AuthorTopic: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint  (Read 36953 times)

Offline Gil

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Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

on: February 24, 2009, 07:27:35 pm
Lately I've been reading on PixelJoint that Pixelation is somehow more elitist and purist than their own little place on the internet. These statements got me thinking on the matter and it dawned to me that this might be jus a longstanding misconception dating back from the early days of PJ.

I think the tables these days are exactly the opposite and while Pixelation has embraced the newer technology knocking on the door, the purism on PJ is really really hurting the site.

Pixelation now has the Low Spec forum and a higher toleration for pieces (especially mockups) containing less pixel perfect elements. In fact, the last major purist debate probably dates back to the DayDream incident a few years back.

PixelJoint on the other hand is really hurting itself lately with rampant deleting of pieces that contain the slightest hint of anything other than a paint bucket or pencil tool. They alienated an important group of demoscene artists as a result, even inventing their own little accronym (NPA) that they now even use on other sites (I've seen it here and on DeviantArt and before that gmpixel), which is actually a meaningless concept not existing anywhere else in the same form. On the other hand I notice a lot of inconsistency as some cearly "NPA" pieces are allowed, strangely even making the weekly showcase and winning contests.

Take for example this piece from DayDream (actually a friend or colleague of mine at one point in the past):
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/31751.htm

Take a further look in his gallery and note a lot more even dubious (to PJ standards) pieces, even the piece that started the huge purist debate years back, which are happily accepted and even praised.


I personally embrace the future, as most here on Pixelation have, but I have a feeling that PixelJoint is going to crumble under the weight of its own agenda, which is a shame, since I do want it to be the premiere pixel art gallery site on the web. It does receive recognition from a lot of industry veterans (lately seen by Paul Robertson's account), so they do have something good going, it's a shame to see the site struggle like this.

Offline Larwick

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 11:27:01 pm
Who said this? I remember reading it but thinking it was silly, and i believe it was refuted immediately afterwards. Or am i wrong? Can you say where this quote came from? I am talking of who said Pixelation was more purist. I personally do not think so and never have.

The difference between Pixelation and PJ is that PJ is foremost a gallery. For artwork to enter the gallery it must meet criteria. For artwork to enter the forums it needent enter criteria (or at least so specific), and once it has it may be critisized. On PJ it must be critisized BEFORE being shown publically, and this is the problem. PJ and Pixelation should not be compared on this basis.

Perhaps PJ should have more than one section in its gallery? One for 'pure' pixel art and one for pixel art that lies on the edge with a warning on the piece itself? (I mean on the piece's page). Maybe we should simply have less specific restrictions and the areas of a piece that are not pixel art atall (ie. gradient fill) should just be pointed out to the viewer? It's hard to know where to stop and draw the line.

Unfortunately i have read that Paul Robertson himself thinks the administrators for PJ to be pixel art nazi's due to a members comments and the situation he was in at the time.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 11:33:10 pm by Larwick »

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 11:52:26 pm
Yes, the comment was just the catalyst for the thought, I think it was disputed pretty quicky.

Consider Ptoing Miascugh's piece that was just removed too. It was accepted, then when a mod read he used an automated tool, it was removed. As if the knowledge of use of a tool can invalidate the pixel perfect nature of a piece that was conceived by anyone who didn't read his comment.

Here's a comment I just noticed by Helm that is relevant here:

http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=8019.msg91437#msg91437
"It seems to me the Pixeljoint rules are a fundamentalist branching of from our rules. It's really amazing for me how misconstrued the intention of the 'every pixel placed intentionally' seems to be by their administration and I think that they might feel it too, as of late. Now that they've strong-armed their version of what 'pixel purity' is so hard against so many breaches of conduct though,  it's very difficult to back down to something more sensible without appearing as flip-floppers. It's something that should be publicly discussed at some point I think because it's hurting Pixeljoint and I think it's hurting the internet presence of the medium as well."
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 12:31:05 am by Gil »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 12:20:03 am
No piece of mine was removed. I think you mean miascughs underwater one.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 12:31:52 am
Yes, true, fixed :)

I was thinking of one of your pieces too though. The progress animation of your robot piece clearly shows a use of index brushes to create a base to work off. Under PJ rules, that wouldn't actually be allowed. They probably just let it true because none of the pixels involved survived in the final piece.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 12:34:42 am by Gil »

Offline Ai

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 12:37:05 am
I think the tables these days are exactly the opposite and while Pixelation has embraced the newer technology knocking on the door, the purism on PJ is really really hurting the site.

Pixelation now has the Low Spec forum and a higher toleration for pieces (especially mockups) containing less pixel perfect elements. In fact, the last major purist debate probably dates back to the DayDream incident a few years back.

PixelJoint on the other hand is really hurting itself lately with rampant deleting of pieces that contain the slightest hint of anything other than a paint bucket or pencil tool. They alienated an important group of demoscene artists as a result, even inventing their own little accronym (NPA) that they now even use on other sites (I've seen it here and on DeviantArt and before that gmpixel), which is actually a meaningless concept not existing anywhere else in the same form. On the other hand I notice a lot of inconsistency as some cearly "NPA" pieces are allowed, strangely even making the weekly showcase and winning contests.

Take for example this piece from DayDream (actually a friend or colleague of mine at one point in the past):
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/31751.htm

Take a further look in his gallery and note a lot more even dubious (to PJ standards) pieces, even the piece that started the huge purist debate years back, which are happily accepted and even praised.
Yes; I think some of my works would be in the same position, if I didn't insist so much on stating exactly what was involved in making a picture*. I don't use tools that will give me a less accurate result than I can pixel manually (which is to say, I use all tools except ones that are subtly random), so IMO there is not really any grounds for saying such works are unacceptable; the only difference is the amount of time required to get the result which i already see exactly in my mind, in other words PJ requires any reasonably ambitious works to be done in a masochistic luddite sort of way

* eg iLKke certainly indexpainted here: http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/39713.htm# , but he didn't say so, and his piece was accepted.
whereas here http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/35261.htm# I made it clear that 2 of the 24 original parts were indexpainted, and was required to remove them before my piece was approved.
Similarly, I might never submit this to PJ, since some of the antialiasing was done with the assistance of hard-edged Smudge; but it is clearly pixel-perfect, to a high level.

Quote
I personally embrace the future, as most here on Pixelation have, but I have a feeling that PixelJoint is going to crumble under the weight of its own agenda, which is a shame, since I do want it to be the premiere pixel art gallery site on the web.
THIS.
Of course standards must be maintained, but current standards are kind of like, "a pencil sketch is not a pencil sketch unless nothing but pencils were used -- no erasers, no smoothing/smudging tools", or "sex is not sex except in the missionary position" -- ie. there definitely is a real religious element to it (as Helm suggests in the message you later quote part of).
What we probably both agree on is that pixel art is a medium, not exactly a method (otherwise, tools like bucketfill would be prohibited too), and judgement of the actual pixel accuracy of a piece is really a better way to go. And there really are objective measures, even ones simple enough to implement in Java software (eg. the amount of banding is easily measured, and should typically be quite low in a high quality piece. With FFT, amounts of different types of noise (eg typical dithering vs random) are easily measured)

EDIT2: quoting always bites me!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 03:06:33 am by Ai »
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline Willows

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 01:37:48 am
I think you're (gil) looking for a problem where there isn't one. PixelJoint is not pixelation and neither intends to nor ever will be. PixelJoint has its own legs to stand on and though not everyone seems to agree with it, I believe it's been collecting more and better members as time has gone on and predicting the apocalypse at this point is nonsensical.

I also believe it to be elitist of YOU to promote one view as superior and refute the other as archaic.

Live and let live!

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 01:47:41 am
Willows, I think you are insinuating too much of gil here. Unless I am naive, we are discussing this because we cherish our pixel art medium and there are only a handful of forums and websites that really get into it like we do, and Pixelation and Pixeljoint are arguably the most developed ones. We just don't want to see one of them being degraded or have miscommunication within the two.

Offline Willows

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 02:11:03 am
Perhaps, yeah.

I got, summed up,

"Pixelation is better than PixelJoint because we're more free with our acceptance of pixel art"

"Pixeljoint is screwing themselves because of their irrational standards"

"Pixeljoint is going to die because it refuses to adapt to change"

"Pixeljoint is struggling"

I don't believe a single one of those statements are true.

Also, "we" and "they" statements I read as hurtful and alienating, as I personally view it as the pixel art community, not exclusively pixeljoint and exlcusively pixelation.

I don't believe pixelation has the right to discuss on pixelation what should happen with pixeljoint. If the community as a whole has a problem with pixeljoint, then bring it to pixeljoint's doorstep, because this right here feels more like behind-the-back talking and creating or attempting to create a rift between the two sites.

I also believe convincing pixeljoint to change its standards is a bad move. As it is now, pixeljoint appreciates pixel art as a clean medium and offers a place for artists and viewers interested in exactly that to show or view artwork. There is none other of that kind, and it will not kill the site to stay that way, it will just push away people that aren't doing exactly that kind of artwork.

Iono, I'm probably paranoid or irrationally defensive for some reason (I don't go to pixeljoint often anymore, so I'd doubt it's loyalty) and gil, if I'm just being an ass I'm truly sorry :)

Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 02:20:45 am
I don't see where the "elitist" stance comes from but I do agree that we (PJ) are purists to some degree.

It's been always a constant struggle to define what the borders of pixel art is or isn't. High grade and high colour counts have always been suspect in using tools and methods that go against the traditional low colour and "pixelly" style that has often attracted most people to the art from to begin with.

It seems quite silly that one would submit a copy/trace/grid of another image thereby claiming it as their own as well and that does seem to be a large amount of the old demoscene... that's not to say ALL of them. I respect and enjoy alot of the demoscene art that comes our way and welcome everyone to the community. I also welcome their art to the community as long as they can try and understand the views as stated by both the community and the moderators. As a moderator myself, I am ALWAYS open to communication and resolution as long as I am approached without outward defiance and rants about how much of a "nazi" I am or we are. I really don't find that to be a good way to begin finding solutions.

So let's say that PixelJoint WOULD accept any and all remotely viewed as pixel art pieces? What about all the lackluster 5 minutes doodles as well? What would the outcome be? Would we just become another pixel art gallery as seen at deviantART? What are the pros and cons?

I am open to your thoughts :)

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 02:28:03 am
Was Miascugh's underwater pic really removed? This one right here?
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/15585.htm

I gotta say that I am shocked. I remember that piece and it looked 100% pixel goodness to me. That removal doesn't sit right with me.

I also didn't know that the demosceners were starting to get their stuff knocked around. Although personally, I don't really enjoy their stuff that much, there is often very interesting techniques or information to glean from those pieces.

Some of these examples almost seem like zealotry by people starting out. I know I used to think the rotate tool should be forbidden. Fortunately, I've realised how stupid that is now.

I can accept the uses of brush and tools in pixel art, but I rarely like the results when there aren't any touchups. I don't like the Daydream pic you linked to. There may be 32 colours but there are a lot of missed opportunities for colour optimising. The blending between out of focus and in focus parts is harsh due to a lack of colours for providing that transition because of the general waste. And there's plenty of jaggies that need a manual touch.

I sometimes like Ikke's index painting, and other times find it a bit smudgey. I like seeing waht can be done with dpaint/promotion index painting since I thought ms paint was the only available drawing tool on computer till photoshop came on the scene.

Offline Larwick

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 02:33:58 am
I don't believe pixelation has the right to discuss on pixelation what should happen with pixeljoint. If the community as a whole has a problem with pixeljoint, then bring it to pixeljoint's doorstep, because this right here feels more like behind-the-back talking and creating or attempting to create a rift between the two sites.

I shouldn't worry about this, i think it's good to have a discussion here as well as over at PJ because we (or i personally) enjoy the input of Pixelations members, and i know many do not set foot into the PJ forums. Gil nicely linked us up as soon as he posted here so we were informed. Me and PB can jump back and forth enough to not have this as some kind of behind-the-back discussion. I believe sometimes at PJ they have behind-the-back discussions about Pixelation and it depresses me - so we'll fight that sort of thing.

It seems quite clear to me that PJ needs some work. The mods have been working very hard behind the scenes with ideas though but it's taking some time. The issue of PJ being fundamentalist or purist etc seems to stem from the fact that people feel we are somewhat making up the rules for pixel art as a whole, and this idea offends them. We're gunna have to make sure these issues are looked at first. We'll have to stop using certain terms as you guys have pointed out, as they seem to just feed the problem.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 02:36:17 am by Larwick »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #12 on: February 25, 2009, 02:36:01 am
I was thinking of one of your pieces too though. The progress animation of your robot piece clearly shows a use of index brushes to create a base to work off. Under PJ rules, that wouldn't actually be allowed. They probably just let it true because none of the pixels involved survived in the final piece.

[RANT]
So what? Pixelart is about result more than process. I think when in the end everything is pixelled and controlled and what not you can start by shitting on a piece of paper and taking a photo of that and working over it. As long as in the end every pixel has been thought over and manually revised, fine, pixelart IMO.

Seriously, people who think that the process is what makes pixelart are just trying to stack rules onto stuff that does not need any. IMO pixelart mainly is a medium and an aesthetic. As long as all the tools you use only create 100% foreseeable results then that is fine. Tools are shortcuts. If i want a 1 pixel outline on something i pick it up from the bg in Promotion and press O, which adds an outline, or I set the fill mode to outline. So now if you think, OH NO NPA, he should have pixelled every pixel of that outline himself. Why should I do something I know exactly what it will look like if I use a tool (which would be same outcome as if I did it myself only way faster) by hand. I have better things to do than waste my time.
It's like saying you can only call something oilpainting if you use a 1 meter long brush with 2 hairs max at all time and you can only mix the colours while doing a handstand. Really, think about it. At some point stuff is getting ridiculous and it is hard to take people serious anymore.
[/RANT]
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #13 on: February 25, 2009, 02:42:42 am
I wasn't personally involved with the removal and readdition of miascugh's piece but I didn't have a problem with it nor did he seem to have a problem with dogmeat's request either.

I am continually mystified by the handy tools everyone's talking about with ProMotion and would like a copy of my own so I can see what they actually do.

[EDIT]

And I agree with you, ptoing. I think for me, personally, I am more annoyed by seemingly useless high colour counts more than how a piece was created.

[/EDIT]
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 02:47:33 am by pixelblink »

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #14 on: February 25, 2009, 03:06:45 am
I'm going to try not to jump into the discussion too much, as I first want to see lots of different views before commenting on them. Here are some motives for my post, so I don't come off as bashing PJ:

- I am a pretty active member at PixelJoint, I enjoy it there and I check it every day
- I do not want to imply that Pixelation is somehow better than PJ, I'd just like to point out that there have been some excellent improvements here that could benefit PJ
- I posted here, because I think there will be more meaningful response here. Less people defending their turf and all. I consider this forum neutral ground. I posted a link to this thread on PJ too
- I do this with the best intentions, I want PJ to do well

Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #15 on: February 25, 2009, 03:16:11 am
I understand your intentions, Gil. I am always grateful that someone wants to stand up and defend their beliefs. I respect you alot for that and don't hold it against you. That said, I think you should continue jumping into this discussion as I'm sure you have alot more to say on the matter.

Question though, what "excellent improvements" are you referring to? I am open to any ideas that could benefit PJ as a site and as a community.

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #16 on: February 25, 2009, 03:26:44 am
Well, basically I'd say that Pixelation has slowly over the years dropped a lot of the rules on what pixel art is supposed to be. Biggest example of this is the addition of the Low Spec forum (not an option for PJ though obviously)

Here are some of my suggestions:

- No focus on tools used to create the art. Only watch the end product for NPA, even if it was created with only a blurry brush and photoshop filters. The end product would have to be pixel perfect of course
- Allow NPA parts of an image if sufficient parts of the image are pixel art. Examples are mockups. Sky gradients with brushed clouds are okay if the tilesets and sprites are all pixel art.
- Create different categories on the site such as "spec art" (art following a ruleset restriction like NES or C64), "pixel pure" (current standards) and "hybrid" (containing some NPA elements, not detracting from the piece being pixel art)

Offline Dusty

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #17 on: February 25, 2009, 03:33:32 am
- No focus on tools used to create the art. Only watch the end product for NPA, even if it was created with only a blurry brush and photoshop filters. The end product would have to be pixel perfect of course
Problem is, how do you define what is 'pixel-perfect' if not for the process?

I was under the assumption that most people follow the rule: pixel-art is a method by which the artist has full control over what is being placed, pixel-wise and color-wise. This would be a clear contradiction to your proposed method of ignoring the process and only paying attention to the end-product.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 03:35:28 am by Dusty »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #18 on: February 25, 2009, 03:37:17 am
Dusty, thing is: If you make a sketch in Photoshop and then reduce colours, shrink BUT THEN start going over it and doing pixel revisions = pixelart. The process is not as important as some people make it out to be, really.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Feron

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #19 on: February 25, 2009, 03:46:31 am
to be honest i don't really think it matters what process you use, as long as the final result is one that the creator intended and not some product of the computer.
Use whatever tools you have, and use them well.


I don't really see the need for this debate.  Pixelation has it's rules, as does Pixeljoint.  Any discussion/issues you would like to raise Gil, I'd suggest doing it on the Pixeljoint forum.

Offline Ai

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #20 on: February 25, 2009, 03:54:30 am
I wasn't personally involved with the removal and readdition of miascugh's piece but I didn't have a problem with it nor did he seem to have a problem with dogmeat's request either.

I am continually mystified by the handy tools everyone's talking about with ProMotion and would like a copy of my own so I can see what they actually do.
Well, much of this stuff is available in the freely downloadable trial version. Really the main limit of that is the save format. The indexpainting stuff definitely works, and all the other drawing modes.

http://www.cosmigo.com/promotion/

You can also find very similar functionality in grafx2 (mostly accessed via the 'FX' button)
http://code.google.com/p/grafx2/


Quote from: ptoing
*What I was trying to say, only expressed better*.
Yes. And these tools are not easily delimited. For example, Airbrush can be brilliant for sketching areas of dithering (since airbrushing is actually what dithering presents the illusion of), Smudge as I mentioned before can be used in a 100% predictable way for quick application of small stretches of AA, Perspective is an absurdly useful modeling tool, sky gradients are boring as hell, but I use them routinely to figure out how I want the sky setup when there is a sky, Polar Mapping can be a great animation tool ... In my observation, this excessive focus on the final product can cripple workflows, with no tangible benefit.

Quote from: Gil
- Allow NPA parts of an image if sufficient parts of the image are pixel art. Examples are mockups. Sky gradients with brushed clouds are okay if the tilesets and sprites are all pixel art.
I have to agree that this is suitable at least for mockups.

Quote from: Gil
- Create different categories on the site such as "spec art" (art following a ruleset restriction like NES or C64), "pixel pure" (current standards) and "hybrid" (containing some NPA elements, not detracting from the piece being pixel art)

'spec art' is definitely a good idea! It's surely quite a different creature from your average pixel art.

I would also like 'hybrid' because I know I could provide good examples of the category, and effective process is a far more worthwhile trait in a gallery than it is currently given credit for. With hybrid, we could have more honest debate (verbal and practical) about effective workflow, which is always a tricky subject no matter what kind of work you're doing, rather than 'well, I used the proscribed tools' or 'I used some non-proscribed tools, so I'll pretend I used only the proscribed tools in order to avoid dogmatic smiting.' plus some limited experimentation with those spartan limitations.


If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #21 on: February 25, 2009, 03:55:53 am
...Only watch the end product for NPA...

and how does one watch for NPA without doing what we're already doing? There are always blurred lines between what each of us construes as NPA and it becomes a challenge for sure.

And Shark/Feron: it's good to see you still kicking around here :) I think the topic is relevant to both sites and this can only be a resourceful conversation for all of us

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #22 on: February 25, 2009, 03:57:09 am
Feron, I explained why I want the discussion here, this has nothing to do with Pixelation, but rather with the less biased opinion of the Pixelation member. The PJ mods are apparently entirely okay with this.

As for pixel perfect, here's a nice example:



All three portraits are varying degrees of pixel perfect. The dragon is close and could probably be called pixel art with some touchups, while the demon is far from pixel perfect. The on the right is definately pixel perfect.

Now, if EvilEye were to clean up the dragon to pixel perfect standards, PJ would still not allow it, because 80% of the process was done with brushes, filters, scaling tools and other such "dirty tools"


Edit: 4 minutes 50 seconds for this result using color reduction in Photoshop. Another 15 minutes and the piece would meet the PJ quality standards easily if I wouldn't mention the tools used. Dither and everything else courtesy of a Photoshop filter

« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 04:07:27 am by Gil »

Offline Dusty

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #23 on: February 25, 2009, 04:11:54 am
Dusty, thing is: If you make a sketch in Photoshop and then reduce colours, shrink BUT THEN start going over it and doing pixel revisions = pixelart. The process is not as important as some people make it out to be, really.
Aye, I agree. I was just raising a point. I really don't want to actually get into the debate and take a side, just found an interesting point I wanted to raise and see how it was responded to(not to say I'm ignoring any responses to it, I just feel others can take it and do more with it than I could).

edit: One thing that I think is way over the top over at PJ is their strict moderation of previews. As far as I can tell, if you use prerendered fonts or partial transparency(a strip of black at 50% opacity over the image, for example) and such in previews, the piece still gets rejected.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 04:26:27 am by Dusty »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #24 on: February 25, 2009, 05:15:31 am
I was bored. 32 colours.

<-orginal 3148 colours
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #25 on: February 25, 2009, 08:05:02 am
Oh my, it seems I kinda started something. But if this has started then it means it's something that is begging to be discussed, so if anyone is interested in a more fleshed out opinion than the above quote by Gil, here it is.

First of all, Pixelation is not 'loosening up' in the least. You might have not noticed any changes in the ruleset on the top of the forum. That's because none occurred. Let's look at the relevant parts again:

Quote
Always clearly state what your references were in making a piece. If you sketched in pencil, color-reduced to 1bit and then went to work on it, okay. Ways like this are completely accepted and nobody's going to shout at your for it, but it's good to know anyway.

Quote
Pixel Art, is art where there's specific attention paid to the fine manipulation of picture elements. It deals with the informative quality of specific, single pixels. If the art you're about to post has not been pixel-pushed on that level, don't bother. Automatic AA, soft brushes, filters, smudge tools, all are indicative of index-painting, or at least dirty-tooling, but do not always mean your art will not benefit from pixel-level critique. If you've made something using some of these tools and then you're able to reign the piece in by optimizing the palette into using the best possible amount of colors, went in and pushed single pixels until everything is right, then it's probable we'll be able to talk about your art and how it can be made better. Always be clear of how you made things, only post concept art when it's relative to a pixel-art piece you've made and never never try to deceive us.

As you see here these thoughts are not in conflict with how we deal with things now at all. The Low Spec part of the forum is not a pixel art forum per se, and if it hurts the focus of what Pixelation is, it will be reevaluated. It is however not an admission of 'moving on with the times' or any other such thing. Good pixel art will be in 10 years from now about what good pixel art is today. Control will always be paramount to the skilled technician.

I stress this point because it's important for what I say later. These rules have not been watered down around here nor will they ever. Why? It's not a point of purism. It's a point of learning the art form (which is the focus of Pixelation). You will not learn the art form if you're being deceptive with your methods. You will not learn the art form if you're trying to do oil paintings in pixel art or photographic manipulation in pixel art. You will learn the artwork when you do pixel art in pixel art. Embrace the medium. Learn what it does. And when you're ready (like Ptoing is, I don't think anyone would doubt this) sure go ahead, start with an index painted airbrush base, or a scan, or whatever. It will not reduce the quality of the artwork if you know how to reign it in.

Furthermore points have been raised about what this control we often speak about really is. Is the process of making art after all, conscious? Very much not so. It is very subconscious in its original intent. One might start with some abstract wacom strokes until something 'speaks' to them and they know what they're making a bit more and they work it into pixel art. Or one might work completely from a pixel art base and still do abstract stuff before starting to formulate towards a specific piece more. When we speak of control we do not mean one should work like a robot, one pixel placed *bzzt* next pixel placed *bzzt* from the top left corner down assembling a perfect finished image FROM MEMORY or something ridiculous like that. Sorry for the hyperbole but a lot of PJ commentators seem to think this is how great pixel art is made.

No, control in pixel art is judged by how the end result is somehow... elegant. You look at the image very close, you inspect every part and there is some... holistic beauty in how most (only a god could utter 'every') pixels work in unison, their potential maximized. This is what the desired control is. That some dude did whatever they did (as long as he told us the truth about what he did) and then spent the time loving the majority of the pixels in his image until they were the right color, in the right shape. Anyone that has spent a few years pixelling honestly knows what I'm talking about. These people should be judging equally honestly if someone else put that effort in.

I do believe that the attitudes prevalent in Pixel Joint are relevant to the letter of the ruleset explained above, but not the (clear, I had hoped once) spirit of it. I believe this because PixelJoint is operated by Pixelation users or at least people who were at the time of its inception very aware of the attitude that would later coalesce into the above stated ruleset on - at the time - Pixelopolis and then reworded and refined in Pixelation proper again.

The problems that occur in Pixel Joint are many from my point of view. I won't cushion the blow here, I hope you guys will be ok with me saying it how I see it:

1. You are flip-flopping daily on what is and is not pixel art based on what is and is not admitted to the gallery. Whether it's a sin of omission or not is meaningless from a managerial point of view. If one of my pieces were hypothetically removed because I stated I used this or that dirty tool yet my end result is clearly controlled (as is the startling case of Mia's piece) and then some dishonest bullshit like Slay's pieces stay there then I wouldn't have any faith on whomever is making these calls anymore. I don't want to put any words in Mia's mouth, perhaps he really didn't mind at all, just saying how I'd feel. It's inexcusable that someone so amazingly good at making his pictures feel right, pixel-perfect almost, like Mia is taken off and then sloppy sloppy sloppy art is put up there and adored by the masses daily.

This happens perhaps (I stress the perhaps):

2. Because the people that make judgment calls on what is and is not pixel art are not on one mind on the matter
3. Because they are not all as experienced in spotting what is a fake and what is not
4. Because they are too entrenched in 'scene politics' (pleasing one or displeasing the other) to make sound judgment calls
5. Because they don't have the time to look very closely to every piece submitted in an admittedly huge and growing gallery

These are just from my point of view.

Here's possible steps towards a solution:

Get off trying to represent the medium through a discussion of your personal aesthetics and instead look at methodology. Pixel art is not 'something that looks like video game art'. It is when someone controls the information of single picture elements and how they act in unison. If the end result shows this sort of control and the artist has been transparent in their methodology it doesn't matter if it doesn't look like 'video games' to you. Yes, looking at color counts means something because lots of colors probably mean the art is not controlled. Yes, looking at aa paths and the shapes of the dithers means something because you can spot dirty tools (no control) and autocomputed color reduction (no control) there.

But it also takes trained eyes. I see very blatant mistakes in what is accepted and what is not in the archives. I don't know who of the people in Pixeljoint are making the calls, but it seems they should agree on what is and is not pixel art before they start judging.

Perhaps you need to install a sort of plugin that has a voter below a piece that says 'IS THIS PIXEL ART ACCORDING TO THESE {LINKED} CRITERIA? Y/N' and when someone votes, the voter would check how reliable this person is in their opinion (which should be based on how many of his past choices as 'is not pixel art' end up actually being rejected by the numeral majority) and weigh their vote for or against respectively. I have faith in crowds, I don't think they're idiots. This sort of system would take care of itself for most really problematic pieces of art. However, especially given the relative inexperience of a lot of PJ users, on closer calls there the opinion of the ignorants (OMG THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE HANDPIXELLED!!!!1) might overweigh against the actual people that can tell there is control. Then the informed mods step in. This would mean way less work for the moderators and a less tired mod is a more careful mod.

But this won't solve the problems with Pixeljoint actually seemingly being of many minds as to what pixel art is. I hope this dialog (as well as similar over in PJ) might help to that end.

Some comments on aesthetic strengths. I often talk about Computer Aesthetic. I do believe that video screen art has some inherent strengths that manifest in pixel art (but not only) and that an artist aware of these strengths can play them up and achieve things that someone that is just worried about their art looking 'cool' or 'realistic' will not manage. I am very happy when I see people that do this. But I do not think this is a point of purity that is relevant to pixel art and how it's made. A lot of very well made pixel art is completely without any aesthetic merit for me and it is not my place to judge it as NOT pixel art here for that. I think similarly it is not the place of PJ to judge stuff as not pixel art if it doesn't conform to their, ultimately, preconceived notion of what art made of pixels should look like. This is a very important point. There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between a) trying to weed out deception and encouraging proper artistic learning practices (which is the twofold reason we have the ruleset in Pixelation) and b) not accepting art in a gallery because it doesn't suit one's notion of how pixel art should look like. This seems startlingly clear to me but perhaps it's not. If asked I will elaborate on the difference.

This ties in with some demosceners you pissed off, I am not aware whom exactly and if anyone has links to the scenes I should give it a read. If you upset them because their art was sloppy and they copied from some shitty fashion magazine without stating references then good riddance, you really don't need them or their practices any more than the 90's did. But if you just thought it didn't look how it was supposed to look and/or someone said they used that tool or another and that's that, then that's not good.

Also as to disparaging comments in Pixeljoint. I would suggest you not encourage this and generally be very wary of 'scene rivalries'. This isn't because I will cry if someone calls me a fag over at PJ. It is because you must consider the mentality of the type of person that leaves here and goes over there to you to bitch about what jerks we are. He probably got it given to him straight about his artwork and now is misery looking for company. Do you need to encourage these people (even with silence)? Do you want them to converge to a countable opinionated minority? Do you want asshurt dudes that can't take critique influencing the steering of your gallery website? I've been linked to some pretty sad threads some times, enough of them to know that I wouldn't feel welcome there and regardless of whether any of you think I'm a nice guy or not, I don't see a reason why I shouldn't be, fundamentally, as a lover of pixel art and learning thereof.

A lot of this occurs in my opinion just because the userbase in PJ is generally larger and therefore a lot more children use the boards. But it also means that a lot of immaturity is allowed to grow there (again, by sin of omission or not doesn't matter). A lot of people might think Pixelation is hard-assed about 'idle fun' sometimes. There's a reason. You can't learn much in a children playground besides how to sling mud. "Well fuck you Helm if you think you're running a place of learning, get off your high horse lol you're just internet entertainment for me" might be a thought that crosses ones mind when they read this. Fair enough, but if it does that person has no place amongst people that honestly want to spend their time learning pixel art (or anything else) online. They shouldn't spoil it for them because they might need to reject core values and/or stand out to self-validate. There's other places that are full-on internet lols and nobody's keeping you from them.

Offline Cure

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #26 on: February 25, 2009, 08:37:06 am
Firstly, I agree with what I think helm is saying in that any stark “Pixelation vs. Pixeljoint” viewpoint is founded in a false dichotomy.  One is primarily a gallery, on is primarily a forum.  Many Pixeljoint mods frequent and post at Pixelation, and many Pixelation mods post their work on Pixeljoint.  As has been said, both sites are two important stones in the same building, the pixel art community.

I, for one, did not and do not agree with the removal of Mia’s piece.  If he hadn’t said anything, we would’ve never known the difference, because it was very controlled.  It wasn’t one of the cases where “npa” methods hurt the piece or detracted from its status as pixel art, and I see it as nothing but pixel art.

And not all of the mods agree with what is and isn’t let in to the gallery.  We’re only human, so we sometimes take different stances on individual pieces.  As far as the queue goes, it isn’t just a cold number, we know who votes and how they vote.  If someone consistently makes bad calls, then I’m not very likely to give their vote as much weight as artists whom I know have a keen eye for these things.

I don’t really follow you when you touch on the “preconceived notions” bit.  I know what you mean of course, but I personally (and the rest of the mods as well, I assume) don’t go by any preconceived “look”, but only the quality and control of the pixels.  I concede that there was quite a mess with many demoscene pieces, though.  I hope we can rectify that in the future, as we have alienated some very good pixel artists that way.  Our concerns with many of these pieces, however, is the possibility of index painting that seems not to have been reigned in.

Another reason our userbase is perhaps less serious is that we’re a gallery rather than a forum, first and foremost, and critique isn’t the primary concern as it is here at Pixelation.  This is not to say that critique is not valuable at PJ, however, as it is always encouraged.  We also have a lot of the gimmicky aspects that are geared towards encouraging more experienced artists, such as the rank system and accompanying privileges.  The way in which we highlight weekly tops and award monthly tops is also something that younger, less mature artists might find attractive, as they might be looking for time in the limelight, rather than the “improve this and that and don’t expect a trophy because this ain’t little league” attitude of Pixelation that is geared towards improving the artists, something that I personally like, and this is the reason I come here first for critique: it’s better for it, and it’s what the site is geared towards.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #27 on: February 25, 2009, 12:10:57 pm
But what is index painting? I made up the term index painting originally. I did it to help raise awareness of how Deluxe Paint and similar programs work. I didn't do it to vilify it, I just wanted people to be transparent in how they went about how they made things and didn't try to deceive people with bullshit about how 'every pixel is placed by hand'. If someone posted an indexpainted piece here on Pixelation he'd get a lot of 'uhh, you need to clean this up' critiques, and they'd probably be valid. Who over in PJ made the call that if something is indexpainted it doesn't belong in the company of pixel art? It's one thing to say "PLEASE BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT HOW YOU MADE YOUR ART" and another "THIS ISN'T MADE HOW WE LIKE THIS ART TO BE MADE, SO IT'S NOT ALLOWED".

As long as you can concede the fact that a single index painted piece of art can be embellished upon on the pixel level until it is under control then it is just a matter of personal opinion on whether a piece by x artist has achieved this. You might have one opinion, another mod might have a different opinion, some pieces will be therefore featured, some not, willy-nilly. The official stance of PJ will make no sense from an outside viewpoint.

Yes Pixelation is a place of learning and PJ is mainly showcase, but also keep in mind that a lot more people visit PJ than Pixelation exactly for this reason and therefore the former set the internet standard on pixel art practices. This carries an enormous weight towards the progression of the art form to not breed crooked practices, to not mislead, to not vilify. Just saying NPA SOZ in the wrong pieces and OMG AMAZING I DUN CARE HOW MANY COLORS IT IS IT ROXX on the wrong pieces also just is maddening for an onlooker that knows the artform, but it doesn't raise an eyebrow for a newbie and he will adopt these practices and he will gang up on percieved NPArtists and deify bullshitters that claim lies and then you'll have the situation that you currently have on your hands.

What is the focus of Pixeljoint? It isn't just a generic gallery. It's a gallery of pixel art. As any gallery isn't it responisble towards persuing a raising of awareness about the art form it exhibits, about demystifying common misconceptions about it and so on? There is a humanist demand there that the curators be truthful and as transparent in their working as possible. If it's a website dedicated to just becoming bigger and bigger then expect a loss of focus.

re: we're only human. That doesn't fly when we're talking about such a disparity of opinion on something that seems so clear-cut to me from a distanced point of view (I mean mia's piece). In any case you need to sort out a common dictum and adhere to it. It's one thing for two people to look at a color and have one say 'mm, that'a a deep crimson' and the other 'I dunno... I think I see some purple in there' and quite another to have one see black and the other white. Remember, from the outside you're not making any sense. This breeds unrest.

re: preconceived notions : when no common stance seems to be adhered about what is accepted or not into pixeljoint, it appears from the outside to come down to the matter of the different tastes of the moderators or just who seems to be online to make the judgment call at the time. They then choose according to some fuzzy logic in them where factors influencing could be 'am I feeling grumpy right now?', 'do I want to please this part of the scene or that?', 'do I really know what I think pixel art is or am I just parroting a party line I haven't exactly understood yet?', 'even if I have a good idea of what pixel art is, do I have the experience to be able to tell if this guy is faking it or not?' and finally 'do I think this looks good enough to be called pixel art or not?'. Any way this mixes, I see trouble.

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #28 on: February 25, 2009, 02:35:43 pm
At the end of the day Pixel Art is nothing more than digital painting restricted to a grid. The success or failure of the art will have a lot to do with how well the artist survives in this strict grid format. It requires a different approach for the sake of clarity, not for the sake of "following the rules". You could paint a colossal image in Photoshop and shrink it down to 32x32 pixels and it would be pixel art because it is art made of pixels. It would also look completely balls-tastic. Not because the "rules" were broken, but because the artist did a piss-poor job of working within the TECHNICAL (not self-imposed) limitations of the medium. Pixel art, more than any other art form I've worked in, often gets its technical limitations confused with artificial ones.

On a practical note, if I insisted on creating all my sprites pixel by pixel from a completely blank canvas without EVER working from a sketch or larger digital painting, I would probably never finish anything larger than 64x64. That's just not compatible with my workflow. I could debate my employer over the virtues of "true" pixel art but that wouldn't help my cause much when the results are identical. To keep purists happy I've always made it clear when I do something "unorthodox" like that, but if I didn't mention it no one would ever know! If an art form has "rules" that you can "cheat" at without being caught, then it's not an art form any longer, it has become a sport.

I do believe that Pixeljoint has become too stringent with their rules, but I devised a simple and elegant solution: I hardly ever post there.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 02:39:32 pm by Ben2theEdge »
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Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #29 on: February 25, 2009, 04:04:47 pm
At the end of the day Pixel Art is nothing more than digital painting restricted to a grid.

Nothing less either, and at the end of the say all digital painting is restricted to a grid which gets elimitated the higher the res goes, which is why paying attention to where you place stuff is paramount.

Quote
It requires a different approach for the sake of clarity, not for the sake of "following the rules"

True

Quote
You could paint a colossal image in Photoshop and shrink it down to 32x32 pixels and it would be pixel art because it is art made of pixels.

Argueing like this everything would be pixelart just because it is made from pixels (while this would make some sense froma semantic standpoint it would also be a very very blurry field), so I would say pixel art is digital art where focus lies on the pixels, unlike in more highres art where the bigger usually the better.

Quote
Not because the "rules" were broken, but because the artist did a piss-poor job of working within the TECHNICAL (not self-imposed) limitations of the medium. Pixel art, more than any other art form I've worked in, often gets its technical limitations confused with artificial ones.

This is also quite true. To make an traditional art analogy: The smaller the canvas you work on the smaller the biggest brushsize you are going to be able to use and the more attention to every tiny stroke must be paid if you want maximum possible detail.

Quote
On a practical note, if I insisted on creating all my sprites pixel by pixel from a completely blank canvas without EVER working from a sketch or larger digital painting, I would probably never finish anything larger than 64x64. That's just not compatible with my workflow. I could debate my employer over the virtues of "true" pixel art but that wouldn't help my cause much when the results are identical. To keep purists happy I've always made it clear when I do something "unorthodox" like that, but if I didn't mention it no one would ever know! If an art form has "rules" that you can "cheat" at without being caught, then it's not an art form any longer, it has become a sport.

Discussing the level of truth in pixelart is silly (I am sure you agree), as long as it is manipulated thusly that in the end no automation is left (which would be pure), but what tools you use in the middle does not change the trueness.
64x64 is pretty small :) I guess that has to do with personal workflow tho. Both the huge robot and the executioner were done from scratch without scans, which does not make em any more pixelart than something like Helm's Plotting Revenge piece which is started from a pencil sketch.

Anyway, I am rambling (awake since 30 hours atm)
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #30 on: February 25, 2009, 06:59:33 pm
Nothing less either, and at the end of the say all digital painting is restricted to a grid which gets elimitated the higher the res goes, which is why paying attention to where you place stuff is paramount.

Yes, I didn't mean to belittle the art form; hope I didn't come across that way.  :-X

64x64 is pretty small :) I guess that has to do with personal workflow tho.

Yeah as an artist I have a tendency to get locked into details and forget the whole picture, particularly when pixelling. I have less of a problem in mediums where it's less costly to be sketchy or experimental, so that's usually where I start. (And I really like to play around before I commit to an idea, which is very time-consuming in pixel art)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 07:02:37 pm by Ben2theEdge »
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Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #31 on: February 25, 2009, 07:47:34 pm
Hehe, I did not see your comment there as offensive at all, I was just saying. :)


I think the whole experimenting in pixelart depends on your workflow. I have worked out some good workflows in promotion to sketch and to play around with stuff before I commit.
Tho I think I will do some pieces based on pencilsketches soonish as well, because I am still more comfy sketching with natural media than digitally, be it photoshop or promotion.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Jad

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #32 on: February 25, 2009, 07:54:08 pm
I quote this from the Flowers commentary field, written by pixelblink:

"PJ standards for creating pixel art dos not allow the usage of these 'dirty' tools. Basically, pixel art should be able to be drawn by manually choosing colours and placing them 1 pixel at a time..."

...

Why?

If you say you can stand behind this statement AND stand behind the statement that you 'agree with Ptoing' and what he said, then you are contradicting yourself a great deal.

As I see it, people trying to utilize special tools and filters for speeding up their pixel art process (or making it more comfortable) are either professionals who need to churn out lots of pixels for their cash or people like Ai who are passionate about trying to make tools that automate things like colour selection and still arrive at a result that's pleasing to the human conscious.

Having rules like that written above more or less have the result that people working in the field or people experimenting with different processes of pixel art making are being stripped of their possibility to display their art on pixeljoint.

Why?

Is there any merit in that?
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Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #33 on: February 25, 2009, 08:12:36 pm
the complete quote:
"PJ standards for creating pixel art dos not allow the usage of these 'dirty' tools. Basically, pixel art should be able to be drawn by manually choosing colours and placing them 1 pixel at a time... NOT by doing all of that and then using 'dirty' tools to create highlights and shades. There is NO way 728 colours is at all acceptable for a piece to be submitted at PJ."

how am I contradicting myself? It is clear to me that I said "should be able to be drawn" I'm sorry if that leaves it up to interpretation but that means that the end result should look like it was done as such giving the end result a look and feel to it. The process is somewhat important but the end result is what is seen and judged upon. And you can't deny that a little of the process is important to know.

The end result being a messy 728 colours, which is outlandish to me for such a piece. It didn't feel like pixel art methods were used and dirty tools had been put to use. The end result (I'm going to use this term alot now) was sketchy and suspect. Would you have thought differently in my case?

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #34 on: February 25, 2009, 08:33:10 pm
The one pixel at a time thing really has to go. I can place pixels with a 3x3 or an 8x8 brush, or a brush that is shaped like a diamond or one shaped like a diagonal 45 degree line. What I do is still pixelart. Fillbucket would not be allowed, which would be silly, you know exactly what happens when you press the mousebutton in Bucket mode. And that is why it is fine. Imo you can use whatever tool you want as long as you know exactly what the outcome will be, this includes tools which speed stuff up a lot (because not everyone wants to saw his hands off and use MSPaint). Even dirty tools are fine during the process as long as nothing of them shows or everything has been checked to be pixelperfect etc. Also a picture with 2000 colours could be pixelart.

A limited palette is a boon to pixelart, but if someone would go and make a picture with gradients where he chooses massive long ramps of 64 colours and tweaks them by hand, and then uses those to make single pixel step gradients, who is to tell him that is not pixelart? Imo if would be. Dirty, smudgy aa and so on, can be signs of dirty tools, as can many other things. Lots of colours can be too, but colours need not be. Just because for example Kenneth does not care about having near 100 colours in his iso house does not make it any less pixelart, he is just not focused on the aspect of colour conservation. But still each colour has been picked by hand. The too many colours argument is a double edged blade.

Also things can have a lot of pixel level detail and not be pure pixelart.
Example, a WIP texture of mine:
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Jad

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #35 on: February 25, 2009, 09:07:06 pm
the complete quote:
"PJ standards for creating pixel art dos not allow the usage of these 'dirty' tools. Basically, pixel art should be able to be drawn by manually choosing colours and placing them 1 pixel at a time... NOT by doing all of that and then using 'dirty' tools to create highlights and shades. There is NO way 728 colours is at all acceptable for a piece to be submitted at PJ."

You know that the 1 pixel at a time is just a miswording for 'placing all pixels consciously', please never ever use that wording again in the role of a moderator explaining the rules, because it's total BS D:

Not trying to chew you out for telling people to place their pixels consciously (why not, dude, having control is paramount, as we can both agree), but dropping that line casually in a private conversation is ok when there's mutual understanding, but when speaking in an official position it's recipe for misunderstanding, since newbies will think that they're doing something wrong if they use anything but a 1x1 px brush. It's just a flawed wording. Don't use it please (:

Also there is DEFINATELY a way that 728 should be acceptable for a piece, I'll get to that later.

how am I contradicting myself? It is clear to me that I said "should be able to be drawn" I'm sorry if that leaves it up to interpretation but that means that the end result should look like it was done as such giving the end result a look and feel to it. The process is somewhat important but the end result is what is seen and judged upon. And you can't deny that a little of the process is important to know.


Yeah, except no. That's not clear wording at all. You're definately able to make smudgy shit AA by using 2000 colours by hand, something I did when I was around 13 magnifying non-pixel grass tiles from Heroes of Might and Magic art to 'find the secrets of making nice low-res images' and copy it. The 'should be able to' doesn't mean a lot here. If I want a dithered gradient fill for, say a sky, it should go without saying that I should be able to use some kind of tool to create that dithering instead of manual pixel-pushing. If you don't agree with this, then we're definately speaking two different languages about pixel art.

The process is definately important to know, it's just kinda sad that some pieces suddenly are not longer 'acceptable' because of a certain part of the process.

the complete quote:
The end result being a messy 728 colours, which is outlandish to me for such a piece. It didn't feel like pixel art methods were used and dirty tools had been put to use. The end result (I'm going to use this term alot now) was sketchy and suspect. Would you have thought differently in my case?

I would definately have thought differently!

As you might've noted, this picture is a compilation of many different pieces of pixel art, each having a separate pallette. In the case of the image being a compilation, what should be judged is the individual pieces, am I right? If no, then I guess that's too bad. The most colours that one separate tile/picture had was 54, and that tile was, accordingly to neota/Ai - not index-painted. The 728 colourcount is thus also moot in my opinion.

I don't think Ai's way of making pixel art is the optimal way and I both like and dislike the results according to different cases, but I enjoy his search for the "perfect automated process" for making indexed-palette-based art. And I'd like for him to be able to showcase his pieces on pixeljoint without ever having to worry about the validity of the pixel-artness.

If you know what you're doing then automated AA within the confines of an indexed pallette and special tools that modify hues for creating shadow and highlights are completely okay in my opinion when you're aware of the colour count in the end product.

That's also ptoing's opinion, from what I can gather.

From what I gather from the moderation of pixeljoint, that's NOT the general opinion, nor it is yours.

There! Contradiction!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 09:36:34 pm by Jad »
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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #36 on: February 25, 2009, 11:40:00 pm
the complete quote:
"PJ standards for creating pixel art dos not allow the usage of these 'dirty' tools. Basically, pixel art should be able to be drawn by manually choosing colours and placing them 1 pixel at a time... NOT by doing all of that and then using 'dirty' tools to create highlights and shades. There is NO way 728 colours is at all acceptable for a piece to be submitted at PJ."

I don't recall whether this was mentioned in the gallery:
Quote
NOT by doing all of that and then using 'dirty' tools to create highlights and shades
Anyway, in fact what I did was the reverse. I made an outline, indexpainted it, then cleaned it up. And I stated that this was the case in the very first blurb IIRC. The reason the lavender looks messy after cleanup, is because well, lavender DOES look messy like that. My cleanup actually deliberately made things look significantly MORE messy, since before that it was not uniformly messy.

how am I contradicting myself? It is clear to me that I said "should be able to be drawn" I'm sorry if that leaves it up to interpretation but that means that the end result should look like it was done as such giving the end result a look and feel to it. The process is somewhat important but the end result is what is seen and judged upon. And you can't deny that a little of the process is important to know.
Certainly. And that's why I objected so strenuously in this case; because this is not consistent - otherwise, I would not have been punished for explaining my methods (as jalonso said "To be fair to others because you freely admit to some index painting this will be sent back")

The above encapsulates the problem: Vagueness. When you (pixeljoint moderators in general) can and have approved pieces that clearly have indexpainting (eg some of iLKke's recent stuff), and disapprove a piece because it explicitly says "partly indexpainted", you are saying lying by omission is good, and this clearly indicates a problem with Pixel Joint culture - lying by omission is not any more good than lying by commission. As Helm said, some people will take up this lesson and omit such details deliberately, and there is nothing good for the PixelJoint community coming out of that. This needs to be addressed promptly and clearly.

I personally make a point of describing my methods, and as I said there, I will continue to do so. I'm only one person, who clearly does not reflect the PixelJoint culture in which information about processes magically changes a picture.

Quote from: Jad
Yeah, except no. That's not clear wording at all. You're definately able to make smudgy shit AA by using 2000 colours by hand, something I did when I was around 13 magnifying non-pixel grass tiles from Heroes of Might and Magic art to 'find the secrets of making nice low-res images' and copy it.

Me too. Well, not copying, but when I was 17 and trying to figure out Rayman's shading, I had this 'recursive shading' idea which basically required that there were no square blocks of color larger than 2x2 (so if there were, you had to get intermediate colors and fill it in, until the 'thickness' of all color regions was approximately 1px. I could easily attain > 300 colors on a piece, all hand picked, when doing this, and the result looked like polished crap (cause I barely understood how to draw people then). That was pixel art for sure by pixelblink's definition (done just with single pixel brush IIRC, not even floodfill), but it was also the kind of ignorant crap level of quality that you see in newbies and is regularly required to be revised on PJ, despite how long it took to make.

You can definitely make any possible picture 1 pixel at a time.  It's more a question of whether you would be sane to do so.
IMPO, there are many things in pixel art in which, once you understand clearly what you want and how it works, the only point to doing them 1px at a time is mental masturbation / machoness.

Which, I hope we can all agree is not what we want PixelJoint to be about. Techniques are one thing, pretentious ego-stroking quite another.

Quote from: Jad
I don't think Ai's way of making pixel art is the optimal way and I both like and dislike the results according to different cases, but I enjoy his search for the "perfect automated process" for making indexed-palette-based art. And I'd like for him to be able to showcase his pieces on pixeljoint without ever having to worry about the validity of the pixel-artness.
Since it's relevant I'll clarify: Of course there is no such thing as the perfect automated process :) What I'm looking for is more like the perfect process which *includes* automation.
Characteristics including :
a) A marked lack of aforementioned machoness / pretension - exercising control at the right detail level (so you are not manually pixeling 50% checkerboard dithers or reshaping curves pixels at a time)
b) increased control at higher levels (the same kind of control that CG artists get from layering and effect layers,  allowing easy recoloring, pattern overlays, or other (possibly partially applied) automated processing by virtue of the way the image is structured)

examples being:
1. Using clone tool to apply dithering patterns, or path tool to draw smooth curves.
2. Using resynthesizer on a sketch of a texture to get a starting point for making tiles
3. Using gradient map to apply coloration to different parts (the original sprite being drawn in grayscale)

I've even used gaussian blur, to smooth out a silhouette sketch I knew would be a bit messy.  I think most of us try to cheat with making the necessary frameworks (eg perspective, action line->skeleton->shapes-> detailed anatomy, volumetric shading -> angular shading) and this would be less of an issue if we allowed ourselves more freedom in the way we build up things from idea to finished product, to do what seems logical to get things done rather than masochistically restricting our workflow. The underlying structure is *the* most important thing in any picture; rendering effects are just rendering effects, pixel-precision is essentially very cheap to attain if all our frameworking and sketching/concept art  is properly done.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 12:02:32 am by Ai »
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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #37 on: February 25, 2009, 11:53:00 pm
Ai, damn, passion. I totally agree. Also some of the things you described (gradientmap on greyscale picture) are essentially around since the time of DPaint and the likes.
Pixel in grey, then make a ramp spanning more than 2 colours, tada.

I would love to know what kinda tools the majority of PJ mods use, just for curiosity.
I wonder how many of them ever even tried index painting or even worked with tools available in DPaint, PM, Brillance or Grafx2, tools made to manipulate indexed images in low resolutions.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #38 on: February 25, 2009, 11:58:42 pm
Above Pixelblink at least said he has not tried any of these tools and yet he is one of the people making calls on what is allowed or not, which is in my opinion profoundly problematic.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #39 on: February 26, 2009, 12:13:41 am
It is a bit like going "woooohhh witchcraft, burn the witch!", when you never really checked what they do. Just a little.

Anyone of the PJ Modsquad who uses MSPaint of PS (which is much better than paint, but still not geard towards pixeart) should at least give Grafx2 a serious try, or maybe fire up an Amiga Emulator and run DPaint 3 or Brilliance 2 (tho Grafx2 is enough really). See what tools evolved with the medium and how they actually affect the pixels and what can be done, and that some things that can be done with total control and not even remotely dirty. Then judge.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #40 on: February 26, 2009, 12:16:36 am
Out of curiosity, pixelblink, would my current avatar be allowed into the gallery??
I'd assume you'd say yes, by looking at it. but if posted a little description about how i created it then by your rules it wouldn't be allowed in.


You need to ask yourself the question what is more important:
A - a gallery filled with brilliant pieces, each accepted for what they are, regardless of creation.
B - a gallery with less pieces, but you can sleep well at night because you know nobody 'cheated'.


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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #41 on: February 26, 2009, 03:14:51 am
I wouldn’t say that we’re saying “lying by omission is good”, but rather “you should tell the truth rather than deceive.”

I’ve done the billion color thing when younger too.  While PB mentions high color counts being something that immediately disqualifies, I would disagree.  We don’t look at just the color count (perhaps I can only speak for myself here), but we pay attention to how they’re used and if they look as if they’re manually placed, regardless of how many colors are used.  Dubious arrangement of tons of colors draws immediate suspicion, and rightly so.

No one here is advocating literal single pixel placement.  The quote was a misrepresentation of our actual stance, nobody in there right mind would take it literally, though we have already discussed rewording confusing statements like these, and they will be amended in the future.

And I’ve downloaded and plan to check out grafx2, and PB has expressed interest in finding a copy of promotion for a long time.  We’re not as closed-minded as we’re made out to be.

I can’t really jump into much of the argument here, as it seems to be “tools are irrelevant, final product is what matters”, which I personally agree with.  It seems to me that arguments are being given that push our views to one extreme of the spectrum, when in fact one can look through the thread and see a deal of agreement and differing opinions.

I can only speak for myself, of course, and any views expressed that might come as unorthodox to the PJ Mod squad's stance should not be mistaken as the beliefs of the site, which are what I typically make judgments by, regardless of personal opinion.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #42 on: February 26, 2009, 04:11:05 am
it is difficult being bombarded with such animosity towards myself after trying to keep the site going for so many years, I must say. I don't claim to know everything and sure, I can be misguided at some times, but I feel I do good most of the time on PJ. It's discouraging to see so many people offer up their rants and not be able to provide any solutions.

That said, all I can say is I, personally, am on a continual journey to improve my knowledge and skills and that sometimes puts me in the wrong. I have no problem saying that I was/am wrong in some of my beliefs.

Ai=Neota ... thank you for letting me know sooner, btw. I am sorry that it went down as it did.

It's been a battle, trying to get all the pj mods on board when some of them leave and then return and then leave again. New mods join and stir the pot some more, giving doubt to the methods and thought processes we previously had. Things weren't always this chaotic or muddled, I'm sure you'll agree. Mostly, I try to jump in and resolve issues and back up what my peers have already said... which can also be wrong sometimes.

There is no instant simple solution to the problems we might face at PixelJoint but we try to solve them together. At least I am attempting to be a part of the solution rather than find ways to be part of the problem... though you might think differently. I wish there WAS more of you guys there helping to build the community and solution process.

Offline Jad

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #43 on: February 26, 2009, 04:22:35 am
Quote

That said, all I can say is I, personally, am on a continual journey to improve my knowledge and skills and that sometimes puts me in the wrong. I have no problem saying that I was/am wrong in some of my beliefs.

(...)

There is no instant simple solution to the problems we might face at PixelJoint but we try to solve them together. At least I am attempting to be a part of the solution rather than find ways to be part of the problem... though you might think differently. I wish there WAS more of you guys there helping to build the community and solution process.

Hey, dude, keep making these kinds of statements and the animosity will definately fade away soon enough!

Keep in mind that the ONLY thing we're discussing in this thread is the mod's general opinion towards certain techniques, something that a lot of us have pretty severe opinions about!

What we're NOT discussing is the GENERAL moderation of pixeljoint, nor are we discussing the quality of the site, the challenges, the benefit of a place to show off your art dedicated to pixels!

Please rest assured that most of our posts do not express animosity towards pixeljoint as much as a very deep concern for the future well-being of the site! We want it to stay, which is why we want more reasonable grounds for moderation!

I think most people here appreciate pixeljoint a great deal! (: Don't doubt that! If you'd want pixelation's help to more create a more nuanced definition of 'pure pixel art', then I am completely sure that a lot of us would want to help without a second thought, I mean, a lot of that has already been done in this thread!
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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #44 on: February 26, 2009, 04:43:24 am
I think I speak for all of the PJ mods when I say that we really do appreciate everyone voicing their concerns, and we are taking them all very seriously.  We will be taking the community's ideas into account as we refine our rules and definitions to something we hope everyone can agree on.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #45 on: February 26, 2009, 05:02:57 am
I think I speak for all of the PJ mods when I say that we really do appreciate everyone voicing their concerns, and we are taking them all very seriously.  We will be taking the community's ideas into account as we refine our rules and definitions to something we hope everyone can agree on.
Is your "bucket fill= NPA" title a joke, by chance?

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #46 on: February 26, 2009, 05:24:46 am
Of course.  Thanks for addressing it before any inevitable attack.

I've heard a lot about what we've done wrong, I'm eager to hear what everyone thinks about what we should be doing.  Where the line is, what's unnaceptable, how much cleaning up is enough, etc.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #47 on: February 26, 2009, 06:04:14 am
I wouldn’t say that we’re saying “lying by omission is good”, but rather “you should tell the truth rather than deceive.”
I'm not talking about what you (or any mod) write, how you comment, or even your privately held opinions. I'm saying that the kind of actions that we are concerned about, which are taken by mods as a whole, testify to the idea that lying by omission is good, and against the idea that you should tell the truth rather than deceive (which is of course opposite), as seen in miascugh's and my case, versus eg. Slay. Comments such as "To be fair to others because you freely admit to some index painting this will be sent back" also imply the idea that lying by omission is better than telling the truth, especially since indexpainting does not effect the pixel-accuracy of something  at all
(ironically, its cleanness is comparable to floodfill, which can also be easily abused.)

Quote
I’ve done the billion color thing when younger too.  While PB mentions high color counts being something that immediately disqualifies, I would disagree.  We don’t look at just the color count (perhaps I can only speak for myself here), but we pay attention to how they’re used and if they look as if they’re manually placed, regardless of how many colors are used.  Dubious arrangement of tons of colors draws immediate suspicion, and rightly so.
Yes. Has that come up? I mean, it did with my 'flowers' pic, but I hope we can agree that, in view of the evidence, there is not dubious arrangement, nor tons of colors, nor was there previously, so that particular criticism had no basis.

Quote
No one here is advocating literal single pixel placement.  The quote was a misrepresentation of our actual stance, nobody in there right mind would take it literally, though we have already discussed rewording confusing statements like these, and they will be amended in the future.


And I’ve downloaded and plan to check out grafx2, and PB has expressed interest in finding a copy of promotion for a long time.  We’re not as closed-minded as we’re made out to be.

I can’t really jump into much of the argument here, as it seems to be “tools are irrelevant, final product is what matters”, which I personally agree with.  It seems to me that arguments are being given that push our views to one extreme of the spectrum, when in fact one can look through the thread and see a deal of agreement and differing opinions.

I like and agree with your opinions as expressed here, but again (I believe I can speak for Helm and Ptoing also in this matter) this is about the actions that actually take place, which is led by the culture of PJ mods and PJ in general, rather than anybody's views; and the ideas communicated through those actions. Clarifying the definitions provided, as a first step, would reassure me that these actions would change in the future. I believe that more is required to achieve consistently reasonable treatment of submitted pieces, such as objective measures of things like: Amount of banding, Total Number of colors, Average colors per 16x16 tile, Random noise, overall contrast ratio, contrast ratio per tile (these are all metrics which are relatively simple to take). I am not privy to the exact approval process, I wonder also whether it could benefit from more formalizing (standard set of questions to answer, to inform the decision process and provide a framework for handling disputes? Someone brought up the idea of having such a list of criteria visible when browsing the Public Queue, which is a great idea too!)


Quote from: Pixelblink
:
Personally, I do appreciate that you work quite hard on PixelJoint (and I try to express animosity only towards ideas, not people). I think it might help if you keep in mind, we're discussing here a flaw in PJ rather than what we like (personally I like plenty about PJ, for instance the ability to see how I rate my own work, the continuous activity stimulated by the constant challenges...), and I'm aware that you were not solely responsible for my situation (just that I found you the most grating in your so-called antagonism); Also don't you think you're fairly vocal on, and about, PJ? Feeling responsible for this kind of thing (and being treated as if you were) is one of the downsides of being so vocal, honestly, and so is copping more animosity than may be warranted :(
Anyway, if it bothers you, I personally think that more transparency and a little more formality, like outlined above, are the way to go to improve PJ, since basically in this thread, people are saying "NO to mysterious and somewhat arbitrary decisions". We're saying, the current decision process is not known to the majority of submitting members and appears to both be inconsistent and reward dishonesty. It needs to be seen to make sense a majority of the time. Just a really clear and obviously available description of what currently happens (say, on the submission page or linked from it) would be a good start.

EDIT: Cure, I hope the above helps in regards to "what we should be doing". First the process that is used needs to be defined clearly and in detail for anyone to see (beyond a simple 'we use this single-sentence criterion', which, while more-or-less true, is very undescriptive), then IMO it will be appropriate to move on to how the process could be improved, since I'm sure the existing process will account for things that we haven't here, since we are largely uninvolved with PJ moderation process. Need to have everything in the open before changing it.

Also, now I'm mystified. "Bucket fill = NPA"? Was that the former title of one of your posts in this thread, or what?
I noticed that Gil said he brought this same subject (vague moderation on PJ) up on PJ, I couldn't find that, either.
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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #48 on: February 26, 2009, 06:19:47 am
Yes, using tons of colors has come up, but it was not in reference to your flower pic.

Having a ton of criteria or giant checklist is cumbersome when you take into account just how much art we have to review and approve, it's much easier to "play it by ear".

I also agree that the criteria could use some work, but I'd also like to know what everyone's specific ideas are on what it should be changed to.  What to guard against, what's too far/too much, what you think would be an adequate set of guidelines that leaves no room for ambiguity.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #49 on: February 26, 2009, 06:35:33 am
Yes, using tons of colors has come up, but it was not in reference to your flower pic.

Having a ton of criteria or giant checklist is cumbersome when you take into account just how much art we have to review and approve, it's much easier to "play it by ear".
Yes, I was thinking of this. I don't mean that all these criteria would need to be employed in every case, just when things become vague, and even then, only the criteria in the particular realm of contention (this also serves as a way of saying to the submitter -- THESE are valid grounds of contention, address any disputes in terms of these criteria). All the objective measurements (banding, avg colors per tile etc) I mentioned can be done by a computer so IMO are just another part of the picture to consider, not anything time consuming -- more to serve as a red flag.

Quote
I also agree that the criteria could use some work, but I'd also like to know what everyone's specific ideas are on what it should be changed to.  What to guard against, what's too far/too much, what you think would be an adequate set of guidelines that leaves no room for ambiguity.
EDIT:
* Avoid couching definition in tool-specific terms.
* Ask people themselves, to check some things when on the submission page (like -- random noise or stray white pixels? Pillow shading (with a link to an explanation)? Crisp lines (with examples). These could be auto-hidden after the user has a certain number of submissions approved..
* The upload system should be able to check image colorcount itself. Even if it's off by one (transparency complications), it should be accurate enough to provide a red flag when appropriate.
* (still working on definitions)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 08:53:42 am by Ai »
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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #50 on: February 26, 2009, 01:44:45 pm
objective measures of things like: Amount of banding, Total Number of colors, Average colors per 16x16 tile, Random noise, overall contrast ratio, contrast ratio per tile (these are all metrics which are relatively simple to take).

These all might be objective quantifiers of measuring a certain thing, but definately not wheter something or not can be pixelart.

Amount of Banding: more to do with being new to the craft
Total Number of colors: As I stated before, good colourcontrol is a boon to pixelart but not necessary. You can handpick 100+ colours and put them manually, just not giving a damn about optimisation.
Average colors per 16x16 tile: How does this come in? I mean yes, you could see that something has a silly amount of colours in some tiles, but still, they could be placed by hand.
Random noise: Even this can be done manually and some people dither noisier than others.
overall contrast ratio: Pictures can vary a lot in contrast, within the same picture or between pictures. This can come also come down to things like artistic choice.
contrast ratio per tile: Same more or less.

You can not write a little tool that takes some measurements and then says Pixelart yay or nay!
You need people with good knowledge and judgement to make calls.
If a team of people who have that would look at all the 25k+ pieces in retrospect I think lots of shit would fall under the hammer of being not really pixelpushed.

I can think of quite a few people who have pictures in their galleries which pretty much blatantly disregard the rules (and I do not mean arbitrary nonsense ones).
Atm everything is just a tiny bit smelly and ambigious over there and ideally it would need a grand revision of everything in the gallery already. A huge and tedious task but ultimatly one that has to be done for PJ to keep believability.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline ter-o

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #51 on: February 26, 2009, 02:57:51 pm
So is using a wacom also prohibited? Since you really can't control the placement of each individual pixels if you're drawing loosely or painterly?

A bit exaggerated example but that's how this whole issue sounds to me. Even if I would always stick to the PJ rules by accident just because of personal preference, the mere fact that my picture could be rejected based on some vague rules which don't make any sense when looking at the spirit of pixel art, I don't think I would like to post anything to PJ, even if chased by undomestic equines. :D
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Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #52 on: February 26, 2009, 03:08:06 pm
So is using a wacom also prohibited? Since you really can't control the placement of each individual pixels if you're drawing loosely or painterly?

Of course it's not allowed, you must use a mouse. But then Mermaid comes along and says fuck mice, they are newfangled shit, you have to use the keyboard to pixel.

You see where I am going here :P
Also a wacom is not less accurate, the fact that it does not rest on the table makes it a bit more wobbly, but that is down to the person who holds it. And to make things more accurate you can always zoom, go technology.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #53 on: February 26, 2009, 03:14:41 pm
First of all, Pixelblink, there is no animosity from my part towards you or really anyone. I don't have a problem with anyone person over this. I am talking about the managment of a website and how it could be improved. I think I've been constructive in my critique, but here's a recap:

1. Weed out your moderator base, if people come and go or are problematic, ditch them. When we did the same for Pixelation there was a lot of unpleasantness, but it was at the end, for the best. There should be no 'you're my friend' loyalty from a managerial point of view. Ptoing is my close friend but if I were away from Pixelation for 6 months or just logged on but didn't do anything you bet he would remove me from the mods. It is useful if there is a head mod that is level-headed and well... a bit German.

2. If you need more moderators, you should pick people whom have shown they have sound judgment on these matters, not just are hard-working or loyal. Making them go through a few test runs with some grey area pixel art pieces would help. Also they should never behave like assholes. I remember a lot of times where moderators of PJ were sarcastic or worse towards potential rule-breakers. This isn't cool. It looks cool at the time, but it really breaks trust.

3. Arrive to a sensible set of rules as to what is pixel art that doesn't rest upon knowing anything about the process, just the end result (while simultaneously really encouraging people to post workstages and references as much as possible), and make it clearly public. I'd rather if that set of rules was closer to the Pixelation standard, but even if it differs, just as long as it's application is consistent, I think you'll be fine. However the more strange your definition is, the more it will become inconsistent to practice moderation on top of it, as you see.

4. After this is public, train your userbase to understand these rules and then leave it up to them in some automated voting system to choose what is pixel art from the new images. This will alleviate a LOT of moderator grief over having to slog through stuff every day. They should only come in if they feel some piece that is pixel art has been unfairly sent back by the userbase.

5. Spend more time in your community discussing the merits of pixels and some learning instead of 'what music do you listen to?' and stuff like that. This might initially seem odd a suggestion, but a community must have a focus, if that focus is diluted, there start to become other concerns that become primary over its focus, like 'these are my internet friends and I can't break their hearts' and other such bullshit. If PJ is about pixels, then train the userbase to spend time on the boards talking about pixels.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #54 on: February 26, 2009, 03:38:42 pm
Well, I would remove you as a mod if you would just leave without any reason and not be reachable for ages. But yes, I would remove you.

Also, what is this talk about PB trying to find a copy of Promotion for some time now. FIND? How about downloading the trial from the Cosmigo website. It has some features removed (I think some animation stuff) and you wont be able to save stuff after 30 days, but it is very much functional in what can be done with it. And then if you pixel enough and really like it I don't think $78 is asked too much. Or get grafx2. Serisously?, finding?
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Cure

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #55 on: February 26, 2009, 04:40:44 pm
Our key problematic mod is gone now, and we’ve already begun investigating new moderators.  We take assholitude and judgement into account, believe me.  We’ve agreed that past mods have had some rather unsavory attitudes that have definitely hurt our image and our mission, and we don’t plan to repeat this mistake.  One potential candidate was discarded for just this reason.

I agree whole heartedly that our forums need more focus and less bullshit.

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #56 on: February 26, 2009, 06:24:51 pm
What about consultants?

You could take external consultants, people you think have the right skillset to assist in decision making, and ask them to help out when a discussion over a piece arrises. They wouldn't actually be mods or have any moderator rights, they just sit in on some discussions and provide some help in decision making.

Right now I feel you have a very passionate and competent mod squad, but they lack the industry experience, longlasting experience and tool experience needed to run a site the size of Pixeljoint. These are not necessarily things that make you a better mod, but they cause the problems I perceive.

I don't doubt that you are willing to research new methods, but the question begs asking: how old is PJ? Why haven't you downloaded and tried the dirty tools already? Shouldn't you be studying what makes pixel art tick BEFORE becoming a mod of a huge pixelart gallery?

The discussion feels a bit like:

"We're open minded"
"Have you actually tried any advanced pixel programs?"
"No, but we were going to at some point, so that proves it"

Offline Ai

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #57 on: February 26, 2009, 10:58:04 pm
objective measures of things like: Amount of banding, Total Number of colors, Average colors per 16x16 tile, Random noise, overall contrast ratio, contrast ratio per tile (these are all metrics which are relatively simple to take).

These all might be objective quantifiers of measuring a certain thing, but definately not wheter something or not can be pixelart.

Amount of Banding: more to do with being new to the craft
Total Number of colors: As I stated before, good colourcontrol is a boon to pixelart but not necessary. You can handpick 100+ colours and put them manually, just not giving a damn about optimisation.
Average colors per 16x16 tile: How does this come in? I mean yes, you could see that something has a silly amount of colours in some tiles, but still, they could be placed by hand.
Random noise: Even this can be done manually and some people dither noisier than others.
overall contrast ratio: Pictures can vary a lot in contrast, within the same picture or between pictures. This can come also come down to things like artistic choice.
contrast ratio per tile: Same more or less.

You can not write a little tool that takes some measurements and then says Pixelart yay or nay!
Yes, that's exactly the point.  The above metrics are meant to help inform judgement, not to make judgement -- as I said, effectively part of the picture. 'Normal' range of these parameters would need to be calibrated over time. It's just a time saving device.

Quote
I can think of quite a few people who have pictures in their galleries which pretty much blatantly disregard the rules (and I do not mean arbitrary nonsense ones).
Atm everything is just a tiny bit smelly and ambigious over there and ideally it would need a grand revision of everything in the gallery already. A huge and tedious task but ultimatly one that has to be done for PJ to keep believability.
I have to agree there!

Still busy, write more later.
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Offline Cure

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #58 on: February 27, 2009, 12:17:11 am
Just a note: if there are pieces in the gallery that blatantly disregard the rules- then report them!

Offline Metaru

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #59 on: February 28, 2009, 04:56:08 am
it totally sucks that i lack the vocabulary to express myself as i would like, so i'd try to do my best.

for me, PJ is the the place to share/showcase and get a light "introduction" to the world of pixels. but Pixelation is the place to worship the true essence of this artform. to follow "the way of the pixel"(i didnt had to use that but i couln't resist). on my own, personal experience i do have to admit that if i ever wanted to improve and start racking knowledge, and get some serious improvement over my skills(and learn more about what i'm doing) i'd have to switch to Pixelation for what helm said in his point 5. PJ is a group of folks who gather around for having the same hobbie in common(making pixels), and eventually, for sharing the same jokes and stuff like that. nothing more, nothing else. i think the only reason because i don't start being more active around here is just because it would suck to be the new guy after all those years spamming nonsense over there. while i often refer pj as one of the most well known sites related to PJ with Pixelation, i never, ever would consider one above the another. it just doesnt make any sense to do such thing.

now, on the particular issue of the moderation(wich was the main point of this post), i must admit that all this issue started with one single twist of someone trying to impose this "purism" as the only option posible. considering how newcomers tend to absorb that kind of statements, this leaded to a complete and unnecesary wicthhunt that ended with the said piece deleted. i consider pixel art as a vehicle to present a concept in the same way i could chose to use color pencils or a photomanipulation or a song, therefore i feel like i can chose between limiting myself to use 16 colors and stick to MSPaint or simply go and use a dither brush in PSP, so for me the said statement about "purism" was completely retarded and so close-minded that it totally defeated the "art" part of pixel art.

i do see the moderation over PJ to be more focused to common sense rather than as a guide into what should and shouldnt(for the same reason all pieces who are submitted are allowed in the end by a mod). this requires also indeed a minimal knowledge of what is and whats not pixel art plus each one's personal opinion. i wont lie that i though i could take dogmeat's place in the moderation team, but i did realised i am no one to take that place for the reason i was banned a few days ago.

sorry if at any point i didn't make any sense, i did my best but its almost 2AM and lacking half of the words i needed to know didn't help.

Offline deziresoft

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #60 on: February 28, 2009, 08:58:56 am
An "automated tool" could be considered the square or circle tool.  So, if pixeljoint found out that like the best creation there used the square tool, because of lack of time, and a bit of laziness, they would lose a piece?  This is by far, the worst statement I've ever heard.  To me, Green Raven was a fair man, now I lost my respect for him.  To allow something like this?  Wow, no.  I've got friends over at PJ, and they'll leave once they hear about that.

Offline Cure

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #61 on: February 28, 2009, 11:40:51 am
I'm not entirely sure what post you're referring to, but we do not and have never had a problem with the circle or square tools.  If GreenRaven really did make such a statement, then it is of no consequence, as he is not a member of the staff.

On this note, I worked out a rough definition of pixel art for PJ:
The usage of tools is not restrictive to those tools that serve only to speed up the creation process.  The effects of tools that place any pixel in a manner unforeseeable by the artist are forbidden in the final piece submitted to the gallery. Such effects must be cleaned up manually by the artist to ensure pixel precision.  This applies not only to pixel arrangement, but color quantity as well, as such tools that create computer generated gradients, blurs, auto antialiasing or are in any way used to create colors not manually chosen by the artist must be refined before submission to the gallery.   The aforementioned methods are allowed only during the work stages of a piece, full control over each pixel’s place in the final product is required.

I realize that it's a bit wordy, and perhaps does not say everything that the community feels needs to be in a comprehensive definition.  Perhaps it even says too much.  Which is why I'm posting here.  If anyone would like to lend their suggestions, we are open to hear them, and would appreciate the pixel art community's input.

I would also like to note that I have reinstated Miascugh's unfairly revised work
No word yet on whether or not the circle tool was used ;)

Offline deziresoft

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #62 on: February 28, 2009, 03:56:49 pm
I'm not entirely sure what post you're referring to, but we do not and have never had a problem with the circle or square tools.  If GreenRaven really did make such a statement, then it is of no consequence, as he is not a member of the staff.

On this note, I worked out a rough definition of pixel art for PJ:
The usage of tools is not restrictive to those tools that serve only to speed up the creation process.  The effects of tools that place any pixel in a manner unforeseeable by the artist are forbidden in the final piece submitted to the gallery. Such effects must be cleaned up manually by the artist to ensure pixel precision.  This applies not only to pixel arrangement, but color quantity as well, as such tools that create computer generated gradients, blurs, auto antialiasing or are in any way used to create colors not manually chosen by the artist must be refined before submission to the gallery.   The aforementioned methods are allowed only during the work stages of a piece, full control over each pixel’s place in the final product is required.

I realize that it's a bit wordy, and perhaps does not say everything that the community feels needs to be in a comprehensive definition.  Perhaps it even says too much.  Which is why I'm posting here.  If anyone would like to lend their suggestions, we are open to hear them, and would appreciate the pixel art community's input.

I would also like to note that I have reinstated Miascugh's unfairly revised work
No word yet on whether or not the circle tool was used ;)
Oh, sorry, I was talking about the first post.  And I meant staff on PJ.

Offline greenraven

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #63 on: February 28, 2009, 05:13:59 pm
Well, I was always thinking of making an account here. I suppose now's as good a time as any. What a first post, eh? :lol:

An "automated tool" could be considered the square or circle tool.  So, if pixeljoint found out that like the best creation there used the square tool, because of lack of time, and a bit of laziness, they would lose a piece?  This is by far, the worst statement I've ever heard.  To me, Green Raven was a fair man, now I lost my respect for him.  To allow something like this?  Wow, no.  I've got friends over at PJ, and they'll leave once they hear about that.

1) I'm confused on what it is that you think I said. I'm getting the feeling like words are being put in my mouth. If I did say something like that, then I clearly don't remember saying it, care to show me a link to said statement? ???

2) Telling all your friends to 'pack up and leave' instead of working past problems isn't all too mature. No one is forcing you to stay, and no one is certainly forcing you to leave. We all have freewill to make decisions for ourselves.


Now then, as for this whole debate:

I think that we, PixelJoint as a whole community, need to sit down and hold some sort of town meeting of sorts to decide on new rules and guidelines.

Second of all, I may disagree on quite a few rules on PJ, and I make plenty of NPA. No one is stopping me from making NPA, yet at the same time no one is forcing my hand on that 'submit' button. I find it a bit ridiculous every time someone throws a hissy fit and storms off because something didn't get accepted into the gallery. What belongs on PJ, I submit to PJ. What doesn't, I don't. Otherwise I'm just there to browse the gallery and enjoy a fun atmosphere with my friends.


That's all I have to say for the moment, but I've got lots more to say overall, all in due time.  :hehe:

As for getting new mods on staff over at PJ, I have only this to say: "A good food critic does not necessarily have to be a good chef." (I guess that's my little way of saying 'I'm up to it' (Or at least I think I am.))  ;)

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #64 on: February 28, 2009, 07:02:18 pm
I think it would be good to go over the whole ruleset and try to clean it up in a fashion that breathes professionalism and is not ambiguous in any part.

Your new definition on tool usage is good, but maybe a bit wordy. It's hard to condense though, since every word provides clear meaning. I like it.

Offline The B.O.B.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #65 on: February 28, 2009, 07:55:44 pm
Guess I'll say my part.

   Being a mod at Pixel Joint, I must admit, I've actually sent more pieces back for not being of "good quality" more than I've sent back supposed accused "NPA" pieces. I've always held it firm, that the usage of a tool shouldn't matter, in terms of pixel art, as long as the user attains full control over his piece. I know of some users who actually draw their pieces on paper, scan it, reduce, than pixel over it. THIS IS FINE. Why some users feel we don't allow this, is beyond me. What I DO have a problem with, is stealing and copying. Just blatantly copy and pasting ANOTHER PERSON'S creation, editing it, and calling it their own. That's just down right wrong, in my book. This is also the reason why I'm weary of some Demoscene artists that join PixelJoint.
   They are great artists, no doubt, but their methods aren't clean to begin with, in my oh so humble opinion. Several create pieces in the method mentioned above, and others use an un-godly amount of colors in their pieces that makes one wonder "Why? Why not just ease your pain and do it in hi-res digital? What is the point in doing a piece like this?"...So in that respect, I do have a prejudice against high color count, and will definitely be prone to sending something back. Does high color count mean NOT pixel art? NO. In my personal believe, it's a quality issue.
   I'm always under the belief that if something is submitted under a pixel art category, it should respect it's history. It wasn't even called pixel art back then, but more so just drawing in a digital format, using software applications. And these applications were hindered to technical limitations, and restrictions. Later on, technology grew, and less limitations became apparent, giving digital artists more freedom. However, that's where our fine lines began to have been drawn, over what belongs where. No one likes to be labeled, but it's hard to deny the visual traits certain things have. More to the point, a user who pixels something with a color count in the triple digits and beyond, that isn't a game, or multi-layered mock-up is merely missing the point of pixel art: Learning how to work with a palette wisely enough and work within set restrictions to make a said piece. That being said, pixel art can be fun without restrictions, and sometimes it's ok to work outside the box. However, to keep with tradition, it's always good practice to work within set limitations, for creative growth.
   Yes, the previous paragraph does have some gray areas, with things that are, and aren't accepted. But that comes with the territory, any time you try and label something, or try to define the undefinable. It's really a matter of personal taste, over what is what. Good and evil have different meanings upon different cultures and beings. After all, I don't walk into a grocery store and ask them to fix my car, and question why. That's just down right silly. Cause I know that's the way they run business there. It's there way of life.(blegh, I'm blabbering)

   At any rate, it's always been difficult for me to see why some users complain over the site's issues. Maybe I'm just blind to the problems, or have been there too long to even notice. The only thing I can say, is that the other mods on our team have been fairly wonderful in terms of solving some of our user base's main issues, and have done well behind the scenes, where ABSOLUTELY NO PRAISE is given' for what we do to help keep the site tidy, or going. But again that comes with the job, I suppose. All in all, I can say(with the exception of a previous mod) that everyone of them have performed fairly well with PJ. But I'm glad that our team is finally approaching these issues with an open mind, as there are some things mentioned that I've asked in the past, that I think are finally going to be put into fruition, and it seems we're all on the same page now.

Toodles!
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Offline Willows

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #66 on: February 28, 2009, 09:01:52 pm
As for getting new mods on staff over at PJ, I have only this to say: "A good food critic does not necessarily have to be a good chef." (I guess that's my little way of saying 'I'm up to it' (Or at least I think I am.))  ;)

A good food critic does not have to be a good chef, sure, but he's not gonna be a good food critic unless he devotes himself to his art... and even if he does, an excellent chef will probably still be better able to identify the smaller flaws that occured while cooking than the good critic.

I guess what I'm saying is both a critic and an artist may be able to identify the flaws in a piece of artwork, but the experienced artist is more likely to see the source of the flaws, having actively experienced them himself at least once in his career.

(Sorry for doubting you at the beginning, gil!)

Offline Ai

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #67 on: February 28, 2009, 10:09:19 pm
The usage of tools is not restrictive to those tools that serve only to speed up the creation process.  The effects of tools that place any pixel in a manner unforeseeable by the artist are forbidden in the final piece submitted to the gallery. Such effects must be cleaned up manually by the artist to ensure pixel precision.  This applies not only to pixel arrangement, but color quantity as well, as such tools that create computer generated gradients, blurs, auto antialiasing or are in any way used to create colors not manually chosen by the artist must be refined before submission to the gallery.   The aforementioned methods are allowed only during the work stages of a piece, full control over each pixel’s place in the final product is required.
That's a damn good definition as far as I'm concerned. It does need some editing down (and a paragraph break), which I'm working on presently.
One thing is that the first sentence puzzles me (as a linguist, or even as a layman). The immediate idea that comes out when I read it is that of tools using tools (a facetious commentary on the value of pixeling? :). Obviously this is not what you meant. Did you mean 'restricted' rather than 'restrictive' (this makes a little more sense to me, I'm still not entirely sure what the thrust of this sentence is, though.)? Could you clarify here please?

My other main concern is that the English used is perhaps a little too professorial. We know that people with different native languages will be reading this, so IMO we need to cut out words such as 'aforementioned' and 'unforeseeable' if possible.

You seem to have focused mainly on adding colors (blur, gradients, auto-aa, any effect that adds colors). Spatial distortion is also relevant.

A rough edited version follows:
Quote from: Ai
The usage of tools is not restricted to those tools that serve only to speed up the creation process.  The effects of tools that place any pixel in a manner unforeseeable by the artist, such as:
* gradients
* blurs
* auto antialiasing
* image warping
* any effect which is used in any way to create colors not manually chosen by the artist
 are forbidden in the final piece submitted to the gallery.
Effects of this kind must be cleaned up manually by the artist to ensure pixel precision. Both pixel arrangement and color quantity must be refined before submission to the gallery. Such methods are allowed only during the work stages of a piece, full control over each pixel's place in the final product is required.

The list IMO serves to break up the definition text and reduce the 'wall-of-text' impression.
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline deziresoft

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #68 on: March 01, 2009, 06:26:44 am
Raven, I'm not putting words into your mouth, but as the first post stated, a piece, that used an automated tool, was removed for that reason.  The fact that it's still pixel art shouldn't take it's right away from the gallery, it's all I'm saying.

Apologies if I came off to strong. ^^


~Joe

Offline greenraven

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #69 on: March 01, 2009, 07:31:36 am
It's ok. Coming off strong just means you're passionate about something. I won't have it any other way when people are talking to me. :P

I was just slightly confused about what it is that you think I said. Because I'm often sad when awesome pieces never leave the queue due to 'technicalities'.

It's the little technicalities I think we need to talk about in our PJ town meeting. If and when we ever have one.

Offline deziresoft

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #70 on: March 01, 2009, 09:13:28 am
Well, that's good to hear.  You should be a bit more lenient on work.  I am still sorry for coming off too strong. :P


~Joe

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #71 on: March 01, 2009, 11:09:12 am
I think any definition of pixel art has got to have some lovely images to back up the words. Visual props for a visual art. A metal slug 3 screenshot or bitmap brothers piece would probably help a little to clear up what pixel detail is with "dirty" tools. Maybe two or three images with an explicit disclaimer that they represent the tiniest sampling of the pixel aesthetic. Just so teh newcomers don't get any bright ideas about the 3 images representing boundaries which all pixel art must fall within.

I kind of wonder if a more general defintion taht focuses on the need for control and precision at the pixel level and less on the invalidness of gradiants and AutoAA would work better. Part of the problem taht we've been talking about is the damage caused by artificial limits being imposed on pixel art. Both those defintions still have that problem even with this escape clause at the end
Quote
Effects of this kind must be cleaned up manually by the artist to...

Still, both definitions are good steps in a positive direction. And I'm glad to hear that Miascugh's piece is back. It's been interesting reading this thread, so many people that I didn't realise were working behind the scenes at PJ. You guys/girls and the Pixelation crew are a great bunch and I really appreciate the effort you guys put into these places.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #72 on: March 01, 2009, 12:52:47 pm
That definition: if you just said

'The end result must belie a careful consideration on the part of the artist in maximizing the potential informative quality of his pixels both solitary and in groups. If it's sloppy or it looks like the computer was making a lot of choices, it will not be accepted'.


I know this sounds a bit technobabble, but it's really a very concise definition. Along with a few 'This is pixel art/this isn't pixel art' pictures below I think it'd be enough.

Offline Larwick

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #73 on: March 02, 2009, 02:26:03 am
Having visual aids is a brilliant idea. Strange that it wasn't thought of before. Thanks crab2selout.  :y:

Just so you all know we're making progress over at PJ with thanks to everyones input.

Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #74 on: March 02, 2009, 07:02:04 am
ptoing: I hadn't previously found the trial version link on the website until recently. I wasn't truly that obvious, but I have now downloaded it and I'm going through the learning curve on it.

The crew and myself at PJ have been talking about site upgrades and redefining the rules for quite some time. In fact, we're currently discussing implementing a wiki styled format for all of this. We're not as complacent and stubborn as one might think but we've got to be patient as our site owner and coder works at a slower pace than we'd like. Still, the work is getting done and communications are always improving. On top of that, mods have/are being replaced over the years. I feel that the core team is pretty much now in tune with each other (especially after this topics conversation). I sense that it's more growing pains than anything. The site has grown exponentially over the past, what, 5 years I've been there (essentially for the beginning) and what used to be acceptable in the past and what used to be the common train of thought has changed and grown over time. Believe me when I say I want to see the site continue to grow and succeed but that can only come about with strong moderation and passionate people to build a stronger and more intelligent community.

Though intelligence doesn't necessarily mean using bigger words to describe things, does it? I know that we need to define our roles and rules wtih clearer intentions and clearer words so that everyone can understand where we're coming from and how the membership is intended to be implied. I am open to inviting consultants to help us with the upcoming wiki for definitions and whatnot along the way and I hope we can count on the support of everyone here to help bring along the required positive changes that will take place over time at PJ.

@Xelados: I don't quite see what you are referring to. I looked up your name at PJ and found the one image you submitted that was rejected but found no discussion surrounding it. No PMs were made from you or to you that I can see. Perhaps a decision was made in haste on either side and, should you decide to give it another spin, I'd be happy to discuss any issues with you.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #75 on: March 02, 2009, 07:23:40 am
I miss the old Pixelation before the hoity toity artfag attitudes.

Although you had a rocky start around here that cost you two strikes, you seemed to have taken the repeated hints and had settled down for a while. I knew from then that your situation could go either way as from experience people that are communally disruptive will remain so because what fuels them is not the sort of thing that can be amended with 'slaps on the wrist' from an internet community. Nonetheless I have hope and who knows sometimes things just go better for the 'troll' in their personal lives and it just so coincides with their stay around here and they relax. Apparently a lot of of other people hoped the same, we've tried to help with your art as much as we could and although there seemed to be progress and integration now you say these things which sounds pretty ungrateful to me. If you don't want to be a positive part of this community I can give you your last strike and you can go take a year-long timeout from socializing at Pixelation. Perhaps being here isn't helping you on a deeper level anyway at the moment, given your attitude. I really would rather not give you the last strike even though you're pushing for it. Is everything alright otherwise in your life?

Sometimes the problem is not with the communities you seem to have run-ins with, sometimes it's with you. Anyway, in the case that you'd rather not get the last strike and want to work through your concerns with Pixelation (always willing to listen both in pubic and in private) pro-actively, then please retract the above quoted insult to uh... everyone that has posted in Pixelation.

Pixelblink: having a site owner/coder that is absent/isn't working as fast as you'd like it a surefire way to get swamped down to a standstill eventually. Happened with Pixelation to the point where the active moderators effectively staged a coup to resume some sort of control of the place (today's Pixelation is what we have to show for our ninja tactics). This generated some bad blood, but it was the price that had to be paid. I'm not saying you would have to go to the same drastic measures, but if Sedge can't be around as much as you'd want him you should discuss some sort of mitigation of server control with him so you can get things you need done today, today.

re: What used to be acceptable then isn't now: I think when everything is set and done you reevaluate all pieces in the gallery and restart the rankings exactly because of that.

Offline Feron

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #76 on: March 02, 2009, 08:23:55 am
I'm not ungrateful for the help I've received. Is it not possible to appreciate what's been given to you but still have issues with the underlying social atmosphere? I really don't think your threat's necessary; it's a single sentence that, while negative, isn't going overboard. People are allowed to have constrasting opinions here, right?
There's contrasting and plain out rude.

Quote
It'd be nice to be a "positive part of the community", but I really don't know what that entails. I don't have the traditional schooling that you, Nate, or the other big names have. Comparitively, anything I could contribute would be of lesser quality, and I have no intentions of misleading artists. So in that field, I'm worthless to the community. I could (try to) be a well-liked and respected member, but how much of my personality would I have to coat with a veneer of fakeness in order to gain social acceptance?
Positive part of the community: just be nice to people, give critique and helpful advice.  Don't be an ass, and sometimes read what you've wrote before you post it.  I don't know where you're getting this sense that everyone here is art-schooled.  I'd most people here are hobbyists.  Solid art background will make anybody better at any artform.  Stop worrying about other people's skill, just focus or improving your own.  I think you care to much about what you think others will think of your work.  This is not a gallery its a place where people will help you regardless of skill, provided you don't call everyone here an "art-fag".


Quote
To sum things up, I'm thankful for the help I have received, but that doesn't mean I have to regard those that help me as gods. Everyone's fallible, right? And it doesn't say anywhere in Pixelation's rules than you're not allowed a dissenting opinion, especially if it's expressed in a civilized manner. Like mine.
No one is asking you to respect anybody as a god.  Stop trying to make hierarchy where there is none.  It's never nice to see someone banned, but it looks like it will probably go that way.  Have a nice year :)

Offline Dusty

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #77 on: March 02, 2009, 08:25:53 am
I never had traditional schooling and I never seemed to have a problem around here...

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #78 on: March 02, 2009, 08:38:32 am
The focus of this thread is another so I'll have to be brief.

Your concerns about 'traditional schooled' artists becoming significant here in Pixelation and actually of what the value of being significant here really is show that you misunderstand the purpose of this place. Every opinion is welcome, critique that could be bad for the artist is usually neutered out by contrasting opinions, everybody helps everybody and that's how Pixelation was and will remain. I resent the implication that there are 'big names' here. Are Atnas, Willows, Rosse or Eyecraft 'big names'? Because those are the last people I remember giving cookies to for great helpful critique in the last few weeks and that's just at the top of my head.

I asked you to retract a clear insult, yet you understood me to request that you do not have differing opinions on the whole. This I must take as a symptom of your sadly distorted perception and so here's your third strike. A year is enough time to tour the internet for places more befitting you if you so desire or to just reconsider how this one is to be used. If you chose to return then, you'd be welcome.

I honestly wouldn't mind exploring your sentiments more fully because there are worthwhile things we could discuss (as we have in the past every time you got a strike) but that would not be in my capacity as a moderator of Pixelation, as you are now banned.

Offline pixelblink

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #79 on: March 02, 2009, 08:41:33 am
What I'm getting from Xelados' posts is a matter of perception which, to my eyes, is exactly what this thread started on. People have perceived PJ as being unfair and uneducated, among other things, and needs focusing and a staff of mods that are in the spotlight to solve issues instead of corrupting their own definitions of what is acceptable and what isn't. I won't defend Xelados' strongly negative statement but it holds merit to the discussion of how these two sites are perceived and perhaps it's something that the moderation team here needs to discuss amongst themselves. I won't force that conversation as the main focus here is PJ and not Pixelation but I think that it opens a theme that may need to be addressed in the future.

Personally, I see these two sites handling art theories completely differently. I see PJ as being a bit more open to everyone's personal style and allowing them to explore their own path while I see Pixelation as discussing serious art theory and formalized training to be put to work. I see no flaw in either sites functions in that manner. One would learn from each or at least have the opportunity to learn from each method.

And, while I do agree one shouldn't mince words when they're passionate about an idea (whether it's in a negative context or not), I do feel that words like "art fag" is pretty much derogatory and also stereotypes and generalizes a large group of people who come from - and learn from - different backgrounds.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #80 on: March 02, 2009, 09:01:22 am
It's a pretty clear-cut issue from my vantage really. You're free to have - and to voice, in appropriate channels - any opinion you want in Pixelation, as long as you're polite about it. For example if anyone posted in the Off Topic thread that they think Ptoing is annoying or that Mia is irresponsible or that Jad is too pretty or whatever, no action of moderation would take place. If anything I would expect these individuals to challenge those statements in person, their time permitting. Keep in mind that this is not the standard on the Internet. Most places where you criticize the moderation == instaban. It is unfortunate than most of the times where these sorts of dialogs occur they do trickle down towards clear name-calling and other pathologies and therefore strikes are administered. If someone can make a polite case for their concerns then it will be dealt with respect. Calling people hoity toity artfags and not retracting when asked to politely is not a good starting point for such a discussion, I hope it is now clear. I'll let the Xelados matter rest as he is no longer around to state his case, but that was his choice.

The arch you build between matters of administration here in Pixelation and in PJ is one which you base on matters of perception. The problem with this parallel in my opinion is that a dubious or unfair call here can be challenged in the proper channels and generally there very rarely are insta-bans and other such drastic decisions taken. Generally I would hope it to be true that even the staunchest Pixelation critics would agree that though perhaps we are too hard-assed for their liking, we are not unfair. We use the three strike system exactly for that purpose. The sheer volume of problematic calls I've witnessed in PJ in terms of what is accepted (and to lesser degree what is not) in the gallery makes this a logistical problem more than anything. It's not that you guys are more unfair, it's that you make a huge amount of calls per week and the unfairness stands out more. There aren't channels for refuting bad calls and most importantly, the procedures through which someone is dealt with are not public. Not to say that they should be completely public (there is certainly a point to take things to PMs) but they aren't enough so that the users of PJ (and I stress, not the users of the *forum* in particular) could be able to tell on which terms something was allowed to exist or not. Wikipedia has this great feature where if an article is in distress or facing deletion one can follow the whole history of what went down in the 'talk' page of that article. Perhaps something similarly public should be put in place in PJ? This way you can simplify this concept of 'outside counsel'. Just make a talk page for each piece that is actively facing deletion and let all interested argument for or against and then have a moderator make a final call after the thread has ran its course and/or a set amount of time (a week?)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 09:04:21 am by Helm »

Offline Helm

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #81 on: March 02, 2009, 12:50:48 pm
I was informed that Xelados had removed the insult from his prior post before he was banned and therefore I have lifted the ban - and I'll remove that one strike as soon as I find out how to do that exactly. Apologies for hasty action. Let's carry on.

Offline Panda

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #82 on: March 02, 2009, 12:59:57 pm
and I'll remove that one strike as soon as I find out how to do that exactly.

Done :0

Offline The B.O.B.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #83 on: March 02, 2009, 03:15:41 pm
To keep it on topic...

The sheer volume of problematic calls I've witnessed in PJ in terms of what is accepted (and to lesser degree what is not) in the gallery makes this a logistical problem more than anything. It's not that you guys are more unfair, it's that you make a huge amount of calls per week and the unfairness stands out more.

   This is the reason why people complain more about Pixeljoint, than Pixelation: The volume of users that are active at Pixeljoint, are much larger than Pixelation. Of course, there are several reasons why, but it's easier to understand that with tons of users in a gallery site,   especially most being new to the site, or new artists entirely, we get several "middle child" users, who want nothing more than attention, or to be the popular one. So it's far easier to be critical of Pixeljoint, as we don't have time to isolate and deal with most user issues, or to evaluate their being there. If we spot a problem with a user, we try to come up with a group decision, and decide whether this person will grow as a user, out of their "troll" status, and start being a better person for the community as a whole, or will they continue their current ways.
   We try our best to calm some down and solve the problem in a nice manner, via direct pm's with the users in question. Some times it works, and some times it doesn't. I've seen public rants about this same conversation in the past, on pixeljoint in the chatterbox. Sane ones, actually. But when a moderator politely pm's this same user as to how we can help, I've seen these same sane users go across the line to insane, cursing us, using derogatory names, and whatnot in pm form, where only we can see what he/she says, not the general public. So it's easy to chastise the moderator team, when you can't see what lies behind the scenes.
   Where as here, at Pixelation, the user base is much smaller, with more active users who are a very tight knit, group. Helm, Panda, and Ptoing being one of the mods, are also fairly close with most of the active user base, here(though not all, and I've seen a recent bunch of new users, so I'm sure things may change in the future). Therefore, issues with new users, are easier to deal with, as the general user base understands the mindset of the website with what is and isn't allowed, allowing the mods less time to deal with the general user base, and more time to isolate the problematic ones much easier. And this hard-assery' is also what keeps most newer pixel artists away from this site, fearing how bad their art will be criticized(I've actually seen proof of this, when some users Pm me to help them with their art at PJ, and when I couldn't offer any more help, I'd ask them to go to our pj forums for assistance, or Pixelation, being a great site for critique. Majority of the time, they would say something along the lines of " No, I've lurked at pixelation before, I'm afraid those guys are a little too advanced for me, or may be too harsh on my work."). Now I hate to use the "numbers" game as an excuse, but you have to admit, it does come into play, sometimes.
   That being said, yes, PJ has some kinks to work out, but to be honest, most of the suggestions thrown out on this thread, have actually been thrown out secretly in our mod chats in the past. It was just a matter of indecision as to what may happen if we do so, as, I hate to admit, some of us mods there haven't been there that long(though we are coming into our own, and now starting to function like a great unit...a mechanical BEAST if you will), so enforcing such rash changes on the site, seemed a bit uncomfortable, as it's a phase of change most humans have a hard time adjusting to(again, I know pixelation can relate, as I remember some of the issues you guys had back then over the shift of powa'). We were used to the set rules we already had in place, which is why some of us were elected into the mod-squad to keep the site in track. So coming in there, and than hearing suggestion that we need to change some things severely was a bit over our head. We've however, decided, it's for the best now.

   Again, I'm sure this has all been said in this thread somewhere. I'm sure Pixelation and PJ mods differ on some aspects of the Pixel art, and where it's standards lie, but I'm hopeful that soon in the near future our definitions will get to the point where it matches, and a global understanding between all pixel artists, new and old, is met.

*ps, so after all this fighting, when do we get to the sweaty man-orgy? : P
my back hurts...

Offline ter-o

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #84 on: March 02, 2009, 05:33:17 pm
Quote from: The B.O.B.
Majority of the time, they would say something along the lines of " No, I've lurked at pixelation before, I'm afraid those guys are a little too advanced for me, or may be too harsh on my work.").

I personally fail to see how this is a bad thing? Eatpoo was in its glory days a good example of a forum where people actually would benefit being part of it (well to be honest, they were at times a bit TOO rude, which I don't think is an issue here. Here people would actually help you even more, by making paintovers and such.). I think if you want to be an artist but you're not willing to learn, or willing to accept that people will have opinions about your work every time you bring them to public, then maybe it's for the best that you make your art only for your mom or store it in a drawer. I don't think it's elitist to say that if someone can't take criticism, they should stay away, I think it's just true. If this place would change into an asspat community, everyone would suffer. If you just want praise about your work, there are places for that too, but I don't see it's here.

By no means the critique should be rude or otherwise degrading, just the opposite but even as hard as it is, you should be able to recieve criticism if you want to learn. I don't think Pixelation is a show gallery either. I think this applies also to the issues that Xelados has. Since some people have traditional training, of course they will bring out those points in their criticism, and I don't see why they shouldn't? One might even gain something if they would listen to those advices, no matter how personal and "unique" style they have.

These are of course only my personal opinions about what Pixelation is and isn't so...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 05:35:29 pm by ter-o »
I don't know everything, I just know everything else.
Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. -Master Yoda

Offline The B.O.B.

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #85 on: March 02, 2009, 06:01:27 pm
@ter-o: Exactly. WE don't see critique as a bad thing, but newcomers do. Several don't understand that it's meant to help. Most take it as insults to their art. That, or they are painfully shy. Why do you think I always would ask them to come here for help in the first place?
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Offline ter-o

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #86 on: March 02, 2009, 06:07:47 pm
I say it's their loss. They will mature in time. As long as the c&c is polite and constructive, I don't see why this forum even should try to please everyone. It will help those willing to learn, and they deserve it.
I don't know everything, I just know everything else.
Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. -Master Yoda

Offline Metaru

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Re: Pixel purism and the PixelJoint

Reply #87 on: March 02, 2009, 09:00:32 pm
not like someone "deserves" critique, but rather have the attitude to take it as a critique and not as a ofense, to an extent of course.

 pretty much like what happened here.