Saturday, 30 March 2013

Supervisor Meeting Diary: 28/03/13


So on thursday i had another meeting with ryan to discuss my project, and how i am going to present my timeline.

After further discussion it came to the decision that i should pick how i want to do it (using what i showed in a previous post) and just go for it... he liked the fact i was sketching but was worried that they had nothing to do with my project really, however he felt better when i explained that i was doing it to try get my overall drawing technique back up to scratch so that my pixel art will benefit greatly.

So I only have one action point for this week,

Prototype/concept of timeline... Ryan wants to see how the transition between styles will be shown

and thats it so time to get my head down and do work

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

personal development: sketching and working with limited colour palettes


Second post for today...

So I have been getting myself back into doing some sketches of random things that come into my head at the time. I feel like since I have had alot of down time due to various illnesses that getting my sketching back up to scratch will help me in time to come, so i plan to do a sketch everyday of anything be it from a movie or something completely born within my head.

i have already posted this but this is my dwarf guy (sketch)

I like him going to be my main character for my timeline (more on that to come) just cant decide on his colour palette yet.

this was just a random thing that came into my head whilst watching walking dead, 

this just came into my head after playing alot of SPvsTW video game as it is pixel art, along with the lyrics from the song scott sang to ramona

incase you were wondering along with memory i used this image as reference,

the image on the left, not the random cosplayer...

I previously made a post about asking for support on my qwertee tshirt design, after doing pretty well with 124 votes I decided to have another stab at it, its good fun so it keeps me motivated plus its good practice for pixel art as you are only limited to 5 colours.

so heres my latest attempt,

Its going well at 272 votes its even got enough to be getting printed, incase you dont know its a mash up of Wreck-it-Ralph and The avengers. Two absolutely awesome movies that i recommend to anyone who hasnt seen them yet.

The thing i learned about most is the mixing of colours to get more, for example a pixel checker of black and a colour when viewed from a distance will make a darker colour. a checker of red and yellow will make an orange hue.

this is another use of the dithering method on top of gradiants which i have talked about before.

This method of colour blending is the same as halftones or the use of dots in pointilism, this method is valuable and will be helpful when it comes to creating work for my timeline.

Honours Project: Timeline moodboard

Hello there,

So last thursday one of my action points were to research into timelines and what can i learn from them when creating my own.

so i hopped online and searched for timelines then whacked them all together in a moodboard,

So yeah most of these are what you would expect to see in a timeline, text heavy occaisonaly with pictures I was trying to find a more interesting concept, passage came to mind as its essentially an interactive timeline of someones life.

but i want one with some visual "oomf" these are very boring to look at for me anyways and probably wont go down well as a final project atall.

so i looked on youtube to see if i could find more interesting things,

bit more interesting with some basic animations etc

another timeline that cropped up is the layout of facebook, which suprisingly never crossed my mind despite the sheer amount of time i spend on the damn site.

not strictly a timeline but it could be easily incorperated into mine is that of spritesheets,

and heres my one that i did quickly for my banner,

not as much stuff as the previous ones but still,

so yeah, i find sprite sheets mesmerising, i like seeing all the individual frames seperately, so for my final piece i was thinking of having a timeline that animates and is all fancy like the oil video above but also accompany it with a sprite sheet,

I was thinking the sprite sheet could be of selected frames of an animation that goes through all the different styles from vintage to stylised/hybrids so people can have a closer look.

just an idea, still alot of work to do but im glad that i can now see where the hell i am going...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Supervisor meeting diary: 21/03/13


So on thursday i had another meeting with my supervisor,

We discussed my presentation mainly the fact that the aim will need to change to fit the project, so my aim was:

"Does pixel art bring more to games other than the percieved nostalgic value"

so i feel like its changing towards something more like,

"Explore the aesthetic characteristics of different pixel art eras and showcase each method in some sort of pixel art"

so my agreed action points are

  1. stop being lazy: this is probably my biggest problem right now, due to illnesses my immune system seems to have vanished recently as just as i recover for one thing a new illness appears. however like what ryan was saying to me at the meeting that even though they are legit excuses i cant keep letting them hold me back.
  2. Research timelines how have they been done and what can i learn from them - dtyle presentation

also got these images of a timeline from a book,

Timelines from Dictionary of Graphic design and designers by Thames and Hudson

rather boring timelines if you ask me but still a good starting point that i will look into.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Presentaion: Evaluation

Well this weeks presentation was rather hectic,

So, i was originally to be in for my presentation on thursday but my computer crashed for whatever reason setting me back and having to start from scratch, thanks to lynn i was give till friday to present my work again.

Dunno what it was maybe stress mixed with nerves of the week, i forgot to save my presentation as .ppt so it wouldnt run thankfully there were people at the presentation who had a laptop that could run it so i could change the format so it would be able to run...

However as with any presentation i am very prone to stage fright i feel its making a gradual progression over the years but on friday just with this one set back it destroyed my nerves and when it came to me presented,

I missed alot of what i meant to say and panicked far too much...

However, I feel alot of what i thought was going badly was in my head, i seemed to manage to get enough points across anyways to make the lecturers happier with the fact that i knew where i was going...

Lyn made a good point in that, the final project has probably changed away from making the aim that i have relevant to the project and that i should spend some time rewriting it to fit with my project rather than the other way round.

Ryan was the same but wanted me to be more clear in what my timeline represents, he mentioned how when  3D was first introduced that that was pixelated but i never talk about that side of "pixel art" I was too nervous at the time to mention it but, pixelated art is not pixel art, pixel art is more about the technique (i talk about this in greater detail in my previous posts) so yeah that is something i would need to mention next time we meet up.

Brian the other lecturer there for my presentation echoed what ryan and lyn said,

So all in all apart from the nerves and hastle to get my presentation ready the feedback was positive...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Honours project & Presentation : timeline progress for presentation & a sketch

Hello, we have a looooooong post for today, but i have alot of pictures for you to look at so lets have a blast..

So Presentation day (again) so I have been getting my slides or atleast what i want to say together.

So basicaly since my project idea has changed I want to explain why,

Sor right off the bat, the general consensus of my showcase didnt come across well enough, like what i talked about in an earlier post me and ryan discussed a more final and coherent way to showcase my showcase and to do this we discussed an idea envolving a timeline of the styles and there introduction not showing dates or anything like that.

The more I thought about it the more i liked the idea and that in a way I was doing it subconsiously, My critical framework broke down images of pixel art and placed them into 3 different "styles" of pixel art.

I also mentioned in my previous presentations that i feel the most valuable part to pixel art is that it ages better than its 3D "realistic" counterparts, the reason for this to me is that pixel art borrows or works in the same way of its traditional art abstract relatives.

For example:

Proteus (2013) a pixel art/3D game about exploring a new world. People who play the game become immersed in the world for hours on end despite what can be considered as its abstract blocky looks.

Skyrim (2012) a realistic fantasy game about exploration (of sorts) this game has heavy praise of it graphic fidelity and realism (well despite the dragons and all the other mystical creatures) people become immersed in the realistic world for hours.

The problem with realism to me and many peers is that since its so focused on realistic graphics that it becomes the foundation behind the reason why you get immersed in the experiance, but 5-10 years from now the realistic graphics will move on to bigger better and more HD places leaving skyrim looking a bit worse for wear as its mascara begins to run.

Let me show this happening in visuals, Battlefield. I chose this franchise as its one of my favourites and one which i have played and loved from the baginning in 2002.

Battlefield 1942 (2002)

2 year old me: "Wow, Look at those graphics thats some realistic brown going on there"

Disclaimer: i may not have said it but something along those lines definately crossed my mind.

Battlefield 2 (2005)

15 year old me: " Holy S*** its like being outside and holding a gun in real life"

Disclaimer: sorry for the language, teenage hormones and all that.

Battlefield 2 was also the first game that i ever experianced that my PC  at the time wasnt able to run at full specs yet i was still blown away by it.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010)

I remember seeing this being shown and was amazed the new frostbite engine dice created for this was intense, on its highest settings it still looks pretty good...

... Until you play this...

Battlefield 3 (2012)

The most recent battlefield game, and considered one of the most realistic modern warfare games ever created and has the ability to bring a gaming rig to its knees.

look back 7 years ago and what looked pretty then looks horrible now...

and that change has an effect on an aesthetic level atleast.. its missing its realism that it touted before and more importantly what you remember it looking, in away its the negative impact of nostalgia than that of what pixel art has, and i think thats due to the abstract art side at play.

So where was I...

Ah yes, timeline...

So in my timeline of pixel art styles (working title) Im going to show you that pixel art holds on by showing you all the styles as they are introduced.

as this was a brand new idea i thought i should conceptualise it with existing images of games that used the style,

As you may be aware thats the image i posted up in the post before,

But using my critical framework (which is now in need of an update) i listed the different styles of pixel art as i named them ( i couldnt find anything that has done it before yet )

  • Vintage - the really old stuff black and white made up of simple blocks occasionaly a third coulour is used usually green.

  • Classic - The colour palette and the resolution has increased however detail is at minimum colour is flat no shading etc

  • Retro - This is one of the styles we think of when we think of games, the 8 bit era of games more pixels have been added along with a much larger colour palette giving you more detail yet still not enough for things like a full face on characters where certain features may have to be increased to hide the lack of others mario is a good example of this
  • Old School - Often mistaken as retro/8-bit but old school represents the 16-bit era which is a noticeable increase in pixel density and colour gives it a sharper and more detailed look as characters begin to take more shape as the detail is increased enough

~ Introduction of the polygon ~

  • Classic/Modern - a contradictory name for a style i hear you mutter, well the reason i called it this is that it uses all the same restrictions as classic the resolution restriction and colour limit remains intact yet the choices of what colour the limits are are completely upto the artist in question.
Example of a Classic/Modern style:


  • Stylised - Probably the most common of pixel art styles mostly pioneered by Paul Robertson, the artist is free to use what size of resolution is used but usually no bigger than 128x128 is used, but can be expanded after. The pixel art is probably quite similar in appearance with the likes of cartoon drawings. this also gives an artist to throw in his/her own uniqueness to his/her art.
Example of stylised: 

Kings of Power 4 Billion % Paul Robertson

3D Pixel Art

Voxol - 3D cubes

3D Dot Game Heroes

Simplistic - Simple 3D geometry with pixel art textures


Hybrid - 2D sprites simple 3D geometry or 3D post manipulated

             Bit.Trip Runner                                                                                      Fez

These are the primary styles in my eyes but there can be overlap.

So lastly...

Thinking of a way to represent my timeline in a cool way, i thought a part of it can be told using a short animation /story (maybe even the full thing but we shall see...

I had the idea of something mining out a cube to represent the "polygon"... that led to me drawing up a concept image of a dwarf, I have a fascination with dwarves im unsure of why probably stems from my childhood.

Its been a while since i have drawen something so high rez haha...

but i think hes cool.

What do you all think, about EEEEEVERYTHING, like the sound of it or got any questions leave a comment and al get back to you :)

David M

Friday, 8 March 2013

Honours Project: Timeline concept


Well after the meeting i had with Ryan i decided to make way at conceptualising the timeline idea enough for my presentation next week.

Using images of games and stuff i used this to distinguish each styles etc this is what the general idea is:


so this is representing the introduction of certain styles,

Pong being extremely low rez with 2 colours then it ramps up from there, however my timeline will have ofcourse my own art work and animations and things will be alot more lively than just this, just did it to visualise how it could work since this isnt representative of the time the games were made but when styles were introduced for example Passage (see Fig.2) was created in 2007 but would probably stylewise fit more in line near pacman (see Fig.3) instead.

Passage - Fig.2

Pacman - Fig.3

Its going to be quite a project i have to say (wish it came to me alot earlier) so going to get my head down and conceptualize what i am going to do and how im going to get it to flow.

David M

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Personal Development Portfolio: Qwertee TShirt Design

Well some of you may have heard of the tshirt selling website Qwertee, where budding designers upload their designs and through voting and Qwertees judges and alot of luck their designs might eventually be printed and sold for 1-2 days.

I originally had account with Qwertee just to buy awesome designs. But yesterday I randomly just wanted to add my own design for a bit of fun, I have never really done something like this before and thought it would be interested to see what people thought of my work.

So this is what i was left with,

its a portrayal of 3 of my favourite indie games, super meat boy, Bit.Trip and VVVVVV. Two of which are pixel art games and the other has a hidden pixel art modes.

I notice commander Video has been squished when putting him on the shirt but if i am lucky and my tshirt design gets printed then you have to send them your design anyways so i can fix it for that :)

anyways, if you like it too or just feeling nice and want to support my tshirt then heres the link: 

just click on the wee submit vote button on the right ( you may have to register to the site but i cant remember )

Supervisor Meeting Diary: 07/03/13


Another week and another meeting with my supervisor,

Today was a far more upbeat meeting than my last, i feel i was more confident in what i was saying which i think reassured Ryan.

My previous post was on my 3 project ideas, showcase being the one i went through with mentioning to Ryan.

We came to the consensus that the Showcase would be a good idea but that i needed to find a better way to show it, we discussed possible more meaningful ways of portraying this showcase,

A Timeline of pixel art era: the birth death and resurgance

This sounded like a cool idea of showing the value of pixel art as it has grown older, the idea is that the timeline wont be of year or time but instead the styles of pixel art when they are introduced,

sort of like the evolution of man timeline image:

Agreed Action Points

  • Explore the different eras of pixel art styles
  • Show what we learned to the panel in crit presentation next week
  • Explain what the value and relevance of the timeline

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Update: Project Idea


So yeah, after my meeting with Ryan we thought it would be very important for me to get an idea of what i was going to do as my final project. I think after my most recent presentation and results put alot of negative thoughts in my head and made me very unsure where my project was leading too.

So I spent my time since thinking long and hard going back and forth from ideas in my head. So what i did was think about what relates most towards my Aim:

"Does Pixel Art add to the play experience of games other than the perceived nostalgic value?"

So with the aim in mind, I then compared my ideas to see what would in my opinion answer the question more accurately.

So here are the ideas,

#1 - Game

A game that uses its pixel art as a sort of gameplay mechanic, and showing the various different styles.

I didnt go into this idea in a great deal but I had an idea that you could manipulate the resolution of the game to get past puzzles.

for example, low resolution pixels would be bigger and harken back to the times of the 8-bit era of games with limited detail and colour making things unclear such as signs. 

16-bit would add more colour and pixels/detail are added so what was once a solid block would be split into smaller blocks and show maybe a cracked/weak structure thats able to be broken.

3D would work in the same way as say Fez

Does it answer the aim?

in a way, it answers in that it can show all the different styles that pixel art has rather than the one we all remember from the past.

so whats wrong with it?

well me not knowing how to code atall makes this game impossible for me to make playable especially in the time i have.

I think if i created a game in any sense people will still have the thought that pixel art outside of games doesnt work, when im trying to point out that pixel art can and should be considered as a type of abstract at movement relevant outside of games. I think this would be able to argue and show the "aesthetic" side of my aim so therefore a game might not argue my point thoroughly enough.

#2 - Animation

A short animation showing the different styles of pixel art (see concept development & pre-production portfolio)

Does it answer the aim?

same as above

So whats wrong with it?

Time probably being the biggest negative here, take a look at my animjam animation for example. 30 seconds of rather limited unfinished animation took me 48hrs to complete now if i wanted to animate a short story say 1minute long with various different styles etc i just dont think it would be possible in the time frame given

#3 - Showcase

What do i mean by showcase?

Well, what i was thinking was lots of different forms of pixel art from 8-bit classic era stuff too 3D environment ranging from models to lots of spritesheet animations etc

Does it answer the aim?

I think in a more interesting way, yes. As I would be allowed to create whatever i feel inspired to do rather than having to make it fit within the constraints of say a game/animation theme this would also help in people having a more open perspective rather than classing it as a game straight away and think of the more artistic implications.

I am going to pitch all these ideas to Ryan and see what he thinks, he told me to be ready for him to shoot my idea down (in expectation i can and will defend my point) hoping to have atleast concept doodles of how i see my project turning out.

so yeah come thursday at 15:00 BRING IT ON RYAN!!

haha but in all seriousness i think i have gotten past the massive dip in my productivity and on a more confident incline back up.

David M