AuthorTopic: was "photobasing" used in old snk game backgrounds like metal slug etc?  (Read 256 times)

Offline rasenken69

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so i was showing some of the sprites to some of my artist coworkers and they told me that many of the backgrounds used scaled down images that were then cleaned up , this sort of opened my eyes because i used to think everything in games like metal slug was made from scratch , pixel by pixel . my boss has been in the gaming industry for the past 20+ years and has worked on some old school titles . he was the first one to let me know that these were clearly scaled down images since the perspective was all wrong in the first place and everything else such as the rendering on the objects were different from the rest of the art .he told me this used to be a common practice back in the day. do let me know what you guys think about this . was this common knowledge to everyone in the community?
Omae wa mou shindeiru

Offline yrizoud

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AFAIK, it's well known. You need considerable experience with a topic in order to draw / improvise from your own memory, so photographic material has often been used as reference (so you can frequently watch what you're trying to represent), tracing material (when you copy the exact silhouette / proportions), or straight up pixel base (you paint over an already digitized copy).
Note that this is never a guarantee of saving time : converting a digitized photograph to your current style and environnement (lighting, colors, resolution, level of detail) can be more time-consuming than straight up drawing, and only very skilled pixellers can guarantee that they reach the style of the pixel graphics around.
I think it's like special effects in cinema : any time it's hard to judge if something is real or not, it means somebody did a good job.

Offline rasenken69

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ah , thanks for the reply . honestly it is a bit disappointing , i thought pixel art was all about placing down each pixel , guess just like with everything in the game dev pipeline , such things must be used for faster development and it would be faster in most cases since there are ways to reduce bit depth and somewhat auto clean up shrunk art aswell . but then it make me wonder why people are criticized if they use these methods nowadays to make pixel art.
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Offline yrizoud

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Painting over a scan / sketch can be very in-depth - but in the example that you show, it's rather clear that the buildings retain a lot of pixel details from scanning, with as little re-touching as was necessary.
it make me wonder why people are criticized if they use these methods nowadays to make pixel art.
Mostly the issue of plagiarism (if the source is an artwork) and undeserved praise.
It's not so new, because even 20 years ago there was the "no copy" movement in demoscene, as a reaction to the (over?)use of copying paintings, with and without credit. Boris Vallejo, Luis Royo, and licensed AD&D artists got copied a lot.
Nowadays, galleries like Artcity (artcity.bitfellas.org) and Pixeljoint  strongly advise providing sources and references, so that the viewer can make their own opinion.
Making-of videos can be very interesting to watch (or at least skip through), it's not unusual to see that the video is at 33% duration when you'd consider the image finished, but a dedicated pixel artist will keep tuning and fixing and redoing parts that he doesn't like.

Offline pyxelbit

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uncompressed image:

ah , thanks for the reply . honestly it is a bit disappointing , i thought pixel art was all about placing down each pixel , guess just like with everything in the game dev pipeline , such things must be used for faster development and it would be faster in most cases since there are ways to reduce bit depth and somewhat auto clean up shrunk art aswell . but then it make me wonder why people are criticized if they use these methods nowadays to make pixel art.

the metal slug games where made in a short amount of time, with just one artist afaik. "tricks" like these are used in concept art and other media, because time equals money and you have to be fast to compete.
these sprite arent made to be "art", they are for a commercial product. they fit the game, look ok and could be made fast.

Offline eishiya

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but then it make me wonder why people are criticized if they use these methods nowadays to make pixel art.
People these days are criticized for these things when using it in personal and practice art, where time constraints aren't really an issue and where there are benefits to not photobashing (style consistency and getting to learn whatever complex object you're drawing being the main ones). You don't really see people complain when it comes to production art, it is generally understood that such tricks are necessary to get a good-enough result in a short time.