AuthorTopic: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)  (Read 1411 times)

Offline knarf

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Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

on: September 23, 2017, 02:34:59 pm
Hello everyone o/,
It's been a while but I remember having really great feedback here so here we go again...

I'm working on a game I've released once for Ldjam and once 50 days later to the Finish that remake jam. Now I have a slight hope about finishing the game (I'm barely never finishing my games projects...).
It's called Parodianus 2, and it's a kind of "tribute" to Gradius/Parodius games.
I would like to have feedback on the game's pixel art, and try to improve it piece by piece.
Questions :
Is it a good idea to open a single thread, then add new sprites one by one, so I could manage to work on improvement ? or
Should I start a new post for each sprite I want to improve, as "art dump" is not encouraged, but knowing it's part of a main project ?
I think I know that the second option is privilegied but I prefer to ask :)


So here is a chick in a turret to start with. Ingame it's not animated, just "aiming" at the player. I also tried a first revision while writing this. I tried to play a bit with shining and shadows, but i'm not even sure to respect every common pixel art "rules" :)
I think I'm having some issues with the alpha layer and gif, using pro-motion, so I tried the "neutral grey" background thing :)


revision 1 :


Cheers !
« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 02:38:19 pm by knarf »

Offline astraldata

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Re: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 11:13:47 pm
Firstly, yes, it's best to do one thread per sprite, but if you want critique on a LOT of sprites, consider that you'd get better feedback if you take the advice given for two or three of the sprites you're having trouble with and apply that to ALL of your other sprites.

Very rarely will we need to see more than 3-5 of your sprites to get a sense about where you're going wrong.

On the other hand, if you want to simply show them off, you can do an art dump thread, but don't expect to get any meaningful feedback outside of "wow. nice. looks pretty neat" or "that reminds me of Chrono Trigger" or something of the like. As said before, if you want meaningful feedback, you need to give no more than about 3-5 sprites per thread.

This is a good start here, and as you add more sprites, feel free to post them in subsequent replies to this post. People here generally only want to help those who are genuinely trying to improve, and to be that guy, you have to post updates so we can see how you're doing.

---

C+C

The little guy in the Turret doesn't come across as a chicken to me, but if you overlapped his wings to the rim of the turret, maybe we could see his 'beak' a bit better and he'll read more like a chicken.

Also the shading moves around a lot. The barrel of the gun looks fine, but you'd be better off keeping the shadows static on the left hand side of the turret's shadow for as long as possible. You also could do with making the "hole" look more circular or oval when the turret turns.

The top of the chicken's head has the shading change when it turns all the way to (our) left for a couple of frames.

If you're not using Graphics Gale to do these, you probably should. They have a nice onion-skin feature that works for color too, and you can use your middle-mouse wheel to scroll between frames to see the consistency of the shading as you flip through. The key is, don't make the shading move when you don't absolutely have to -- it doesn't read as well otherwise.

The only other weird issue is the vertical line on (our) left doesn't turn with the right kind of spacing from the barrel of the gun. You'll need to shift it over a pixel or two to the left a frame sooner possibly too. It'll have to go all the way to the left outer-most line almost.

Oh, and one final (but MAJOR) thing here is that the highlighted metal is near-invisible to the naked eye. After zooming in, I can suddenly sort of see it. That should be closer to white, or at least some color that contrasts with the shading and highlight on the left side of the turret. It needs to be visible at the very least. You can make the shadow just around its edges a LOT darker if you need to if you want to keep the metal sheen the same color it is now (which might look even better than making it nearer to white actually). Try it out. See what you think.
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Offline knarf

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Re: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

Reply #2 on: September 24, 2017, 09:58:52 am
Hello !
Thanks a lot for this great answer :)
I realized too late the right place for my post could simply have been the devlog place but i'm not super confident about making a solid one so let's continue as it started for now :]
I'm slow when drawing pixel art, posting new sprites only with updates of previous ones may fits my need and skills so I'm not overwhelmed.
A few things about the color palette : I originally try to use the NES color palette to keep it simple during jams but since I added some color ramps to shade stuff easily and make it a bit more colorful.
Now regarding the turret, I tried your workarounds :
- I draw wings out of the turret
- I tried to reduce the shading moves as much as I could(I consider myself quite un skilled about this)
- I tried to unify the top of the head's shader on all frames
- I slightly modified the 2 vertical line so they move to the edges
- I darkened a little bit more the one of the two bright greys very close to each other.
So it looks like that now :


Great :]

Now here is the flying one :

The animation is not really accurate but it makes him look cartoonish and fat, I think I like it anyway. Ingame it moves in slow sin waves.

Cheers !

Offline astraldata

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Re: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

Reply #3 on: September 24, 2017, 06:50:11 pm
Much more 3D looking with the highlight and the consistent shading. -- Remember, light doesn't move around that often in real life, and with pixels, all you're doing is simulating where the light falls and how it reflects or diffuses. The key term there is "reflects" because that's what you're simulating with pixels. It will either reflect fully or break apart across the surface (scattering like lots of tiny ball-bearings).

The only difference with pixels vs. real life or a 3D program is that you have an additional job as an artist:

Make it *read* well.

So keep in mind that there are planes on the body of your subjects -- they are 3D forms -- and the light hits some of these areas more directly than others. In the places where the light doesn't hit directly, unlike in a 3D program or reality, you can play with the highlights and shadows to give it the kind of "read" you want it to have so that it comes across better to others.

In your turret animation, there is a LOT of detail around the mouth (too much for that fast of an animation), and because the turret crosses that area, there's way too much happening there as it passes. You'd be better off putting ALL of that area of the face in light or shadow just below the beak and ignore any details there.

You need to think ahead at the entire animation when you're animating something complex like this -- especially at this resolution -- because when forms overlap, you can have lots of confusing stuff going on that the eye can't read when there are too many details happening in the same place.

The only other thing I could mention about the animation is the pupils appear to translate into the top of the beak, passing them (the pixels) on to the other eye (remember the part where I said to think ahead?) so that the pupil doesn't read as a pupil but instead as a shifting blob of dark moving across the entire face. You could lighten the top of the beak's outline a lot (use the same color as the eyebrows on the top of the beak) and this would fix it. The problem is that the pixels are TOO close to the same luminosity (no matter if their HUE is different, the luminosity trumps hue everytime in terms of readability.)

Lastly, remember to vary your color choices -- the highlights across the metal surface should be tinted with the same color as the light in the scene. Most people use yellow tints, but you can vary it up with red or purple or really anything -- but the key is to NEVER use solid grays unless you need them to stand in and absorb the colors from nearby hues (essentially acting as a stand-in shade when you need it to be that level of luminosity for multiple color hues -- great trick btw!)

I really like the fat chick animation, but it looks like it's hopping and waddling more than flying. You can actually fix this by simply making the wing sharper at the point in the animation where it's midway and entirely down, making the upward curve toward the tip of the wing at the point where the wing lifts fully actually oppose itself when it goes down.

The fat effect comes from the belly being pushed forward when its body lands, but in fact, that's precisely where the wing should push forward and come to a point opposing the downward momentum (the eye reads the belly as it expects to read the wing, and therefore it comes off as acceptable even though the brain knows there's something wrong... weird how this stuff works, isn't it? lol)

That's all I've got for now. Nice improvements though man! Keep it up! :)
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Offline knarf

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Re: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 11:51:38 pm
Hi there !
Thanks a lot for advices, glad you like the fat chick :)
I tried make the turret one round fat and bouncy, and also outline the eyes/beak ; once again it's not mean to be animated, just following the player's direction, so the player may have a bit more time to "see" details of the beak (but it's hard to draw a such tiny beak !)
Also I tried to make to work on the flying chick, I'm not sure I understood everything you told me but I was also somehow inspired by Saint11 tutorial. I added the second wing in background and Y movement ;


Also I'm working on a Brain that I'll use as a Boss :

Hope you'll like it, and thanks for feedback ! :)
Cheers !


Offline Joe

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Re: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 10:11:16 am
Hi Knarf,

The first thing I noticed when I opened your strip in GG was that the middle frame is off center. I began by centering that frame. I consolidated and spread out your colors more evenly so that they can each imply a larger range of colors and values. Then I set about shifting the top and bottoms of the cannon, connecting them, shifting the greeble lines, and making sure everything rotated well. Then I clean up and move to the next frame. Then for the right side I just mirrored the frames and corrected the shading.

I also made sure the cannon rotates evenly. The left side has ten pixels to travel before it reaches the edge, so the in-between frame shifts it by five pixels. For the head, arms, and body, imagine parallax—how things farther away appear to move slower. So there doesn't have to be much shifting to show this chick is indeed turning. And the pupils need not even move—their relationship to the beak is sufficient. Subtle details like this and their solutions will vary from animation to animation. What helps is to remember what has worked for you, study other's solutions to similar problems, and experiment.

The eyes and beak are tricky, I know. Study what works. If you're dissatisfied come up with variations, and with practice you'll get a feel for what looks right.



I will also second what Astraldata said, make it read well. Hopefully this will help show you what that looks like.

Offline knarf

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Re: Game's sprite -[CC] - (Parodianus 2-horizontal shmup)

Reply #6 on: September 29, 2017, 11:42:53 am
Wow that's looking great, thank you !:) I think I have a better understanding what you may call "readable" with your sprite;  I'll give another try when i'll have a few time to do this :p Thank you ! This is gonna be hard to bring something such as nice and smooth !