AuthorTopic: Double-Pixel style  (Read 9398 times)

Offline Mathias

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Double-Pixel style

on: June 27, 2009, 01:21:24 am
Double-pixel style - Pixel art designed for and displayed at an arbitrary 2x scale, and often larger.

Just wondering here . . .

I've been doing a lot of double pixel lately and I wonder if one should augement the way he does things, since the graphics in question are to be displayed double-sized. Concerned with optimal end-results, technically and visually, I wonder about minimizing blur by using minimal AA, etc. Dithering seems extra difficult to pull off in double style.


Here's an example of double stlye sprites I'm doing. 2x, as intended on right, 1x on left, just for comparison.



There are obvious pros and cons to both. With 1x, your detail level is virtually endless, whereas 2x stlyle imposes tighter limits. But with 2x you get to do half the work and still fill up that much screen real-estate with graphics. 2x imples old school, etc.

It seems like a more minimal sort of cell-shaded style suits 2x style better.

Offline Tourist

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 02:56:00 am
To answer your question with a question, when you say the art will be displayed at 2x, is that a technical limitation?

A 1x sprite displayed at 320x240 is larger than a 2x sprite displayed at 800x600 (on the same screen).   If you take the same sprite and just scale it to a higher resolution, the result is the same as a visually lower resolution.

What if you combine the two?  Start with the 1x sprite, double it to display size, and then go back in and touch up any blocky edges or AA at a 1-pixel resolution?   It still looks old school  and fills up more of the screen, but gets finer details where they benefit the most.

Just a thought,
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Offline Mathias

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 03:44:54 am
dear lord boy, what are you talking about? hehe

I simply mean double pixel style, where each pixel is expaned to be twice the size. There can be no literal 1 pixel detail, or it's no longer double style. This is kinda confusing I realize . . .

Uhhmm think of Cave Story, you could call it double style, it's a low-res game but runs full screen. Eacy literal pixel is expanded to at least twice the size.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 04:08:41 am by Mathias »

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #3 on: June 27, 2009, 04:01:48 am
res change is not a style, it's presentation.  there's little else to say.  1x on a handheld is considerably smaller than 1x on most computers, while 2x on an old computer might be similar to 3 or 4 x on a more modern one.  the only point of 2x'ing an entire piece is if you plan to be displayed on a screen that's a fixed res, width and height and know that you would rather appear to have a lower resolution.
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Offline Mathias

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #4 on: June 27, 2009, 04:30:53 am
I'm afraid this discussion cant be shut down that easily. I wish it could - maybe then things would be simpler and I could worry less about technicality and more about creativity. Of course display settings are beyond the control of the designer, except in special cirumstances. But I'm focusing on PC games here, so resolutions now vary greatly. Back in the C64/ Amiga days it wasn't nearly the issue it is now. And displays are only gaining diversity.

I suppose you could delve deeper into this subject than I intended, which like you allude to is rather moot, when all I'm really trying to target discussion on is pixel art created for display beyond 1x, with the average display considered. I consder par for the course to be a 1280x1024 res LCD, these days.



Basically it's this - I'm making a game. It will run in 2x windowed mode (will not do full screen). Every visual pixel in the game will be twice the size of any pixel outside the game's window, meaning the user's wallpaper, icons, other programs, everything's resolution will be twice as high as the imagery in the game.

Now, I ask again - with this obvious reduction in resolution, are we as designers wise to augment the way we pixel? Less AA, less if any dither, etc? What do you think? I find that certain techniques are exposed and don't look quite right when blown up and the single pixel is "exposed", in relation to surrounding 1x pixels in the display, especially.

Offline Scribblette

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #5 on: June 27, 2009, 08:01:27 am
Mmm, I can see what you're getting at.

Small-res games get blown up to fit a big screen. The bigger the blow up - especially on older fuzzy LCD screens - the more you notice technique which isn't perfect. If you're doing it simply at 2x and they can't see it in full screen, if anything you actually may not have to worry as much about technique being perfect lest it be noticed!

I like the idea, though, although it goes against your intent, of doing things 2x size and then doing small retouches on the 1x level to create a style that can actually be considered a specific style.
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Offline Conzeit

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #6 on: June 27, 2009, 09:43:45 am
uhhh.....well....yes, clearly doubleres does show a lot more clearly each of your pixel placements; however this does not make it and never will make it a style...simply, because there's not only ONE way to render things on doubleres....each artist has different goals in his art and one aproach would never be good for all...regardless of the res used.

This question you face, is not at all rare for us pixelers...I think it is one of the first...after all if you dont zoom in you might asw well look at vector or photoshop art. The general stance here I believe is to pixel both for the highest resolution and for the lowest, we all like to show our art in atleast 2X.... if you dont see images of stuff in both 1x and 2x here it is because we have the implemented zoom feature (click to zoom shift click to zoom out) but you are obviously supposed to zoom into pixelart before commenting on them.

Is it wise to tailor your art to fit it's final presentation? (2x in this case) I dont know why you would even ask that! of course it is, dont be afraid to use your own perception to decide what techniques fit each amount of magnification.

Now if you're only trying to foster discussion...I'm glad to oblige. First of all...I have always thought that ideally we should not speak about a pixel piece's ideal presentation as 2x 3x 4x or any amount of magnification...I have always thought DPI (dots per inch...or hopefully DP..centimeter :p) would be far far more fitting...since it'd be indicative of how much emphasis we want each individual pixel to have. Obviously this is not the case because on a display finding out the pixel per inch ratio is far harder than magnification amount or resolution.

Wether we should or should not dither, AA and whatnot...and in what amount when we are at a low DPI...is a question of how much we want the viewer to know what we are doing, how much fourth wall breaking we want to do. Personally I think pixelart is a very in-your face fourth wall breaking medium and I quite like that about it. So yeah if I felt it were a correct way of rendering something I would definitively dither and I would go as far away from predefined patterns as I could, since I AM basically yelling and pointing for the user to check out this sweet dither I'm doing.  AA I would use as sparingly as posible unless I felt I could use the AA in animation.  Not only is AA less effective on doubleres I just dont value it for anything other than subtle animation (pretty much how I value all pixleart is connected to animation).
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 09:51:56 am by Conceit »

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #7 on: June 27, 2009, 10:45:35 am
the best solution i think is to generally allow the user to choose 1,2,3, and 4x.  most programs meant for small-res-to-big-screen (gameboy emulators, for one) have this.  some browser-pixel games have scripts set such that the bounding-box of the game is marked as a percentage of the webpage, and then the game within that box chooses the closest clean-scaling res (leaving any extra as gutter).

doing everything 4x (or even just 2x) is mean to people who use tiny laptops and will begin to affect your user base in the same way that any decision to alter a game's size would.

Conceit is on-point with his dpi idea, although i don't know if something like that would ever be implemented.

as for style points...if your artwork doesn't hold up when the pixels become more visible, it's probably not pixel art (or maybe it is,  but it's just sloppy etc).  Look at bitmap bros.  plenty of aa and dithering and i can blow it up to 4x without even feeling it's breaking down.  i feel i actually have a greater interest when i see all the parts, it's like looking at an old car where all the parts are there and you know what they do...there is a retro feeling, but maybe we'll start calling it "vintage" instead once people realize it's still perfectly functional and attractive :P.
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Offline Atnas

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #8 on: June 27, 2009, 02:40:02 pm
wat



Matthias, you've got the right idea. For something intended for 2x, the AA would probably need to be weaker. As size increases, so does its potency. As you've said, flat colors should be more often used. Basically, you'd do well to take a lot of contrast out of your palette. A lot of beginners will work at 700% zoom and their work comes out severely lacking in contrast, because what they saw up close is not what is seen at normal res.

I was doing something meant for 2x (maybe 4x) a while ago and I had nothing but flat shades and simple volumes because any dithering or AA would just completely get in the way of conveying the more important parts of the game. A reason for not using dithering is bringing up the "the goal of pixel art is to achieve a lower resolution than what you have to work with" which is what AA, and colormixing/dithering is for - Achieving more with less. At 2x, dithering and AA become obvious, so you either need to eradicate them or implement them more subtly.

it is a style, just as much as heavyditherAA1x is, but nodithminAA2x

Offline Beoran

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Re: Double-Pixel style

Reply #9 on: June 27, 2009, 03:51:12 pm
As a programmer I'd like to add that there are many algorithms that are made for scaling pixel art. That's how , say, SNES emulators do it. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_art_scaling_algorithms .

That's why I think you shouldn't worry to much about style, just pretend that no scaling takes place. Then, choose the scaling algorythm that looks best to you, or even better, give your users the choice of scaling algorithms to use, like, normal x2, x2 Sal, hq2x, etc. Bonus points for implementing scanlines at 25% 50% and 100% brightness for that old-skool 'TV' feel. :)
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