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Cyangmou's avatar

A Point about Pixelart

By Cyangmou
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An example I made, because some people might think that you can achieve a pixelart look with a filter.
Nope, this won't ever work.
Without trying to find a clear definition, pixel art is a sum of careful, mindful, stylistic choices of the artist making something highly readable and clean at a low resolution.
Pixel art is not just something which is painted with a pencil tool and looks very crude, despite some people might want to sell it like that to you.
Basically you should consider the art on a pixel-level, and look at the details.
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© 2017 - 2021 Cyangmou
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Nebelstern's avatar
gosh, I had this discussion with n00bs in game dev so often but it's useless. 
they think " minecraft ", "undertale" and "terraria" are great pixel art.... -____-
and when you try to explain / show them better, they bash you with
"durr, dat's not viable as indie-game pixel art! dat's much too expensive and high res!"
Cyangmou's avatar
Opinions can be individual.
everybody also got their own taste.
"good" and "bd" really depends on the view of an individual
All you can do is probably educate and show better ways.
Change of opinion must come form oneself and can't be forced from the outside.

As far as for myself, I think Terraria, Minecraft and Undertale are great games with a lot of things to appreciate, but neither have by any stretch of the imagination "good" graphics, nor good pixelart.
photoedfade's avatar
those are just opinions. i think this, and terraria pixel art looks good. minecraft and undertale are alright. cave story and older mario games do it well as well, as well as a lot of other games. i guess i just like everything. but this looks beast!
andres121194's avatar
What is the name of the font you used in the image?
Hellrider115's avatar
Thanks for this advices, I've been trying my hand at pixel art as of late and its really been bugging me how to decide on the size of the canvas and if I want to rescale my drawings or do them in one go.
gabrielmouzo's avatar
hey man i have a proposition for you , can you contact me?
flaming-ninjah's avatar
There are better ways to downsample than your downsampled example but still doesn't come close to the level of contrast and detail as your hand made pixel art.
Frann-LUV's avatar
Great example and explanation.
Darkton93's avatar
Very important tutorial. I'll try and remember this for future projects.
gaypuff's avatar
This is a good way of putting it, thank you! I'll be directing certain people to this from now on.
infinipede's avatar
i think index painting, posterized art, and stuff made w/ the sai binary tool and the like can definitely be used for pixel art but itd take cleaning on a pixel detail level and the result would be more like the pixel example given here anyways.

i generally agree though. i'm kind of on the fence about some of the mixed NPA techniques being used in pixel art by some newer artists, but the old methods are worth preserving at the very least and not much else will get you the same effect.
Cyangmou's avatar
as soon as you start cleaning up the stuff though you put in consideration on a pixel level.
Which in my eyes makes the difference.
How you do the sketch is not that important I'd say, the end result matters.

Expressionism and Impressionism sometimes use the same type of colors, only the appoach of the end result is different and the same goes for pixelart.

There is a bunch of indexpainted and rough stuff around on old screens and back then it also didn't really matter.
On modern screens I think it's a problem though and what pixel art is or became is tied to the new technology.…
Blear25's avatar…

I believe this is also an example of what you're trying to point out. Pixel Art itself shouldn't be converted with a filter to begin with. It doesn't do anything beneficial. If anything, it just downgrades the quality of the art itself. 
Cyangmou's avatar
if shitty art gets converted with a filter it might look btter.
Althouh the point of pixel art is to consider each pixel, and if you want a gih resolution result to begin with, why would one use pixel art in the first place?

The problem with a lot of old pixelart is that it simply doesn't look good anymore on a modern ips technology screen, while it looked ok on blurry crt technology.

Modern pixel art as artfrom is totally different from retro pixelart just from the technological side, but I intend to post more about this too.
Wayuki's avatar
BizmasterStudios's avatar
Nice examples!
ManaFlow's avatar
Agreed. Pixel art is a process of examining each and every pixel. No auto process can recreate this affect.

The title card for our game actually started off as a painting before becoming pixel art. But it was a long process to get it there.
Avajes's avatar
Thank you! This is so good,

My least favourite thing is when people just draw a really low res picture in Paint or something and call it pixel art.

Thanks for this!
Cyangmou's avatar
All pixel art is made out of pixels.
Not all art where you can see pixels classifies as pixelart though.
Most of those "paint images" are not controlled and I believe that the control on the pixel level seperates pixel art from non-pixel art.
How you achieve the look is unimportant though, because I believe it's a matter of choices.
RenOokami's avatar
The rescaling method itself isn't as "hereticly bad" as most pixelartists put it, but only if used as a tool, since it litterally is what the "resize" function is, a tool. This pixelart for exemple has started as a traditional drawing resized to my usual pixelart canvas size, then oignon skinning have been used as guide for the pixelart outlines. That's just a minor part of the process, but still part of it or this one I won't deny.

Basically, I don't mind it when used as a guide by those who (for whatever reason) can't directly envision color-shapes exactly, or try to gain time when asked to create a pixel version of a concept-art that was given to them. The "posterized" method, however, is a no-no as it mess up the palette. Better pick base colors from the non-resized picture and rework the palette than using this function.

Like you mentioned, it is important to carefuly create a palette and work from there, as just downscaling a picture don't make it pixelart.
Cyangmou's avatar
rescaling isn't bad but just because somthing is at low resolution it doesn't mean that it's automatically pixel art.
Even if you rescale a piece of art and add a carefully considered palette it still will need a ton of additional cleanup.
Pixel art also differs from index-painted art - which basically is art painted with a limited palette at low resolution, but has no consideration of the single pixel as important element of the artwrork and usually doesn't look controlled.
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