Game Development: Pixel Art Hue Shifting (also a sale!)

Hey gang, I just want to quickly let you all know that Frog Hop is 80% off, and Nameless is 50% off this holiday!

Today I’ll go over using Hue Shifting to help make your pixel art pop out more.

Hue shifting is when you take your shading color, but change it so that it’s tone is adjusted to make the art piece a bit more dynamic.

Left: does not use hue shifting, the shading colors are just lowered in lightness. Right: Utilized hue shifting by making the shading colors not only get darker, but we gradually move towards blue for the body and orange for the feathers.

Left does not use hue shifting, the one of the right does.

Left: does not use hue shifting, the shading colors are just lowered in lightness.

Right: Utilized hue shifting by making the shading colors not only get darker, but we gradually move towards blue for the body and orange for the beak.

I’ll be using Graphics Gale’s UI (which is free) as an example:

It might seem intimidating to look at, but the idea is that if you look at the "rainbow slider" which is our Hue. the slider is gradually moving to blue as it gets darker.

It might seem intimidating to look at, but the idea is that if you look at the “rainbow slider” (which is our Hue). The slider is gradually moving to blue as it gets darker.

Hue shifting is great for adjusting the atmosphere of your art or to help make the piece look more dynamic.

Some more examples

More Hue shifting examples

More Hue shifting examples

Get creative, try different arrangements and have fun!

Happy Pixeling and Happy Holidays!

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com

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Anti-aliasing works really well for large cartoon art styles

Game Development: Pixel Art Anti-Aliasing

Hey guys, today I’ll be going over doing anti-aliasing in pixel art.

Left: not using anti-aliasing Right: uses anti-aliasing

Left: not using anti-aliasing
Right: uses anti-aliasing

Anti-aliasing is a technique used in pixel art to help soften the contrast between two colors. This can be useful if the shades of two colors are a bit too harsh and you want to create a softer look to your pixel art.

An example of anti-aliasing (right) in my most recent game Nameless

An example of anti-aliasing (right) in my most recent game Nameless

It’s actually pretty easy to do.

In this example, we find the "in-between" color which we will would use for anti-aliasing. (which would be the middle color)

In this example, we find the “in-between” color which we would use for anti-aliasing. (which would be the middle color)

First we we have two colors to work with (based off of the example above), a simple one would be the red and yellow, so using our intuition we would use orange. The idea is to get the color that is in the middle of both colors in terms of:

  • Hue (red,yellow,green,blue,violet etc)
  • Saturation (how intense the color is)
  • Lightness (how dark or light the color is)
Using the previous pink/violet example, here I used Graphic Gale's HSL UI to grab my middle tone.

Using the previous pink/violet example, here I used Graphic Gale’s Hue,Saturation, Lightness Slider to find my middle tone.

Of course if you use RGB or HSV this can still work too!

Another trick is to create a new layer above your art piece, grab one of the colors, draw over the other color, then set the layer opacity to 50%, then just copy that new middle color.

So now that we have our middle color, how should we go about placing it?

While this technically isn't wrong in terms of shading, it's not really anti-aliasing.

While this technically isn’t wrong in terms of shading, it’s not really anti-aliasing.

The key is to place our mid-tone in a way that is subtle.

Getting closer, it does help with softening the two colors, but it's not quite there yet.

Getting closer, it does help with softening the two colors, but it’s not quite there yet.

I find the key to anti-aliasing is place the mid-tone pixels in corners, and to keep them spaced away from each other.

Masta peace

The mid-tone is placed in the corners sparingly (it doesn’t have to be in EACH and EVERY one). Notice too how it can even be placed on the flatter edges where it rounds off to help further add to the roundness of the shape.

Anti-aliasing can be fun, at least for me I find it to be a bit less formulaic, though tedious depending on your art piece. I find it works really well when there’s a lot of contrast between two colors.

Anti-aliasing in general looks good with rounder shapes, whereas if there's a specific case where you want to emphasize the blockiness or sharpness of a shape anti-aliasing may not be necessary.

Anti-aliasing in general looks good with rounder shapes, whereas if there’s a specific case where you want to emphasize the blockiness or sharpness of a shape, anti-aliasing may not be necessary.

Not only is anti-aliasing good for still maintaining contrast between two colors, but it provides another color for you to use in terms of shading.

Not only is anti-aliasing good for still maintaining contrast between two colors, but it provides another color for you to use in terms of shading.

Anti-aliasing works really well for large cartoon art styles

Anti-aliasing works really well for large cartoon art styles

Anti-aliasing is completely optional depending on your preferences and art style. There are PLENTY of games that don’t even use anti-aliasing and still look good, it’s all just a matter of preference.

Happy pixeling!

-Brandon

http://www.tinywarriorgames.com

Game Development: Pixel Line-art Cleanup

Hey guys, for the next few weeks I’ll be going over some of the things I’ve learned from doing pixel art for my games.

For this week I thought I’d first just go over the basics of using line-art if you were to go for a cartoon art style with your pixels.

To start things off lets show this example:

A simple example of a horizontal line being cleaned up

A simple example of a horizontal line being cleaned up

In general when you’re actually creating your art and go about cleanup, the general rule is to stick to 1 pixel thick lines and try to smooth things out.

The rule here is still applied, 1 pixel thick lines and smooth things out.

The rule here is still applied, 1 pixel thick lines and smooth things out.

This example above does not make a perfect diagonal line, but the rules still remain the same.

Gradual increase/decrease in pixels for curves

Gradual increase/decrease in pixels for curves

When you are doing curves, the rule to follow is to gradually increase/decrease the number of pixels in your line.

5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 -2 -1 -1

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 -2 -1 -1

I couldn’t help myself with this one, but here I just want to point out that curves sometimes revert a step back as they progress.

Notice how when it goes down to 1, it goes up to 2 then continues on. If you use the ellipse/circle tool in your pixel art program, drawing bigger circles will use this, so it’s good to keep this in mind when doing large curves.

Sometimes curves won't perfectly follow the curve count down/up rule.

Sometimes curves won’t perfectly follow the curve count down/up rule.

Realistically, your art won’t always follow the count up/down rule perfectly. But you can still be consistent so that the line doesn’t look bent in some weird spots (unless you’re intentionally trying to doing that).

cleanup cleanup cleanup

cleanup cleanup cleanup

One tip that I find helps is after you’ve done your rough pixeling and start doing line-art cleanup. If you’re confused where to remove pixels, try cleaning all of it up so that you mainly have 1 pixel lines, then if any lines look “off” (which may take a bit of a careful eye), just re-position the pixel to get the right shape. This is primarily one of the advantages that pixel art can have when it comes to making minor adjustments in your art.

Here are some more examples of line-art cleanup for some assets in Frog Hop

Owl Boss

I animated one wing, then mirrored it.

I animated one wing, then mirrored it.

Cleaned up the lines, then added color

Cleaned up the lines, then added color

Cobra Boss – Venom Spit Animation

Roughed animation phase

Roughed animation phase

Cleaned up lines, and also added in-between animation frames to smooth out the animation

Cleaned up lines, and also added in-between animation frames to smooth out the animation

rawr

Rawr

Cutscene Slide

Conceptualized and roughed the cutscene art

Conceptualized and roughed the cut-scene art

Line cleanup

Line cleanup

Colors, shading and background work.

Colors, shading and background work.

Of course, at the end of the day it all depends on your art style for your game. Some games don’t even use the line-art approach at all! Some have a completely different approach simply because using line-art by itself may not match their particular vision, which is totally fine!

There are games that don’t follow these rules entirely but they still look visually appealing because they are CONSISTENT with the way the art is drawn and the overall presentation is not jarring.

Happy Pixeling!

Happy Pixeling!

Thanks for reading,

-Brandon