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How would you go about thumbnailing pixel art?

Printed From: Pixel Joint
Category: The Lounge
Forum Name: Resources and Support
Forum Discription: Help your fellow pixel artists out with links to good tutorials, other forums, software, fonts, etc. Bugs and support issues should go here as well.
Printed Date: 11 August 2022 at 4:19am

Topic: How would you go about thumbnailing pixel art?
Posted By: JamesOrthII
Subject: How would you go about thumbnailing pixel art?
Date Posted: 05 April 2021 at 3:24pm
For example, when doing paid digital commission or freelance work for a high-resolution drawing (non-pixel art), it's common practice to submit WIP samples to the client during the process. It's also common practice to make sure that these WIP samples are "thumbnail size," usually less than 25% of the final work. This is necessary to make sure your art and/and services are not stolen by a bad-faith client.

With drawings, it's really easy to downscale a work, and even apply a light watermark. So even if they steal your image, it's only a very tiny sample image, and not the full-size image.

But I'm wondering how that could be done for pixel art works? Since the "full image" is already at it's lowest-resolution, it's not really possible to downscale pixel art any further without completely destroying the composition.

I was thinking it might be possible to upscale it (like 400%) and apply a light noise filter over the work to scramble the pixels a little bit. Then maybe rotate the image by 2 degrees or so. This would make it somewhat difficult for a bad-faith actor to "reverse engineer" your work, and get the source image out of it.

Of course, the nature of pixel art being that all of the pixels are visible and perfectly aligned to a grid, it would still be possible for a very patient art-thief to simply redraw each pixel by looking at the piece and manually copying each dot.

So, is there any "standard" for pixel artists to make "thumbnails," or some other method protect their work when doing paid work like this?

I was thinking that something like a subtle CRT filter could also be applied, which would sort of "scramble" the clean pixels, thus making it less usable. Or even saving sample works in JPEG format, so there is a small degree of artifacting.

I'm really not sure how to address this. Any ideas?

Posted By: Hapiel
Date Posted: 06 April 2021 at 12:23am
If you are going to put noise and rotation on it, why not just ruin it with a normal scaling method, & bilinear scaling..?

Posted By: JamesOrthII
Date Posted: 06 April 2021 at 8:53am
Haha, oh wow. I didn't even think of that. I'm so used to using Nearest Neighbor scaling in all my work, that I forgot there even was other options!

That's probably the best bet, since it would distort the art at a true-pixel level, but still be human-readable as "pixel art."


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