Jump to content


Tutorial: The Pixeling Compendium


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:50 PM

*
POPULAR

The Pixeling Compendium
A Pixel Art Tutorial by Justincrdibl

Note: After reading this tutorial, please post any questions, comments, or concerns dealing either with this tutorial specifically or just pixel art in general. I am trying to make this guide as helpful as possible, so I'd really appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

Hey all you eager pixelers! This is a pixel art tutorial that deals with the individual steps necessary to make a pixel. Of course, there are infinite ways to go about making pixel art, so feel free to skip around the sections to fit your likings. I hope you find this tutorial easy to use and hopefully by the end, you will be more learned in the not-so-ancient art of pixel art. So let's jump right into it...




1. Sketching:

The first step is sketching your idea. You can do so either by drawing it in your art program with either the pencil or paintbrush tools, or by sketching it out on paper then scanning it into your computer. I won't go into detail on how to sketch, or anatomy or anything like that (if you are attempting pixel art, you should have at least adequate knowledge of sketching and drawing).

Since it's just a sketch, you don't have to be very exact with it, but it should still be neat enough to give you a decent idea of the shape so that you have a much easier time outlining. I drew a mad scientist!

Posted Image
Eww! A creepy old cyborg dude!

2. Outlining

This step is where we will define the shape of your pixel by giving it an outline. Create a new layer (if your program supports layers), take the pencil tool and place pixels one at a time over the sketch you just drew. You should be outlining in a different color than the sketch (usually black).

Posted Image
TIP: Remember, you can always go back and make
adjustments to your outline. NOTHING is permanent.

3. Cleaning up your outline

Now that we have an outline, you can get rid of the sketch. If you are working in a program with layers, simply hide the sketch layer. If you are working in Microsoft Paint, you can replace the sketch color with the background color (guide). With the sketch gone, we can see any mistakes made in the outlining process and thus we can fix them much easier than if the sketch was still cluttering the image.

While looking over your outline, make sure all of the lines are 1-pixel thick and don't contain any unnecessarily sharp corners. If your lines are wider than 1-pixel, simply erase one of the pixels that makes it too thick. If you didn't understand that, hopefully this picture will clarify:
Posted Image

Posted Image

4. Shading

This stage is the one that most beginners have a hard time with, especially those who don't do art frequently. When shading, make sure that your light source is always defined by the shades you apply to the image. If you shade your image without always thinking of where the light is coming from, it will completely throw off your image and make it look a lot worse than it could look. There is a term for shading without a defined light source and that term is "Pillow-Shading". NEVER, EVER PILLOW-SHADE! If you do, you'll be kicked out of school/ work and be forced to make a living by eating dirt for the entertainment of obese children!:lol:

Here is a comparison of a sphere that is pillow-shaded and one that is shaded properly:
Posted Image
Obviously, the sphere that has been shaded correctly looks a lot more realistic than the other (which hardly even looks like a sphere at all).

Posted Image
TIP: When shading, consider the material that you
are shading. For instance glass and metal will be much shinier than skin.

5. Dithering

Dithering is a defining feature of pixel art that is used to give an image texture and, more commonly, to transition from one shade to another. There are numerous different ways to dither, but they all basically fall into two groups that I call Organized Dithering (OD) and Sloppy Dithering (SD). Organized dithering involves placing colors in patterns where the colors alternate in specific amounts. The results from organized dithering are usually more appealing than those of sloppy dithering. This is because sloppy dithering is where colors are essentially scribbled over one another which results in a very.... well... sloppy looking image, because it's obvious that you didn't spend much time on it. But enough talking about it; here's another comparison:
Posted ImagePosted Image
The image on the left shows organized dithering while the one on the right shows sloppy dithering. As you can see, the one on the left looks a lot neater and (in my opinion) better. Using OD may take longer, but the results are really worth it if you're trying to make an impressive piece of pixel art.

Posted Image
Dithering is very difficult to master. Just keep practicing and don't give up.

6. Details & Finishing up

At this point, you may one to add some last minute touches and minor details. For instance, I added some gross old-man liverspots on our mad scientist's head. Just add whatever you think will improve your image and...Congratulations! You're finished!
...Or are you?...

You may be fine with the black outlines you made in Step 2, but some people prefer to give their lines a bit more color. The trick is to make the outline a darker color than the color inside the outline. At some places, it is better to just leave the outline black (mostly near the shadows). There isn't a whole lot to say on this subject, but one piece of advice is don't go overboard with this. Keep zooming in and out to check if you are going in the right direction.

Posted Image



Final Thoughts:
  • I know just how cheesy and old this sounds but HAVE FUN! Never put yourself in a position where you feel you are forcing yourself to do pixel art. If you don't have any ideas for a pixel, go do something else and maybe you'll get inspiration.
  • Feel free to disregard parts of this tutorial and form your own way of doing things. However, there is a big difference between your own "style" and just being plain old lazy. For instance, when you use sloppy dithering and try to pass it off as your unique way of pixeling, it's clear to any experienced pixel artist that you're just don't feel like taking the time to dither properly.
  • Learn more about pixel art from websites like Pixel Joint, Pixelation, or DeviantART. Study other people's pixels, read more tutorials, do whatever you can to learn more about this great form of art!
Review

Sketching

Outlining

Fixing the Outline

Shading

Dithering

Finishing Touches

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


Edited by Justincrdibl, 03 January 2010 - 12:32 PM.


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#2 14cookie14

14cookie14

    Epic Flamer.

Posted 30 December 2009 - 10:33 PM

Acctually a really nice guide, simple and to the point, and a very nice sort of film clip showing the sequences at the end which i thought was a very nice touch, i might even give this a go :o. Good guide.
Posted Image

#3 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:44 AM

Thanks! I was trying to make it as simple and concise as possible while still being informative. I'm glad you like it!


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#4 `Killer

`Killer

    Member

  • Posts:2,161
  • Joined:11-November 07
  • RS Status:Retired

Posted 31 December 2009 - 02:56 PM

Grrreat guide. I like the layout of it, and it is simple and informative as Cookie said.
Whenever I see good pixeling guides like this, I really want to attempt it (then it turns out like crap and I quit).

#5 Psyduck

Psyduck

    Tight Jeans, Double Ds, making me go Whii Whoo. <3

Posted 03 January 2010 - 06:19 AM

Yeh that is an incredibly good guide, I won't be attempting this stuff though, I really am bad at pixel art :P

But I wouldn't mind seeing some more of your artwork, shall be skimming through your topics to see if any are on show

10/10 guide, organized, descriptive, all in all very useful.



Get Emotions.

There's a place in the dark where the animals go
You can take off your skin in the cannibal glow
Juliet loves the beat and the lust it commands
Drop the dagger and lather the blood on your hands, Romeo!
<3


#6 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:31 PM

Thanks guys, I'm glad you liked the tutorial

View PostCheez-Its, on 31 December 2009 - 02:56 PM, said:

Whenever I see good pixeling guides like this, I really want to attempt it (then it turns out like crap and I quit).

If you want, feel free to post here any attempts at pixel art based off of this tutorial and I will give you tips on how to improve. This also goes for anyone else who wants to try their hand at pixel art.


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#7 Tyrutu

Tyrutu

    DIEEEEE...

  • Posts:1,513
  • Joined:05-September 07
  • RS Name:Tyrutu
  • RS Status:Member

Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:37 PM

Pretty good guide for beginners. To me though, sloppy dithering is neccesary for alot of things, such as rock and dirt. But I suppose people
should learn how to properly dither before getting used to doing it sloppily.

#8 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:56 PM

I agree, there are a few cases when sloppy dithering is okay (except for rocks; rocks should generally be more defined), but I was referring to times when people get lazy and just scribble two colors together to shade clothes or something like that that wouldn't have a messy texture like that. It's also important to note that when shading things like dirt with sloppy dithering, that you aren't just scribbling, but instead thinking about how the light affects what you are shading.


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#9 Pants

Pants

    Member

  • Posts:4,977
  • Joined:20-April 07
  • RS Name:I Luv Pants
  • RS Status:Retired

Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:02 PM

I've never had the patience to sit down and really try to pixel, although I've tried many times over the past few years.
Maybe I'll give it another shot sometime... Nice tutorial.

Posted Image


#10 Eggz

Eggz

    GFX Artist

  • Posts:250
  • Joined:16-May 07
  • RS Status:Retired

Posted 11 January 2010 - 02:17 AM

Awesome tutorial; makes me want to extend my graphics work into pixeling as well as I've always been interested in the art. Never knew about the specifics of shading such as the dithering and the examples really help compliment your point. I've always done random drawings and sketches in schoolbooks but never thought about doing it on computer.

I don't want to go jumping in to spending money on a drawing board or anything so I was just wondering, is it possible to do pixel art simply with a mouse? Obviously it'd be much harder but is it possible to do so and still come out with a decent picture in a reasonable amount of time (in comparison to using a drawing board)?

Edited by Eggz, 11 January 2010 - 02:18 AM.

~ | Home of the Defenceless | ~

Posted Image

Pure & Looking for a Clan? Pure Warfare is for you



#11 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:47 PM

You can easily do pixel art without a tablet, and many artists do. Of course, it's much easier to use a tablet for things like sketching and coloring, but since much of pixel art is about laying down individual pixels you will be using the mouse more often than a pen tablet. For beginning pixellers, I suggest trying out pixel art with only a mouse for at least a few months, then see if you want to buy a tablet or not.


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#12 aregon810

aregon810

    Member

  • Posts:175
  • Joined:10-February 06

Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:57 AM

Good tutorial, but you should experiment a litle bit more with the colours.
Posted Image
Intrested in buying this sig or other pixels, give me a pm!

#13 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 21 January 2010 - 05:49 PM

View Postaregon810, on 21 January 2010 - 01:57 AM, said:

Good tutorial, but you should experiment a litle bit more with the colours.

Do you mean experiment with colors in the picture of the cyborg guy? Or did you also mean in the tutorial? Either way, I was going for a simple tutorial and color-theory might be a bit too complicated for beginners.

Thanks for the advice though :sad:


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#14 aregon810

aregon810

    Member

  • Posts:175
  • Joined:10-February 06

Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:56 AM

You could have used some more intresting colours, not explain the chooise but to make it look more intresting.
Also I whouldn't dither so much, it doesn't always add's goods to pieces.
Posted Image
Intrested in buying this sig or other pixels, give me a pm!

#15 ƒ this.

ƒ this.

    hit me up on the insta cuz

  • Posts:1,813
  • Joined:25-April 09
  • RS Status:Member

Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:21 PM

Splendid guide, really helpful! God, it seems so difficult though lol, I don't know how people can actually manage to make these (I realise the mad scientist one was a simpler version and took a lot less time) but the ones that are bigger and include more scenery, people, etc. those seem hard!

Anyways,  +1'ed.

Kappa


#16 Killalot

Killalot

    That one range tank

  • Posts:444
  • Joined:10-August 06
  • RS Name:Sgt Killalot
  • RS Status:Member

Posted 14 February 2010 - 12:38 AM

Really nice guide, helped me to make my first drawing here.

#17 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 20 February 2010 - 08:32 PM

Glad you guys found it helpful!

Note: If anyone is looking at this tutorial around the time that I post this, the image uploader is down so the images aren't showing up. It should be back up and running soon, so check back!
Images are back up!

Edited by Justincrdibl, 26 February 2010 - 10:56 AM.


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#18 911skills

911skills

    Scrumdiddlyumpchiousness

  • Posts:272
  • Joined:28-December 08
  • RS Name:911Sk1lls
  • RS Status:Member
  • Clan:Zchat

Posted 17 July 2010 - 03:49 PM

Great guide. Easy to understand, But what im having trouble with is finding a good program to use. Any advice?
Posted Image

#19 Justincrdibl

Justincrdibl

    Call me Justin

  • Posts:935
  • Joined:23-September 07
  • RS Name:Justincrdibl
  • RS Status:Free

Posted 18 July 2010 - 05:35 PM

View Post911skills, on 17 July 2010 - 03:49 PM, said:

Great guide. Easy to understand, But what im having trouble with is finding a good program to use. Any advice?

Microsoft Paint works fine if you're too lazy to buy/download anything else, but there are a handful of better programs. I'd recommend downloading GraphicsGale since it's free and is designed specifically for pixel art. Photoshop is what I use about half of the time, but it's kinda pricey. GIMP is a good program that has a lot of tools and features that are similar to those found in Photoshop.


The Pixeling Compendium [Tutorial] Posted Image
DeviantART gallery Posted Image
Pixel Joint gallery Posted Image
Pictures Posted Image

Posted Image


[CL of Pictures]
PM me for any reason! :]


#20 Scutum Crux

Scutum Crux

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Posts:491
  • Joined:16-August 08
  • RS Status:Member

Posted 12 August 2010 - 02:40 AM

Thanks a lot for this guide! For example, I never heard of (Organized) Dithering before.  :hi:  
Perhapsa stupid question  :no: : There exist no tools for dithering? You have to do it yourself, pixel by pixel?

Edit: is it worth buying an usb-pen? (instead of working with a mouse?)

Edited by Scutum Crux, 12 August 2010 - 02:41 AM.

Posted Image





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Font:
Arial | Calibri | Lucida Console | Verdana
 
Font Size:
9px | 10px | 11px | 12px | 10pt | 12pt
 
Color: