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Telamon

How can I make art that looks like this?

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I'm thinking that it might be fun to create a retro-styled adventure game that looks a lot like the old Sierra on-line games. What tools were used to create this art originally? Are they any tools out today that would help me to create art in this style faster than they did back then? I get the feeling these images may have been created pixel-by-pixel.

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I don't know if its how they did it, but when I create pixel art I draw it at a larger size at resample it down to the correct resolution. It helps create the subtle pixel shading that's very hard to do by hand.

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Well I would like to actually finish my project - are there faster ways to achieve good results? I understand that the original artists (for whom I have a lot of respect) probably agonized over each pixel back in the day, which is why the art holds up so well. I guess I'm wondering if there is a solution that will give me 90% of the result with 10% of the effort.

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Quote:
Original post by Telamon
Well I would like to actually finish my project - are there faster ways to achieve good results?
Make your scene in 3d with polygons, render it at a high resolution, then put a brush stroke filter or something on it, then lanczos sample it down to 320x240 (or whatever).

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Original post by Telamon
...probably agonized over each pixel back in the day...


I used to think this too, but it's not as true as you might think. Pixels are the medium that the artist works in, but it's the zoomed out look that they're interested in. How it looks to the eye when its seen as a tiny part of the screen.

These artists were mere mortals, and it's alot easier when you understand the basics.

This is an excellent resource. Should help demystify things a bit.

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Generally they'd do the broad strokes with less precise tools then go in and add details by the pixel. It takes time, to be sure, but they didn't actually go pixel-to-pixel for everything like you might think.

You might be able to get similar results by doing the source work in a larger format, sample it down, and then reduce the color pallete to 256 colors, possibly with dithering. That should look close, but not as good. Maybe 75% of the result with 25% of the effort?

You could also build up a toolset of various backdrops and objects for some things to ease your workload.

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I have had a client once who wanted a super pixelized retro look for some backgrounds. I did an old school structure but normal colors and before sending the assets, I took each asset and lowered the color-depth to 16-32 colors. It might sound low but since I was doing it with separate assets, it avoided some pollution between colors that may happen weirdly when lowering the color-depth of a large image with a wide palette. For smaller assets you can do it directly with the right colors and hand-dither the gradiants.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
The primary tool at the time was DeluxePaint. Ahhh, the memories.......


Try the World Creator commercial version.
The render engine doesn't use a photo realistic approach and has a real classic 'gamey' hand pixeled artwork style.
Look in their galleries and forum for more.
Link: http://www.inet2inet.com/main/main.htm

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Quote:
Original post by ravyne2001
Generally they'd do the broad strokes with less precise tools then go in and add details by the pixel. It takes time, to be sure, but they didn't actually go pixel-to-pixel for everything like you might think.

You might be able to get similar results by doing the source work in a larger format, sample it down, and then reduce the color pallete to 256 colors, possibly with dithering. That should look close, but not as good. Maybe 75% of the result with 25% of the effort?

You could also build up a toolset of various backdrops and objects for some things to ease your workload.


Yeah, photoshopping a larger version then sizing it down would work, I'm pretty sure that's similar to how the OP's 2nd scene was made, those houses in the are too well anti-aliased for timely art. They would be fairly easy to do by hand and then scanned into an art program and modified, however. The fence on the left looks fuzzy enough to be painted while the fruit would be added in later.

The first scene looks like it could be all-computer or based off of scanned-in line art, or combination of that and the technique I talked about above

I've made a step by step pixel art creation tutorial on my developer's journal, if you want see how it's done(or how I do it)

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