That is true. I just do not want people perpetuating that mistake ("the graphics are meant for CRT"), because that would lead to confusion.nesrocks wrote:I'm still reading the article and its amount of content is amazing.
Also interesting to see that some of them used a joystick to create the pixel art instead of a keyboard or mouse.
I'd argue that the issue here is graphics meant specifically for 240p though, not composite video. I've started hearing a lot of people trying to argue for composite video over higher quality connections lately, and it's kind of infuriating.NewRisingSun wrote:That is true. I just do not want people perpetuating that mistake ("the graphics are meant for CRT"), because that would lead to confusion.
"meant for CRT" is close enough IMO.
If anyone thinks NES graphics look better via composite video than with an RGB mod, they are out of their mind.
I respect that people can have wildly different opinions on "clean" upscaled pictures vs. genuine CRT scanlines (and some people even preferring smoothing filters), but you can't really make an argument for this one.
On the other hand, are the crosstalk artifacts ever desirable? Probably not: they seem to be too hard to control.
The difference here is pretty astounding. Pause and actually take it in. This is what caught my attention in the original:
The skeleton (in Wizardry 1: undead kobold) has a very long, drawn-out face with a distinct nose and open mouth and lower jaw. Likewise, the skull also appears more elongated as an effect of the shading. Also, the pelvic bone looks more like, well, a pelvic bone. The overall "grit" of the image (artefacting, etc.) causes it to have a substantially more eerie feel; you feel like you're looking at an old skeleton of sorts wielding a sword and buckler, while on the right, you know you're looking at what it supposed to be a skeleton with a sword/buckler but lacks fringe details that gives it a darker, menacing look.
Similar can be said for the orc in the lower shot: the face is substantially more defined (note the eyes, nose, and mouth are very distinguished, almost giving it a glow-like effect); the helmet the orc is wearing has very distinguished horns that look silver or white, and rounded (especially on the left), rather than just little ┕ and ┘ marks. The dagger (we're going off of original D&D here) looks more balanced/level. And he appears to be wearing gauntlets, based entirely on the sheen on his fist.
And if you want to see these in their pure/raw digital form, taken from an emulator and nearest-neighbour scaled up 4x for clarity, see bottom of this post. One thing I can't tell is whether or not the skeleton is wearing a metal shoulder guard, or if it's an intentional effect on the part of the artist (when intending to be viewed via RF) to define the skeleton's shoulder of his wielding arm. I can sit here pondering the intentional palette difference blah blah blah, but I could go either way.
Circling back to RF vs. composite and so on: I urge folks to take a look at this, also from Wizardry (the monster is Werdna, final boss of the game) (source):
The captions translated (ブラウン管 is "Braun tube", i.e. CRT):
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CRT + RF connection CRT + composite connection Plasma TV + RF connection Plasma TV + composite connection Plasma TV + HDMI connection
So while in general I think people today like pixel art and pixel drawing on what we've come to use (LCDs etc.; something with high precision), please think about the amount of work good artists now have to put in to achieve what could previously be done through NTSC artefacting or reliance on noise.
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- Scanlines have the effect of making the blockiness seem less jarring by adding a kind of texture in the vertical direction.
- Chroma subsampling has the effect of creating transitory colors that are often welcome for consoles with limited native palettes.
- Cross-color artifacts are the most difficult to use for effect, as their precise hues are usually semi-random for consoles like the NES. (Some home computers however with a constant phase-dot-clock relationship for every pixel use cross-color artifacts for additional colors, or in the case of the Apple II, exclusively for color generation.)
- Cross-luma artifacts seem to be just an annoyance.
A different aspect that usually gets overlooked, but that I have found to be vital to plausibly reproduce a 15 kHz monitor/TV on modern displays, is gamma-aware upscaling. Basically, to correctly upscale a 240p image to 1080 or whatever vertical resolution, one needs to first do a nearest-neighbor resize *2 to 480 lines, then convert monitor-gamma-relative RGB values to linear light RGB values (e.g. Rlinear =pow(R/255.0, 2.22222)), then upscale using Gaussian, Bilinear or whatever interpolation, then convert to monitor-gamma-relative RGB again(R =pow(Rlinear, 0.45)*255.0). This is usually not done by hardware acceleration, so one has to do it in software. Consider these videos for how this looks on a NES picture. They only use this upscaling procedure, but without chroma subsampling or scanlines.