AuthorTopic: [WIP] NPC dances for my opening sequence  (Read 1731 times)

Offline Chironyx

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[WIP] NPC dances for my opening sequence

on: September 24, 2017, 06:59:49 pm
I'm making an opening sequence for my game, about 1-3 NPCs will be displayed onscreen each time the melody replays , dancing.
Here are the animated NPCs, 8 frames each:



Here is the the part of the track where they appear:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s1caiHwv4JE7

To line it up, you're supposed to hear a beat whenever the top left circle is either blue or red =]

What do you guys think about them? would love to hear any sort of thoughts!

Offline astraldata

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Re: [WIP] NPC dances for my opening sequence

Reply #1 on: September 24, 2017, 08:24:09 pm
Lol, this is fun stuff. The art itself needs some work, but the concept is sound, and even the weird (verging on creepy) looking faces have a lot of charm still, despite the huge eyes.

There is a lot wrong with the color choice, lighting, and (as said before) the unnaturally large eyes that are almost too big to fit in the skull, and it's hard to know where to start, but I guess I'll start with the animation.

As far as the animation goes, it's actually very charming and well done. There's not a lot to say about it as most of the error comes from pixel technique and color choices/usage than the animation or movement of the pixels themselves, so great job on that!

I won't mention the eyes anymore because it's already been established why they're creepy (skull size / huge dilated pupils) but do consider enlarging the skull to suit the eyes better, or at least adding ears and a little more height to the hair on top of the heads if you want to keep the eye detail. Most skulls have the eye sitting at midway from the top of the head, and hair adds more volume to even that, so keep this in mind, as it will be pretty jarring to others to look at without this rule being followed.

The second thing I need to address, but possibly the most important, is color choice.

If you've looked at any of my recent posts in this section, I've mentioned that pixels represent the "reflection" of light and the diffuse scattering (like super-tiny marbles or ball-bearings) bouncing around across the surface of a 3D object. Some hit and others bounce off, and the further away you get from the center-mass of impact, the more scattering (diffuse) bouncing occurs to the point where no light reflects at all (shadow).

Note that shadow is highly contrast to light intensity, so the brighter a color (luminosity), the more contrast you need in the shadow area to offset the intensity for it to look natural.

That being said, you have WAY too little contrast between your light and shadows. Be sure to increase the distance between these shades a LOT more than you have already. You have way too many colors there that contribute next to nothing to the 3D form due to them lacking contrast, and 3D form is key, so without contrast, you cannot have 3D form.

The final thing to consider is that, since you're representing LIGHT and since every light usually has a "color" or tint to it, you should keep in mind that color when picking your colors and remember to tint them heavily depending on how intense that light is against those colors. If you think you've pushed it too far, push it farther just to be sure, but the key is to be sure to pick a hue that is not what you THINK it should be, but instead is what it actually *should* be in relation to the light's color. Also don't forget about shadows -- they have ambient light, and that ambient light has color too. In most cases, it's the color of the sky instead of the light source (i.e. the yellow sun, and the blue sky are your light/shadow colors, respectively, in an outside scene).

That should get you started.

I apologize if I sounded harsh, but hopefully you'll pick up a few useful things from this. :)
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Offline Chironyx

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Re: [WIP] NPC dances for my opening sequence

Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 01:53:47 pm
Lol, this is fun stuff. The art itself needs some work, but the concept is sound, and even the weird (verging on creepy) looking faces have a lot of charm still, despite the huge eyes.

There is a lot wrong with the color choice, lighting, and (as said before) the unnaturally large eyes that are almost too big to fit in the skull, and it's hard to know where to start, but I guess I'll start with the animation.

As far as the animation goes, it's actually very charming and well done. There's not a lot to say about it as most of the error comes from pixel technique and color choices/usage than the animation or movement of the pixels themselves, so great job on that!

I won't mention the eyes anymore because it's already been established why they're creepy (skull size / huge dilated pupils) but do consider enlarging the skull to suit the eyes better, or at least adding ears and a little more height to the hair on top of the heads if you want to keep the eye detail. Most skulls have the eye sitting at midway from the top of the head, and hair adds more volume to even that, so keep this in mind, as it will be pretty jarring to others to look at without this rule being followed.

The second thing I need to address, but possibly the most important, is color choice.

If you've looked at any of my recent posts in this section, I've mentioned that pixels represent the "reflection" of light and the diffuse scattering (like super-tiny marbles or ball-bearings) bouncing around across the surface of a 3D object. Some hit and others bounce off, and the further away you get from the center-mass of impact, the more scattering (diffuse) bouncing occurs to the point where no light reflects at all (shadow).

Note that shadow is highly contrast to light intensity, so the brighter a color (luminosity), the more contrast you need in the shadow area to offset the intensity for it to look natural.

That being said, you have WAY too little contrast between your light and shadows. Be sure to increase the distance between these shades a LOT more than you have already. You have way too many colors there that contribute next to nothing to the 3D form due to them lacking contrast, and 3D form is key, so without contrast, you cannot have 3D form.

The final thing to consider is that, since you're representing LIGHT and since every light usually has a "color" or tint to it, you should keep in mind that color when picking your colors and remember to tint them heavily depending on how intense that light is against those colors. If you think you've pushed it too far, push it farther just to be sure, but the key is to be sure to pick a hue that is not what you THINK it should be, but instead is what it actually *should* be in relation to the light's color. Also don't forget about shadows -- they have ambient light, and that ambient light has color too. In most cases, it's the color of the sky instead of the light source (i.e. the yellow sun, and the blue sky are your light/shadow colors, respectively, in an outside scene).

That should get you started.

I apologize if I sounded harsh, but hopefully you'll pick up a few useful things from this. :)

First of all, thank you for taking the time to give me all these notes, I really appreciate it!
I'm glad the animation turned out alright, everytime I work on something for this game, it's pretty much the first time I do that thing, happy to know I can count on my first dancing animations to look nice for the few seconds they appear!

I have actually tried my best to add ears to everyone in this gif, some are less noticeable than other I guess, looking more like a cheek or part of the head perhaps.. I think the ears are the clearest on Lee Chee (pink girl) Abe Ocado (green guy) and the triplets
About the head size, I tried to keep all my characters 32x32-ish, excluding any form of clothing that may be extending their height,
So when it comes to both the ears and the skull size, I wouldn't be too sure what to change, since in my eyes they look fine, so I can't envision the correct fix, and I wouldn't know how to expand them correctly within my limit

Now.. about the eyes
I know that this is probably what bothered you most out of all, but I'm not really too confident about changing them, see,



This is Cider, the main character, same eyes as the rest.
I got alot of help from Marco Vale on this character, it had about 7-8 different versions until I finally settled for this version.
I try to base everyone off of him, because of how much I liked him.
The eyes are big because the characters are stylized rather than realistic, you can take for example the concept of anime eyes,
or the eyes on the known Megaman sprite
I hope I'm not coming off as ungrateful of your advice by choosing it to be this way.. I rarely "ignore" tips I get on my work, but I think I like them better as they are

I have to admit that color is something that I struggled greatly with ever since I started pixeling
Do you have a set method to create a palette, or do you get a feel for it as you improve as an artist?
I've been using hue-shifting for a long while now, and I still feel like I don't do it entirely right, and it seems every pixel artist does it differently!
Here's what happens to me when I try to take Flora Passif and Straw Berry and raise the contrast on their skin:



it looks really strange.. and I have no idea how to do it correctly!
When I hue shift, I use the HSL board, so when I want a darker color for example, I drag the color a set amount to the right (increasing saturation) and a set amount down (decreasing luminosity), and then I shift the hue slightly towards blue
For brighter colors, I do exactly the opposite, and shift the hue towards yellow

Color is the heart of pixelart, and I hate not being able to handle it right...

So basically, my main issue here are the colors I guess, but I'm not sure where to start..

Offline astraldata

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Re: [WIP] NPC dances for my opening sequence

Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 07:41:18 am
The problem with color is that you're emulating light (which has a color I might add) bouncing off a surface. The more intense the light, the more intense (saturated) the color, which means a lot of light is hitting that surface. On the other hand, wherever light does NOT hit, you have less saturation in the shadows simply because there's less light there. The only reason shadows have a blue color (sometimes) is because of ambient light (the color of the blue sky emits light after all, that's why you see it as blue).

So try to do it backwards than you currently are doing it.

Also keep in mind that color shifting is NOT linear -- in other words, there is no "certain amount" that you shift colors toward or away from a hue or saturation level. Every artist does it differently to some extent. The amount you do that depends on your ideal of how "vibrant" or "realistic" you want your art to appear.

Regarding the head/eyes thing...

I mentioned the eyes being creepy because they are unnaturally jarring (uncanny valley-esque), not because they are stylistically bad. It's kind of like what happens when you see a typically-cute anime character without their big hair. If you've never seen that, then don't do 3D modeling...

But that brings me to what I mentioned earlier -- you should consider adding more hair to the top of their head. I know a lot of people do pixel art at first because they're not confident in their drawing abilities, but stuff like that shows when you get "better" at pixel art -- but until then, it sticks out like a sore thumb to *everyone else* and you're completely blind to it until you realize exactly what's causing it one day when you're "better" -- so my advice is, don't discount anyone's thoughts on your work -- *especially* if you feel they're more experienced than you are. Most people won't say anything, and if a person with more experience tells you something about your work, knowing you're new to this, he's usually doing it for your own good -- not his. It's hard to accept criticism on something you've worked hard on and somehow finally settled on a "better" version you can accept, and then someone comes along and tells you it's wrong -- but that's all part of the game. That's the purpose of this forum entirely. I've went through it myself, and so has pretty much any decent artist anywhere. You will be told your deep-held beliefs about your art are wrong and that you're wrong for thinking them (I'm not telling you that here of course, but it happens) but you've got to toughen up and be able to ask "Well, what can I do to improve on this then?" -- because until you hear their suggestions for improvement, and sincerely attempt to implement them, you won't improve, or you will improve VERY slowly. And if you recall, I said your animations, and even your characters, were charming. They just had construction problems in their head area. Besides, just because this is pixel art, it doesn't mean people aren't going to notice when you're struggling with anatomy. That's why I tried to help you out by pointing this out to you.

To get back on topic -- in the case of your "eye" problem, I mentioned previously that you could increase the size of their hair or their forehead area. Your figures don't necessarily need smaller eyes -- they just need a sense of a skull's volume, which they currently lack relative to the size and placement of their eyes. Also, as mentioned before -- eyes sit just below the center of the head, and the skull is shrunk or elongated vertically to keep these proportions from person to person.

Sorry if I came off as rude, but I really hope I'm being helpful. Not trying to hurt anyone's feelings -- just pointing out very valid concerns if you seriously are here to get better.
I'm offering free pixel-art mentorship for promising pixel artists. For details, click here.

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Offline Chironyx

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Re: [WIP] NPC dances for my opening sequence

Reply #4 on: September 30, 2017, 08:26:26 am
The problem with color is that you're emulating light (which has a color I might add) bouncing off a surface. The more intense the light, the more intense (saturated) the color, which means a lot of light is hitting that surface. On the other hand, wherever light does NOT hit, you have less saturation in the shadows simply because there's less light there. The only reason shadows have a blue color (sometimes) is because of ambient light (the color of the blue sky emits light after all, that's why you see it as blue).

So try to do it backwards than you currently are doing it.

Also keep in mind that color shifting is NOT linear -- in other words, there is no "certain amount" that you shift colors toward or away from a hue or saturation level. Every artist does it differently to some extent. The amount you do that depends on your ideal of how "vibrant" or "realistic" you want your art to appear.

Regarding the head/eyes thing...

I mentioned the eyes being creepy because they are unnaturally jarring (uncanny valley-esque), not because they are stylistically bad. It's kind of like what happens when you see a typically-cute anime character without their big hair. If you've never seen that, then don't do 3D modeling...

But that brings me to what I mentioned earlier -- you should consider adding more hair to the top of their head. I know a lot of people do pixel art at first because they're not confident in their drawing abilities, but stuff like that shows when you get "better" at pixel art -- but until then, it sticks out like a sore thumb to *everyone else* and you're completely blind to it until you realize exactly what's causing it one day when you're "better" -- so my advice is, don't discount anyone's thoughts on your work -- *especially* if you feel they're more experienced than you are. Most people won't say anything, and if a person with more experience tells you something about your work, knowing you're new to this, he's usually doing it for your own good -- not his. It's hard to accept criticism on something you've worked hard on and somehow finally settled on a "better" version you can accept, and then someone comes along and tells you it's wrong -- but that's all part of the game. That's the purpose of this forum entirely. I've went through it myself, and so has pretty much any decent artist anywhere. You will be told your deep-held beliefs about your art are wrong and that you're wrong for thinking them (I'm not telling you that here of course, but it happens) but you've got to toughen up and be able to ask "Well, what can I do to improve on this then?" -- because until you hear their suggestions for improvement, and sincerely attempt to implement them, you won't improve, or you will improve VERY slowly. And if you recall, I said your animations, and even your characters, were charming. They just had construction problems in their head area. Besides, just because this is pixel art, it doesn't mean people aren't going to notice when you're struggling with anatomy. That's why I tried to help you out by pointing this out to you.

To get back on topic -- in the case of your "eye" problem, I mentioned previously that you could increase the size of their hair or their forehead area. Your figures don't necessarily need smaller eyes -- they just need a sense of a skull's volume, which they currently lack relative to the size and placement of their eyes. Also, as mentioned before -- eyes sit just below the center of the head, and the skull is shrunk or elongated vertically to keep these proportions from person to person.

Sorry if I came off as rude, but I really hope I'm being helpful. Not trying to hurt anyone's feelings -- just pointing out very valid concerns if you seriously are here to get better.

Delayed answer, since I've been tossing the colors around for the past few days, trying to fix the anatomy and creating various palettes to see what works out, in hope that I'll have a follow-up to post.
I still haven't got any results that look good to me, so I'll keep trying, thank you for the tips!