FAQ + Pixel Tutorial (WIP)
What do you use to pixel?
Gimp 2.8 and a mouse, Gimp is free!
Do you have any advice for pixelling?
Of course! I know the medium but unfortunately, I cannot help you with art; anything to do with anatomy, lightning, etc as I don't take art as a subject.
Why should I trust your pixel advice?
I used to approve pixel art submissions; trust me, I know what pixel art is.
Candy's Impromptu Pixel Tutorial!
The one pixel rule that you should abide:
- Make sure your lines are clean! I cannot stress this enough. Want your pixels to look great? No kinks, and make sure pixels lines increase like 1, 2, 3, 4 not 3, 1, 2, 4. This is called cleaning your lines. Fibonacci's spiral doesn't go 0, 1, 2, 1, 13, 5, 8, 3, 21, 34,
it goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34.
I hate the 8-bit pets, therefore I will be using one to illustrate.
The lines next to the question mark shouldn't be in your pixel art, unless you plan to get rid of it with antialiasing.
The one pixel rule you should maybe abide:
- Don't worry about making the shading soft. Pixel art goes against traditional blending and such, but you should fight past that! Pixel art was made to be seen because traditional video game consoles had limited colour palettes; the original game boy had 4 colours (22=4) on the screen. Also, my eyesight is terrible, so soft shading on 'kawaii' pixels strains my eyes. It's a personal preference, but you won't see most professional pixel artists with soft shading.
Those are the most important things you need to keep in mind when doing pixel art. An eye for good art + anatomy will come in time.
What's not so important (because if you didn't want to pixel, you wouldn't do it) but deserves a mention; if you want to become good at something, keep at it! labor omnia vincit | Hard work conquers all!
What do I do after I line the pixel?
Drag and Drop for full size.
- I added a grey background (#808080). Not only is it easier to change the outline, but it's a neutral colour so your pixel will look better on a wider variety of background colours.
- Flat coloured it and took note of the colour palette, reduced the color count from an heart-attack inducing 19 to a more acceptable 9.
- The goal here is to reduce the number of colours you use in pixel art, the purple outline (#2f1c3a) of the shorts was too similar to the colour used in the eyes and mouth (#07232e), so I changed it to the purple (#2f1c3a). I chose the purple because a variety in colour is always good, and purple is the darkest natural colour.
- Then I shaded it in. Don't be afraid to leave blocks of pure colour, like the orange t-shirt.
This leads me to the next frequently asked question:
How can I shade well?
There are three things I use to shade: dithering, contrast, and colours.
What is dithering?
Oxford dictionaries define dithering in the context of pixel art as 'Displaying or printing (a colour image) in such a way that it appears to contain more colours than are really available'. Because pixel artists avoid the use of many colours,
dithering is the way to give the appearance of a colour, such as purple from blue and red.
There are only two colours in this image.
How you dither is also important.
Different materials have different textures. omg i have to draw stuff for this ;-;
CONTRAST LEADS INTO NEXT TOPIC cause a big part of that is choosing right colours!!!
How do I choose good colours for pixel art?
Some pixel artists have palettes they've already made up and pick from there, but those palettes are suited to their own taste, and may lack in say, purples. There are a lot floating around, but I won't link them here for fear of improper crediting. Andrew Kensler, who works at Pixar wrote some code that maximised the difference in hue for 16 colours.
He also made one for 32 colours. I'd advise choosing your starting colours from one of these, then editing to your taste.
Some pixel artists advise to pixel in grayscale first so the values are right, and there is enough contrast. Personally I just pick and re-pick until the colours seem right; purple, the darkest natural colour at a value of 50 will seem darker than a yellow, the lightest natural colour. image needed
270 is purple, 60 is yellow on the 'perfect' colour wheel
Go for neighbouring colours, something about less dark colours and more bright colours for details???
How do you pixel?
Line, clean, clean again,
if I haven't already added grey background I do so now, colour, then shade.
How to animate
I use Gimp (I have version 2.8.14) if it's a different program you use I'm not sure If I can help, but gimp is free!
What happens is that different layers are different frames of the animation you want.
If you want to see what your animation looks like you go:
Filter → Animation → Playback
It might be that the animation plays back in reverse order. If so just:
Layer → Stack → Reverse Layer Order
As far as I'm concerned, Gimp does not allow you to give different values for each frame (e.g set frame/layer 1 to play for 5 seconds) so just duplicate each layer as many times as required.
When you export as GIF, a pop up comes on, click on:
(save) as animation
The frame disposal values of replace and combine differ.
Combine stacks the layers (if there's a hand that sticks out, it stays there in later frames), replace treats each layer differently
Replace literally replaces each frame as it is displayed on the computer.
images to illustrate pl0x
Gimp automatically converts an animation to an indexed image after you save it, which may be why if you open it again you can't place a new colour in the animation, to reverse this:
Image → Mode → RGB
If you watch a slow motion of an eye blinking, you'll see that the motion of the eyelid going down is very quick, and then as the eyelid moves back up it's slower.
What is antialiasing? I need to link to different sections here
Notes on pixel art in general:
- Sometimes, pixel artists will outline in black or white. White makes pixels look more 'kawaii'. Black makes a pixel look more cohesive. Sometimes I will do both, but change the colour of the inside lines from back to a lighter shade.
- Please save pixels as a png or gif file. Jpg will reduce quality, make your pixel look spotty, and it will increase the number of colours on the pixel.
- Some pixel artists will say to avoid 1:1 pixel lines + 2:2 things. I can't find the proof anymore, but I tend to avoid those out of habit.
- There's a thing called dithering if you want to shade! Don't go overboard, and don't be afraid to go out. (should move down a topic,
and should move shading up)image needed
- Sometimes 'plagiarism' is inevitable, how many types of circles can you make out of a 3px by 3px pixel circle? That's about three-ish plus some odd ones.
- For example: The font I generally use is either 3px by 5px or 3px by 3px, how are you supposed to say "I made this font!" when there were only like two possible combinations at the most? Extrapolate this to small buttons, arrows etc. Of course the larger the pixel, the more likely someone plagiarised you, be sure to report them!
Try a challenge?
- Why not try for a very limited colour palette? The button I made for floral used three colours (#fef3bf, #f2a5a5 and #d182d9). This will help improve your colour palette picking ability.
- Don't use brush/gradient tools if you want a real challenge! Using those tools are fine on Neopets, just don't expect to get a good reaction from 'purist' pixel artists! As a side note, I would have declined those submissions, so please don't get yourself roasted by purists. QAQ
add a glossary maybe
This section is a WIP :0 needs images to illustrate + feel free to neomail me if you need pixel help :)
Did I say I needed a glossary?
I need a glossary.
Disclaimer: You don't have to follow this, and you don't have to listen to me. If you disagree, that's completely fine!