AuthorTopic: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!  (Read 5002 times)

Offline Olothontor

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An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

on: December 23, 2009, 12:13:20 pm
Hey there, I'm relatively new here. I hail originally from the Picture Wars forums, and I need a study of this new pixeling style. So here, in this thread, I will present the open world with an old crap sprite of mine. All I ask you for are edits. Edits and an explanation of what you did to it, so I can study.

I joined the PW forums two months ago and became somewhat of a legend among them, because my spriting went from crap to halfway decent to good to great over 8 weeks. I intend to do the same here. Well, perhaps not a legend, but the same basic principle applies.

I apologize if this sprite is sub-standard to what you guys normally see...

"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

Offline NaCl

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 01:45:32 pm
Welcome to Pixelation Olo. I admire your goal of trying to study and get great, but I wouldn't hold yourself to some timeline of when you'll be amazing. Anyone on this forum who I would consider, "good" has been drawing traditionally for a long long time, and have also spent a somewhat less amount of time getting good at actual pixel techniques (working with a limited palette, getting awesome colors and good contrast, AA, and tons of other pixel tricks to represent things with little colored blocks).

Anyway, onto the actual crit.

- I think one of the fundamental problems, that is very very common, is the palette. It lacks contrast, uses unnecessary colors, and makes the whole thing look flat. For instance, the blue is virtually a straight luminance ramp of even intervals. There sat and hue shift a little, but not enough to make any difference really.

- The shading does not define the form. You are not using shadows and light to imply the shape of the object, and because of that the object looks flat. This problem is very related to the first one, because it will be hard to get shape if the palette has no contrast. Because of this and the palette problems, it is hard to tell what is going on with the design. All the circles and triangles coming off the main shape, I don't know what they are. if the front triangle a gun or something to land on? Is it a ramp to get into the ship? You got to use the shadows meaningfully, you can't just throw them around the edge of an object then add more colors between the shadow and main color to make it look smooth. The shadows and lighted areas are what's gonna make the object look 3D.

I didn't really understand the ship very well so I kind of just removed a bunch of stuff. Of course you should keep it on if you like it, and if it makes the design better.



Essentially what I did was take your blue ramp and tried to add some contrast to it. I lightened the lightest colors, and darkened the darker ones. I also increased the change in sat between colors, and slid the darker colors more into the blue in terms of hue. I axed a ton of colors that wern't really adding anything, were just making the thing looked washed out. When you really reign in your palette then it will make the piece look crisp, and help give that "pixel art" look. Then I just got rid of all your shading and started from scratch. Also I did some rudimentary AA on the red and yellow lines. I still kind of suck at that so take it or leave it, but essentially I just tried to find a color between the two I was trying to mix (the red/yellow and blues).

Offline Olothontor

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #2 on: December 23, 2009, 02:00:06 pm
Awesome, thanks! I'll take all of that into consideration.

And I try not to hold myself to a timeline, thanks for watching my back on that.
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #3 on: December 23, 2009, 03:22:13 pm
More crit and an edit coming soon, but I just want to say that as NaCl said, your image lacks contrast.

Help with shading:
Shading doesn't mean having a gradient. Dark colors can be next to bright colors, and look perfectly fine, if not good, as long as it is pulled off correctly.

I'd recommend not having large flat planes of color. What you can do is have smaller planes and divide them up into shades. on the right of your ship there is a big plane, but you could use the next darker shade and move it up more to cut the big boring plane in half! This usually improves any sprite you will ever make.

Shading doesn't always mean making darker shades, shades can be a different color or less saturated and still serve the same purpose.

Objects on the ship cast shadows on the ship itself. Near the left of the ship you have a big ball, which I can assume is protruding from the ship! If it is, it would cast a shadow on the ship.

Outlines are there to help distinguish one object from another, right? Well, them being very bright colors instead of really dark ones accomplishes the same thing. This is actually another part of shading. If a section of your piece is pointing towards your light source, then it probably could use a brighter outline.

Always have a light source in mind, and if it helps you, you can even draw one on the canvas.

You want to visualize or imagine the object in your head and imagine how the light would shine on it.


PS: I'd recommend not dithering very often.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 03:34:08 pm by CrazyMLC »

Offline Olothontor

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #4 on: December 23, 2009, 03:41:49 pm
Ah, dithering is bad. Alright. Well, that settles that, I'll avoid it unless it is appropriate to the piece. I appreciate your help, and I apologize for the poor quality of sprite.
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #5 on: December 23, 2009, 03:50:17 pm
Don't apologize, I'm sure you put a lot of time into this.

Even if something is bad it doesn't make anyone's eye bleed. :lol:
Don't worry about it!

Offline Olothontor

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 03:53:45 pm
Haha, alright. I'm glad you guys are so accepting, this seems to be a great little community. I'm happy to become a part of it.
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #7 on: December 23, 2009, 04:58:39 pm
FOR SCIENCE!

Offline Olothontor

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #8 on: December 23, 2009, 05:00:51 pm
Truly excellent, thank you. I have my work cut out for me here.
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #9 on: December 23, 2009, 05:02:47 pm
Awww, shucks.  :-[

Anyhow, I'm not the best of the bunch, oooh, no. You see the active users? See: EyeCraft. I'm sure he's on his way.

EDIT: and he's offline. Nevermind. There are still plenty of people better than me or even him, I was just messing around. XD
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 05:15:22 pm by CrazyMLC »

Offline Olothontor

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #10 on: December 23, 2009, 05:08:05 pm
Ah, well. I await his return.

Or perhaps he completely passed by, due to the utter hopeless cause of my spriting.  :(

I sincerely hope this is not the case.
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #11 on: December 25, 2009, 09:55:28 am
Or perhaps he completely passed by, due to the utter hopeless cause of my spriting.  :(

Ah, nothing like artistic fatalism!  :)

This is actually a tricky subject to render because it potentially has a load of really subtle curvilinear volumes to it that evade and delude the eye unless scrupulously observed. In other words, its the kind of thing where the silhouette doesn't give you a lot of information about the volume of the object. Its apparent in the differences between the two edits. CrazyMLC has done some interesting explorations of the form of the ship, I think it's definitely towards the direction you should go with it.

Whats the actual purpose of the ship within its setting? What is the ship meant to do? What is the function of the various parts that are visible on it? Working these things out can really help guide the design and final appearance of the piece. In your original version, it looks sort of like a battle ship, NaCl's looks like some kind of utility vehicle, and CrazyMLC's looks like a luxury cruise ship.

This is because the first is dull (implies dirty, rough) and flat (implies angular, strong, resilient). I know this is probably more to do with the low contrast palette, and less with deliberate design considerations, but I'm just noting it.
NaCl's has a mix of straight, efficient edges, clear colours and a simple design that emphasises a couple of key pieces of equipment.
CrazyMLC's is bright and flamboyant with a load of curves and colour.

Anyway, that's kind of a tagent into depiction of vehicle design. The point I'm trying to make is, these ships have a tonne of different ways they can be rendered. The big thing is, be clear about your lightsource, make sure theres strong contrast in your palette.

Also theres a fair bit of banding, particularly along the bottom of the ship. Gradients will cause banding unless very carefully managed. The single-pixel dither you have is noisy, and for a sprite this small confuses the depiction of form, which with the very subtle curves, compromises the piece.

I'm keen to do an edit, but I'm at my relatives' place for christmas and it's not really an environment conducive to concentration. Will return in a day or so!  ;D
« Last Edit: December 25, 2009, 09:57:19 am by EyeCraft »

Offline NaCl

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #12 on: December 25, 2009, 10:48:33 am
Awesome edit and crits MLC! I love the direction you took the ship, very cool. After seeing that I figured I had to take mine a little further, so I rendered it a little more. Still not as beautifully rendered as yours, but perhaps it can be useful, when compared to my earlier version.

« Last Edit: December 25, 2009, 10:56:25 am by NaCl »

Offline Beetleking22

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #13 on: December 25, 2009, 06:28:03 pm
My edit  :-[

« Last Edit: December 25, 2009, 06:33:44 pm by Beetleking22 »

Offline Jon

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #14 on: December 26, 2009, 12:04:45 am
BeetleKing: it's nice but I think it doesn't preserve the organic style of the original. As for the original, it seems a bit minimally shaded, with a lot of flat colours. CrazyMLC's drawing is a good example of how to change this; he also gave different hues to the lighter parts of the ship.

Offline Beetleking22

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Re: An odd ship... for SCIENCE!

Reply #15 on: December 26, 2009, 01:09:57 am
BeetleKing: it's nice but I think it doesn't preserve the organic style of the original. As for the original, it seems a bit minimally shaded, with a lot of flat colours. CrazyMLC's drawing is a good example of how to change this; he also gave different hues to the lighter parts of the ship.

 :'( I forgot to read the title and I thought that that was the weapon and...