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Pixel Art Details

Title: Gentleman (Neurostaza sprites)
Pixel Artist: Skurwy87  (Level 6 Made :: 5575 points)
Posted: 8/10/2010 05:55
Palette: 70 colors
Statistics:  22 comments    40 faves    0 avatars

another car taken straight from the upcoming MMORPG, Neurostaza ( this time the design was kept in a dieselpunk vein.


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Hapiel (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 12/17/2011 01:51

Great, rusty and I love the chains! 70 colors but quite well put to use!!

TheoVision (Level 8 Regional Boss) @ 1/18/2011 11:05

awsome look!

Skurwy87 (Level 6 Made) @ 8/17/2010 12:51


onek: i hear you, man; i get kind of confused too. back in the times there were no such labels and everyone was happy with that. now it seems everything has to be put in a suitable drawer.

zolaris: this is what a friend of mine says too. there must be something to it. . . :)

onek (Level 6 Hitman) @ 8/17/2010 07:28

very nice... love the reflection on the on rear tire

'dieselpunk'?... man, how many sorts of blahblahblah-punk are there still to come? !

Zolaris (Level 6 Hitman) @ 8/17/2010 05:28

 wa its like a steampunk batmobile

Arachne (Level 4 Murderer) @ 8/16/2010 14:39

 I think that was part of ptoing's point, though. A few of us did notice right away.

Metaru (Level 8 Brigadier General) @ 8/15/2010 11:07

fun fact, as for me being able to use  "dirty"(what a dumb word honestly) tools and make them go unnoticed does count as a good show of skill. just like "the hand is usually quicker than the eye".

 of course, "dirty" tools have nothing to do with cheap shit such as tracing or color reducing crap because that soon or later will be spotted by someone.


and somehow skurky got a point. this is purely bussiness, guess the man could grab this and tweak it with its bare hands to regain his pixel honor, or just make something new fropm scratch to please himself.

-DE- (Level 11 General) @ 8/14/2010 12:09

The other car is a variant.

You don't apply rules of perspective to isometric images, and certainly not to tilesets (yes, this car is a tileset for use in a game).

Darth Mandarb (Level 10 Operative) @ 8/14/2010 11:26

All the political stuff aside (to me this IS pixel-art) ... I think this is pretty sweet!

One thing ... is this the same car (from top pic to bottom)?  Because the machine gun, in the bottom pic, comes through the windshield and in the top pic it appears to be on the outside of the car!  I thought it might be just different levels of the game (and maybe the gun moves or something).  Just thought I'd point it out.

Also, not sure if vehicles in the game can take "damage" but the top car's roof is smooth and the bottom one has a crack/damage!

Anyway ... I think it's sweet.

bobusdoleus (Level 1 Rookie) @ 8/14/2010 11:19


I don't have anything to say on the whole NPA issue. Instead, I have some more different observations. For one, that minigun thing attached to the car... I assume this is supposed to be the same car turned around rather than two variants of the same sprite? If so, then the minigun looks like it is behind/to the side of the windshield in the top picture, but coming out of it/in the front of the hood on the bottom one. I can see you placed it there deliberately, but without a better explanation of why it jumped I'm confused.

Also, the way that the tire-covering metal things on either side of the hood are the same size without use of any perspective makes it look asymmetrical, and then when you turn it, asymmetrical the other way. At first I legitimately thought this was a symmetry inconsistency, it took me a little bit to realize it was just a lack of perspective. But I guess that might be the Neurostanze standard, I dunno, I'm just looking at this one piece. Also the way the metal was devided on the tire-covering-bits is not rotated - the one with the split down the middle is far from the viewer in both rotations.

Actually the more I look at it, the more it /does/ look like two variants rather than a rotation. The perspective thing holds, though.

On the whole though the design is cool and great! Just those nitpicks.

Skurwy87 (Level 6 Made) @ 8/14/2010 06:28

good reasoning, thanks for the comment!

on the whole, the game gfx is NPA. i myself use a lot of more or less dirty tricks to speed up the process. but that's the game, not PJ. i wouldn't publish a great deal of artworks created for the game here -- since PJ is for pixel-art and not for PA-based gfx (which neurostaza gfx undoubtedly is).

i remember a few years ago when i was just starting you could say i was a die-hard pixel-artist who would suspect any questionable piece and then bash any instance of NPA. and i would have objections against this artwork too (this translucent tool et al). i guess it was neurostaza that changed my approach and i can't say i'm really happy with that, there's something in me that bleeds when i'm using shortcuts -- but this is how things go, i guess.

anyway, if i post something here, that means it must have taken a great effort and i still consider it PA. the cars (which i have permission to publish) are being made using PA techniques and there are no dirty tricks involved, only the methods referenced in the previous posts. hope that's fine by you. :)

if so then i will publish more down the road. geez, i have a feeling i'm selling my soul for money or something. i really long for doing some totally non-commercial piece in vein of my old artistic forays.


blueleds (Level 1 Rookie) @ 8/14/2010 03:04

 Simply awesome!

edit --

I know what ptoing is saying, I'm still noobish here, as I haven't posted much pixel art, but in one instance, my submission was taken down requesting revision for approval.. because I used large brush tools then auto color-reduced and auto dithered to make it look more pixel-art.  I was told that I didn't have 100% control over every pixel so therefore it could not be accepted.  I wasn't mad about it, but rather glad that the site has such stringent requirements for what is considered proper pixel art.  They consider a piece, not just on how it looks in the end, but how you went about making it, which is cool.

Having seen this and then taking a look at the screens at the neurostaza site, I see more the use of automatic and quick methods to bring about the pixel-art look and it works quite well.  In some instances it's more obvious then others, but overall, the end result has enough polish, artistic value and pixel-level refinement that you can't really dismiss it so quickly as being NPA.

I think you'd have to weigh this on scale to judge it, not just outright, saying it's NPA.  For example, on a scale of 1 to 10, what I had submitted was like 5 (where 10 is a piece constructed with perfect pixel art methodology).

This work here I would rate 8.5 to 9.5.  So I'd consider it acceptable as pixel art, but to the keen observer (noting the inefficiencies in the palette) it might rate 7 to 8.

So anything scoring 5 or less I think would fairly be deemed NPA and taken down.  That's my 2 cents.


Skurwy87 (Level 6 Made) @ 8/11/2010 02:42

glad things are settled down. :) thanks for the comments!

since we're on the alpha thing, i guess it wasn't really a PA/NPA matter. rather than that, i understood there are some problems with displaying such pictures or something (people use different skins etc.), and so i changed that. still, it was an 8-bit piece with one alpha index stuffed in the palette (semi-transparent shadow) -- don't ask me how they did it, it's pretty much possible. :) and since it was still an 8-bit indexed palette, why deeming it as NPA?

sure, i'm using Pro Motion V6. the funny thing with the translucent tool is that it won't work efficiently while set at 50%. you have to lower it down to like 48-49%. i don't want to say i've eaten all the brains and know how it will behave when i combine the color x with y, but while working with the palette for over a year and knowing certain color patterns/ramps it allows you to create, it gets kind of easy to guess the outcome.

so as for that, it's the only "dirty trick" i'm allowing myself to use. :) i always say tools are for people who know how to use them wisely. ;) noob tools such as auto-aa are excluded in this case. 

ptoing (Level 7 Cuttlefish) @ 8/10/2010 17:13

I indeed have nothing as such against the methods you used. I pretty much expected that you used some predone palette. Would I have opened some of the other pics it would have been explained :)

So I would still deem this as pixelart on the whole, just not very refined and not very controlled in some points.
What I mean by that is that when you have a huge palette and you use transluscent at 50% (which works pretty nice here, I tried it, assuming you use Promotion.) the program chooses which colour it picks for you, not yourself. So even tho you have picked the colours you used a tool which is somewhat not 100% foreseeable in outcome unless you are pretty good with rgb colour calculation in your head or you have used the palette for a long time and kinda know what happens when you go over colour X with colour Y.

Metaru: I see what you mean and where you are coming from. But the thing is there have been many pieces which have been aborted by the PJ crew in the end on which I have or would have voted yes. I also do not feel responsible to report stuff unless it really does offend me, which does not happen a whole lot (unless someone rips)

Also, funny observation: On the first Neurostaza pic SKW submitted (the truck) I believe he had a alpha shadow and BAB told him PJ prefers to not have one because it considered NPA or something. So someone could make a piece which was done with rather "dirty" tools (way dirtier than this) if used well, have it not look too fishy, and put something REALLY obviously fishy on the thing, like a transparent shadow or in a scene a Kenneth Feyer Clouds (TM) background. Then that obvious thing would likely be pointed out, fixed and all would be well \o/

(I am not saying SKW did this, I don't believe there is any deceit going on from his side at all, just a fun scenario to think about)


iLKke (Level 9 Nidan) @ 8/10/2010 16:52

I don't think that Ptoing has anything against the methods you used.

Especially when working for a game, people tend to use whatever makes the job easier, since it is not done for fun or for purely aesthetic or artistic reasons.

What I think that Ptoing wants to say is that there is a huge and persistent difference in how variously ranked members of the community are treated, and especially how beginners are easy targets. What it boilds down to, is the people, and how they behave. I think removing your piece would prove nothing. Instead everyone should just stop and think of how they are treating people that they deem are 'above' or 'below' them.

PJ has a lot of competitive features (which is not bad in itself) and thus some of this kind of behaviour will always be present, I guess.

Skurwy87 (Level 6 Made) @ 8/10/2010 16:25

thanks for the post, ptoing. okay, now i guess is the time for me to make up some explanation :)

1. tons of colors: this one is easy to explain. the game gfx is based on a predefined 192-color palette i created when the game was just starting. i do not feel restricted to use, say, 16, 32 or 64 colors because i can play with all 192. sure, i could optimize it further but i see no point in playing with pixel porn while being paid for a work hour. i spent some 10-12h on doing this one (don't remember exactly) and i can prove you that by showing my worklog. :)

2. dirty tricks: let me enumerate what tools i'm using here: translucent brushes (basically semi-transparent ones -- but while i have a predefined palette why not using them?), 50% dithering brushes, a lot of spray/airbrush-work (this is how I make textures, sometimes I get over the edge with that and this is prolly why some of the textures look a little messy), shear, sporadically bend, rotate and that's basically all. i never considered them dirty tricks, should i?

3. i made the sprite assembling different pieces together -- this is why some of the colors are used only in one part of the sprite and not in the other. i'm feeling much more convinced to do the piece a bit after a bit, it's easier to manage with all the textures i make inbetween.

well, i see where you coming from when you talk about biased opinions. i never really liked ass-patting myself, but i guess this is how it all works -- we create our legends and don't want to think that those are normal people that sometimes make mistakes too.

hope that's all that needed explanation. if you still consider it NPA, just delete the work and we're done with that, i won't post neurostaza pictures any more. 

Metaru (Level 8 Brigadier General) @ 8/10/2010 15:53

guess thats why they call it a matter of trust and honor.

but you dont even need to do an exaustive analysis when there are some details that at least would raise someone's eyebrow. if not the mod team, anyone else watching the pixel in question(and then require the staff attention once more to recheck the piece).

kinda what i've been always trying to enforce not only on the staff, but actually on everyone using the site on a daily basis, to both remove some of the burden out of the staff's shoulders and to actually work as a more efficient "filter". otherwise, the whole point of having a queqe is defeated, and we'd just sunk to deviantART levels.

ptoing (Level 7 Cuttlefish) @ 8/10/2010 13:16

OK, this looks very nice too (like all the other stuff you posted for this game), but I am here to play devil's advocate and suspect this (and the other stuff for this game) to be NPA. This is not a jab against you, Skurvy. More a stab against the politics and inner workings of Pixeljoint.

First let me elaborate on the NPA suspicion:

There are TONS of colours, some used as little as 2 or so times. actually there are about 25 or more colours used only 16 times or less. Also I could easily reduce this to 22 colours without much hassle. This and the overall messyness would lead me to conclude that you used tools, be it transparency or colourreducing in photoshop or stuff like darken or tint in Promotion, which are generally deemed as "dirty" by the PJ staff.

I in general have no problem with stuff like that, especially not for work. I use NPA for my work stuff as well if it gets the job done faster, but I would never post it here.

Now, the main problem I have is that while this gets through, other stuff which probably is on the same level as far as NPA goes, only 2 things are different.

1) stuff like transparency if it was used is not super visible here (it is more visible on the big building you posted, on the blotches on the roof, where I am pretty certain that was something like darken in PM or similar), as it is not on big planes, like shadows of clouds

2) the poster is a generally well liked pixel artist in the community and not some noob. This again is no stab against you Skurvy, but more against the biased judgement of the PJ team here. Other things get sent back because "there was not enough effort in the piece" and this is mostly stuff by noobs who no one knows. I could and I have pooped up stuff on here which did not take effort, mainly because I am quick. But I would never get scrutinized becauce, hey, it's ptoing (or Helm, or iLKke, or Fool or any other "bigshot").

I know it is hard to judge some of this stuff sometimes, but often I get the feeling that there is too much harshness against noobs, and not enough scrutiny for better known people. This is unfair, very.
I and many others could so easily do something quick in photoshop, colourreduce, touchup a bit and you would never know. I for one don't do this as I am more interested in the working process of doing a picture than the end result (then again you have to take my word for this)

I have talked to a few other people who I would call experienced and they agree it seems like NPA (how I hate that term) have been used here. This would raise the question if the people letting stuff through have enough experience to be doing this in the first place.

Anyway I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here, but I felt this had to be said. If only to raise discussion and awareness. Good day.

TheInquisitor (Level 4 Shichikyu) @ 8/10/2010 13:08

A good effort but I feel it's a bit "edgey". Something to look out for in the future is avoiding separating the individual shapes by using black or dark outlines everywhere.

Buddy90 (Level 6 Manager) @ 8/10/2010 12:27

Love it.

avo (Level 8 Cannibal) @ 8/10/2010 11:14

Agree, it's great!  

Paulo Peres (Level 6 SWAT) @ 8/10/2010 09:43

Wow... great.

Nice design, very nice colors.

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