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Arannir

8-bit or 16-bit?

35 posts in this topic

I did this artwork believing it was 16-bit but someone told me it was 8-bit.
Can you identify?

1zmng5y.jpg

A previous artwork to compare to-

2exyi5z.jpg
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if you use 256 colors or less at any time then it is 8 bit graphics (many 8 bit systems allow for modifiable palettes so the exact colors you use normally doesn't matter)

16 bit allows for 65536 different colors.

24 bit allows for 16.7 million colors.

32 bit graphics normally still only has 16.7 million colors (and use the last 8 bit for transparancy)

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It can probably be either. The problem is, the resolution difference between 8-bit and 16-bit is small, so it's hard to tell which your 24x24 image is.

8-bit tends to have less detail and 16-bit tends to have more.

Overall, I would say it is actually 8-bit.
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Hi,

 

For this sort of thing you should consider using vector graphics for characters.  Inkscape or other vector graphics program can get you started. In my opinion, simple game objects such as this should usually be done in vector instead of rasterized graphics, but that might depend on artistic preference.

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They look more 8bit to me, as mentioned above they are pretty small resolution.  Most sprites on SNES were at the least 32x32, though tiles were often seen smaller, when you could find the tile borders I mean, as the quality went up exponentially at that point.

 

I'd also say you are really wasting pixels there.  I'm not really much of a pixel artist myself, but I see too much black in them.  I think you could use those precious pixels for more detail, letting color contrast mark the borders between sections instead of wasting a whole black line.  Final Fantasy 3/6 sprites are great examples of this.

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I count 11 distinct colors, so strictly speaking one could call it 4 bit graphics (thus, 8 bit is closer than 16 bit). Though as Madhed noted, since you posted them as JPEG, they're 24 bit as seen by us (the original image might of course be pretty much anything, for example 48 bit -- 16 bit per channel).

Edited by samoth
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Actually, the standard size of the chibi-style art in a lot of overhead games (which his art seems to suggest) are 16 pixels wide, and typically 24 pixels tall (sometimes 16, sometimes 32) -- games like FF6 or Chrono Trigger. Side-view games probably used sizes 32x32 and up thought. Tiles themselves were pretty much always 16x16 -- logical size, anyway, the SNES hardware supported tiles of 8x8, 8x16, and 16x16, I believe. with mirroring support. The SNES only had a resolution of 256x224 -- there was a high-res 512x448 (interlaced) mode too, but only a handful of games used it, mostly for fairly static screens like character selection or text. It was basically the same resolution as the NES (256x240), just more colors, more layers, sprites, and effects were available.

 

For that game style yes, but for many other games, which make a larger majority of games, sprites were bigger, and not just bosses.  For example, Samus I believe was 48 pixels tall.  The "bigger" platformers were similar in size, like Rocky Rodent, Contra 3, and I can't remember the one with the flying squirrel.

 

RPGs on the other hand, which it appears that the OPs sprite is for, were indeed usually smaller, like you said.  FF2/4 had 16x16, FF3/6 was 16x24, and so on.

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These are both jpgs. So... 24bit?
 
If with 8bit vs. 16bit you mean the art style associated with the computer systems of the time (i.e NES vs. SNES) I'd say they are more 8bit.
16 bit to me would mean higher resolution and more colors.


Those images have way too many colors (11 colors each) to be practical on any 8-bit console, and the colors used are not appropriate to an 8-bit console's color gambit.

They do, in fact, very roughly approximate the "low-fi" style of 16-bit console games like Earthbound on the SNES, which include certain hallmarks of 8-bit-style art, like hyper-saturated colors and pure black outlines, but within the greater color depth afforded by a 16-bit console. However, the overall level of detail is low, even for an 8-bit sprite, the proportions are wonky even for super-deformed style, and they don't read particularly well.

In other words, technically both sprites require 16-bit console hardware, but the aesthetics of both are sorely lacking (the first one more so), which is what's making people say they look 8-bit.
 

They look more 8bit to me, as mentioned above they are pretty small resolution.  Most sprites on SNES were at the least 32x32, though tiles were often seen smaller, when you could find the tile borders I mean, as the quality went up exponentially at that point.
 
I'd also say you are really wasting pixels there.  I'm not really much of a pixel artist myself, but I see too much black in them.  I think you could use those precious pixels for more detail, letting color contrast mark the borders between sections instead of wasting a whole black line.  Final Fantasy 3/6 sprites are great examples of this.


On the SNES at least, RPGs used 16x16 character sprites for a good chunk of the console's life, until around late-1993 to 1994 when they mostly moved up to sprites typically being 16x24, going as large as 32x32 if the character's size warranted it - though the most notable RPG franchise on Sega consoles, Phantasy Star, used 16x32 sprites from the beginning. The sprites shown here, for comparison, are 19x24.

And from a pixel art perspective, the overuse of black is probably the least of these sprites' issues, though the second is less obviously flawed.

EDIT: Wow, 3 more posts in the time it took me to write this out >.< Edited by Anthony Serrano
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Hey guys,
Thanks for all you input. This will come in handy for the future.

Honestly, I have only been drawing in this style for the past few days. So I've only been experimenting till now. I'm sorry if I have mislabeled these artworks.

I'm now going to base my characters on the third generation Pokemon games.

Thank you again,
Arannir
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Depends on which 8-bit, Sega Master System or NES?

 

You can't do those sprites on the NES, as sprites can only have 3 colours (2-bit sprites).

 

But you can do those sprites on the Sega Master System, as it can do 15 colour sprites (4-bit sprites).

 

 

So yes those look like sprites on the 8-bit Sega Master System, a console you may not be aware of.

 

 

928413sega-master-system.system.jpg

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For computers, you can use almost all bit types which is another advantage of computers over consoles.

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For computers, you can use almost all bit types which is another advantage of computers over consoles.

 

Whut?

I assume you mean color depth (usually counted in number of bits).

For any modern console, you can use any color depth.

For the old consoles, it might be more relevant to compare them to their contemporary counterparts, and then the PC systems were very much limited in color depth too... 

 

I'd say this art style is somewhere in between 16bit style graphics, and 8bit style graphics.

Too colorful for 8bit, but a bit too lowres for 16bit.

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People are coding for PCs with 32-bit color depth just for the fun of it. I've even heard of 64-bit experiments.  Granted, they are not in the mainstream, but you won't see that with consoles at all to the best of my [limited] knowledge. Software solutions for hardware limitations have been used for many years.

Edited by 3Ddreamer
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I'd classify both as 8-bit.  The jump up to 16-bit was a fundamental leap.  With 8-bit color, games almost by necessity had to work with a predefined palette of colors.  This tended to reduce shading ability and machine-generated effects.  Colors tended to also have a greater amount of contrast, although a careful choice of palette could go a long way toward minimizing this constraint.  (The original Starcraft was incredible in this regard.  It technically had a palettized 8-bit color depth, but stylistically felt like 16-bit to me.)

 

16-bit color allowed games to treat colors as a composite of red, green, and blue channels, generally with red and blue each getting 5 bits (32 distinct levels), and green getting 6 bits (64 distinct levels) since the human eye is more sensitive to green.  This allowed developers and artists to escape from the limitations of predefined palettes, enabling a variety of new options, such as applying machine generated effects, both at production time and game runtime.  This also reduced the need to work with or around high contrast colors, enabling a large variety of stylistic options.

 

I would also avoid classifying either of the two images as 4-bit, even though both could technically be represented with a 4-bit palette.  The reason is that outside of clever tricks, the 4-bit limitation applies to the entire scene, not individual sprites.  When you only have 16 colors to work with for everything, each individual sprite is unlikely to make effective use of most of those colors.  Most sprites would still only use 2 to 5 colors each.  (But with care, similar to 8-bit palettes, you could construct a pretty effective 4-bit palette.  Warlords II I feel did a great job of this.  It had black, white, and 4 shades of gray, 3 shades of green, 2 shades of brown and blue, and just one shade each for yellow, orange, and red.  This gave just enough gradient flexibility for the important stuff, while still keeping enough variety in the overall color selection.)

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People are coding for PCs with 32-bit color depth just for the fun of it. I've even heard of 64-bit experiments.  Granted, they are not in the mainstream, but you won't see that with consoles at all to the best of my [limited] knowledge. Software solutions for hardware limitations have been used for many years.

 

Going a bit off topic here, but both the XBox 360 and the PS3 support 32 bit color depth (128 bit pixels). I'm no console developer, so I don't know how widely used it is, but I assume its used by the high end titles for HDR lighting.

Any software implementation of higher color depth would be possible to use on a console too, they are not that different from a PC, and getting more similar with every generation. 

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128 bit pixels? You're saying that they have 32 bits for each channel plus 32 bits alpha?

 

32 bit color depth means = 8 bit per channel (RGB) + 8 bit alpha. 32 bit per pixel.

 

128 bit per color, according to my maths, means 30Mb per frame on a 1080p display. Which means that hardware like that could push 4k resolution (32 bit per pixel) without breaking a sweat and I don't think it works like that just now biggrin.png

 

And yes, 32 bpp is what consoles and PCs have been using for years now. Both doing HDR in the GPU.

 

EDIT: Ohhh, google fu tells me this: Each color is stored in a float (ie, 32 bit) for HDR rendering. Though I do have heard of the FP16 format used for HDR. So that means, 8 bit per channel + 8 bit alpha for output, possibly 32 bit per channel for computation.

Edited by TheChubu
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Well, it's only 64 bits. But My card is able to use float formats for output. I'm not sure if newer cards support full 128bit modes.

fhzE03O.png

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I count 11 distinct colors, so strictly speaking one could call it 4 bit graphics (thus, 8 bit is closer than 16 bit).


Those images have way too many colors (11 colors each) to be practical on any 8-bit console, and the colors used are not appropriate to an 8-bit console's color gambit.

They do, in fact, very roughly approximate the "low-fi" style of 16-bit console games like Earthbound on the SNES, which include certain hallmarks of 8-bit-style art, like hyper-saturated colors and pure black outlines, but within the greater color depth afforded by a 16-bit console.

So, to be clear, does 8/16-bit refer to color depth (256-colors vs highcolor) or word size (NES vs SNES)?

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I count 11 distinct colors, so strictly speaking one could call it 4 bit graphics (thus, 8 bit is closer than 16 bit).

 

 


Those images have way too many colors (11 colors each) to be practical on any 8-bit console, and the colors used are not appropriate to an 8-bit console's color gambit.

They do, in fact, very roughly approximate the "low-fi" style of 16-bit console games like Earthbound on the SNES, which include certain hallmarks of 8-bit-style art, like hyper-saturated colors and pure black outlines, but within the greater color depth afforded by a 16-bit console.

So, to be clear, does 8/16-bit refer to color depth (256-colors vs highcolor) or word size (NES vs SNES)?

 

Its almost always word size. CPU word size.

 

Most people who say "8-bit console" or "16-bit console" don't even know what a bit is. They just find it easier to categorize the consoles that way.

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I'd put them as late-gen 8-bit sprites, remember the Master System guys.

 

I'd say they're too wide to be 8-bit, regardless. I agree it *could* be done on the SMS, but you'd consume too many of the sprites-per-scanline at that width. In the West, most people think NES when they think "8-bit graphics" -- It was the last popular 8-bit console, the SMS never gained much traction here (I've actually got two, myself, and enjoy the games I have, which definately look better than NES contemporaries, but often gameplay isn't as good) and the Atari was very, very limited.

 

In other parts of the world -- South and latin america, and Europe to a lesser extent, the SMS had a lot more traction (I think they made games, game-gear ports often, until 1996 or so. I know you can get PAL versions of Sonic games, Street Fighter II, Mortal Combat for the SMS) so people there would more readily recognize SMS-caliber art as "8-bit".

 

I'll also go further to say that art is only one aspect of making a game that feels 8-bit. If the sprites are too large it looses the feel, if the physics are too realistic or smooth it looses the feel, if things are able to move with total freedom it looses the feel, if color is used too freely it uses the feel, if backgrounds are highly animated (except with palette-swapping techniques) it can loose the feel. A retro game isn't just about 8-bit-style tiles and sprites, but the overall package.

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But remember the NES and SMS can do 8x16 sprites, so those characters would only consume 2 sprites per scanline.
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