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Advice on Learning 2D/Pixel Art


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#1 CaptainKraft   Members   -  Reputation: 266

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 10:43 PM

I haven't been an avid artist since kindergarten, but the 2d graphics sported by most old school games are a huge interest of mine.

What I'm looking for is some advice about how easy/difficult it is to learn pixel art and 2d graphics-making with zero art background. If you think it would be better to practice drawing first, or if you know of any great tutorials for learning, I would greatly appreciate the advice.

Also, any images you can show I would love to see. Thanks

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#2 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18577

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:07 PM

I'll move you to our Visual Arts forum for this one, I think you'll get better responses there. Posted Image


I'm not an artist, but I've seen lots of recommendations for "The Pixel Tutorial" by Derek Yu, "So You Want To Be A Pixel Artist" by Tsugumo, and "Better Programmer Art".

#3 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7471

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 06:18 AM

I think that you should choose between pixel art and 2d art first. Pixel art is a really special 2d art variation, where you adjust pixel for pixel. Mostly used only for small images (icons/sprites) utilising limited resources (i.e. dithering instead of smooth color gradient) which gives it often a very retro style look. On the other hand common 2d art utilise more traditional art techniques, drawing and painting for one.

If an art background will help depends on your target style. Manga style comics are often created by younger people without any artistic background, whereas photorealistic digital painting requires often an artistic background.

First thing you should keep in mind is, that there's not really a easy style. All art directions, if pixel art or matt painting, need a lot of practise, though some styles need less than others.
The second thing is, that some styles are more forgiving than others. Wrong proportions or lighting in a photorealistic painting could be a no-go whereas pixel art often contains improper proportions and lighting information due to limited resources.

#4 Hamsta   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:44 PM

Practice drawing first.

The fundamentals will help you at whatever sort of art you want to do, as you learn about line quality, representing 3D forms on a 2D surface, human anatomy, color theory, etc.

Once you have a good grasp of the basics, switching to pixel art will come much easier than someone without any experience, but it has some unique challenges.
Itamar Reiner: Self Financed Concept Artist http://www.hamsta180.com

#5 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3620

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 03:15 PM

Pixel art might be somewhat easier to learn, since it's fundamentally more limited. There's only so many ways to place a line on a 32x32 image.

Start doodling all the things you think you might want as sprites in your games on paper. You can get a sketchbook, but all you really need is a mechanical pencil and computer paper (or even sticky notes). I would also start looking at sprite sheets from your favorite games up close, and try emulating them. Looking at what works already cuts down a lot of trial and error.

The easiest way to stay motivated to practice would be to start a small game project and make all the art yourself.

-Mark the Artist

Digital Art and Technical Design
Developer Journal





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