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How Is This Pixel Art So Detailed?

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Hello,

I'm wondering how this pixel art can be so detailed. Isn't pixel art done completely by hand? I'm baffled as to how they would make an entire game with pixel art that looks so detailed and beautiful. I'm specifically referring to the 'splashy' art. Like this. Was all that done by hand? Or was there some other method I'm not aware of? I'm interested in this.

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I don't know the method they use, but there are some methods which can speed up pixel art, but they're nearly as time-consuming as making it by hand. That game uses a flat-shaded style, so it would take less time than a style which relies on shading, so it's likley it was done by hand.

 

There's always the possibility of using 3d models and rendering them as pixel art. Blender has this ability, and some other 3d software bundles may too. Another possibility is rendering a very basic 3d model with color-coded arms/legs/etc and use that as a reference to hand-draw the character on top of it. I imagine something similar  can be done with particle effects. 

 

Whether or not these methods save you time depends on the amount of animations you'll have for a character. Using a 3d reference is better if you've got a lot of frames or complex motions that are hard draw by hand. If you simply use a full 3d model rendered to pixels - there will also usually be occasional poorly placed pixels which you need to go back change delete by hand. The problem is more common the lower resolution you use.

 

For static objects, or objects with very little animation, it's best to draw it by hand.

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I don't know for sure as I didn't create those pieces.  It appears to be quite flat shaded, which leads me to believe it wasn't done with any 3d renders, except maybe as reference material to get poses right or something similar.

 

General pixel art is time consuming.  But I doubt that game was made with a single person, rather probably at a minimum programmer, artist, and musician, over a lengthy period of time.  Remember that it is possible to pixel out anything you want any size you want, given both the time and the skill.  Fighter game sprites used to have resolutions of over 100x100, with animations that were quite fluid, though they took much time to do and do right.

 

Last thing I mention about that game,  notice how much of the color is in chunks.  The environment as well as the character are made of mostly single colors for things.  There isn't much shading going on.  In that style, I would think that it wouldn't matter as much how big the pieces are because the actual work wouldn't be as much as on other styles due to using the same color in big chunks.

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Looks like just good pixel animation. It's very likely to be hand crafted.
Take a look at some other artist and you'll realise it's real:
http://konjakonjak.tumblr.com/post/110899200028/animation-i-like-which-i-made-for

The backgrounds looks interesting because they're making use of smooth alpha blended overlays:
pixel_Art_Glow.png

So you have the low resolution graphics with those smooth overlays, it creates an interesting effect.

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The pixel art in Hyper Light Drifter is NOT particularly detailed; on the contrary, it belongs to the contemporary "retro" style of low resolution for the sake of blockiness and flat colour without trying to shade well.

The coherent stylized look and the good animation timing demonstrate skill, but as pixel art it's very simple and cheap.

Technically, I think a lot of what you see is artfully shaded 3D scenery, with some hand-drawn sprites (the character, some cutscene elements, the flickering flames, etc.) on top.

 

Off the top of my head, I suggest Dodonpachi, Metal Slug (whole series) and Super Street Fighter 2 for a crash course in actually detailed pixel art.

Edited by LorenzoGatti

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Metal Slug series to me was truly awesome pixel art. Its still one of my favorite pixelated games with the zelda series close behind.

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Why not email and ask the GameDevs themselves? Most indies love talking about their work, and I've been eager to give feedback on my own stuff as well whenever people asked. 

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The pixel art in Hyper Light Drifter is NOT particularly detailed; on the contrary, it belongs to the contemporary "retro" style of low resolution for the sake of blockiness and flat colour without trying to shade well.

The coherent stylized look and the good animation timing demonstrate skill, but as pixel art it's very simple and cheap.

Technically, I think a lot of what you see is artfully shaded 3D scenery, with some hand-drawn sprites (the character, some cutscene elements, the flickering flames, etc.) on top.

 

Off the top of my head, I suggest Dodonpachi, Metal Slug (whole series) and Super Street Fighter 2 for a crash course in actually detailed pixel art.

  I'd like to make note that the style this game uses is the most effective use of pixel art I've seen in recent years. There is a tremendous amount of volume that has been made from such a small team (2 artists), and their use of economy in their style, mixed with fluid animation, really shows in their work.

 

Most people that have tried pixel art know how time consuming it can be, and for most pixel art projects, it's not the detail that's lacking, it's the volume. Yeah the animations look great, but there's just not enough. I think the team working on Hyper Light Drifter has found the perfect balance between detail, and simple economy, which really displays a lot of experience.

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Why not email and ask the GameDevs themselves? Most indies love talking about their work, and I've been eager to give feedback on my own stuff as well whenever people asked. 

That's one of my favorite things about indies :3

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Like Lorenzo said, it's not particularly detailed.

 

If you want to see truly detailed pixel art, search for Metal Slug or anything done by Paul Robertson.

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