Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

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NeoTorpor
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Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by NeoTorpor » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:18 pm

Greetings! I am new in this forum and since i first touched an Atari 2600 jr, i wanted to make a game. My best option is NES due this huge and well made forum and wikia. My main question is if possible to use claymation (clay animation with stop motion), instead of pixel art? I ask this because i am terrible at pixel art and i am pretty fair skilled with clay. Thanks. Also english is not my native language so i must apologize for my grammar mistakes. :mrgreen:
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tokumaru
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:45 pm

I don't think claymation (or anything photorealistic for that matter) would work well on the NES, due to the limited color palettes. I think clay relies too much on shading and texture to be well interpreted, and there's only so much you can do with 3 colors + transparency. You might get passable results if you use monochrome palettes (e.g. 3 shades of green), but monochrome objects would be way too boring IMO. Digitized real world images also tend to require more unique tiles than hand-made graphics, because artists can intentionally add some redundancy to their art. You'd need a lot of editing if you wanted to reduce the tile count of photorealistic images.

Even the SNES, which is leagues better the the NES in terms of colors and tile count, displayed very questionable results in its few claymation games. Take a look at the Donkey Kong Country games on the Game Boy Color to get a feel of what volumetric objects look like when scaled down to 3 colors + transparency (spoiler alert: it's not pretty).

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by dougeff » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:36 pm

Would it look like Claymates or Clayfighter (both SNES games)? Yeah... they don't look very impressive, even on SNES, let alone NES.

That being said. I did model the main character of my ninja game originally* in clay, posed him in different moves. Took photos of each. Then drew sketches of each picture. Then scanned those sketches and edited them in photoshop.

I think there is some merit to the idea. (EDIT). But there isn't enough memory to do more than a few seconds of animations. Graphics on the NES are pre rendered and very limited. The frame rate will have to be reduced and the size of animations fairly small, like 16px x 32px or similar.



*originally = the 3rd and final version of the main character.
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pubby
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by pubby » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:32 pm

Do the box art in clay. 8-)

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NeoTorpor
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by NeoTorpor » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:45 pm

Thank you guys for your kind replies. I saw the GBC game and it looks like vomit. Also the idea of making the clay model and then drawing it is pretty good. Anyway, my current skills with pen and paper are not that polished. I am grateful for the answers to my question.
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Jedi QuestMaster » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:10 pm

Using clay models could help tremendously for squash/stretching in animation. Of course, this would require more tiles.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tepples » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:37 am

Goro from Mortal Kombat was sculpted as a "clay" model. Do the pirate NES ports of Mortal Kombat games include Goro, Kintaro, or Sheeva?

In any case, if you're skilled at working with stop-motion sculpting, then you can model your character's animation in stop-motion and then trace over that with pixels. It'll at least help you get the angles right if you're trying to do (say) 30-some degrees up for an isometric game.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Drew Sebastino » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:00 am

Even the SNES, which is leagues better the the NES in terms of colors and tile count, displayed very questionable results in its few claymation games.
I don't think any of the clay games on the SNES do a good job representing the potential of claymation or other digitized photography on the SNES. It's funny you mention Donkey Kong Country, because the graphics process is similar and the results are much better than any SNES claymation game. Of course, DKC probably had 10x the budget of Claymates and Clayfighters 1 & 2 put together, and obviously had a much more talented team developing it.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:23 am

I mentioned DKC on the GBC as an example of how awful claymation would look on the NES. Not that I think DKC on the SNES looks great (the low resolution and lack of transparency alpha haven't aged well IMO), but it's not terrible either.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Drew Sebastino » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:48 am

I know you were talking about DKC on the GBC, but you were also talking about claymation/digitized images on the SNES for a brief moment, and the SNES version of DKC is relevant to that. Surprised to hear you feel even that level of distain towards the graphics; I wouldn't compare them favorably to Irem (lol) or mid to late 90's Capcom pixel art, but compared to the pixel art of your average SNES game, I say there's no contest.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:59 am

Surely DKC on the SNES looks better than crappy pixel art, but good pixel art has the potential to look much better than any digitized graphics on the SNES. The DKC games are still among my favorites on the SNES, but stylistically speaking, the console wasn't ready for those kinds of graphics, IMO.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Macbee » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:15 am

It's perfectly possible and - if you have the skills - they can look very good on 8-bit NES.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Bananmos » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:27 am

I agree that clay animation is bound to have the same problem as 3d models, and it's refreshing to hear I'm not the only one so considers DKC graphics to be overrated or TBH just plain awful.

Was never impressed by DKC back in the day when it was hailed as a revolutionary step in console graphics, and indeed they haven't aged well. Still it's a mystery to me that DKC is still topping most lists of "best SNES games"... the gameplay never looked more fun than any generic platformer either.

Anyway, back to the topic: I still think any sort of modelling (be it 3d, claymation, or oldschool pen'n'paper) can totally work out as a creative prototyping tool for NES graphics. In fact, that's not far from how graphics designers did it back in the olden days, spending a lot of time away from the (quite expensive) computers working on their ideas. And concept art with classic tools is still often used even in the game industry of today.

Just keep in mind that working so far from the limitations means you might just be procrastinating the effort of making the final pixel art look good. Verify often that your design CAN work in the final setting, to avoid surprises later... :)

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Drew Sebastino » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:11 pm

Bananmos wrote:Still it's a mystery to me that DKC is still topping most lists of "best SNES games"... the gameplay never looked more fun than any generic platformer either.
The way you worded that last sentence sounds as if you have never played it?
Bananmos wrote:Anyway, back to the topic
It's difficult to do that after you've triggered my inner fanboy. :lol:

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Bananmos » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:20 pm

The way you worded that last sentence sounds as if you have never played it?
Pretty much. I have picked up a controller attached to it on the odd occasion, but never found the gameplay exciting enough to gives it more time.

Perhaps I should give it a second chance, but I guess I'm was too biased against ugly-looking-games where the graphics were supposed to be a main selling point. Now, if it were marketed to me as a "yeah, the graphics may be sh*te, but it's actually quite a fun game if you can disregard that!", then I might have been more forgiving with it... ;)

Now I'm not saying it isn't impressive how they fit all those 3d animation frames into a cartridge, especially considering the need to tile them for efficient levels. And the music was quite impressive as well, in how it exercised the SPC. But in general, the graphics reek of an era where next-tech would blind people's vision enough to consider beautiful hand-crafted pixel art inferior to some downscaled 3d images of 3d objects. And I keep shaking my head in disbelief, just as much as I did back when it was new and hot.

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