AuthorTopic: [WIP] Critique/Process Optimization needed for MuMu <3  (Read 871 times)

Offline SeinRuhe

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This is for you @Cels :-* since you've been wondering where's the naughty part of my portfolio (Nothing explicit is allowed at the forums, that's why that part is empty), I'll be doing a sexy piece with no intercourse and no nudity.

To put you guys on context, I'm preparing for one hell of a job with backgrounds as big as they get (3000px * 600px and stuff like that), so I really want to get back in shape by summoning my pixel art ancestors so they can enlighten me with the old ways of making pixel art that allow the use of dirty tools through software long gone. (If anyone knows how to use ProMotion or GraFX2 to paint on an indexed file please, please, let me know how)

So, I'd rather draw boobies than ground, boxes and trees, that's why the subject matter of this practice is not a background (I guess my teenage years never faded away although I'm reaching the 3rd floor lol)

So, to begin the process I did a sketch on Clip Studio Paint, cleaned it up a bit and added some color here and there, resized it, added a posterize correction layer, and started the manual cleanup process on Aseprite because I'm a diehard fanboy of that software.

The sketch and color on digital looks like this:



The cleanup process looks like this so far:



I would expect this piece to take another full day of cleanup which is a lot, someone knows a better pipeline to do quality HD pixel art with a limited color count? (The end goal I'm going for here is to polish/develop a pipeline that bear results similar to the backgrounds of the MS franchise by Nazca Corporation and SNK)

By the way, any other critique is more than welcome!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 12:33:46 am by SeinRuhe »

Offline fskn

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Re: Critique/Process Optimization needed for Muuuu Muuuu <3

Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 07:54:58 am
someone knows a better pipeline to do quality HD pixel art with a limited color count?

Not sure if better, but I'd try Dan Fessler's HD Index Painting technique. At least for an initial pass.
http://danfessler.com/blog/hd-index-painting-in-photoshop
That's on Photoshop, though, but I'd assume there are similar ways to do that kind of stuff in Clip Studio.

Here's a video of his process:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q36EyvaYG8

You don't *really* need a Posterize layer for that, though. Just a stepped color gradient* ramp.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 09:51:38 am by fskn »

Offline cels

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Re: Critique/Process Optimization needed for Muuuu Muuuu <3

Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 11:31:13 am
Yay!  :lol:

Unfortunately, I can't help with the technical questions nor the art itself because I lack skills in both. For pixel art software problems, I'd definitely head over to the PJ Discord channel and ask the pros who do this for a living.

Trust me, if I could draw this kind of art, I wouldn't simply be pixelling trees and castles. I'd probably be making comic books about this Muu Muu girl and her proletarian struggle of manufacturing commercially viable dairy products. But for now, I'm stuck with improving the castles I drew as a boy. With enough skill, I will move on to teenage material.

I'm curious though, could you show some examples of the backgrounds of the MS franchise by Nazca Corporation and SNK that you're trying to emulate?

Finally, let me just say that on a purely artistic level, I really love what you've done here. The way she holds her hand, the way her shoulders are raised as she's holding the milkshake, it's all really well executed. Top notch!  ;D

Offline SeinRuhe

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Re: Critique/Process Optimization needed for Muuuu Muuuu <3

Reply #3 on: April 28, 2021, 10:17:32 pm
@Fskn seems like that method of HD Index painting is really close to what I'm searching for, the only downside I see is that every color needs a huge setup and that a piece may exceed 256 colors (Including alpha) at any time. That's why I was asking for a true Indexed method that allows dirty tools but documentation on this is so scarce and hard to find I still have nothing after a day of research :S

@Cels You know what? That plot seems like something I may steal for an H minigame or something :hehe: Now I only need to learn how to code to make that burglary viable :'(

Of course, look at any BG here, they are too big to post as a linked image without making the thread a mess: https://www.spriters-resource.com/neo_geo_ngcd/ms3/

Also thanks for the nice words! :-[

I owe you guys the finished piece, spent quite some time doing the weekly challenge on PJ instead of this piece, so for now a little update:

« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 10:21:08 pm by SeinRuhe »

Offline fskn

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Re: Critique/Process Optimization needed for Muuuu Muuuu <3

Reply #4 on: April 28, 2021, 11:19:41 pm
@Fskn seems like that method of HD Index painting is really close to what I'm searching for, the only downside I see is that every color needs a huge setup and that a piece may exceed 256 colors (Including alpha) at any time. That's why I was asking for a true Indexed method that allows dirty tools but documentation on this is so scarce and hard to find I still have nothing after a day of research :S
It does take some time to set everything up, yes. Especially if you want to use a specific color palette (which I'll explain in a second), but how could it go over 256 colors? I mean, you would define however many colors you'd want using Posterize adj. layers...
You do have to separate different parts of your painting into groups, though. Like having one group for the skin, another one for the blue hair, and so on.

As for using a specific color palette, you could make a gradient map that has sharp color "steps", such as:



And if you do, you don't even need a posterize layer for that group.
But it can get really unwieldy if your color ramp has too many colors.
(That's in Photoshop, though. I don't know how to do that in Clip Studio...)

You could, though, do it like Dan did in his example, then save it as a flat image and tweak the colors later.

That said, I would like to know how one would approach that in ProMotion or GraFX2...

---

Here's another, more thorough explanation of that method:
https://2dwillneverdie.com/tutorial/instant-pixel-art-backgrounds-with-the-dan-fessler-method/
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 11:28:58 pm by fskn »

Offline SeinRuhe

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Re: Critique/Process Optimization needed for Muuuu Muuuu <3

Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 12:27:24 am
@Fskn That may be what I'm looking for, gonna do some testing! I do prefer Clip Paint and I think the setup is possible minus the B&W adjustment layer that somehow seems to not exist on it but in any case I can always jump to photoshop! Thanks man! <3

(By the way, did you did that gradient with sharp steps by placing two handlers on the same position? Seems like the only way I can achieve that)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 12:29:55 am by SeinRuhe »

Offline fskn

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Re: Critique/Process Optimization needed for Muuuu Muuuu <3

Reply #6 on: April 29, 2021, 04:56:14 am
@Fskn That may be what I'm looking for, gonna do some testing! I do prefer Clip Paint and I think the setup is possible minus the B&W adjustment layer that somehow seems to not exist on it but in any case I can always jump to photoshop! Thanks man! <3
A black/grey/white layer with the blending set as saturation could work as well.
Or you could desaturate the image.

(By the way, did you did that gradient with sharp steps by placing two handlers on the same position? Seems like the only way I can achieve that)
Yep, that's how I did it. That's why I find it annoying, because you have to add almost twice as many color stops to that gradient and each time you click on those that get superimposed, they'll change position, creating two gradients between the adjacent color stops instead of two flat colors. But if you click again they'll revert back to flat.

And you can save your gradient/stack for frequently used ramps such as skin color, so it'll save some time for your other characters.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 04:59:16 am by fskn »

Offline SeinRuhe

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Re: [WIP] Critique/Process Optimization needed for MuMu <3

Reply #7 on: May 18, 2021, 12:43:05 am
So, I've been trying to find time for this, I did another round of cleanup in her body, still missing a lot of stuff and is taking way more time than expected, which discards the idea of stealing Cels idea of making a comic book, but at least I want to keep idea this and make this piece the cover of a comic book.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to improve what's already there or if I need to add or remove something (Not her clothes Cels, I can read your mind!)

I'm still tinkering with the idea of a minigame for this but one step at a time! :hehe: (although any suggestions on this may help me to start the engine faster)

Offline fskn

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Re: [WIP] Critique/Process Optimization needed for MuMu <3

Reply #8 on: May 18, 2021, 02:44:55 am
Messed around a little bit. Tried to do some cleaning, and added a bit more contrast here and there.
Overall I think it could get some darker shadows. Occlusion shadows, in particular.



You will notice I tried to reinforce the bones of the ribcage (which I am very fond of...) but I don't know if it fits the style.

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Critique/Process Optimization needed for MuMu <3

Reply #9 on: May 18, 2021, 09:22:03 am
Great to see you posting again, Sein! I was worried you were entirely consumed by work. Take care not to get burned out!

I didn't know you were toying with the idea of doing an entire comic book, that would have been insane in all the right ways. Maybe I can help with a mini-game, although that seems like quite an effort too! The ideas depend on how NSFW you want to go, obviously. The immediate question would be where the milkshake comes from. Making commercially viable products imply some kind of multi-tasking serving game, like running into the backyard of her milkshake shop and gathering / eating different fruits, berries and products for milkshake, depending on what the customers order. Two customer order strawberry milkshake, she runs back, evades danger, finds some strawberries and comes back to serve. Alternatively, make a Super Mario / Aladdin clone where she gains extra health / lives by picking up strawberries and chocolate along the way and making milkshake at designated points. Or, or, make it like a Cuphead game where she needs to fight X number of bosses to collect ingredients. Although then it wouldn't be a mini-game. I guess you could also do something like the Sega Bubble Game, which is essentially about picking up fruit anyway, to progress from level to level. And rely on evasion rather than blowing bubbles. Personally I would make a fighting game where MuMu suplexes her opponents in her maid outfit. But I have my own issues.  :hehe:

The latest version of the cover looks amazing and I really like the subtle use of green (and shades that look green by contrast). I was unsure of her green eyes to begin with but I feel this helps tie everything together. And I know women supposedly have more green skin than men, I just like to see it exaggerated in pixel art. My only comment would be the highlights on her skin, which looks quite shiny at the moment. I guess she's meant to be a bit sweaty? It's personal preference but I would make sure not to overdo it, so she doesn't look greasy or balloon-like.

I'm also not sure about using that extreme high saturation on the terminator shadow line (look at me, I'm using art terminology).  ;D