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Big WIP: Trying different things!

Printed From: Pixel Joint
Category: Pixel Art
Forum Name: WIP (Work In Progress)
Forum Discription: Get crits and comments on your pixel WIPs and other art too!
Printed Date: 15 April 2021 at 6:45am

Topic: Big WIP: Trying different things!
Posted By: AshCrimson
Subject: Big WIP: Trying different things!
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 8:32am
After viewing HarveyDentMustDie's thread on one of his excellent WIP pieces (thread here: -

I wanted to see if i could make characters in a similar fashion because i liked the simplicity of it as well as how detailed they were given their size, without completely copying his style.

So here's my attempt, 8 attempts with various differences, some with differing leg positions, thicker hands etc. I know some of the differences are minor, but i am aware that at such a size those differences can be more readily seen.

I'm not too worried about colour at this point as im more concerned with the actual structure of the person and whether more or less detail is needed to convey that it's a person and to make it more readable.

Also wanted to give thanks to HarveyDentMustDie since it was his simplistic character WIP that inspired me to give this a try.

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 8:36am
Well, they all look the same, just with minor changes. If anything, 8 is the only one that stands out as the most detailed in respect to the size.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 8:46am
Thanks for the comment Level one, I appreciate that the differences are minor, i guess i was just worried that some of the looked too static (Numbers 2,4 and 7 come to mind) so i included them for comparisons sake, as well as 3,4,5,6 because i wasn't entirely sure if the leg looked right, if i over AA-ed it or if it wasn't anatomically correct.

Personally im leaning towards 8 so far, but i want to ensure it's correct before i start using it as a base in which to make other characters. I'm not sure if i'll stick with the details on the faces though (mouth, eyes, possibly nose), it's all up in the air so far.

Posted By: Zeratanus
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 9:32am
8, definitely. 1 and 2 are boring, and 3-6 have the leg bent so far that the foot couldn't be flat on the ground, and 7 doesnt have as well of defined arms, and the pose is more dull because of it.

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 9:44am
Well here is the thing, you don't just want to use 8 as your base, maybe you should try other character body types, a fat body, a tall and skinny body, a short body etc.
8 seems very average, which isn't bad, but if you want to create more body types, you should diverse your options a bit.

Posted By: SuperTurnip
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 9:59am
I'm disagreeing with Level 1 here, on the note that character design is character design, and we're only going to suggest stuff about that if we think it really needs to change. Your character is fine, in my opinion. Not only that, your readability is great for all of the takes you've drawn. As for presenting your design dynamically, try making the shoulders less symmetrical, because the torso looks twisted towards the screen right now. This could be interesting; keep on drawing!

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 10:01am
I didn't say the character is bad. I said that if he wants to use it as a base then that's fine, but he should try and make more dynamic bases for variety.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 11:26am
I'll stick with version 8, edit it and branch out as required which brings me onto Level 1's point; you're right i should also create more varied bases, at least in terms of body types at first. Thanks so much for reminding me, truth be told i was sort of worried all characters from said base would look too generic and "samey" so having differing body types will hopefully solve that problem.

So here's my attempt at differing body types:

A = Average SH = Short Sk = Skinny T = Tall F = Fat

I'm not sure if the proportions on Short or Tall are correct and im not sure if fat reads as having a fat body.

I've also made the shoulders less symmetrical like you said SuperTurnip, hopefully it looks better this way.

Thanks all of you for the input so far, I appreciate it.

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 11:34am
Hmm, well their poses are all the same, which isn't bad for a base, though I wish the that SK longer arms, also, for T, make its chest more pumped, as if he it had muscles, and F, well fat bodies are the hardest for me, but I have to say that F has the same height as A, which means it's legs should be a bit thicker as well, and shorter. - Here is a good reference.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 11:45am
Hopefully this addresses what you said, apologies if it doesn't:

Wasn't sure how to make tall look more buff unfortunately.

Again thanks, i appreciate it.

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 11:55am
No need to apologize man, we all have to start somewhere haha, and well one way to show muscles i=on the chest, is to widen them, that shows pectoral muscles, and F is looking a lot better, more realistic, yet it retains that simplistic look you are aiming for.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 12:10pm
Widened his chest and shoulders, added another pixel to the arm to make his arms look more muscled as well:

Hopefully it's not too over the top!

I also changed F slightly.

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 12:17pm
Nah it seems rather fine as a base, I'd say that with this you can start making original characters

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 12:35pm
I'm going to try to do different poses for them all, rather than them just being static:

My biggest issue is ensuring the details survive the transition between each pose, such as the muscled arms on the tall guy.

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 14 April 2014 at 4:57pm
So far it looks fine to me

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 15 April 2014 at 4:23am
Quick update with some character ideas down:

Not sure if the arms look and are "right" when they're holding something. Tried to keep the size of them consistant per body type.

I also tried to emulate chain-mail armour, not sure if it reads as that however.

0 Is natural stance, 1 is the arm bent,  but i wasn't sure it looked right since it looked too big, 2 is the arm forward, but it looked too thin and 3 is similar to 2 but i added a pixel between his arm and chest, which his arm look consistantly big for me at least. I know those are minor changes but every pixel counts and i want to ensure they remain readable and at that size (or roughly about that size).

I think the arms on the ones above the warriors may be too long and uneven (just about a pixel extra long in length).

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 15 April 2014 at 10:11am
Added a wizard, tried making him hold his staff vertically but not sure if it looks correct or right. Added a quiver to the archer, hopefully it's readable, as well as the strap holding it.

So far: Fighter/Warrior, Archer/Ranger, Cleric/Priest, Another-fighter?/Thief And lastly Mage.

Posted By: Stitchy
Date Posted: 15 April 2014 at 10:31am
These are coming along nicely. Here are my opinions on some of the poses:

- In general, I think the characters (except for the friar) that are holding an object out are holding them just slightly too far out; they look a little awkward. I'd pull them in by a pixel.

- The archer would likely either hold the bow at his side in a non-combat idle stance, but the best pose would likely be him holding the bow and arrow together near his crotch, kind of like the rogue from Diablo:

- The wizard might look best with either the staff actually resting on the ground or similar to the first pose where he's holding it diagonally, just a bit closer to the body. To use another Diablo example, kind of like the - Sorceress' staff pose .


Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 15 April 2014 at 12:27pm
Like this?

Thanks so much for the comment Stitchy; I've reduced the arms holding out the weapons by one pixel, changed the staff and how it's held, let the archer hold his bow further down in a more restful position.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 15 April 2014 at 3:16pm
A very quick animation, nothing final just wanted to see what they'd be like if they were animated, albeit crudely:

Posted By: Level 1
Date Posted: 16 April 2014 at 2:36am
The cape on the knight isn't moving like the feather in the archer.

Posted By: Stitchy
Date Posted: 16 April 2014 at 9:48am
I very much like how the pose on the archer and wizard turned out, much more comfortable and natural! ^^

As far as the new animation is concerned, I agree with Level 1 that the cape should be moving. I also think the knight and the priest's long weapons should raise up along with them as they bob upwards. It kind of looks like they're uh... working the shaft. /winkwinknudgenudge


Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 16 April 2014 at 10:07am
Yeah... sorry about that! I'm thinking of making a mock-up (maybe a game, who knows) of a stratgy RPG like shining force. I'm going to create a few more characters, one per class, whilst trying to make them each look unique and properly defining their role... or try at least.

Posted By: Stitchy
Date Posted: 16 April 2014 at 11:05am
What the heck are you apologizing for, you silly goose? It happens, lol. ^^ That sounds cool, I've heard of Shining Force but have never actually played the games myself, sadly. Anyway, waiting eagerly to see more!


Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 16 April 2014 at 11:24am
Here's my attempt at three different warrior/fighter classes with their own unique class progression (think of Final fantasy tactics, advance or advance 2 or shining force series):

First row:

1 = Warrior 2 = Shieldman 3= Templer (Heavily armoured spear wielder) 4 = Bulwark (heavily armoured shieldman with large tower shield)

Second row:

1 = Warrior 2 = Fencer 3 = Duelist (Dual-wielding swordsman) 4 = Kensi/Weaponmaster

Third row: To be done

1 = Warrior

I'm a tad worried about the Bulwark and Templer, not sure if the heavy armour looks right or reads as armour.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 17 April 2014 at 2:29am
I wanted to go (at least in the first row) from leather armour, to chainmail and then plate, not sure if it looks like any of those however.

Posted By: Hadi
Date Posted: 17 April 2014 at 3:12am
Looks cool, Awesome improvement.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 17 April 2014 at 3:30am
Another quick update;

Still not satisfied with some of them, may have rushed somewhat.

Trying to make the second warrior, third row, look like he's wielding a large sword by holding it in two hands, did some minor edits, played around etc.

Is the readability bad, or can you still make out whats happening/that they're warriors/fighters/etc?

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 17 April 2014 at 12:31pm
Yet another update! Some more class-types, changed some of the poses, tried to make it look like the heavily armoured tower-shield using guy was either resting the sword on his shoulder or holding it up. Not sure which one looks best, changed the way the 1st row 3rd warrior held his spear, not sure where to go with the 2nd row 4th warrior/kensi/weapon master guy. And i tried to make it look like the 3rd row 3rd knight was wielding a twohanded mace.

I'd really like some feedback on how readable they are and if the arms, body etc look right, as well as the proportions. I've tried to make their stances look less uniform and less static as well.

Apologies if the picture is chaotic, trying my hand at making more. I get the horrible feeling that they look and feel rushed, to me at least.

Also, sorry if im asking too much, just really unsure what to do at the moment with this piece.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 18 April 2014 at 6:38am
Another update, started on the Priest line of classes:


1st Row: 1 = Priest 2 = Cleric 3 = Bishop 4 = Healer (TBD)

2nd Row: 1 = Priest 2 = Speaker 3 = Chanter/Choir Master 4 = Demaoguge

3rd Row: 1= Priest 2 = TBD 3 = TBD 4 = TBD (3rd row will probably be based upon cultists most likely).

Also did a quick animation of the previous warriors, as well as some small changes:

Apologies if im posting too much, i just wanted to show my progress, I'll probably do two more class lines after this; Mages/Spellcasters and thieves/Bandits (Coupled with archers/Peltasts/Javelin throwers).

Not sure if i'll do a mock up, but this is good practise at least.

Posted By: Noburo
Date Posted: 18 April 2014 at 7:01am
In regards to what Stitchy mentioned earlier about the hand sliding up and down pole: It definitely needed to be addressed as it looked very odd, but I wonder if a better direction to take it would be to have it stay completely static, and have the arm change it's angle. Currently the most recent post with a sword looks like its just being continually thrust into the ground. It would also add a little bit more subtle realism to the sprites. Even if only a couple of the sprites do it, it will add a sense of real physical limitation to all of them.

Posted By: Mr.Fahrenheit
Date Posted: 18 April 2014 at 9:24am
Yeah its a little weird that their legs just shorten for the animation, maybe add some bend to give it more believablity.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 18 April 2014 at 9:30am
Originally posted by Mr.Fahrenheit

Yeah its a little weird that their legs just shorten for the animation, maybe add some bend to give it more believablity.

A bend in their knee or in the body as a whole? I'm not sure what you mean. I'll edit them later, hopefully i will be able to make them look more natural.

Just wondering, is it easy to make out what they are, do they look too samey etc? The reason i am harping so much about readability is if they can't be distinguished i am not sure i should continue.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 18 April 2014 at 12:33pm
Just a quick mock-up of a class-description screen, pretty basic atm.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 19 April 2014 at 4:57am
I was wondering about doubling the units sprites in size, but when i try doing that, it ends up looking wierd and im not sure where to start, anyone got any advice/information? I'll post my attempt at making it bigger and more detailed later, when i get a chance sorry!

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 19 April 2014 at 8:04am
Here's what i mean:

I'm not sure if the legs were right, so i tried making them look bigger (1) since when i kept them the same size on 2 they looked way too thin, also not sure about the chest area, im not sure which bit would be in the dark, etc.

I may have also AA-ed a bit too much. Sorry if i am posting too many times in a row, im just really unsure when it comes to doing characters, at least with items like shields i sort of know where i am.

Posted By: SuperTurnip
Date Posted: 19 April 2014 at 10:52am
All right! You're making some stellar progress.
All the different classes (and their readability) is okay, it's just a matter of bringing their silhouettes to another level of distinction. I want to bring up the age-old example of Team Fortress 2's classes:

After minutes of playing, all of these shapes immediately mean something, regardless of what ridiculous hats or accessories are piled on top. Think about shape recognition!

The mock-up class description screen has a case of "important text being bland", and the identical symbols restricted to one color don't make it easy to read. Get some visual hierarchy in this thing! Small text, bold text, green text, red text. Typography doesn't have to be boring, it just needs to be effective!

Your size increase is well done, but do you need to do it?
Increasing the size is a mixed blessing. You get to know things about your character that were only implied earlier, but you have to face your own uncertainty about what a character looks like. Most importantly, making something bigger can sap the life and vitality from its crunchy, vibrant pixels. Sometimes you'll miss how the small size of early sprites gives them fantastic, engaging posture or form, and on runs the risk of making them more mundane when one "improves" them. So your enlargement is well done, no errors of skill or talent there, but you have to ask yourself if it's needed to describe what you are drawing.

As for knowing where you are, you're doing great. Finding the right balance between small pixels and inventive design is challenging, but your work is a good mix of the two. Keep on having fun drawing, and let the playfulness and experimental attitude grow and flourish.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 19 April 2014 at 12:14pm
Thanks for the comment SuperTurnip! I'm sort of looking at this a practise, to see if i could actually do a character sprite and to challenge myself, get myself out of the comfort zone of doing just objects. I personally like the smaller ones and think they look good atm, but i won't really know until there's an alternative version.

I've enarged the three other body types (minus the skinny one for now). When i've done them all, i might try recreating the other classes and comparing them and seeing if they end up looking better.

Just some questions; did i over AA the arms and shoulders? I'm not sure how well the fat one comes across, i think i may have lost some of the bulkiness of the green, tall muscle guy, to me the left leg of the small yellow guy looks suspect and im a tad worried about the hands in general throughout them.

Quick update:

I'm not sure if i should have them standing forwards like in the lower left corner, or whether i should try to change the chest to match the sort-of side ways look like i attempted at (but failed) in the top right-hand.

Also included: Skinny guy and attempt at two of the warriors.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 20 April 2014 at 6:53am
Another update, probably a more subtle one;

Tried to fix the issue of the arms and chest not matching the perspective of the legs, as well as making it so they aren't too symmetrical.

I'm not too keen on the arms of the characters holding the staffs.

I feel like i've improved somewhat.

Posted By: inphy
Date Posted: 20 April 2014 at 7:14am
The priest in the blue with the staff looks pretty swole, which might be what you want, but the lighting is a bit inconsistent. The whole chest is lit, but the skirt part seems like it's being lit by some other light source in a different position.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 20 April 2014 at 7:23am
Thanks for point that out about the inconsistant lighting Inphy! I kind of wanted a more imposing physique for the bishop/blue-robed priest.

Here's a quick edit, hopefully fixing the light-issue for that priest.

Is the other priest (brown-robed) afflicted with the same issue? If so i will change him as well.

Posted By: inphy
Date Posted: 20 April 2014 at 8:43am
I think that looks a bit more consistent, although now it highlights another potential issue - the skirt looks like kind of clamped down from the top and the bell starts maybe a bit too low. Try starting the bell at the waist, see if you like that.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 20 April 2014 at 12:01pm
Thanks again for the advice, I've tried to do that, hopefully it won't look so weird now!

I've also added a few more characters/units. I'm specifically worried about the wizard's (In between Warrior with shield and archer)left arm and whether or not it looks correct.

I feel like im getting better, even if it's incrementally, so thank you for persisting with me so far!

Posted By: Mr.Fahrenheit
Date Posted: 20 April 2014 at 4:20pm
Try occluding/covering some of the back arm with the chest if you want it to be in 3/4s view. Nice going on the increase in size. The increased fidelity helps a lot. Good job so far!

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 21 April 2014 at 10:55am
Thanks for the comment Mr Fahrenhei, i might give that a go.

Quite a big update (in terms of characters done):

I'm a tad worried about the knight; wasn't sure how to make it look like plate armour so i tried 3 variations, a minimalist one (1), a more detailed version (2) and a compromise between those two variations (3).

Hopefully the other characters still look decent.

Posted By: SuperTurnip
Date Posted: 21 April 2014 at 11:22am
The materials are certainly tricky. I think that you need to really think about form more--minimalism, to me at least, is more than just leaving stuff out. It might actually take a bit of putting stuff in to give these characters the three dimensions they really need.
Everyone here is stiff around the shoulders. The stance works, but sometimes falls short of what it could be. In terms of characters done, however, nicely done! They do work, and it'll take just a bit more for them to shine.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 21 April 2014 at 11:29am
Thanks for pointing out the stiffness in the shoulder's SuperTurnip, which results in a stiffer stance. Is there anything i can do to remedy this in terms of techniques? Do you think applying Mr Fahrenheit's advice might aid in making them more three-dimensional?

Characters, their design, stances, anatomy is really out of my comfort zone and is the weakest area i have. I'll go over all of them at some point, hopefully making them look better and putting a bit more work into them, i may have rushed them slightly, so sorry about that!

Posted By: SuperTurnip
Date Posted: 21 April 2014 at 11:57am
No need to apologize for your own work :)
Mr. Fahrenheit's advice may help, but you know the drill: experimentation is the key to success! You're doing the right thing by iterating your work and doing different things. Stiffness in characters is only eased by the massage of practice, in my experience. Learning when to drop the arm down more than you think you should, where to extend a leg just so that the weight seems to fall on it, is something that comes with the care you are taking. Your new characters are an improvement. They seem to really pop out, and they have more dimension. It helps that your colors are simply awesome--they really fit with the characters!
Is that banding I see around the chests of some of the basic characters? And the stomach of the big guy as well? Watch out for that!

You're doing fine. Keep up the good work.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 21 April 2014 at 2:04pm
Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it!

I've been working around with the basic characters again, in an attempt to address some of the issues raised by Superturnip (just a note im solely focusing on the torso and chest and arms in this piece):

Green: 1: Original (from 2 and onwards i moved the left arm a pixel-closer to the chest) 2: Tried suggesting a chest... but ended up looking somewhat like breasts? 3: Tried to make it less obvious. 4: Kind of going back to the original chest, reduced unneeded AA.

Blue: 1: Original 2: Similar to green 4, reduced AA.

Fat: 1: Original 2: Reduced banding and AA, tried to suggest more girth but now i have the issue of it facing straight outwards... tried dealing with it by sculpting it with shadows, not sure if it worked.

Small: 1: Original 2: Reduced AA (was way too much of it on his arms), tried to define chest more.

Purple (Skinny): 1: Original 2: Reduced AA, tried to define chest more.

As always, any criticisms, advice or comments are appreciated.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 22 April 2014 at 2:53am
A much needed editing of most of my characters:

Key: 1 = Original 2 = Edit

Comparatively small edits, but some much needed reducing of AA-ing (Since there was simply too much) around the arms and chest. Changed chest sizes from the character bases i posted in my last update. Some other changes, colour, size etc.

I'm unsure if i should changing the AA-ing on the legs, i tried reducing it but it looked worse, to me at least.

Apologies if this thread is getting so long, but i want to keep going until i feel the characters are good enough (in terms of arm, structure, uniqueness etc) to submit. I don't really mind how many edits i have to make as well, because i feel with each edit im learning something, no matter how small.

Thanks everyone so much, for the assistance so far.

Posted By: Mr.Fahrenheit
Date Posted: 22 April 2014 at 7:31am
I think for the arm that instead of sliding it farther over I would try redrawing the shape, because you drew the front of the arm rather then the side, so the shape would change.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 22 April 2014 at 10:10am
Sorry if i sound stupid, but im not exactly sure how i'd go about doing that?

For more content, tried to make it look like the arm isn't in front, didn't re-draw it as im unsure of how i would do that:

Key: 1 = Original 2 = Edit

Should i leave the the right arm slightly smaller, so it implies it's not in front of the chest?

Posted By: Mr.Fahrenheit
Date Posted: 22 April 2014 at 2:54pm
Actually now that I think of it it doesnt really need to be changed too much, but its the chest that I think is causing the weird perspective :p, sorry. Take a look at my edits chest and how there it is shaded. If you simplify the chest's shape its sort of like a box. The way you drew it only shows the front of the box when you need to also show the side at this perspective.

The top is how you drew the chest (simplified)
The bottom is how you might go about drawing it at the right perspective.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 22 April 2014 at 11:42pm
Thanks for the example Mr Fahrenheit!

Here's my attempt at doing what you said:

Hopefully that follows the perspective more!

I haven't done the fat body yet, will probably do it later on.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 23 April 2014 at 11:01am
Another update:

1: Original
2: Edit With the chest i made before, as well as faces now, not sure how well they read, but i felt leaving them blank may have detracted, but if the faces do detract from the characters i will edit them as required.

Changed Archer and mage, as well.

Edit: Radically altered warriors in plate armour, hopefully it looks better now.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 24 April 2014 at 2:27pm
Is there anything else i can do, in terms of the body? Should i keep the current AA on the legs, or should i reduce it?

I'm also thinking of trying to make female versions but not really sure how to.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 25 April 2014 at 1:15pm
I'm considering submitting these soon to the gallery, with the edited versions.

Either that or create some more, until i have enough for three or four seperate versions (warriors, priests, archers and wizards/mages)

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 29 April 2014 at 10:10am
Even though i've submitted them, i've been working on a bigger version for practice reasons and to further put me out of my comfort zone since anatomy and creating people is what i feel to be my weakest point:

Apologies if this is against the rules, but i didn't want to create yet another thread when i still have this one up and because it's sort of the same topic.

I'm sort of worried about... well everything.

Posted By: Mr.Fahrenheit
Date Posted: 29 April 2014 at 4:46pm
At this size it seems like you can start looking into anatomy more so then at the smaller sizes. Getting the proportions right is probably the first thing I would go for. Check out some diagrams by Loomis on anatomy.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 8:38am
Thanks for the advice Mr Fahrenheit, I'm definitely going to be looking over anatomy and the human body to get the proportions more accurate.

By loomis who do you mean exactly?


Andrew Loomis is it? Just found some of his books online!

Also here's a quick edit, hopefully the proportions look better (not sure about legs and arms...)

Posted By: Noburo
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 10:50am
Here is a quick edit I made on the chunky dude.

The body form needs work and the lines need to be cleaned up. Right now the torso looks like it is facing straight forward while the legs and head are at an angle. Even though pixel art is 2d, you still need to think of the objects in 3 dimensions to properly understand and depict depth.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 11:00am
Thanks for the edit Noboru!

I will probably make the face and legs straight forwards, since im not sure how to make the chest look like it's at an angle at the moment.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 12:34pm
Does this look any better? Does the chest look like it's angled or is it still facing forwards? I realise the first one looks straight ahead, but im refering to the second one.

Tried also angling the feet.

Posted By: inphy
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 1:39pm
Regarding proportions, it's still a bit off, although that might be desired for a more cartoony style. It's convenient to imagine more realistic proportions as "heads", for example split into 8 units like you have, but where the height of one unit is the height of the head.

A really fast and crude example of how it might look with realistic proportions:

Posted By: Noburo
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 2:02pm

Another edit. There are a few things that I worked on.
1. The pectoral muscles were still centered in the middle of the screen. When they are from an angled view the closest one to the viewer will partially cover the other, so the center will be moved.
2. You need to be more careful in your use of AA. It should be used more as a means to properly create shapes, not just to hide the pixels by making blend into the background. Look at the edit I did to the legs. I use the AA as almost a half pixel in places that a full one would incorrectly form the shape.
3. Shoulders are much too broad for a character of this build type.
4. I gave him a little hair flip just because.

5. His current arm pose was very gorilla-esque. Updated it to a much more suitable idle pose.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 2:09pm
I really appreciate both of your comments Inphy and Noburo. I don't want to straight up copy your edits, but they give me an idea of what direction i should be going towards.

Also i confess my AA is pretty bad, still getting used to when and how i should use it.

Posted By: tyrant
Date Posted: 30 April 2014 at 5:00pm
Hey, hope you don't mind me barging in, but you really seem to be having trouble with the 3/4 views you're attempting. You've gotten some good advice and nice pixel-overs, but I don't think you've grasped the main concepts behind the edits.

You need to visualize the center line of your characters and imagine how it moves when they change angles to make a convincing 3/4 view. Here's a little diagram of what I mean:

There's a line dividing human figures in two equal sides. Imagining a line like this will help you line up the different parts of your characters. You can use the spine for the same purpose when drawing a back-view.

And here I've applied it to some mannikins based on your work:

You can also see that the line is more curved on the heavier guy. It' getting pushed out by the fat/muscle underneath. Being aware of these guide-lines will help you construct your characters in a more 3-dimensional way.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 12:22am
I'll confess that anatomy and art in general confuses me, but hopefully in time that'll pass.

Thanks Tyrant for the advice and edits, apologies for the exasperation. I might be looking at the edits too literally sorry.

Here's what i've done so far:

1 is the original for comparison

2 is before i read Tyrant's post

3 is after i read Tyrant's post

4 is also after, but i wasn't sure if the body looked right but  i left it in for comparison's sake.

Thanks again, for all the help, apologies for the slow progress. When it comes to drawing items i am good but when it comes to drawing characters, where's the more ambiguity im not good, hopefully this thread and the advice will help me improve upon that aspect.

Posted By: Noburo
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 6:39am
You have a pretty extreme/unnatural arc on his back there. He's almost looking like some sort of weird snake man. I took #3 and filled in his back.

Pro tip: When you spend so much time looking at the same piece you start getting used to what your looking at. You can flip your canvas horizontally to get a fresh perspective.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 8:26am
Thanks for the edit Noburo.
I'm trying the 8-heads thing Inphy suggested, and this is the problem im having so far:

I tried making the head smaller, but both of them still came to under 6.5 heads.

Should i remake it to fit 8 heads? Also if i do it that way, won't all the other characters be technically the same height judging by head shape?

Edit: Played around with heads again, not sure if they look too small/big

Posted By: tyrant
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 1:09pm
It's looking better! The figure definitely reads as being turned slightly away from the viewer now.

As for the 8-heads proportions, I wouldn't bother with it. Your guys have a cartoony, exaggerated look to them, so trying to manipulate them to 8-heads tall is going to be a lot of work with little payoff. I feel that readability takes priority over realistic proportions and unless you are working with very large sprites (like for a fighting game) you'll end up with some exaggeration.

To answer your question: Yes, shorter people are less than 8-heads tall, more like 6 1/2-heads or even down to 5. Using 8 makes it easy to divide the figure up into equal sections and that's why it's popular for learning how to draw people. It's something to read up on and maybe apply to your next project, but you're pretty deep into this one to start messing with the foundation.

As for not being good, everyone has to start somewhere :)

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 3:12pm
Good to know, i was worried every character would need 8 heads worth of space, i appreciate the advice and comments you've given me so far! Characters aren't my strong point so i was always going to struggle, but i feel like i've learnt alot and improved since the start of this thread, especially after each time i upped the size.

Also here's a further update, tried my hand at the other body types, fat one is the most unfinished. Tried to make the skinny purple guy and blue average one look less sameish, not sure if i got it down though.

Sorry if the updates don't show much progress.

Posted By: tyrant
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 4:04pm
Just a couple more nitpicks here...

I added some pixels to the shadows under their armpits on the left to try and make their chests more angular. The darker pixels over their armpits on the right makes the pecs look too curved, almost like boobs. Also, when you are slimming down the skinny guy you need to take care not to just take pixels off of his waist, that gives him an hourglass shape, a traditionally feminine figure.

I think the tall guy is the most successful right now.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 01 May 2014 at 4:18pm
Thanks for pointing out the issue with the thin guy and the waist! I'll make an edit with your worfds in mind and work more on them, will post later.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 02 May 2014 at 12:09am
Quick update:

Hopefully the chest looks more male this time!

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 02 May 2014 at 11:06am
Wasn't sure what to do next, so decided to do this:

If the bases need more work just tell me and i'll go back to concentrating on them.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 03 May 2014 at 7:57am
Tried to replicate a more realistic base (tallest, next to scale).

Sorry if it doesn't seem like much of a change, i sort of wanted to keep the style consistant, whilst applying a more realistic (in terms of proportions) look to it.

Posted By: tyrant
Date Posted: 03 May 2014 at 1:31pm
Looking better! The new guy isn't bad, but I think adding him in changes the context of the others. Now they look kind of like kids to me. I would save working on realistic proportions for a future project since this one already has a style going.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 03 May 2014 at 1:56pm
Thanks! I just wanted to see if i could do it, it's given me some more ideas about what i should do with the current bases. I didn't really make it to be in the same group, more of a "what i think a more realistic one would look like".

Posted By: tyrant
Date Posted: 03 May 2014 at 2:29pm
Ah, I see. Experimenting like that'll definitely help you in the long run :D

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 04 May 2014 at 1:44am
Smaller update; some of the proportions (mostly shoulders) for all of the bases looked a tad wrong, especially for the fat and short versions. Added more shadows underneath the left arm, made small edits to the chest such as adding more shadow to hopefully reinforce the fact they're turned slightly, made the short base's shoulders a bit broader, widened fat base's legs, as well as his hips, which looked a bit odd in comparison to the torso. Also tried to add more depth to the groin and legs.

Also did some small edits to the (more) realistic base.

1 indicates original

2 indicates edit

I'm not sure what else to do at this point, so any further suggestions, advice, critique, etc would be welcome!

Posted By: Kaz
Date Posted: 04 May 2014 at 2:36am
If you're happy with the shape i think now it's time to focus on accessories and positioning For example the monk/priest has his arm holding out the staff which looks good but the knight and the guy with the rapier just kind of hold it. Maybe try and shape them into a battle stance.

Edit: Made a rough idea (i know it's a bit derpy but you get the point)

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 1:15am
Thanks for reminding me to make the poses less static, Kaz. Took your critique and advice into account:

Also tried a few more of the ones i did previously.

Posted By: CELS
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 5:24am
Are you using any references for these? Do you have a specific time period in mind?

I think you need to go back and look at tyrant's advice in regards to the perspective and proportions. The base models look very werid due to the whole hips and chest region, both their proportions, their perspective and the way they're shaded. Again, you should probably find a reference for the view you're looking for (unless you want to pull your sleeves up and really practice drawing human anatomy for a few hundred hours) and try to follow it closely.

Right now, it kind of looks like you're just pixelling without a good sense of direction so it ends up looking a bit odd. The easiest way to fix this is to use lots and lots of references.

You've chosen to make the thigh really bright and the shins really dark, to illustrate that the thighs are angled more horizontally, compared to the shins which are angled more vertically. That is good. It makes sense. For the arms, you've done the opposite. The upper arms are bright, the lower arms are dark. Why is that?

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 5:49am
In regards to references, im not really using any. I'll try to find references for people positioned at such an angle.

In regards to the disparity of brightness between the arm and thigh, i guess i wasn't really thinking about shadows, i was more thinking about "how i can make this read/look like an arm".

Thanks for showing me that i still need to work on the bases, i recognise they're not proportionally accurate. I'll use some references this time and edit them accordingly (with your advice as well as other's in mind).

I do try to take advice into consideration, but i often forgot there's deeper connotations to it and just look at it literal as in "oh s/he's done this so i should do that" If that makes any sense?


Posted By: king_bobston
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 7:37am
In addition to what CELS said, look at head proportions (position of eyes, top of head)! Your big sprites don't have much room for their brains.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 9:27am
Tried to make the chest look... more chest like?

Tried to base it on the first chest on this reference, but wasn't exactly sure how to do without radically changing the chest.

I'm also unsure if i should mark the lines on the chest.

Posted By: CELS
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 2:28pm
Getting edits and advice on anatomy from me is like getting tips on enunciation from Mike Tyson. But since no one else is volunteering at the moment, I'll try my best.

After critiquing someone, it's always humbling to do an edit and realize you may not be able to do much better.

And none of these apologies! If everyone who made mistakes had to apologize, this forum wouldn't have room for anything else. And I don't pretend to offer any kind of objective truth, I'm just giving my opinion. You've every right to say "I see what you're saying, but f**k off" if that is your inclination.

With that out of the way:

I honestly had trouble deciding which way the shoulders are facing on your guy. One issue is that it seems like you want him to be facing the right, by the way his arms and feet are directed. Yet you're using a front pose for reference, so his shoulders and hips seem to be directed towards the viewer. Which way do you want him to be facing? Find a reference that matches what you want.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 3:08pm
Thanks so much for the explanation Cels.

I might end up completely changing the perspective, especially if it's continuing to be an issue.

I asked on another forum about what i could possibly do and one person suggested changing the shading so:

I'll make an edit with your words in mind.

Posted By: skittle
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 3:27pm
This looks to be coming along nicely. One thing I noticed though is that maybe the neck comes down too far from the shoulders. And also, maybe the neck should be moved up one pixel like this?

I don't know a lot about anatomy, but he looks a bit hunched over with his neck in the current position that it is in.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 3:51pm
I'll make sure to lengthen the neck in future edits ADrawingMan.

Tried editing the legs, arms, feet.

I feel like i've just made it worse. I really liked the original pose, but if it's not correct i'll change it. I'm just worried that it looks increasingly awkward.

Posted By: Friend
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 5:01pm
adrawingman didn't say to make the neck longer. He was talking about positioning of the neck inside the torso region. Take a look, he moved the neck further back so that it sits on top of the torso, you have your neck a bit inside the torso, which is not accurate in your perspective, so it makes him look like hes hunching his head

Posted By: tyrant
Date Posted: 05 May 2014 at 6:06pm
This is just some more art theory for general anatomy help.

When you're creating figures/characters from imagination the musculature isn't as important as the 'landmarks' of the body. 'Landmarks' are major points of interest: joints like an elbow, features like a nose, or major plane changes like the jaw line. Once you're working as small as your sprites are, you don't have the space to render the serratus anterior or the sartorius muscles. So they get cut in favor of the major landmarks.

I've boiled the torso down to 4 major landmarks: the collar bone, the pectoral muscles, the bottom of the ribcage, and the bellybutton. You can also see how that looks on a more naturalistic(still somewhat cartoony) figure on the right.

Some other notes on proportion, the tips of the fingers should hit the thigh at half way down when the figure is standing up straight. The arm is a little bent and the leg is angled, but you can measure the arm to double check.

And when you're choosing reference, I'd steer clear of super-stylized images unless you're trying to imitate the style.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 1:48am
Dealing exclusively with the chest, do you mean something like this:

Posted By: king_bobston
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 6:02am
I've made an edit and then got carried away doing it. I don't even quite remember what I wanted to type :(

Here it is anyway!

I guess my main point was the brain thing and to point out that the bottom of the ribcage goes up towards the middle - which isn't so important because it's not as visible as the outer sides of the bottom of the ribcage. Also don't worry too much about details - getting the basic 3D shape right is more important!

Because every human is inclined to make mistakes (and I'm very sure my edit is not flawless), it's up to you to validate the correctness of what's posted here. Google images of torsos, undress yourself in front of a mirror, undress other people if you have to (only with their consent, of couse ;) ) etc.

If I remember what I was going to initially say I might revise this post.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 10:16am
It's probably important to note at this stage that im not exactly wanting them to be a 100 percent anatomically correct, especially given the style they're done in. I just want them to be correct in terms of body shape and if it looks like an actual person.

Apologies if i sounded dismissive, i do appreciate the edits and feedback so far!

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 1:22pm
Some more changes, mostly small:

One row with chest lines shown, other row with out, one column with shading based upon perspective, one without.

Still playing around with the lines, may change them.


Tried to reduce the lines, to imply a chest.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 11:34am
Tried changing the chest again

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 2:30pm
Decided to stop making bigger characters until i have a better understanding of anatomy and human form.

With that said, i also decided to make the previous base slightly bigger and applied what i learnt to it:

Trying to go down the Shining Force Route, so may eventually make a behind version.

Posted By: AshCrimson
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 10:40am
Further edit, with some more examples of the characters.

  • Making the shoulders more visable
  • Making the chest more visable
  • Showed collarbone.
  • Made arms more accurate in terms of length, especially with hand placement.

Hopefully this is an improvement. I'm sort of happy with the size so far.

As per usual, any Comments, Critique, Advice, etc is welcome!

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