Learning NES Pixel Art with restrictions

A place for your artistic side. Discuss techniques and tools for pixel art on the NES, GBC, or similar platforms.

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rainwarrior
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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:58 am

If you'd like to learn about NES backgrounds in a hands-on way, I'd recommend trying Shiru's NES screen tool: https://shiru.untergrund.net/files/nesst.zip

Anything you can make with this tool is a valid NES background.

It also has a sprite editor, so you can assemble and test sprites with it as well.

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Fjamesfernandez
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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Fjamesfernandez » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:31 pm

rainwarrior wrote:If you'd like to learn about NES backgrounds in a hands-on way, I'd recommend trying Shiru's NES screen tool: https://shiru.untergrund.net/files/nesst.zip

Anything you can make with this tool is a valid NES background.

It also has a sprite editor, so you can assemble and test sprites with it as well.
Yeah I have that though I haven't messed around with it much. I don't like drawing anything outside of photoshop :D unless theres a ."file" I can save and use it from photoshop to nesst.

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Okay I figured it out how to convert it from photoshop. What I need to know how to do now is putting the palette together in photoshop to port it over.

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dougeff
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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by dougeff » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:46 pm

unless theres a ."file" I can save and use it from photoshop to nesst
NES Screen Tool supports importing/exporting .bmp files. But you might be better off to also get a Tile Editor program like YY-CHR or Tile Layer Pro. It goes something like this...
-create image in Photoshop
-change Image/Mode/ to Indexed...and "custom"/"custom" and reduce the palette to 4 colors.
-Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C
-open YY-CHR (or Tile Layer Pro)
-Ctrl+V
-edit the tiles in the Tile Editor
-save as .chr file
-open in NES Screen Tool
-Patterns/Open CHR
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

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rainwarrior
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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:07 pm

Shiru's tool is not a good art program. It's pretty good for assembling tiles and building things that are easy to put into an NES ROM, but it's not good for drawing or making art. I suggested it as a tool to learn the rules of what the NES is capable of, since it does exactly that.

My own NES art workflow is usually to create stuff in GIMP or Aseprite, then pack a bunch of tiles into a BMP or some other intermediate thing to import into some NES related tool like this one.

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Fjamesfernandez
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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Fjamesfernandez » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:22 pm

dougeff wrote:NES Screen Tool supports importing/exporting .bmp files. But you might be better off to also get a Tile Editor program like YY-CHR or Tile Layer Pro. It goes something like this...
-create image in Photoshop
-change Image/Mode/ to Indexed...and "custom"/"custom" and reduce the palette to 4 colors.
3 colors? Am saving tile by tile? And yeah I downloaded them. they are meh :D thanks though
rainwarrior wrote:My own NES art workflow is usually to create stuff in GIMP or Aseprite, then pack a bunch of tiles into a BMP or some other intermediate thing to import into some NES related tool like this one.
Yeah. I used that program and I got it to show up but color palette wasnt matching. I just can't stand programs without shortcuts. I cant be clicking all over the place when drawing.

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With that said since posting here I have had a lot of clarity on what I was confused on when a friend of mine was trying to explain certain things to me. So now I can be more mindful on setting things up.

Question though, can you actually have certain things in the BG animated? I remember seeing one RPG that had water animated and one that had rain. is that really in the BG or is that a sprite? But it cant be a sprite for sure. Just wanted to know if I wanted to add extra elements.

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rainwarrior
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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:25 pm

If I recall, Shiru's BMP import will take the first 4 colours found (i.e. scanning left to right, top to bottom) and treat those as color 0,1,2,3 in the imported tile. I think I worked around this by placing 4 dots in the corner just to keep it from re-ordering the colours on me.

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by lidnariq » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:28 pm

Backgrounds can be animated.

The simplest most familiar example is the waterfalls in SMB2, which animates by using extra hardware in the cartridge to replace the tiles at a regular time interval.

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Fjamesfernandez » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:41 pm

rainwarrior wrote:If I recall, Shiru's BMP import will take the first 4 colours found (i.e. scanning left to right, top to bottom) and treat those as color 0,1,2,3 in the imported tile. I think I worked around this by placing 4 dots in the corner just to keep it from re-ordering the colours on me.
Hmm, I might have to make a custom palette for the image to see if I can make it work.
lidnariq wrote: Backgrounds can be animated.

The simplest most familiar example is the waterfalls in SMB2, which animates by using extra hardware in the cartridge to replace the tiles at a regular time interval.
I swear! How is it that I keep forgetting about those games >< I have way too many things in my mind at once . thanks for reminding me.

I am sure to have all of that together all tiles from the BG, HUB, and animated BGs would have to be under the same space >_>

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by lidnariq » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:55 pm

Fjamesfernandez wrote:I am sure to have all of that together all tiles from the BG, HUB, and animated BGs would have to be under the same space >_>
While any given frame has a 256 tile limit*, you can have more than just 256 tiles across all frames of your animation.

For example, here's an animated gif of what SMB2 is doing:
smb2-lv1-1-tiles-animation.gif
smb2-lv1-1-tiles-animation.gif (20.02 KiB) Viewed 2993 times
You can see the cherries, plant greens, POW blocks, waterfall, &c are all grouped together here and running at the same rate.

* Well, ok, you can do various tricks to get more than that, but to a first approximation, it's 256. Many games with a status bar actually use one of these tricks to use a separate library of tiles for the HUD.

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Fjamesfernandez » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:59 pm

Oh cool! Nice to see everything together like that. Im a visual person lol

See palette issues haha

Image

I feel stupid now. You are suppose to import>BMP file as nametable and it carries over the palette. ><

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:06 pm

By the way, you can take a visual look at how the tiles and backgrounds work for any NES game with FCEUX.

Tiles: Debug > PPU Viewer
Backgrounds: Debug > Name table Viewer

In the PPU viewer you can right click on the tiles to change the displayed palette.

For games that do mid-screen timing effects, you can change the "display on scanline" value to a different line of the screen. These debug views show the current state as it appears at that specific time in the frame.

You can pause with the Pause/Break key, and advance single frames with the backslash key, if you want to look closely at animation.

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Fjamesfernandez » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:26 pm

Ill give it a try without my brain popping out my head :D

Dont know whats going on here. Could had sworn I made sure each tile was in three colors unless I missed up some where.

Image

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Drew Sebastino » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:38 pm

The NES is weird (to me anyway. I'm more of a "16 bit era" guy) in that every 2x2 tiles (4 tiles total, in a square formation, like the blocks in SMB) must use the same palette. Notice the difference in the lines of the grid? The dotted lines are for each tile, while the solid ones are for each palette.

However, there is hardware that is found in the cartridge that can (somehow) overcome this limitation, called the MMC5. But don't use it for something this small. From what I've heard, it's a bit of a beast, and only a handful of games used it, so if you where going to want to release this in a real cartridge, you'd have to destroy one of the few games that have it to use the MMC5. Just make the pond 2x2 tiles, and shift the whole area over or something like that.

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by Fjamesfernandez » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:47 pm

Espozo wrote:The NES is weird (to me anyway. I'm more of a "16 bit era" guy)

Notice the difference in the lines of the grid? The dotted lines are for each tile, while the solid ones are for each palette.
That just blew my mind... I had no idea that the palette was in every 4 tiles. I thought that the palette was for every tile >< talk about redesigning everything ha!

And yeah the plan is to make my first release on NES then work my way up.

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Re: Learning NES Limits, Pixel Art, & wat can & can not be d

Post by dougeff » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:47 pm

Are you going to program it? Or just do the artwork?
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

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