AuthorTopic: Help me Shade this  (Read 6973 times)

Offline animann

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Help me Shade this

on: February 21, 2007, 01:40:29 pm
for some reason I cant shade this very well. Can anybody pls edit this and shade it so that It will be descent enough for pixel-arts.org standing.

Offline Helm

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 02:20:33 pm
Hello. That's a nice sprite you've got, though there's a lot that can be done to optimize it.

Most of what I see is the result of inexperience I think, so if you keep doing pixel art with the right mindset you'll be able to rid yourself of inefficient practises. There's some general points to explain my edit.

You use 36 colors for this. A lot of those colors are used for 3-4 pixels on the whole thing. While some people don't mind this, wouldn't you say fine control over all the palette, a unified feel and balance, along with as small a number of colors as you'll really need is a good thing? With that in mind, I optimized the palette down to 16 colors, removing near-identicals, merging colors where they could be used for more than one feel, and generally cleaning up so every shade is distinct and useful all-around. Just play around with my edit in your own pixel program of choice and see how I used the palette, then try to do something similar, as filtered through your own judgement and aesthetic sense, I'm sure you'll get to something more managable than 36 colors without much loss of information.

Furthermore, you have a problem with 'banding'. That is, you use shades to 'hug' around the lineart, in such a way that you're actually accentuating jaggies instead of smoothing them out. Remember, anti-aliasing is the process of faking sub-pixel smoothness. In order to do that, you're tricking the eye of thinking there's more shades between two pixels than there really are. Horisontial and vertical 'banding' only accentunates the 'steps' in the jaggied little staircases that pixel art creates, and anti-alias tries to eliminate. So don't band, smooth! This is very visible on the blue parts of your sprite, if you're looking for what I'm talking about.

That's all I can give you right now, keep at it and you'll grow with every new piece you make. There's only so much critique one can absorb at once, so while there's more to say about your piece, I'll leave you with the above bits about color conservation and banding for now. Keep at it.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 02:23:02 pm by Helm »

Offline animann

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 02:37:17 pm
Thanks man and what a very nice edit you made!! I understand what you are trying to say but I made this from scratch and when I do that I usually have errors in shading and yeah banding. Thank you very much for the tip!! And one more thing... can you pls tell me what should I try to pixel or practice (objects) for me to avoid errors like these.

Offline Helm

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #3 on: February 21, 2007, 02:49:01 pm
I tell this to everybody and end up sounding like a broken record but if you want to practise drawing, start with paper and pencil, and a good 'beginner's guide to drawing' book. Not 'how to draw manga' but just a begginer's book about rendering and human anatomy and perspective. I bet you a thousand space-bucks everything you'll learn in there will then translate to any artistic endeavour you put your mind to in the rest of your life.

You'll learn to draw primitives first. Cubes, Pyramids, balls and such. You'll move a lightsource around them and learn to render the different surfaces according to it. Then you'll connect simpler primitives into more complicated shapes (like the human body) and do complex studies. Then you'll start dealing with finer points about light and surface and perspective and such.

Everyone should read this, of course: http://www.itchstudios.com/psg/art_tut.htm but it's no replacement for a good book on the subject of drawing.

I know it sounds boring. But pixel art is just a medium. It comes after. You should devote as much time as you can in your early life (if you're 13-15 or something you have a lot of free time!) to drawing systematically and with a method on paper and pencil. You can get good if you stick to pixel art predominantly (like I did for the many years I've been on pixelation) but believe me, if I had spent half that time practising my fundamentals more, I could start pixel art today and be where I am technically in a period of 6 months of hard work on it.

It comes down to whether you want to be as good an artist as you can be, or as good a pixel artist. I suggest the former, but hey, it's up to you.

Offline underthevegetable

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #4 on: February 21, 2007, 03:13:55 pm
To throw into that recommendation from Helm:

I might not be very good at pixel art, but I do know a bit about other forms of art, and from my experience, the exact book Helm is talking about (not specifically, but it has what you need) is Bridgman's Complete Guide To Drawing From Life. A couple people down on it because the drawings don't look refined, but they don't need to be. What Bridgman is doing with this is teaching the art student how to sculpt shapes together and understand the form and balance of the human body. Rendering can come later.
(http://www.amazon.com/Bridgmans-Complete-Guide-Drawing-Life/dp/0806930152)

If you're looking for something a bit easier to get into, try Andrew Loomis' books, starting with Fun With A Pencil. They're out of print, all cost over a hundred dollars on a collector's market, and Loomis himself is dead, but almost all of them are available at http://alexhays.com/loomis. Wonderful books, and a godsend to budding artists.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #5 on: February 21, 2007, 03:32:24 pm
oddly enough Helm, ive always found that tutorial to be too high for beginners, and so very simple for anyone capable of understanding it all, because they've already figured out as much through observation or though ninth-grade physics class.
The overall message though of studying traditional first and studying through observation above all is key.  I tend to ask my studnets to stay away from drawing books, because they tend to become formulaic in a way that inhibits observation.  Simple shapes into linked shapes is the best way to start, and then once youve got that concept down, theres no harm jumping right into observational study.  Most important though is to work from the figure and from fabric if you want to learn.  get a mirror or a friend and study every contour, forget all the symbols you have learned, like football eyes or bendy-straw arms and legs and all of those rediculous anime facial expressions that we all love so much.

since you inquired about shading, i would suggest making yourself a nice cup of tea and setting it on a small plate with some crackers, prefereably at least one of them faily dull, and drawing what you see.  concentrate not on the forms, but on the light and shadow; youll find that these instead of an untrained intuition define the shapes far better anyway.  the tea practice should have most of the problems that you encounter - rounded shapes, flat shapes, thin shapes (if the tea bag string is hanging out of the cup) gradual shadows, cast shadows, specular lights, area lights, reflected light, color regions (if you have colored plate/cups), value regions, texture regions.  Its a good speed practice too, because you want the tea to still be warm when you finish the study.

under - good points as well, but i wonder if you could have chosen a better verb than "throw into?"
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 03:34:00 pm by Adarias »
A mistake is a mistake.
The same mistake twice is a bad habit.
The same mistake three or more times is a motif.

Offline Helm

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 04:27:07 pm
Observation and reproduction is half the battle. Understanding shape in a 3d environ is the other half. Light is tied to volume. I have found, personally, and that's all I can recommend on, that both things need to be studied in parallel, not one lagging behind the other.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 07:30:18 pm
Couldn't have said it better. 

Volume though is so difficult to teach and learn outside a sculpture course, as only so much can be visualized by beginners without being able to move around the subject and the work.  the closest i've come to the educational value of sculpting is to ask students to draw the same object from many angles, but i routinely find that this results in a large number of similar flat drawings and irritated students, and one (a girl usually) end up just playing with the blocks or the manequin or what have you.  I've also tried drawing simplified geometric shapes from a model, but this only works a little better, and a lot of students produce rock'em-sock'em robots instead of figure studies

has anyone ever taken or taught a lesson on complex forms and volume that worked particularly well?
A mistake is a mistake.
The same mistake twice is a bad habit.
The same mistake three or more times is a motif.

Offline huZba

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #8 on: February 22, 2007, 10:14:15 am
Wireframes! Drawing simple transparent figures with primitives and wireframes seems like the easiest way to teach someone about volume. Then kind of mathematically approach each "polygon" in the drawing and try and figure out what direction it points to. It's very effective in breaking the two dimensional mindset.

Offline animann

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Re: Help me Shade this

Reply #9 on: February 22, 2007, 02:27:53 pm
I tried to apply the tips that you all gave me and here is the result..
Before:
After:

So what do you all think? Am I headed in the right direction? Or should I try again?

And how do you guys come up with the shades your gonna use? How will I know how much green or blue should I have to make a darker shade of white for instance?