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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArtWorkshopCome crit my pile of birds and spiders
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Kazerad
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« on: January 13, 2011, 02:06:47 PM »

Ever since Assemblee, I've been doing a lot of spritework for games and stuff. I have developed a visual style which is very fast and easy, which makes me think I am doing something wrong.

Anyway I've seriously had like no pixel art training so I'm going to dump a massive pile of sprites here and ask for crits. I've got another project coming up soon and I want to learn all my mistakes/weakpoints before making the next batch of graphics.



The Littlest Cowboy (Assemblee)



Dragon Princess (Assemblee)



Echo


Bird NPC



Spider Pup



Spider



Spider Mother (Head piece only)



Zombie


Commments? Crits? Places my technique can be improved?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 02:18:51 PM by Kazerad » Logged

PsySal
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 02:25:55 PM »

Hey I don't think I can offer either crits or advice as I'm nowhere near your ability but just wanted to drop a note saying that these are really great. I especially love the "Echo" character.
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moi
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 05:58:39 PM »

Anyway I've seriously had like no pixel art training
That's the best  trainnig. Your stuff is really good, if you could pump out enough of these for a complete game it would be an awesome game.
Now some people are probabl going to come and nitpick about colour or other details but keep your style.
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Inane
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 10:53:44 PM »

The dragon princess is by far the best, bud. I'm not a big fan of the color segmentation you've got going on, nor the pure grays and high saturation colors (zombie is so bright green, whyz?). It's also pretty obvious from your color choices you're working on a white background, which is causing you to choose colors that are lighter and washed out compared to what'd look good on the average video game background.

I made a really quick edit of your crow guy:

It cycles between original, new colors, and ~edited~.

I'm curious where you want to go from here, artistically. What do you think are your biggest issues?
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Alistair Aitcheson
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2011, 03:58:10 AM »

Wow, these are very impressive! Great stuff! Echo is my personal favourite, as he has a lot of personality and flowing movement. The dragon princess is beautifully animated, but I think her attacking movements could have a bit of "pause" time between attacks, where she brings her pole back up. Perhaps that wouldn't work in the context of your game, I don't know.

Perhaps there could be a bit stronger contrast between light and dark, dull and colourful, in some of them, particularly the dragon princess - you could make her look more solid by making some of your shadows darker, for example. The spider mother is fantastic to look at because of this strong contrast between the dark greys and bright green.

But this is seriously awesome stuff! Fantastic work!!  Coffee
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Kazerad
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2011, 07:33:59 AM »

Thanks for the comments, guys!


Perhaps there could be a bit stronger contrast between light and dark, dull and colourful, in some of them, particularly the dragon princess - you could make her look more solid by making some of your shadows darker, for example.
This was actually something I noticed after making it, so I ended up releasing a last-minute palette-swap variation of the final Assemblee spritesheete that had the "shaded" greens dropped a bit darker. I knew my colors often ended up a little washed out in the final product, but I had never thought to attribute it to drawing on a light background - Inane was spot-on about me usually drawing on white.


I'm curious where you want to go from here, artistically. What do you think are your biggest issues?

More or less, I think I could sum up my main concerns as what you described: I'm not entirely happy with the stark color segmentation, and I also feel like a lot of times I lack texture. Compare my original sprite with your variation (zooming in for convenience):



There's a lot of details on yours that I really like, such as those pink reflections across the eye, the 5 pixels of dark gray border between the pink and gray segments on the beak, or even things as minor as that single gray pixel at the bottom of his iris. These details work visually, but I can't figure out their justification enough to feel confident I could add them myself. I'd love to hear the thought process behind your changes, if you're willing.


Additionally, my problems with color segmentation and texturing in general come a lot more clear when I'm dealing with backgrounds. Here's a mockup from a current project:



My attempts to keep the platforms more interesting than just a block of solid color just end up bland and random. It's far removed from the lush, elaborate tilesets of antiquity that used similar palettes. Though, as with the character shading, I'm not sure where to begin in adding this additional layer of visual complexity. There's definitely more logic to it than "more layers of shading".
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 07:40:16 AM by Kazerad » Logged

Xion
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 12:55:49 PM »

Noice stuff here but it all feels so 'unfinished' to me. Like, "hey dude nice roughs can you render them out, now?"

Quote
There's a lot of details on yours that I really like, such as those pink reflections across the eye, the 5 pixels of dark gray border between the pink and gray segments on the beak, or even things as minor as that single gray pixel at the bottom of his iris. These details work visually, but I can't figure out their justification enough to feel confident I could add them myself.
sounds like you're thinking hard about how to do things 'right', which is kind of missing the point and will just confuse and bewilder. Because of course there is no Way To Do Things. I dunno about inane but beyond basic things like "this area needs more contrast" and "that thing doesn't stand out enough" or "what the hell is that and why did I put it there let me get rid of it oh damn now I remember why I put it there shit shit shit," the only real explanation I can ever offer for details like that is 'because it looked good?'
I think it looks a little better if I put this pixel here and move this one over and this area needs a little something so I'll put a stripe on that part oh damn that's too dark let me lighten that up, there. It's just a matter of getting an eye for these kinds of things, I think?

And then of course there's the matter of more technical issues like how to properly use AA and avoiding pillow-shading and tangents and banding and when and where to use dithering etc. but that's all stuff that's kind of like 'you gotta do it', you know? And the more you do it the more you'll understand how it's done, dig?

As for yer work actual, I think your color ramps are too straight. Blue things are blue everywhere, and red is red all around, and saturated saturated, even in shadow, even in light. Love the bird guy. You might want to look at some refs for how spiders walk. Neon zombie is leanin' leanin' back as he goes. I made an edit of various things in several places.



Not fond of the healthbar. I think I just don't like tapered healthbars. They've always bugged me. Increased contrast and detail on character and gems. AA'd a bit. Wasn't sure if he was a rat or a dog, assumed dog because of meat collectibles?

Don't think there's anything wrong with using large areas of flat color in bgs - it works especially well on the trees in your mockup, I think - but it might work better on the foreground if you stopped to consider the form of the rock and makeup of the ground, locate a consistent lightsource and figure out how it hits the surfaces. I think flat shading like that tends to work best when objects are considered as planes rather than curves, so you might want to think of more geometrical formations in your environments than organic ones; perhaps the ground is made up of cubes of varying size and angle?

I hope that makes sense and is also helpful, or if not one then the other
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Areku
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2011, 01:47:40 PM »

Nice pack of spritework you've got there. The mother spider's roar is my personal favorite.

Now I won't talk about palettes or color ramps or whatever, for I'm no artist myself, but I do know a thing or two about anatomy, what makes the spider pup's walkcycle seem definitely awkward to me.

First of all, the body as a whole seems rather stiff, making it seem that the thing is not subject to gravity at all, lest it would immediately fall out of balance.
Second, the front and hind legs move nearly at the same time, making it somewhat hard to see if it's walking forwards or backwards.
Third and most important, I noticed you grouped the moving legs in "front" and "back". That pattern of movement is more similar to that of a large feline, say a leopard, than that of an arachnid. Spiders usually move by alternating left and right in a cross-positions pattern, as seen on this video:



Now, most of that might be somewhat difficult to implement, since that spider's got only four legs, but for me it would (specially the third observation) help a lot with the fluidity of the movement.
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Kazerad
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2011, 03:08:55 PM »

Third and most important, I noticed you grouped the moving legs in "front" and "back". That pattern of movement is more similar to that of a large feline, say a leopard, than that of an arachnid.
Heh, not that I'm trying to shrug off the criticism, but there's actually a kind of funny story behind that. In-game the spiders were referred to as "wolves" and exhibited wolf-like behavior, hunting in packs and surrounding prey. The animation cycles were actually intentionally based off dogs rather than spiders, with the pups having a skippy little gallop, larger ones having more of a canter, etc. Then again, they probably didn't end up too doglike either. I do definitely see what you mean about the pup being too "weightless" in that, too.


Anyway, you guys keep making my characters look amazing. Since nobody has touched the DP sprites yet, I took a stab at that:



Working off Xion's advice, I tried to make my color ramps less "straight". The lighter areas fade to yellow, darker ones fade to blue. I reworked the definition on the legs some, tried some dithering and antialiasing in places, tried to better define the light source, and sharpened the shading overall.

Improvement? Deprovement? Suggestions on how to do it better?
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