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Thread: [DISC] What is pixel art?

  1. #1
    hmm Pugger's Avatar
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    [DISC] What is pixel art?

    Looking through the pixel art competition, it became apparent that there was general confusion about what should be termed "pixel art".

    Personally I feel an image can still be called pixel art even if it is created using antialiasing effects and blur. I believe it has the following characteristics:

    • Less than 256 colors.

    • Sharp shading

    • Sharp, crisp edges


    Size can be anything. How you make this image, is up to you.

    Anyway, that be my opinion. Prove me wrong.

  2. #2
    SaphuA SaphuA's Avatar
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    So why would it be pixel art if it has less then 256 colours? Why does using brush tools and aa make it pixel art? I always thought that true pixel art was art created pixel by pixel, or atleast without any aa/alpha tools.

  3. #3
    hmm Pugger's Avatar
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    I feel it is not how it is created, but the look, the style.

    When I think of pixel art I do think of the days before 3D acceleration. Graphics from the days of the Snes and Megadrive (that is why I said 256 colors, that is usually all you need for an image done in the style of pixel art). It is art created by hand, on the computer.

    I just feel that the way it is created is irrelevent to the definition of whether it is pixel art.

    If I was making an image in the style of pixel art, I would create the shape of an image, pixel by pixel, usually in black. Then I would fill in the detail and work up. I would fill the detail using all tools at my disposal. Why not? If it's there use it - you can choose to do art pixel by pixel, but why when you can shade an image effectivly using a bit of smoothing.
    Last edited by Pugger; 08-03-2005 at 08:43 AM.

  4. #4
    Amiga freak Ironclaw's Avatar
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    Just use the tools they had in the old days... and the less pixels needed and the smaller picture with most detail bringed forth is good pixel art. That's just my opinior, I prefere it simple, clean and nice looking, and NOT with alot of colors, shading and stuff.

    I like this one , so tiny, yet so detailed and simple:



  5. #5
    PlayerForever adi4x's Avatar
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    For the first time i understand and i see the beauty of this "pixel art".
    Also Today i rediscoverd the pleasure of drawing pixels...


    Hmmm... First time i draw pixels (one by one) was for Basic / ZX Spectrum in 16 colours 15 years ago. I was then when i started to like game design (and i restarted this year here on this forum thanks to the good feedback i had)

    PS: Very nice drawings Ironclaw
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  6. #6
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    IMHO the retro tools argument is bunk. In the old days you used whatever the hell you could get your hands on to make pixel images. The styles that developed in computer game art were always defined by the limitations of the target platform, NOT the limitations of the design tools.

    The first pixel images were drawn on graph paper with colour pencil, then you worked out the bytecode with a calculator (if you had colour, it was 4 pixels x 4 colours per byte) and typed those values by hand into hardcoded arrays.

    You made things that way back then because there werent any better tools available. More importantly, you made better tools, and when new tools came out, (like the mouse for example) you used those instead.

    If you were to make pixel art the same way today it wouldn't be 'true', it would be downright crazy, and I don't see much difference between keying in bytecode and restricting yourself to some bizarre pixel-picking subset of today's available tools.

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  7. #7
    Lurker at Heart EgoAnt's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm not really a pixel purist, I just thing that it is the style that matters. I don't really care if you use Photoshop or if you code it into an array pixel by pixel, as long as it looks crisp. (Geez, I actually remember having to map out my sprites on graph paper, that was a LOT of years ago!)

    But pixel art is like any other art form, there will always be people who say that something does or doesn't fit within the classification. Mostly I define it as something that is drawn from scratch at a relatively low detail level.
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  8. #8
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    I'm more of a vector art fan, but I still like pixel.

  9. #9
    ....he's amazing!!! lesli_felix's Avatar
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    Back in the day, my favourite pixel artist was mark coleman(who did all the bitmap brothers artwork), but the main reason I liked his work was because it didn't look like pixel art, it looked far cooler:

    http://atariste.free.fr/xenon2.html

    Still not sure if he used any kind of rendering techniques, but the lighting on all of the objects was so consistent, I'm guessing he probably did:

    http://www.gods-country.de/gods/gods_eng.htm

  10. #10
    Amiga freak Ironclaw's Avatar
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    Pixel art for me is to keep the old retro look and ways. Can't say it better.

  11. #11
    Senior Member fil_razorback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesli_felix
    Back in the day, my favourite pixel artist was mark coleman(who did all the bitmap brothers artwork), but the main reason I liked his work was because it didn't look like pixel art, it looked far cooler:

    http://atariste.free.fr/xenon2.html

    Still not sure if he used any kind of rendering techniques, but the lighting on all of the objects was so consistent, I'm guessing he probably did:

    http://www.gods-country.de/gods/gods_eng.htm
    Thanks for the links, I enjoyed reading and those games look really interesting
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  12. #12
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    ^^ their website says theyre working on speedball arena.
    http://www.bitmap-brothers.co.uk

    Yup, bitmap brothers art still looks good today. And not a single black outline in sight.
    Last edited by slight; 08-03-2005 at 01:35 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member lowestformofwit's Avatar
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    Style is more important than the tools or methods you use to create your art.

    Traditionally pixel art is created pixel by pixel with a limited palette. But it doesn't have to be.

    There's nothing like pushing pixels though, the satisfaction of getting the right colour of pixel in the right spot is always nice.

    Xenon 2 eh? That was the "half-life 2" of its time when it was released, a monumental game. They had a PC remake of it I seem to recall, which was called Xenon 2000.

  14. #14
    AquaCorpse saves the day again
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    yeah i always considerd "pixel art" to be anything lower than the 3d graphics(this refers to the old games) It doesn't have to be drawn pixel by pixel at, it's alittle thing called ctrl-c, ctrl-v
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  15. #15
    RPG unit Ifritt's Avatar
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    Pixel art is purely art made of pixels. There is no list of rules attached to the term.

  16. #16
    Senior Member fil_razorback's Avatar
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    Well I disagree,

    In recent games, like Breath of Fire 4 or gba games, many sprites are made using 3D characters that are 'screenshoted' and placed as 2D Sprites.

    I don't call it pixel art >_<

  17. #17
    RPG unit Ifritt's Avatar
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    Hmm... you have a point. I guess you could argue that in that case the pixels are generated by a 3D engine, not by an artist, therefore not 'art'.

  18. #18
    Senior Member fil_razorback's Avatar
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    Well the guy who makes the 3d character is an artist, so it can also be considered as pixel art, but i don't.

  19. #19
    RPG unit Ifritt's Avatar
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    Yeh but then it's 3D art, not pixel art... right?
    Meh. This really isn't worth arguing :P

  20. #20
    Senior Member fil_razorback's Avatar
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    you're right


    Pixel art is purely art made of pixels. There is no list of rules attached to the term.
    Now there is at least one

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