Yes I know what you're thinking, sounds scary, and at the very least complicated right? Well, that's why we have this journal, as a place to talk about what we think of the current structure of Pixel Art, and what we can do to clear out redundant sub cats etc. Nothing's going to happen right this second, so let's relax, and take a minute to review where we are at. You can read the announcement from Moonbeam13 here.
Here are the branches currently:
Each of these then leads to Iso and Non-Iso options.
Whilst this isn't an overly convoluted category compared to others, I think it still has lots of room for improvement. We have a very large number of miscats, and this is for a variety of reasons, including;
being one of the few categories that accepts .gif files
being a place where a lot of screen shots end up
a place where things that are pixel like end up (Minecraft screen shots and beading for example)
misconceptions/misunderstandings about the definition of Pixel Art (the new definition has been made live if you want to check it out)
the structure of the categories
Whilst the category structure is not the biggest issue on the list, it can certainly be something we can work on to help improve the way people access and use the Pixel Art section.
Here are my thoughts on the current structure:
Text is perhaps almost entirely redundant now, as we have a place in Typography where you can find pixel fonts, and ascii art also has it's own place, leaving very little actual text art in the gallery. If you take a look, you can get a gauge for how many miscats there are in there. If you have examples of what you feel are really valid and strong pieces that represent what Text Art should be for, please do share them, or if you think it's redundant, feel free to mention so.
The current names reflect a focus that seems almost entirely centred on game art, and nothing else. This may have been appropriate for way back when the site began and the category was added, but now, we know that the medium can be and is used for a whole range of types of art. However, what is tricky, is that I'm not sure how we would specifically change this focus, rename things? Add things? It might be a bit much to go for a list like the major categories (fantasy, emotional, so on), but at the same time, this is very game centred and could maybe be broadened.
I think that the main sections coming before the iso/non iso options are good, but perhaps, we might even *tentatively* consider whether it's now needed? Isometric art is much less common than non-iso, so perhaps, a single Isometric category on it's own would be sufficient for those who want to browse that type of art? I'm not personally as experienced in Iso art, so it would be good to hear from those who are. I'm not trying to devalue the art, but rather to make it simpler for people to access. I've noticed that putting the iso option on every single level has made people wonder if what they have made might be iso, and a lot of people tend to guess between the two, meaning more miscats. Although I have the experience to assume that most things will be non-iso, others hear the negative in the name and assume that it's more likely iso.
Some people have been asking me about the pieces in Pixel Art that may look like Pixel Art, but actually don't come under the definition. Things like Oekaki (scribbly and undefined, as in no individual pixel placement, but rather just drawing with the pencil tool) and pieces that use a mix of Pixel and Digital effects (like the soft edged brush or gradient tool and therefore have massive colour counts). I don't want people to freak out and think I don't value these types of art works as much as actual Pixel Art works, I personally really enjoy some of the mixed pieces, but sadly, I don't DD either of these types of pieces, which means they aren't being given the exposure they deserve, and this isn't fair. I would like to make it fair, but it's very hard trying to figure out where these pieces should go. Oekaki has it's own sub category hidden away, which might be better placed after these restructures, and really, I think that the only place that makes sense for the mixed pieces is Digital Art > Mixed Media. I'd like to attempt to name a new category for these types of artworks, but I don't know if I can think of a name that effectively encapsulates what they are, and I can't call them Pixel Art because either something is or it isn't. Also, what needs to be kept in mind here is that I'm not ever trying to say they aren't art, or aren't as good, just that I know they don't fit the definition, and therefore there'd be no point in having one if I didn't try to follow it. It's for the best of both types of art that we find places where each fits and gets it's own attention.
Ok, so now that you've got some ideas and points for discussion, I'd like to hear your views and ideas! We need to know what you as the community think is needed and/or no longer needed, and what we could merge or rename to make things easier. Even if it's something I haven't already brought up here, let me know, it might be something a lot of other people want to discuss. Something I should point out is that I can't guarantee any and/or all changes will occur, no matter how much we might discuss them, and that we are really looking to delete and/or merge categories, rather than create new ones right now, so it would need to be an exceptional case for us to think about adding new ones (which the mixed pieces may or may not turn out to be).