AuthorTopic: Hobby art vs Production art  (Read 8643 times)

Offline Enichan

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 16
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Rawr n__n
    • View Profile

Hobby art vs Production art

on: September 23, 2006, 05:12:31 pm
Since I keep bumping my head on this and never feel like commenting on it in the topics where my art is (since then people might accuse me of being a bad-crit-taking-person-thingy) I'm posting this up here for discussion.

As it seems to me there are two types of pixel art.

The one is what you do for fun, endlessly refining until you get the perfect image. Doing stuff that would be excruciating to animate isn't usually much of an issue as you're probably just going for the one still frame. Because you're doing it for yourself making slow progress over time isn't much of an issue either, and even when animating you can always just do whatever you want; as there are no HD/memory/time/animation system requirements.

I don't do that one very often.

The second is what you do for practical ends. An animated sprite for a fighting game, a template for an MMO character, tiles for a game you're making, and that type of thing. Art that's for something, and comes with all the constraints and considerations that go with this. You can't spend a month refining a still frame of a sprite, because that means you might take half a year just to finish the animations that flow out of the still as well. You can't make things as perfect as you want because it usually takes too long and "really good" instead of perfect, or even "good enough!" becomes a priority. You also start using messy tools like rotate, animate things through moving seperate parts and touchups, and all that jaz, just to be faster. Result: a non perfect, messier, but faster result.

The latter is what I do almost exclusively, since I can't seem to get my motivation up unless I'm doing it for something, even imaginary.


Now, it seems to me that often crits are mostly given from the first standpoint, which is totally understandable. After all, the first standpoint actually looks at what could be improved and tells you, even if it's a single misaligned pixel. But I've noticed sometimes it can grate a little, at least on me, to hear things being said that I explicitly did because it was production art, rather than hobby art.

Smoothly flowing hair is awesome, but if rigid anime, gravity defying hair shaves off 10 hours per frame, I'm probably going with that. Same with animations; most games don't have a very complex "reuse" system like fighter games that employ sprites have, and usually a lot more memory and space constraints to boot. So you wind up with less frames, less canvas, and you can't even flop in extra frames from elsewhere because there is no system that deals with that in place for you. Yes that outline is hideous and needs AAing and selout, but sometimes just keeping your outline flat color is just easier and faster. Yadayadayada, things like that.

So um. Not sure what I'm trying to accomplish with this thread, aside from getting discussion going. Maybe I need to start tagging my pics with a "production art disclaimer" that says most crits that would drastically increase workload or be impractical in an actual project setting will likely be ignored, so I won't feel guilty when I ignore crits I can't do anything with, or feel like I'm bad at taking them.

Discuss? :huh:

Offline Godslayer

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 369
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #1 on: September 23, 2006, 08:03:02 pm
So, what do you want from crits? Take them as you get them, you dont need to use all of them, but it seems as though assuming the first covers both of the types. Even if you did say 'for production' what does that accomplish? Do you want less crits? Or are there specific things we shouldnt comment on? If so, just post what those are and why. 

Quote
Smoothly flowing hair is awesome, but if rigid anime, gravity defying hair shaves off 10 hours per frame, I'm probably going with that

Thats cool, but dont expect people to read your mind on it- say so in your post. Try to find crits yourself before posting, and if you have a restraint keeping you from changins some things, take the time to mention them.
How long can the floor creak before it loses its voice?

Offline Enichan

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 16
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Rawr n__n
    • View Profile

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #2 on: September 23, 2006, 08:31:34 pm
This thread really wasn't a specific response to your crits, though. Please don't misunderstand. Also not blaming anyone for critting the way they do.

I just run into this a lot, when people offer mostly valid crits and I feel awkward not knowing what to do with them. Ignoring them outrightly is rude, incorporating them might mess up my workflow, and arguing against them makes people think you're bad at taking crits or rather don't want any at all, which isn't true either; if I made a big "no-no" in a production piece I'd like to have it pointed out.

Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, maybe I just overthink things too much as I'm prone to. ???

I think I'll take your advice though, and try to cross off "possible crits I won't do anything with" off the list when I post art from now on, letting people know I'm aware that it's not perfect, but that's it's a corner I'm cutting to save time.

Or maybe I just shouldn't feel awkward about it to begin with, but I tend to, because I'm odd like that. :huh:

This has really something that has bugged me for a long time when posting stuff for production, and I'm finally coming out and asking if I'm just crazy, or what. >_>

Offline ndchristie

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 2426
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 08:39:05 pm
people understand that not all critique will be followed, but its important to understand also that this is an art community, not a focus group, and things here will be critiqued mostly as art.  at the end of the day, dont feel awkward if you recieve crits that dont fit into what you need to do, your business comes before anyone elses opinion, but its also nice to listen to what people took the time to say.  if you have a few days left before the deadline, why not animate things better?
A mistake is a mistake.
The same mistake twice is a bad habit.
The same mistake three or more times is a motif.

Offline AlexHW

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • AlexHW

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #4 on: September 23, 2006, 08:41:17 pm
crits are crits..
you are in no way required to follow every critique a person makes, and no-one should be expected to have all their critiques followed.

part of critiqueing is not only for the one being critiqued, but for others who may not be apparent of the issue being critiqued until they read it.. so critiqueing helps more than just the one being critiqued.

critiqueing is like an excercise for those viewing the work, and it helps people excercise their minds.
having a critique left unfollowed is not wasteful.

Offline Helm

  • Moderator
  • 0110
  • *
  • Posts: 5159
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Asides-Bsides

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #5 on: September 24, 2006, 07:55:57 am
Quote
But I've noticed sometimes it can grate a little,

Not to sound like an asshole but, get over it. You should feel happy and honoured people take time out of their lives to sit down and really look at your art and offer you whatever is on their minds about it. I wish for this to be made extremely clear and for all parties to feel the specific weight such a procedure carries with it: people dont *have* to critique you. If they do, if their critique isn't useful to you or anything, that's all second to that they did, and you should be thankful.

It grates because somebody is telling you your art could be better when you think "but it's good, for what it is!" (game art). If you feel that way, I suggest you shouldn't post for critique. The first inherent trait of the critique procedure is the poster's admittance of space of betterment, and their need to get better. If you post hoping for praise only, you're in the wrong place. Your argument about production times and such is moot. If you actually want to work in the industry, not the imaginary-industry in your head, then get faster and better. Go to www.henknieborg.com and check out his game art. That was made on a real production schedule too. I don't see Henk saying 'I did things messily because I didn't have time!'. He got fast, and he got good to work in the industry.

Pixelation used to be all about the rpg sprite and the fighter sprite, because it was ran by a person who wanted to break into the industry, doing this thing that he loved. Tsugumo's no longer around, sadly, and subsequent administrations have brought the focus on 'art for art' pixel art more, and I think this is a mixed bag, but mostly a blessing. God, the fact that someone can post a c64 piece now and not get swamped by "what's up with this arty bullshit lol? and fix the palette!!!!1" comments is a blessing any way you see it. But this still is the prime place to talk pixels for games too, with many knowledgable artists that already work in the field and know the flames on their back from actual deadline hell. Your original point is valid, that game production art is usually not the best art the artist can make due to the 'GETITDONE' effect. But for critique purposes, that is a moot point. Pixelation is a realm out of time where you come to tune up, hone in, perfect technique for the sake of it. Then you can take those skills back to your game-making, and they will apply.

Offline Enichan

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 16
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Rawr n__n
    • View Profile

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #6 on: September 24, 2006, 06:34:23 pm
Quote
But I've noticed sometimes it can grate a little,

Not to sound like an asshole but, get over it. You should feel happy and honoured people take time out of their lives to sit down and really look at your art and offer you whatever is on their minds about it. I wish for this to be made extremely clear and for all parties to feel the specific weight such a procedure carries with it: people dont *have* to critique you. If they do, if their critique isn't useful to you or anything, that's all second to that they did, and you should be thankful.

It grates because somebody is telling you your art could be better when you think "but it's good, for what it is!" (game art). If you feel that way, I suggest you shouldn't post for critique.
No offense Helm, but if that's what you got out of my post, then maybe I should've worded myself differently. The critiques don't grate, the feeling of awkwardness grates. It doesn't grate because someone is criticizing my work, it grates because I know I'll be ignoring their helpful comments, because I just don't have the kind of time required to make things perfect.

So, yeah, that did sound a bit asshole-ish, because it really wasn't what I meant, so there's really no need for me to get over anything. It grates because someone is trying to help me and I know I'm going to ignore their perfectly valid point due to time constraints, not because someone said my piece wasn't perfect in some way. There's a whole world of difference between those two.

I dunno, I suppose I'll drop it now, since I'm not in the mood to get attacked for something I didn't mean more. But thanks for implying that I'm not trying to improve, that was a nice touch. Oh and implying I'm delusional, that was nice too.

Oh and by the way, several people who've finished art school have told me that the way to improve speed on works is not to keep endlessly refining every picture to make it perfect, it's to do many sketchy things over and over and over and over, until you get faster enough at the basic techniques.

But if game art isn't welcome to be posted here "for fun" or only to fix more obvious flaws on a piece, rather than out of a drive to perfect every single piece, I'll just keep to myself again. Wasn't aware things changed here. Oh, and if that's true, might want to change the "Pixel Art" forum description: Post your artwork for critique or fun.

It's ironic you'd attack me saying I should be THANKFUL for crits, when I am to the degree of feeling guilty when I DON'T follow up on them in the piece I posted.

And now I'm on the defensive, so I'll just leave it at this.

EDIT: This is probably the part where I get attacked for defending myself from a misinformed attack by someone who thinks he can dictate what my meaning was. That's all nice and good, exactly the response I was afraid of all this time, nice to see my fears were justified. Go on and slap the label of "not wanting to improve", "bitchy", "arrogant", "delusional", "only seeking compliments", and "bad at taking crits" on me now. The few people here who actually know me better will know that's all bull.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2006, 06:41:59 pm by Enichan »

Offline Godslayer

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 369
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #7 on: September 24, 2006, 07:49:21 pm
Nah, you just seem to complain too much. Complainer. :angel:
How long can the floor creak before it loses its voice?

Offline Indigo

  • Administrator
  • 0011
  • *
  • Posts: 946
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Artist, Indie Game Dev
    • DanFessler
    • DanFessler
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/849.htm
    • DanFessler
    • DanFessler
    • View Profile
    • Portfolio

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #8 on: September 24, 2006, 09:05:27 pm
sometimes, Enichan, things are better left unsaid, simply put.  I personally dont think of you as any of those labels you are prompting us to believe.  I've come to realise that some people (if not most people) simply will not back down from a point of view.  Whether they are right or wrong isn't the point - but by instigating a hard backlash, you are only putting youself before the cutting block.  I'd suggest drafting your posts to fit a more politically correct (for the lack of a better term) standard.  By recoiling a bash with another bash, will only add flames to the fire instead of resolving things.

EDIT:  in this particular case, I seem to have been proven wrong

Quote
...for defending myself from a misinformed attack by someone who thinks he can dictate what my meaning was.
I find this quote funny because you then go on to dictate what *we* will now do, much like your accusing helm of, by saying we will slap the "bitchy" labels on you - which i dont intend to do, but your on the right track.

point is just to be more civil even when others may or may not be
« Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 01:17:39 am by Indigo »

Offline goat

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 230
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • bl33t
    • View Profile

Re: Hobby art vs Production art

Reply #9 on: September 25, 2006, 12:36:48 am
I'm coming to this thread late, but here goes:

I'm in the same boat as you, Enichan.  While I express my artistic needs in other media, my pixels are solely aimed at production.  Even for fun, I pixel tilesets, sprites, and other trappings of game production, and all my "for fun" pieces are generally palettized and totally ready to be imported into a wide array of wireless and handheld devices.  I'm one of those people who is a diehard believer that pixel art came into its own through video games and that it is most beautifully expressed through them, where creativity can entwine with technical methodology and create something which the mind percieves as infinite within restrictions that are extremely finite.  Like carving Hamlet's kingdom out of a nutshell, if you will.

With that in mind, I understand that in real production environments one has to make sacrifices to the polish of the artwork in order to meet deadlines.  This occurs even when no deadline is imposed; there simply comes a point where the time and effort spent in improving a piece won't be worth the return you get on the quality of the art (sure, you can animate each strand of hair and have different left and right standing frames, but who's going to notice?)

However, there has been and will continue to be examples of games with extremely high fidelity pixel art produced in a production environment.  In fact, if 2D games are to survive and thrive in the future, we're going to have to see a lot more of them.  If you're going to ignore a critique for practical reasons, ignore it.  Hell, I ignore critiques every day for no reason other than that I'm a jerk.  You don't have to justify any choices you made to anybody.  Just stay away from blanket statements that effectively restrict the potential quality of commercial art, lest you cheapen the efforts of those of us who do it as a trade, and strive to push the envelope in it :P not saying you're doing that now, but it's an easy trap to fall into; I see professionals do it every day.

with <3,
goat
typing ewith fdace