AuthorTopic: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?  (Read 3913 times)

Offline QueenSkadi

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Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

on: January 20, 2017, 12:32:53 pm
So yeah trying to make a decent looking tileset for a game but everything just seems kind of off.



Does anyone have any good tips and tricks for achieving good looking grass, ground and cliff tiles?

Offline QueenSkadi

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 12:38:48 pm
Also if anyone can post some examples of good RPG tilesets done right it would be a huge help.

Offline Ma3vis

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 01:51:27 pm

I do believe that FF6 is always a celebrated favorite to aspire towards:

https://www.spriters-resource.com/resources/sheets/52/54728.png




But no one is expecting these grand accomplishments to be imitated now, just considered.

Personally speaking, as someone starting out it's easier to either start with smaller resolutions for detailed work
Or sacrifice the use of details in larger resolutions -- in trade for a more cartoonish style

Take Mother 3 for example:




While M3 (cartoony) and FF6 (serious) are opposite sides of the spectrum, both are acceptable options for inspiration

You use a 32x32 tileset -- so does the game Aquatis over on SphereDev



This style would be a goal that is relatable to your current tile set, as it sacrifices detail for a more cartoony style

You'll notice the mountains in their tileset aren't highlighted or cutout with dark lines
Rather suggested with the contrast from different shades of grey

Their use of snow is a plain white tile
They use spare tiles of light greyish curves to suggest that the plain white is also snow

Sometimes less is more, in other words

Offline QueenSkadi

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #3 on: January 21, 2017, 10:32:01 am
Ah thanks for the advice, one thing I would like to ask is what is a good size for each tile? Personally I have just been going with 32x32 at a 2x zoom because as far as I can tell it seems to be the standard.

Offline Ma3vis

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #4 on: January 21, 2017, 11:34:27 am
Honestly it depends on the style you're hoping to use or imitate
Or what you are more comfortable with in terms of "artistic vision"

Most pixel artists refer to console gaming generations for standard measurements

* For the PSX generation, the average was 32x32 tileset at a 320x240 resolution

* For the SNES generation, the average was a 256 x 240 resolution with variation in tileset sizes

* For the GB generation, the average was 16x16 tileset at a 160x144 resolution

I think modern pixel art games run on a native 640x480 resolution with either 32x32 or 64x64 tilesets then upscale to 1080

But personally I have a tendency to work with a 16x16 tilset because that's what I am comfortable with
Some people find that the higher resolutions are easier because they aren't bound by constraints as much
Therefore higher resolutions I think are easier for those who paint, while smaller resolutions are for those who dither

In each console generation there's also a color palette association to take in consideration
Which is defined by their frequency, console limitations and commonplace during each era
There's numerous threads on color theory based on this within the forums

For example, some folks might feel more comfortable starting out with a Gameboy color palette
As it uses 8-bit limited color palette which might help with learning to shade and when to use certain colors

As a side anecdotal -- cinematographers in hollywood like to strip down their movies to a black and white color palette
This helps them balance the use of tone and contrast in their film
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 11:48:33 am by Ma3vis »

Offline QueenSkadi

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 10:36:58 pm
Ok I think my cliffs are looking a little better



I tried relying less on the dark lines to highlight the crevices in the cliffside (though admittedly there is still a bit of that going on) and tried relying on shading more to give it a little more volume as well as trying to take into consideration more where the light is coming from. Also tried to dither the colours more for a better transition between colours.

Is there anything anyone can point out that could be improved?

Offline Swifty

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 10:07:27 am
I did a bit of a quick edit/redo of your image:


One thing I noticed with your latest rock wall is that it feels pretty flat. The light is sort of casting from the top right, but the way it's shaded makes everything feel rounded and smooth.

What I aimed for with my edit was to create some flat planes for the light to hit and then used the line colour along with the primary shadow to create depth at the base of the rocks, making them sit in behind the rocks below them.

The other thing I did was to angle the rocks slightly down into a V shape as you can see here:


This is also to create an illusion of the rocks sitting above the lower ones.

I didn't use any dithering as I feel rocks can be angular and rough enough without needing a smoother transitions between shades. Instead I focused more on interesting pixel clusters to create the rock shapes.

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 07:26:27 pm
I just stumbled upon a tweeted picture that just illustrates what I wanted to say on the topic

- the balance of colors is important. ocres vs de-saturated greens work well. purple-tinted shadows work also well to suggest a fantasy setting.
- the texture of the grass is implied, rather than painted over the whole picture. That makes the whole less noisy and allows to use contrast density to separate navigable areas (flat ground) and non-navigable areas (textured walls/trees).
- by implied, I mean that you spot the grass texture on the shadow/light transitions on the ground.
- individual items (rocks within a pile, bush within an understory) use no art line. shadows and highlight sculpt shapes and this is all we need.
- tiles frontier are made organic, so that you can have more natural-looking environments, rather than using straight lines.

HTH.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 07:32:00 pm by PypeBros »

Offline yaomon17

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 08:58:08 pm
I just stumbled upon a tweeted picture that just illustrates what I wanted to say on the topic

- the balance of colors is important. ocres vs de-saturated greens work well. purple-tinted shadows work also well to suggest a fantasy setting.
- the texture of the grass is implied, rather than painted over the whole picture. That makes the whole less noisy and allows to use contrast density to separate navigable areas (flat ground) and non-navigable areas (textured walls/trees).
- by implied, I mean that you spot the grass texture on the shadow/light transitions on the ground.
- individual items (rocks within a pile, bush within an understory) use no art line. shadows and highlight sculpt shapes and this is all we need.
- tiles frontier are made organic, so that you can have more natural-looking environments, rather than using straight lines.

HTH.

By our very own http://pixelation.org/index.php?action=profile;u=45892 <3



-


My personal gripe is the noisy grass. It CAN work, if you have highly detailed sprites as well. From what I've seen, it most often works in 3d models that have been rendered into frames of sprites with some color reduction shaders applied rather than hand pixeled stuff. If you plan on having large-ish detailed characters, it will be fine, otherwise, there might be a mismatch in style.

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Techniques and tricks for good looking tilesets?

Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 09:32:07 pm
sure, increased noise in the grass can work. Imho, however, it is very hard to get it right for non-professionals. You will very easily distract from what matters, use too much colors or too much contrast, or make it look too artificial, or too repetitive.

The other thing is that, at some distance, the hues and shades of grass tends to blend. much like the cement between bricks do blend. You can decide that you want to keep as close as photographic rendition as your resolution/color depth allow, but from what I have observed for game art these last years, I have been amazed that a lone tile that shows a few bricks that stick out (e.g. because they are out of alignment and cast bigger shadow) in an otherwise plain color is a much more effective way to make player feel like there is a wall behind him than fine-grained texturing. It is not the only way to go, but an interesting way to go, which imho would be easier to follow for novices and often overlooked.

HTH.