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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Topic: Improving my spooky ghost
    Posted: 22 August 2014 at 2:48pm
Dear pixeljoint-community

Right now I am working at this piece:


It got upscaled quite a lot, that is why most parts are having a low resolution.
However that is not my current problem since I am working on the bigger woman right now.
There were several attempts by me to add folds on her dress but they all failed.
The source of light is the lantern behind her. Next to the woman is a little "thing" being a doll. Can also be a little girl - this is totally up to the imagination of the viewer.
Neither the doll nor the background are even close to be done.

I am really struggling by doing the folds of the woman's dress and would be glad to get maybe an edit. Resources on the internet could not really help me. I feel like the way the light is falling onto the dress is not right.
However I would be really thankful for any help you can give me!

with best regards
Lakelezz
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MasterSky
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Quote MasterSky Replybullet Posted: 22 August 2014 at 6:20pm
very spooky indeed!

but the hair on the large girl looks like it's sitting on top of the head rather than attached to it
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Quote noaqh Replybullet Posted: 22 August 2014 at 9:18pm
agreed with @MasterSky

welp~ but you could just say that is a bad wig or she is wearing a mask( if only that's a mask)

the rest to do is fixing the BG with some more details... dithering in a high-contrast palete would surely fit the taste : )
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jtfjtfjtf
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Quote jtfjtfjtf Replybullet Posted: 22 August 2014 at 9:25pm
If you're going for just long pleated folds just draw them on the skirt and then highlight and shade each pleat individually.
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noriah
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Quote noriah Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 4:53am
I suppose what you're going for is a chiffon dress?
For the form, something like this, this, or this might work.

For the lighting, perhaps looking at something noir would help you work it out.
images
close to your lighting
this seems close too

Hope that helps.

Edited by noriah - 23 August 2014 at 4:54am
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 12:59pm
Thank you all for the help and specially noriah, who gave me quite a lot of good references.

Here is the latest version - the streetlamp's size will be increased.

About the "wig-like" looking hair: Any tips to solve that? Also maybe an edit to look at?





Edited by Lakelezz - 23 August 2014 at 1:15pm
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 1:24pm
I think the hair adds a lot of personality. I would keep that shape.
The whole scene is charming visually but not so much technically.
Technical > all.

You are pixelling very, very dirty. I'm hesitant to even call it pixelart atm.
The grass bushes especially almost look like its a brush pattern :/
If you made a section and c/p then make that bit nice and clean.

The mixed res on the light post is just ugly. This is very dirty too.
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 1:35pm
I pixeled multiple tiles for the bushes and formed those two brushes out of them without using heavy highlighting to prevent a wrong focus.
Maybe I am gonna remove the left brush too, since the focus point should not be in the middle, I guess.
I could clean up those little noises of the brushes.

The lantern is still in work, since I have to redo it. It was a little bit thinner before - that is why I tried to scale it in width (just to see how it would work out - it did not, haha).

What does C/P stand for?


Edited by Lakelezz - 23 August 2014 at 1:41pm
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 2:08pm
Yeah, I suspected that's what you did.
Imo, that never looks good because it ends up as a lot of noise with an overall uncontrolled look. Since actual pixelling is a small area then controlling that is important because you just never know what you are actually pixellling...
For example, look at the top edge of the bushes and see the 3 repeats that look like a wolf?

...don't even try that its a scary scene and you meant to make wolves :P
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 2:17pm
No, of course not, that was never meant to be a wolf.
However I guess it could always happen, that a natural pattern is relating to something due imagination and so on.
I will try to make those bushes more unique - on a controlled way.
Thanks for your help! Are you fine with the cobblestone?


Edited by Lakelezz - 23 August 2014 at 2:17pm
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 3:12pm
The cobbles are maybe the best part of all, but cleaning up everywhere is needed, k.
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jtfjtfjtf
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Quote jtfjtfjtf Replybullet Posted: 23 August 2014 at 9:45pm
I think for the wig like hair if you want to try something different, do very normal or attractive looking silhouettes on everything and then do scraggly/horror interiors. Like an extra layer of "Surprise! this is actually scary!"
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2014 at 4:03pm
I wanted to share my latest version of this piece:


There will be probably an animation in the end.
The flies will fly around the lantern while the whole image will flicker after some longer intervals.
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2014 at 4:08pm
The scene is looking nicer tho its still so 'dirty'.
Do you understand what dirty means in pixelart?

Is the glow on the lamp a gradient or semi-trans?
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2014 at 4:23pm
This piece is using 9 indexed colours, no transparent stuff :)

I am really trying to make it less dirty but that is kinda really difficult for me somehow. Therefore I am curious if you have got some tips for me!

Thanks for your fast reply!
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2014 at 4:29pm
I just wondered about the glow ;)

Try this. Look at each area/cluster of pixels all thru the piece as a stand alone item and make them smooth and clean.
Remember you are pixelling NOT painting or coloring.
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 20 September 2014 at 6:49pm
Kinda like this:


I think that dark blue could be lightened a little bit and the fake black darkened a little bit so the show up better and help you define too.

Most of what I did was to make sure you don't have ugly bits and that areas do not line up in the way banding does even tho there is no banding here. Just the principle.


Edited by jalonso - 20 September 2014 at 6:50pm
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 21 September 2014 at 12:36pm
Oh, thank you a lot for your help!

I tried to clean my piece up:



-The dresses were much more defined, removed random feeling pixels.
-Pavements highlights are now more "smooth" and less edgy
-The shadows between the single stones were "fixed"
-Face got changed a little bit
-Tweaked colours

A few things I want to change:
-The pavement got reduced on the right side due ugly placement of some stones -> Repairing the right side.
-Also the faces could be improved a little bit more
-Maybe her left arm needs some more fixes
-Still there it could be that there are some parts still being dirty


Edited by Lakelezz - 21 September 2014 at 12:37pm
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 21 September 2014 at 4:42pm
That's it. Whenever you are doing anything just look at the area and clean as you go. If a shape/area/cluster looks ugly on its own, clean/fix it.

Edited by jalonso - 21 September 2014 at 4:42pm
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Limes
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Quote Limes Replybullet Posted: 21 September 2014 at 5:51pm
I would crop the image first
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 03 October 2014 at 2:51pm
Okay, I did some more edits.

This is my current piece:



The next thing is done some days ago. It simply means that the footage of the character is older.
In the upcoming two examples fog can be seen. Furthermore it will move from left to the right - that is it, no more animation of the fog itself.
Inspired by Probo who shared this link containing some Castlevania IV fog-style: http://youtu.be/t0myhqezd-s?t=1m10s
However I am aware that this is alpha-based.



This one got changed colours, does not work though:


The fog is not cleaned up. I kinda disliked the fog and so I continued working on the characters and pavement.



Edited by Lakelezz - 04 October 2014 at 4:21am
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 03 October 2014 at 6:11pm
So much better and cleaner. Keep going :)
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 03 October 2014 at 7:29pm
Thank you, Jalonso :)

Anything bothering you - something critical?
Do you have any suggestions about the fog?
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Quote Ozcr Replybullet Posted: 03 October 2014 at 8:35pm
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Quote SuperTurnip Replybullet Posted: 03 October 2014 at 9:38pm
With very dimmed lighting, fog might be hard to add--it helps to have a background and/or foreground to express things like this in my opinion. Search "fog at night" or "foggy lamp post at night" for impressions on what atmospheric fog looks like. That creeping cinema-smoke type of fog is translucent. You could curl it around the figures to show this, letting features show through the mist.
The hair could use a little cleaning, my tip is to light it like big, wide silk ribbons and then add smaller ribbons+stray hairs. That way it's not so overwhelming!
Other than that, this looks good. Keep up the good work.
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 04 October 2014 at 9:31am
Ozcr, do you have any examples to visualize your idea? I am curious!

SuperTurnip, what do you mean? As far as I can think of the behavior of silk ribbons is strongly changing in terms of highlights due strong reflections at upper parts. However should this look at her hair? Could you maybe show me an example?
Additionally yes, when I said alpha based I of course meant translucent. I will probably not add fog though. It is simply not working out and does not look good. It creates a mess while floating from the left to the right.
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showtime
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Quote showtime Replybullet Posted: 04 October 2014 at 1:33pm
You might want to look at Superturnip's hair edit in this thread. Hope that helps... I think they mostly just mean that you should draw bigger pieces of hair.


Edited by showtime - 04 October 2014 at 1:35pm
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Ozcr
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Quote Ozcr Replybullet Posted: 04 October 2014 at 5:31pm
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 11 October 2014 at 9:41am
Thanks for sharing the link, showtime!
Ozcr, now I understand (visually) what you mean! Thanks for your idea and example.

Back then I worked on bushes (you can see the two-colour-version when scrolling up).
There was one more version, which I have never posted here. However this version is more fitting to the scenery but was extremely dirty, too.
Now I wanted to try it again! I really like the atmosphere being created supported by the bushes.
Additionally another idea (which came up in my mind had in the last days) was to add a border to the left (a tree).



On the one hand the tree is just sketched but on the other I tried to add some texture to it.
The lines on it (the brightest colour) should be more curved maybe due the tree being roundish :P
Nonetheless the tree is targeted to be not that fancy to reduce attraction. That is why I do not want to use highlights on it.

However I really want to tackle them again!
This is my first rough attempt to bring some real volume into these bushes:


This was another attempt make more out of the texture while respecting the volume idea:


I really want to go for those bushes. If somebody could give me some help and share his or her mind about those posted images that would be great!
If there would be someone who could do an edit onto certain area of the bushes to show me how to clean them that would be even greater :D
Overall I am thankful for every idea and help concerning this piece!  :)

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Quote H|F Replybullet Posted: 11 October 2014 at 4:10pm
Lakelezz,

I just wanted to jump in and let you know how much this topic has improved and how great this is looking!

Great concept and I like the color choices.

Looking forward to the finished piece!
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 11 October 2014 at 4:21pm
Thank you a lot, H|F!
Your critique means a lot to me and pushes me even more to improve on this and in general :)

Some new updates (specially on the tree):



Edited by Lakelezz - 11 October 2014 at 4:21pm
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Limes
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Quote Limes Replybullet Posted: 11 October 2014 at 4:53pm
For the bush think in clusters. It may be a bit noisy right now
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Quote StepDragon Replybullet Posted: 12 October 2014 at 5:50am
Keep your light source in mind. Currently you only have a single light source shown (and no additional light sources implied, other than the glowing eyes)

So my question is, where is the back glow coming from? On the back of the tree, or other side of the hair, you have a back glow. This isn't necessarily bad, but it doesn't read well with your light source.

Your bushes do need to be refined, but don't go overboard, I really like the style you have going on.

Having the bugs so close to the lamp makes them hard to read, at first I thought they were sparks or something.

I think your tree should be slightly more highlighted as well.

Here is a quick edit showing a few of the things I mentioned:


I highlighted the tree, removed the backglow on the tree, Moved the bugs further from the lamp, darkened the face a bit (does a flashlight light itself?), and added trails to the bugs to help show motion (it makes them read better when placed further from the lamp)
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 12 October 2014 at 1:44pm
Limes, I am really trying to reduce that but the texture needs something noisy to be that bushy. Could you point out strongly noisy areas or maybe consider me an example on how to fix the bushes?


Thanks you a lot for the comprehensive feedback, StepDragon!

The light might be a problem. I guess I have to look further into this.
Though the eyes are not the same as a flashlight. I agree that if the eyes would cast rays from the head's inner, it could be like a flashlight.
However while casting and behaving like a sphere being rather on the border between inner and outer, the rays would actually hit the surrounding areas. This would cause some small reflection on her skin. You could imagine it as glowing eyeballs.

The flies will be animated. Here is a rather old (but animated) version of this piece:



I really like your edit on the tree texture, it will be taken into account for my next edit.

Hopefully I will be able to manage the bushes. They are really complex to handle and I get easily lost in their maze-like appearance while fixing them.







Edited by Lakelezz - 12 October 2014 at 1:47pm
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Quote H|F Replybullet Posted: 12 October 2014 at 1:58pm
For the flashing, make it more random if you can rather than strobe-like.

Also maybe one of the "flash" frames be more dim to create a more frightening feel.

This is amazing
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 12 October 2014 at 2:10pm
Haha, yes, do not worry! All of your mentioned points are already taken into account :) This is just pretty old and I wanted to show StepDragon the idea behind the flies.

The animation will be reworked in the very end.
Thanks for your critique! It motivates me to 'outskill' myself even more :)
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Quote JosChavz Replybullet Posted: 12 October 2014 at 3:42pm
Wow! Awsome work, but maybe slow down the GIF? That'll look good. But I love it!
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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 13 October 2014 at 4:39pm
Due the conflict with the light source and the back light (which comes from no light source!) I made some changes:


OLD:


I would be interested in feedback if this was a positive change to the piece? The reason why I can not decide is simply due the destruction of "a lot of work" which comes with this change.


Edited by Lakelezz - 13 October 2014 at 4:40pm
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StepDragon
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Quote StepDragon Replybullet Posted: 13 October 2014 at 11:24pm
YES! I love where you're taking this. The attention to the light source definately improves the overall feel of the piece. Don't think of any changes as 'work lost', everything you've done up until this point has brought you to this point.

I do have a few ideas as to how you can take this another step further. First, while you were removing light from the far side of the dress, you ended up with apparent banding around the front. Let some of your colors mingle a bit and you'll notice it start to feel more fluid.

second, you've darkened the dress, but the bricks on the ground on the far side of the character are still lit. The shadow should extend further.


Side Note: I think the change also highlights the hand holding, which should be a focal point of the piece anyways. It makes you wonder. What? and Why? The more symbolic, the better.

I would also recommend blocking in shapes using your darkest color for the backgrounds. Give it a 'bit' more context. The full back isn't bad, but it feels wasted when you have such a subtle color available to you. Perhaps, some just barely visible clouds, or other (non working) lamps in the background, more bushes, or more path.

Whatever you go with, I know it'll be awesome. I'm happy you decided to try out my idea.

P.S. If you do the cloud idea, you could probably sneak in the moon peeking from behind one of them, giving you a second (but not as bright) light source to work with. Multiple light sources are harder to work with, but if you're really trying to challenge yourself, it may be worth a shot.

Edited by StepDragon - 13 October 2014 at 11:27pm
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Quote PixelSnader Replybullet Posted: 14 October 2014 at 8:48pm
What makes the hair look like a wig is that it's very big in comparison to the face.
As for the light, you only need two frames for the lamppost for a flickering effect:



You can add more intermediates if you want to have a sort of halfway buzzy kind of flicker, but you shouldn't have a nice 'pyramid' animation like 000012343210000. Instead do 0001001023232301001000010 or something. A feeling of randomness is what makes it work.

A possible cool effect could be made by having the lamp be on a bit (1-2) and their eyes off, then the light going on and their eyes off(0), then the lamp flickering halfway a bit more(1-2), and then the lamp going completely off (4) and showing a bunch more slightly glowing eyes in the background for just a frame.

It might be overkill/cliche, but I think if you make it a gif of several seconds long and only have a fraction of a second with a whole group, it'll still have a good effect.

Edited by PixelSnader - 15 October 2014 at 10:52pm

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Lakelezz
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2014 at 6:35am
Thanks for your feedback! I am currently working on an update.

StepDragon, I am not sure if I really want to add much more to this. It will just take more time and someday I need to get to an end.
The shadow might get removed, I am not sure about. I made an edit to show how the new shadow probably would fall.

PixelSnader, thanks for your interesting ideas and precise description! Though your image is not visible. You need to share the file and use that link. Linking directly onto your PC hard drive wont work :P

Here is the main edit:


This the edit with how I personally think the shadows could fall (if extended):



Lastly this is an idea about how the left bush could be more impressive. Still struggling with dirty pixels. It is a suffering:


I am looking forward for your feedback and replies!
Thanks all :)


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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2014 at 11:01am
Okay, I made some critical fixes:
 


The hair of the woman and the girl has now a better lighting on it.
Also the pavement and the woman's dress got cleaned up.

I am still pretty undecided about their shadows.
Please check out my last post to get a proper idea of what I am talking about.
Lastly I am still undecided about the bush update (also on my last post - last picture).



Edited by Lakelezz - 15 October 2014 at 2:35pm
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Quote SuperTurnip Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2014 at 5:54pm
I think something that may make your work a little easier is cutting down on your composition a little. The central elements, the lamp and ghosts, are just really well placed. They are well composed and don't need crazy editing. Consider how you can work your ideas into this central looping path of "face-face-lamp", so that the viewer has an easier time navigating your image.


It also is a big plus to make the most important parts of your image off-center. It's somehow more dynamic and exciting!

If you crop your composition a little bit, you may find that things fall into place easier. I have no idea why this happens, but it does, so consider a tighter composition whilst you work!

By the way, I somehow missed the flashing animation... That is simply the scariest thing ever. Good job, you get a ten out of ten for sheer creepiness!
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Quote PixelSnader Replybullet Posted: 15 October 2014 at 10:54pm
I was a retard and used a C:\ file location instead of an http:// one. Fixed it now.

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Quote skittle Replybullet Posted: 16 October 2014 at 3:01am
Wow, the improvement is great!

For crits, I think that the cobble is far too busy with all those highlights going on. Maybe if you took out the two lightest blues on the ground it would draw more attention to the ghosts? Also, the way the pavement fades into a sort of scratchy texture, looks a tad bit awkward imo.

Edited by ADrawingMan - 16 October 2014 at 3:30am
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 16 October 2014 at 2:11pm
SuperTurnip, you are right. The picture would of course look more interesting / more dynamic when the focal points are not placed in the middle.
I will take a look into this.

Thanks for fixing the link, PixelSnader!
This is exactly what I was going for in my animation. However I need to finish the rest before that.

ADrawingMan, thanks! I am happy to hear that you like the improvement done on this piece!
I am not quite sure about the pavement changes:


It feels like a downgrade to the materialistic effect.
This is what I originally aimed for:


In the end I am still struggling with bushes... As I posted above.. what is better? A rather 'dirty' pattern or the more cluster-based one?
The dirty one occurs to be more realistic though.



Edited by Lakelezz - 16 October 2014 at 2:11pm
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 16 October 2014 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by Lakelezz

... As I posted above.. what is better? A rather 'dirty' pattern or the more cluster-based one?The dirty one occurs to be more realistic though...


Its not a realistic scene so realism should not be a concern.
You are going well cept, I'm still calling for you to be clean with your pixels, k.
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Quote Lakelezz Replybullet Posted: 16 October 2014 at 3:08pm
Yes, I am really trying to stay clean! This scene is of course not realistic but the dirty bushes are feeling more bushy. While I look at these bushes:


It feels like I am building a rather rocky pattern...
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Quote PixelSnader Replybullet Posted: 16 October 2014 at 6:56pm
I also feel that the previous bushes looked more natural. Though you did have a lot of single speckles on it. I think just cleaning it up a bit would be fine though.

Don't forget the drop shadow of the bushes on the road.
I think the tree is very... cartoony in a sense. Just a cyinder with a stick. A general rule of thumb for trees is that the thicker a branch is, the smoother it flows into the trunk or a main branch.

Compare these:
http://lonsdalemedia.net/wp-content/gallery/day-4-perth-city-night/071-kings-park-night.jpg
http://pix.purplecow.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/park_at_night1_sm.jpg
http://static.squarespace.com/static/515aaa6be4b063d29d1c71ea/t/527b81f1e4b05821d4d1f01a/1383825909209/Mikko-Lagerstedt-Night-at-the-Park.jpg

Your branch juts out without any kind of transition. Also, I think the tree would catch significantly less light as well as have a darker bark color than the leaves are.

While we're on light, I think the kind of fish eye effect you get from the tiles and the lamp would work nicely with a bit of a circular cloud clearing, nothing too bright but just to break up the flatness a bit. Perhaps clouds at the top of the image, then a bit of clearing, and then a skyline or a treeline to get back into the darkness. It could also give you a light to put main tree's leave silhouettes in front of. That way you can steer the eye a bit more.

Oh and if you're going to redo the tree... I suggest curving the trunk a bit to also match the fish eye effect.

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Quote Friend Replybullet Posted: 17 October 2014 at 9:37am
I think the cobbles and bushes you had in the second picture in this thread (posted Aug. 23) were the best cobbles and bushes.  (though the bushes especially needed tweaking, were still stylistically sound and you had the right idea, I think)

But I like the progress you've made on the ghost and other additions like the lamp and child etc.

Btw, I could totally do an edit to knock the sketchiness out of the picture for you if you'd like.  I could actually knock out the sketchy while preserving the dirtiness.  I also disagree a bit with the early crits about the dirty pixeling.  Yes, some parts were dirty, but there is a slight difference between pixeling dirty and pixeling sketchy.  Pixeling dirty is more about not being afraid to bypass a few "pixel rules" such as avoiding single pixels and jagged lines etc etc.  Pixeling sketchy is more about having uncontrolled pixels, to where your pixel placements aren't very mindful, and thus begin to degenerate your piece into less of pixel art and more of "oakaki" or pixel scribbles


Edited by Friend - 17 October 2014 at 9:45am
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