AuthorTopic: KOF XII Dot Art  (Read 15980 times)

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #10 on: August 18, 2009, 07:28:59 am
Quote
(I know no game examples, because they are usually very low in quality).
What about the original Prince of Persia?  The SNES version looks especially nice and seems to be based on the original animation frames judging by a speed run I watched of it recently.

Offline CharlesGabriel

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #11 on: August 18, 2009, 09:05:00 am
You pick em up in certain articles. As far as I know there isn't an extensive list of techniques somewhere lying around. You come across them after reading a lot I guess.

Rotoscoping:

An actor performs the animations needed, these are filmed. The keyframes are extracted from the movie and the animation is basically traced over these keyframes, then colored.

Example: Snowhite by Disney (I know no game examples, because they are usually very low in quality). As suggested, some of the older SNK games might have used them.

Work method in KOF XII (presumably):

3D model is created and then animated (probably from live action reference, maybe even 3D rotoscoped). The keyframes are extracted from the 3D model. The artist traces and works over the 3D keyframes.

You can see the similarities, which is why I called it rotoscoping.

I see. Thanks for the information.  ;D :y:

I have done my fair share of reading, but only stuff like tutorials... and the rest of what I know it's basically practice and observation. I haven't really read articles, maybe about two of them of pixel art... I'm going to take my time and start reading a couple, to pick up some of those terms, I'm in a state that I need as much knowledge as I can about pixel art heh...

Offline Beoran

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #12 on: August 18, 2009, 10:27:56 am
Well, I'm already glad that they didn't go for 3D art and went for 2D. OK, their technique may have been "impure", but the problem is that very high resolution pixel art simply takes a lot of time, probably too much time for a commercial game, to create 100% by hand in a pixel-puristic way. 
Kind Regards, Beoran.

Offline Reo

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #13 on: August 18, 2009, 11:18:01 am
but the problem is that very high resolution pixel art simply takes a lot of time, probably too much time for a commercial game, to create 100% by hand in a pixel-puristic way. 
Too much time?
it takes over 6 months for each character...

Offline Rosse

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #14 on: August 18, 2009, 06:10:38 pm
rotoscoping> I don't think rotoscoping is a bad technique per se. I played the old (DOS) Prince of Persia a lot and I still think the graphics fits the gameplay and mood perfect. So I think it's more of a misuse of the technique than the technique itsef (which noboy claimed here, but whatever ;)). Flashback worked great too, but I never played it that much like PoP.


About KOF. Personally, I think the backgrounds are way more ugly than the sprites, which I find just mediocre. There's a very interesting paragraph in "DOT creation":

Quote
Why construct a 3D Model?
Creating animation patterns for 2D characters was, until now, highly dependent on the skill of the artist assigned to the character. The results could often vary wildly depending on the animator, and to fix this, we developed our animation motions with 3D models in order to standartize every character's moves before anything else. This eliminates individual style differences among the artists and ensures a high level of quality behind every move in the character's skill sets. It also saves the artists from having to draw 2D rough drafts for every frame of animation. The resulting rough pixel art is extremly detailed but still far from original goals, so the 3D models are used primarily as a reference for animation and detailing.

First, let's divide the discussion into animation / pixeltech talk (just like we would critic an animation here on pixelation). In the quoted paragraph, they talk mainly about the quality of animation. If I interpret what they are talking about, I think they are right. Apart from creating coherence, "Tracing" over prerendered 3D Animation (from a decent animator), creates better results than "from-scratch" work from a bad animator. But in return, the animation is just as good as the 3D animator. And I think we all agree, that hand-drawn animation has the ability to create animation which has that magical feel, which most of the modern 3D stuff lacks (Of course, it all depends on the animator).
What I want to say is, that using animated 3D models as a base is a efficient way to produce decent animation without having very experienced 2D animators (which are probably rarer than 3D animators these days). To this point, I'm not talking about the polishing of the single frames, just the animation by itself.
So talking about the animation, I think they did a good thing (mediocre), but if they talk about godly animation, I think they don't deserve this rank. The animation is pretty stiff compared with older fighting games animations. Remember all these bouncing boobs in the SNK games back then (I'm not a supporter of bouncing boobs!)? In this KOF the boobs are nearly frozen. Well, maybe it's a stylistic choice (realism? Character design?), but I assume it's because of the stiff prerendered 3D Models. And maybe more eye-catching, the falling skirt, which behaves very unnatural for me.

If we want to talk about the pixelquality, I think they didn't do a very special job. I think they did a good job of producing coherent results (a coherent look over all the different characters). But pixelquality wise, I think the didn't paid very much attention to the single pixels. Banding is a term which was used very often. Another thing I noticed is the lack of antialiasing of self-shadows. Why is that? It gives the impression of a fast rendering job by bad artists. Just like the color departement in the old animation films. Lots of people which colored the cells without thinking (because they are paid per cells and thinking reduces the output).
You can call me silly, but I state that it's possible, today, to code filtes/shaders that can render similar looking sprites from 3d models even on the fly. Think of "hinting" in Fonts these days. A similar technique could be used to prevent important details from disappearing. Other algorithm could be used to create nice looking edges and curves. The color quantization could be done on the fly or in preproduction by good artists. I don't say computers can create great looking pixelart, but they can produce mediocre pixelart on the fly which is probably similar to what we see in KOF XII (maybe that's a topic for itself, but whatever). To work 16 month on a single character of this quality animation-wise and pixel-wise is a waste of time and money imho (the used time is probably an advertising-lie).


But what bugs me the most about KOF XII are the fugly backgrounds. Okay, if they are 100% animated, everywhere, then maybe they have a reason to use a 3D base (but overanimated backgrounds would only be annoying, tho). The design is way to noisy for a background, the characters are fugly 3D-shaded puppets, the architecture is mostly boring and the mixture with 2D painted, 3D rendered and pixeled doesn't work as a single piece of artwork. Thinking of all these amazing pictures fool has uploaded on pixeljoint lately makes my artist- and pixel-heart cry. Maybe they spent all their love and soul already on the genious sprites?

Offline Gil

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #15 on: August 18, 2009, 07:02:04 pm
I more or less agree with what you said Rosse.

I just want to add the following: you could say that the lower quality isn't a problem because we are talking game art, deadlines, etc. At 400 frames per character, I guess 6 months would fly. 6 months x 25 (work) days = 150 days for concept art, 3D model, 3D animation and 400 frames. That's probably like 4 big frames a day at least, which is a huge undertaking.

In any case, the main problem might be overmarketing here. I do think that the banded overrendered colors could have been handled better. It's very jarring when looking at the folds in pants, which look like pillowshading meets banding. This might be a very good game for a commercial critique if we can extract the resources somehow from that player. It would be interesting to see if someone can prove that less is more.

Offline sonic_reaper

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #16 on: August 19, 2009, 07:45:28 pm
I'm not really sure why you guys are complaining.  All Japanese companies act and talk in a similar manner in their marketing ("we're the best", "never done before", "pinnacle of 2D/3D", "yada yada yada").

If you've seen the game in motion, it actually looks pretty good.  Certain characters though, for some reason, just animate like ass (Leona and Mature, for example), while others are more or less, genius, IMO (Andy and Ash, for example).  It's funny that they say this technique eliminates discrepancies between styles and quality, when, it's very apparent that that's still occurring in the game today.

Offline blumunkee

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #17 on: August 19, 2009, 09:05:31 pm
The KOF games have always looked like ass and have always had stiff animation. This new game just makes it more explicit.

I would have prefered it if they just made the graphics in high res using anti-aliased brushes and different opacity layers. It would go faster and look better in the end. This art is hurt by all the disadvantages of pixel art and doesn't employ any of the advantages.

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #18 on: August 20, 2009, 09:06:13 am
I might be the only soul here that likes these sprites.. quite a bit :x

edit: I don't know if it applies as much with all these fancy new plasma t.v. screens and such but personally one thing that attracts me to these sprites is that the cast shadows have absolutely no AA on them, and all other shadows are naturally( albeit banding I agree helm) blended as the form turns towards the light source. The way older t.v.'s showed pixels, the banding would turn into seamless soft edges and the cast shadows would be wonderfully crisp but not ugly.

If you don't like this art, Goro will have his way with your boobs anyway.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 09:15:17 am by Ryumaru »

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: KOF XII Dot Art

Reply #19 on: August 20, 2009, 09:51:15 am
A high definition TV is in reality much like a computer monitor.  It'll display pixels crisp if you play, say, an SNES game on it, so there sadly won't be any CRT adjustment of pixels here.

I agree, I like the sprites, but I also agree they can be so much better with proper treatment of pixels.  I do like the animations based on what I have seen of YouTube vids (then again YouTube vids are of questionable quality.)

This marketing of pixelling with soul is probably aimed at fighting game purists shunning Capcom for making SF4 3D.