AuthorTopic: What is this community's standpoint on copying art styles / using GFX?  (Read 4808 times)

Offline Queenie_V

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Hey y'all, short disclaimer:

Ripping off other peoples art is of course horrible and reusing a sprite(sheet) is wrong, even if you don't distribute it commercially.
I also don't consider myself an pixel artist, but an aspiring Indie Game Dev that loves 16p pixelgraphics and my whole life I hated the fact that the videogame industry swapped out gorgeous pixel art for really awful 3D graphics, even though we now almost reached life like 3D graphics, the big players in the industry completly abandoned pixel graphics.

In your rules you already gave the impression that using filters and copying other peoples style is a big red flag. But where do you draw the line from an ethical perspective within the community and from a legal perspective? Using other peoples work as inspiration to create your own, indepentend art?

Ripping off other peoples work / getting your inspiration:

Let's take a practical example: You could argue that Stardew Valley blatantly ripped off the Harvest Moon franchise. But since it is just a remake and modern version of the farm-sim genre, it's seen as a tribute that sold >10mio copies and the dev met with the original inventor of the series for a chat :)
And in 3D video games, nobody would complain if someone uses the exact same M4 weapon model, because there is only 1 reallife copy of it and every model looks the same.

Now with pixelart, despite being limited to much less space/combination possibilities, you aren't limited in getting out your own style and work. However, if you pick a certain style, you are much more limited. If I want to create a tree sprite with distinguishable individual leaves following a certain style in 16p, I am much much more limited in my options. I can vary their shading/colors/position/outlines, but they will end up looking quite similiar to other already existing assets. And compromising the best aestethic look in my view for individuality sounds like a bad idea. So does it matter if my tree's will look pretty similiar like those in game(s) xy, if the entire rest of the game/picture is much different and they are still crafted independent in dozens of frustrating hours?

What about altering other artworks. If I pixelate a handdrawn rock and rework it, so it's incomparable to the original piece, am I still ripping off a fellow artist?

Using filters/VFX/shaders/brushes

I got the impression that there are a few hardcore pixel artists with the mindset that any use other than a handpicked color palette and handplaced individual pixels is blasphemic and not considered real pixel art. Yet reallife artists all have their different techniques how to apply the paint on the canvas. So can you break with tradition and still consider your work as pixel art? Am I a pixel artist or do you see me just as a gfx or videogame designer?

Games like Graveyard Keeper really modernized pixel graphics with clever use of shaders/particle effects/textures/filters/layers etc.
You give those 2D objects much more realistic shadows/illumination and bring the pixel style much more to life. They also broke the traditional tile grid by combining smaller tiles into a bigger ones and blending it in with other tiles/ using layers/transparency etc.
Displays getting HDR and millions of colors, programs and engines giving you more and more options, etc.
At some point picking a color palette and placing pixels individual is just not an option to create your vision.

So does it matter in terms of being a pixel artist? How do you define that?

Ultimatively I want to create a game I always wanted to play myself and help (re)popularize the pixel art style in a modern way, so it becomes more mainstream, instead of being a limitation to mostly indie devs. And despite creating my own unique game with unique never-seen-before stuff, features & mechanics, I am somehow afraid people could call me out for "those trees look like from game x" and "those tools are like game y", even if 99% of people wouldn't notice/care. Or that some people say "that ain't real pixel art" after having put thousands of hours into the sprites :'D

I'd love to hear your view on these topics!