## General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Forum rules
Before posting critique in this forum, you must read the following thread:
siddh
Posts: 192
Joined: August 30th, 2009, 5:54 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

I don't know. It's very pointless to argue about this. I thought about it and came to the conclusion and figured that it's a good tip, and so I posted this. I then tried to correct and say instead that "you can try that as an option", "if it's not working, you could try not drawing eyes" and wanted to somehow demonstrate that it works even without explicit eyes.

What I was trying to say with the previous comment that the method with which I came to this intuitive observation was not based onto drawing sprites and observing them. I'm not trying to say there was anything wrong with wesnoth art, either, but instead that you could probably modify most wesnoth sprites not to have eyes, and they would still be ok.

So I think you don't necessarily need to draw the eyes explicitly to make a face look like a face. Even in normal every day life, if you look at people from too far away to see their eyes, you still don't get the impression that "hey I can't see that person's eyes, therefore he must not have them" or that "His face looks unrealistic, because it's too far away" or whatever. Anyway by a plane I meant a picture, but by using the word "plane" I wanted to concentrate on that we're talking about a mathematical entity which is within the realm of reasoning and logic, just as well as I wanted to use the word algorithm to refer to the process in which a person comes to identify the picture as a person or a face, and by granularity I meant that the information that the larger picture represents is compressed and it's no longer tracking whatever it's supposed to depict accurately, but also that a single pixel is extracted to more information. In a way you could imagine a sequence of pictures of a unit, in terms of 100x100, 99x99 ... 1x1 as a cone, and you can imagine a similar cone, which contains the ruleset based on which it's interpreted as a face, so because the image is pixelated, the ruleset changes with each step, or based onto which it preserves the information in the larger face. Ie if you would be zooming back into the larger picture, what kind of ruleset would produce an image similar to a larger picture? But since we don't really care about the picture size as much as we care about the pixelated unit's size, as in the space used to the unit, we should consider that cone as the amount of pixels used for the unit or any specific purpose. And because of these steps that occur I wanted to point out that the phenomenom of the choice of allocating the pixels to represent a unit / face, I thought modularity is a good choice of word. As in you can choose to use 8x8 pixels for the face, or 9x9 pixels, or 16x16, or some non-square shape, but regardless an area of something like that. So when you move from 8x8 to 9x9 there's a huge step. But if we track down to what it's supposed to depict, let's say a face of a certain look, then it might turn out you can convey the same facemore easily in 8x8 format than 9x9 format or vice versa, most likely more pixels is more convenient of course, but in the event that this does not occur, we certainly can credit that to modularity or modulo. I think it's equally important to note that any specific representation is also part of a sequence. But this doesn't end there, since we have to interpret the face as a face, and even though every pixel counts in the picture, we don't see it as a mosaique of pixels but instead something more like a blur, which is the phenomenom that I believe is what most of pixelart is about. An eagle might see a persons eyes from a distance a normal person can't. As a side note people also have different hardware for reading something as a face, since it's very unlikely that two people would develop exactly the same kind of brain area for making that interpretation.

But as you've pointed out I'm not expert in art, but at the same time my approach wasn't artistic to begin with, but rather something like information theoretic. And the joke about the picture was to make the underpants look like a mouth and the shoulderpads look like eyes, so that the picture in which the whole point is that it isn't supposed to have eyes drawn contains them anyway.

I don't know. I'm tired because of this argument and this interaction which turned out completely unfruitful for all parties.

Wussel
Posts: 617
Joined: July 28th, 2012, 5:58 am

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

Hey, take it easy. If you scale down a picture to pixel size the eyes are most likely little darker dots. The Wesnothian units are supposed to look like children's toys with big eyes. I am personally on the side of more realism, but I do not expect any change anytime soon. Your points are most likely helpful for monster design and such things. Keep up the spirit. The discussion has some value.

siddh
Posts: 192
Joined: August 30th, 2009, 5:54 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

Well yeah I'm sorry for getting this argument going, I didn't have the energy to handle each subject properly, which is partially because I had the headache and so on, but anyway. Right now I don't have energy to do this properly either, but if you want to use your imagination then maybe you can picture me coming up with some diplomatic solution to this. :DD

artisticdude
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 2424
Joined: December 15th, 2009, 12:37 pm
Location: Somewhere in the middle of everything

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm posting this comparison here for the sake of posterity. Nothing was modified except the eyes, which were replaced by pixels whose values match those of the pixels surrounding the eyes. I shall leave it as an exercise for the individual to determine whether Wesnoth sprites look better with eyes or without them.
Attachments
eye_comparison.png (19.28 KiB) Viewed 3788 times
"I'm never wrong. One time I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken."

siddh
Posts: 192
Joined: August 30th, 2009, 5:54 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

Fixed it for you

Since you obviously didn't get the idea. I'd like to add that technically the female elf didn't have eyes drawn to begin with, since it was just eye-sockets shaded with near-skintone, but I tweaked that a bit in this demonstration. None of them have eyes drawn, I think a better artist would've done the same with much more skill, and I just did this very quickly. I'm not saying they're wesnoth-level modified like this, but I think you can't say that they'd be hideous even though they don't have distinct eyes. I'm sure most of you guys could do the same with much more skill than I just did.
Attachments
fixed_eye_comparison.png (19.22 KiB) Viewed 3691 times

AI
Developer
Posts: 2394
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 8:38 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

The result looks like you ran a blur filter over the face. Pretty much the opposite of what pixel art should look like.

Dixie
Posts: 1757
Joined: February 10th, 2010, 1:06 am
Location: \$x1,\$y1

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

With any kind of art, the general guideline is more "does it look/sound/feel good/right", rather then "logic and theory dictate it should be this way". In this case, my artistic sense tells me that eye-less versions look worse. Maybe yours doesn't, I dunno. In that case, we'd have to agree to disagree. It's kinda like the scientific method, actually. Hypothesis: Wesnoth sprites would look more realist without eyes. At this point you can a) research reference of other pixelart pieces of similar size without eyes and decide wether they look more realist and better or b) (which you eventually did) try to edit the sprites yourself and judge wether they look more realist/better (my personnal take, once again, is no on both accounts).

And sure, Wesnoth's sprites have cartoony proportions to accomodate the canvas, but so what? If realism was the key line of conduct, the sprites would barely contain any level of detail at all and look more like stick figures than anything else...

But hey, the game is open source and easily modable, so if it makes you feel good you can create an eye-less add-on
Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny - Frank Zappa
Current projects: Internet meme Era, The Settlers of Wesnoth

siddh
Posts: 192
Joined: August 30th, 2009, 5:54 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

AI wrote:The result looks like you ran a blur filter over the face. Pretty much the opposite of what pixel art should look like.
FYI: I just took the picture and edited some pixels, and I'm sure that if you actually did just run a blur filter over faces the original images, that's not what you'd get.. In anycase I'll do a bit better version and edit this comment to add it later

Also you got the idea of "pixelart" in reverse, it's not that you have to make it look like you're having great trouble because you're limited to using pixels, instead it's exactly the opposite. Besides I think this arguing by definition of what pixelart is or isn't is inane to begin with, what you should care about is how things look like.

Also I couldn't come up with anything useful for the merman so it's the same
Attachments
fixed_eye_comparison_2.png (19.3 KiB) Viewed 3651 times

Blarumyrran
Art Contributor
Posts: 1700
Joined: December 7th, 2006, 8:08 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

Tip: give humans a single eye in the middle of the forehead. I think it gives Wesnoth humans that little extra something, to set them apart.

homunculus
Posts: 537
Joined: July 21st, 2010, 9:47 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

I am surprised people use the realism argument so extensively here.
As far as I understand, large eyes are not always drawn for realism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chibi_(term)).
But if realism is the beginning and the end of all things for you, then perhaps you could consider reasons why the Wesnoth units might really have such unusually large eyes (for example, silicone injected into the eyes).

I like the "less eyes" woodsman, because he now looks like he has cute bushy eyebrows.
But I don't like the "less eyes" dwarf, because the more intense eyes give him a more intense expression that suits him better.
some wesnoth-related drawings

Crow_T
Posts: 851
Joined: February 24th, 2011, 4:20 am

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

I like the current sprites because they have character- at the minimum on a face you need to show eyes to convey life/expression. IMO having realistic sprites would make the game incredibly boring visually- the visual style is what makes Wesnoth stand out from the crowd.

Deciton_Reven
Posts: 94
Joined: August 6th, 2012, 4:49 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

I don't think having eyes on any of those sprites make them any thing less of a sprite. I'm all for mathmathics in drawing, but for all the 'logic' and 'realism' that you post on here, I feel the need to post 'characterization' and 'interruptation'. Not on the individual basis either, but on the whole. One thing that draws me to Wesnoth is the feeling of attachment you get to your units sometimes. If Gwnvnywn the human archer didn't have eyes he would seem (the word you use) distant, and I wouldn't care about him, even with his cute random Wesnoth name.

Also, If you have room for big, hollow, eye sockets, you probably have room for actual eyes. Just saying.

Oh, and the female elf definately has eyes, they're rose colored, she has a rosy complection, it happens, not that this is anything more than a nitpick.

artisticdude
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 2424
Joined: December 15th, 2009, 12:37 pm
Location: Somewhere in the middle of everything

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

So wait, now we've gone from no eyes to empty eye sockets...? Just slap a pair of eyeballs in those suckers and there won't be any disagreement anymore. I mean, like Deciton_Reven pointed out above, if you've got room to draw eye sockets, why not just go the whole way and draw the eyeballs while you're at it? The only difference between a pair of empty sockets and a pair of sockets with eyeballs would be the color of two pixels. Does it really matter that much?
Deciton_Reven wrote: If Gwnvnywn the human archer didn't have eyes he would seem (the word you use) distant, and I wouldn't care about him, even with his cute random Wesnoth name.
This. Totally, emphatically this. Eyes are extremely important facial features (which is why the 'eyeless alien' designs in science fiction tend to be creepier than those with the traditional oversized orb eyes). They say the eyes are windows to the soul, and there is actually some truth to that. It helps give a lifeless bunch of inanimate pixels the feeling of being alive and human. Establishing that personal connection is an important part of depicting a living creature in any medium.
siddh wrote:I'd like to add that technically the female elf didn't have eyes drawn to begin with, since it was just eye-sockets shaded with near-skintone, but I tweaked that a bit in this demonstration.
Actually, those 'eye sockets' are eyes, but they were deliberately drawn to be smaller and less noticeable as part of her elvish/feminine appearance (hence the use of the darker skintone colors, which make the eyes appear visually smaller next to the skin). In fact, the only noticeable difference between the original version and yours is the level of contrast in the pixels that make up the eyes. I agree with you in the sense that I don't think you need to explicitly draw every detail of the eyes (you couldn't anyway at this scale), but it would just look wrong if you didn't use something (even just a single pixel) to denote eyes on the face, which I think we can both agree on. After that, it becomes a matter of style, which is completely subjective and varies widely based on the personal preferences of individual artists.
"I'm never wrong. One time I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken."

siddh
Posts: 192
Joined: August 30th, 2009, 5:54 pm

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

Instead of arguing with your further arguments I'd like to propose, that you accept this general guideline of considering not drawing eyes as a valid option like for instance in the following form:

If you're having trouble drawing your unit's face and you're trying to draw very distinct eyes, you should also consider not drawing eyes distinctively as an option, as in trying to work out the unit's face to look like the way you want without drawing explicit eyes.

Since, like I stated before, I went overboard with my conclusion at first and then tried to adjust it into this form of a tip to consider - which got entirely knocked down - by even administrative staff - and judging by the fact that I don't think those modified sprites look hideous, but are instead at least ok, there's a valid basis for this consideration.

Whether this method is favorable or not, I think comes down to invidual sprites, it can (only) work some of the time this way. My style of conversing is often provocative and so the fact that this thread got a bit nasty is to a considerable degree my own fault.

If this guideline or tip is seen as valid, that you can consider doing this, then I don't see any further need for arguement

[/color][/b]
homunculus wrote: I like the "less eyes" woodsman, because he now looks like he has cute bushy eyebrows.
But I don't like the "less eyes" dwarf, because the more intense eyes give him a more intense expression that suits him better.
I completely agree with this, the dwarf was considerably better before the modification, and I think this woodsman looks at least equally good, but I think it also looks older.
Last edited by 8680 on June 30th, 2013, 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Merged double post [Posting Guidelines §1f].

JaMiT
Developer
Posts: 511
Joined: January 22nd, 2012, 12:38 am

### Re: General tip: Consider not drawing eyes

siddh wrote:I'd like to add that technically the female elf didn't have eyes drawn to begin with, since it was just eye-sockets shaded with near-skintone,
Eye sockets are part of the eye, and since it is tough to fit all parts of an eye into such a small image, I'd count this as eyes being drawn.
siddh wrote:I think you can't say that they'd be hideous even though they don't have distinct eyes.
Indistinct eyes are still eyes. I thought you were in favor of not drawing eyes at all. Did you really mean that it is not necessary to draw the pupil, iris, and sclera (white of the eye) for each eye? That's probably right. Too much detail in too small a space tends to be counter-productive, in my limited experience.