AuthorTopic: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!  (Read 175795 times)

Offline BatElite

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #190 on: February 04, 2016, 09:20:31 am
Is this what you wanted?

The line between washed out and good is a bit weird to me, apparently.

also:
I made a chart which contains:
lines: squares at brightness levels starting at 50 and going up to 100 (pure white)
columns: outlines with a value level starting at 45 and going down to 0 (true black)

I think you meant those the other way around.
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Offline 0xDB

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #191 on: February 04, 2016, 10:11:23 am
For this simple example I want to pin down the area where background, outline and the square look as a whole nice to your eye.

Offline Atnas

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #192 on: February 04, 2016, 10:33:24 am
Ah, there's a theme here.

Offline API-Beast

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #193 on: February 05, 2016, 11:13:43 pm


My impression is that the color of the background is actually a lot more important to what good outline colors are, rather than the color of the outlined thing. Except if the outlined thing is very dark, in which case the outline has to be a bit darker for the sake of contrast.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 11:19:29 pm by Mr. Beast »

Offline Cure

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #194 on: July 03, 2017, 03:17:43 am
Thought about making a new thread for this but I think it fits here. I've been thinking about how we define pixel art, what exactly the parameters are that separate it from regular ol' digital painting on one end and "oekaki" on the other. The images don't correlate to the x-axis perfectly.



The narrow definition basically correlates to the pixel purist ideology. If the pixel placement gets too noisy or too blurry, it ceases to feel like pixel art, but exactly when it has strayed too far varies according to the individual.

So what do you guys think? Where do you personally place the borders, and what are the essential elements that define pixel art?

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #195 on: July 03, 2017, 03:57:36 am
Personally my borders are probably perfectly halfway between the narrow and broad pictured. The pixel purity concept is a very controversial one to be sure.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #196 on: July 03, 2017, 06:04:32 am
this surely is an interesting graph Logan.
A big point for me also would be palette control.

But that being said  - I know what pixelart is once I ee it, because the last stuff Ilkke did with the round avatars on twitter certainly falls in my definition of "pixel art", despite it doesn't even have squares as basic element which kinda is an interesting observation.
https://twitter.com/iLkKke/status/875906845625303040

An interesting thought I had regarding this was about gradients - basically when does a "blur" or gradient turn into a "ramp" of colors which we consider pxelart like. I think the "pixelart feel" also has a lot to do with a certain amount of colors on a certain level of size.
Like something with higher reslution can use more colors to look like pixelart, while if you just blow up a small sprite with the same colors it can, but not necessarily has to feel "not shaded enough" and not as much as pixelart as the smaller version with the same amount of colors.

I think it's super hard to describe the balance through techniques and specs alone, for the graph I would end up with the narrow definition.
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Offline Ai

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #197 on: July 04, 2017, 11:49:44 am
I think I have to say basically the strict category is it for me too. As we go left or right from there it seems like uh 'senseless technique-porn' (that is, considered as pixel art, it seems to be posturing 'look how linear I am!' / 'look how smooth I am!', rather than just solving the pictorial problem in question.)

It should be noted for context that I am positive towards the use of pretty much any tool (definitely including indexpainting and [blurs that are more intelligent than Gaussian is]). But another way I can put the above paragraph is: I think the tool is controlling the user, more than the user controlling the tool, in those broader items.  Perhaps I philosophically differ in this regard, but I think the artist should not 'push around marks' or let the media dictate to them; The influence of media should show in the 5% of the picture appearance, not the 95% (which should be showing the things that need to be shown, in correct relation/priority).


An interesting thought I had regarding this was about gradients - basically when does a "blur" or gradient turn into a "ramp" of colors which we consider pxelart like. I think the "pixelart feel" also has a lot to do with a certain amount of colors on a certain level of size.
Like something with higher reslution can use more colors to look like pixelart, while if you just blow up a small sprite with the same colors it can, but not necessarily has to feel "not shaded enough" and not as much as pixelart as the smaller version with the same amount of colors.


IMO that falls into the same 'meaningful decisions' theme that some people like to use when talking about this. That is, a gradient just looks like a gradient, if each shade doesn't have 'individuality'. When each shade has an individual shape that feels like it is defining particular subtleties of form, rather than just 'snowballing' with the other shades in the meta-cluster to create a gradient, it's a ramp. When you have too many shades, it just feels like you are nesting them, rather than 'pushing' one shade against another to exaggerate the effect of both.

It seems to me straightforward that the amount of individuality a cluster of pixels can have, is limited by the number of pixels comprising the cluster. So we need less clusters + more .. 'forceful' (gestural/heavily articulated) clusters to achieve the same 'pixel art feel' in smaller canvas sizes.  Conversely, when we blow up a small sprite with say HQ3x, it feels coarse mainly because the clusters aren't really utilizing the extra articulation that's available, just 'bevelling off the edges'. It has to stay 'finely fitted' to the particular canvas resolution, or else not feel like pixel art.

IMO the possibility of using dithering in larger sprites while it generally just looks ugly on smaller sprites, is a consequence of that same principle.  Dither can participate coherently in metaclusters on large PA, but tends to just confuse the identities of all neighbors in smaller PA.

Some techniques seen in old Amiga demoscene pics (particularly low color ones) are also working along same lines - making intentionally elaborate clusters to reinforce this feel. This works well IMO (reinforces 'pixel art feel') but I don't think the other aesthetics resulting from it are very good (excessive detail/eyecatches -> compositional problems)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 12:18:54 pm by Ai »
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Offline RAV

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #198 on: July 04, 2017, 02:44:28 pm
The graph is useful for discussing the problem.


I think that what makes pixel art is a multi dimensional problem.
And I think pixel art should be made interesting on multiple dimensions.

The use of colours was mentioned earlier. And I also think this can include how else the properties of the pixel grid are used.

And how well is the functional design of the pixel scene.

Other than High Art pieces, art usually is made to specifications. Most pixel art is game art.
I personally even think that game art is the best reason for why you would do pixel art.
Or more general Application Art, it pretty much is how it was born, what drove it the most.

People made software and wanted to make it look cool.
They had limited technical resources to program with, which translated to limited resources to make art with.
Thus the key consideration of pixel art always was to make the most use of the given pixels towards the requirement.

And this principle got aesthetically generalized on one hand. Or pushing new boundaries made for other critical resources limiting it again.
Or another definition of resource appeared: development resources. The ability to make indie development effectively possible.



So the questions I see in regards to what is pixel art:
why is one style more representational and defining of pixel art?
how well does the art choice work towards which requirements?

And there's very good reasons for the norms we have today.

I see in the graph a lineage of usefulness in digital arts.
I don't actually think the graph is balanced as it implies.
And I don't think that all these are just arbitrary ideologies.

The middle has the greatest number of reasons for why you would do pixel art for most applications.
Going to the left noise, the reasons get fewer for why you would do any art like that.
It sure can look very fascinating as an effect, and there can still be a very good reason for why you do it in some case,
but in the greater scheme of applications, it can only be a niche. At its best it is a gimmick, at its worst its useless.

Going to the blurry right, you have a great many more reasons why you would do art like that.
And many of these reasons are also very good for why you should do something else than pixel art.
Digital art did not evolve from the middle towards the left on the graph. It evolved towards the right side.

Most cases of application for pixel art require the clarity of the middle.
It's what works best for most people, it's the norm for good reasons.

Pixel art has the strongest identity and greatest use in the narrow part.
Most people that want to create pixel art, will want to know how to create that.
The defining quality of that organically rises from these greater interests.



Then we also have the priority of factors in classification.
Many titles that use blurry after-effects are in fact created as pure pixel art.
So we often have a difference in appearance, but not necessarily on a creative level.

This is one critique I have on many modern implementations:
The assumptions that applying some effect is a meaningful progress to the art.
But there are still more interesting endeavors in the creative core substance of pixel art,
that most people distract themselves from too much by concentrating on surface effects.



Then we have the question of "What pixel art is relevant to most people" or "What PixelArt are you allowed to do".
Fortunately though, the second question is irrelevant today. Very few people care anymore what is allowed on PixelJoint.
No one's success or failure in the business depends on what is seen as proper pixel art today.

However, that some forms of pixel art are more successful than others, can't be changed by anyone's definition.
You create something meaningful, and either it catches on or not. And then you observe the market and classify by interest.

Offline Phoenix849

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #199 on: July 08, 2017, 09:41:39 am
The images don't correlate to the x-axis perfectly.
I don't think it's a good idea. Will confuse a lot of people, who stumble on this graph by chance. I'd certainly make examples more emphasized to illustrate the point behind this. Eastward and Superbrothers are both very much traditional pixel games, despite having non-pixel effects and lightning on top. Dan Fessler's squirrel mockup is a classic example as well, and should be somewhere in the middle I think. By the way, where does this sample with red mountains and blue forest comes from?

While I was much more of a purist before, now I'm leaning on "whatever makes you tick", which corresponds to broad definition by this chart. I'm still relying on good ol' "caring about individual pixels" definition. Also palette conservation, but in my book "caring" does include this as well. Opinions on border of these will differ from person to person.

On the left side my prime example is Slain! Personally I don't consider it pixel art, though quiet expectedly many will. It's digital art made with hard brushes, so it heavily resembles pixel art. Some sprites are pre-rendered low-poly models. Don't get me wrong, it looks cool.

Index painting would certainly be on the far right side, borderline with digital painting. The real difference is palette conservation, though this border is blurred. How many colors are too many?

Many of modern point-n-click adventures have pixel sprites and low-fi non-pixel backgrounds, that I'll probably put outside borderline definition. But they look pixelated and blurry rather than pixelated and noisy, so I'm not sure about them. Guess they are closer to digital art on the right side?

Most of pixel graphics are made for game projects. I think it's not the purist definition that matter in this case, but rather question "why pixel art?" Cheap could be a perfectly reasonable answer, nothing wrong with that. Nostalgia is also fine. But for me it would be crispness or sharpness. Good palette and color conservation make image pleasant to look at. While crispness not only makes everything very readable, but can also have noticable effect on gameplay, especially in action games. That's why I tend to dislike games that look very muddy and use many shades of grey, but very much attracted to any Nitrome games, since they all look super sharp and perfectly readable, even when scaling and rotating sprites. That's what attracts me to pixel-based games, and in my eyes is one of the main strengths of the medium. Making muddy pixels can convey a certain dirty effect, but I'm not a fan.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 09:44:08 am by Phoenix849 »
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