StevenM @ 3/15/2021 11:41 commented on Big Bird

Hard disagree

StevenM @ 3/15/2021 10:09 commented on Big Bird

The only good Psycho icon is the Jason mask

StevenM @ 3/14/2021 07:29 commented on Wheel of Pokemon

Thank you for pointing that out! Oftentimes when I finish a picture and/or upload it, I'm in that post-production mentality where I overlook whatever needs fixing; generally I need to come back the next day (maybe a few days) or find a fresh perspective through comments like these.

You'd think after a time I would learn to curb my enthusiasm and just wait before the initial upload, but I've learned two things: (1) something will always get pointed out after that upload no matter the breaks taken to fix things with a fresh eye; (2) I crave immediate validation on work.

StevenM @ 3/10/2021 11:18 commented on Fish Tessellation

This is going to be a tough one to beat. Maybe if a person enters a chain of 4 or 5 sprites tesselated together?

StevenM @ 3/10/2021 11:13 commented on Animal Crossing De-make

Rereading that comment, in hindsight it comes off as 'damning with faint praise' or even 'sour grapes'. I'm sorry! My mindset at the time was that I didn't want to just go "yeah it's cool"/"nice" or copy anyone else's insight, but bring something different to the table.

StevenM @ 3/7/2021 20:45 commented on Afternoon Sky

It's interesting to see both the 'criss-crossing pixels' form of dithering here, in the clouds and foliage, alongside the 'horizontal lines' form of dithering. I like the spread of colour from purple-blue through to green to orange-red, and the almost olive-like trees in the background at the bottom of the picture. I really like the shape of the utility poles, with the horizontal lines being 1-pixel tall against the vertical lines being 2-pixel - it resonates with me like inked illustrations that have that dynamic lineweight to them.

The foliage has a fun combination of dark greens and brown, though I don't know how well the clusters of lightest green work on it without some gradation between them and the other colours - it feels like there are two sheets of art stacked together, rather than lighting passing over/through trees. I also don't know how well the dithering of pale red and pale blue on the far left side of the picture works, but you seem to be caught in a tough position trying to show the blending of two hues, so it's understandable.

StevenM @ 3/7/2021 20:37 commented on Animal Crossing De-make

One of the spriteart tutorials I used as a late-teen was about crafting old-school RPG monsters, and one of the bits of advice was that you didn't want particularly large clusters anywhere on your sprite - the dithering of pixels and ramps of light were necessary to give the illusion that the sprite was larger and more detailed than it actually was. The tutorial was made to imitate CRT-era games, but when I get given a small palette to produce art with I always default to the mindset of trying to cram as much detail into an 8x8 grid as possible. Almost like I'm showing off - "look how much I can do here".

This picture represents the opposite of all that since there large patches of land unobstructed by other colours or dithering; the trees and cliffs and water all have enough clusters to suggest lighting and layers of substance, but don't strain the eye with strong ramps of colour or single pixels criss-crossing. The trees have a nice broken outline around them where you can still recognise the shape the art is going for. The villagers are all distinct from one another even within the small palette given. The closest thing I have to a gripe is the player character's jeans having a dark grey near-indistinguishable from the blue already there, but it's an unnecessary thing to point out.

You did your best to convey the Animal Crossing aesthetic with the palette given (you even attempted the cylindrical perspective while workshopping the picture), but what's interesting to me is that out of all the submissions, this may be the least representative of a C64 game in a stereotypical fashion. Which is to say a few other submissions used PETSCII or had horizontally-stretched art or limited colours per scanline and sprite, what I take to be the 'telltale signs' of the C64 library.  I wonder if that's actually the biggest factor in it winning the challenge.

StevenM @ 3/7/2021 20:17 commented on Turntable

I'm curious to know, how did you produce this animation exactly? I assume there was a 3D model for the skull involved, did you hand-draw it with that as a reference to get the details and lighting right? Did you export an animation of it and then sprite over the frames? Did you export an animation and reduce the colour palette in Photoshop?

StevenM @ 3/3/2021 07:00 commented on April O'Neil

Since the production of Snow White, animators have used film footage, photos of people and figurines, and physical figurines themselves as reference to try and memorise the subtleties they would overlook from merely copying from memory - how characters should emote with their face and bosy, or how they should obey perspective with their construction. (Although there were still cheats or stylistic changes made to disregard this, like Mickey Mouse's ears, or character's limbs having more exaggerated foreshortening because it 'read' better than just sticking to how they were captured on film footage.) Some animators, like the Fleischer studio for their Superman serials, went a step further and drew their characters on top of frames of film to produce the style and methodical timing of motion they were looking for.

It's artistically detrimental to rely on drawing over footage/models as a shortcut, but artists have generally been given the wrong lesson by society that 'any reference = cheating' [society has maintained parroting a lot of self-sacrificing slogans to exploit artists in general] and thus they've been scared away from using tools to augment their study. The staff at Disney, Flesicher etc were underpaid draftsmen who needed to put out a lot of footage each week; because of how animation history is written by the likes of Disney, people are given a rose-tinted view of animators being geniuses who could draw from imagination.

In my case it's a little different from all that. Mostly because Blender didn't exist in the early 20th century, but also because the 3D models provided by CSP are just mannequins; poseable and with a rudimentary sense of lighting, but you still need a TMNT model sheet or Google Images page to add the kind of hair, wristwatch, bodysuit with belt and pockets, boots etc that you're looking for. Like the hands on the 3D model, you have to do a lot of interpretation with the model sheet, since details don't translate across from high-res to pixel canvas (and the model sheet has three views, which means some interpoltation as well).

If this all seems like I'm bearing down on you and trying to lecture you, I'm sorry for that! I just wanted to clarify where I'm coming from.

StevenM @ 3/2/2021 18:47 commented on Prink Link

@Quiara I gave the headwear another shot, since you suggested it. Some of the outline is cyan which may seem a little gauche for the composition, but I kind of like it. I can handwave it as fitting his personality

StevenM @ 3/2/2021 18:22 commented on Thoughtless RPG Standing Sprite Link

@8Nephila8 11 frames, most of them held for different amounts of time

@LaersoR @Quiara That's really nice of you to say, though I wouldn't call it a masterclass myself (the hat and tunic sleeves are still pretty messy). Even though I had eight colours to work with altogether, in practice it's more like 2/3 per tone so it still feels a bit clumsy trying to transition smoothly from one pixel to the next

StevenM @ 3/1/2021 07:36 commented on flying island

On top of the sky texturing, I really like the island and its flora. The rocky terrain and grass is nice as is, but I'm mostly inspired by the conveyance of leaves and flowers through [mostly] 2x1 tiles.

StevenM @ 3/1/2021 07:32 commented on Evidence

How long did it take you to do the scrolling background? From the way the lines change in brightness, it seems like it was done by hand rather than assisted in editing software, which seems like it would have taken forever. That's a production that commands some respect.

StevenM @ 2/28/2021 14:02 commented on Dungeon14 Palette Test

I like every colour in this palette! I think the rendering on the knight and the piles of gold were done rather well for this size and palette limit.

It seems like the blue chosen for the lizard's spine is lighter than the green and the dark blue it's supposed to blend with; I imagine the green and dark blue dithered together still seemed like too steep a colour clash, which necessitated the blue you went with in the end? It feels like a tough compromise to make.

StevenM @ 2/28/2021 13:55 commented on OldLink

Kudos on your first submitted piece and your animation work here.

I don't know what the challenge rules have to say about additional elements in the submission, but I think it would be better to concentrate on the sprite of Link himself, instead of designing an entire enemy as well.

StevenM @ 2/28/2021 13:53 commented on Link to the Present

Kudos on the use of a muted Game Boy-esque palette. The picture overall has a nice balance of detail and uncluttered space. I like the shape of the grave, how the tunic is mostly blank to offset the detailed arm/hand and belt, and the legs being a single dark tone. It has a Burton or Okage energy to it.

Offering some subjective critique, I think the right hand [the pointing hand] could use more definition on the knuckles between the index finger and the pinkie, and the index finger itself pushed further forward. I can handwave the angle of the hand itself, meaning you wouldn't need to show the other fingers, but the index itself feels too short. Also there could be some cleanup on the left side [our left] of Link's face. The shadow formed by his bangs and his nose, gets mixed up with the line formed by the side of his mouth next to his teeth - there's a leftover cluster of skin tone that gets lost in the comparative noise.

StevenM @ 2/28/2021 13:42 commented on Cow

"I didn't say stop"

StevenM @ 2/26/2021 19:41 commented on City Landscape

It's a really nice sky, and I dig the saturation effect it has on the cityscape.

Your picture seems to have over 200 colours in the palette. Do you happen to know why that is? On a surface level it seems like you're more optimal about the colour usage in this art.

StevenM @ 2/23/2021 11:33 commented on Golem Metal Link

I had the idea of a character similar to the Undead Hero (from Guardian Heroes) with large pauldrons and skinny arms, but with the pedestal for a head. When I started blocking out the proportions using the main green tone though, it turned into something closer to Tron Bonne. The colours were actually initially derived from an imitation NES palette, and edited a little from there. Mega Man 8 is a great looking game but difficult for me to intentionally copy.

StevenM @ 2/9/2021 09:24 commented on Slums fast food and cat

Welcome to Pixeljoint! Thank you for making an account and getting into pixelart!

Just a quick note to let you know: You don't have to provide a zoomed-in copy of your image; Pixeljoint will provide zoom in/out buttons underneath your file, so that users can see the image zoomed in if they choose. Can you replace this file with the image at its original size? Pictures can be edited after you originally upload them, so you don't have to delete them if you wish to replace them - simply use a different filename from the one you originally uploaded, or else the system will keep the current image.

StevenM @ 2/8/2021 15:42 commented on Mimikyu

Welcome to Pixeljoint! Thank you for making an account and getting into pixelart!

Just a quick note to let you know: if your image file is 100x100 pixels or smaller, you can submit it by itself as a 'small file'; you won't need to fill out the 'detail file' section. If your image is larger than 100x100, you'll need to upload it as a 'detail file' and provide a 100x100 crop as the 'small file' that users will see as the page thumbnail.

Pictures can be edited after you originally upload them, so you don't have to delete them if you wish to replace them - simply use a different filename from the one you originally uploaded, or else the system will keep the current image. You also don't have to provide a zoomed-in copy of your image; Pixeljoint will provide zoom in/out buttons underneath your file, so that users can see the image zoomed in if they choose.

StevenM @ 2/7/2021 21:01 commented on Cloaked Candle Man

The actual animation looks rather nice, and you seem to have put an opacity filter over it to simulate flickering light coming from the candle, which I understand completely. However an effect like that generates anti-aliasing and bumps the colour count astronomically, and the .gif file format has compensated by compressing the amount of colours to something it can manage (a maximum of 255). In turn, that's caused a huge amount of dithering or artifacting across all the different frames (to create the impression of a colour, the .gif draws criss-crossing patterns of other colours to 'fool' the naked eye) -- all of which really doesn't compliment your animation at all, sadly.

Would it be possible for you to reupload this animation with any existing filters or gradients removed?

EDIT: The artist is still at Level 1 and therefore can't make posts or respond to them, but they were able to DM me letting me know they did reupload the picture.

StevenM @ 2/7/2021 19:28 commented on Galactic Pixie Ranger

Yeah, for 16x16 sprites and sometimes 32x32 I usually default to "standing RPG sprite or standing Zelda Link's Awakening sprite" mode and try to push safe boring readability over difficult poses. Having said that, your comment encouraged me to give the 16x16 sprite a do-over to see if it wins people over compared to the last version.

StevenM @ 2/7/2021 18:14 commented on Flower Pixie

As far as pixelart software goes Aseprite comes highly recommended from my colleagues, and the Lospec website has a handy reference list for software ( I'm a dinosaur who stumbled onto GraphicsGale though, and I'll stick with that to my grave.

As for post-processing I usually use either Clip Studio Paint or Photoshop as well for a quick hue/saturation/brightness/contrast double-check.

StevenM @ 2/7/2021 07:59 commented on Annoying Pixie

I dig this collage a whole lot! Every time I think I'm a shoe-in for these challenges there's always five entries that smash my chances, and this is a top contender.

I really like the palette for the [desaturated-green/yellow] hair and [red] body for a start. I like the almost lack of shadow on the 64x64 face, where the sparse use of highlight carries conveyance of the different planes. I like 64x's and 32x's chunky hair rendering overall. The 64x and 32x wing patterns are nicely rendered, the lighting separated into three hard stages without dithering or muddy blending, and the stripes on the wings are still apparent as 'stripes' without being mistaken for attempted shading/highlighting in and of themselves. I like the secondary highlight tone and backlight tone on the bodies implying a glossier texture compared to the wings and hair, ditto the use of outline as a shadow tone for 64x's receding right leg.

I respect the attempt to give the 16x sprite a pose that isn't "RPG standing sprite", and the pose reads well after you get adjusted to looking at it. I think the white highlight pixel was a mistake - it distracts and causes a focus clash with the hair and antannae/head. I also don't love the dithering on the tips of 64x's antannae either but I don't envy the position you're put in to try and convey that texturing (plus highlights!) in the first place.