing skill, not quick guidance on a deadline project. If you post here, you are agreeing upon that. There are plenty of forums for quick project guidance (we even have a sub forum for that now).

Now give us some art :). All this talk about patterns make me want to see visual experiments. No one really wants to see these pages long theory threads without at least some representation of the concepts involved.

Offline RAV

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Re: Pattern Recognition

Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 08:10:24 pm
I would like to have this thread closed now. Thank you.