AuthorTopic: Anybody have any questions?  (Read 22451 times)

Offline Mathias

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #20 on: November 27, 2009, 09:38:23 pm
Dear Helm,

What really is your working method for infusing such interesting use of color into your pixels?
You seem to purposely use color in ways the average pragmatic observer and artistic interpreter wouldn't think to use color, and the end-result is pleasing. Like properly spiced food, aside from the natural flavor, texture, smell, etc, the spice adds another dimension of enjoyment for the eater. Sometimes you harness color in this way, causing the overall expression of the piece to be that much more sophisticated.

And yet, as I ask, I can't help but answer myself that it's just an effect of artistic intuition, something not easily attained.


P.S.  many artists here do this well, and I welcome a response from anyone on the subject, but Helm seems to consistently do it and even urge others, in his crit/edits, to make a practice of approaching color uninhibited by preconceptions.



Sincerely,

Mathias

Offline happymonster

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #21 on: November 27, 2009, 10:25:31 pm
EyeCraft, that's nice!! I was wondering how to do that size reduction myself after seeing the original images. So thanks for the pointers.. :)

Offline Helm

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #22 on: November 27, 2009, 11:06:31 pm
Mathias: some painter said once that 'as long as you get the values right, then almost any hue will work'. That's the basis of how I use colors. I try to maximize the efficiency of the spacing of my colors in the range. The ground rules I apply when I make art is saying 'will this piece go from full black to full white or not?' Once I establish the lowest value I'll use and the highest one, and how many colors will be in the inside range, I then start to think of what exposure the piece will have (think in terms of photography) if I generally want it to have rich middles and fewer darks (as usual/reality) or if I want to do something lower-key or higher. Then I think of how sharp I want the piece to look (less sharp - will need more colors, so on). Usually I work with 16 color palettes spanning the whole range from black to white.

I draw something by making a silluette in some middle shade in my range, then I cut out the volumes like as if I was a sculptor or 3d renderer and when I've got the important (usually 3-5 value) sculpture ready on a mostly grayscale palette in my range, I start to tint the greys with the hues I need. The middle of the range is where the color identity of the piece goes so if I'm drawing flesh, most of the 'pure' flesh tones will go in the middle of the range. Usually I alternate between a saturated color, and a less saturated higher color (and a lower) and then a more saturated color higher and lower, so from the middle the palette gets  color towards the extremes of the range.

Usually my darkest color is black, and my second darkest is a very saturated primary color. The reason for this is emotional; I associate the basic selections of the color wheel with various emotions and I urge others to do the same. A deep blue for me has a resonant melancholy, a purple is about to spring into action, a green is sickened or diseased or just unhappy, a red is strong emotion, a yellow is distance, so on. The piece dictates what I'll use.

The c64 palette showed me that greys are my gateway from almost any color to any other color. Good to keep in mind.

In highlights I tend to move towards neon colors, there's usually some neon blue near my pure white, I don't know why I do this, just seems to happen a lot. Pure white is used for speculars more often than for full planes of the piece, I guess remnants of my 'everything must be oily' demoscene fascination.

Keep in mind that if a color is very saturated, the eye sees it as a different value (could be brighter or darker, depending on the hue) than it actually says on the HSL slider. This is where a trained eye is needed so that colors don't punch through the planes. This is an issue that ndchristie has had in his art a lot when he was starting out with pixels.

Look at this piece now and see how all these principles go into action:

Offline Helm

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #23 on: November 27, 2009, 11:08:18 pm
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!

Also I looked at this reply again and it stunned me how well it illustrates this point: when working with AA, looking at what you're trying to convey, in single pixels, is mostly worthless. Great, great image, Eyecraft.

Offline happymonster

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #24 on: November 28, 2009, 08:08:16 am
That's brilliant Helm! Although I think your emotional reactions to the very dark and saturated primary hues are not universal. I never see yellow as equalling action, although I agree with some of the others you mention. You did say "for me" so this isn't a criticism, just an observations for others who want to use the same approach.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #25 on: November 29, 2009, 02:39:10 pm
An elegant response, I'll be reviewing it as time goes on and certainly as I start on new pixels. I intend to post up some work when I have it and check it against what you've written. Thanks so much for being willing to share your experienced point of view on things and not hoard it like many, saying 'well it's just a trick of the trade'.

Offline Rydin

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #26 on: November 29, 2009, 11:37:21 pm
I agree, EyeCraft, it would be an awesome challenge.   ;D

Your interpretation of the eye makes sense. It's frustrating because I know there's more information there to represent, but there's just not enough room to squeeze it all in.  How I've done it in the past is that the most important descriptive detail wins the square. It seems, however, that it's more accurate when the average of the sum of details wins the square.  Which makes sense because when a computer compresses the information, it doesn't care if it's an iris or a eye lash or a beard hair, it compresses it all the same.

Am I starting to get a grasp of how and why this works how it works?  If so, it's just a matter breaking my old bad habits and applying this concept.
Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #27 on: November 30, 2009, 01:41:59 am
Thanks Helm, another concise colour process description  ;D

That's brilliant Helm! Although I think your emotional reactions to the very dark and saturated primary hues are not universal. I never see yellow as equalling action, although I agree with some of the others you mention. You did say "for me" so this isn't a criticism, just an observations for others who want to use the same approach.

Actually, yeah. I started wondering to myself what, if anything, colours meant to me. When I was younger I had very definite associations, but as I've grown and worked more in art colours have become a lot more flexible to me. For instance, I used to hate yellow. It was sickly, vile, like vomit or urine. Green was soothing and appealing. Blue was cool, clear, pure. Purple was fluffy, warm, bright. Red, very hot, hard, dangerous.

But now for me the kinds of associations I have are more contextualised (usually with mixes of colours). If there's green shadows I find it a kind of romanticised alienating feeling, perhaps introspective feeling. I guess if I can expand those kinds of associations back to being more broadly associated with hues themselves, I might be able to make more interesting colour choices. Okay, I'm really just rambling to myself now.  :lol:

I agree, EyeCraft, it would be an awesome challenge.   ;D

Your interpretation of the eye makes sense. It's frustrating because I know there's more information there to represent, but there's just not enough room to squeeze it all in.  How I've done it in the past is that the most important descriptive detail wins the square. It seems, however, that it's more accurate when the average of the sum of details wins the square.  Which makes sense because when a computer compresses the information, it doesn't care if it's an iris or a eye lash or a beard hair, it compresses it all the same.

Am I starting to get a grasp of how and why this works how it works?  If so, it's just a matter breaking my old bad habits and applying this concept.

That's a really good question. The idea I've had is you basically approach it with the intent to average it (can be hard depending on palette... just average to value in that sense, as Helm remarked, as long as the value is right you should be right). Then you might accentuate particular lines, edges, or patterns of colour depending on what you think is important to the total structure of the piece.



I was curious, so I did a computerised average of the same parts and compared them to what I had done. The average on the eyebrow has a tonne of colours and is basically a huge AA fest, in terms of pixel art. I exaggerated the line a little more in mine, mainly because I thought it would work and it would keep the pixels cleaner.

The eye is a lot more interesting. I broke it up in to two halves and compared them. The averaged one has a much better sense of eyelashes and pupil/iris. I think I tried a little hard to hint at the specular in my one and it has weakened the sense of the eyelash and iris because of it. I think mine succeeded in suggesting the lines of the eye, however. The averaged one has bled even more of the darkness of the iris into the bottom row of pixels, and it's really given a sense of it. That's probably the biggest thing that I missed.

So yes, approach it like averaging, but pure averaging doesn't always give the absolute best results. Just think about the subject, and bleed things across pixels to either "grow" it in size, or bleed it out to "shrink" it.  :)

Offline Rydin

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #28 on: November 30, 2009, 07:43:03 am
These side by side comparisons are awesome, EyeCraft.  This is an illuminating learning activity, doing your own pixel interpretation of a photo and comparing the result to how the computer interprets the same photo on the same scale.

Man versus machine :yell:
Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

Offline Helm

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Re: Anybody have any questions?

Reply #29 on: November 30, 2009, 02:19:38 pm
Indeed, there's something to this process we should make an activity out of.