AuthorTopic: Index painting?  (Read 11343 times)

Offline HMC

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Index painting?

on: September 18, 2007, 04:43:57 pm
I keep seeing pieces submitted to Pixeljoint nowadays that create controversy for being 'index painted'. The creators of such pieces always claim to have completely hand-pixeled them, but they often use such a high number of colors that people aren't sure how to classify them. I'm a little confused as to what index painting actually is, since I've never owned an Amiga or anything, and I'm curious as to how the process differs from what we generally regard as traditional pixel art. I mean, I SEE pixel art techniques, and it would SEEM as though the artist is still limited in color selection. Someone enlighten me.

Offline baccaman21

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 04:46:41 pm
links to examples?
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Offline ptoing

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #2 on: September 18, 2007, 04:50:20 pm
Indexpainting is like working in photoshop (with back then less tools) but only 256 colours maximum.
You would still get stuff like automatic aa or blending if you want, but it would always choose the colour the program thinks is best, thus, the person who paints does not have as much initial control as in pixelart. Most people would then go back over it and add pixeldetail and cleanup where needed.

It's not pixelart BAM indexpainting tho, it's a pretty fluid gradient of inbetween. I sometimes use indexpainting techniques to get something blocked out or to quickly do stuff and then go over it again to clean it up. It all depends.
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Offline Helm

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #3 on: September 18, 2007, 04:53:56 pm
Index painting occurs on programs that have more advanced modes of painting than MS paint or something. There are so called 'dirty' tools. Not dirty as in ethically, but as in 'creating uncontrollable smudge'.

The large degree of mystification concerning this issue is due to that most people only use MSpaint to pixel (and some in fact erroneously have defined pixel art to only occur when using MSpaint) but also due that that the people who index paint in this day and age really do not want to explain what it is to people, because once they understand how it's done, they won't seem as awesome as they want to seem. This is a demoscene disease.

What index painting is:

Instead of a small controlled palette, the artist starts out by making huge 16 or 32 color ramps (you'll notice most index painted work has straight ramps. Ask if you don't know what I mean with 'straight ramps') of various hues. He then proceeds to draw as if you'd draw in photoshop, using blend modes, smudges, auto aa-ing and so on. Essentially in Deluxe Paint, Personal Paint, Brilliance (all amiga stuff) or Gfx2 or Pro Motion for the PC, you can treat an image like you'd do in photoshop more or less. You don't have to work pixel-specific as most pixel artists do.

So let's say that you've arrived at an image that was made using soft brushes, auto-aa, blend modes, so on. The computer has done most of the work for you. You have what looks like an oddly colored small resolution photoshop image. If someone posted this on Pixel Joint, everybody would clearly understand what the difference between handpixelling and index painting is. Most index painters however at this stage go in on the pixel level and start refining the image. It's essentially closer to what you'd do if you scanned in a watercolor image, color reduced and then zoomed in and dithered around and stuff, sharpening a bit here and there, simplyfying here and there than it is to straight-up pixelling.

So the end result is an image that has the volumetric control offered by dirty tools, but the finish of pixel art. This is index painting, and it's a valid way to work as long as you don't claim lies about your process. However a lot of these people do, and they make an argument from old-schoolness (*I* have an amiga and deluxe paint noob, so what I do is real pixelling and you don't have to understand it, just love me for it!) and they actively obfuscate their means. Why? Because next to someone's MSpaint doodle, the index painted image (though it may lack in various fundamentals like light, anatomy and structure) looks 'awesome'. Most index painters have the demoscene mentality, and WINNING over their peers is the main motivation for creating their art. They take the demoparty mentality (where images are voted on and someone wins the gfx compo) to gallery sites like Pixel Joint and they revel in the internet ass-pattery.

I hope you see things clearly now.

Offline HMC

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #4 on: September 18, 2007, 05:04:15 pm
Ah, I understand now. Thanks guys.  :y:

Offline Sherman Gill

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007, 07:33:30 pm
That was a very informative post, Helm, good job. What with the whole people who know not sharing what it is, and the rest not knowing. :-*
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Offline pixelblink

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #6 on: September 18, 2007, 10:59:37 pm
ahhh... thanks for enlightening me Helm. I'm not really a fan of these pieces as "real" pixel art myself, and your description of the process doesn't change it for me either. I find it's a way of cheating the process and 99% of these images that are subitted to PJ don't explain themselves or the process they do it in. Hence the reason they sit in the queue forever or start flame wars.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007, 11:18:20 pm
i find it to be useful for creating large pieces where I can restrict the palette to 6-8 shades of gray, pixel a texture, and then use indexed painting to create quick lighting/dimension/depth.  i would then switch to a full color palette and replace the shades with appropriate colors of my choosing.  this method is one hundred times faster than hand pixelling, however as with many things the haste is traded against quality.  if you have 8 hours to burn by hand, do it, otherwise though indexed painting is helpful.

this is really only for larger pieces; there is little/no excuse for index painting anything under 240x160 unless it is done on a by-pixel level (and you're better off doing that by hand anyhow).
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Offline rabidbaboy

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 12:35:43 am
There have been an increase of pieces where I just don't know anymore if it's true blue pixelart or just an "index painting" as you call it.

Instances where I'd like to say something when I see these works on PJ, but can't because I myself don't have a firm hold on the concept of pixel art, make me feel uneasy.

Thanks for the clarification though.
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Offline ndchristie

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Re: Index painting?

Reply #9 on: September 20, 2007, 02:42:03 am
hardly anyone is true anymore in the sense that very few people go literally pixel by pixel (though eventually they might in a finished piece).  Mostly people use pen tool and paint tool, and I personally like to draw using the square tool.
A mistake is a mistake.
The same mistake twice is a bad habit.
The same mistake three or more times is a motif.