PIXEL - A Pixel Art Documentary


Check out this short documentary about pixel art by animator Simon Cottee; in his own words it explores "the merits and impact of pixel art, animation and chiptune music". It contains a few interviews as well as showcasing snippets of several pixel art games and videos.

Posted by skamocore @ 5/25/2010 21:52  |    23


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Metaru (Level 8 Brigadier General) @ 5/29/2010 19:55

holy butthurts batman

jalonso (Level 11 Godfather) @ 5/29/2010 19:27

Generally speaking documentaries are best when they generate conversations and further discussions beyond those presented by the filmaker. We are a community of pixelartists and surely documentaries like these will split us in our take on things. It doesn't take away from a fine job done on this film.

We posted this film as a news item for discussion. We found the video worthwhile, its well made.

Adarias (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 5/29/2010 09:49

There nothing elitist happening here, all of this is done openly and on invitation.  Nobody here has said there's a right way to do things.  What people have attmepted to explain is that the documentary presents a rapid overview of a trend which is about 5% of the story, and calls this a summary of the whole (while also presenting some bogus information).

Nobody has suggested that your take on pixel art is wrong for a tiny fraction of the practitioners, only that it's infintesimally small compared to the whole body of work.  If there's an issue to take, it's that you haven't introduced anyone to the medium, you've introduced people to their own nostalgia, which is a valid yet separate phenomenon that belongs in a video with ninja turtles and voltron, but says little about an art form.  Minimalist furiture and design had a small nostalgic resurgence in the late 60's and early 70's, but talking about that doesn't mean we've actually discussed minimalism.  We're inviting you to explore the other 95% of pixel-art.

There's no bitterness here except what your injured pride might bring to the situation.  Try not taking the worst possible interpretation of everything your told.  And save the words about credentials or "broad" success - it's irrelevant to content or goals.

r1k (Level 1 Rookie) @ 5/29/2010 06:32

"I didn't realise the "pixel" scene was so exclusive and elite. I'm only a dabbler in the aesthetic, it has a simple pleasant allure to me. . You wanted it portrayed in your exact opinions and thoughts"

I think its not so much that we wanted our exact opinions to be portrayed, its just that you missed a big part of the pixel art scene, you only showed a small part of it.  I realize you were limited to 10 minutes on youtube so I wasnt expecting you to talk about everything, but still.  Anyways we shouldnt act like this was supposed to be some definitive film on pixel art, it just happened to be posted here.

Metaru (Level 8 Brigadier General) @ 5/29/2010 02:26

i dont believe it has nothing to do with elitism. its just, if you make something about pixel art, why not contact a pixel artist?

its not like if you put "pixel art" on google magically pixeljoint is one of the first results you get.

Metaru (Level 8 Brigadier General) @ 5/27/2010 17:43

i'd like to know why too onek. because this whole documentary leaves me such a bitter taste of the whole "pixelated trend" that we already saw in fashion and such in a previous article.

what throws me off the most is that is a documentary about pixel art that interviews a game developer, a chiptune music composer, but there is no interview with any pixel artist, at all.

Adarias (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 5/27/2010 14:53

Well I tried leaving the creator a note so that he could be helped to see what was missing...

...but it looks like I might have slipped up...

...Someone with a stronger command of language and tone might want to help straighten this out; it appears I've come across as hauty and pretentious when I meant to be inviting.  Self-fail.

Frost (Level 6 Serial Killer) @ 5/27/2010 06:40

onek: Why?

onek (Level 6 Hitman) @ 5/27/2010 05:40

hmm.... i honestly start doubting in this community here ......   

Frost (Level 6 Serial Killer) @ 5/26/2010 22:36

I didn't like this at all. Almost nothing he said in this "documentary" appealed to me. I don't make "pixel art" to make it look more "pixel" than "art". I'm trying to make "art" with pixels, not the other way around. I like when things look smooth and nice, not all jagged and blocky.

As said before, this "documentary" only focus on one aspect of pixelart and that makes me think that he believes it is the only kind, and purpose, of pixelart. Nostalgia and blocky figures... I have never liked nostalgia and blocky pictures, not even as some kind of abstract art. What I like is pushing limitations on old hardware to make things that look good and beyond those limits. That is also one aspect of the demoscene; to push limits.


manxana (Level 3 Stalker) @ 5/26/2010 19:33

we should make a documentary about pixel art

Metaru (Level 8 Brigadier General) @ 5/26/2010 19:13

all in all, all i could get from this is that pixel art is an iconic-driven expresion that is somehow fueled by the load of nostalgia it carries naturally on it.

but to be honest, it is quite forgetable... its not like it tries to explain the evolution of pixel art as an art medium, or actually explain the impact in pop culture(it just mentions that pixel art/chiptunes have been used in pop culture/music), but it just... hangs from the whole nostalgia that blocky mashups generate in people with 20~25+ years.

also this is purely personal but, it was that hard to have some close caption? half of the time i couldn't understand what the hell he was talking about.

r1k (Level 1 Rookie) @ 5/26/2010 19:09

It was okay, but as blueberry pie said, he seemed to only really focus on one type of pixel art.  the old retro, low res nes type stuff.  It kind of made it seem like pixel art is only good for that type of stuff which isnt true at all, he should have showed some of the other more illustrative stuff as well such as the kind of stuff Fool, or a bunch of other people here make.  I was also hoping he would talk more about pixel art on older computers like c64 and stuff like that and demo scene artists and stuff like that cause I dont really know anything about that scene but it seems pretty interesting.

He had some points like how alot of nes games you had to use youre imagination more, which is one reason I like those old game, but ya I never really thought the graphics on those old games looked like indecernable blobs, he was kind of exagerating there.

I should have been longer and he should have interviewed more people, but it was okay for what it was.

Adarias (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 5/26/2010 18:49

I feel like the guy talking about how we couldn't see pixels or discern characters way back when because of crappy screens should stick to saying things that are true. There's a reason we as kids sat close to the screen, but the fact was that most consols had pretty clear picture and there were a lot of early games and pixel art for computers as well.  He doesn't understand, appreciate, or possibly just doesn't remember old games, and should not have been interviewed on that subject.  He also sounded like a general dumbass with a lot of what he was saying, particularly with the idea "3d graphics are just a fad" and saying that people who impressed by the environment rendering and design in AC2 (which is a stunning achievement and is definitely a future of games) "aren't really literate in pixel-art" just makes him sound like a shitprick (not helped by his saying "renaissance architecture or whatever it is").  His "look at me being indy" photo bit was beyond pretentious too.


The second and third guys were much better.  it would have been nice to see them do some research and pull out older, good-looking games, as well as contemporary examples of brilliant work, or at least mention the super-crisp handheld/mobile platforms, but as a drive-by introduction, two-thirds of it was fine quality.

Chibi Robo (Level 5 Detective) @ 5/26/2010 18:28

I found the video to be really informative how pixel art has somewhat evolved into these crisp 3d graphic games, though most people neglect what the pixel really is.

Rostii (Level 3 Corporate Drone) @ 5/26/2010 16:51



It was an awesome video but he mainly spoke about the old pixelated games. Whenever i think of drawing like that it makes me sad. :L

0xDB (Level 5 Detective) @ 5/26/2010 11:58

I found it boring to watch and had to force myself through it. I want those 11 minutes of my life back.

Badassbill (Level 11 Psychopath) @ 5/26/2010 04:39

This was fantastic. I hope this guy does more in the future.

Blueberry_pie (Level 7 General Manager) @ 5/26/2010 03:01

I don't know. It started out pretty good but after a minute or so it seemed to focus entirely on the whole retro/nostalgia thing. There's more to pixel art than that.

jeremy (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 5/25/2010 23:39

 Very nice

jalonso (Level 11 Godfather) @ 5/25/2010 22:16

A must watch for all PJ members.

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