Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Exposition: Layout Template


So we have to Hand in what we want,need and how we want our expostion corner to look for our exposition.

So this is what we have available to us to use, this is not mine I took this from the powerpoint slide of an example of what one could look like however I shall probably photoshop this to how i want mine to look.

Right now i dont really have a clue though, so heres the rules and guidelines for it,


  • Your space will be a 4ft x 4ft cubicle shared between 2 students. You will have 1 wall that will be approx 4ft wide x 7ft high each.
  • Within this space you should have the following:
    • Your project development work (sketchbooks, research)
    • Pc/Mac showing your project
    • 2D/3D work relating to your project outcome (a poster/model etc) * Poster should be minimum of A2 size.
    • Project statement (an intro to your work, what your aims and objectives were for your project, any other relevant info for a visitor who is seeing your work for the first time)
    • Business cards

- Less is more. Don’t over crowd your space with posters. Select only your best work. See examples of successful exposition spaces from last year. If you have more work that you would like to share then you can make up a portfolio book.
- Avoid cellotape, drawing pins, masking tape for hanging your work. Use only small pieces of white tac (not blue tac!) and/or dress making pins, or small panel pins.
- No hand written signs!!
- Make sure that all posters are displayed in a cohesive way, and are hanging straight!

Supervisor Meeting Diary : 01/02/13


I have finally managed to get in contact with Ryan and arranged a meeting on friday at 14:30. This semester we have to make an agenda for each meeting and take note of each meeting in a diary.

my printers broken so I am hoping this will do aswell,

Honours Project Supervisor Meeting diary

(Purpose: To provide a record of progress meetings between lecturer and student, for the computer arts honours project)

Student Name: David
Lecturer Name: Ryan
Date: 01/02/13
Page No: 1

Meeting Agenda

  1. Final Project, what do you think of my idea? Is it enough?
  2. Questionaire
  3. Critical Framework? Discuss way on how to make it more directed towards my aim.
  4. New Aim? Resurgance of pixel art solely to reminisce of the games of old or is their an often unconsidered Aesthetic Value to the digital art form?
  5. Exposition, what do I need?

Agreed Action Points:

  • Refine your ideas for the final project and send to Ryan
  • Expand critical framework but it doesnt need to be too deep

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Personal Development Portfolio: Terraria Pixel art


Well I wanted to try something different this time, mixed with the want to play games but also the guilt that i should do some work.

I decided I could mix the two and maybe even learn something from it, So i chose to play terraria a 2D exploration/creation game created by Re-logic, the good thing about this is the world is made up of 2D blocks.

so i decided to create some pixel art in the game, but what to create,

Well I decided to recreate something thats already been done by some other pixel artist the reasoning behind this is maybe It would help teach me how other people do it and how they do it.

I chose this image by Paul Robertson,

Reasoning is that Paul Robertson is usually regarded as on of thee main man for pixel art and his modern stylised pixel art is the style that interests me most.

Obviously I wont recreate the full image so i just decided to do the guy with the hammer,

So first I had to scale the image down so that the pixels actually equaled 1 pixel. Then in game i had to search for the right material that would play as the outline (ash) i cut this out the timelapse as it was rather unnecessary and i wanted to keep the video to 5 minutes... heres the video:

So what did i learn beside that pixel art in terraria add an extra does of potential death?

well the thing that stuck out to me was that Pauls Pixel art has far more whats considered unclean/Jaggies than what i thought. However his lines still works this is probably something i will learn in time but it will save me alot of time in worrying about my lines.

Secondaly, it sounded rather easy to recreate something but it actually was harder than what i thought it would be. there are a few mistakes most notably the hammer. this probably due to a simple miscount.

Anyways this was more useful to me than what i first thought and im looking forward to using what i learned on my other project im doing.

anyways hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Update: Start of semester 2


So first off i managed to get everything handed in for submission on time and fairly happy with what i got done. 

So, our first day back was yesterday and we had a lecture, all i can say is it looks like it is going to be a rather busy last half of the year.

but if all things go well and to plan it looks like it is going to be rather fun.

Im not sure if im allowed to post this but i got my proposal feedback a couple of weeks back aswell.


Not a brilliant mark but it is an essay and its been well established that my weakness in education has always been essays so im happy with that.

The feedback was also pretty handy and i will use what i was told to improve all my mistakes for my dissertation. My main area being my methodologies, I knew it was going to be a weak point when i submitted it but it got an MF, but I know what now needs to be fixed. will probably start drafting out my dissertation within the week. We are supposedly getting a lecture on our dissertation next monday so hopefully things are discussed about it then so i can make a start.

So after my weekend break its going to be back to work, here what i have planned...
  • More personal development work - finish PSABR fan art
  • arrange meeting with Ryan
  • sort out exposition layout and requirements
  • plan out what i want to have done for the exhibition - Showreel
  • Learning Contract

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pre-Production Portfolio: Environment Concept


Well I think I am ready for submission, but i suddenly realised I had nothing really for the environment other than that really rough sketch.

So i started to create a 3D environment in maya so I can get a feeling as to what it will look like,

It might not look like much, truck and skyscraper were previously modeled and textured but getting pixel art into 3D is rather time consuming.

my main problem was the pavement tiles,

When you do pixel art you usually work on the smallest amount of pixels then scale up if necessary, yet for 3D you want the texture to be pretty high quality so the textures dont start to blur which means high resolution.

you cant scale down or else the lines become distorted.

So what i decided to do was export the image from maya as 2048x2048, then seperately worked on a single 16x16 tileable square and then scaled up duplicated the tiles rinse and repeat until it was 2048x2048. Deleting the parts that are needed for the road. however with 4096 pixels things begin to get sore on the eyes and a bit jarring.

but yeah, need to texture other skyscrapers and maybe put in some more things in the environment to liven it up a bit.

but yeah thats me for today and prob what I'll have for submission.

David M

Pre-Production Portfolio: Stylised concept


After doing the classic style characters for the animation the next step was to create the more stylized image..

I made a start on the more realistic ones but I don't think they are ready, will need to look into creating that type of pixel art later.

So, I think thats pretty much close to submitting my work, just need to a few more stuff for concept development.

Planning on doing a video of me discussing my work in more detail that I have done so writing the script out for that after i have done this blog. not sure if i will manage to do it in time however.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Pre-Production Portfolio: Storyboards, scene layout


This is going to be a short one but eventually got my storyboards completed so here they are,

So yeah not many but the animation is going to be rather short and rather simple.

I also did a rough sketch of the layout of the animation,

The character will most likely just walk on the spot and i will make the environment scroll to give the illusion that he is moving. The environment will also just keep looping to save space and time. as i want to spend most of my time on the actual pixel art.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pre-Production Portfolio: Classic Pixel Art Concept.


So lastly for today i did a quick bunch of concepts of all the stages of the character in the classic pixel art style.


So I thought I should put it up to my critical framework to decide whether or not it is classic style

Resolution: 53x24


Outline: N/A

Anti-Ailising: N/A

Shading: Cell Shaded

Style: Classic

Platform: Image

Critical Framework: Fez Part.6

Critical Evaluation - Fez (2012)

3D environment, 2D characters

Resolution - Environment : N/A, Characters : 16x16


Bright, colourful, contrasting colours

Outline: N/A

Anti - Ailising : Used

Shading: Cell Shaded

style : 3D Stylised

Platform : Game

Pre Production Portfolio : Storybeats and Thumbnail revision


Following on from yesterday i decided to have a look at my script and thumbnails and improve them a little.

Since i want the animation to cover various different pixel art styles i thought it would make sense for it to start offwith the classic style with more contrasting colours then it grows from there to a more modern stylised approach then 3D (not 100% sure how i am going to do this part)

anyways so here are the storybeats,

  1. starts off with a baby crawling down a street (classic pixel art)
  2. as the baby grows older more pixels are added (modern)
  3. the boy starts to run and the camera rotates round the character (3D)
  4. the boy starts to get older and slows down pixels start to fall from the character and the screen as the pixel art slowly turns back to classic. Eventually all the pixels fall and disapear and thats the end

I am expecting the animation to be no more than a minute but I might accompany that with environment images etc maybe even the environment will be able to be explored using UDK but I havnt yet decided but might aswell chalk up a few concepts for that.

here are the revised thumbnails i did using the above storybeats,

Not really clear, i know but hopefully all will be clearer when i make my storyboards.

David M

Monday, 14 January 2013

Pre-Production : Re-Do's


So in typical fashion today has been a day of not happy with what I have done so far and re-doing them in time for submission this Friday.

First up, Im not really happy with how my animation goes (story wise) , I like the fact that I am trying to use various different methods on the styles pixel art has but I feel it would make more sense if the pixel art grows from what it was classic to the more modernized style it has gotten now.

Also, through a personal development practice I have given myself (which i will talk about later) i decided to redo my character sketches but this time keeping pixel art in mind.

so here were my old sketches:

And here are the new ones:

I decided to make them more angular with less curves which helps and will save time.

Also through previous tests I came to realise that when it comes to 3D angular geometry works better with pixel art than smoothed curves. (thats if i choose to do th characters in 3D or not)

So for the next few days im hoping to get my story and storyboards finalized with also a few conceptualized pixel art images so you can get the general look and feel of the animation.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Critical Framework: Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery Part.5

Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery - Framework Evalutation

Resolution : 400 x 250


Neutral harmonizing colours

Outline: N/A

Anti-Ailising: Used

Shading: Cell Shaded

Style: Modern Stylised

Pre-Production Portfolio: Low resolution concept and thumbnails


So I have been doing some personnel development/concept development stuff recently but its taking a rather long time so wont be up for a while. So instead today I decided to do some stuff for my pre-production and made a start at visualizing my story.

so heres the thumbnails,

Not finished yet still cant think of a decent ending yet.

So what I moved onto was making a concept low resolution, stuff for the old man. So I started looking at other low resoultion work.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery a fantastic Classic Styled game for Ios/PC Sprites are extremely low pixel, but yet have a fair amount of detail. ( I shall be posting up a critical feedback of Sword & Sorcery after this)

so heres the image of my old man,

as you can see hes really basic more so than even superbrothers, I would rather use my own pixel art style.

next up will be my medium and high resolution work, and also sort the ending and my storyboard

Pre-Production Things to do.

  • sketches
  • Pixel Art low res
  • Pixel Art High res
  • Pixel Art Med res
  • Script
  • Storyboard

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Critical Framework: Yuriy Gusev, Part.4

Framework Evaluation - Robots by Yuriy Gusev

Resolution : 400 x 400

Colour :  

Outline : Coloured

Anti – Ailising : Used

Shading : Gradiant & Dithering

Style : Modern Realism

Critical Framework: Paul Robertson, Part.3

Framework Evaluation – Violent Storm By Paul Robertson

Resolution : 384 x 216, Expanded ( 768 x 432)

Colour :  

Outline : Black

Anti – Ailising : N/A

Shading : Cell Shaded

Style : Modern Stylized

Platform : Image

Critical Framework: Passage, Part.2

Framework Evaluation – Passage (2007)

Resolution : 16 x 100

Colour : 

Outline : N/A

Ant – Ailising : N/A

Shading : Cell Shaded

Style : Classic

Platform : Game

Critical Framework: Definitions PART.1


Well today I went into University to try find my supervisor to no avail. However I did bump into Rory Jobson who was wanting a bit of help as he is doing some pixel art game assets (this is not for his honours project check out what he is doing for that here: After telling him a few hints and tips I thought I may be ready to actually do a fairly in-depth critical framework, Plus I am in desperate need for some inspiration so looking at other peoples awesome pixel art is bound to help.

So heres the definitions and things I will be looking for when critiquing other work.

Pixel Art Critical framework Definitions


Classic: low resolution and limited colour palette mimics the limitations provided by early consoles of the 70s – early 90s due to size outlines are not used.

Modern 'Stylized' : higher resolution than classic, and has an unlimited number of colours, however still uses simpler shading techniques such as cell shading. Can have a coloured/black outline

Modern 'Realism' : High resolution unlimited colours but uses more complicated shading techniques such as gradient and dithering and Anti-Ailising. Outline coloured or not used.

3D : simple geometry pixel art texture

Voxol : 3D created using recognizable individual cubes all consisting of the same size

Each style is decided depending on,

  • Resolution : the resolution of an image is the amount of pixels used in an image
  • Colour : The colour palette and the amount of colours used in the image
  • Outline : What type of outline it used around objects and characters in the image
  • Anti – Ailising : used to create smoother edges and more realistic colour gradients
  • Shading : what type of shading technique is used: Gradient, Cell Shaded or Dithering

Also I thought it would be a good idea to note what platform the pixel art is for such as;

  • Game
  • Digital Image
  • Animation/Film

Other things to look out for, Found in bad pixel art and will only be added if they are present

  • Pillow Shading
  • Jaggies
I realise some of these definitions are unclear to people who dont know pixel art so i will be updating this post with examples so that it becomes more clear.

EDIT: After reading the honours handbook rubrics on the concept development log and pre production portfolio. I am now unsure what module my critical framework belongs into so I will label it under both utnil it has been made clear. 14/01/2013

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Pre-Production Portfolio: concept sketches & script


So today was all about trying to get myself back into the creative swing of things which resulted mainly in me drawing below par drawings of what could vaguely be described as human.

Eventually i managed to draw something that I was happy with (for now) but will probably/hopefully be improved on before submission but hear are the concepts sketches as they are now...

however obviously these are sketches and not pixel art so the pixelated equivelant of these and a better created "baby" will be up shortly.

Things to do for pre production portfolio - 18th january

  • sketches*
  • pixel art low resolution 'Classic'
  • pixel art medium resolution 'Modern'
  • Pixel art high resolution 'hyper-Realism'
  • Script*
  • Storyboard
*Completed but can do with improving before submission if time allows

Monday, 7 January 2013

Update: Whats going on?

Hello again,

Well its our last full week before submission so things have started to get a bit worrying,


  • im still not 100% sure what it is the lecturers actually want handed in, and how much they expect for both modules
  • I dont know whether what i want to do meets my aim/ is enough for my honours project.
  • artistic block still seems to be taking its toll but trying to get myself back into it now

so apart from these things this is what I am planning to do,

  1. So right now i have been doing concept sketches storyboard and forming somewhat of a script for the animation i am planning to do (however due to the mentioned artist block these are not to the quality i want to submit.
  2. Pixel art representation of what i perceive as Classic, Modern and Hyper-Realism styles 

for my concept development
  1. more research into artists and styles of pixel art

  1. ethics sheet
  2. meeting with ryan
  3. sort labels for my blog, decide which module each entry are actually for.
But yeah, thanks for reading. No pictures today im afraid,

David M

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Pre-Production Portfolio: Concept Baby

so today i started to do some concepts of the characters in the animation i described in the previous post, i decided to go for this one as i feel its more relevant and feels more fitting to the aim. I need to script and storyboard it etc so those should come next few days.

Anyways, back to what I was doing, I was sketching out the baby, boy, young adult adult and OAP today but I was going through an artistic block and couldnt really get down what i had in my head.

The closest was the baby so i decided to move onto the pixelation of him.

the idea of the baby was he was going to be about mid range resolution 35x70 pixels.

You may notice that through creating i was trying to decide whether he would have a coloured outline or not. the reason why I chose for hime to have a black outline, was primarily to help when it came to animating him.  However this is a concept so doesnt matter too much right now

I dont think the pose reads to well however especially his hands, and i think his arm on the side on view looks like a foot. It is something i have to work on especially when 1 pixel out of place can make a significant difference.

However, I have decided to make a video analysis critique of all my timelapses so far so I can easily explain my processes, thoughts, likes and dislikes of the work I am doing. As i think i find it hard to get the point across and miss out things when i am typing.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Concept Development: New year, About me and the return of the jellyfish


So despite what a misinterpreted ancient civilizations calender and some crazy people say we all made it to 2013.

So since its a new year and i feel it might help answer some questions that have been lingering around my project for a while, I am going to do a wee about me post followed by a look at my jellyfish(project) and how its shaped then finish off with a brief idea of where i see my project outcome being.

So, I am David McGill born in 1990 and brough up in a reasonably small west coast town called Ayr. I was a reasonably shy and quiet child when growing up and for reasons that im not going into found it difficult to make friends so spent more and more of my time playing computer games.

My first console was a master system II, I played/loved sonic, alex kidd, dizzy and the lion king. I also played alot of mario on my gameboy.

However this was more of a hobby and i never really seen it as a career path and at that age was probably more interested pretending to be an aeroplane or something

My next console was pretty much stolen from my uncle who brought it up one christmas and always forgot to take it back, this is when i came across Abe, crash bandicoot, micro machines and GTA, and probably the true reasons for starting to want to be a game maker of some sort and starting to doodle stuff.

Also about this time was the emergence of PIXAR with Toy Story and my eye turned to animation to where it would stay for some time.

throughout secondary I was never really good at Maths or English but the one thing I enjoyed the most was my art classes, so much so it would bleed into my other subjects jotters, maths being the usual victim and probably the first of my interest towards pixel art as i would draw characters in the jotter using the boxes. I also stick figure animations in the corners heavly influenced by the stick fight animation by XiaoXiao

However my school was hopeless when it came to encouraging creativity and when it came to further education in games i was always told not to bother as they were all "programming" courses. However I did fine a couple of colleges that did some animation so went for that instead.

So, i came to dundee since it seemed to have a "its where you come for anything games related" where i studied HNC/HND 3D Computing Animation for 2 years and looking back it was probably one of the biggest 2 years of my life as I was doing what i enjoyed at the time and for the first time I was with people who have the same opinions and views as me.

In my final year at college I created a short 3D animated film with another student called ForkOfDoom! and would like to think it turned out pretty well.

So i decided to apply for further education and applied for places in Dundee uni and computer art at abertay.

Throughout uni however with the focus away from animation and onto areas I didnt like my ethusiasm for animation faded and i felt lost again at the end of 3rd year.

So when this year came around I decided to do Pixel Art, WHY?

for various reasons, nostalgia, the retro style, its overlooked but is making a comeback in the indie scene an area in the games industry i see myself in rather than working for rockstar north or EA, which intrigued me to explore it further as to why its making a big comeback but also as i see more to it, its more than just a way to create sprites for games and as an actual art form its weird how it has art in the title but it still isnt really considered as art.

so this brings me onto my jellyfish,

so what i thought would be good to do is to write down the questions i put down origionally and see if i can now answer them.

Why is Everyone focused on Realism? I havnt really looked into this question in great depth but I can say is that the money getting put into creating the technology to run realistic games could be considered the reason why more stylistic games can be created 

Can Pixel Art character give emotional performance? Yes, depending on how many pixels the pixel art has in it. aslong as there is enough pixels to define necessary features to guage emotions then it is possible.

What is Pixel Art? Pixel art is the individual manipulation and control of the pixel, if you spend your time focusing on the entire image and one pixel wont make a significant difference then it is not considered pixel art.

Low Rez Vs High Rez each have pros and cons high rez would have more detail but also take alot of time low rez would be the opposite and be efficient but also lack detail that could be necessary to carry out actions

How effective is Pixel Art animation? if done well can be just as effective as hand drawen traditional animations

Is it possible to make pixel art but keeping it seperate from games? yes and no really, pixel art was born from games and its what people right now feel comfortable with seeing it in. but there are people out there like paul and Yuriy who create great pixel art that have no references to games.

cool thats pretty much them all answered then, heres my aim as it stands now,

Does Pixel art add to the play experiance of games other than the perceived nostalgic value?

It is good but i feel it can be better I want to broaden it further to not just focus on the gamers side and more on the general public as a digital art movement.

Lastly, Pre Production ideas

so I should write out a script and concepts for these ideas but im really not sure which one i want to do:

influenced from the game Passage by jason rohrer and Carl from Up, i kind of want to do a boy who ages and through the aging process the pixel art ages too so what it is now to the 16x16 or smaller sprites used that started it all I think this would be a nice way of showing the life of pixel art and where its come from to where its at now. whilst hopefully being visually engaging to the audience.

my other idea is a bit too rough to explain so i need to think of a more understanable way to demonstrate what i want.

anyways thats me thanks for reading,

 David M