AuthorTopic: critique on pixel art  (Read 1495 times)

Offline Melodee

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critique on pixel art

on: September 14, 2017, 11:25:13 am
hello guys! i am trying to practice in pixel art - again. feedback is welcome, but please don't go and say "remove the pillow shading" or "you still going on with that pillow shading?" because this is not helpful (i mention this since i got comments like this on a facebook group). please tell me exactly what should be changed in this pixel art. be specific, instead of "the shading looks terrible" here is an example of what is HIGHLY appreciated: "the arms look too long. i think you should shorten them up a bit", or "the shading on the hair is too dark, maybe you should give it a lighter colour", or "maybe you should try to bring less contrast in your colours". those are just examples of course! but i hope you guys know what i mean with "specific" now.
also, i would love to know what DOES look good. if there is anything, of course.

i think this one i recently made looks good (if you have ideas of how to improve it though, i would love to know):

but this one i am not satisfied with:


i really did my best on it but i have no clue how to improve it!!

also i have been trying to improve this one:

if you guys have any advice on it it would be nice to know. especially the shading on the hair im not sure about.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 12:37:30 pm by Melodee »

Offline EduardoPras

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 03:16:40 pm
Hello Melodee,

I understand your frustation, Facebook is a really bad place to get consistent critiques.
Fortunately, here I've found some pretty cool people here and great feedback so i think you've come to the right place.

I'll try to explain a bit how I would approach this pixelart.
To be honest it was quite a challenge since it is pretty different of what I am used.

Let me start by pointing some things I think you've done quite well.
-You were very careful with your lines, for the most part they have good shapes.
-The eyes are very good and have a nice feel to it.
-You hue shifted everyting, even if it was really small offset sometimes.

Now for the things i would do in a different fashion.
-You haven't decided on your outlines, are you going to sel out? Outline everything? You have to make a decision to keep consistency.
-The skirt is so white that it stands out a lot, it could be emanating light such is the difference to everything else.
-You must think of the forms as 3D objects, think about where light hits first and then decay it.
-Objects cast shadows on themselves, use it to make shapes more interesting.
-The hair is really complex, i suggest you simplify it. It is feasible but it demands more time than i had so i simplified it a bit.
-Try to avoid banding you can do that by making bigger pixel clusters.
-Try to push highlights away from the edges and into the form(If lighting permits so)
-Keep consistent to your light source after defining it.
-Also removed that mark from the nose, it is cute but I could not make sense of its lighting.

Here are some notes I've made:

And here is a paintover to show you how i would have done it:


Hope it helps you a bit.
Keep it up!

Offline yrizoud

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 03:25:03 pm
also, i would love to know what DOES look good. if there is anything, of course.
Just so you know, this community is mostly about helping and improving, so usually people don't comment on what is already fine, and can't be improved. Lack of comments about something *never* means it is without merits, it's the opposite.
But since you're unsure, I can say you did an impressive job on the first one's curls and the vest's opening. On the second one, your usage of a single-pixel-wide line to emphasize the separation of two dark parts of the hair is also something that few people attempt, as it's difficult to get right - and you did there.
Note that on this forum, you can click and shift-click all embedded images to change zoom level.

I suppose you received critics of "pillow shading" and don't really see how to take them into account, so I'll try to give specific help about it : The general rule is that surfaces that are facing the light source should appear lighter than surfaces at a sharp angle (or away from it).
The difference should be made very strong on reflective materials like chrome and latex, but much reduced on materials like cloth or fur that scatter light.
For your characters, hair should convey lighting a lot, skin much less so, and clothes nearly not.
For a character sporting a fringe, I would first start with a big bean-shaped highlight over the (hidden) forehead.
I'm thinking of a shape like the central highlight on this apple :
http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/stepbystepdrawinglessons/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/step-106.png
It's visible even on an actual photograph of a real-life person (it gets cut where the fringe parts, and resumes on the other side) :
http://cache.cosmopolitan.fr/data/photo/w1000_c17/4h/frange-longue.jpg

Actually I made an edit to illustrate:

In each color range, I mostly reserved the lightest for the highlighted part.
I simplified the hair to focus on how it catches light.
The buns are an excellent opportunity to shade them as if they were spheres.
Lower part of arms darker than upper parts (recessed)
Highlights on shoulders (2x2 pixel)
Higlights on lower thigh/knee (2x3 pixel), contrasting with the lower leg.
Note that convex shapes work best as highlights, and at extremely small pixel sizes you can fall back on squares/rectangles, in the viewer's eye it will still be perceived as an ellipsoid.

The following changes are more experimental, I'm not sure if I did more good than harm :
Highlighting the cheeks rather than the eye-level. I'm really not sure it's a better result (or approach), as I'm really not used to drawing chibis, or even anime in general. The lesson here is that it's very hard drawing something if you don't know its actual 3D volume.
I amplified the bosom to show how it can be shaded : upper half lighter (if it wasn't already very light), lower half darker. It conveys how the upper half is facing the light, and the lower half is facing away from it. It's not the same thing as cast shadow.
I thinned the dark separation of jaw, because I felt it didn't need to be so thick and emphasized..

Offline Melodee

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 04:23:50 pm
hello guys! i would like to thank both of you for your advice, it is really useful! i am going to try something with the characters and post it here again when i finished. and also thanks a lot for telling me what was good about the character! it motivated me and also it was useful for me to know because then i know i should keep this up!

The following changes are more experimental, I'm not sure if I did more good than harm :
Highlighting the cheeks rather than the eye-level.

i actually think it looks a lot better like that! your whole style reminds me a little of a pokémon for some reason. i don't know why tho. pokémon sprites are usually really small.

Offline Melodee

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 05:17:42 pm
okay so: i had the pictures next to the original ones and fused the ideas a little and gave it a few of my own tweaks. i also redrew it pixel by pixel, i am not sure if this actually helped me learning but it's worth a shot XDD i think i did, because it forced me to take a closer look at every edit you guys did.

i wondered if i did good with the fusion and new tweaks, if you think i messed up please tell me XDD


also, i was wondering if i could use the new version as profile picture and put it on my deviantart if i give you guys credit for helping? if so, how should i call you guys?

edit: i also wanted to tell you guys what i really liked about your edits.

for EduardoPras, i liked the colors of the hair and how you simplified the curls. i also liked what you did with the bottom skirt: it looks like some kind of fold is in there which reminds me of some kind of old fashioned male clothes. some piece of clothing i actually used to wear myself XDD i really like it!

for yrizoud, i liked the shading of the buns and middle part of the hair, and what you did with the cheeks and the legs is also really nice! i also liked the limited amount of shading on the neck. but the colors of the shading lacked contrast so i changed that.

probably you guys already saw that in the fusion i made but XDD just wanted to tell you.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 05:34:19 pm by Melodee »

Offline EduardoPras

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #5 on: September 14, 2017, 09:47:03 pm
Hey! It is nice to see your follow up.
I think it is a nice upgrade on the previous version.

I am glad I could help you a bit.

Don't sweat about attribution, this is your work. You can use it freely, we just gave you some tips.

Keep on pushing!

Offline Decroded

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #6 on: September 16, 2017, 11:15:27 am
sorry i got a distracted and deviated from ur character but maybe you'll find something useful regardless

Offline Melodee

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 12:59:05 pm
OMG this looks so pretty!! really well done!

Offline Decroded

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Re: critique on pixel art

Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 11:34:20 pm
Hey Melodee, let me ask you something.
In ur last version, where is ur light source?
It would be a good exercise to post it again on a larger canvas and draw a circle with an arrow to represent the sun/light angle.
I'd say do that without editing the sprite.
Then we can work on ur shading.