AuthorTopic: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites  (Read 12812 times)

Offline Jacky-Boy

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pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

on: March 22, 2009, 02:28:06 pm
Hey guys, I'm writing an essay about why the blending of 2d and 3d sometimes works and sometimes doesnt, and I've got onto the subject of pixel art.

What i'm basically arguing is that 2D pixelled sprites are better than pre-rendered CGI sprites because the artist is essentially working in the base medium.

i.e if your working with pixels then it makes sense to be able to control each individual one, as opposed to letting the renderer decide for you.

Can anyone think of some good examples to back this up, I'm basically looking for a 2D pixelled sprite and a pre-rendered CGI sprite of similar sizes

to show the difference in clarity between the 2 mediums.

Any suggestions or ideas are muchly appreciated  :D

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Offline vierbit

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 06:25:15 pm
I say booth have there advantages and disadvantages. If you have the time and the needed experience
pixelled sprites would probably always look better then there pre rendered counterpart.

It also depends on the resolution(=bigger sprites) the games run on, a 300x300 px sprite with 200+ frames can
become a nightmare for most artist ;). Also take into account the higher the resolution, the faults of rendered graphics get less obvious.

Offline Metaru

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #2 on: March 23, 2009, 01:50:58 am
just watch what happened on Sonic 3D.

Offline Opacus

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 11:38:10 pm
just watch what happened on Sonic 3D.

That doesn't say anything. Sonic 3D doesn't work because the entire concept of Sonic in 3D doesn't work.

Offline Gil

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 01:35:09 am
I find this thread to be a bit self reassuring. You want to prove that pixels look better than prerendered, which is an entirely moot discussion, imo, no?

It's like saying pencils are better than charcoal for sketching faces. If one's talking detail control, that's correct, but charcoal offers a lot of other cool options, such as better gestual control and faster speed of working.

No one in their right mind is going to say prerendered sprites offer the same control options, but they do offer a vast array of advantages, such as very rapid rotational creation of a sprite (takes just a camera change, while pixels require to reconstruct the whole thing). Anyone trying to do 8-directional pixel art will testify it can be very time-consuming at times.

So yeah, pixels offer more control, leading to cleaner looks, better control over style, etc. Then there's the whole 2D versus 3D thing that carries over, because prerenders might be 2D in terms of programming, it's very much 3D to artists.

I just wonder what and to whom you're trying to argue?

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 03:18:47 am
The simple truth is that hand-drawn 2D pixel work is almost always going to look better. The reasons for going with prerendered 3D have, in my experience, almost always has to do with time restrictions, or lack of available 2D artists. I've never known it to be an aesthetic choice. Not that it couldn't be... but if you're working in low res you'll have to touch it up anyway and if you're working in high res you might as well just go full 3D.

A good comparison would be Shock Troopers 1 and 2. Shock Troopers 1 has mostly hand-drawn characters whereas Shock Troopers 2 has entirely prerendered and slightly touched up. There is a myriad of artistic mistakes at work in Shock Troopers 2 that make it a far uglier game but the attempt to go prerendered definitely is part of it.
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Offline Gil

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 03:30:47 am
Yeah, prerendered is usually a lot cheaper to do I guess, depending on the product. I'm sure sometimes it's just a dumb marketing guy's fault for pushing 3D, because he doesn't want to try and sell "dated graphics", but in most cases, this is a money issue, a time issue, an employment issue, etc.

Some games tough do very good prerenders that actually impress me. I was always impressed by the first Age of Empires game, which looked marvellous back then. If it weren't for the glaring inconsistencies in size between all the pieces, I'd say it is actually one of my top visuals in a game throughout my youth.

Missionforce: Cyberstorm also does a great job. How unfortunate that the second game was atrocious...

Offline Jacky-Boy

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 02:45:42 pm
Hey cheers for all the input guys, I really appreciate it  :crazy:

Sonic 3D's a wicked example cheers. Comparing the pre-rendered sprites of Sonic 3D to the pixelled sprites of Sonic 2/3,
(which are pretty similar size-wise)
shows a pretty good indication of the difference in clarity, and all of the people that i've shown so far find the hand
pixelled sprites more aesthetically pleasing.

Gil, yeah sorry my first post is pretty badly worded, I'm not trying to say that prerendered sprites have no artistic merit,
I believe that something beautiful can be made in almost any medium. Saying this however, most people here tend to agree
that the main merit of pre-rendered sprites isn't an artistic one i.e it's quicker to do certain things, and easier to get other
things looking right.

Essentially the reason I got onto this line of thought was that while looking into how 2d and 3d can be blended together,
I had to find examples of where the blending of 2d and 3d have worked well, and where they haven't. Pre-rendered sprites
IMO are a bad blend of 2d and 3d because they dont play to the strengths of either dimension. They lose the physicality of 3d,
while also losing the pixel perfect nature of hand-pixelled graphics.

Thanks again guys, I'll check out those shock troopers games asap ben
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Offline skw

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #8 on: March 28, 2009, 01:02:04 pm
One good example would be Blackthorne, compare the classic SNES/PC version with the latter SEGA32x which contains pre-rendered CGI sprites.

Nowadays it's rather a matter of taste I'd say since we can do pre-rendered spriters on a level matching pixel-perfect images.  Back in the past, however, I think it was something of a fascination with a new medium -- which was kind of limited and unexplored then.  On the other hand, I don't imagine how e.g. Fallout sprites would look like if they were pixelated from scratch.

Oh, and if we're on Fallout, I guess while the original sprites were downsized 3D models which the artist was pixeling-over further, the sequel ones were treated kind of neglectfully -- they look as if just downsized, "more pre-rendered" than in the original.  If you ever catched the difference between those two games, you probably know what I'm talking about; if not -- I encourage you to check it! :)

What about digitized sprites, as in Mortal Kombat?
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Offline Helm

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Re: pixelled sprites vs pre-rendered CGI sprites

Reply #9 on: March 28, 2009, 04:43:59 pm
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On the other hand, I don't imagine how e.g. Fallout sprites would look like if they were pixelated from scratch.

Better, surely. If there is time and budget for a good artist to work patiently, they would be better.

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What about digitized sprites, as in Mortal Kombat?

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