AuthorTopic: is 3d modeling easier than pixel art???  (Read 111 times)

Offline RoyWikson

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is 3d modeling easier than pixel art???

on: December 28, 2018, 10:46:48 am
I am planning out a top-down or isometric RPG. In terms of aesthetics, I actually quite like pixel art. However, in terms of making animations easily, I get the impression that 3d modeling may actually be easier.

animations can be totally fluid, versus in pixel art having individual frames

easier to move parts, since there's no required knowledge in 2d-projection art technique

I can download any 3d model and rig it, making any animation, versus with pixel art I am limited to the animations made by the artist.

Am I wrong about this? is there a easier way to do pixel art?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 12:43:05 am by Kiana »

Offline eishiya

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Re: is 3d modeling easier than pixel art???

Reply #1 on: December 28, 2018, 02:38:11 pm
With pixel art, you can also add your own animations by drawing the frames. You seem to be comparing apples and oranges here - making your own animations on top of pre-existing art vs limiting yourself to animations bundled with the art.

2D art can also be animated using skeletal animations. It looks bad with low-res pixel art, but plenty of games use it with higher-res pixel art that can maintain readability through rotation. If you look for it, you'll find plenty of pixel art games using this method for at least some of their animations, especially among the classics.

Very low-res pixel art (think NES RPG sprites and smaller) is easier and quicker to animate (via frame animation) than just about anything else, because the low res means it's much harder to end up with something wrong unless it's wildly and obviously wrong (which is easy to notice and fix). Higher-resolution pixel art is difficult to animate, because it carries both the challenges of traditional 2D animation, and the necessary polish steps of pixel art.

Depending on the engine, it may be easier to use pixel art, because implementing frame animations tends to be trivial, whereas implementing skeletal animations is much tougher. Some engines have good systems for this built in, some do not.

Really, it comes down to your skillset. If you know how to do 3D rigging and animation but don't know how to do 2D frame animation, then obviously the former is going to be easier for you. If you don't know either, then both can be learned, and you can start getting decent-looking results pretty quickly (although with skeletal animation in 3D or 2D you do have the advantage of not having to redraw/re-model individual frames).

To get good-looking results in either, you'll need to be familiar with the principles of animation and 2D art. Ultimately we see 3D projected onto 2D screens, so 3D can absolutely be improved by keeping that in mind. That's why smears and light trails exist in 3D animation, it's why the fresnel effect is so often used for opaque objects, etc. With 3D and 2D skeletal animation, the animation steps can be separated from this other stuff whereas they can't be in 2D frame animation, but these are things that the animator should still know, keep in mind, and be involved in if they want to make a quality result.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 02:41:56 pm by eishiya »