AuthorTopic: Mental Image Crit.  (Read 8251 times)

Offline Conzeit

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1448
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Camus
    • conzeit
    • View Profile
    • CONZEIT

Mental Image Crit.

on: October 02, 2005, 12:01:20 am
well, I remember I posted a fighter (roughly kof sized) Alucard sprite, here about a year ago...I looked at it recently, and I hated it, so I decided to redo it.

but u know, I didnt get much crits on that fighter sprite I belive sucked really hard.

So to make it diferent this time around I thought I'd start a discussion just about my idea of what alucard looks like BEFORE posting the sprite, I figure that if you already have an idea of what the sprite should look like before you see it, you'll crit it that much harder. hence the topic name

Mental Image Crit
please take this as an activity of sorts, hopefully this becomes less about me and my sprite, and more about translating a design into sprite form.

This is the first refference pic I'll post.

Alucard is the hero of Symphony of the night, the most popular game in Castlevania series.He was designed by Ayami Kojima, a self-didactic artist, who doesnt understand shit about videogame art. She has a lot of fashion elements to her designs, and uses a very limited set of face features to design her characters.

So, one of the reasons I keep trying to make a good sprite out of her most famous design Alucard, is that it is just not designed to be very easy to turn it into sprite, gotta love a challenge.

right out by just glancing at this picture, you should notice errors caused by her self didactic nature, the hands are quite horribly disproprtionate and very oddly shaped. I kind of put this into use in my sprite, by using odd shapes to imply the hands detail, rather than outline everything very clearly.

Another thing to note about this one, is that it was my main face feature/head shape refference, since it is the best drawn head shot of Alucard I've found (dont worry, I do know about that head shot pic). All the basic shades are very specifically displayed with the (relatively) harsh shadows in his face, and his expression is very solid. one of the things I tried to focus on was NOT fusing the eye an the eyebrow in my fighter sprite, since this is way overdone, and would kill a lot of al's character.

Al's standard proportion and costume reference piece, I used it pretty much for that. I also used it as refference for the reflectivity of his boots

Fashion
well, I tried to research Alucard's outfit as best as I could, since it's been made into sort of a superhero costume in Dawn of Sorrow (lastest Castlevania game) since alucard hast to wear it to use his powers. I saw a costume exactly like it but in another color used in a historic show once, so I know it is an actual piece of clothing used in the 18th century (time in which SOTN takes place).

best refference I could find on the net was this. http://www.fashion-era.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=259

seems like roughly all of the 18th century fashion reasembles his outfit.

Japanese Pasty Vampire Sterotype
I also notice, there are quite a few similar designs floating around, most notably Vampire hunter D, and Abel Nightrod the hero of Trinity Blood. both are from japan, and I think either D is the original that inspired the rest, or they all come from an earlier design. if any of you know which one came first, please let me know =)

The motion of Alucard's slash oddly reasembles D's.

so does his gliding stance

This is the best image I could find of abel =/ http://www.justplay.nl/media/285/20050405-trinity.JPG

« Last Edit: October 02, 2005, 11:36:37 pm by Camus »

Offline David

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 244
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • I Am Not Original

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #1 on: October 02, 2005, 12:17:20 am
My preconception go back to the NES days.

http://www.classicgaming.com/castlevania/Images/Scans/CV3/np18alucard.jpg

Aside from that I don't know what you really want us to say.

Offline Conzeit

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1448
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Camus
    • conzeit
    • View Profile
    • CONZEIT

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #2 on: October 02, 2005, 12:30:10 am
I dont know...whatever you feel like saying?

I was just hoping that something along all the stuff I posted inspired you to say something..or you had an opinion about it :p.

heh. I remember that al. I do like the way they replaced him with a more complex version than the average Dracula clone, but it doesnt make sense plotwise because he was supposed to be buried in the 15th century with the clothes he has in SOTN, so the clothes should be more like 15th century period.

Offline AlexHW

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • AlexHW

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #3 on: October 02, 2005, 01:03:18 am
hm..
I'm not familiar with this character, so I apologize for any mis-understanding I may make.
But anyways..
The reference pic I would class more towards a promo piece rather than a strictly char design piece which would instead define exactly how things should look. If you were going to keep this understanding, then you would need a better reference which displays the whole character, perhaps front and back and side views.
For me, looking at this promo-ish looking picture, It would be difficult to determine how to translate how the character is depicted here into pixel-art.
Perhaps you only have promo pieces to work from.
In this case, you should determine whether things like the misfigureing/distortion of the character is intentional to the design, and what's its purpose, because at the moment, that is the biggest problem I see with the reference because I'm unsure whether it is suppose to be seen like this in the game (big collar, thick arms and body, long torso, wide cape, very long hair, small sword, small head, big hands), or whether it is the artist's personal tastes.
If there is no defined design, then you must decide how close you will translate her perspective on the character into your perspective.. which attributes she emphasises or not, and which ones you will..

perhaps it doesnt matter how the attributes are stylized, only that the attributes such as hands and sword and so forth are present?..
if everything that makes the character is there, then it should be easy to see that it is just an artist's rendition of the character regardless if it is accurate to whatever is suppose to be determined as so.

..maybe I misunderstood what you wanted us to talk about?

Offline Conzeit

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1448
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Camus
    • conzeit
    • View Profile
    • CONZEIT

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #4 on: October 02, 2005, 01:25:36 am
 Posted a more standard design type piece in responce to Kon's post...cant post much more right now
« Last Edit: October 02, 2005, 11:30:09 pm by Camus »

Offline AlexHW

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • AlexHW

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #5 on: October 02, 2005, 01:57:18 am
hm, yeah this new picture seems more understandable since the attention is placed solely on what the character looks like.
It's easier to begin to define what the character consists of now.
If one is to use this picture as reference and accurately represent it, they would need to determine the correct proportions/colors/etc of everything that would be translated into the end sprite before or as they work.

quickly glanceing at it, I can notice that the character can be divided vertically into 3 main parts (toes to knees, knees to belt, belt to neck) and the head ontop. The three I listed are of relatively the same length, but gradually shorter as you go up each level.
I also noticed that his shoulders are very broad, about 4 head widths wide (maybe 5?). His hair also reaches past his butt, and the sword is the same length as the arm (shoulder included).

Offline Conzeit

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1448
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Camus
    • conzeit
    • View Profile
    • CONZEIT

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #6 on: October 03, 2005, 02:09:19 am
Aside from that I don't know what you really want us to say.
..maybe I misunderstood what you wanted us to talk about?
Guys...it's not like I really know exactly what kind of replies I want in this topic, I just thought I'd start a discussion about this and see what happened, I thought maybe this would be more fun than just posting the sprite.

So if you have anything to say about anything I've said, go right ahead :p this is an experiment, let's just go with it and see what happens.

So far,I dont know for everyone else but I think it is getting pretty interesting.

Kon, I really enjoyed both your replies. To give a reply  more worthy of your first one, I do understand that it is more logical to use  pieces strictly concerned with the design rather than promo pics, But I've always felt passionately about putting every-single-little-thing that has been shown in illustrations/concept art into my sprites, since far too often I find brilliant concept pieces, with downright awful in-game representations.

About the three sections you divided al in, that's prety clever heh. and I didnt really do that, but I do find it quite interesting that my sprite roughly matches up to the structure.

I'll be slowly posting her pieces, and saying what I used each one for....because otherwise I'd have to make an incredibly huge post to express all my thoughts.

Al's standard proportion and costume reference piece, I used it pretty much for that. I also used it as refference for the reflectivity of his boots and cape.

I payed a lot of attention to the way his cape is highlighted in this one, specifically the horizontal subtle highlights detailing the folds, in contrast to those vertical harsh highlights defining the figure's volume. and the way the folds are highlighted at the botton of the Silver side of the cape

This is the close up shot, it is supposed to be the best source for face detail, but I used the other one because this one's face has conflictive perspective.

I used the level of detail of this close up shot as refference for the ideal of reflectivity each of the elements in this pic except the cape should have. as you can see they are both the collar and hair are pretty reflective, and the highlights are surrounded by shadows to better state that reflectivity, I tried to duplicate that in my sprite.
The collar and the hair were some of the hardest parts to translate into a sprite, because as you can see they both hang very freely, and they dont have a definitive shape, which makes them hard to sprite because in sprites everything must come back to it's original position once the animation is over.

I also decided to use some purplish shadows for the skintones, since this pic has some pretty de-saturated skintones, specially in its shadows.

here you can also see that he has a pretty detailed vest of sorts under his jacket. Since this is a sprite and it's supposed to be animateable, I hid that little vest by closing a button of the jacket in such way that only the white collar of his shirt shows. I copied that from his SOTN  spriteset

if you zoom in close you'll notice how the yellow trimmed jacked is closed.

you might also notice how hard to animate the sprite would be, if I used all those horizontal lines that go troughout the jacket, to adress that I drew them as if they were thiner than the pixel, so I only show hints of them when I feel they're necesary to show the shape, or when they are heavily lit up

Offline AlexHW

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • AlexHW

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #7 on: October 08, 2005, 02:34:16 am

hm, looks pretty good I think, although there are some things which bother me with it.
The inside of the yellow trimmed jacket should be seen through his legs if you compare it to the reference pictures.
I also don't know why the cape is red..
He also looks like he has his head lowered some, in which case I feel the collar should be higher and larger/wider aswell.. That could probably allow the tie to be a bit larger as well since you only have like 2 pixels representing it but in the reference pictures its about the size of his face..

Offline Conzeit

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1448
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Camus
    • conzeit
    • View Profile
    • CONZEIT

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #8 on: October 08, 2005, 05:24:56 am
ack, my mistake heh, that's actually NOT my sprite, I'm not planing on posting that yet. I should've explained that instead of asuming it'd be clear because of the siprite's size =/

That is alucard's oficial sprite. it's from SOTN, but you are right. the makers did simplify the design and remove his inner vest, just like his gray collar was removed.

the cape is red because Alucard picks up a variety of diferently colored capes troughout the adventure.

um, I think this didnt turn out very well, I was planning on making an extensive posting of all of alucard's refference pics, as well as the official SOTN sheet, and some fighter sprites I used for inpsiration, all with the purpose of creating an envirmoent like that of the Comercial Crit threads, but this is barely getting any feedback at all,so I dont think the effort is worth it.

 you seem to be the only one interested in this topic at all anymore, so I think only your opinion matters now, what did you expect from this topic? should I do anything of what I had planned at all? would you feel betrayed if I didnt post the final sprite?

Offline AlexHW

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1037
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • AlexHW

Re: Mental Image Crit.

Reply #9 on: October 08, 2005, 06:12:44 am
Oh, oops.. the way i read your post, I got the impression it was your sprite, sorry..

yeah.. not much participation happening unfortunately. Though, It has been read numerous times it seems, I'm wondering what can be done to motivate others to supply some feedback..
I'm thinking the way your initial post was kinda open ended made it difficult for some to focus a reply. I think maybe haveing some specific stages for the discussion defined would have helped. For example, one stage would open discussion on which details are pertinent to the character, another being possiblely what forms/shapes make up him, or the colors, or how the design was translated into the official sprites, or perhaps a specific area or item.. etc..
Basically just some clearly defined stages which would be done one after the other, instead of haveing it open ended and allowing anyone to say whatever they want.
Perhaps you were doing that.. I dunno, what do you think?

What did I expect intially? Mm.. some form of a discussion to emerge about the character to get a sense of it.
I think you should cut the process into specific sections which are defined for the members and carry them out one after the other, doing this allows people to focus on specific key points and formulate their feedback easier and faster when they know what they are looking for.
I wouldn't feel betrayed if you didnt post the sprite. It's up to you whether you want to post anything or continue this discussion..
I am kinda curious though of your final sprite.. I wouldn't doubt others are too..