light ish

pose.

Improve your pixel art sprites!

Introduction

In this tutorial, I will explain you how to use a couple techniques I used to improve Planet Centauri’s sprites before implementing them into the game (or before animating them).
Some of the rules shown here are very easy to use, and/or are purely  methodical;
so even if you aren’t very skilled, follow those simple guidelines to make your sprites cleaner.


Colors

A lot of basic mistakes will ruin the quality of your art.
Thankfully, they’re also generally quite easy to fix with some experience, and
by paying attention.


Too many colors

Pixel art is all about constraints. When two colors are very close, merge them into an intermediate one, so you see if it improves the result.
Using a small palette will help you improving your skills much more easily, and will make creating sprites also easier.
It also will make it easier to identify unwanted artifacts (i.e. misplaced pixels).


Gradients

If you are constructing a palette with gradients, avoid at any cost independent gradients (i.e. only dimmed/lighted base colors). Use gradients that depends on each other.

You can also try to use yellow-ish or cyan-ish saturated light colors, and blue-ish and purple-ish desaturated dark colors. However, avoid using an over-saturated or an under-saturated palette.
This usually ends up bad and breaks contrasts.
You should also use gradients with outspread tints to avoid washy color contrasts.

Remember never to use more colors than necessary, and use gradients with contrasted brightness.
Feel free to try using other generic palettes on your sprite to compare it with your palette so you can improve it.


Neighbor colors

Avoid as much as you can excessive contrasts between neighboring pixels.
For example, a black line over a white background usually won’t look natural.
A line that fits the background color well gives a realistic volume effect.

This is as true for outlines, which has to fit with both the inner color and the umbrage of the surface.

NB: Obviously, this doesn’t work with any graphic style.


Pillow shading

Pillow shading is a nasty effect that occurs when the light source comes from the front.

Avoid pillow shading, unless you really know what you’re doing.


Lines and curves

Perfect line: A line that has a constant vertical and horizontal step.

Perfect curve: A curve made of perfect lines which step always depends on the other parts of the curve.

Dirty line: A line that has at least one sub-segment with more than one adjacent pixel on one end.

As you may have noticed on the pictures above, dirty lines should be avoided.
You should use as much perfect lines and curves as possible.


Clusters

A cluster is a group, a pack of connected pixels with the same color.
Cluster shapes will greatly affect the final image.
Bony and crude clusters will give a sketchy aspect.
Round and straight lines are preferred so you get a precise, smooth and nice image.

Avoid lonely pixels. If one pixel is inside of a different color cluster without
any adjacent pixel with the same color, remove it.


Dithering et texturing

Contrary to popular belief, dithering isn’t as great as it seems. A lot of dithering between heavily contrasted colors will often give a dirty and noisy image.
It is also a very bad idea to use dithering when animating a sprite, because keeping coherent dithering will be awfully hard.

If you art style lets you do it, use texturing instead (the difference is that texturing does not induce color limitations).
But don’t forget, texturing means harder animation and worse clarity.
Again, it’s a matter of style.
If you want a cartoon-ish look, do not use dithering nor texturing.


Antialiasing

Antialiasing a technique that reduces the staircase effect (aliasing) which is clearly visible on two lines between two contrasted surfaces.

Internal AA

There are two use-cases for internal AA :
Simply separating two surfaces, and using lines or curves cutting through two different surfaces.

In the first case, you may just need to insert an intermediate color where aliasing is visible to reduce it (generally, when the curve abruptly changes).

In the second case, you may just need to add a small intermediate color cluster between every horizontal or vertical sub-segment.
Its size directly depends on the sub-segment size.


External AA

External AA suffers from an important restriction, unlike internal AA: The background color in a game will constantly change, so you need to have an effect that looks good on both dark and light backgrounds.

This rule is quite easy: You only apply the effect inside of the sprite.
The end of an outline that neighbors with the background should never be modified.

In this image, the internal AA effect applied on the outer part of the sprite unveils some nasty artifacts, while external AA, even if it isn’t as efficient, gives a great effect on any background type.


The end.

8

                                                             this was fate
                                                            i think it was

6

THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH FOR THE 1,500 FOLLOWERS AND FOR MAKING THIS YEAR A GREAT ONE.

Honestly, this experience has been a fantastic one. I have met so many wonderful darling people in this fandom. Thank you all in the Rick and Morty and Gravity Falls fandom (also my fellow Stanchezers) for being so welcoming.

Here’s to an other great year!!

@the-flame-and-hawks-eye

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAY! \o/ <3

In San Diego for a conference, and was actually on the first panel in my area, so now I am done and get to relax and just go to all the other panels and be an audience…

…and I think we’re going to try to put together an essay collection about Terry Pratchett, narrative structure, choice, and identity as constructed through free choice, and compassion, since we had three good papers already, on this panel, and the three of us got along really well and we were all enthusiastic about doing it. We have a publisher in mind, one I’ve worked with before, who aims for scholarly-but-accessible books and keeps prices pretty reasonable for academic-ish books (the same publisher I worked with for the Welsh myth in pop culture book, which got priced at $35). Seeing as how they’ve already sent me an email asking if I have any other ideas for books, I think they’ll say yes.

So: any academic/para-academic/scholar-fan/author peeps who are Terry Pratchett fans, if you think you could maybe put together an academic-ish (light on jargon, accessible tone, but with clear knowledge of the subject and relevant background for your particular approach, be it literary, creative, biographical, artistic, psychological, gender studies, medievalisms, fandom, etc) essay proposal (proposal: 300-700 words; final essays, probably roughly 5k words, but with an academic publishing timeline so you’d have like a year to write it; we’ll likely accept between 7 and 11 more contributions, plus our confirmed three)…anyway, if you want a relatively easy publication (subject to approval of proposal, of course), send me ideas and we’ll talk. (Obviously subject to publisher acceptance of our overall Book Proposal, but I don’t think it’ll be an issue as they’re asking *me* about the next book….)

Tagging a few people who might be interested: @turtletotem, @significantowl, @almondmocha, @dduane (hey, why not aim high?), @whtaft (are you a Pterry person? I forget), @ninemoons42, @neil-gaiman (let’s aim even higher! also hi Neil we’ve actually met, at another conference, in Florida!), um, I KNOW I’m forgetting someone so feel free to share.

You said you’d follow me into the dark…

(click title for the song that inspired this) Smn mentioned why Omen-Trailer!Noctis n Magitek!Prompto isn’t a thing yet n I intend to change that :’D The more I thought about the Omen trailer n what it could’ve have ment for the game, the more I’m convinced that this was one of the things they had to cut from the game. like, you know all these dialouge options that seem to indicate like there had been plans for Noct to either flirt with Luna or Iris n also for him to be a supportive bro or a total douche? considering the Omen trailer, I wonder now whether they originally planned for Noctis to become Ardyn in an alternative ending. that he’d be the one eaten up by the darkness n Ardyn gets the chance to redeem himself instead n becomes worthy of the crystal (or they team up n everything goes boom lol).

In light of Omen!Ardyn-ish!Noctis, I like Magitek/Daemonized Prompto who would have turned alongside with him. But then there’d always be this little bit of the old Prompto left within him that mourns what they, what Noctis!, has become…

I’m enthralled with this idea, hence it became another piece that you can aquire in my etsy shop :) 

I needed to draw this for rEASONS so… this is my version of Khadgar before the events of ‘The Last Guardian’ and the curse that turns him into an old man.

I kept details from the movie cause despite it being different from the original story, I love it to bits (visually this movie is heaven to me). So I kept his hair and kind of the shape of the face.  
I made him look younger cause he is supposed to be less than 17 years old here (like I said, before Karazhan). 

I gave him blue eyes like he is shown to have in the game and in Harbingers since it’s actually my favorite representation of Khadgar to use as reference. And because this version of him is supposed to grow into the one we see in game, so, same eyes.

I know he’s shown in the comic having light brown, orange-ish hair, but, meh. I like it better this way xD (I have a thing for dark hair and blue eyes, excuse me !)

AND that’s it. And I kinda like it :>

2

How do you know when the Sarows is coming?
(Is coming is coming is coming aboard)
When the wind dies away but still sings in your ears,
(In your ears in your head in your blood in your bones.)
When the current goes still but the ship, it drifts along,
(Drifts on drifts away drifts alone.)
When the moon and the stars all hide from the dark,
(For the dark is not empty at all at all.)
(For the dark is not empty at all.)

2

So… this was a thing I noticed during the end of Heavensward 3.3 patch (I think it was 3.3) And… uh… I mean Thancred totally called it but boi does Aymeric sound very husband-y when he says “Welcome home.”

PS. Pls think about Au’Ran children wagging their tails like excited puppies.

Bonus:

Meanwhile…