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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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 a technique that reduces the staircase effect (aliasing) which is clearly visible on two lines between two contrasted surfaces.
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 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.
Introducing the world’s first vertical and horizontal elevator. German engineers have developed Multi, a rope-free elevator system that can go side-to-side as well as up and down, features multiple cars across its tracks and runs on magnets.
I love you. You’re wonderful and fabulous and energized about seeing a cool project on the inter-webs and have finally said “yes! I think I could do that! This is the one that will get me into knitting/crochet” With all the excitement and joy in the world you go to the craft store, grab the coolest looking yarn (in the best color, duh) and the cheapest needles/hook you can find (If if needles are too intimidating, you opt for the knitting loom. It comes in a 3 pack! score!). You follow the instructions as best you can with dreams of your project turning out exactly like the professionally taken photograph. Oh my naive, beautiful newbie yarn bender, you are on a craft high. Head so far in the clouds that you don’t realize what has happened until it’s done. We’ve all been here at some point, no matter how skilled a person is.
My lovelies. Please learn from the mistakes that have already happened. Take the time to learn about gauge and value the materials needed. I am most definitely NOT saying buy the most expensive stuff. I am saying that skien of yarn that is one dollar more will likely make you enjoy the finished product bounties more than the value of one dollar.
Take the top picture. This was most definitely made on a knitting loom. Im personally not a huge advocate of these. They’re great for learning how knitting works. Not great for endless feats of creativity. You’re limited by the size of the loom which limits you to the size of the yarn as well as the size of the object you make. For something that will not ladder (the long horizontal bits between the “V” stitches) you need yarn thick enough to touch the stitch next to it when wrapped around the loom. In the case of the photo, yarn far too thin was used.
The next picture looks like it could be arm knitting. Which was a fad I loved. Can we bring this back instead of those pony tail hats? The larger the needle, in this case your arm, the larger yarn you need. The original appears to have multiple yarns being used. Perhaps our newbie knitter didn’t realize that’s an option? Lesson here: Larger needles, larger yarn. Smaller needles, smaller yarn.
The last picture. This crocheted hippo went through the stretcher! oh no! This is a case of right yarn, wrong size hook. When your needle/hook is larger than your yarn and you put it under tension (in this case, stuffing it) the created fabric will stretch (more-so demonstrated in the first picture). Amigurumi is also hard as shit. The people who do it very well are incredible talented. We should all bow before their prowess. Please don’t try an amigurumi (small figurine knitting/crochet) as your first or even 5th project!
General rule of thumb: if you don’t want holes in your work look for yarn and needle/hook approx same size in diameter.
Alas, you have returned for the craft store. Heading the advice you’ve gotten complimentary yarn and needle/hook. TIME TO START THE CRAFT JUICE!
“but whyyyy?” you whine
Because we must first test the yarn.
“But tests are boooooring” says the yarn.
I agree, talking yarn. Tests are boring and terrible and holy crap tell you if you’re doing something right or wrong. This is useful information to know before creating something beautiful with your HANDS.
Also my dear newbie yarn bender, practice makes a better yarn bender. Resist the urge to pump out something fast. Pinterst lied to you. It’s not going to take 1 hour. It will take at least 3 hours and two trips to the craft store. Accept this now. Knitting/crochet is slow ASF. Accept this now. Or find a different hobby.
So loop on some stitches and knit or crochet your joyous heart out. Then measure it once you get around 5 inches. Count the stitches horizontally and vertically. Then refer to the chart above and make sure everything agrees. Got 12 stitches per 4 inches and using DK (3) yarn? Time to change needles sizes or get your gorgeous self some bulky yarn. Or get yourself some bulky yarn anyhow. Treat yo’self.
i love you newbie yarn benders! Go forth and create and learn
I would like to share with you guys the list of game sliders(not custom sliders).
I always discover a new slider every times I make a new sims. @@
Until now, I think I have master all the sliders. So I decided to make this list for those who might missed out some sliders like me or those who are new to sims 4 and want to understand the sliders. :)
I’m not sure if somebody done this before but whatever. XD
Gavr’inis cairn (around 3.500 B.C.),
Île de Gavrinis, Breizh 2017.
The burial chamber is reached from the outside by a 14m long corridor. Of the 29 orthostat slabs that form the sides of
the passage, 23 are decorated with carved symbols and patterns.
“It is for its art that Gavrinis is famous. No
fewer than twenty-three of it’s twenty-nine upright stones have been
carved, not in single or isolated motifs but in a profuse series of
compositions so that stone flows into stone or is mirrored by another
in patterns engraved in low relief. The art is balanced in panels
horizontally and vertically in symbols of which the main elements
are concentric arcs and axes. These latter implements have splayed
cutting edges like the big, prestige axes from the Carnac
- A. Burl
The last stone in my photos has 3 horizontal hand sized holes about 10 cm deep similar to
52 at Newgrange (which was built supposedly around 300 years later).
Textures used for the different kinds of Goop in Super Mario Sunshine. These are tileable horizontally and vertically. The last texture is an unused type of Goop only seen in beta videos, but which still remains in the game’s files.