Friday, 15 January 2010

Visual Language Research: Pixel Art

As I've mentioned in previous posts I want to try create a pixel version of my character as I'm developing it to appear in a a side-scrolling "Run and Gun" style Video Game. The character will be one of the basic enemies to appear in the game purely because I like the concept of having to shoot countless numbers of shark/robot hybrids. I also decided to choose pixels over 3-D Graphics are there is more that you can do to make pixels look much better than polygons also because of the high amount of detail and nature of the graphic style I'm can literally translate a drawing into a piece of Pixel work.

(An example of Pixel Artwork)

Another benefit of Pixel art is that I can also develop a short animation such as a walk cycle to add a bit of technicality to an otherwise still image. I can also work at a much higher level of detail due to there being no limitations but this also allows me to work at either "8-Bit" or "16-Bit" level graphics or beyond. The tools I'm going use to create are going to be Photoshop, pencils, pens and paper, I'll also be using a tutorial by Derek Yu that outlines exactly what to do to create Pixel Art. I've also been liking at "Spriting" and "Pixel Art" in general on Wikipedia, both entries contain very useful information on techniques such as different methods of shading and colouring.

(an example of pixels used in a game)

Whilst I still have to develop a more finalised design for my character I'm getting more ideas from playing old 16-bit games such as Metal Slug and even old Mario games to research movement needed. I've also researched other peoples working in creating their own pixel art and games such as the indy hit "Cave Story" and the up coming "Owl Boy" to see how modern day developers have worked with pixels. Whilst both use pixels there's a huge difference between the styles these games a represented in but both have their charms, check out the comparison below.

(Cave Story on the left, Owl Boy on the right)

Cave Story has a more cartoony element and is designed to look like a classic 2-D side scroller and is more of a homage to 16-bit gaming where as Owl Boy has a more depth to it's designs clearly taking advantage of the higher processing power and graphic capabilities. There was also a period of time on the art collective website Deviant Art where users created IDs featuring pixel versions of their characters, it's interesting to see how the pixel is a phenomenal but this also shows that anyone when they try can create good pixel art like.

(A Pixel ID by Kurot)

I feel that creating a Pixel version of mycharacter once it's been finalised will be and interesting challenge but fun at the same time, especially because of my preferance for 16-bit videogames so creating this will be a bit of a guilty pleasure. Keep an eye out for my progress with my development with my character!

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