BluE3's avatar

Anti-Aliasing Tutorial

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By BluE3   |   Watch
Published: June 14, 2011
A tutorial about anti-aliasing in pixel art... includes what anti-aliasing is, choosing colors for anti-aliasing, and placement of colors, along with a few other tips.

Post any questions or comments about anti-aliasing here.


:iconpixelgiri:-- A community for pixel artists of all levels to learn and grow together. 
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Comments114
anonymous's avatar
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Iron-M's avatar
and i thought having my text blurry when it's zoomed in was because of bad programming :D (joking aside, I knew about anti aliasing but had no idea how to actually do it, this gave me the little push i needed to figure it out, thanks for that)
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
:] cheers
Mechanic4Games's avatar
Mechanic4GamesHobbyist Artist
one question tho, should you have a lot of AA when you have two completely different colors? Or should you just not really care?
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
Glad it was helpful.

To answer your question, "A lot" or "a little" depends on what you want to accomplish. The goal of AA is to hide pixels and make it seem like the image is not made from pixels.

The greater the contrast between two colors, the easier it is for the naked eyes to see the square edges of the pixels where the two colors collide. 

If you want to "hide" the pixels that make up your image, then you should use AA wherever the shape of pixels stand out the most. All AA does is to trick the eyes so they don't see the pixels that make the lines in your artwork, and it essentially does this by reducing the contrast where two colors meet by adding intermediary colors, which is akin to blurring the two colors together.

Anti-aliasing is not necessary for straight lines at 0 degree (horizontal), 45 degrees (diagonal), and 90 degrees (vertical).

Horizontal and vertical lines do not have jagged edges, they are inherently smooth. The corners of the pixels on a 45 degree line are close enough that the eyes fill the gap and see almost a straight line, and trying to add AA on a 45 degree line will just make an undesired pillowy effect. 

AA is more of a stylistic choice, in my opinion, although when used correctly it does feel like it is a higher quality of pixel art. However, some people choose to have a pixely look on purpose. It's up to you and what you want to create. 
Mechanic4Games's avatar
Mechanic4GamesHobbyist Artist
thanks for the tutorial! I have been trying to figure out anti-aliasing for a while, but im a visual learner and i couldnt find any image heavy sources like this, so this was the key to me figuring out AA!
fellSans's avatar
fellSansHobbyist Writer
Oooh this is fantastic! I'll have to utilize it at some point or another!
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
Please do~ ^_^
Kaiidumb's avatar
KaiidumbHobbyist General Artist
This tutorial is a life saver. Like for real. Actually. 

I was making pixel icons and when I finished them, I always thought they never turned out right. I had no idea WHAT was wrong with them, but it was just SOMETHING wrong. The problem was that I wasn't shading the icon right. I would shade it like I usually do with normal sized digital art. I didn't even begin to understand the longer process that it took to make pixels look good on such a small level. I stumbled upon a pixel icon tutorial that taled about AAing, and I had no clue what that was. They linked to this tutorial and after following this I finally understand the magical magical world of pixel arting. After using this technique (along with some from the other tutorial) I'm actually pretty satisfied with how my pixel looks now, and that I have you to thank for c: (This is what I made using this tutorial at the time of posting I literally JUST finished it :iconkai-thedragon: )

This tutorial is definitely easy to follow and extremely helpful, you did a great job on this and it helped me SO much. Like you don't even understand how much this tutorial helped me out. I might post a before this tutorial and an after this tutorial thingy later on

But again I just have to thank you one more time for creating this <:

Ok I lied I'll thank you again. Thank you. 
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
Aw! You are quite welcome, and thank you for writing such a kind and beautiful post. 

I am overjoyed that you've further advanced in your quest towards pixel art mastery.

Your icon is adorable! I like your pixel work, it is on par with some of the better DA icons I've seen.

I think you have the potential to become a master. 
Keep studying and practicing.
May the pixel be with you!!~ 

Cube bullet 
LeChaoss's avatar
LeChaossStudent Traditional Artist
Thanks really helpful! :)
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
:)
Makaylafashion's avatar
MakaylafashionHobbyist Digital Artist
This tutorial is really helpful and your comments were fun to read too ;)
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
Heehee~! I'm glad! ^^
BlueFire-Phoenix's avatar
BlueFire-PhoenixHobbyist Digital Artist
Featured on my page!
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
Thank you :]
LittleBOYblack's avatar
Thanks! This helped me out with a few teamspeak icons. Great tutorial :)
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
:D! Glad to help! :D
GDrKOOLAID's avatar
GDrKOOLAIDStudent Traditional Artist
The only thing I dislike about anti aliasing is that when I put it in the pixel category it won't allow it to go through. Not sure if my pixel art has too much anti aliasing though so I'll tone down on it because I kind of use it a lot. This tutorial was funny and helpful so thanks.
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
I'm glad you liked the tutorial. What do you mean it won't allow it to go through?
GDrKOOLAID's avatar
GDrKOOLAIDStudent Traditional Artist
I mean as in it won't allow it in a category I suggest and think It would possibly go in. Or else when you're loading a picture in gallery what you have to go through. For one of my pixel art pictures I ended up having to put it in Anthro /digital media/ pixel art. My picture was not even close to Anthro. But at least I got it in a decent category since it was pixel art. 
BluE3's avatar
BluE3 General Artist
huh, thats strange!

 I just put all of my pixel art under digital art > pixel art > and then whatever category it fits most under... like characters > non-isometric. 
InfN555's avatar
InfN555Hobbyist Interface Designer
you forgot to use antialias in the last picture :icontrollfaceplz:
RoxiiReaper's avatar
RoxiiReaperHobbyist Digital Artist
There is anti aliasing on that policeman though.
InfN555's avatar
InfN555Hobbyist Interface Designer
But not on the rainbows.
anonymous's avatar
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