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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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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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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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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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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 16 February 2020 at 11:50am
Heya Greycloak, sorry for the really late response;

I'm basically using this as a vehicle to slowly improve my pixel-art, I don't think a game will ever truly be made but it gives me something to do/work towards.

I haven't really been doing much but here's a carefully curated image of the best things i've made so far





Nothing good or noteworthy however; just trying out different styles and messing about with colours.

I can see some improvement, but not much
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Quote snv Replybullet Posted: 16 February 2020 at 5:34pm
1. Add some shadows. With shadows it immediately looks professional
2. Add stylized cracks on these boring walls. Pro artists always have everything highly stylized.
3. The walls themselves are overly bright, stealing the show. Are they supposed to emit light?
4. Lower the contrast for unimportant high noise details, like this grass, or pebbles.
5. After you reduce tileset noise, high contrast outlines are no more required, and can be replaced with less eye-straining ones (i.e. gray instead of black). Although retain the contrast inside the sprite.
6. Is shield supposed to be round? Currently it looks like an imperfect rhombus. Hint: you can use antialiasing to make stuff round.

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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 17 February 2020 at 2:32am
Thanks for the advice snv!

I'll incorporate your advice and post an update soon.

I always appreciate a fresh perspective; I constantly worry im stagnating and although i am super critical of my own work, it's still necessary to have others critique it
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 01 March 2020 at 9:03am
Haven't animated anything in a while, so here's a really roughish attack animation:


Quick update of base as well, made it larger:


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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 04 April 2020 at 9:51am
Playing around with styles, although they're still somewhat similar:


Some are a mixture of each other, like 4, whilst others are more divergent, like 2 and 3.

Also trying to get better at forms; trying to do silhouettes that are identifiable, harder then i thought.
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 12 May 2020 at 8:27am
I think i've spent enough time doing units, I'm going to branch out into other things.

Here's some stuff i've done, not much but it's a start:



Any advice on the shading? I don't think i can get it accurate when it comes to metal surfaces but i did try to stylise it at least, although i think the shading on the wooden stock of the harpoon gun and chess pieces borders on pillow shading if it isn't already.


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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 17 May 2020 at 3:40am
Tried my hand at doing a medium sized spear, I wanted to to put some detail on the wooden shaft, but i don't know if it actually added anything, so i have 3 variations; one with out, one with and one with a slight variation, to make it look like the wood's popping out more, like the handles on my previous swords:


I'm still unsure about metal shading
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Hapiel
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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2020 at 6:00am
I prefer number 3, but it also very much depends on the background... As for the shading, it's not working for me, it makes it feel rounded in the vertical axis, almost like a butt plug!

But most of all, I appreciate this thread is still running! For over 6 years now! This thread is an icon!
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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2020 at 6:40am
Originally posted by Hapiel

I prefer number 3, but it also very much depends on the background... As for the shading, it's not working for me, it makes it feel rounded in the vertical axis, almost like a butt plug!

But most of all, I appreciate this thread is still running! For over 6 years now! This thread is an icon!


Thanks so much for the comment Happiel!

I wouldn't have improved as much as i have without the critique, advice and help I've recieved.

I tried to change up the shading slightly, to uh.. make it look less like the item you described:


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Hapiel
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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2020 at 8:49am
Why would it get darker down the blade? and the middle part is a protrusion to give it strength, not an inset right?

I made a quick edit:

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AshCrimson
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2020 at 8:59am
Thanks for the edit Hapiel, I'll confess shading in general isn't one of my strong points, I need to look at references for metal in particular, your edit is much better, going to learn from it going forward.
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Quote snv Replybullet Posted: 18 May 2020 at 7:30pm
Metallic objects get their shading from environment mapping. So don't make them plain. Also this flat single shade style could look boring and more like vector art. Pixelartists usually add detailed texture to stuff, since they are not limited by vectors.

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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Posted: 19 May 2020 at 9:18am
Your edit makes mine look like plastic :p.
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 21 May 2020 at 1:12pm
I'm trying to redo my earlier attempt at a bellsprout, on a larger canvas... I think i may have bitten off more than i can chew, here's my wip with the source image/inspiration:






Original for comparison:



Edit:

I could probably spend hours obsessing over and re-doing the details of the picture  but i think it's better move on to something else and comeback when i've learnt more, but as always, every and any piece of criticism, advice etc is more than welcome and appreciated
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 23 May 2020 at 3:09am
Tried setting myself a time limit; 3 hours, here's a very unpolished sudowoodo, not great but i tried to differentiate the shading from the original:


I've submitted it to the gallery, but i'll eventually polish it and update the image.
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 24 May 2020 at 11:21am
A really quick doodle of Shuckle, time limit was less than 2 hours:


Inspired by some of the pixel-art styles i've seen recently, in terms of relying entirely on non aaed clusters

Quite bandy, unfortunately
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Quote snv Replybullet Posted: 26 May 2020 at 8:41am
Originally posted by AshCrimson

=
Original for comparison:



Edit:

I could probably spend hours obsessing over and re-doing the details of the picture  but i think it's better move on to something else and comeback when i've learnt more, but as always, every and any piece of criticism, advice etc is more than welcome and appreciated

Yeah. The original pixels have very "garish" colors, like on a bad TV.  Your new attempt is much better. But your light setup still looks like a flashlight in some dungeon (you know like these early pixel shader v2.0 games?), while Nintendo's art has more sunny day gamma and watercolor light. And you have messed up the lineart a bit. Like the snout's geometry (the sketch has a more concave snout). Here is what I mean:

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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 26 May 2020 at 1:21pm
Originally posted by snv

Originally posted by AshCrimson

=
Original for comparison:



Edit:

I could probably spend hours obsessing over and re-doing the details of the picture  but i think it's better move on to something else and comeback when i've learnt more, but as always, every and any piece of criticism, advice etc is more than welcome and appreciated

Yeah. The original pixels have very "garish" colors, like on a bad TV.  Your new attempt is much better. But your light setup still looks like a flashlight in some dungeon (you know like these early pixel shader v2.0 games?), while Nintendo's art has more sunny day gamma and watercolor light. And you have messed up the lineart a bit. Like the snout's geometry (the sketch has a more concave snout). Here is what I mean:



Thanks for the edit!

I definitely need to change my colours, I use the same palette for each of my pieces but there's an argument to be made for changing it on the go.

Here's a few more rough pieces, done under a time limit




I've been doing a bunch recently, everyday, but i'm going to post the ones i'm most happy with, also been focusing less on individual pixels and more on clusters, whilst using a big brush size
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 30 May 2020 at 1:02pm
Recently got myself a graphics tablet, though not one with a screen.

It's a bit awkward using it whilst trying to be precise and im not sure if this counts as pixel art though i did try to clean it up as much as i could in the time limit (usually 15-20 minutes) that i have but here's a bunch of assorted sketches of pokemon/life nudes:


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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 26 August 2020 at 1:47pm
Here's another sporadic attempt at roguelike graphics, which i got inspired to try after playing Caves of Qud and trying to put my own take on it (x2):


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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Posted: 27 August 2020 at 5:41am
What is the square grid tile representing? A path? It's a bit odd!
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 27 August 2020 at 11:46pm
Originally posted by Hapiel

What is the square grid tile representing? A path? It's a bit odd!


It's a placeholder for a path, but admittedly it's not readable as such
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 03 September 2020 at 11:30am
Originally posted by Hapiel

What is the square grid tile representing? A path? It's a bit odd!


Hope this bigger version is better and fixes some of the readability issues with the tiles:

Desat/Duller Palette:



Saturated/Brighter palette:


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Quote Hapiel Replybullet Posted: 03 September 2020 at 12:01pm
I did like the colored backgrounds, they made it much easier to distinguish the tiles!
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 24 September 2020 at 2:48pm
Originally posted by Hapiel

I did like the colored backgrounds, they made it much easier to distinguish the tiles!


Well then:


A few things:

1. Are these spritesbetter with or without Anti-Aliasing and is AA even worth it/applicable for  sprites under 32x32? Asking because i'm not sure if it's worth doing that level of detail if they don't add anything.

2. How readable/clear is it?

3. I'm trying to keep withing 16 colours (+ transparency, tiles have a different, less saturated palette for it's background filling colour, for readabilty)
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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 12 November 2020 at 6:01pm
A small update on what I'm doing:


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Quote AshCrimson Replybullet Posted: 17 November 2020 at 9:52am
Another small update:


What's new:

* Added more transition between tiles
* Updated Sprites, added shadows and moved them further up.
* Added river tiles, plus bridge.
* Updated trees, added more variety and colour.
* Darker outline for sprites.

Edit: Now with (hopefully) better water tiles!


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