Looking for frank feedback on my first pixel art

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

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
SpencerKR
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:54 pm

Re: Looking for frank feedback on my first pixel art

Post by SpencerKR » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:26 pm

I didn't say you muse use outline
I didn't say you did. But incidentally, your words were, "your character isn't outlined properly", which is quite a different thing from a suggestion, but all the same I chose to treat it as a well-intentioned suggestion anyway :)

And in the end, I tried your suggestion and I liked the result, so what I'm saying is, please take yes for an answer :p I'm pleased with the outcome and I thank you for the impetus to go outside my comfort zone

User avatar
tokumaru
Posts: 11858
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Re: Looking for frank feedback on my first pixel art

Post by tokumaru » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:06 pm

It's important to note that there's at least one more sprite style in addition to flat (early NES style) and with dark outlines (cartoon style), which's sprites with volume shading. That's my personal favorite style, but it's kinda hard to pull off on the NES due to the low number of colors in sprite palettes. If you're not clever in the way you mix and reuse different hues, or use more than one palette, you can easily end up with sprites that appear to be made out of clay.

That being said, I can't help noticing that your main character is way too dark. There's very little contrast between his clothes and his skin, and considering that the environment where he'll be in is also mostly dark, that could be a problem.

Keep in mind that good use of color in art is not about painting objects with the colors that they actually are (or the ones we *think* they are), but exploring the relative relationship between all the colors in a scene so that everything *appears* to be the color that people expect them to be. Who hasn't seen this image yet, where squares A and B have the same absolute RGB values (go check in MS Paint if you're in doubt), but due to the context around them, one is perceived as light and the other as dark?

Color is not absolute, it depends on context. This is a video game, where being able to clearly see and identify elements on the screen can be the difference between fun and frustration. It's not because night bars are dark and your character's clothes are black that your only option is to use palette entry $F0 for these things. You can very well calibrate the environment so that dark gray represents the darkest shading in the scene, allowing you to still use black outlines wherever you find necessary to prevent dark things from blurring/blending together. This relativity isn't exclusive to brightness either, the hue is also relative depending on the surroundings, and taking advantage of that on the NES makes a huge difference, since you don't get many hues to work with.

User avatar
SpencerKR
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:54 pm

Re: Looking for frank feedback on my first pixel art

Post by SpencerKR » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:20 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with what you're saying and I'd be delighted to achieve the effect of relative darkness. I look at games like Batman Return of Joker and Nightshade which most definitely evoke 'dark' and yet are vibrant and clear and nice, and I'm blown away. And perhaps I'll achieve it someday. I'm just really new to visual arts in general, so it could be years before I'm able to really put the full extent of the advice here into practice.

Post Reply