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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: 11 April 2018 at 8:33am
Though I like the overall feel of the palette, this particular image feels washed out because everything is midtones, you're not using your (already not-that-dark) darkest colour at all. At the same time, the light parts of the grass and trees stand out too much, as do the dark shadows between the wooden boards.
That may not be a fault of the palette however, but just the fault of the recolouring. For example, having a smaller green ramp than before means if you use the same number of colours on the trees, you'll end up covering a larger value range, thence the high contrast.

Since your darks all hue-shift towards purple, I recommend hue-shifting your lights towards pale yellow rather than towards blue. Yellow contrasts nicely against blue, and would help avoid some of the washed-out look.
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 11 April 2018 at 10:21am
Originally posted by eishiya

Though I like the overall feel of the palette, this particular image feels washed out because everything is midtones, you're not using your (already not-that-dark) darkest colour at all. At the same time, the light parts of the grass and trees stand out too much, as do the dark shadows between the wooden boards.
That may not be a fault of the palette however, but just the fault of the recolouring. For example, having a smaller green ramp than before means if you use the same number of colours on the trees, you'll end up covering a larger value range, thence the high contrast.

Since your darks all hue-shift towards purple, I recommend hue-shifting your lights towards pale yellow rather than towards blue. Yellow contrasts nicely against blue, and would help avoid some of the washed-out look.


Thanks for the feedback Eishiya, my knowledge of colour is still pretty rudimentary.

Hope this makes sense, but my thought was that each colour should contrast just enough to stand out so it can be recognised, which is why i lack darker colours, because to me they look too similar to black.

Just a question, is the reason everything "midtones" because it's not dark enough, or it's too light?
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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: 11 April 2018 at 12:14pm
By everything being midtones, I just mean that you're not using dark and light colours much, you're sticking to the middle of the value scale for everything. It's perfectly fine to have only a few light and dark colours in your palette because humans don't distinguish the hues of those as well as midtones, but you should make sure you use those few light and dark colours to create contrast.

Although this is mostly a problem with your use of the palette rather than the palette itself, the palette does have some problems that make it harder to create contrast effectively. I think it's easiest to see if I put your colours along a value scale:


See how you have nothing at all on the left/dark part? Your darkest colour has 21% luminosity, meaning that you've eliminated 1/5th of the possible value range, greatly reducing your maximum possible contrast, which is why your mockup looks so washed out. It's perfectly fine to cut off a chunk of the darks if you don't want to use pure black, but I think 21% is a bit much. I tend to like lower-contrast palettes, but even then I try to have my darkest colour about 10% up the scale.

The next problem is that your colours don't cover the value scale evenly*. Your darks are all rather similar, and your lighter colours contrast a lot more from each other. You can sort of see this with how clumped up the colours are along the scale and how there's a gap between the two groups of midtones, but it's easier to see if you look at a specific ramp:

The darkest three colours are clustered together, they contrast little from one another. This isn't necessarily a problem, but since you're trying to get good coverage out of only a few colours, having three similar colours is a bit of a waste.
The lightest three colours, on the other hand, are very far apart, which means they contrast quite strongly. Perhaps even too much - it's hard to create highlights with these colours that aren't super-bright.
If your colours in each ramp cover the value scale more evenly, you'll have an easier time picking exactly the value you need.

Your purple-blue-cyan-iceblue ramp has what looks like more even spacing, but really it has similar problems:

The three darkest colours are clustered together, and the three brightest ones are spaced further apart. They're not spaced quite as far apart as the oranges and yellows, but they could afford to be spaced a little closer together if you space the darks further apart. Plus, you should probably have lower value contrast between some of these to account for the high saturation contrast.


* A note regarding even spacing on the value scale: Although I think more even spacing would improve this palette for the art style you seem to be aiming for, I want to clarify that it's not inherently bad to have uneven spacing. Clustering your colours around certain values can help to achieve certain looks. But, this is something that should be done with forethought. In addition, hue and saturation are additional sources of contrast, and the value contrast should be adjusted to work well with them, which means that the value distances should generally not be perfectly even.
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 11 April 2018 at 2:05pm
Thanks for the tutorial Eishiya.

I'm gonna do a grayscale, find the values and try to set them more evenly, without the large gaps, whilst trying to make sure they're not too uniform.

Just a quick question; Does increasing saturation always increase the values of the colours? Basically if im decreasing the values  i need to shift the saturation down and so on?
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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: 11 April 2018 at 4:32pm
The value chart is just a way to spot potential problems. Use it as a guide to nudge your colours around, not as a goal in itself.

Increasing saturation does not increase the value; hue, value, and saturation are independent building blocks of colour. Increasing the difference in saturation between two colours increases the contrast between those two colours. Adjust the saturation as you see fit to give the look you want.
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 14 April 2018 at 1:02am
I'm probably going to go back to my previous larger palette, but work on it to combine some colours and generally change it where necessary.
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 27 April 2018 at 7:40am

Still messing about with colours, this is the current palette in action:



Also here:



Also did a quick 1-2 hour "doodle" larger sprite, probably could be more refined:



Anatomy is still an issue, but i'm slowly getting there. I'm having issues shading and defining the arms and lower legs, i think i'll need to make them bigger next time i do another large attempt
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 24 May 2018 at 3:43pm
Just another few attempts, hopefully these aren't as awkward as my previous attempts at larger than 32x32 sprites

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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 18 June 2018 at 2:36pm
I've been studying Fire Emblem sprites (specifically GBA era ones) and decided to try to again change the way i make my sprites, it's similar to my current attempts but slightly smaller:


Not massive changes, but just wanted to show my progress. For some reason i seem to "hit" upon a style/type i like, see someone elses take on a similar thing and then start seeing the flaws/how it can be changed, at this rate i'll never be finished!

I'm also still playing around with less AA and relying more on clusers, but for the purposes of clarity, i've used it liberally in the example above.

Please let me know if what im posting is getting boring/stale

Edit:

Few changes to the palette as well, but mostly changed yellows/orange/reds and compressed them and others
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 17 September 2018 at 2:15pm
Heya everyone, apologies for the lack of updatesin the last few months, been trying to make my sprites easier to animate as well as more readable, trying to improve on the sprite's base.

Below i have 3 different styles. 1 and 2 are similar except the former has bulkier arms, which hopefully avoids the issue of noodle arms.


I'm leaning towards 1, but i also like 2, although it has too much AAing.

Wondering if anyone can give me their thoughts on this and if i could improve upon it (and whether i should keep trying), any criticism or advice.

I realise it's not a massive change but i want to know if i'm going in the right direction.

Also i'm currently exploring the use of clusters and animation, as well as their readability and whether focusing on them makes my sprites better
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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: 17 September 2018 at 5:14pm
I like the chunkiness of 1 the most myself. The mannequin's thighs look weird though, the softened shapes in 2 look best - but it's a mannequin, the exact pixelling on it doesn't matter.

The thicker limbs of 1 are more likely to read clearly on a variety of backgrounds. However, the shadows partway up the legs and arms look a little weird, I'd switch to just maybe having a shaded upper arm and a lit lower arm (or vice versa, depending on the pose).
The shadow at the bottom of the skirt makes it look like it's curving inward.
The character also looks flat overall because the belt and skirt form perfectly horizontal lines with no curvature.
Lastly, the front arm looks to be growing out the back rather than out of the shoulder, I think it should overlap the torso a little more.

Here's an edit of #1:

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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 11 November 2018 at 12:51pm
Originally posted by eishiya

I like the chunkiness of 1 the most myself. The mannequin's thighs look weird though, the softened shapes in 2 look best - but it's a mannequin, the exact pixelling on it doesn't matter.

The thicker limbs of 1 are more likely to read clearly on a variety of backgrounds. However, the shadows partway up the legs and arms look a little weird, I'd switch to just maybe having a shaded upper arm and a lit lower arm (or vice versa, depending on the pose).
The shadow at the bottom of the skirt makes it look like it's curving inward.
The character also looks flat overall because the belt and skirt form perfectly horizontal lines with no curvature.
Lastly, the front arm looks to be growing out the back rather than out of the shoulder, I think it should overlap the torso a little more.

Here's an edit of #1:



Thanks for the response and sorry for replying so late.

Took your advice on board, here it is currently:



Changes:
  • I've made the base smaller
  • Simplified leg structure.
  • Added a neck and decreased head size.
  • Simplified feet
Also attempted a new walking animation:


Very rudimentary at the moment.
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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: 11 November 2018 at 1:00pm
The old arms are too long on the smaller body, I'd shorten each half of them arm by a pixel. Looks good other than that though!

The arm length in the walking animation looks fine, aim for that sort of length in the standing pose too. In the animation though, he looks a bit top-heavy, perhaps because the bottom of the body is turned and appears squished, whereas the top of the body is still turned towards the viewer and appears wider.
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Yuran
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Quote Yuran Replybullet Posted: 11 November 2018 at 11:09pm
Hi, AshCrimson!


I think what a plume on the head must be swaying more often.
In time with steps imho.
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 02 December 2018 at 9:31am
Originally posted by eishiya

The old arms are too long on the smaller body, I'd shorten each half of them arm by a pixel. Looks good other than that though!

The arm length in the walking animation looks fine, aim for that sort of length in the standing pose too. In the animation though, he looks a bit top-heavy, perhaps because the bottom of the body is turned and appears squished, whereas the top of the body is still turned towards the viewer and appears wider.


Is this any better? Tried making the upper body move, but not too much:



Originally posted by Yuran

Hi, AshCrimson!


I think what a plume on the head must be swaying more often.
In time with steps imho.


Thanks for the advice, will use it!
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 28 July 2019 at 3:11am
Heya, I haven't had alot of chance to do much pixel-art since my last post but i have been trying to make bigger sprites, if only because i feel i've reached my limit at the moment when it comes to ones for or under 32x32 tiles. Apologies for posting what is essentially the same thing again and again with minor modifications, I genuinely thought i could keep learning by keeping the sprites small but even a few days of messing around with one that is bigger has taught me more than the last few months.

I'm a bit reluctant to post these, if only because they 1.5x the size of my original ones and because i dont know if they're much of an improvement over the smaller versions but i am interested in seeing whether i am going in the right direction. I've been trying to break down the body into basic shapes and then working from there.



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Greycloak
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Quote Greycloak Replybullet Posted: 28 July 2019 at 9:09am
Just skimmed through this entire thread, and wow you have been at this project for a long time. You've certainly improved in a lot of aspects though.
Personally I would just choose to stick with a design and finish out all the animations so I could move on to the next project, where you can implement what you've learned. But if you're just using this project as a means of self-improvement, then I suppose there's no particular rush.

Anyway, in response to your latest post I prefer your smaller sprites. The larger sprites don't seem to add very much detail, so the smaller sprites would work just as well and would additionally be easier to create.

But if you're not replacing the smaller sprites and you're just using the larger sprites for your battle animations, then I think that could also work.
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