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Dithering help in for my pixel art?

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#1 nicksaiz65   Members   


Posted 15 August 2012 - 08:32 PM

I plan on making a 2D SNES style RPG in the future.(Think Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, etc.) Since I can't hire an artist, and I may need some graphics that I won't be able to find in free graphics packs, I am currently teaching myself Graphics Gale so that I can make pixel art when the time comes. I have come across dithering online, to which helps your graphics look better. However, I am having problems with it, and it sometimes looks bad whenever I use it. With this image I have attatched, the dithering I tried to use makes it look bad. It ruins the texture of the image,(I want it to look smooth, like metal) and the dithering pattern is painfully obvious. I don't want the dithering to be obvious like it is here in my graphics. So, my questions are "how would you do dithering and make it look good?" "Why does my image look so bad?" "should you use dithering with everything?" and "how can you dither without ruining the texture of an image?" Thanks.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Ball.png

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#2 Prinz Eugn   Members   


Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:10 AM

Basically, dithering isn’t good for smooth objects.

Unless you are specifically limiting your pallet to 8-bit color, you need to use more shades (light-to-dark) of the color in question. Dithering lets you cheat with a small color pallet to emulate more colors/shades, but stay away from it as much as you can for making a smooth light-to-dark gradient.

Where dithering comes in is the aforementioned limited pallet scenario or if you are trying to give something more texture, like a rough boulder.

I'll try to get back to this post later with examples tomorrow, but I need to go to slp.

-Mark the Artist

Digital Art and Technical Design
Developer Journal

#3 jefferytitan   Members   


Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:21 AM

As above, I'd suggest don't dither unless it's for stylistic reasons. A few related issues:
  • There are many methods of dithering, some give a less patterned effect. One state of the art method uses Wang tiles, but it would be 1000% overkill for your purpose.
  • The shape of your dithered area makes it look non-curved to me.
  • Your circle looks kinda non-round to me.
  • You could try dithering with more colours for a different effect.

#4 Prinz Eugn   Members   


Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:49 AM

It’s kind of confusing; dithering is something that comes up in every pixel art tutorial because it’s fairly unique to the medium, not because it’s something you should be using all the time. Examining your example up-close, a few issues are affecting your end product.



1) Sphere Shading- spheres are kind of odd to get the hang of, but essentially think of the different shades from light to dark as a series of concentric circles surrounding the brightest spot, each slightly offset diagonally from the last.



2) Uneven dithering. You appear to be dithering (alternating pixels) throughout your sprite, when you should dither only where two shades meet, having a more solid swath of a single shade between the borders. For my dithering example, see how it goes from dark every fourth pixel for two rows then to every other pixel (a 50/50 mix), and then reverses with light every 4 pixels?



3) Your sphere isn't circular, nor is it symmetrical. Check out the how the bottom has a longer straight stretch than the sides, and that the bottom right has a different "curve" than the other four. You can't trust image editors to make pixel-perfect circles, you have to check them yourself (remember, four-part radial symmetry). I suspect it's a very low-level problem with rounding to the nearest pixel depending on the value of pi or something.


 Getting the hang of this stuff takes a little while; I would pretty much count on the first couple of attempts looking funky, mine sure did. Here's a both of the above examples put together (and it's still not super smooth):



If you want very smooth, simply skip the dithering and use as many shades as you can to go from light to dark. And remember, "shiny" translates into very dark darks to very light lights. Here's the new stuff at actual size: ActualSize.png

-Mark the Artist

Digital Art and Technical Design
Developer Journal

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