AuthorTopic: Isometric characters (wip)  (Read 20865 times)

Offline Sqorgar

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #10 on: September 27, 2006, 12:27:45 am
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 look like "good NES" quality, you'd have to reduce to those limitations.
I want my work to have the feel of NES sprites, but not actually be NES sprites. To me, that comes from dark outlines and no shading/AA, not from the limited size and palette restrictions. I feel that I could draw a large 64x64 pixel sprite with two dozen colors and still feel at home placed side by side with Mega Man or something.

You mentioned Earthbound, which is actually a really good example of what I'm aiming for. I've got a strategy guide for it (and stuff like Pokemon, Mario and Luigi, and Zelda 4) that I have graphically memorized back to front. Earthbound's style is not particularly indicative of the average SNES style at the time (and indeed, when it was released, magazines were saying it looked like a NES game). When I think of SNES graphics, I usually think of overly shaded characters against really shaded backgrounds, creating a sort of blurry look to the game compared to the exceptionally clean look of NES games - but that style has existed since then. I wasn't using NES graphics in a literal sense, but in a figurative stylistic sense.

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If anything it looks more like amateur Gensis quality graphics.
Well, it's no James Pond :)

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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.
Oh, we're insinuating I'm imcompetent now? Man, when the kid gloves come off here... :)

The color difference is NOT visible at native resolutions, which is precisely the point. It's noticable, but not very. It still looks flat shaded, but is most definitely softer. Of course, pure red has this neon glow to it that makes any shading look like a completely different color, so I don't use that color usually except for glowing eyes and stuff that needs absolutely to stand out. Don't ask me why the base is wearing a red jumpsuit. It was a poor choice. The other two characters are also not polished yet and presented her as examples of how I'd use the base. They are all works in progress (which it says in the title, unless "wip" means something different than I thought it did), though my shading style is still rather unobtrusive. Jacket guy's back arm needs to be darkened a little, and the shading on the zombie's gray shirt is far too light, but other than that, most of the problems come from the base's outline, and especially feet.

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...You might study the graphics of Cave Story.
I will, of course, check it out and I thank you for pointing me towards it.

Offline Darien

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #11 on: September 27, 2006, 01:05:55 am
I just wanna say that I don't like the subtle shading you have here, to me it just looks dirty and messy, almost like they were saved as JPEGs (but not that bad).  What I like about NES graphics is the distinct cleaness, which you lose by shading like this.  I think people would like to see you either commit to shading or don't do it at all because then you will keep your sprites clean with that old school feel, without going into that "blurry" area you are talking about.

EDIT:  to clarify what I said up there, I mean that if you cleanly and distinctly shade by greater contrast, you won't get blurry.  This close shades seems more blurry to me than anything else, including most SNES type graphics.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2006, 01:07:53 am by Darien »

Offline Gil

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #12 on: September 27, 2006, 01:36:17 am


I fixed the feet, just a few pixels of difference.
Also, check the changed pixel in the eyebrow for a more south east look on those eyes.
Never mind the shading I gave him, but I couldn't leave him all flat, could I?

Offline Sqorgar

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #13 on: September 27, 2006, 02:31:40 am
Gil, the feet still aren't doing it for me, but I love what you did with the eyes. Raising the pixel on the far right just makes him look like he is cocking an eyebrow, but the real genius was in chopping off the pixel on the left hand side of that eye. It is absolutely amazing how one pixel can change the entire expression. Not sure I'll take the shading to the same place, and I'm still working on the boat foot, but I'm getting close now, I think.

Offline Froli

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #14 on: September 27, 2006, 02:41:13 am
Could you please post it's original size? It's hard to edit for me  :P

Offline Sqorgar

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #15 on: September 27, 2006, 03:19:43 am


Thought you guys might like to see the progression of this particular isometric base (the other ones have been... worse). The one in purple is the newest version, with a few of the examples and tips thrown in. The biggest difference is the eyes (thanks Gil!), and... well, I decided the only way I was going to get boat-foot to work was if I shaded the hell out of it. Maybe blurry is the only way to make clubbed feet outline to work. Three colors of gray, just because two just didn't work well enough to hide my shame. I feel like he's getting really close to a workable base, and if you compare him to my starting point, it's like I almost grew talent or something.

Oh, and he's wearing a purple speed suit now because, hey, let's face it, red was so last week...

Edit: Oh yeah. I posted them at 1x resolution. I don't normally do that since I've had problems in the past with people "adopting" my art and they are just easier to catch because they don't usually think to size it back down before editing it. But nobody here would do that, I would hope.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2006, 03:21:29 am by Sqorgar »

Offline CrumbBread

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #16 on: September 27, 2006, 03:34:32 am
It is a very fine base =)

If you don't feel like you've gotten enough of a drubbing yet, I'll throw my hat into the ring: the shading (on the zombie in particular) does two things very well. It removes the pleasure of crisp lines and clean solid colors, without adding the pleasure of volume or texture.

As a base it's delightful, though =)

Offline Froli

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #17 on: September 27, 2006, 04:04:52 am
How about this little edit on the feet?

Offline Helm

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #18 on: September 27, 2006, 05:24:54 am
First of all sorry this post won't have any direct critique.

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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.

I understand you plan to use those in a webcomic? I can see the point of simple clean design for such an endeavour if you're going to be cranking out new pages rapidly, although I'm still watining for someone that will do his sprite comic with degree of technical sophistication that Moebius or Pazienza do their real-life comics. Lots of shading, all the pixel-art tricks. If it's going to be a pixel comic, might as well, no? The closest we got to that was a comic Scuba Steve was making if I remember correctly.

You are making a mistake in thinking the public record is anything on you here, as only few of the older users remember you, a Modest Destiny or the sprite art/pixel art controversy that occured around you. For most people here you're a new user, so it might be prudent to not call on the past 'record'.

Also, if you say you care about your pixel art so much, it really keeps bad company. You place sprites next to blur effects, lens flares, gradients and filters. What does it tell about your belief in pixel art if you don't try to do your effects and lighting with pixels? As I remember, there was the huge thing about this being a pixel art comic and not just a sprite comic, but for such a hard stance that created so much trouble (and I was, and still am with you on that one, if you remember I went to that comic board and posted in your - and the facts' - defense) your old comic had a startingly odd ratio of pixel art to photoshop filter.

All this leads to: less talking, more doing. If you really love and care for your pixel art, let it flourish under daring and risky attention I am sure you can provide for it.

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because I'm not an artistic type of guy.

I'm sorry to drag this out, and I've already agreed to disagree, but that's a cop-out, I think. You might feel you lack innate talent, but if I think you can certainly be much more adventurous with your designs. You might succeed, you might fail, but at least you'll be trying new things. And people (your potential readers) enjoy daring art, innovation, just as much as they enjoy consistency and good storytelling.

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is that so wrong? :)

Certainly not!

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but most non-artists actually tend to like it quite a bit.

But then again, non-artists liked bob and george, and what would we say to the creator of bob and george if he posted his edited art here for critique? There'll always be people to like what you do, no matter its' faults, just as long as you do it long enough, and consistently enough, like you have. This doesn't mean you should be content with it, in my opinion. It's such a sheltered point of view for someone to go 'if it works, don't push it'. Of course, you're free to have that opinion, but I had to say there's an opposite way just for uh... the public record?

Offline Sqorgar

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Re: Isometric characters (wip)

Reply #19 on: September 27, 2006, 07:36:52 am
I understand you plan to use those in a webcomic? I can see the point of simple clean design for such an endeavour if you're going to be cranking out new pages rapidly, although I'm still watining for someone that will do his sprite comic with degree of technical sophistication that Moebius or Pazienza do their real-life comics. Lots of shading, all the pixel-art tricks. If it's going to be a pixel comic, might as well, no? The closest we got to that was a comic Scuba Steve was making if I remember correctly.
Well, I'll just chalk this up to another person not liking my comic. Don't worry. You are by no means alone. I don't think technical adeptness is everything though. That's the problem with artists. They only want to see better art...

And no, my plans are not to use these in a webcomic. That has considerably different requirements. For one, all the backgrounds, as someone pointed out earlier, would all be floors.

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You are making a mistake in thinking the public record is anything on you here, as only few of the older users remember you, a Modest Destiny or the sprite art/pixel art controversy that occured around you. For most people here you're a new user, so it might be prudent to not call on the past 'record'.
Several people in this thread have recognized me (even though I made no distinct mention of who I was initially), so I don't think I was crossing any lines by assuming that it is common knowledge to at least some of the population of this board.

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Also, if you say you care about your pixel art so much, it really keeps bad company. You place sprites next to blur effects, lens flares, gradients and filters.
Well, I've never used a lens flare in my life, so I'm not sure where you are getting that from, but yes I do.  I'm more than a little curious what your point is here. Are you attacking my claim as a pixel artist, or perhaps calling my talent out for a duel or something?

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What does it tell about your belief in pixel art if you don't try to do your effects and lighting with pixels?
That it... differs from yours? To me, putting sprites against a 3D background, like in Final Fantasy Tactics, and lighting them with vertex lighting doesn't change their status from pixel art to something else.  I will be the first to admit that my comic is not completely pixel art, but pixel art is a really damn large part of what I do. And I am passionate about it, regardless of whether you think I've earned the right to be.

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As I remember, there was the huge thing about this being a pixel art comic and not just a sprite comic, but for such a hard stance that created so much trouble (and I was, and still am with you on that one, if you remember I went to that comic board and posted in your - and the facts' - defense) your old comic had a startingly odd ratio of pixel art to photoshop filter.
Your problem is that you separate the two. It's all just a tool for expression, and if some tools work better than others, I'd be a fool to ignore that over some warped elitist ideal. 98% of my time spent making the comic is in perfecting the pixel art, of which there is a significant amount. I'm talking literally thousands of different characters and poses, and dozens, if not hundreds, of pixel art backgrounds. If I use a few gradiants and filters, believe me, the ratio of pixel art to filter is still overwhelmingly imbalanced in favor of pixel art. I can sleep at night, not because I have peace of mind, but because it took two hours to make a comic instead of four.

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All this leads to: less talking, more doing. If you really love and care for your pixel art, let it flourish under daring and risky attention I am sure you can provide for it.
I take plenty of risks. You just don't agree with any of them.

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But then again, non-artists liked bob and george, and what would we say to the creator of bob and george if he posted his edited art here for critique? There'll always be people to like what you do, no matter its' faults, just as long as you do it long enough, and consistently enough, like you have. This doesn't mean you should be content with it, in my opinion. It's such a sheltered point of view for someone to go 'if it works, don't push it'. Of course, you're free to have that opinion, but I had to say there's an opposite way just for uh... the public record?
Okay, first, you know why people like Bob and George? Because the Mega Man sprites have a sense of life and charm to them. The fact that they are edits doesn't diminish that original quality. If the Bob and George guy posted his comics here, you'd rip him a new one - but only because it's not his art to take credit for, not because the art is terrible. It's that life and charm that people react to, and you don't have to be an artist to find something to emote to. In fact, it usually helps not to be an artist, since artists get so bent out of shape staring at brush strokes, they miss the humanity innate in the image... or worse, think it's there because of the quality of brush stroke. Arists miss the Art for the art.

Second, I'm by no means content with my artwork. I posted here because I couldn't get a damn shoe to look right. What followed was an almost surreal experience of me having to defend my stylistic preferences. Just because I'm not content doesn't mean there aren't things I know I wouldn't like. I've done high contrast shading in the past. I don't need to go down that road a second time to learn it's not what I want. I have priorities of which areas I want to improve in the most, and color choice isn't one of them. One of them, actually, is getting a half way decent isometric base after years of trying - and despite repeated hints dropped about my dissatisfaction with the shoes, the only thing I hear is about shading - which I didn't ask for help on. I half wish I had just posted the line art without any coloring at all, since that's what I wanted opinions on. Hell, I'm now starting to wish I only posted the shoes.