AuthorTopic: [Wip] Starcraft sprites  (Read 23276 times)

Offline Kcilc

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #20 on: May 03, 2008, 06:21:16 pm
Xestro, I think the direction you're heading now is not good. "To put many details into it, just because" is a bad reason imho. The most important thing is readability.
I don't think anyone said anything like this. If you're directing this at my post, then I suggest you reread what I wrote, because nowhere did I say to just add many random details. I said to put in more details so that people will be able to recognize this sprite as a Starcraft Marine; to help with the readability, not the other way around. Take trem's edit for example, it's a very good edit, but it builds upon my fears of initial readability; it doesn't look much like a Marine, just a random solder in cool blue armor.

As for the updates on your sprite, xestro, I think that my style blended in with yours looks tacky at best; they just don't mix. I'd say to just use my edit as a guideline rather than a remake.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 06:23:48 pm by Kcilc »

Offline xestro

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #21 on: May 03, 2008, 11:26:36 pm
well i remade it.... still looks like yours though....

too tired to think right now...

New-
Old-

Edit- Iv been thinking of some other ideas for some sprites.... i think im going to put this on hold and work on my other ideas...
not sure yet though..

feel free to keep giving me some cc though
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 01:56:45 am by xestro »

Offline Rosse

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #22 on: May 04, 2008, 10:14:15 am
Kclic:
First of all, please excuse me. Maybe it's because of the language barrier (english is not my mother tongue), but with my sentence (the one about details) I didn't want to insult you or anyone. I just needed a example and abused your sentence to make a statement (and a small joke). So please forgive me. But I still believe in what I wrote, please let me elaborate:

Let's take the StarCraft 2 Space Marine as a example. Dkh said “They're rough guys, they smoke, the swear, they're dirty” and you said “There are lots of tubes and little pieces of metal all over the place in the concept art [...] All in all there are tons of little things that really make a Marine, a Marine.” To display this mental image, let's take a look at the concept art of StarCraft 2 here. He's really a tough guy. But now look at the ingame model here or here (look at the running animation). Do you still see a tough guy? Maybe, but the model is a generic soldier in a (maybe) cool looking armor. So what does that mean?
Scott McCloud calls this “induction”. You see a smilie and induce yourself into it, you look into a mirror. Something similar happens with the StarCraft 2 models. You have a “mental” image of a Space Marine (from conceptart and/or the small image in the UI), and when you see this small guy in a armor running around the battlefield you see a tough guy which sweat, smokes and make cool statements about war (didn't play the game, so please forgive me again ;) ).
This effect happens all the time in computergames (in good ones). You don't have the ability to put all these fine details into a model or sprite. Look at the old NES games. Look at all the monsters (Zelda for example). You have a manual which nice illustration from monsters. When you look ingame, you have 16x16 pixels with 3 colors - scary monster you say? Yes, but why? Induction! Other example, Rogue-like games, where a & is a big, scary deamon.You see?
Helm made in another thread a similar observation:
Quote
At such sizes, a single pixel is a lot of real estate. It turns out visual clarity for me is more important than signifying detail such as a zipper or seams to the jeans when a pixel is about 10 CM in that ratio. A jeans seam in real life is milimeters big, but now it's as big as his eye, so to speak. Simplyfy, make the volumes read more and don't worry so much about detail. The mind will invent details when it looks at something that seems correctly set up.
Sorry for abusing this thread, but somehow I think it's very on-topic for pixelart.

Offline Kcilc

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #23 on: May 05, 2008, 03:39:21 am
@Rosse:
While induction works well within a game, or something to that effect, it would not work at all with a single sprite or tile; when I looked at that ampersand for the first time(it being bold, it caught my eyes before I read the sentence) I saw "and," not a big, scary demon; but If I was, say, playing Nethack, then yes, it could pass as a demon, only then though. This is actually the opposite of what I was trying to create; I wanted something instantly recognizable to avoid confusion of what, exactly, this supposed to be, so that someone who knew what a Starcraft sprite was, he could say, "yeah, that looks right," or someone who didn't know what a Starcraft Marine was, could google it, and say, "oh yes, that does look like what he made."

I think I found a bridge over the gap in our views; we're both striving for information, Helm defines this very well.
Quote
detail is pixel placements. If you can use less colours and still maintain the pixel placements that you've done, then this is good. This is relatively easy. If you take a 256 colour pic and you turn it into 128 shades of gray, it is very possible even automatically, a machine will induce no loss of detail.  Information isn't pixel placement, though, it is WHAT the pixels are. What colour, what they signify as texture and symbol.
What I was trying to say in my post was that, in order to have this essential information, he needed to place the pixels with more of an idea of what he was trying to create. In other words, he had a bunch of volumetric balls and other shapes, with a small bit of detail, but not enough to inform the viewer of what, exactly, he was attempting to create. I'm not saying that you should bog the sprite down with tons of details like I implied with my first post to this topic, and I apologize for that; I really do value simplicity and lighting, but if you focus too much on these it can, and will, make your sprite look just as bad as if you had over-detailed it. This also reminds of a post I made a while back:
Quote
But you must be careful when applying shades. Just remember that the fewer the better, as far as colors go; the reason for this is that when you have, say, fifteen colors in a little 32x32 square, it ends up being so smooth and flowing that none of the few details (that you can actually fit into that amount of space) really show up.

On the other hand, if you try to cram too much detail into your 'lil sprite, it takes on a noisy quality; which is, most definitely, not what you would want. Because most, if not all, of the volume would pack its bags and go off in search of something that could make good use of its illusion.
What I was saying here was that you need to find a good balance between volume and detail to really have an informative sprite, at any size.

@Xestro:
Your sprite is looking much, much better than what you had when you started out. Just a few crits to push it even farther:

First, it'd be a good idea to get rid of the highlight his (not our) left shoulder plate.
Second, I don't think that the dither is necessary for a sprite at this size, and dithering never really works with animations anyway.
Third, he's a little off balance, just move his torso and arms a pixel to the right and it should look better; a good way to check balance is to mirror the sprite, then work on it for a bit from that perspective.
Fourth, contrast, you need more of this; the colors are just a bit too close to each other.
Fifth(this is more of a nitpick), the visor looks as though it is bending towards the sprite's head a little bit, you could fix this by not using any buffer shades from the highlight to the shadow to create a thinner looking top-piece.

Other than those few things, though, it's looking really solid.

« Last Edit: May 05, 2008, 03:48:45 am by Kcilc »

Offline Helm

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #24 on: May 05, 2008, 06:59:11 am
I am slowly amending my own views about dithering and animation. It seems plausible, and I've repeated it enough times myself, but I don't...really thing there's any problem with visual identity and dithering on animations. Any examples where it fucks up? I think we want this to be true, but it really isn't. Dithering is lost in motion, but then again, so is most aa and subtle shifts and generally the whole art of pixelling, if there's enough frames. Yet if you put the work, the mind will subconsciously pick up a fuller, more convincing effect. I think even dithering has a place in animation.

About the information/detail argument, I think that's the right track for this sprite. But if you look at starcraft concept art, and you say 'I will replicate the basic information of this in a small sprite' what are you left with? Huge shoulders (in the current sprite), that headcovering arch (not properly done in the sprite) and massive STOCKINESS. He's tough, he's compact, he's a van of a marine! The sprite doesn't read like this.

If a sprite doesn't hold like a NES sprite, it will never hold with more colors. Let's try to put that information in a NES sprite version of a starcraft marine first.

and halfsize

My sprite is smaller but conveys more attitude in its space. It uses less colors yet there's more definition of the parts that make up the marine. What is there to learn from this?

*High contrast is useful for small sprites
*The pose of the character must convey something about his demeanour
*It makes sense that the startcraft team is not trying to put faces to these soldiers at this resolution
*The design of the starcraft marine is pretty bad, lacks angles, to begin with

Offline ceddo

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #25 on: May 05, 2008, 06:52:00 pm
Great post, Helm! I shall keep it in a folder for future reference, it'll help me :)

Offline xestro

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Re: [Wip] Starcraft sprites

Reply #26 on: May 08, 2008, 09:34:12 pm
Hmm...

i haven't read your post yet helm but ill change if i can

i decided to chance it a little...
i didn't want to copy starcraft so i changed it to something I'm a little better at, penguins  ;D