AuthorTopic: Help with clouds and sky  (Read 151 times)

Offline Limes

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Help with clouds and sky

on: June 28, 2020, 02:44:26 pm
Looking for a bit of advice on the sky, am I heading in the right direction?


I have a progress thread on Pixeljoint for this piece.
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Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Help with clouds and sky

Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 10:05:03 am
I spent a while looking at different styles of sky and cloud. There are so many directions you can go. These are some conclusions I came to, you may or may not find they work with your style.

My take on it these days is to think of clouds as objects, draw them in roughly, then progressively add detail. Broadly speaking they're collections of spheres or bubbles, but you want to rough up the curves to avoid them looking too bubbly. (Although bubbly clouds can be an artistic choice.)

If you look at a real cloud, it's made partly of sharp edges between areas and partly of soft blends where wisps of vapour blur the edges. Sometimes this happens along the same edge.



I settled on using dithering sparingly to represent the parts where the edge of the cloud becomes fluffy.

There are other ways to think of pixel art clouds. Instead of thinking 3D and using spheres, you could use layers of circles and partial circle shapes in progressive shades, with each layer taking chunks out of the layer of circles before.

So:

3D bubbly clouds with subtle dithering...


Another 3D cloud shape.


A couple of ideas for roughing up the edges and making it less bubbly...


(Apologies for the large images, I can't find the original scale versions right now)

Using circles and partial circle shapes in layers (not mine! this is @tofupixel on Twitter):



For expansive skies and floating islands, my mind naturally moves to Owlboy. The artist here seems to combine both ideas, giving an overall 3D shape made (roughly) of spheres, but roughing up the edges with partial circle shapes in layers.



I would say: don't be afraid of leaving some areas of sky as plain blue. You don't *need* to fill it all in with cloud, unless you really want to.

Finally, I found this video helpful when thinking about palettes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WNbvJKWiq4