Critique > Pixel Art

[Feedback] [CC] Bolero: Fantasy Tactics, pixel art

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falz:
So I've been working on this game. It is in a Fire Emblem style and I'm at the point where I want to generate better art for the units. Here is the first draft of a sword-guy unit


The more specific question I wanted to ask was if I wanted to make another unit, like an enemy, with the same sprite but different colors, what is the most efficient way to do this? Is there a way to swap color palettes on the fly in some software?

Second, I am working in photoshop to make pixel art. If it is best to use another program, I'm open to changing.

Here is a small capture of an image where the game is at.


Also, any feedback on the art would be awesome!

Curly:
In Photoshop you can use the fill tool and uncheck the contiguous option so it replaces the old color with the new one wherever the old color is (in that layer).
You can also use the magic wand with the contiguous option unchecked again to select all skin colors for example and then ctrl+U to change their hues, saturation and brightness (ctrl+H to hide the selection outline). It's a quick way to try new colors but if you have many colors selected it will probably mess up the contrast and hue shifting so you will have to fix that later.

The character looks great in 1x and 2x. The tiles are pretty noisy and the stairs maybe stand out too much in comparison to the gray bricks.

Vinik:
Well, that depends on the engine / software / language you are using to program it. I believe this should be on the general section instead of pixel art critique :)

Since it is already here, you could improve the sprite quickly by removing the banding on the sword, front arm and front foot. Try to reduce those gradients, use less shades to define their shapes and try to make the arm, swords and feets be made of big clusters of pixels of the same color. While you are at it, t would be nice if you were to reduce the noise in the floor and stair tiles, it hurts legibility, prefer flat surfaces or, again, textures made of big clusters and of low contrast.

As for your question, you can do that before the assets are loaded on the game, or during runtime.

To do it beforehand, go by Curly's explanation using image editors.

To do it automatically on runtime it depends on the engine. If you use game maker, there are a number of assets to do just that, and I recommend Pixelated Pope's pallette shader on the market, it is cheap and effective. If you are using unity or another engine the solution is likely a corresponding shader that does the same, give google a go. :P

falz:
Responding to the critique, I sort of see what you are saying, but I can't cut down too much on the number of shades before the detail I want is lost. I took what you said into account and also used some sprite work from Breath of Fire 4 as a reference (game has amazing pixel artwork).



I wonder if this looks any better to you guys' eyes? I changed a few things like most of the colors (slightly), the sword is not curved, thus easier to render. I also made it a couple pixels taller because it looked too awkward before

edit: redid animations. I used your comments to redo colors. Very helpful!




I haven't actually programmed different unit types really, so I guess I'll do that than make a spellcaster sprite

edit: did some more modifications, added some details.

Vinik:
That is better already, you got the spirit. It could go further or removing yet some more banding, single pixels, and improving contrast between shades, but you got the gist of reducing the amount of closely packed colors.

As you mentioned losing detail, at this size you are better letting go of some detail an keeping it readable, focusing on key features. Gradients of 1 pixel per shade don't help define shapes, they make things look plane and unatural, you don't want that kind of "detail" if it details nothing :)

I am in hurry but I'll try coming up with an edit that might give you some ideas.

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