AuthorTopic: Isometric characters (wip)  (Read 17908 times)

Offline Sqorgar

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Isometric characters (wip)

on: September 26, 2006, 06:17:23 am


A general critique would be nice, but what I really need pointers on are the feet. The damned feet...

Offline Helm

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 06:32:03 am
I was about to download and edit your sprites but then I realized you had prezoomed them, and that they're all one file, hence one palette. These things make it more difficult to edit than I can be bothered to deal with right now, so I guess I'll have to just tell you what I see: I think the feet are nice. You're wasting shades by making them too close to each other. Shadows too soft, no highlights. No AA, but that might be a stylistic thing.

Offline Indigo

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #2 on: September 26, 2006, 06:42:48 am
in my personal oppinion quality should not be sacrificed at the expense of style.  These are very cute, I must say.  Next time when you post an image, dont post it pre-zoomed.  this forum has a click-to-zoom feature that is very handy.  Make sure you take heed to helm's advice -as it's probably the best advice we could give you at the moment.  So far, so good, Sqorgar.  Keep it up and welcome to Pixelation
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 08:30:08 am by Indigo »

Offline miascugh

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #3 on: September 26, 2006, 07:19:06 am
Nice to see you're still alive Sq..orgar :)
It's been some time that I've checked your site, though i just recently stumbled over it to see it back up. So this is for a game? Just for fun? The persective doesn't seem to be suited very well for comics, because all of the backgrounds would end up being just floors :P unless you intend to bend that a little.

The feet are fine. And you could probably shade and anti-alias the hell out of it and cram in more detail, but that's probably a no-go if you're going to mass produce them.
And yeah, the darks, like the second green of the zombie or detail on the jacket, mostly go to waste, and the intermediate color between stubble and skin is a bit out of place, being the only one.

Offline Gil

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #4 on: September 26, 2006, 12:29:43 pm
The design and line art are, as always, impeccable. The colours are fine too, but your shading ramps leave much to desire. The yellow of the jacket and the darker yellow shade are spot on, try to get the same contrast on the other shades. Also, the red is borderline too saturated perhaps.

Oh, and I've always kept reading some of your stuff and I must say, although I usually disagree with anything you write, I like reading it. So, good job! :)

Offline Sqorgar

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #5 on: September 26, 2006, 06:39:56 pm
I was about to download and edit your sprites but then I realized you had prezoomed them, and that they're all one file, hence one palette. These things make it more difficult to edit than I can be bothered to deal with right now, so I guess I'll have to just tell you what I see:
I apologize. I'll be sure to take your laziness into account with my next posting. :)

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I think the feet are nice. You're wasting shades by making them too close to each other. Shadows too soft, no highlights. No AA, but that might be a stylistic thing.
I don't palettize since I work off a base palette and with the exception of shading colors (10%-30% darker) don't tend to move outside it much.  As for the other stuff, I have a pretty well known style that I like to keep within. I do employ some of those fancy tricks like shading and AA, but I use it so infrequently that to advertise it obviously would mean that I'd have to use it everywhere to be consistant. So I try to keep the shadows barely perceptable and use AA only for internal colors and never for the outline - though nearly invisible, they are still effectively softening and deepening the images to my satisfaction.

Quote from: Indigo
in my personal oppinion quality should not be sacrificed at the expense of style.
Well, it's more like quality being sacrificed because of talent :) But I do have to say that I wouldn't do pixel art if I couldn't do it in this style. Though I absolutely respect the technical talents of the pixel artists on this board, the heavily aliased and shaded stuff isn't really my cup of tea. My inspiration really comes from NES games. SNES and up, sprites just stopped being as charming to me. I want my work to look like really damned good NES graphics. I like the physicality of it - that you can tell where the sprites stop and start, and how they have big heads so you can see their facial expressions rather than tiny little aliased brown pixels that are supposed to be eyes. The fancy stuff feels more artistic, but it doesn't always feel alive to me like the NES style... not to crack on anybody else's style. It's just a personal preference, and one of the cool things about pixel art that a lot of people don't appreciate is that there can be lots of different styles and tastes. If I had a nickle every time someone said pixel art was too limited to allow differences, I'd be a VERY rich man (I'm not kidding either, sadly).

There are times when I wish my style wasn't quite so limited - I mean, you'd think that black outlines and solid fill colors would be easy, but man wouldn't it be nice to be able to use that fancy stuff once in a while. Still, I can't sacrifice quality and style at the expense of making my life a little easier, right? :)

Quote from: miascugh
Nice to see you're still alive Sq..orgar
Shhh... I'm incognito. I stopped posting to Pixelation some time ago because there were a couple stalkers who were harassing me and using Pixelation as a way to do it. I don't know if they are still here, but I'd very much like to continue posting here. I've missed Pixelation so much, and it just sucks how only one or two people can really make me hate it as much as I did.

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So this is for a game? Just for fun?
I've been trying to get a perfect isometric base down for... well, literally years. Partly it has been my own abilities keeping me back, and partly my preferred style of graphics (I think there's a reason you don't see many isometric games on the NES that don't involve snakes or marbles). But I have ALWAYS wanted to do something isometric. I'm absolutely infatuated with the perspective dating all the way back to some old BW MacPaint images I saw when I was a kid. It just has this feeling of toys on a playset, like LEGOs I guess (which I guess is another huge inspiration in my style). I mean, if you take an overhead game like a roguelike and then make it isometric, it suddenly feels so much more physical - like things have volume and depth, but it's not like 3D where there is diminishing perspectives or or polygon models which aren't nearly as alive as pixel people. Stuff like Syndicate, Tactics Ogre, X-Com, Spindizzy, Ultima 8... man, I could stare at screenshots of those games forever..

Quote from: Gil
The design and line art are, as always, impeccable. The colours are fine too, but your shading ramps leave much to desire. The yellow of the jacket and the darker yellow shade are spot on, try to get the same contrast on the other shades. Also, the red is borderline too saturated perhaps.
That right foot is driving me crazy, as far as the line art goes. I don't like obvious shading and only use high contrasting shades for details rather than actual... you know... shading :) The red is just a stand in color - nobody I actually make with the base is going to have a neon red "speed suit" on. I draw my pixel art against a rather dark background so my colors tend to be rather bright to compensate sometimes.

Offline AdamAtomic

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #6 on: September 26, 2006, 09:26:55 pm
These look more like bad SNES sprites than good NES sprites.  The real challenge and beauty of NES sprites is the color limitation, not just the designs that emerged as symptoms of those limitations.  Your characters all seem to be a little annoyed and looking off to the right.  Helm is 100% correct about your color choices - especially on the red guy, you have a few completely wasted colors.  I like the blue outline on the green jacket a lot.  The head wound on the zombie appears to be straight on to the viewer in spite of the 3/4 iso perspective.

Basically, you have faithful lo-fi designs, but they lack the charm and sophistication that inspired you to work with lo-fi designs in the first place.  Strip these guys down to a 4 color palette, or else go ahead and shade them sensibly with discernible tones.  Currently you are standing in the middle of these two options, with nothing to justify it as a stylistic choice rather than a lack of judgment/care.

Offline Helm

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #7 on: September 26, 2006, 09:32:38 pm
Hi squincognito. I new I recognized the style somewhere. Long time no see.

I'm sorry but I'll have to go with Adam on this one. You seem to have a very solidified view on how you're supposed to work, then why ask for critique? Either go with NES limitations (limitations are good, they breed innovation!) or if you use shading, use it to its' full advantage. It will take more time, yes, but then again that's what you get. Better art in more time (we had a similar discussion to this a bit ago). If time is so much of the essence, go with NES restrictions, I'd say.

And yes, resizing down x3 and separating 3 palettes/sprites is just too much time to spend I could be spending on what I feel would be a useful edit. But edit will soon follow, anyway.

edit: so it was
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 09:48:05 pm by Helm »

Offline Sqorgar

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #8 on: September 26, 2006, 11:06:48 pm
These look more like bad SNES sprites than good NES sprites.  The real challenge and beauty of NES sprites is the color limitation, not just the designs that emerged as symptoms of those limitations.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. It's just a preference, but one I feel rather strongly towards. While I've certainly had plenty of people trash it and consider it too simple to require talent, it's my style and it's exactly where I want it to be.

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Your characters all seem to be a little annoyed and looking off to the right.
The annoyed look is a stylistic concern inherant in my work going way back. It's hard to explain but my style really came together for the first time when I did the T-eyes.

As for the looking off to the right thing, yeah, I agree completely. I don't think it hurts too much, as my tests didn't look too bad. They were still looking in the next square over, just not at the direct center. Of course, if you have any suggestions on how to afix their icy gaze more southeasterly, by all means, it could only improve the base.

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Basically, you have faithful lo-fi designs, but they lack the charm and sophistication that inspired you to work with lo-fi designs in the first place.  Strip these guys down to a 4 color palette, or else go ahead and shade them sensibly with discernible tones.  Currently you are standing in the middle of these two options, with nothing to justify it as a stylistic choice rather than a lack of judgment/care.
Hmm... that's a bit overly harsh in my opinion. Charm and sophistication are, of course, a subjective thing, but I like to think I do okay. My artwork has literally gone head to head with Mega Man and Final Fantasy sprites in the court of public opinion, and I honestly think that there will be some people who remember the characters and artwork I created with the same fondness and respect. I don't see myself as standing in the middle of two options because it's not either or - it's not even a linear path between them. I've selected a point I'm comfortable with and that I personally find to be attractive. I'm not half assing anything and I assure you that I care VERY much about my pixel art. The public record is fairly clear on that point as well.

Quote from: Helm
I'm sorry but I'll have to go with Adam on this one. You seem to have a very solidified view on how you're supposed to work, then why ask for critique?
It looks good to me, but it's not perfect. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to bases because you get one just perfect and it will do miracles. Each base I make is literally the work of hundreds of hours and typically years of on and off again effort. It probably seems a little silly to some of you who can pound out the most amazing work in a few hours, but I'm not an artist and this stuff doesn't come naturally to me. I posted this because it still seems off to me - mainly the feet. That right foot looks like he stepped into a tiny boat. I think I can do something more with that back arm/hand, and I'm wondering if maybe I could move the head up a little bit to give him more of a neck. These things will take hours of trial and error to get just right precisely because I'm not an artistic type of guy. It was my hope that I could post it here and have the artistic type of guys take a look at it - what could take a hundred A or B iterations for me might be stupidly obvious to somebody else here. I guess I'm just trying to save myself some work... is that so wrong? :)

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Either go with NES limitations (limitations are good, they breed innovation!) or if you use shading, use it to its' full advantage.
I know this is hard to accept, but I'm really quite happy with my mish-mash of styles. I feel that, sorry to borrow from earlier, charm and sophistication comes from within. It's something you instill into a piece, not through technique so much as through the personality of your choices. My choices have placed my work apparently close enough to two extremes to be comparable to both but belongs to neither. I think there is value and beauty in this place, and in many ways, it makes my work stand out from other pixel artists and even makes it more accessable to non-artists. For some reason, other artists (not just pixel artists) take this really elitist stance with my style/work, but most non-artists actually tend to like it quite a bit. It's put me in their really weird position, because while I might admire these other artists, I don't actually want to be like them.

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And yes, resizing down x3 and separating 3 palettes/sprites is just too much time to spend I could be spending on what I feel would be a useful edit.
I didn't mean to be snarky. I really was apologizing, and in the future I'll be more considerate in the format that I post in. It's just that they way you phrased it seemed humorous to me. :)

I liked your edit, though he's still got boat-feet.

Offline garsh

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #9 on: September 26, 2006, 11:37:24 pm
I don't know if you're getting the point the others are trying to make about your style. It's a good and valid style, but the NES is not capable of the colors you're choosing. It can only do 4 colors per sprite, including transparency, so if you want your graphics to actually look like "good NES" quality, you'd have to reduce to those limitations. Your current style is highly reminiscent of Earthbound, which is an SNES game designed to remind players of NES without actually resorting to those authentic restrictions -- just like you.

Stick with your style if you're happy with it, just understand that it doesn't look like "good NES" sprites, because it would be impossible on the NES. If anything it looks more like amateur Gensis quality graphics.

Now for my own input, I think you'd be better off with a much higher contrast in your colors. The darker red on the red jumpsuit is way too close to the lighter red to serve much purpose. In fact, I'm concerned it wouldn't even be visible at the pixel's native resolution. Same goes for the two shades of grey on the same guy's shoes. It's a detectable difference at 3x, but no competent artist would do that even on SNES where color wasting is more affordable.

They're cute, I especially like the sand person in your avatar.

EDIT: Something else I meant to tell you...

...You might study the graphics of Cave Story. It seems designed according to similar ambitions as your own. The designer made surprisingly decent use of low-contrast shades and came out with some highly attractive graphics that speak to a true NES aesthetic. In fact, his work looks considerably more authentically NES than yours, despite breaking many of the same rules.

Here's a commercial critiques thread on this same forum to get you started if you'rer not familiar with Cave Story.
http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=1394.0
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 11:58:01 pm by garsh »