Nenau's sprites, needing advice

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Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby nenau » June 9th, 2017, 7:36 pm

Hello,

I am trying to create fresh new sprites for the Vespasian historical campaign. These are the three only sprites I created from nowhere as far, and I'd like to get some advice to make them better.


elephant.png
An elephant with a guy on the top of it
elephant.png (5.64 KiB) Viewed 634 times

For this one, I used a photo as a model, and I had to change the perspective.


celtic-swordsman-bs.png
A celtic fighter
celtic-swordsman-bs.png (2.34 KiB) Viewed 634 times

This one is strongly inspired from Turin's lavinian sprites from the Imperial Era. I feel that something wrong is happening with the spear's head, but what is it exactly?


oriental-spearman.png
A spearman
oriental-spearman.png (2.64 KiB) Viewed 634 times

This spearman looks too cartoonish, and I don't understand why. There is also somethong wrong with his legs, I redraw the right one (his left) 2 times, but without any good result...

Any imput is welcome.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby Vulpine » June 9th, 2017, 7:51 pm

Hey Nenau! They look like a pretty good start!

A few things that I noticed after a quick look; the elephant's shadow looks like it is reflective water or something like that. It seems a bit off.

The spear-tips look dull. As in not pointed.

The bottom spearman... I think his leg should disappear behind the shield. Follow the line of his thigh, or try picturing him in your head without the shield. See what I mean?

Also, I'm not quite sure, but the underbelly of the elephant looks odd...

Anyhow, good work! Keep at it until you are satisfied with it :)
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby taptap » June 9th, 2017, 8:53 pm

I would look at them in front of a background as well, sometimes things look odd with the dark outline contrasting to white, which wouldn't in context.

An easy point for improvement is the right shoulder of the spearman (which currently isn't really there), and the attached arm as well unless it is severely foreshortened (which would require a different orientation for the spear). This is way more important than the legs, imo. I personally try to get rid of only vertical and diagonal weapons and the overwhelming urge to make everything symmetrical. This is probably part of your problems w/ the spearhead on the fighter, i.e. the symmetrical 2 pixel tip. On the spearman the shield looks more like a boulder, while I am not particularly apt at making shields, I think details or texture (a few good wooden shields are in the game) on the shield helps a lot.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby nenau » June 10th, 2017, 6:20 am

Thank you, Vulpine and taptap. I tried to take into account your remarks.

elephant.png
The shadow was corrected, as well as minor edits on his belly
elephant.png (4.23 KiB) Viewed 589 times


celtic-swordsman-bs.png
The spearhead was corrected
celtic-swordsman-bs.png (3.03 KiB) Viewed 589 times


oriental-spearman.png
On this one, there was more work: the spear and the leg were redrawn. I tried to add details on his shield, isnspired by the akladian warrior from a new order.
oriental-spearman.png (2.96 KiB) Viewed 589 times


scene.png
All these guys together on the battlefield
scene.png (65.17 KiB) Viewed 589 times


What do you think now ?
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby ForestDragon » June 10th, 2017, 6:29 am

I think you should make the elephant's outline dark gray instead of black (the rider's outline can say as it is).
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby GunChleoc » June 10th, 2017, 8:33 am

The spearman's spear shaft is now suffering from the jaggies.

I think the problem with his legs is that both knees are pointing in the same direction. This makes him look as if he was on the way to squatting down.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby Vyncyn » June 10th, 2017, 12:23 pm

How realistically do you want the elephant to be? Right now it looks very cartoonish (not necessarily bad, but since you were complaining about the spearman being too cartoonish...)
If you want him to be more realistic, you should make his eyes fully black and use less blue on his body. Make him grey or brown instead. Also, the head is too far left. You should move the head and rider more to the right of the picture.

The celtic fighter is a bit flat. A few highlights on his armor could help.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby nenau » June 10th, 2017, 4:35 pm

My results, trying to include your advice :

elephant.png
The outline is brighter, except on the rider and in the shadowy zone. The head was moved.
elephant.png (4.61 KiB) Viewed 524 times


oriental-spearman.png
Wore work on the legs. I tried also to prevent the jaggy stuff with partial transparency, don't know if it's the standard way...
oriental-spearman.png (2.92 KiB) Viewed 524 times


I didn't work on the celtic fighter so far because his armor is supposed to be chainmail, and I don't want to give the impression he is wearing a heavy cuirass. I'll try to find mainline units with chainmail to see what to do...

About the cartoonish vs realism balance, my aim is to use the same style as the mainline units. If one day I feel confortable enough, I'll maybe try to have my own style, but till then...
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby ForestDragon » June 10th, 2017, 5:23 pm

the outline on the elephant's legs looks good, but it's back's outline might still need to be a bit lighter, and the head's outline needs to be lighter too, but even more so.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby GunChleoc » June 10th, 2017, 7:42 pm

You might find this tutorial helpful: https://betterin2d.com/2014/08/02/pixel ... -to-avoid/
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby nenau » June 11th, 2017, 4:02 pm

Thank you all of you for your input. As suggested by GunChleoc, I will study more documentation about pixel art, and after that, I'll be back, hopefully with better sprites.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby SFault » June 18th, 2017, 7:22 am

nenau wrote:Thank you all of you for your input. As suggested by GunChleoc, I will study more documentation about pixel art, and after that, I'll be back, hopefully with better sprites.

That documentation gives you rather good idea how to fix stuff. For the spearman I think the biggest problem atm are the single color dark gray outlines. Then maybe the pillow shaded loin cloth. I would also get rid of the semitransparent pixels on the spear.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby nenau » June 18th, 2017, 4:32 pm

Thank you, SFault.
According to what I've understood, I'll have to rework my outilnes. I'll also try to rework the shading of the cloth.
About the semi-transparent pixels, I'm wondering how I could fix the jaggies without them as I don't know the color of the background.
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Re: Nenau's sprites, needing advice

Postby doofus-01 » June 19th, 2017, 4:55 am

Hi nenau,

I'm not suggesting that you ignore the tutorials, but I just want to encourage you to not get bogged down in the "technicalities". At the end of the day, what matters is how well your sprites fit in with what the players will see. If your sprites will be interacting with mainline units, be sure to test them out "in game" with mainline units, and your eye & gut will help you fix the biggest issues.

As for specifics, the oriental-spearman.png has a somewhat small head, I'd cut & slide it up a pixel or two, so there is a "mouth region" (even though most sprites don't have mouths). Or draw his chin down further by a couple of pixels.

For the shadows/semi-transparent pixels, I'd say don't worry about it too much; the shadows are not as prominent as anything else in the sprite. Just try to get a shadow that makes sense for the light-source being somewhere to the right. Don't worry about jaggies on the shadow.
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