Pixel Art Challenge: Multi-Purpose Portrait


From challenge winner Kaiseto comes this week's challenge. Create either a 1/2 body or a 3/4 body portrait of a character that could be used during a dialogue sequence in a game. Some examples of this are shown here (Clockwise from top left: Disgaea, Disgaea 2, Prince of Persia: The Fallen King, The World Ends With You). Remember, the bottom-right image is an example of what not to do.

The character can be anything as long as it is capable of speech. The pixel art should be the character only. Everything outside the character should be fully transparent.

You are to make a portrait that can be used with multiple dialogs; the expression must be suitable for all three of the dialogues listed below:

  • I have lost my crystal, will you find it and bring it to me? 
  • We don't have much time left to save the princess.
  • I am thankful for your help in my quest.

Canvas Size - Max 180 x 240.
Colors - Max 32.
Transparency - Required.
Animation - Optional.

The challenge thread will have all the challenge updates. The thread is also a great place to post your WIPs.

Posted by skamocore @ 7/6/2009 00:02  |    31


If you would like to comment you will need to be logged in. Register now. It only takes a moment and it's free.

bonehead11 (Level 2 Quiet One) @ 7/12/2009 01:00

Why mine entry for the challenge is about 2 days in queue ? 

Kaiseto (Level 6 Made) @ 7/11/2009 16:50

The character shouldn't actually be saying it in the pixel art. You're just supposed to create an expression that would fit for all of those.

Death-Auron (Level 1 Rookie) @ 7/10/2009 13:39

the phrases must be exactly as they appear here? for example, can the character say "can you bring me my cristal" instead of "i have lost my cristal, etc..."?

Celri (Level 4 Ensign) @ 7/9/2009 22:59

I visited the WIPs just now...the interpretations are amazing and the level of work being created outstanding!  Voting is going to be Hell!


Good luck to everyone entering!

Adarias (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 7/8/2009 16:24

Most character portraits are designed to fit an attitude that the character is written around.  For instance, the "withdrawn, focussed male support" is probably not going to ever say "this is borrring, I want more candyyyyyyyyy!!!," so that's a situation you would not have to plan for.  Similarly, the boppy little girl character is not likely to say "In war, the strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must."

The hard part of this challenge is that the 1st and 3rd make sense for a passive role (probably the princess who needs saving) and the 2nd and 3rd make sense for an active role (the nice-guy knight, etc.), but the challege asks for someone who looks both capable of rescuing a princess in time and yet not capable of finding his or her own jewelry.

But then, it's called a challenege for a reason :P.

TropicalSnowcone (Level 6 GBC) @ 7/8/2009 12:32

Problem discovered and solved. Firefox was being evil. Had to use explorer to submit. Don't know why.

skeddles (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 7/8/2009 11:30

rofl, well I like it, we need more challenging challenges, and I'm definately gonna try to enter

TropicalSnowcone (Level 6 GBC) @ 7/8/2009 05:16

I just tried it once again and still the error persists.

jeremy (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 7/8/2009 01:26

Don't think so. Have you tried again?

TropicalSnowcone (Level 6 GBC) @ 7/8/2009 00:11

I tried to submit my entry but got 500 Error after hittin submit. Is this a known error?

Argyle (Level 6 Manager) @ 7/7/2009 21:49

I beg to differ with a lot of the complaints at how the dialogue is either too outlandishly different or too lazilly planned.  This challenge, while being of a subject matter that I would have never considered exploring, really opened my eyes toward portrait planning and games like this.  In order to keep art costs and time down, artists and teams for things like this would have to think eccentrically and plan poses for characters around bizarre situations like these.

Making it just neutrally vague in aspects of body language and facial expression to make a pleading question's action pose be able to work for a scene where they are praising you.  Working out 10 pieces of artwork that could fit 6,000 very different lines of dialogue seemlessly as opposed to double, triple, or more than that is a very challenging thing indeed.  Kind of makes me appreciate it more when games do this ( that is, ones that actually do use dialogue systems like that and have more than one expression for their characters as opposed to things like Puzzle Quest where it's the same sprite for all speech.  :P )

blumunkee (Level 1 Jukyu) @ 7/7/2009 20:10

 I will attempt this, but I find the dialog requirement somewhat irksome. Seems like there wasn't much thought put into the dialog selection.

Stickman (Level 7 Sheriff) @ 7/7/2009 16:42

@Zccc - Not that hard eh? I look forward to seeing what you come up with :)

It would be interesting to see the outcomes of the animations....

Kaiseto (Level 6 Made) @ 7/7/2009 09:27


The expression for three different situations was totally jalonso's idea :p

Zccc (Level 4 Shichikyu) @ 7/7/2009 08:24

I'm sure someone can create an expression that covers all the requirements. It's not that hard.

skeddles (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 7/6/2009 20:32

Kaiseto is an asshole. I'm gonna try to do this one, just for the lulz, but I might end up going insane from the weird requirements of this challenge, so don't be surprized if my character ends up with a turtle on his head or something.

PixelKiwi (Level 5 Soldier) @ 7/6/2009 15:29

Let's hope the submissions are less clunky than the dialogue.

AdamF (Level 11 CEO) @ 7/6/2009 13:54

 hmm, I look forward to that, tomic =)

either way, I don't have the time for this this week...very nice challenge though, kaiseto seems creative ;D

Celri (Level 4 Ensign) @ 7/6/2009 12:37


LOL - really L!  Had to try my luck!  I really SUCK at making little characters - I'm going to give this one a skip and watch the masters at work! 


Thanx for the feedback :)

skamocore (Level 11 Dolphin) @ 7/6/2009 12:28

@Cel, to be honest, that idea comes across as the really easy way out and it also kinda defeats the point of the challenge. I admit, it is kind of clever, but I think you should keep brainstorming...!

Dai (Level 2 Kukyu) @ 7/6/2009 11:08

Ooh, I'm definitely gonna participate in this one! I already have an idea. 8D Definitely a challenge, but seems really fun!

Elk (Level 5 Assistant Manager) @ 7/6/2009 10:56

what demoscene :0

Celri (Level 4 Ensign) @ 7/6/2009 10:28

Please check if the following concept is acceptable:

Combination of Cerberus (3-headed mythical guardian of Hades) and the Hydra (multiheaded mythological monster).  I want to create one being with multple heads expressing the three communications.  Check my WIP area in the forum for references- Am I pushing it a little or might it work? 

PS - Since they're mythlogical they are able to speak...so that part is covered 

TropicalSnowcone (Level 6 GBC) @ 7/6/2009 10:09

Ah okay. Thank you.


skamocore (Level 11 Dolphin) @ 7/6/2009 10:08

Just the portrait; no dialog box.

TropicalSnowcone (Level 6 GBC) @ 7/6/2009 10:02

Okies... so you want just the characters and the dialog box and no background?

tomic (Level 11 Admiral) @ 7/6/2009 09:12

"interesting challenge" (tm).. but sounds like a lot of work.

i think i'll skip this one in favor of some pixeling for that upcoming demoscene-event.. e- wait for it.. vooooke. happy pixeling everyone.

Celri (Level 4 Ensign) @ 7/6/2009 05:38

Serious multi-porpose multi-tasking!

Reo (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 7/6/2009 04:22

animation is allowed...

Game & Watch (Level 1 Rookie) @ 7/6/2009 01:56

Question, frustration and appreciation.... in one expression.


slym (Level 8 Rear Admiral) @ 7/6/2009 00:16

That's really challenging. 

This Week's Pixel Art

Zeta icon/pixelartplant tile icon/pixelartAce of Pentacles icon/pixelartIt's The Vibe icon/pixelart
Play party games with QuizBash app
Play party games with QuizBash app

Recent News


Want to give some dough back to all those amazing pixel artists? Donations provide prize money for contests, help cover hosting costs and support new initiatives.