AuthorTopic: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ  (Read 26087 times)

Offline eghost

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[WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

on: October 19, 2007, 08:59:58 pm
Wow...Been a while since I've posted here...Anywho I thought I'd toss my WIP for this challenge up here to let you folks tear into it if you want...
The restrictions for the challenge are pretty simple...15 colors + transparency, 150x150 canvas...Oh...And you have to use selout...

Stage1: Stage 2(current):Skeleton line:
[UPDATE]->Latest:

Any suggestions, crits, etc. would be very welcomed...

I'm still fiddling with the palette some, doesn't feel right to have that many colors in one hue ramp... :blind:
« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 06:44:38 pm by eghost »

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 11:38:23 am
I don't understand, is the challenge to not use any selout?

Offline Opacus

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 12:07:03 pm
I don't understand, is the challenge to not use any selout?
The exact opposite.

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 02:37:07 pm
So the most ugly pixel art piece wins?

Offline Senad

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #4 on: October 20, 2007, 03:19:09 pm
So the most ugly pixel art piece wins?

lmao ^^
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Offline robotacon

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #5 on: October 20, 2007, 03:24:29 pm
So the most ugly pixel art piece wins?

Are you saying Selective Outlining = Bad because that I could subscribe to.

Why are you always so diffuse Helm? The language barrier alone is enough for me.

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #6 on: October 20, 2007, 03:38:41 pm
I most certainly am. Search the forums for the term 'selout'.

Offline vierbit

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #7 on: October 20, 2007, 04:05:39 pm
Yeah. I wondered also about this challenge at pixeljoint.
While I see it not that radical as Helm I dont get the point of that selout thing.

About the piece,
I dont think you have to many shades per ramp but at your current palette all highlights
can be easylie merged into one color.
Also her left breast should be placed lower, but I assume you know that already.

Offline baccaman21

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #8 on: October 20, 2007, 04:12:31 pm
I STILL don't figure what selout is? Was one of my first queries on this forum and i'm still struggling with the term?

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Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #9 on: October 20, 2007, 04:18:00 pm
Thanks Vierbit...Guess I've been staring at  this thing too long 'cause I actually didn't see that anatomy problem 'til you pointed it out... :blind: Gah...
I see what you mean about the highlight colors...Think I'll tweak those into one as suggested and give myself a few more to work with...

Thanks again... :)

@baccaman21: Kenneth Fejer's work is a good example of how selective outlining works as he uses it in most of his pieces...A bad example of course is readily available in the Street Fighter sprites...For all intents and purposes, least as I understand it selout is simply shading the outlines of your sprites, objects, etc. consistent with the sprite color at that area and the light expected to be hitting that area...
« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 04:36:24 pm by eghost »

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #10 on: October 20, 2007, 04:40:50 pm
*sigh* no that's just outlining, with color variation according to the lightsource, which is fine.

Selout is putting broken outlines around the edges of the sprite which are darker than what they're outlining, with the express intent of having them not melt into a similarily-coloured background (in this piece check out the right contour of the snakewoman's arm). The demand (of a sprite being lost on a background) was the invention of Tsugumo and Pkmays back in the day which while rational at first glance, was really quite far-fetched. They created this reasoning to explain why capcom (and mostly capcom!) put the dark jaggies at the contours of their sprites. Now whether capcom does this for this reason or not nobody knows, but even if we consider that they do do it so the sprites pop up against a background, this technique creates in the eyes of many users far more ugly for what it is worth. A full outline with lightvariation does what selout needs to do without any of the ugly.

Offline baccaman21

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #11 on: October 20, 2007, 04:40:59 pm
what... like what I've been doing like since I've had access to more that 2 colors?  (see pacman / batman sprite in sig)

I still don't get it... all I know is old Helmy-boy don't like it and that the ole SF sprites use it?


Ok... I dig. (again) :P [I'll prbably query it again in 2 years time]
« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 04:43:01 pm by baccaman21 »
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Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #12 on: October 20, 2007, 04:46:45 pm
*scratches head* Ok...Explains why Fejer's stuff works...And proves to me that I misunderstood the concept of selout as I was thinking more along the lines of the outlighting (light source outlining  :P) from the start.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #13 on: October 20, 2007, 08:26:29 pm
outlines will always be jagged unless treated as shapes instead of lines.  selout exacerbates the issue by starting with lines (a broken shape), and breaking them again to make even jaggier jaggies.  Pixelart is a subtle media, and you can't just rely on the eye to connect pixels unless there is overwhelming visual assistance, which is impossible over a small area.

the point : keep your shapes whole and let them work together to create the impression of contours.  EITHER dont let edges remain for a long time in the mid range, try to place dark shapes in the concavities of these forms and light shapes on the convexities, so that, assuming a background of a narrower range, you will always create a edge by being either significantly lighter or darker.  if you do not do this, keep the entire edge in the midrange, so that you achieve shape extension and a sense of overlap against the changing values of the bg.  The first though is your best bet of course, because the second creates flat, cartoony characters. 

The first is already visible in the left elbow and the torso, so i wont explain how to do it (you already know).
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Offline pkmays

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #14 on: October 20, 2007, 08:54:09 pm
Quote from: pkmays
My feelings on selout have changed from back when it was the "hot new thing." I currently feel that solid colored outlines of various brightness with minimal internal AA tends to make for more attractive outlines. I'm probably thinking the same thing Indigo is. But really, skill and perception are the biggest factor in determining how good an outline looks regardless of the style. I didn't have very good perception of the technique I was trying to implement on the old blue board, and a lot of my sprites came out harsh and unattractive because I went overboard with selout.

I did and still do prefer selout to simply outlining or not outlining a large fighter/brawler type sprite. Capcom and their ilk used the technique very effectively, but they KNEW their sprites where always going to be overlayed on some sort of background. It's when you put those sprites on a light or arbitrary (i.e. transparent) background that things start looking ugly. Also, they didn't abuse the technique and use it on every single line in a sprite. Study some Alpha 3 sprites and you will see they have a lot of solid outlines all over the place. Like sarcasm, it is a subtle art to employ, go over board and you're just going to sound like a cynical asshat.

Par exemple:



Here, the floor is the brightest area, and their feet end up looking the harshest. The upper body area, however fares much better. I'm noticing that Cody's back and Sodom's crescent blur nicely into the background.



And now when we throw them on black, they look fine all around.



Now throw them onto white, and the outlines in places are harsh...jarring. Sodom's entire left outline now has huge issues. And the sprites are getting that cardboard cutout effect.



Now on transparent. Does it look good to you? What if this was the default SMF theme? These sprites where not designed to be used with arbitrary background colors.



Now put them on a medium gray background. The sprites still have some crispness to the edges, but not to the point of being jagged. I have a strong suspicion that Capcom artists drew their sprites on a color close to this medium gray. Or perhaps they had someone who ran a bunch of color tests on their backgrounds and found a good average shade from them. Using this they could guage how dark to go in the outlined areas and avoid making them too harsh.

How dark you go with the pixels you're inserting on the edges makes a HUGE impact on the aesthetic value of the sprite. Good selout does not equal internal aliasing to black. This is the mistake I and many of us made when we where first figuring out the theory back in the swoo.net days. Check out this thread which shows a prime example of this mistake. Actually this thread says pretty much everything I'm saying here, just not as explicitly.

Another example:



Her pants hurt me on white. I can deal with the other variations.

Also, like most things in life, you can't get something for nothing:



These look great. The characters blend into the backgrounds and get darker around the edges, but it's not just a simple 1 pixel border everywhere. They are breaking the outline in places to get some extra bulk to the forms which, in my opinion, is a much more elegant solution than straight colored outlines.



But when they get thrown in front of bright sand or sky, things get harsher. Breaking the outline makes lines on Terry's thighs harsher than if they had been outlined, and the broken lines call out single dark pixels on Mai's legs. This is the price you pay, and obviously Capcom and SNK where willing to deal with it.

Someone mentioned Keneth Fejer, and how he employs the technique well. Yes, he does use it well, because he keeps it subtle, he understand how to use contrast, and he knows when to just use an outline:



Here's his original.



And here's a butchered version using ZOMGSELOUT!!!

When these professional pixel pushers where doing the art, they where assuming that the character would be on a semi-dark background ~90% of the time. Every now and then they might jump in front of a bright blue sky or a bunch of light red motion trails, but for the most part they would be surrounded by trees and buildings and such. I think they realized that by throwing a few (well placed) slightly darker pixels around the outlines, they'd be able to get that anti-aliased effect on the sprite edges, and it could work well for just about every environment. Keep in mind there probably was an army of artists working on different characters, and as a result there are some genuinely bad examples in these games where one of the guys working on a set of frames just didn't quite get it.

Capcom's artists developed their technique by making games, which is much different than posting a sprite on a forum every now and then for a hobby. Because of this, I think it's very difficult to really pick up the technique and use it effectively unless you are actually making a game. This is also why I think having a selout challenge with the requirement of a transparent background is fundamentally flawed. You gain no advantage using the technique this way. Matter of fact, your sprite almost certainly will look worse off because of it. A better idea would be to have the creator of the challenge make a few different backgrounds, like a forest, street corner, and a cave.  Then have the contestants make a single sprite using the technique, and see if that sprite can work on each background.

*sigh* no that's just outlining, with color variation according to the lightsource, which is fine.

...Selout is putting broken outlines around the edges of the sprite which are darker than what they're outlining, with the express intent of having them not melt into a similarily-coloured background...

If you mean selout as defined by my crappy old tutorial, and the many bad attempts since it's inception, then yes, you are correct. But look at the above examples and you'll see they do respect the lightsource. Cody and Mary's hair, Terry's cap, Mai's arms--they avoid those darker pixels. But even then, they are breaking the outlines.

I believe it's an advanced technique, one that requires lots of practice to become competent at, and one that's really easy to screw up. Despite this, I think it can prove useful to everyone. At the very least, try it a few times to understand what it is and why you see it in so many games. Then you can integrate it, reject it, or whatever. Just don't scoff at it and call it worthless without any real proof.

P.S. I never really agreed that selout prevents sprites from getting lost in similarly colored backgrounds. Motion, the basic silhouette, and internal details play a much larger role than the outline. Like the hypothetical white ninja in a snow level--using dark pixels around his head and shoulders is just going to turn out ugly. It's better to either use outlines, no outlines, or just avoid the situation altogether and not put a white ninja on a snow level.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 02:48:39 am by pkmays »

Offline baccaman21

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #15 on: October 20, 2007, 10:54:20 pm
....and that pretty much echo's my thoughts exactly... nice post PK.

Point being - that out of context it may be jarring... but placed into context things can work... a general rule I've used when creating my 'professional' graphics in the past has been to try the sprites out against varying tonal backgrounds, Black, white, grey and what I refer to as 'broken color' - ie some kind of texture that implies the generic 'feel' of whatever backgorund the sprite will mainly be resting on.

But, the nature of the beast is that you cannot have an outline color solution for every b/g type so there this sometimes this fails...

What a fascinating insight into the techniques of (what i've always considered to be) masters of the pixel technique that is the SFA series... (I never liked SF2) - and to be frank, I've often been a little purturbed by the citing of SF sprites to be criticized so harshly as to me they were/are certainly at the pinnacle of the pixel mountain (along with the Metal Slugs and Zeldas...) but I know that's just personal taste and asthetics differ from individual to individual.

Anyway - good post - hat's off.
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Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #16 on: October 20, 2007, 11:44:12 pm
Quote
If you mean selout as defined by my crappy old tutorial, and the many bad attempts since it's inception, then yes, you are correct. But look at the above examples and you'll see they do respect the lightsource.

Yes that's what I mean because that's what selout *is*. It's a term you and tsu invented that does a very specific thing. It's been difficult to kill it as a term all these years and I'm stil fighting the good fight and now pixeljoint has a 'selout contest', good god. The actual technique used in various videogames is both a byproduct of just shading a thing and is part of a larger skillset of rendering that cannot be seen outside that skillset's context, nor can it be honed as a disparate 'technique' like dithering or manual antialiasing. It's not that sort of thing, you come across decisions to make when you make game art that force you to find ways to deal with issues, in the case of 'good' selout, it's neither systematic nor formulaic as far as my eyes can tell and it definitely seems to be used on a case-by-case basis, therefore it's not a solid technique that should be discussed as such. Any person with experience in making game art will have delt with the sprite edge issue in many different ways, for many different sprites. 

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #17 on: October 20, 2007, 11:54:20 pm
*blinks* Well...I definitely feel like I have a better handle on the theory behind several different outlining techniques...
That said I've got a new progress piece...Which upon further consideration and looking at the various examples looks like crap in many ways... :(
After reading through the book that this thread is rapidly becoming, I'm definitely thinking that I'm going to have to take an hour or three off from staring at this thing and see if I can come back to it with a more unified outlining concept in mind, because I can see both forms in use atm, and its causing much head scratching on my end...

Offline ndchristie

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #18 on: October 21, 2007, 12:07:06 am
im going to have to side with helm on this one.  selout as it is practised is like oekaki dithering or even the dreaded spray can.  people use it because they are told it works, not because it actually does.  each of these 3 "techniques" mimic actual qualities : edge treatment and line variation, using texture to break up color masses, and using noise to create the illusion of randomness.  The difference is that these 3 qualities require thought, practise, and a good eye, while the 3 "techniques" only require mindless application.

selout is different from the others slightly in that it requires tedious application.  don't confuse work with thought, or pattern with description!  often, treating the line properly and attractively is easier than selout which follows a bizarre sort of formula that people end up second-guessing (as well they should!).  No, selout is no better than pillow shading in that it is complicated, ugly, and employs no visual reasoning.

EDIT: you newest post brings up another shitty and overused "technique," unblended "ambient lighting."  There is no such thing as a light source that only lights from a single direction, and the use of this SoM-made-popular technique (tsu and st0ven have a hand in this too, unintentionally) is extremely unattractive and visually jarring.  In addition to being generally unappealing, this flattens out your volumes and divides solid surfaces. the ONLY thing this does bring in is warm and cool interplay, but yo can achieve that just be making your shadows cold and your highlights warm (or the toher way around of course).
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Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #19 on: October 21, 2007, 02:15:07 am
@Adarias: I'm assuming you're referring to my (admittedly) rather bad attempt at a secondary light source to the right with the teal colors?
I can only chalk that up to being an (obviously) failed experiment...I'll have to fiddle with it more, via contour blending and such thus giving it the same kind of attention that I heaped on the primary light source...I think I can see a few ways to implement such a critter...

In regards to my use of techniques, in all honesty I poke around at a piece until I find what works to my eye...I can be completely honest when I say that I only really understand AA well and only have a moderately passable artistic talent considering the regulars around here...I throw things up here or at PJ and wait to see what more trained eyes have to say about the matter...

At this point I'm at something of a loss as to where to direct the piece next, and torn between scrapping everything save the torso, sword/spear, and the basic shape of the tail and starting over OR tossing the whole thing into my scrap bin and starting a piece using what I actually understand...

Given that this has stirred up a fairly serious hornet's nest I'm not sure that I should be posting any continuance of this piece here, in spite of the fact that if I want to actually learn something when all of this is said and done this is the best place for it. Considering it's basic premise and my desire not to have to wade through a dozen or so posts bashing the "technique" that is the basis of the challenge to glean the kernels of actual critique and comments on the piece itself...I do appreciate the comments and criticism that the piece has received but I don't see how the current direction of the thread is going to help the piece come to a place that isn't going to offend anyone's sensibilities...

At this point I don't really care if this goes in for the challenge, or for that matter even qualifies for the challenge, I just want to improve the piece to the best of my abilities and maybe stretch my horizons and skills some...*shrugs*

Any rate thanks for staying tuned this long...If anyone wants to toss any C&C at the piece feel free...Thanks again to those who did add their two cents worth on the pic...

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #20 on: October 21, 2007, 02:17:59 am
I was wanting to edit your piece, do you have one that doesn't have a second light source on it?

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #21 on: October 21, 2007, 02:20:29 am
Unfortunately I don't  :(...Though feel free to edit if you want...
[EDIT] Here's the secondary lighting removed...[/EDIT]
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 08:39:33 pm by eghost »

Offline pkmays

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #22 on: October 21, 2007, 09:09:09 pm
Given that this has stirred up a fairly serious hornet's nest I'm not sure that I should be posting any continuance of this piece here, in spite of the fact that if I want to actually learn something when all of this is said and done this is the best place for it. Considering it's basic premise and my desire not to have to wade through a dozen or so posts bashing the "technique" that is the basis of the challenge to glean the kernels of actual critique and comments on the piece itself...I do appreciate the comments and criticism that the piece has received but I don't see how the current direction of the thread is going to help the piece come to a place that isn't going to offend anyone's sensibilities...
 

Don’t worry about it, these detailed theoretical debates are the reason I, and I’m sure many of the older members joined the original Pixelation years ago. Most people come here to improve their own skills, and threads like this are invaluable. Sorry the direction has been so dominantly theoretical, but you just happen to be the right (or wrong) person in the right place at the right time. After Helm and Baccaman started harping in on the issue I felt this was a good a thread as any to address my thoughts on the subject. I think it’s definitely time for me to make some official corrections and addendums to my old tutorial.


...But, the nature of the beast is that you cannot have an outline color solution for every b/g type so there this sometimes this fails...

...I've often been a little purturbed by the citing of SF sprites to be criticized so harshly as to me they were/are certainly at the pinnacle of the pixel mountain (along with the Metal Slugs and Zeldas...) but I know that's just personal taste and asthetics differ from individual to individual...

Yup, aesthetics do play a huge roll in what we consider the masterworks of game art. We are a product of our environments. I’m really not sure if I’d even have any interest in pixel art if it weren’t for fighters. So I can say that I am definitely biased to the late 90’s arcade fighter type of pixel art. Nor do I see any problems with that. We all have our own shticks, if we didn't, none of us would have any passion for our craft.

That said, there are things I’ve always disliked about the Alpha graphics. The anime style is increasingly not my thing, the color ramps aren’t as imaginative as they could be, the AA on skin is almost always harsher than it should be. A million things I can nitpick, because it's not my own creation. Still, the games are invaluable as reference material. I've learned so much from their treatment on edges and lines, and they are prime examples of efficient animation and well constructed (though still highly stylized) anatomy.

Yes that's what I mean because that's what selout *is*. It's a term you and tsu invented that does a very specific thing. It's been difficult to kill it as a term all these years and I'm stil fighting the good fight and now pixeljoint has a 'selout contest', good god.
selout is different from the others slightly in that it requires tedious application.  don't confuse work with thought, or pattern with description!  often, treating the line properly and attractively is easier than selout which follows a bizarre sort of formula that people end up second-guessing (as well they should!).  No, selout is no better than pillow shading in that it is complicated, ugly, and employs no visual reasoning.

I can’t speak for what Tsu or St0ven or any of the others were thinking at the time, but yeah, that’s how I saw it. I said to myself, “Well, Capcom is outlining in a lot of places, but in other places they are breaking the outlines. So they must be making black or really dark outlines and selectively going in and breaking them for this effect.” It didn’t even occur to me that they were also anti-aliasing and choosing the value of shades based on a specific background value. Chock it up to my lack experience and the initial excitement of when we started to "get it." I started pixeling in the summer of 2001 and wrote that tutorial in one day, less than a year after starting. I'm either going to have to completely revamp it or get Zoggles to take it down completely.

…The actual technique used in various videogames is both a byproduct of just shading a thing and is part of a larger skillset of rendering that cannot be seen outside that skillset's context, nor can it be honed as a disparate 'technique' like dithering or manual antialiasing…

Sure, and if I where to write some new tutorials, I would treat it as an end of book addition to a skillset that should be well established before even attempting it. A good primer in form, color, movement, AA, and the issues of sprite and backgrounds interaction would be prerequisites. Only then would I talk about ways of lightening outlines and anti-aliasing into a neutral background.
But yes, I agree. Selout doesn’t need to exist as a term or technique. It’s a misnomer for a technique that doesn’t work. It needs to die altogether.



Alright, seeing how this was originally supposed to be a critique thread, I’ll try to actually address the sprite in question.

At this point I'm at something of a loss as to where to direct the piece next, and torn between scrapping everything save the torso, sword/spear, and the basic shape of the tail and starting over OR tossing the whole thing into my scrap bin and starting a piece using what I actually understand...

I wouldn’t scrap it, you’ve got a nice foundation. The face and hair are especially strong. Some anatomy and readability issues exist, but nothing that can’t be fixed.



The main changes where giving her some hips and reducing the tangents. There were too many lines and curves that where touching but not intersecting, which made it hard to tell what space her body parts were inhabiting and what direction they were pointing. I lost some of the elegance in the curve from her hips to where her snake belly hits the ground, so you might try a different approach. What’s important is showing that her body recedes to the right and then back to the left, and finally back to the right. I’d also recommend you make the greenish tan of the belly visible when it bends back to the left to keep it grounded.



And then I tried to work the torso area for an example of how I would go about pixelating it. The skin especially needed some work.

The first and most important change when beginning was getting a medium gray background in so I can tell how dark the AA on the edges should go. I added a buffer shade to the skin to smooth things out as well. I completely avoided using the dark blue in the skin as it's just too big a jump in value to integrate attractively.

I also had to raise her left arm as it was too long below the elbow. I believe adding scales will do a world of good for the sprite. They can probably be rendered with the darker skin shades, or by adding a few dark blues, as I replaced your blue with a teal so it would buffer into the green of the skin.

Other than that, I’d say eliminate all the dark pixels on the sword and just block in the shape and form with color. I wouldn’t even outline the blade to keep it looking as sharp as possible.

Offline bengo

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #23 on: October 21, 2007, 09:33:11 pm
PKmays did a better job of an edit, so I guess I don't have to do any now. The only thing I've noticed is that I think the blade should be longer, or to save yourself some work you could make it a spear. Another thing to keep in mind is that anything not man-made, especially living creatures, are very uh, loose in terms of shape, so try to not make the lines so stiff, like with her tail for instance, there's a lot of straight vertical and diagonal lines, so yeah.

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #24 on: October 21, 2007, 11:15:10 pm
Thank you both very much...
The edit definitely cleared up some things that were giving me fits...I'll see about tossing a progrss piece up as soon as I can get the suggestions implemented...:)
Thanks again...:D

Offline Scuba Steve

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #25 on: October 22, 2007, 01:01:57 am
I know I've used the 'selout' technique in the past to decent effect.  I know it was mentioned... but if your characters are almost always going to be viewed on dark backgrounds, they provide a great faux anti-aliasing effect.  I did a lot of Doom illustrating back in the day and you were almost guaranteed to always have darkness around you... so you could draw characters or weapons with a 'selout' style and it would be effective in blending in with the background.  And yes, if you happened to come across lighter squares and they crossed... it is not attractive... but it was effective for the other 90% of the cases they interacted.  I would say that, depending on what you are trying to accomplish, it can be effective... but as numerous people have iterated, you have to know what it's intended effects are and how it can certainly be detracting and ugly.
Glub Glub!

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #26 on: October 22, 2007, 06:57:03 am
Ok...Fairly heavy edit mostly working in pkmay's suggested lines as the tail lines he put up make a lot more sense by way of readability...I'm still tweaking the tail to a point that I like and trying to AA to 50% grey...
Also took the suggested tonal changes from the color edit as well...It still needs a lot of work but I'm definitely feeling better about the direction it's heading in...Thanks again y'all...


Offline Indigo

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #27 on: October 22, 2007, 04:04:33 pm
you know what's odd about the definition of selout?  The term is slowly shifting to redefine itself as "colored outlines", but helm and others insist keeping it in it's negative form.  Often times tutorials teach of the "good selout" - as defined by colored outlines.  Many people also refer to Kenneth's work for Selout.

example:
http://www.derekyu.com/extras/pixel01.html

If it wants to shift to something good, then why stop it?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2007, 04:06:58 pm by Indigo »

Offline ndchristie

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #28 on: October 22, 2007, 04:27:59 pm
that tutorial has most of the problems of the rest because it still separates line from fill instead of treating everything as shape.  we don't see line and fill, we see shape's that form edges, and shapes that form regions! the only way to produce good work is by dealing with shape!  it's also considering dithering a mandatory step 0.o

for some more proof that selout is tainted, just look at what turned up for this challenge.  half as many pieces, half as good, twice the bitching:

http://pixeljoint.com/pixels/poll.asp?id=1058
http://pixeljoint.com/2007/10/22/2354/Challenge_Voting-_Selective_Outlining.htm

even mash's entry is only subpar compared to his/her other work, and most of the better users didn't even touch it.

you might be abel to make an argument for it, true, but when a community that really enjoys video game art just drops it like that, I get a pretty clear message.
A mistake is a mistake.
The same mistake twice is a bad habit.
The same mistake three or more times is a motif.

Offline Indigo

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #29 on: October 22, 2007, 04:56:27 pm
sure, but don't throw out colored outlines all together.  heck even my grunt uses it, but doesn't disregard form. (http://www.spriteart.com/indigo/images/art/pixelart/grunt_done.gif)

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #30 on: October 22, 2007, 05:12:00 pm
you know what's odd about the definition of selout?  The term is slowly shifting to redefine itself as "colored outlines", but helm and others insist keeping it in it's negative form.  Often times tutorials teach of the "good selout" - as defined by colored outlines.  Many people also refer to Kenneth's work for Selout.

If it wants to shift to something good, then why stop it?

Because if it all falls under the same term, we'll have to keep explaining the difference between 'good' and 'bad' versions of it endlessly.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #31 on: October 22, 2007, 06:23:16 pm
sure, but don't throw out colored outlines all together.  heck even my grunt uses it, but doesn't disregard form. (http://www.spriteart.com/indigo/images/art/pixelart/grunt_done.gif)

that's a perfect example of what i mean by creating contours using shapes and values.  You haven't outlined anything with clean single pixel lines, you've used smooth, attractive forms.
A mistake is a mistake.
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The same mistake three or more times is a motif.

Offline Indigo

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #32 on: October 22, 2007, 06:54:35 pm
are you kidding?  I almost never broke my 1 pixel colored line.  -It's only disguised by better rendering of forms within them.

zoom to see what I mean.


there are only a couple areas where i didn't and that's purely by mistake.


but to stay on-topic here, I'm having a bit of issues with the forearms.  in the pixel version as well as the paintover.  They seem much to large/ bulky - especially for a woman.  Hands also are a bit lacking.  You might want to look up some reference photos
« Last Edit: October 22, 2007, 06:59:15 pm by Indigo »

Offline ndchristie

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #33 on: October 22, 2007, 07:04:40 pm
lol, i already did, you can't just take the edge pixels and say that it's an outline, silly.  Maybe you aren't AWARE that you are employing better skills (which would disappoint me, to be honest), but you are showing them.  Every one of those shapes speaks to another nearby and is either continued or approached organically.  good treatment of contour and edge is not the same as colored outlines or selout, and your pixel has neither.  Your shapes are narrow, but they are shapes - not outlines.
A mistake is a mistake.
The same mistake twice is a bad habit.
The same mistake three or more times is a motif.

Offline Indigo

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #34 on: October 22, 2007, 07:12:46 pm
I'm taking this to PMs

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #35 on: October 23, 2007, 05:17:47 am
Ok...I decided to "square one" this piece taking into account all the crits thus far...Spent about 5 minutes with a pen and a Post-It working up the tail into something I thought would flow a bit better and came up with this...

From there I scanned it in fiddled with it a bit and found that it didn't sit real well with the torso...So I reblocked the base parts of the piece, trying to pay especially close attention to the forearms and hands...They're only blocked in atm, but I think the size works a bit better...Also stumbled upon some interesting palette possibilities while I was rotating and scaling the tail sketch so that I could get it to work with the piece...
->->

After spending a lot of time reading and re-reading through the various posts in here I think I'm going to try to use shape and value to determine the outline...Probably a bit more of a skill stretch for me, but I'm all for learning...Thanks again for all the C&C...
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 05:21:12 am by eghost »

Offline Sherman Gill

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #36 on: October 23, 2007, 05:44:19 am
Sad you didn't make it for the contest. This was a lot better then any of th entries.
As for the new style, I don't got shit to say, though remember to make the black rubber shiney  :P That's important.
Oh yes naked women are beautiful
But I like shrimps more haha ;)

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #37 on: October 23, 2007, 06:24:17 am
The new shape is better definitely. Keep these things in mind: When someone is holding a weapon in a combat situation, especiallly a heavy one, their muscles are tense. Right now she's holding the thing like it's a dead weight, shoulders slumped and arms 90 degrees down. Give her a wider reach, tense muscles, and good, firm ghrasp on the rod end. Take a reference picture of you with a broom handle or something, you'll notice how different it is from what you drew. Also, the original had her holding the weapon too low, but at least at the right angle. She's not guarding right now, she's just holding a thing to pass along to her husband warrior and then go do the dishes and change the diapers on the snake-babies. You don't want to give off that vibe, make her pose determined!

Offline big brother

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #38 on: October 23, 2007, 03:01:51 pm
She's not guarding right now, she's just holding a thing to pass along to her husband warrior and then go do the dishes and change the diapers on the snake-babies.

I wish you hadn't said that -- now I really want to see the snake babies added to this picture!

As for the new shape of the coils, try adjusting the sprite in silhouette form. Does it still read, or at least look snake-like?

Here's an idea. Basically, if these shapes were filled in, the coils would still retain form and not look like a blob. There is fun stuff you can do compositionally to contrast the straight edges of the weapon with the curves of the character (although I didn't do much in this quick edit).


« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 03:18:27 pm by big brother »

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #39 on: October 24, 2007, 05:38:53 am
*grins* I actually considered pixeling a snake baby but I didn't get a lot of time for pixeling today, guess I coulda done an egg though... :P
Though I did get some accomplished and here it is...

I'm feeling pretty good about the arm locations, though I am considering moving the left arm out some...

I definitely get what you mean about the shape contrast and while I am feeling better about the tail as it stands I see your point...Might fiddle around with it a bit more once I get down there...

Hopefully I'll get a bit more time to work on this tomorrow...Thanks again y'all...

Offline Helm

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #40 on: October 24, 2007, 12:32:24 pm
quite better hands, very nice face. You sure she should be looking one way and pointing that thing in another though?

Offline big brother

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #41 on: October 24, 2007, 04:27:34 pm
Oooh, you could put a clutch of eggs inside the coil on the left side. That way, it's like she's guarding her babies! This addition could add the awesome to this piece.

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #42 on: October 24, 2007, 11:39:33 pm
Gah...You crazy people have now successfully inspired me... ;D
Current version:


The broom is a byproduct of not being able to figure out how to make a weapon that I'd be happy with and a touch of forgetfulness in regards to color grabbing on my part... :P

Offline pkmays

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #43 on: October 24, 2007, 11:44:41 pm
Now all she needs is a kinky house wife outfit. :^))

Love what you've done with the face. I'd say brighten up the whites of her eyes and darken her mouth, they are getting lost in the face and making it look too blurry. Her hair could also do with some smoother AA on her left / our right.

Offline Reldros

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #44 on: October 25, 2007, 01:54:57 am

I'm pretty sure it's just me, but where the snake tail attaches to the torso it looks a bit off.

The snake tail looks like it should be twisting the entire torso a bit more judging by the belly part of the tail. It also seems like the tail is connecting to the human torso at an angle and the body is pivoting 90 degrees straight up from it, creating an awkward joint or something.

Nothing really worth making a big deal out of, but it's just the way I saw it.

Edit: Tried to show what I mean..
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 02:00:26 am by Reldros »

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #45 on: October 25, 2007, 04:36:52 am
Latest:


I'm not happy with the top yet...Still tossing around what I want to do with it...I may leave it like this and get moving on the tail, and see if maybe that helps give me some ideas...*grins* Sexy housewife huh...Hmmm...;P

Aside from that I corrected a few anatomy issues that I could immediately see...

@Reldros: I see what you're getting at, and shifted the center a hair to accomodate...Though I think that's about as much shift as I can put in and not leave her feeling stiff...

Offline Sherman Gill

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #46 on: October 25, 2007, 05:21:50 am
But but but... the black leather... :ouch:
It looks like... you've gone from super-bondage hardcore outfit, to housewife wearing a sexy black leather top, to MUNDANE HOUSEWIFE WITH BORING AND PLAIN OUTFIT WITH NO SAVING GRACES.
And honestly, she looks too young to be a nagging housewife.
Oh yes naked women are beautiful
But I like shrimps more haha ;)

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #47 on: October 25, 2007, 05:28:04 am
Good point...Hmmm...I thik Ican resurrect the leather look...It did have a better feel too it than what I was trying for..
Think I'll set it up more like a reversed vest...ie. no zipper on th front... ;D
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 05:38:42 am by eghost »

Offline Crow

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #48 on: October 25, 2007, 11:48:11 am
I dont like the eyes in your newest edit, I liked the other ones better. I dont know why, I think it just makes her look...well...more awesome? Cant really describe it :crazy:
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Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #49 on: October 25, 2007, 12:37:41 pm
Latest:


Still not entirely satisfied with the top...Need to find a ref pic for leather...

Fixed the eyes, cause they were bugging me too...And adjusted a bit of shading on the torso and arms... :)

Offline big brother

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #50 on: October 25, 2007, 02:13:46 pm
Might be nicer to make the eggs taller/bigger, so their shape breaks the coil. That way they will read better as eggs, as well as making the positive/negative space more visually interesting. You would also avoid the tension caused by having the tip of the egg so close to the top line of the coil.

Offline Lawrence

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #51 on: October 25, 2007, 09:56:46 pm
The specular highlights on her top look too big, making it look like shiny like plastic.



I slightly changed the values of the stick's brown highlight, the second darkest green, and the two lightest purples to make a more evenly ramped palette and used them on her top.

Offline eghost

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Re: [WIP] Selout challenge from PJ

Reply #52 on: October 26, 2007, 02:03:50 am
*blinks* THAT'S what I was looking for with the top!!  :D
Thanks for the edit Lawrence, I'll definitely be grabbing that palette and see about tweaking the specular along the same lines that you have...
I'll see about uploading a bit later with current progress and updates...Thanks again all! :)

[EDIT] Got Lawrence's palette fixes in place and updated the top...Think I'm gonna go along the lines of a corset but I'm still working on finishing it...Also incorporated big brother's suggestion on the eggs...Don't mind the mostly craptastic dither pattern on the tail as it will be going away in favor of the "pattern" that I've got at the hip I think...The ultra bright on the tail will also go the way of the dodo soon, just mostly wanted it there atm as lighting reference...
Latest:

[/EDIT]
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 03:42:55 am by eghost »