AuthorTopic: Self introduction / Palette woes  (Read 241 times)

Offline Nakazoto

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Self introduction / Palette woes

on: October 31, 2019, 11:07:20 am
Hello all!
My name is David, nice to meet y'all.

Recently, I've been building a game in the Godot engine and have been tackling all the artwork myself. I'm an awful artist, and even worse pixel artist, but I've played a lot of Final Fantasy and it's been a big inspiration for me getting my artwork sorted.

At any rate, I posted up a little of my progress on the Godot subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/godot/comments/dnp4gx/update_on_my_topdown_rpg/), and user viniciuscsg provided a ton of fantastic help. I'm not sure if he has the same username here, but he suggested I come and introduce myself.

However, as with all fields, the deeper you dive into it, the easier it is to become overwhelmed. My primary problem at the moment is the Palette. There's lots of fantastic Palettes out there, and I'm kind of getting lost in the whole situation.  So, I attached four pictures of my current standpoint. The picture itself isn't from the actual game, just a small image I threw together that featured a majority of the tiles I have created so far. If they posted up in order, here's the explanation on each one:

The first picture is my current Palette.
I use the Zughy32 Palette from Lospec: https://lospec.com/palette-list/zughy-32
I'm really pretty happy with this Palette, but based on advice from viniciuscsg, I started playing with how I was using the colors and found myself having a hard time achieving a balance between harsh outlines and washed out colors. At one point, it was so washed out it looked like a different Palette altogether. So, I figured if I had more colors to play with, I could find that balance. Which leads me to the second picture.

The second one is the AAP-64 Palette from Lospec: https://lospec.com/palette-list/aap-64
I actually quite like this Palette too, almost moreso than the Zughy Palette. I feel with some more practice and playing with the Palette I could get some really good colors and combos coming out of it. But, then I started thinking I should make my own Palette, really give my game a unique flair to it.

The third Palette is the result of that. For full disclosure, I didn't make it from scratch. I actually borrowed a majority of the colors from the old Peter Rabbit illustrations, albeit some are hue shifted to give me the missing colors I needed. I also stole a few colors from Zughy to help fill in a few gaps. I really like the result because it's warm and feels a bit like a remembered dream. But probably mostly because I made it and I feel a certain amount of pride in that. Having said that, it feels a little too washed out (and by a little, I mean a lot), and I'm not sure how to go about fixing that without ending up with a bunch of clashing colors.

Then I said screw it and re-made the whole thing in just eight colors for the fun of it using the Nyx8 Palette from Lospec: https://lospec.com/palette-list/nyx8
This was just for fun and practice to see how I could do with such limited colors. Honestly, it was massively easier to get a result I liked with just 8 colors than it was with 32 or 64 colors.

So, there's an introduction of where I stand, and at this point, I'm just totally overwhelmed. No matter which Palette I use, I feel like I'm using the wrong one. The more I try to research into building my own Palette, the more exasperated I get. I like all four of the shown Palettes for different reasons entirely, but I feel like none of them really "pop" and feel just right. I love the high saturation, sleepy look, but it almost always ends up looking super washed out.

So, I'm not really asking a specific question and looking for an answer, I guess I'm more looking for a direction to head in. Just a little nudge in the right direction and then I can take it from there. As it is now, I'm so turned around and confused on color, I don't even know which way is the right way to go.

Whew, sorry for the massive long post!
Thanks for any help!

Offline Vinik

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Re: Self introduction / Palette woes

Reply #1 on: November 01, 2019, 04:22:47 pm
Hello, welcome aboard :)

I believe the reason you felt easier to reach a result you liked with the 8 colors palette, is because it is in fact composed of a single color ramp (almost like a monochrome, but color shifted along the gradient).

So instead of the confusion of coloring stuff to match the hues of real life materials, while also adding ambience and artistic intent into the color choice (which seems to be overwhelming you), you are just defining the appearence of the scene based on the brightness level (value) of each element, which is a more fundamental way to communicate shape, ensure readability and balance things out.

I think it is a good start to exercise values, so the 8 colors palette is nice choice for that. For instance, notice you have much darker walls on this palette than in the other multi colored palettes. Why is that ? ;) Did you picked that darker shade just because it was closer to the brow is imagined the wall to have? Or did you felt the wall should be that dark?

It might also be a consequence of drawing with one palette and then changing to another. When you start working with a certain set of colors, you are likely to color-block the scene with hues that make sense (green for grass, red for bricks) but are also value-blocking it for readability, that red is not only a hue, it is also a brightness level for that element. Since the values of another palette might completely different across the colors, simply recoloring the finished scene based of near hues might lead to undesirable contrast.

You should consider what each element is for while picking shades that go with it. For example, floors will usually have characters waking over them, and the level of contrast between the characters (or their outline if there is one) and the floor is what should guide you on how darker or brighter it should be to enhance readability.

As for the general color choice, you seem fully aware that no one can tell which coloring you should go for, since you are not asking a definite question regarding that. Regardless of the ambience you try to achieve, what you should watch is (again) to ensure enough contrast between meaningful elements, (walkable floors vs collision enabled walls), while avoiding too much dark details repeated over on large surfaces causing visual noise that makes it harder to read anything over that