AuthorTopic: Getting back into pixel art  (Read 2276 times)

Offline Norimaki

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Getting back into pixel art

on: November 20, 2009, 12:32:06 am
I used to be pretty active on the old Pixelation forums around four or five years ago. I never got really good at it, but I was having a lot of fun, and it was a very calming way to spend my evenings. The first stuff I did after some half-baked scribbling during my high school years was for a Space Quest fangame called Vohaul Strikes Back, which never got made. I was in charge of the sprites, with another guy doing the backgrounds ... I was pretty much done with most of the main characters when they told me to scrap it all, because they needed bigger resolution sprites. This is what they looked like...

After a while I applied for a freelance job at a company for cell phone games, and they actually hired me for a couple of projects. That was the weirdest thing ever, and I'm still not quite over it yet. The only games that ever got published though were some XXX darts games that I'd painted the backgrounds for. Nothing special, and I don't have the rights to post any of it, I'm afraid. But in-between the naughty stuff, I got to work on two more serious projects for them. The first one was for black and white cell phones and was supposed to be a footbag challene in the veins of California Games. I loved doing the animations for the main character ... Too bad the project was halted after a while.

Here are some try-outs for the backgrounds. The character was going to be inserted with a white outline to separate it from the backdrop.

After that I got to work on the darts project for a while. It eventually got published, and I guess it got me through the first years of university financially. Still very grateful for that, even though it's nothing I'm particularly proud of. But I was dying to work on an actual game after that, and so they put me to work on an Advance Wars style strategy game called Pocket Wars. I did a lot of work for that, panning out all of the units and tiles, complete with little blueprints for the vehicles, logos and a couple of menu drafts. I was having a lot of fun with the project, but the programmer jumped ship, and so the game ultimately got cancelled as well.

Here is a selection of some of the units I made for the game. You'll have to zoom in on it to see them. Again, they're not great, but I was getting a little better, and I enjoyed doing the low-res shading on them.

Too bad I never saw any money for all the work I did on this project. It kind of stifled my enthusiasm for the company, so when they proposed another adult game after Pocket Wars, I was a bit demotivated I guess. I also went through a big break-up thing at the time, so I just didn't put as much effort into the next project anymore. It was a cartoon racer with a Larry Laffer like main character, and I was in charge of the environments and the car designs. The concept was to make it very very low-res, with 8x8 size tiles in order to make it all look cute. These are some test designs for the environments:

But at some point motivation hit an all-time low, especially since they didn't seem very enthusiastic about the project themselves. I wasn't meeting the deadlines anymore, so they took me off the game and didn't assign me to a new one. After that I went abroad to study in Japan for a year (that was in 2005), and when I came back I was busy with personal life and trying to graduate. Eventually I took on a job translating manga for a German publishing house, and things took off into a whole different direction. Now I'm working as a translator for the Pokémon Company, and I haven't touched pixel graphics for at least four years. Who would've thought this is where the journey would eventually take me?

But now I need something to take my mind off work in the evenings, and I'm kind of curious about whether it's possible to get back into the whole pixel graphics routine. I know I was never really great or original, but at least I'd developed a routine and a good working pace. Pixeling has always been very relaxing for me, and it helped my clear my mind for a while. So this is what I'll do - I'll try to get back into my old routine and start with some very basic stuff. I'll post whatever I come up with in this thread. I'd love to hear your thoughts - Pixelation's always been a great pool of creativity, and even though I haven't actively done any pixelling for the past few years, I've always followed the boards with great interest. There's some real talent on here!

Sorry about the bad quality of the images, btw - I only have these blurry versions in very unfortunate formats left.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2009, 12:34:10 am by Norimaki »

Offline Jad

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Re: Getting back into pixel art

Reply #1 on: November 20, 2009, 01:35:54 am
I said this to another person with a lot of art in their post, but I'll say it to you too!

You'll get MUCH more replies if you single out a piece that you want to improve and let us give you critique specifically for that. It's sort of overwhelming with the amount of art you're showing.

Looks good though! You will definitely be able to get back into this pixel groove. Now give us something to bite into and we won't disappoint (I hope)
' _ '

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Getting back into pixel art

Reply #2 on: November 20, 2009, 02:23:27 am
Cool, nice story.

I'll refrain from analysing your old work until I see your new stuff.  :)