AuthorTopic: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!  (Read 173295 times)

Offline Helm

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #60 on: March 17, 2009, 06:56:30 pm
Yeah sure, but if we do this we might as well use the forum, no?

Offline tocky

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #61 on: March 17, 2009, 07:30:21 pm
disadvantage of a forum is it gives priority chronologically rather than based on how useful the information is. You can fight it (with stickies or whatever) but forums are fundamentally set up to allow discussion rather than to spit out useful information.

(edit)
on a forum, everything is timestamped, everything is directly attributed to its author, and listed chronologically. newer threads are more visible, stuff that happens later in threads is less visible. useful information and arguments and opinions and questions and conjecture all take the same priority - where in a wiki most of this stuff is hidden so that the stuff people actually agree upon is easily visible.

wikis are what you get when you let a lot of people write a lot of self indulgent stuff and then other people systematically edit all the personal touches out of it in order to maximise its utility. What you end up with, in the best possible case, is a useful, soulless resource, raw knowledge.

but in order to get that, the wiki has to hit that critical mass where you have a small community of people who make lots of minor alterations to meet the declared ruleset - which doesn't have to be the pixelation mod staff, lots of people are passionate and pedantic - and a much larger community of people who stop by every now and then to read bits and add bits of content. lots of wikis go stagnant before this happens.

The main troubles with a pixel wiki would be:
- declaring what is supposed to be included, and what isn't allowed to be included.
- getting people to go there.

once the intial conditions are set, and assuming a regular stream of human minds applied to its pages, it should be self-regulating.

that said, i don't know that a pixel wiki is a good idea. What would go on it?

(further edit)
I should say that I think this article helm is writing doesn't seem especially suited to a wiki format or to a discussiony sort of thing, I think he should just post it on a site or a blog somewhere and we could ooh and ahh at it or not, same as with tsugomo's tutorials or any of a bunch of other tutorials. But the wiki idea is cool.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 09:53:11 pm by tocky »

Offline Helm

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #62 on: March 17, 2009, 10:05:20 pm
I think I'll go with simple website or whatever. I'm not done yet, certain parts need rewrites and there's the dithering bit... next week I'll finish this.

Offline skw

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #63 on: March 17, 2009, 10:16:24 pm
Oh, apropos Tsugumo tutorials, dunno if it will be of any use here but at some point in the past I started translating them to Polish.  Gas did Russian translation, likewise; if I recall correctly.  If Tsugumo ever reads it, I'd like to thank him for a piece of good learning material.

CLICK!

Sorry for such a digression; still, I think it fits the purpose of this thread -- I'm throwing it at the periphery. :)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 10:24:21 pm by johnnyspade »
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Offline Helm

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #64 on: March 18, 2009, 03:08:34 pm
Dithering
Basic Dithering

On the bare level (which is the one the artist should approach this effect most of the time) dithering is like buffering. It belongs to a pixel cluster and serves the end of smoothing parts of it which touch other pixel clusters. Let us consider this schema:



The top form is an 1bit pixel cluster. Think of this as an oily brush stroke. If the artist just has the two colors to work with yet they wanted the shape to taper off or be softer in places they could employ dithering very selectively like in the bottom form. Look how the dithering emphasizes the flow of the pixel cluster and most importantly look how the dithering doesn't dominate the cluster. If there is more dithering belonging to a cluster than there is solid, opaque color, then the dithering becomes a cluster in itself. This is a necessary function for dithering some times, especially in environments where the artist may use only very few colors to convey objects that have a lot of levels. But for the purposes of a basic survey of the effect, the artist is encouraged to keep the dithering as part of the cluster it belongs to and to use it to emphasize the flow of the form.

The middle form is a slightly different proposition. Here the artist has more shades. He has used them to break up the brush stroke cluster into smaller clusters of pixels. Note how if you squint, the middle form and the form below it are very similar. Dithering = buffering. However, in segmenting the cluster into smaller clusters then the artist has the opportunity to smooth things out further within the meta-cluster by dithering between the available colors, as seen in the right, and final, form. Again the artist should keep in mind the flow of the meta-cluster and now additionally the flow of the smaller clusters that it comprises of. In most cases the pixel artist will not be working with such large clusters. Instead they may find themselves wrestling with 3-4 pixels at a time trying to find where they belong. This is the essence of pixel art, finding where each pixel belongs in relation to the clusters that are vying for its inclusion. In small spaces, the power of the single pixel, as we've discussed, becomes stronger. A single pixel can make or break a cluster and therefore dithering serves to confuse the forms more than it smooths them. Let's then consider this argument:

1. The smaller the pixel space the artist has to work with, the less dithering they should employ for purposes of smoothing between clusters.
2. The more colors the artist has to work with, the less dithering they need to employ for the same purpose.
Therefore:
     3. In most pieces of small, unrestricted (in terms of color count) pixel art don't be surprised if you never have to dither for purposes of smoothing.
(there might be a call for dithering for textural purposes, to be explained later)

{Furthermore this would explain why dithering is almost never employed in the rendering of video game sprites, where as we've mentioned before, besides usually being small, also show single pixels as being very powerful in conveying specific information.}

If the viewer zooms in on the example they will note that for this I used the 50% checkerboard dither, and then the 25% version where every second line (vertical or horizontal, it's the same) is omitted. The reason for this is very simple: When I desire to do basic dithering, I start with 50% dither and establish a good cluster shape that augments the flow I am looking for. Then I ease the edges of this 50% pattern more into the clusters they are bridging towards with the 25% dither, and then finally some spare pixels around that. This ensure that the priority of shapes, as they take place in the image is always Solid Color > 50% dither > 25% dither. Again, in most basic applications of dithering, the artist will not be called to use 25% dithering (or other, less busy patterns) in big surfaces and as clusters in themselves. This fundamental exercise comes in handy much more than it restricts the beginning artist.

Let's look at what not to do:



Here we have a hierarchy of errors. The initial cluster is ill-defined. This occurs a lot with beginning pixel artists that start by tracing some reference (like a photo of their girlfriend) at a very high resolution and then they place clusters without any flow or optimization. Then they try to, effectivel, blur between the bad clusters, creating amorphous shapes without priority. When you have a bad metacluster, dithering will only serve to make it worse. Especially if the dithering is overdone and it dominates the initial shapes. What beginners then often end up with is not Pixel Art, but a piece of art made of pixels.

----
On an Advanced Dithering section I will discuss the usage of dithering not so much for purposes of softening but for achieving a rough texturing or a richer base surface. Interlace dithering, a specific sort of banding error that is special to dithering (dither-aa clash) and the capabilities of noisy dithering as opposed to ordered.

Offline Hugo

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #65 on: March 29, 2009, 04:21:48 pm
"I will discuss the usage of dithering not so much for purposes of softening but for achieving a rough texturing or a richer base surface"

THE NEXT ! I WAIT  :)

Offline Helm

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #66 on: March 29, 2009, 05:33:51 pm
Oh yeah, gimme some time on that, I tend to 'rotate' the stuff I work on. Now I'm doing some comic work and some music work.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #67 on: April 16, 2009, 02:04:29 am
This thread has already helped my pixelling a ridiculous amount. Thank you.

Offline Helm

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #68 on: April 16, 2009, 11:21:02 am
I'm glad to hear that, man I am a lazy sod. Just what's left to do is boring. If anyone wants to take the initiative and set this up as a minimal website or whatever, do it and put your name under the title next to mine too.

Offline Colonel Mustard

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Re: Ramblethread! A brainstorm approaches!

Reply #69 on: April 16, 2009, 11:04:58 pm
I've got some unused space on my webhost. Do you want it as a simple html file or a wiki

edit: Read about the suggestions for a wiki that came up earlier. You could have a wiki with restricted access just to have easy ways of modifying the content. I'll just throw it together quickly and hope I don't miss anything, and you can choose.

edit 2: www.pixel.schlet.net, without much formatting so far, just threw it into dreamweaver. Added the zoom as well, if you want it. Hoping I didn't miss anything or added something that shouldn't be there.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 11:33:10 pm by Colonel Mustard »