Creating pixel art

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By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

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21-07-2017, 20:24

Here was my pick on the Ultimate Palette (tm) https://www.msx.org/wiki/Setting_up_a_palette
:hannibal:

By Grauw

Ascended (8456)

Grauw's picture

22-07-2017, 01:56

Grauw wrote:
syn wrote:

Hair doesnt have clear outline but the character itself does. Making it a weirdlooking combination imo.

Perhaps try outlining hair as well or dont outline at all.

Honestly I’m not a big fan of the outline, however its function is to create contrast with the background. I need to experiment, maybe just removing it will be ok but I have my doubts, need to see it in motion.

There must be other ways to provide contrast, I’m thinking maybe having a lot of animation will generate the necessary contrast, or maybe keep using the outline but using a quite brighter colour. Or maybe just careful pixeling, using the lighting and primarily brighter colours with strong shadowing.

Ok, I tried several things…

What do you think? I feel of these the one with just the black outline on the right side of the hair is maybe a bit better, this matches what I did with the other characters. The one with just outlines on the right everywhere is also ok, but the arms disappear against the dirt background.

(There I feel like the professor and the girl worked out best, the two other guys are a bit meh.)

To be honest I don’t feel like it’s quite there yet. Maybe only use two shades of brown for the hair. Or maybe rework the version without outlines to change the proportions so I have more pixels to better define the edges of the arms and legs with some darker shades.

I think I need to experiment some more, looking carefully at SNES RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and pixel artists on Pinterest, etc. Although a lot of maybe obvious things like using different (more saturated) colours for the sprites are off the table, and sprite size is also restricted.

Chrono Trigger relies on black outlines.

Seiken Densetsu 3 has outlines too, but often they’re not black.

By hit9918

Prophet (2867)

hit9918's picture

22-07-2017, 12:31

with the blackframes it is 8bit game and without the blackframes it is much bigger!

By hit9918

Prophet (2867)

hit9918's picture

22-07-2017, 13:37

the sprite is epic
and when the arms disappear in the sand, how about having skin color vs sand color
you got a gray palette and a brown palette while no skin palette

palette wrestle. "with a threecolor sheme you got less colors than with a twocolor sheme".

genericbright
genericdark
skin1
skin2
sand1
sand2

for example the nice big stone
the genericbright color is used like metal glow
if you used genericbright on more area then maybe the whole thing could go with one less brown

maybe the brightest brown should be more near to genericbright
because that use got priority over metal style highlights

By hit9918

Prophet (2867)

hit9918's picture

22-07-2017, 15:03

Quote:

So, in summary, a basic process of assigning colours could be as follows

I wondered whether one could just draw things in 32bit paint app and then convert to 16 colors

the palette not calculated with the paint app but by the loader
a .txt file that tells how important you find a tile or a sprite to be weighted in palette generation
the whole thing allows to quickly try out whole re-arrangements without paint work

instead permanently working with "meeh I need to save colors for the future" in mind,
you got permanently full 16 colors in use
that could give good inspiration boost

By Grauw

Ascended (8456)

Grauw's picture

22-07-2017, 17:25

hit9918 wrote:

with the blackframes it is 8bit game and without the blackframes it is much bigger!

Yeah, that’s a nice way of putting it! I think that’s why I prefer it without.

hit9918 wrote:

and when the arms disappear in the sand, how about having skin color vs sand color
you got a gray palette and a brown palette while no skin palette

Hmm, I’m not sure using a more pinkish colour for the skin is the answer. It’s only one blue step away from the current colour, so it won’t stand out enough. And if I add one more blue, it gets really pink. Besides, the current colour is a fine skin colour too (I like a bit tanned complexion Big smile), and I’m already so sparse on colours.

I think the real problem here is contrast, which you only really get from brightness differences or larger colour differences. I do have darker shades, but in the current sprite I don’t have enough pixels on the arms to make a good outline.

Or do I? Actually if you look at the legs, I used a lot of specular highlight there, and they do not have the problems the arms and hands have. I worry about overdoing the highlights, but maybe I should anyway. Hm.

hit9918 wrote:

for example the nice big stone
the genericbright color is used like metal glow
if you used genericbright on more area then maybe the whole thing could go with one less brown

I’ll play around with it, but the bright is used as specular highlights, so I can’t make it too big… But indeed maybe I need to try to reduce the amount of shades per material so I can use more colours.

As I mentioned I wanted to try a bit more flat shaded artistic style as well (like Beyond Oasis), that way it would need less colours for the background and it’d be easier to contrast the sprites.

hit9918 wrote:

I wondered whether one could just draw things in 32bit paint app and then convert to 16 colors

the palette not calculated with the paint app but by the loader
a .txt file that tells how important you find a tile or a sprite to be weighted in palette generation
the whole thing allows to quickly try out whole re-arrangements without paint work

I don’t think that would work in an automated fashion, it really is the type of thing that needs manual human choices to really look good imo.

I wish I could use screen 8 actually, but for some reason Yamaha decided to fuck up the sprite colours. Maybe screen 11… that would be awesome to try, but drawing background graphics seems really difficult. (Isn’t there a secret bit on V9958 to fix the sprite colours in screen 8? :D)

By the way! There is an interesting painting method called “HD Index Painting” which Will uses here. With this method you paint just light intensities in full 8bpp grayscale, and then overlay it with a mask of material colours, which also quantises and dithers the resulting colours. Very interesting technique, but the set-up is kind of awkward, would be nice if Aseprite supported something like this natively in the future.

hit9918 wrote:

instead permanently working with "meeh I need to save colors for the future" in mind,
you got permanently full 16 colors in use
that could give good inspiration boost

I think you’ve got a good point there. Instead of directly starting with sprites and worrying about the palette and sprite size all the time, it would be better to first make some concept art at higher res to flesh out the character designs and colours.

Then only after I’ve got the desired designs, I can start to worry about pixeling it at small scale and swapping out colours on clothing etc. as needed to fit things together. I think that’s actually what you can see Square did on the SD3 sprite above.

By hit9918

Prophet (2867)

hit9918's picture

22-07-2017, 20:30

Quote:

Actually if you look at the legs, I used a lot of specular highlight there, and they do not have the problems the arms and hands have. I worry about overdoing the highlights, but maybe I should anyway. Hm.

the highlight looks metalish on the stones
I feel you did not overuse the color, but overdo its brightness
"genericbright" closer to the ramps

Quote:

Hmm, I’m not sure using a more pinkish colour for the skin is the answer

a more yellowish sand
maybe things would get mor rich when sand/stones were separate to skin

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

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22-07-2017, 21:24

I think these characters have been designed with the wrong camera angle.

Look closely, the environment looks as it there's a camera in the sky looking at the ground with a 45 degree jaw angle. The character looks as if there's a much lower camera angle. Your head is about 1/3 the total body length. It's almost as if the character is semi-lying on the ground looking up in the air.

In DS TLoH the head is about 1/2 the body length.

It's a matter of taste of course. ;)

By Grauw

Ascended (8456)

Grauw's picture

22-07-2017, 22:57

No, yeah, I think you’re right. Things look a bit out of proportion atm. Imo it’s not the characters which are wrong, but some environment props. I must pay more attention to it going forward.

Like the rope fences going up to the character’s knees -_-;;. Or the small “trees”, they’re supposed to be bushes or sth, not doing it for me. Though I do like the leaf shading which I will use for the real (much bigger, x4) trees.

Though Dragon Slayer 6 is not really comparable I think Smile, it’s got super deform sprites, the head is exaggerated (or, the body is tiny) on purpose. Like Gillian in the intro credits of SD Snatcher. Instead, should reference SNES RPGs, or Xak, etc.

Anyway, I think I got the character outlining to work:

Old:

New:

What do you think?

By hit9918

Prophet (2867)

hit9918's picture

23-07-2017, 00:00

I didnt know that there are so little colors
the below BASIC program makes practicaly all colors (I ignored magenta)
of those I can get different brightness or different saturation but not really different hue

look, ten ramps in screen 5

5 b = 11
10 color 15,b,b : screen 5
20 for i = 0 to 999
21 read c : if c = -1 then 1000
30 line (i*4,0)-(i*4+3,31),c,bf
40 next

49 data 15,0,1,14  ,11
50 data 15,2,3,14  ,11
51 data 15,4,5,14  ,11
52 data 15,6,7,14  ,11
53 data 15,8,9,14  ,11
54 data 15,10,11,14,11
55 data 15,12,13,14,11
56 data 11,11
57 data 15,4,2,3, 11
58 data 15,4,6,7, 11
59 data 15,10,12,13,11


100 data -1

900 '            7  6  5  4  3  2
900 'dac levels f7,d8,b0,90,68,48
900 'diff         20,18,20,28,20


1000 h = 5
1020 color = ( 0,h-0,h-1,h-1)
1030 color = ( 1,h-1,h-2,h-2)
1040 color = ( 2,h-0,h-1,h-2)
1050 color = ( 3,h-1,h-2,h-3)
1060 color = ( 4,h-0,h-0,h-1)
1070 color = ( 5,h-1,h-1,h-2) 
1080 color = ( 6,h-1,h-0,h-2)
1090 color = ( 7,h-2,h-1,h-3)
1100 color = ( 8,h-1,h-0,h-1)
1110 color = ( 9,h-2,h-1,h-2)
1120 color = (10,h-1,h-0,h-0) 
1130 color = (11,h-2,h-1,h-1)
1140 color = (12,h-1,h-1,h-0)
1150 color = (13,h-2,h-2,h-1)
1160 color = (14,h-2,h-2,h-3)
1170 color = (15,h  ,h  ,h  )

1900 VDP(9)=VDP(9) OR &H20                           
2000 goto 2000

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