Depixelizing Pixel Art


In a new research paper, Microsoft’s Johannes Kopf and The Hebrew University’s Dani Lischinski describe a new algorithmic method for converting pixel art into sweet, smooth vectors.

Check it!

Posted by sedgemonkey @ 5/24/2011 11:46  |    22


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JoshF (Level 4 Deputy) @ 5/28/2011 10:01

"Dipixelizing"  of pixel art already existed in a superior form since the beginning of video games.  They're called CRT TVs.  This doesn't represent old games it misrepresents them.  The only way to represent old games on LCDs is to emulate a good CRT (preferably with RGB signal for less noise) as perfect as possible.

Adarias (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 5/27/2011 12:08

I think the point of this is being missed, it's simply a way to represent old, generally 8-bit games in a better fashion than all the other algorithms currently out there.

it's not a dev tool, it's not to replace good pixel art - they make a point of saying that highly rendered pieces can never be appropriately scaled, except by hand.

but, in terms of getting old pixels to fit ok on screen, it doesn't do a terrible job.  the purpose of this tool is updating nostalgic items and furthering research into the representation of implied forms (mechnically representing what is essentially imagination).

I will never use this, but it's interesting stuff and i'll take it over the old methods for sure.

Opacus (Level 7 Ichikyu) @ 5/27/2011 05:05


Zeratanus (Level 4 Deputy) @ 5/26/2011 10:38

 Yes, obviously they're not a replacement for real HD pixelwork, but look at all the retro games being rereleased these days. No one's going to bother respriting all those games for HD, nor do i imagine many people would want them to. But plenty of others dont want to see pixelation on their nice big HD TVs. As long as it's an optional graphic filter on old games everyone's happy.

DawnBringer (Level 10 Maniac) @ 5/25/2011 14:19

Actually that algorithm could be useful as you can convert those vector images to "pixels" again. Giving you good help when you need to increase the size/resolution of a piece of gfx. But in many cases all that "rounding" will probably be more destructive than helpful.

Setzer (Level 8 Cannibal) @ 5/25/2011 13:26

I would like to see this applied to a screenshot of a game like lionheart, or anything else with high-detail work. not just sub-par mostly flat sprites.

Carnivac (Level 8 Behemoth) @ 5/25/2011 12:46

But it doesn't look 'halfway decently' at all.  It looks awful.  Like some talentless kid with cheap marker pens tracing over something...  If you want proper HD pixels just do them from scratch and actually make the most of the pixels and the higher resolution.  These filter things are lazy, badly done and seemingly show a total lack of respect for the original art...

is bad enough there's not enough decent looking pixel art in games anymore without this kinda crap turning quality pixels from days gone by into nasty Flash looking stuff.

Zeratanus (Level 4 Deputy) @ 5/25/2011 12:39

 I think its pretty cool, being a big fan of Vector. Beats some "smoothing" options ive seen in some emulated games. Straight pixel art will always be better, of course, because thats what it was actually made to be, but its an interesting alternative for easily making old games "HD". And yes, there are plenty of people who care nothing of pixel art that will flatly see it as better, so if its gonna happen it may as well happen halfway decently.

[thUg] (Level 6 Hitman) @ 5/25/2011 11:45

Yeah, we've got 2 guys who have just invented "Blow Up 2" photoshop plugin from Alien Skin Software except it's vector instead of bitmap.

Kindred (Level 2 Quiet One) @ 5/25/2011 08:28

I prefer hqx since it preserves the look of the pixel art without attempting to make it look better.

Carnivac (Level 8 Behemoth) @ 5/25/2011 00:22

Looks like crap.  Sorry but it does.  There's usually good reason why pixels are placed where they are and no computer algorithm is gonna have the imagination to actually improve on it and the results always look too fake and lack definition.  In this case they've ended up with some weird liquid splotch looking cack.   Absolute garbage.

Chrispy (Level 7 Sheriff) @ 5/24/2011 17:02

I like the way the Yoshi sprite came out, only because it's similar to the childish Yoshi Story style. The rest looks better just pixelated

Setzer (Level 8 Cannibal) @ 5/24/2011 15:57

Strangely enough I just saw this linked in IRC. My impression hasn't changed. Completely ruins pretty much everything there, except the "HELP!"

Delicious (Level 9 Boss) @ 5/24/2011 15:54

This is actually neat. Definitely don't prefer it over the crisp pixels though.

KittenMaster (Level 4 Deputy) @ 5/24/2011 14:53

I wonder how this will affect AA & dithering.

Mrmo Tarius (Level 10 Master Sniper) @ 5/24/2011 14:25

 Heh, I've tried applying hqx to some of my works. Interesting results, I must say. I need to get my hands on that new algorithm :)

DawnBringer (Level 10 Maniac) @ 5/24/2011 13:43

Some nifty splinecurvin' there!

Jinn (Level 11 Cthulhu (The Call of Cthulhu)) @ 5/24/2011 13:03

{ Cool! I'd like to test this.

Mathias (Level 6 Garbage) @ 5/24/2011 13:00

Impressive results.

w4nderlust (Level 1 Rookie) @ 5/24/2011 12:54

The paper link on scribd is broken....

xxmantisxx (Level 7 Mass Murderer) @ 5/24/2011 12:35

It's both good and bad, we may lose some good pixeled games to this, imagine mario games with larger, non-pixeled sprites...

KittenMaster (Level 4 Deputy) @ 5/24/2011 12:25

And thus it becomes really apparent how messed up the pixel clusters are in that Toad sprite.

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