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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArtWorkshopPixel Art 2D animation critique
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Author Topic: Pixel Art 2D animation critique  (Read 6273 times)
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« on: May 24, 2019, 04:11:56 PM »

I originally posted this in the Art board as had no idea this Workshop board existed. This seems like a better fit, so I thought I'd just repost it here.

I've been working on a basic 2D platformer written in Gamemaker, and while my programming skills have been developing at a reasonable pace, my art abilities are definitely lacking. Last week I decided to make a conscious effort to improve, so I've been reading up on drawing, coloring and animation as much as I can in my free time.

First Pass

In prototyping, I'd chosen 320*180 as my game resolution, and gave myself 16x16 pixels to work with for the character. She's styled as a 40's/50's aviator with (eventually) a jetpack for boosting around the game world:

As a first shot, I was fairly happy with this (except for the stiff legs).

Initially I thought the lowered pixel count would make for a faster creation process, but I found I really struggled at conveying motion and form with such a strict limit, so I upped my game resolution (currently it's 480 x 270) and gave myself a 32x32 canvas for the character sprites.

Upping the Resolution

Using that first animation as reference, I tried to redraw her at the new resolution:

Lots of problems here. The whole thing is very flat (no shading here, essentially), her pose is equally super stiff, and the colors are all kind of muted.

At this point I was thinking about moving back to 16x16, but after reading some tutorials by Pedro Medieros, I instead tried to rework this by starting with a silhouette.


The silhouette definitely gave me a better direction, and this idle animation came together fairly quickly. I moved her left arm up, added some squash and stretch, made the outline of her googles stronger, and tried to add some shading to make things flow and pop a little more. Shading takes me longer than just about anything else, and there are probably some confusing light angle inconsistencies here, but I was overall felt like I was seeing some progress here.

Learning to Walk

Dear god. This was what I was worried about. Walking animations are about as hard as I had imagined.

I started from the ground up, animating the feet, then the legs, and finally the arms, using some animation books as reference. This took me a huge chunk of a day to get what you see above. I added a rough head bob just to see what it would look like:

Yikes. I took a day off after this.

Learn to Walk: Round 2

After my one-day vacation, I opened up the animation and tried to think critically about what the main issues were. Despite the fluidity of the arms/legs, it was still stiff, so I decided to start playing with the body and head position, while adding in some shading.

At this point I realized I'd given zero thought to her jetpack (which already existed mechanically in the game), so I slapped a blue rectangle on her back and did a bit of iterating.

Something about her eye in profile is bugging me, so while I was writing this post I went back and slapped some heavier goggles on her face to just take them out of the equation, and also fixed the lighting source on her helmet. I also did a bit of rework on her idle animations as well.

original   ---> less punchy

Anyway, I know I've got a long road ahead of me and considering that "you don't know what you don't know", I'd love some feedback and critique.
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