AuthorTopic: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art  (Read 5895 times)

Offline Beoran

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The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

on: June 19, 2009, 03:47:11 pm
Some people may think that pixel art is a limiting type of art, since we can only work at the pixel level, with very few colors. But I was calculating a little, and it can be shown mathematically that the possibilities of pixel art are sheer infinite. For reference, let's keep in mind a very big number, 4*10**79 (4 times 10 to the power 79), or 40000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000. That number is the current estimate for the amount of hydrogen atoms in the whole universe!
Now, let's take a look at very small pixel art piece of 16 x 16. How many possibilities are there? Well, it depends on the number of colors. If we use 2 colors, then there are 2**(16*16), or 115792089237316195423570985008687907853269984665640564039457584007913129639936, possibilities, which is "only" 1/345th of the amount of hydrogen atoms, but still, a lot more than there are stars in the universe!

Once we use 4 colors, then there are 4**(16*16) or
13407807929942597099574024998205846127479365820592393377723561443721764030073546976801874298166903427690031858186486050853753882811946569946433649006084096
different possibilities! That's just astronomical! More than there are hydrogen atoms in the universe!

And, if you'd use 24 bits full color, then there would be (2**24)**(16*16) or
3375152182143856118491117448868264047748245269061354378998711510846650037846741324165030982375991521461354629508635213511720607262070
2805213786429827261190495295209725036214861444552245271001884442331336463841183659029156587178439044751051570054376203776342097110897
6401193279180123374243133559193596396525678717812867692707110267091573529243487775155745125792074301249607450177138114756335603617462
4023137218698763328189000397512451741043623275178605325803090424898978434337358002042906439972398162921003968619981201705996204089414
5649613141899373457990136110124033082268445299759214270557020697837444729628470445553597383435232465858124331879290922696980222735667
3323935612163123006229898288296485668393765657478972738362500087728995623901601898523186831764997784754495348973021510834485352883671
3359219844441024401290307061953847602312108701182160272713034206236029269419691503075347557104718762157767773401597106128626624077600
0199761459471444940463293093653202098729357658867135004032110599475307618336429187822239334863636668860337516076025023807524328879162
1421498051541281795034053907109943737835019482117307228603598377500903352726158479078471240691411993347222620555343776990543813708613
3733747157454846874399266047577502857228026799413570499383535597769544263543294619356182101708973662737907113148393068453262295239889
7715491344942216169944540811346628089421863683937920456996873353908785220590722518585909106605811532117238941679346587984132366957891
3577817597952200345811734734797262357003215294955397764406926445582844693488706710559959872030627305252763960269629167183586298455205
5649515251359787092798278577467492976507248514968246279440892612726761606062392337083935905843484661050153215422112962406633569826605
0975882792155955005954460099419877138745992453542401993667168494168245722096801075794308992327588609520244453197182140416
different possibilities! That's a number so insanely huge it's unimaginable!

This interestingly enough shows why it's important to limit your palette when making pixel art. Using a limited palette limits the possibilities somewhat, but with an unlimited palette, the amount of possibilities is bewildering. It also proves that pixel art is indeed, an art, for it takes great creativity to make anything that looks nice within the vast amount of possibilities. Pixel art as the spiritual descendant of pointillism. What do you think about it? ^_^

PS: These numbers were calculated using the Ruby programming language , which has great facilities for handling astronomicallly large numbers.
Kind Regards, Beoran.

Offline Gil

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009, 04:32:09 pm
The problem is that 99.999% or more of the possible images are pure noisy garbage. For every image that even remotely resembles something, there's a huge amount of images that just look like noise.

On top of that, every image that does resemble something has an equally huge amount of images that are virtually identical to it.

Basically, while these numbers are pretty, they don't actually present anything useful :)

Just the fact that we won't be running out of possibilities any time within the next 100 000 years...

Offline Beoran

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009, 07:40:07 pm
Well, yes, most of it is noise. Although good noise may become a grass or stone tile if you expand it to 32x32, or something. ^_^
The last thing you said is the point I'm making: Pixel art is just as deep in scope as are all other arts. The numbers are just an illustration of that.
Kind Regards, Beoran.

Offline Dusty

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009, 08:11:30 pm
Well in this case, you could possibly say that digital painting has more possibilities, because you can increase the canvas size, no? True, not every pixel counts in digital painting like it does pixel art, but eventually those small pixels start to mean something...

I get where you're coming from, but I gotta agree with Gil, though. Interesting, still.

Offline Atnas

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009, 09:24:26 pm
well

You see, in a digital painting there are indeed a lot more possibilities because of the size, BUT I'd actually like to emphasize just how few possibilities there are with pixel art. The way I see it, the traditional media's output number is practically without end, however with pixel art it is possible to grasp at every combination in our minds. It's an art of control and we have a selection to choose from. It just fortifies that nature of the art.

Offline Don risotto

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #5 on: June 20, 2009, 06:53:11 pm
indeed. and it's the pieces wot transcend the bpp mathemo trig shit that stand out most in my mind. (not that they don't employ a deep and broad knowledge of such)

Offline Beoran

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #6 on: June 20, 2009, 07:10:01 pm
Interesting point of view, Atnas. I guess we can say it's true that creativity can grow from limiting ourself.
Kind Regards, Beoran.

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #7 on: June 30, 2009, 01:46:04 am
I find the title silly, because essentially there is a very FINITE possibility in pixelart. big numbers do not mean infinity. 256 million colors, a 1024x768 canvas, these will all become a number that has an end.

Offline Mathias

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #8 on: June 30, 2009, 02:20:23 am
Haha, I get a real kick out of this thread. It's so ridiculous it's great; a testament to how thoroughly pixel art is attacked on this unique site. Though I will say I do think the possibilities are virtually endless, from a human perspective. But mathematically, yeah obviously there are limits, there's an end in sight, but it ventures beyond what is art, including such things as backbuffer garbage, etc, which is pointless. Beoran, you're a coder aren't you? I enjoy your math, it's interesting. This reminds me of a meeting my group had recently - both programmers asserted that "art" boils down to math in the end . . . oi. To me, such an argument is pointed blasphemy, hehe.

Offline Beoran

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Re: The sheer infinite possibilities of pixel art

Reply #9 on: June 30, 2009, 06:40:19 am
Well, my gist was that it isn't legitimate to attack pixel art, or even other forms of art, even though they may be mathematically limited, and hence theoretically have limited possibilities towards creativity. Art, to me, is, in essence, creativity that has results that are not utilitarian. A spite in a game is art, because you could substitute them with colored rectangles, and the game generally speaking be just as playable, as several Atari 2600 games prove. Video games are also, generally, art, because they are non utilitarian. A bridge or a car is not art, because they are generally built to be useful. That's my definition of art, which may not be universal, but that's how I see it. ^_^

Yes, I'm a coder, and I'm glad you enjoyed my math.  But, I don't think that all art boils down to math. However, certain arts, are based on maths. For example, most note-based, melodic music, is certainly based on maths. Most scales of notes were originally based on certain simple proportions between frequencies.  Most melodies an rhythms are based on the progression of certain simple numerical series. Actually, that's why it's possible to generate music with a computer that sounds good. You could try this computer program to convince yourself: http://www.reglos.de/musinum/
Kind Regards, Beoran.