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Artistic Feedback

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I'm not an artist, but I'm putting together a couple sprite sheets for my engine, and would like some constructive feedback. I only have about fourty sprites right now, but I want to know how horrible my work is, so as to improve it. I'm going for a almost overhead look, tilting backwards to give it more depth, if you understand what I mean. Here's the first shot: It's just a grass background with a few sprites over it. I'm rather proud of the grass, as that is one of the only things I appeared to have done good. Actaully, there are two grasses if you look well enough, a heavy grass and a lighter grass. I hate that tree there, and would particularily like advice on the trees. Here's the next shot: As you can see, I went with no black outline, as I am only using 32 * 32 pixel tiles, and thought black would be to distracting. That path is just obnoxiously sticking out in my sight, and could use some pointers on it as well. I would like some responses on all my tiles, but particularily the tree and path. I am making a 'base' tileset for my 2D engine, thus for any games I create, I don't have to make thousands of tiles but only a hundred or so specific ones. Unless I make a futuristic game... [smile] Currently my engine isn't finished and so it can't display anything yet, so I use mappy to see how my tiles look alongside each other, and it is from mappy that the above shots come from. I decided to take a day or two off my engine, and came up with these sprites while resting. Feedback of any kind is most welcome, and greatly appreciated. ~S of the L~

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Art is really about observation, and my feeling is, you weren't looking at the trees or the path while you made them, which is why they turned out bad. Look at how a tree branches out, the size of the canopy to the trunk, do some sketches outside, then translate it to sprites. Its hard to describe exactly.
The path is easier to critique. Is it concrete? If so, it needs some sort of dividers between each block. If its bricks, give it a brick texture. If its dirt or gravel, use the appropriate texture. Also, perhaps the grass can 'bleed' into the path tile to break up the border a bit.
Remember, its all about observation.

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if you´re serious about doing presentable artworks yourself I´d suggest reading up on a few techiques. perspective, isometrics, etc. understanding the fundamentals really really helps, especially when doing artificial views.

maybe you wanna check out the pixelation board, i think you will find more in-depth help there about the issues you mentioned. as far as i recall they have a pretty good tutorial and resource sectoin.

http://www.pixel-arts.org/pixelopolis/index.php


(and it´s not a bad start that you´ve got there)

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Sorry about the delay, I was busy drawing. I read your post yesterday, Professor420, and decided to go back and try again.

Quote:
Original post by Hase
if you´re serious about doing presentable artworks yourself I´d suggest reading up on a few techiques. perspective, isometrics, etc. understanding the fundamentals really really helps, especially when doing artificial views.

maybe you wanna check out the pixelation board, i think you will find more in-depth help there about the issues you mentioned. as far as i recall they have a pretty good tutorial and resource sectoin.

http://www.pixel-arts.org/pixelopolis/index.php


(and it´s not a bad start that you´ve got there)

Thanks. [smile] I will definately check out that place tomorrow, before I try again. I don't really wish to be a actual artist, just one well enough to not always need to hire an artist for real work. I've made pong, memory, and a little arcade like game, but this is truly my first jump into tile based games or games that need any kind of actaul art. I will look at that pixel-arts place tomorrow, now I'm taking a break. Many thanks.
Quote:
Original post by destron
for pixel art and stuff like that, i would suggest reading tsugumo's 'so you want to be a pixel artist', a very good read. http://www.zoggles.co.uk/asp/tutorials.asp?tut=17

I read that a week or so ago; it was really useful, thanks.

Here is my latest works:
Brick wall
I'm trying to make my objects give a more '3D' illusion, and my brick wall and wood fence(See first post) seems to have captured that. Unfortunately, not all my art appears as nicely.

Here is a glance at a few dungeon pieces:
Dungeon
Looks like I copied it strait out of a zelda game, [grin]. I have multiple floors made, but only two types of walls. I've haven't made much progresse on the path(it was supposed to be a dirt road), so I won't post another screen of it yet, but I'll try and work on it tomorrow. I've made much progress on the tree I think, but I'll let you guys, the real artists, be the judge.
Four trees
I scrapped the first tree entirely, and made the tree on the far left after pointlessly seaching for articles on the net. I then used PSP8 on a copy of it, and came up with the second on the left, although I don't think I'll use it much, as it will stand out too much against my other sprites. I then copied the far-left tree again, and altered it to look like the third tree which, admittingly, isn't that different. I, just an hour ago, made that pine tree and don't like it to much, although it is definately better than the first attempt I made.

So, what do you think? What needs more work?

Many thanks for all your feedback! ~S of the L~

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those are a lot better than the first ones - good work. no offense here, but i don't think they're good enough for a game (something you probably already know). but i'm not trying to be discouraging here - keep practicing by all means!

i like how you've added variety to the concrete path in the first pic - with the cracks and such - i'll bet you learned that from tsugomo's article - :) but one thing that i think tsugomo never touched on was the fact that while variety is necessary - it can be seriously overused - e.g. if there is a city street and every single cement block has some crack or impurity in it, or even 75% of them - then it will look stupid. basically it can be overused. on the same subject, you have to acknowlege what type of scene you are building - i.e. if you are building some sort of pristine palace or whatever, then cracks in the marble will look cheesy, and things must be as symetrical as possible while still retaining variety. however, if you are making some sort of back-alley scene, then rusty drainpipes, crack bricks in the walls, etc etc would be much more appropriate.

cheers

destron.

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I want you to know that I think the new trees, and the dungeon textures are amazingly cool! The transformation is like day from night.

The fluffy ephemerality of the light on the tree-tops is very dazzling. You should transfer this style to the grass perhaps?

As for the dungeon floor textures, I must ask if you have an affinity for Eastern European artistry? The geometry is very striking indeed, either way.

Your coniferous tree on the right should cast light as bright as the other trees, but a tint more blueish? I've also seen pines which turn yellow like a deciduous tree does. Strange. Snow too?

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Quote:
Original post by destron
those are a lot better than the first ones - good work. no offense here, but i don't think they're good enough for a game (something you probably already know). but i'm not trying to be discouraging here - keep practicing by all means!

Yeah, the're not to great, but I feel like I'm improving, and I will keep at it. Although I want to be a (hobbiest)game programmer, not artist, it would be good to have the skill.

Quote:
i like how you've added variety to the concrete path in the first pic - with the cracks and such - i'll bet you learned that from tsugomo's article - :) but one thing that i think tsugomo never touched on was the fact that while variety is necessary - it can be seriously overused - e.g. if there is a city street and every single cement block has some crack or impurity in it, or even 75% of them - then it will look stupid. basically it can be overused. on the same subject, you have to acknowlege what type of scene you are building - i.e. if you are building some sort of pristine palace or whatever, then cracks in the marble will look cheesy, and things must be as symetrical as possible while still retaining variety. however, if you are making some sort of back-alley scene, then rusty drainpipes, crack bricks in the walls, etc etc would be much more appropriate.

I knew that before I read Tsugomo's tutorial, but thanks, I will see if I can make the scenes more realistic. That path still needs lots of work, I will try and get a better one up, as well as a better dirt path, tomorrow.

Quote:
Original post by taby
I want you to know that I think the new trees, and the dungeon textures are amazingly cool! The transformation is like day from night.The fluffy ephemerality of the light on the tree-tops is very dazzling. You should transfer this style to the grass perhaps?

[smile]
Thanks for the compliments. As for the light on the grass, though, I don't think I could to well without having the grass tiling be noticable, I could paint the grass lighter though. I'll see how it looks.

Quote:
As for the dungeon floor textures, I must ask if you have an affinity for Eastern European artistry? The geometry is very striking indeed, either way.

I'm not much on art, so I couldn't say, but I do like how some types of flooring has designs that create multiple shapes and designs if you look at it differently. Is that European? I'll have to do a search and look a some now, as this is the kinds of textures I like.
For your enjoyment here is all my current floors: (Tiled for viewing)

Six floor tiles


Quote:
Your coniferous tree on the right should cast light as bright as the other trees, but a tint more blueish? I've also seen pines which turn yellow like a deciduous tree does. Strange. Snow too?

I don't think I'll have any snow anytime soon, but I do agree that the last tree needs more 'glow' to it, perferably from the top-right side as the others, so as to keep the sun's direction correct.

Thanks for the feedback guys, I haven't been able to do much today, just struggling with a incomplete charactor sprite, but I will see if I can get a few more tree types up, and maybe some more dungeon walls and floors. I will also try and lighten/darken the grass or create a new one to get a better look for it, and try and match it to the trees; and see if I can get some better paths up.

~S of the L~

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The grass is good (for the simple flat style you have adopted) but not perfect.
Some of your screenshots have highly visible tiling patterns because grass is a little shy of the top of the tile or thicker at the vertical borders.
The second screenshot, the one with the strange off-white walkway, has by far the best grass.
Maybe you could have a program produce grass tiles automatically to have many alternates and break patterns and to avoid any involuntary bias in drawing grass blades.

The indoor floor textures are beautiful, but they look more like wallpaper than like floors for two reasons: texture and scale.
The floor should show its structure: small tiles or mosaic (representable with markedly different colours without borders), large tiles or stone slabs (with mortar), parquet (with diagonal edges); the only type of floor without discernible texture is dirt, and it is not decorated.
In this graphics set, one tile edge is 1 to 2 meters, yet the floors have the complex decorations found on 10 to 15 centimeters decorative tiles.

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@LorenzoGatti: I'm not exactly sure what you mean by texture, but I made some more floors from what I gather you're saying. I don't like most of them as much, but I definitely feel more 'depth' in them. I tried messing around with a few different styles. What do you think of these ones?
More Floors: 5/24/06
The first three and the fifth I think are the better of the eight, but not excellent.

I really like your idea of computer generated grass though; I may experiment around with that in the future. Perhaps I could randomize the texture of tree trunks and leaves as well, or perhaps waves of sand or ripples in water. Hmm, this seems definitely worth looking into.

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Pretty much every society that has known geometry and algebra has had some form of geometric representation in the visual or architectural arts.

The amount of material to gain inspiration from is gigantor. There are people who live their lives in order to study it, and none can possibly know all. It's deeeeep. :)

Defining patterns parametrically in Rn (ie: R2 is 2D) is a great idea, and it sounds like you have the interest. I would love to see what comes out of that, tile or model-wise.

Models can be described volumetrically in R3. A lot of the concepts from R2 are similar, but linear algebra would be a must in order to grant sub-voxel precision in R3 to any useful degree.

Rendering this using a ray-tracer is trivial, as the surface gradient is readily-available using an isosurface paradigm.

Alternatively, tesselating the volume data using Marching Cubes would produce a triangle set instead. This would be for use with more contemporary rendering methods.

Your results could theoretically be deeper than what is already known, so until proven otherwise...

This sounds like fun to me. Hehe.

There is a program called VSaber - Volumetric Carving Tool by Lewey Geselowitz that makes a pretty solid introduction to the concept of volumetric data.

[Edited by - taby on May 24, 2006 11:06:22 PM]

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i think they look alright! these have a charming style about them - such as katamari damashi.

directed at your grass texture, a simple suggestion i'd give is to remove a few blades of grass near the bitmap's boarders so that the repetition of the texture isn't as noticeable. the grass in your second shot looks very well done in this regard.

if possible, flipping some of your tree sprites horizonally will also break up the uniformity of its use.

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Quote:
Original post by Servant of the Lord
@LorenzoGatti: I'm not exactly sure what you mean by texture, but I made some more floors from what I gather you're saying. I don't like most of them as much, but I definitely feel more 'depth' in them. I tried messing around with a few different styles. What do you think of these ones?


Of course they are less beautiful than the earlier ones, but the second and the fifth sample look like reasonably realistic tiled floors, which is what I suggested. The others continue to look like a flat grey surface with nice painted or applied decorations; the well done shadows in the sixth one, in particular, suggest a relief like those found in small wall tiles.
You can draw little squares and rectangles in varied colours and without the 1-pixel borders you are still using; vertical and horizontal rectangles would very obviously look like floor tiles and not like a pixelated enlarged image, without needing borders.

Why are you making all floors gray? They aren't common in real life. Regular dispositions of black or dark brown, white or yellow, and red/brown tiles, for example alternating diagonal lines or borders around a room, would look pretty and realistic.

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I don't know if it has been mentioned already, but adding some shadow under the trees (and to other objects) greatly helps establishing depth.
Someone already mentioned Zoggles tutorial and I feel especially this page adresses what lacks most in your sprites.

Good luck! :)

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Yeah, I do need shad under my trees. However, I don't have transparent textures implemented into my engine yet, only invisible, so I can't add shadows unless I make grass/sand tiles with a darker splotch of grass on them, which I might do later, but would much rather have transparency. I have tutorials for it in SDL(Which my engine is built on) for transparency,(Lazyfoo's) I just haven't actually added it yet. Lazy ol' me. [smile]

I don't have too much to add, other than a nifty new tree, but as I didn't show anything yesterday, I will post my current art(if you can call it that[grin]).

Here is a picture I made, of a new type of grass, based off of secret of mana's picture in tsugumo's tutorials.(The one linked by Captain P just above)

New Grass/New Tree

The new tree is visible(twice), as well as a old tree. Sorry about the background, though, I haven't got an dirt tileset yet.(I'll make one tomorrow) You can see that the new grass is an overlayer, and not a background like my previous grass. I think it needs to be darker though, as the trees blend to much. I tossed my blood tiles on the ground, just because I haven't posted them yet, although it kinda goes against the bright cheery mood this picture has.

I didn't scrap my old grasses though, I need multiple types for a standard 'set' to use. Besides, I don't like the new one to much; it needs more work. I did deal with the clumps of grass noticable at the top and bottom edges of the tiles that people pointed out for me, I have broken the 'grid' on some of these I feel.

Four grass tiles of varying thicknesses. Tiled five by five.

I have four types of grass, in varying thicknesses. I thought a cool thing for a action rpg would be to have heavier grasses the farther from safety you wandered, but I still don't have a game idea, I'm just working on the engine and waiting for 4E5 to roll around before actaully starting a game concept.

I have several more floor tiles, which I'll post in a second. (I seemed to have lost a few in my uploaded picture)

Again, feedback is greatly aprecaited and greatly desired. Any good art tutorials/forums not yet posted would also be nice.

I'm still working at it, so I acknowledge that my work isn't any good, with the possible exception of the trees and a few floor tiles. Still, feel free to insult me; I love constructive criticism almost as much as compliments. [wink]

       ~Servant of the Lord~

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Quote:
Original post by LorenzoGatti
Of course they are less beautiful than the earlier ones, but the second and the fifth sample look like reasonably realistic tiled floors, which is what I suggested.

Yeah, I do like the second and fifth, as well as the third(to a lesser degree). I think I see what you mean.
Quote:
The others continue to look like a flat grey surface with nice painted or applied decorations; the well done shadows in the sixth one, in particular, suggest a relief like those found in small wall tiles.
You can draw little squares and rectangles in varied colours and without the 1-pixel borders you are still using; vertical and horizontal rectangles would very obviously look like floor tiles and not like a pixelated enlarged image, without needing borders.

I made a few as you sugest, but I'm afraid I can't pull of too good of tiles quite yet. I'll practice a bit and post somemore tomorrow.(My current ones are posted below)
Quote:
Why are you making all floors gray? They aren't common in real life. Regular dispositions of black or dark brown, white or yellow, and red/brown tiles, for example alternating diagonal lines or borders around a room, would look pretty and realistic.

I have a thing for blue-ish/grey. [smile] I agree that I could use a few marble tiles or more palace-like ones. Those tiles I have so far are more dungeon-ish, I feel. I just think of dungeons as grey; perhaps that, too, is a effect of my zelda playing.

[Edit:]Okay, here are all my current floors:
Floor - lots of them

Not too good, are they? I do a few of them though, mainly the fifth, seventh, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth. About two-fifths. I will end up scrapping a bunch of the obnoxious ones and keeping the good ones, but I will probably also keep some of the 'medium' ones.

Well, I'm off to bed as it's eleven-thirty over here; maybe I'll have better tiles to show tomorrow.

[Edited by - Servant of the Lord on May 27, 2006 2:10:25 AM]

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