AuthorTopic: Anybody have any questions?  (Read 22449 times)

Offline Ai

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #10 on: November 12, 2009, 02:27:17 am
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what worries me is the fact that there isn't really anything about animation out there other than that warner bros drawing thing from some guy that was an artist in the 60s
Anything???? There are plenty of good books on the subject, and I've learnt about the basic elements from observation, experimentation, and reading on the 'net.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animation#2D_animation

lists a few important topics (onionskinning, tweening, morphing) and provides some other stuff (eg a link to a video for animation techniques)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyframe

I plan to buy this DVD eventually; there are some clips excerpted from it available on the website:

http://www.theanimatorssurvivalkit.com/

I'd also advise you to get Deluxe Paint IIe (downloadable somewhere or other; DOS), ProMotion (trial/commercial ($25?); Windows) or Grafx2 (Free; Windows/Linux/DOS/Amiga), and play around  with the function that lets you pick up parts of the sprite and use them as brushes... this makes moving objects / parts of objects dead easy so it helped me understand animation better.

Playing around with the animation features in Blender also helped me to understand keyframes.

So a breadth of experience is very important to acquire.


As to methods, I can describe how I animate:

(I use GIMP-GAP, which is a rather comprehensive animation/video editing add on for GIMP.)

I think out a few keyframes and draw them as stick figures.
I step through the animation and see if I'm missing keyframes, in which case I add the additional frames.
Using onionskinning is very important for this.

After keyframes are planned, I turn them into color-'coded' silhouettes using a 3x3 brush, anatomy knowledge and experience :) and clean up important edges with a 1pixel brush (important edges are those in the 'front edge' of the movement of a particular part, ie. the edge that is least far from the destination created by the animation).
Onionskinning is even more important here to be sure that the volume of the parts are consistent.
At this point I usually clean up one frame completely to act as a proportion/volume reference for the others.
I make sure that any secondary features (eg flowing scarf) are also cleanly and consistently animated here.

Now I finish cleanup so that every edge is clean.

I do the tweening; I look at the paths the different parts are taking in the keyframes and try to interpolate smoothly between them so that each part moves along a coherent curve or line. I avoid tweening very fast moving parts,
as they should typically snap between keyframes, or have just 1 or two tweened frames biased a lot towards either the end or start of the motion... so some duplication of a part from a previous frame happens here.
As to where to add tween frames.. it's just about getting an acceptably smooth representation of the motions so that relatively slow movements look smooth and fast ones look snappy.
Note that when you're tweening, it's even more important to consider each individual joint and its range of motion in the animation in order to get the most expressive result. So anatomy understanding is terrifically important here even if your character is super cartoony.

btw, have you read what Tsugumo has to say about animation? http://mirror.motherhamster.org/tsugumo/default.html
If not, why not?)

After tweening, the actual rendering starts. There's not much to say here except you need to develop solid lighting skills and the ability to concentrate on a style and apply it just as equally to every part of every frame.
I try to render the whole animation at once, rather than individual frames, in order to increase consistency and
spot problems sooner. (eg. adding each level of shading one by one to the animation, rather than one by one to the individual frame)
Copious amounts of copy+paste or brush picking tend to happen here :)

what else: I save frequently, and run the animation again every time I make a significant step forward in the creation
of the animation.

If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline Rydin

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #11 on: November 12, 2009, 08:42:11 am
This is a cool idea for a thread. :)

Here's some questions.  Sorry if I'm asking questions to somebody who isn't very active anymore.  I've been kind of out of it myself lately, so I'm not real hip on who's still here or not.

Kennethfejer: What's your process for picking out colors?  Your art always strikes me as "default" pixel art--all pixel art "styles" kind of stem from your traditional looking style in my mind--and the main reason is your color choice.  Do you have any special reasons for picking the colors you pick?  Any specific games you draw color inspiration from?

Panda: How did you develop your antialiasing technique?  It's hard for me to eyeball which things to aa and how much aa to apply.  You've got this down to a science it seems.

Helm:  How do you decide when to include a pixel for accurate representation and when to omit a pixel for space constraints?  This is very difficult for me.  I can see how an object looks in reality, but there's either not enough room to show enough information or too much pixels being wasted on open space.  You always seem to have the perfect balance.  What's your trick?

Monsoon2d:  What did you study to learn your dithering theory?  You use dithering to a very satisfying affect, and it would be interesting to get some reasoning and story behind why do you it how you do it.

I'm sure I'll think of more questions for others later, but these are ones that stick out in my mind right now.  There are specific pieces I'd like to dig up and ask specific questions about eventually.
Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

Offline Panda

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #12 on: November 12, 2009, 11:28:38 am
Panda: How did you develop your antialiasing technique?  It's hard for me to eyeball which things to aa and how much aa to apply.  You've got this down to a science it seems.

A pact with the devil  >:D


In all seriousness, I haven't done anything worth mentioning.
I've been pixelling on and off for around 6 years now, and eventually it just clicked.

As for what to AA and how much to apply, that is up to you I think. Depends on what you want to achieve.
Personally I don't like seeing blocky jaggies, but I don't like blurry stuff either, so I always try to find a middle point that works for both.
It all comes down to a mild OCD behaviour, your point of view on pixel art and taste, I suppose.

One tip though, keep checking a preview window or zooming in and out a lot to check if the AA you applied works. If it looks blurry or non-AA'd you've either AA'd wrong (too much or too little), or have the wrong values in your palette.

Oh and be patient, usually stuff doesn't come down in a day, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't work straight away.
Keep working at it, just do your thing, be merry.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 11:30:21 am by Panda »

Offline Helm

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #13 on: November 12, 2009, 01:38:05 pm
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Helm:  How do you decide when to include a pixel for accurate representation and when to omit a pixel for space constraints?  This is very difficult for me.  I can see how an object looks in reality, but there's either not enough room to show enough information or too much pixels being wasted on open space.  You always seem to have the perfect balance.  What's your trick?

Usually I add more than I need and then when it doesn't work I take it away, heh. :) What's interesting is how some details - when you learn to think that way - are to slight to be ONE pixel fat, but then become TWO pixels. This might sound strange, but let me explain.


Let's look at this 'average girl face' that the internet has generated for us:



Let's say we wanted to make something like this in 64 pixels width.


(zoom in)

This is how photoshop resizes at that size. Look where features have blended together. Do you see a visible plectrum in that picture? Also if you were to draw it, would you have used a single pixel for each nosetril? Well photoshop has chosen to use two pixels for them, but softer.

This is the exact theory of manual AA that Ptoing has been posting here and there, just used for internal stuff as well.



Basically wherever a detail is overlapping between two pixels, it means its cluster should be on BOTH of the pixels, but the value (the depth) of the color the detail would have needs to be softened, do you see what I mean?

Of course you don't do all this for everything you have to pixel, but with experience you learn to create effectively subpixels between two pixels for finer detail, by involving two-pixel wide pixel clusters. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it really is not once you get used to it.

A very important thing the pixel artist must learn is that single pixels aren't as useful as the immediately seem.

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #14 on: November 12, 2009, 02:34:04 pm
Of course the advantage (or the bane) of the pixel artist is that unlike photoshop's resizing filters we can prioritize what details must remain visible, resulting in an image that is "sharper". But if done incorrectly it can merely result in an image that is abstract.
I mild from suffer dislexia.

Offline Rydin

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #15 on: November 12, 2009, 05:33:19 pm

Panda:  A pact with the devil! I knew it!  :hehe:  Thank you for the response!  The basics of most of what you said are sitting in my brain somewhere--it's just a matter of making them common knowledge and habit I suppose. The biggest thing you've pointed out for me, though, is patience.  I notice you say that it can take you days.  How long did it take you for your bird avatar?  This sort of brings up another question, too: Do you AA as you go or devote a "step" in your process for doing it, or what?  For me it usually sits as a middle to end process, being the last thing for me to satisfied (or dissatisfied) with.


Helm:  Very comprehensive response. Thank you.  I understand the basic concept behind this kind of subpixelling, but where I run into trouble is when there's too much information to generalize into a happy soft combination.

For a basic example:


These eyebrows are simple enough.  Pixels can represent them no problem.  Maybe some more dynamic colors and it's damn near perfect in my book.
But now we go down and try to do the eye.  The basics around the eye are easy enough, but then we run into a square that has: the white of the eye, the green of the iris, the black of the pupil, and a specular reflection of light.  I am dissatisfied by my reduction of all that information.  Each element feels crucial to tell the story of an eye.  Could you shed some light on how you deal with a situation like this?


Also, again, thanks both for sharing!
Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

Offline Panda

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #16 on: November 12, 2009, 06:53:04 pm
Panda:  A pact with the devil! I knew it!  :hehe:  Thank you for the response!  The basics of most of what you said are sitting in my brain somewhere--it's just a matter of making them common knowledge and habit I suppose. The biggest thing you've pointed out for me, though, is patience.  I notice you say that it can take you days.  How long did it take you for your bird avatar?  This sort of brings up another question, too: Do you AA as you go or devote a "step" in your process for doing it, or what?  For me it usually sits as a middle to end process, being the last thing for me to satisfied (or dissatisfied) with.

Oh, I meant it more like a "keep going at it and eventually you'll be able to do it".
But sure, some stuff can take me days. It is all relative as it depends on its purpose.
For personal stuff, I take all the time in the world and slack every now and then. For work I fully focus on whatever I'm working on (unless I have a bad pixelling day, that's it :P).

The falcon took me 3 days to finish, I started the sketch one night, the next day I was almost done with it, and on the third day I just went over some stuff, fixed some things and added the last touches. Overall it took me around 7 hours-ish.

And yup, I AA as I go.

Offline heyy13

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #17 on: November 13, 2009, 08:03:00 am
How does AdariasND Christie figure out the corect proportions for his sprites? I can never figure out how to tell how much space i should give to any given characteristic when working that small.  :-\

Offline Tuna Unleashed

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #18 on: November 13, 2009, 03:00:02 pm
well, since i seem to have my share of problems (i swear i do not intend any sort of vengeful irony in this statement), what are planes and what steps should i take to figure out anatomy or structure or whatever im supposed to do  :blind:

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #19 on: November 27, 2009, 01:47:09 am
This is a great idea for a thread!

@Rydin: You're still thinking too much on a per-pixel basis. You need to think of how elements need to be spread across pixels to imply the information "between" the pixels.



This was actually really challenging to do. Could be a great activity idea!