AuthorTopic: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.  (Read 4066 times)

Offline RiseAgainst378

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Before I begin I'd like to ask you to be kind with your criticism. I'm a college student and a programmer at heart, so my art is no good -- but I'm doing a solo project and aiming towards a pixel-art-ish approach to things a la Knytt Stories.



Even this took me about a day to do, and I'd come a long way since I started. I just don't understand shading and detailing and everything though. I see all these great pixel artists and I wonder how they got so good at it. Is it just another thing you're sort of born with? Does it just require tons and tons of patience and trial-and-error?

I'm not expecting to pick it right up and be able to do it (I'm using Pixen on Mac if it makes a difference) but I would like to get good at this eventually.

This was based on an old concept for a game, so yes, the character IS supposed to be a square with legs (and eventually little ball hands). I've animated him walking as well. Also, I fixed the platforms in the little test area so that they all tile correctly when combined in any way.

Anything that could help me practice the real basic stuff would be greatly appreciated, as well as any pointers in general. I've read about "pillow shading" and how it's bad, and I know what dithering and anti-aliasing are and all that. I just don't know how to actually make pretty things with all the knowledge I have.

Thanks in advance for any (potential) help and critique.
- Brian

Offline coffee

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 10:27:03 pm
Hey R!

I have a friend who have been doing programming since we were kids, I have always been the painter and he the brain. Some years ago he and I finally started to do some platform games togheter, eventually we grew tired(we where still in school) and I ended up with having no time at all left to make grapihc to our games. He started to do some by himself, and tbh it looked like shit. However, after a coupple of "failures" he actually started to learn by himself. I learnt not by reading about different styles etc. I think all about painting is that; just paint whatever comes up in your mind, and have the "mind-picture" as your guideline. It doesnt always become a great picture and a whole bunch of people tell you what is wrong and right or what to do and not to. So, my adivice to you is, go with your style and learn by every sprite you make. Don't ever delete a picture you have made. It is a great thing to see what you have learnt by saving your images and compare what you did to what you do now.

Another thing about painting I think is to just look at what others do. And try to "copy" their moves with the "brush". Although you dont know it when you paint, you learn by every pixel you put on the screen.

So dont become a prisoner in different techniques. Just go for your mind-picture and I promise it will be better each time you try! (Patience is necessary yes, but time will fly away when your  nside your art)

About the sprites...

The small yellow square dude has a lot of colours that is not even seen by the eye. They should be removed. When it is such a small sprite, you need a lot of contrast to make it look detailed. I think that goes for all of the pieces. Also, like ive said to others. Don't start small, go bigger and you will learn how to shade etc.

I made a small uppdate, and will have it up in some mintues. Altough, before I upload, I have one question... What is the blue and purple? My guess is some kind of ground tile. But is the game angle from the side or from above? :)

(sorry its not transparent)



This is the "edit", or more like a hint about how it could be. Play with angles and dont be afraid to use different colors. I made it bigger to. easier to shade etc.
Take a look, then try to put your style into it and give it some tries! Good Luck and dont give up!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 10:42:54 pm by coffee »

Offline artisan

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 11:18:07 pm
Hi there rise, just thought i would give you my two cents.

When most people start pixel art they are not very good at it, aside from a few talented lucky individuals who start off good and take off quick... for most of us its practice experiment practice experiment all the time. Forums like this help of course as many of the members will be able to pass down their knowledge and experience.

So stick around if you plan to get good at this tricky tricky stuff!


onto your art!!!

I notice that your tile size for the blue tiles is 10 x 10 pixels, that seems like an odd size to me. and then your square with legs takes up 15 x 15 tile. Now normally in games tile sizes are either 8x8 16x16 24x24 or 32x32 or some kind of variation along the same line. i beleive this has something to do with processors being able to handle these numbers better due to bits and bytes and whatnot... something along those lines if i vaguely remember, of course these days it matters less... (if anyone knows the exact reason feel free to refresh my mind)

Anyway, your purple tiles i dont have a clue what size is going on there!... I suggest you change your tiles all too 16 x 16, not only will this allow better details in larger tiles. it also should lead to easier and better programing if everything is in the same tile size!...  i think.

So assuming you do change your tile size to 16x16 as i sugest, you might not for whatever reason. there are several ways too improve your tiles!

I have made an edit so you can see, while coffees edit shows you a much better 3d version. i am going down the whole "classic square look" while still making it modern.

With 3d graphics in controll of the game industry, 2d graphics have the challenge of conveying 3d. i find in the best cases 2d graphics depict 3d with better charm and style than actual 3d renders.

you can see by making all the tiles 16x16 everything is unified in size.

I have rid black outlines as they are not a good idea.

Think about the materials your tiles are made of... some random blue substance? i decided to go for metal panels and added a bit of shading.

I gave the heart an outline because everything else had one.

I conveyed your character to be 3d as well as the heart and tiles for some depth.

I used a solid shade on each cube edge because the surface is flat not round.

I shaded accordingly too a lightsource, something impossible to do too non "3d" objects...

you might find some other details in the edit but i hope this has helped you improve these i am looking forward to seeing an update. try to be adventurous with the tiles make new ones you might not want metal panals, add variations to make it interesting. explore and experiment and see what you get!



there are of course still lots of problems with my edit the tiles are too distracting and other problems but it should give you a general hint!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 11:24:55 pm by artisan »
"Im the BATMAN" - the riddler

Offline RiseAgainst378

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #3 on: July 08, 2009, 01:35:08 am
Thanks to both of you tons for showing me these things.

Coffee -- The game is viewed from the side a'la old Sonic and Mario. I really love what you did with the character and I'm hoping it'll get to the point where I can do that too. Yours is awesome.

This isn't exactly a serious project; I'm working on a real project with a team which I don't need to do graphics for (thank god) but I wanted to get this vision that I've been playing with in my head into some sort of tangible form on the side as well.

Artisan, yeah, I know about the sizes and what not. At one point everything was beautiful and unified, but as I'm just playing around with graphics at the moment, I didn't feel it to be TOO necessary. But yeah, I see where you're coming from with the sizes.


I'm trying to go for something odd here. It's hard to explain, but it's more of an "organic", "abstract" feel, I guess? If you get what I'm saying. All of your points still stand though.

Here's a screenshot from Knytt Stories. I love Nifflas's (the guy who made it) style and I'm trying to (sort of) emulate it. Not copy it, just sort of use it for ideas. I think it's simplistic yet incredibly gorgeous.



Hopefully I'll be able to get something up here over the next day or so, and I'll be able to say I made progress. :x

Thank you both!

Oh, also, do you recommend any better pixel-art programs for PC or Mac? I'm using Pixen for Mac right now.
- Brian

Offline coffee

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #4 on: July 08, 2009, 10:02:31 am
tbh, ive been using MS Paint ever since I started. A bit embarrasing to say that cause everyone use these professional programs and I havnt had a single thought of changing.
I bet some other programs could be good or practial if you want to make a game (tho ive done..5 games I think, with Paint). So, I woudnt say you need something special, right now anyway.

Offline x-death

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 10:39:02 am
tbh, ive been using MS Paint ever since I started. A bit embarrasing to say that cause everyone use these professional programs and I havnt had a single thought of changing.
I bet some other programs could be good or practial if you want to make a game (tho ive done..5 games I think, with Paint). So, I woudnt say you need something special, right now anyway.
ahh you kiding? paint is an awesome program for making 2d art. stuff professional programs like photoshop, paint and pull off just as good art in 2d games an photoshop can.

Offline eckered

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 12:37:37 pm
i was a paint-user too, but just recently i switched over to the professional version of graphicsgale, heres a link:
http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/
its really simple, inexpensive, and took me all of an hour to learn. 

on mac, check out grafx2
http://code.google.com/p/grafx2/
ive never tried it, but pixen is, unfortunately, extremely buggy, and has palette issues, and grafx2 seems to be the generally recommended application

Offline RiseAgainst378

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #7 on: July 08, 2009, 11:47:23 pm
Thanks for the suggestion of Grafx2. That's an awesome program, way more stable and ... well, better than Pixen.

Here's what I've been playing with for a few hours now. I feel I've gotten a bit better and that makes me smile.  :-X



No character redo yet but I like my little heart and most of the locker type deals.

This is just sort of me messing around and practicing, not something I'm going to put into the game. Probably.
- Brian

Offline RiseAgainst378

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Re: [WIP] Extreme newbie here -- Sprites for a platformer.

Reply #8 on: July 09, 2009, 09:29:08 pm
A few more things I've been playing with (this time 'scenes') :

 
- Brian