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Hapiel
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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Topic: What art should be allowed in the gallery?
    Posted: Yesterday at 9:50am
Hey guys,

In an ideal world... What artwork should be allowed in the PJ gallery, and how should we decide if something is in or out?

What do you think of no tools pure pixel art? Rough works and oekaki? Semi transparency, index paintings, sprite rotations etc.

What should the quality standard be like, and how do we decide if something is good enough or not?

Feel free to ask questions, post examples, share your frustrations and ideals.

This discussion will help us decide what kinds of artwork the gallery will feature in the future.
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eishiya
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Quote eishiya Replybullet Posted: Yesterday at 11:11am
I go to the PJ gallery to look at polished, finished artwork. I don't mind work with gradients, transparency effects, etc in general, but I prefer not to see it here, unless I can filter it out. I definitely don't want to see any sort of rough or oekaki work here because that's 100% NOT what I come here for, but if there's filtering...

I think a little bit of noise and jaggies is alright if most of the submission is clean and polished, but if just about every shape is jagged and there's noise everywhere, then I feel like that's just an unfinished artwork at best, and doesn't belong here. I don't think it's unreasonable to limit the gallery to polished work. There's no shortage of outlets for WIPs and rough work (including the PJ WIP forum!), the PJ gallery doesn't need to be another one.


This is probably not possible given how PJ's codebase seems to be, but what I'd love to see are these features:

1. The ability to tag works with things like "gradients", "semi-transparency effects", etc and perhaps other, less controversial things, like "nudity", "sprite", "mock-up", "illustration", "wide pixels", tags for specific palettes (C64, DB32, NES, etc), etc and to allow users to auto-hide works with tags they dislike from being displayed in searches and on the front page (challenge-related stuff notwithstanding), as well as browse by these tags. Some of them could be fixed tags that users can check at upload time, some could be free-form tags that people can optionally enter in a text box. This would make browsing PJ a lot more pleasant, and it would allow the site to be inclusive of more kinds of pixel art without it being a bother to people more interested in a more specific kind of pixel art.

2. Automatic colour counting, along with the ability to filter/search by colour count (or better yet, colour count ranges). This could be as simple as automatically populating the colour count field client-side with some JS that analyses the image once it's selected, and the user could still change it if they want. Most people don't include the colour count just because they don't feel like checking or don't have an easy way to, and this is a fairly trivial task for a computer, at least with smaller images. With indexed GIFs and PNGs, it would even be quick for larger images. To avoid lag, this feature could only engage for images under a certain size, and perhaps only for non-animated images. When a user has both a preview image and a full-size image, the higher colour count of the two should be used.
It could also be done server-side, perhaps as a queued-up script that runs during dead hours, analysing submissions flagged as "not yet checked", i.e. submissions that were added or had their images edited since the last time the script ran.

3. The ability to upload a "pure" version of an artwork along with a "dirty" version, and for viewers to easily toggle between the two, which would be great for people who want to show off both the "raw" art and how they look in their project with all the bells and whistles. Alternatively, if there's tagging, just make it allowed to upload two versions of the same work as separate pieces as long as the differences are in "purity" and the two submissions are tagged appropriately. If this feature sounds too specific, then maybe it could just be a feature to allow sharing two versions of a submission in one, with separate sets of tags for each version. For example, one version could be the mock-up or animation, the other version could be the tile and sprite sheet, as it seems like a lot of people like to share both.


All of these basically amount to "make it easier for people to see what they want, and not see what they don't want." Without that, I'd like to see PJ remain* strictly for "pure", polished, finished pixel art, simply because that's a category of art I'm sometimes in the mood for, and PJ is the only place I can go to get that.

* I say "remain", but I guess I mean more of a return to the strictness of 3-4 years ago. Things have gotten a lot looser recently. And again, if I could filter it out when I'm not in the mood for it, I'd be more welcoming of it on PJ. The lack of a filtering ability is what makes me wish this place were stricter.
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jeremy
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Quote jeremy Replybullet Posted: Yesterday at 9:50pm
I think we could be more lenient when it comes to submissions with NPA elements, but on a purely case by case basis rather than opening things right up.

Quoting myself from Pixelation on the same topic:


I feel comfortable with everything on the left broad definition side, less so with the right.

The spectrum shows highly controlled/intentional work in the 'pure' space, with less control as you go further out, but the two sides aren't all that equivalent, to me. I think the left is about lack of refinement, or 'finishedness'. Noise is a common signifier of sketchy work, but the attention to pixel-placement in cure's Incommunicado piece is obvious and far greater than much work that fits comfortably in the middle.

The right side is much blurrier, and ranges much more than the left. You often see work using partial transparency for water/glass/other elements here the pixel-perfection is maintained, but new (imo dull, ugly) colours are generated outside of the control of the artist. Another example is Fessler's squirrel mockup, where the gradient is clearly delineated from the pixel art. I'm pretty comfortable with both of these types, it's really about whether the automated bits are unobtrusive. Things get messier for me when elements like glows, gradients, and shadows are integrated more deeply. I'm not a fan of detailed pixel work being disrupted, you often get muddy colours and unwarranted attention drawn to higher-resolution, unnaturally smooth elements.

It really is a case-by-case basis thing for me. I'm willing to be way more accommodating when the artist clearly has great pixel chops and is exploring the boundaries of the medium, than I am with somebody slapping a gradient on something out of laziness.


In my view, the principle should be is there clear pixel-level control over this piece of art? In some cases in the past, we've rejected work that was 'dirty' in a really minor way, out of sheer bloody-mindedness dan fessler's squirrel mockup and paul robertson come to mind. We absolutely don't want to become DigitalpaintingJoint, but there's gotta be some grey.

For example, slapping a CG gradient on the flat background of this piece wouldn't affect the pixel-level detail at all. Does it look any better? IDK, but I don't think it's a big deal.


My argument comes down to "it's ok for competent pixel artists to push the boundaries", which is maybe kind of elitist??? I think you ought to have a good understanding of stuff like manual AA, cluster theory etc. before you branch out.

If we want this art form to evolve beyond (a fake idea of) the restrictions 80s video game artists needed to deal with, we need to be more open. I always go back to cure, cos he's got a rock-solid understanding of the fundamentals (he wrote PJ's guide!) and is therefore able to get away with pushing the boundaries. I think it's great!
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Hapiel
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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Posted: Today at 6:11am
I think one of the major challenges is that we have different standards for different qualities of artwork.
If something is really great, but uses a gradient in the background, I couldn't care less. If something is bad and uses a gradient or semi transparent area, I would use this as an easy motivation to reject this. The same applies to rough/oekaki.
Ultimately that would mean that decisions remain very subjective. Would more user voting solve for what should be in and out in that case?

Is it fair to expect higher quality at the further ends of the PA definition scale?


As for tagging artworks:
I love search ability, and for this more tags is better. However, to make it practical to submitters, I think less is more. Would people be able to correctly select the "hybrid" or "rough" tags? Would people feel offended if we were to correct them on these?

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