AuthorTopic: animated heterofibian (frog person) and auto-erotic self-pixelation  (Read 4939 times)

Offline garsh

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Hey guys, this is my first post, so I'll explain myself a little. I was a regular lurker at the Pixelation forum and after several days of scouring google recently for all the guys names I could remember, I somehow happened on a link here. I'm ectstatic you guys are still alive and scurrying around in a new corner of cyber space.

I'm a complete novice at pixeling, really. I can draw with a pencil like gangbusters, although I don't do it nearly as often as I used to. When it comes to digital work, my primary medium has been Mario Paint for SNES (seriously, I did good stuff, man). Other than that I mostly know how to photoshop myself (Paint Shop Pro, technically) into pictures with pretty celebrities.

Okay, now that we're acquainted-like, onto my pixels.

First up I'd like to show you what I've been working on most recently and get some advice before I get too involved with it. There's this little humanoid frog guy intended for a game, or a demo, or whatever I'll call the thing I'll never actually finish. Now I realize he doesn't have much of an outline, and that sits fine with me, as I think it suits the nature of a frog charater to blend into his surroundings. You guys are the geniuses, though, so what do you all think?

It's probably important for me to point out that the walk cycle there was completely utilitarian; thrown together in the matter of about a half hour and not intended as a final result at all. I just needed something for quick control testing so I'd have a way to move him around in a more visibly graceful way between leaps. The jumping animation, incidentally, I'm prety happy with. It looks smooth enough, gets him through the air, and even has a frog-esque pose on the first air-born frame. The tongue-lashing animation is probably a complete waste since I never even planned on him doing that, but when I needed something to stand-in for an "attack" animation when pressing the assigned key, the obvious came to mind. As for a final walk cycle, I'm thinking of something unconventional and kind of a side-to-side waddle to fit the character and his big, floppy, webbed feet.

Comment and Critisize to your heart's content, and be cruel. I want suggestions, advice, someone to do the dirty work for me, a new Internet stalker (a pretty one) and some death threats.

Lastly, I'd like to throw in my little self-portrait sprite which has received no less than 2 out of three disappointing comments in it's short life, and without getting specific about that, I'd like to hear what you guys can say about it.


          ^ me  ;D

Tell me what it looks like to you and what you can't make out and how you interpret it generally.

By the way, as the world's leading pixel art community, you guys need some classier smilies, for real.

Offline Conzeit

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ok, that is some NICE stuff! I think you got a pretty imaginative mind, I specially like your composition, sense of lighting and sense of  depth.

first of all...what resolution( 800x600 ) or/and dot size ratio (30 dots per inch) do you mean these sprites to display in? that should be the first thing you always say whenever you put something up for crits, because if you are working with small pixels you go for simplism and vibrance, whereas with big pixels you could do many subtle things, and fill it up with detail.

let me just say, I think these would work in a resolution where you can tell apart each pixel, because they use some very subtle shades and detai and that's what works at that resolution, although for my taste they should play more with the hues (for example use yellows, greens and blues in a green object, as opposed to just greens).

now, I'll crit the anims a little, I'll expand on this when you tell me what res it's for.

ok, now an advice courtesy of Adam Tirney(TM) dont make every frame evenly spaced from eachother both in pixel-space, and in animation timeline-space, many things in nature and us organic beings specially, accelerate, and de-accelerate a LOT in our movements, so it's a good idea to make the objects move slowly as they start moving, faster as they got impulse, an slower again as they stop. if you help this effect by tweaking frame duration after drawing your anim it is great too.

first, breathing one, I think it is ok for what it is, but if you want to make it funnier you could make the ball in his throat get so big it tweaks the shape of his face and makes him tilt backwards, maybe it could even vibrate a bit in the climax.

second, it's way too still for a walk anim, you need to make his torso bob down when his legs are extended, and up when he's switching the leading leg, even if he is trying not to bob up n' down (in which case it could be just in a sub-pixel).

He is a frog, and frogs dont walk, you should incorporate this somehow into his walk by making it a bit awkward, there are many ways to go about it, and it's way more fun if you come up with your own, than if I tell you how to do it.

the jump, it seems fine, it just really really needs some of that good Adam Teirney(TM) advice, play with that...and aside from that, I think it would be cool if you implied his frog reflexes coming back, and had him make a gesture in the air like he's trying to impulse his jump with his forelegs, as it would be a nice hint towards his hibrid nature.

the tounge....it is well done, but not working very well, dont make him bob up and down just because, it just makes the anim (NOT the character) look silly, when you're gonna start the anim think of what real effect a tounge as large as your torso coming out at blazing speed from your mouth would have on your balance, then think how your character would prepare or/and react for that situation, then animate that mind image. actually,  if you replace the tounge action with whatever action your character will be taking, that is pretty much a good advice for any anim you might want to do.

other than that again it really really needs some of that good Adam Tierney(TM) advice, play around with that concept.

good to see you, and glad you joined, hope to see you post more in the future, and hope you atract some good artists as yourself *thumbs up*.

Offline Peppermint Pig

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Mario Paint <3

I agree with the timing issues Camus brings up. The jump should hang a bit longer, while the other frames move a bit more quickly. Otherwise, these are great. Welcome to the forums, again, and thanks for posting, lurker :P

Offline garsh

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Thanks for the comments you guys, the compliments are encouraging. I didn't expect so much umitigated support, being as I'm in no way a pro.

As for resolution, that's kind of hard to answer. It's meant to work on a small screen, (something in the 256 pixels neighborhood) to be consistent with 16 bit classics. At the same time, though, when I check my programming in real-time, I never bother to change resolution or anything, so I'll probably never see it at anything but 800x600. Ideally, I guess, it would be visible enough at 8x6, but lving up to it's full potential at something something much lower.

Camus, I appreciate all the detailed advice. It's really great to get positive fedback from someone who acknowledges and studies genius the likes of Adam Tierney. I'm very familiar with his work and I admire it maybe more than any other, especially his animation that manages to pack so much character into so few pixels.

In my jumping animation, I'm not sure what you're refering to when you say "impulse". This will probably be only my first in a series of bone-headed pixel-noob questions. I figure it's one of those terms you guys are all familiar that I've just not been exposed to.

I'm well aware most of my frame timing and stuff is a bit off. I tried to just get all the frames hastily dumped into workable animations so I could show all the poses in use here. In the engine I'm running the timing is often very different. For instance, when he jumps, depending on input, he might make a small hop, or leap accross half the screen. Longer jumps result in longer hang time.

Thanks again to both of you for the evaluations and the welcomes.

Offline Conzeit

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eh. actually, that probably was just me translating a word from spanish too literally :p. dont feel like you're some idiot becaue you havent visited forums like these, and....dont be thinking in lines like pro-non pro, like for example...Adam Tirney is a guy who used to come here all the time, he's not some unaccesible god of pixeling or anything that you have to study, not to say that he is any less awesome, but he isnt some mistyfying guy that you seem to making him out to be, when he was around he was very accesible and freindly, making good crits very much like the one I made up there :p. we talk back and forth once in a while :p I was just kind of joking around with the (Tm) thing because he used to throw that same piece of advice back and forth, and I'm a little sad he decided to leave


forget all that crap, just see if what people says makes sense to you, and if it does apply it to your art.

we're all just simple nerds trying to work these packs of squares into looking like something :p having a job doesnt make anyone more right than anyone else, it's how true what you say is what makes you right, you know? belive only your eyes, if someone tells you something, and you just cant see it, you're probably better off not doing it, you'll get it wrong if you do something you dont understand anyway.


uh---sorry if I gave you some sort of elitist impression with my wording...? I dont know, I dont intend to, that's just the way my thoughts come out in words :p (probably why I should stick to drawing heheh)

now on to the crits :p
impulse. hm.....well, in spanish I'm accostumed to using the term "getting impulse" pretty much for anything that has to do with building up a force to translate it into movement of some sort.....I dont know if the word works like that in english.


I guess I just meant building up speed here
I probably should've written
Quote
so it's a good idea to make the objects move slowly as they start moving, faster as they build up speed, an slower again as they stop.


and here, I kinda meant powering his jump here

Quote
I think it would be cool if you implied his frog reflexes coming back, and had him make a gesture in the air like he's trying to power his jump with his forelegs, as it would be a nice hint towards his hibrid nature.

the whole idea there, is that it would be cute if he had an useless reflex of trying to jump with his arms (even they dont touch the ground at all) as kind of a residual part of his frog heritage (since he seems more like a frog evolving ito human than a human evolving into frog)

I totally get what you mean about the diference between these gifs, and the sprites in the engine, it's a completly diferent deal. still I belive extra frames can always be worked in whitout damaging the playability at all, that's part of the challenge in true spriting.

if you want to improve the animation, I reccomend you start out your animation with blank or near blank sillouethes (kinda like my avatar minus the crazy disco effects) once you got the basic motion right( for example the walk itsef), work on the secondary aspects ( all the little doo dads, hair bouncing around, a cape flowing in the wind, etc.) ignoring this is a very very common flaw in spriting. it really makes a world of diference if you work just on the basic motion first, and then think of all the extra bits of detail.

about the res....you probably shouldnt do that :p if you look at stuff real size like that, you might end up looking more at the mind image you have of the pic, rather than the real thing, so you'll notice your mistakes less and less, I think it's best to try to keep the end medium in mind at all times.

Offline garsh

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Thanks for the follow-up, Camus, I was hoping you hadn't forgotten me.

Maybe you don't realize it, but for a newcomer to a forum like this, it's intimidating seeing all first class work. Like I said, I lurked Pixelation for a long time, so I'm familiar with the greats.

You might think I'm putting Adam Tierney on a pedestal, but I'm telling you, he's like the Leonardo to my Scooter the fence painter. To me he IS mystifying! But not so much as my personal favorite pixeler: Kenneth Fejer. I have all his trading cards, the lunch box, (the old one AND the new one) and I stare at a poster of him every night as I drift off to sleep. And then I dream about playing his conceptual Kid Icarus DS.

I appreciate all the general advice. I do tend to brush off critism that I don't feel is condusive to my own intentions for my work.

Your idea about blank sillouettes, oy! Why didn't I think of that? Honestly, I used to use that exact method in Mario Paint. I kid you not. When I was a teenager I had a REALLY smooth velociraptor animation like that. Anyway, it would make my animating a lot quicker, I think, and less effort wasted on details for poses I end up not using.

And about the resolution, I know it's a bad habit, but my old PC makes it inconvenient to do anything else. Luckily I should be replacing it relatively soon.

Thanks again, Camus, without you and Peppermint Pig, I would have been totally ignored here.

Offline Rydin

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Very great work. It seems as if you already have some general pixel knowledge, and seems as if you could be a regular here.

Okay, the frogs.
Awsome shading and color choice. Seems like you are going for a realistic look, but an unrealistic character. The static animation is great so far. The throat is perfect. But it feels like it could use a liitle more swaying and breathing. For example, when you stand there, you don't just breath, and not move anything else. Usually, your body moves with your breaths, and you also may make some subtle shifts in position, because you are trying to keep balance (this is VERY subtle, I know, but the smallest details are key when animating). As for the walking animation, I personally would just throw it out. I don't know how it fits into your game, but I think a frog would look much better hopping to and frow, rather than walking. But I'm not here to critique your game, so my advice on the walking animation is to add some more frames.  Right now it doesn't seem like its legs are passing over each other, and it looks like he is doing a sort of dance, rather than walking.  Also when the frogs right arm is moving foward, from the back, its skin moving over its belly and mouth is the right idea, but it seem like it is done in the wrong fahsion.  It seems like the skin is just moving foward, and I think its because you lose some shading on the belly. The belly is moving to, and the light acts accordingly. As for the jumping animation. I think it looks very good, and is looks exactly how a frog would jump if it stood on two legs. But it seems like the legs are doing all the work, and the arms are just being dragged along. I think the arms might help stablize the frog when it land, instead of just flop down.  The tounge animation. I think something is wrong about it, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it may be just that the tounge seems too thick, but I donno.  Great work otherwise, and I can't wait to hear more about this game.

Now, the avatar.
I think I know what it is, but the grey thing throws me off. Is it a naughty young boy going through potty training, getting mad at the person pixeling him because he is invading his privacy?  If its not that, I am bewildered....

Anyways, welcome to Pixelation. You can come here any time you like, but you may never leave. :D
Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

Offline garsh

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That's some intense insight, Rydin. You're right: realistic-ish look, fantasy character. Good call.

I'm glad you mentioned the breathing. It was a concious decision for his body to remain perfectly motionless while idling. Like you pointed out, it looks unnatural. But that's not entirely true. See, my inspiration for this character was a real frog that I captured a few weeks ago from the back door on my carport. He's a small tree frog and I've been keeping in him in an aquarium. Watching him hunt insects I noticed that he spends the vast majority of his time completely motionless except for the swelling of his throat "bellow". I suspect it's an evolutionary adaptation so that he doesn't scare off the bugs he's trying to sneak up on. Anyway, that's why I did that. I'm still considering changing it to a subtle body sway like you suggested, though, cause after all; he's an upright-standing humanoid frog.

Like I said in the original post, the walking animation was a quicky garbage job just to fill in until I decided on a final version. I have a new walking animation in mind now, I'm just putting off until my mouse stops acting moody. I'm glad you picked up on the way his belly shading is off, there was something bugging me there I couldn;t figure out, and that's it.

You and Camus both see something off about the tongue lash, and now I'm seeing it too, but I have absolutely no idea what it could be.

RE: my self-pixelation...
Potty trainin? No, he's just lazy. The grey thing is a kind of machette. I really have one like that, but apparently I didn't make it look right in pixel form. The whole thing seems to baffle everyone, and I'm trying to figure out why.

Thanks for all the input, that's a lot of help! And thanks for the welcome. I do plan to be around regularly until I've warn out my welcome.

Offline Conzeit

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oh, I understand now the reasoning behind the still stance.

if you only want too animate the bag, atleast do it very well. use the perfect pacing, and make the details really subtle.

for the pacing, I belive when things are inflated the beggining of the animation is fast (few frames), as are the inbetween frames, and the final frames take a little more time (increase frame number gradually here). for deflating, the opposite is probably true. you have the ideal of a refference you can check while you draw though, so better make use of that than to listen to my babbling, record it if posible.

go to one of the sprite sites at the resources topic, and grab a bunch of mslug animations that contain movements of small range movements but big frame count (a zombie fio, tank ilde animations and a soilder in a exploding portable toilet come to mind), also grab alucard's run (look at upper body movements) off Game Sprite Archives.

now, use the concept conveyed there, which I like to  call sub-pixel/antialiasing animation.

basically, now grab any given frames you already have, and make inbetweeners. seems hard since there is already so little range of mevement in your framws, how do you do it?

compare the two instances, and then shift around a few key pixels (not even rows of pixels, pixels) to make the previous frame look more like the next one,  preferably tweak as little sillouethe pixels as posible, which implies that you work on the shading as a key part of the animation (lit up for big, in darken for small).

and make good use of all those transitions you have, when you are darkening out a pixel because it's going into the shadow area, dont skip many shades, use as many of them as you can.

all these things combined, convey the concept of sub pixels/antialiasing animation, since the whole idea of antialiasing is using varying shades of lightness to convey the percentage in which a shade is present in the pic. IE comunicate shape trough lightness.