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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Topic: Basic attempt at shading
    Posted: 06 March 2019 at 4:37am
Hi guys,

I'm relatively new to pixel art(ish). I've been doing it for a few years in reality I suppose, but it's only now that I'm really beginning to delve into the details with doing it properly. This is an attempt at doing some proper shading, a freehand drawn lizard.

I've come to learn that the colour balance will likely be off and there are probably other numerous mistakes with it.

If people could help critique it and show me anything I'm doing wrong, that would be a big help!

many thanks!

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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Posted: 07 March 2019 at 4:20am
Just another piece I churned out. This is predominantly the sort of art I'm trying to achieve for my current project.

Please critique this. Any knowledge on mistakes will be very valuable for me!

Many thanks.



Further progress:



Just made another touch up to the zombie based on current advice:


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Vegeta897
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Quote Vegeta897 Replybullet Posted: 07 March 2019 at 7:17am
I am also fairly new to the proper ways of doing things despite having pixelled for some 20 years, so take my critique with a grain of salt.

Your work is good, but you should look up "pillow shading" and "banding". The lizard suffers from pillow shading that makes its skin look far too smooth and the shading just unnatural. The zombie is better overall but there is some minor "fat line" banding in her(?) left leg and right shoe.

Banding in particular is something I am still developing an eye for so a better artist than myself may correct me on it.
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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Posted: 07 March 2019 at 9:04am
Thanks very much for the feedback. The lizard is terrible, I'm trying to work out the shading for it, but I'm not having much luck! I can see the banding on it however, so I'm just trying to eliminate that. I hadn't considered that I'd pillow shaded it without realising, there was some tutorial I read that said that can happen for newbies like me, guess they were right!

I hadn't even heard the term banding or pillow shading until yesterday so this is all very new to me too.

My main aim is to produce all the art assets for my game, but as I've progressed through my main character sprite sheet, I've come to realise that I have no idea what I'm doing with shading, so I'm trying to get a grasp on understanding this.

What do you suppose would be the best way to improve my skills? I was thinking of getting some existing sprite work and unshading and reshading it to see if I can improve my understanding of what the original artists did. Does this sound like a good idea?
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 09 March 2019 at 11:54am
Hey DSSirius, saw your lizard and realised you're using quite alot of low contrast colours, I'd really recommend you looking up colour theory, here's an example of what i mean, with less colours (6 compared to your 10):



Aside from the technical aspects of colour theory, condensing your palette gives you more space to put in details and shape your art, as well as eliminating pillow shading.
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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Posted: 11 March 2019 at 2:01am
Hi AshCrimson!

Thanks very much for your post. Actually seeing someone correct that lizard is a massive help, so I really appreciate that!

I've been reading up on every tutorial I can find so far and I'm learning a lot. Less colours is something I'm working on indeed.

This was my last attempt at the lizard:


Could probably still use some more contrast between the colours!
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 11 March 2019 at 4:19am
It's definitely an improvement!

The colours are pretty dark and could use more contrast, here's a quick edit of what i mean (both versions of yours next to it are for comparison):



It's currently at 5 colours, including gray background, you have two redundant colours (dark shading on the spine/back and the single pixel as an eye).

I'd recommend you playing about the with saturation, hue and light values, colours don't necessarily need to be straight ramps and you can really make your stuff stand out if you experiment with it

I'd also recommend working on a dark-medium grayish background, if you do it on a blank canvas you can often forget how dark it may come across
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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Posted: 11 March 2019 at 4:28am
That's awesome!

Thanks so much for the advice. Especially the grey background, that makes it so much clearer to work.

Just a couple questions:

1. Is the shading correct on the lizard? Trying to predict where the light and shadows should be is something that does not come naturally to me. I'm getting better, but I'm having to really work at it.

2. I'm currently using gimp to produce this. Is there a better program you would recommend?

Many thanks!
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 11 March 2019 at 4:38am
1. Eh shading's not really my strong point, it's something i still struggle with at times so i can't really give you a "correct" answer, but i would recommend you looking up tutorials for it if you aren't or haven't already.

2. I use GraphicsGale, which is free, so i recommend that.

Was messing around with the contrast and here's two examples of using it to make your colours pop out more (imo at least):



Played around with adding more colours for aaing for the first example, to show you what you could also do, although bear in mind that does increase the colour count and should be done to smooth the transition between colours with a high contrast but it does increase the amount of work you have to do, especially if you are animating
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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Posted: 11 March 2019 at 6:02am
Yeah that looks much better! Choosing colours is something I'm having to work on, I've read about the contrast and hue shifting that makes it better, but it's still a work in progress for me trying to execute that in practice.

I'm going to definitely check out GraphicsGale in that case. Something with good palette control is what I'm after.

These sprites I've been producing are not for anything in particular, I'm producing sprites separately for my game, but I want to get them to a decent standard. Everything will be animated, so indeed, I'll be avoiding AA for that purpose!

Just finished this as a larger sprite of a person.



Made this in addition.

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Limes
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Quote Limes Replybullet Posted: 15 March 2019 at 11:34am
cheek bone white sh*t is just noise. I say bring his face to 3 pixels!
I use GraphicsGale
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DSSirius
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Quote DSSirius Replybullet Posted: 18 March 2019 at 1:26am
Thanks for the advice! 3 pixels is much better!
I'll leave the white face pixel out too.

How's the shading on the coat? Is there any room for improvement there?

Also, do you rate GraphicsGale more than Pro Motion?

Many thanks for your help!

Edit: made a fish man:

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