The Resource WIP Thread 3

FleshToDust

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@Sharm Oh, no i used the pencil tool. @starlight dream said I should use an additional color to transition from the main color to the shadow but I used 3 to transition and it began to look blurry to me. Maybe 3 is too much. By contrast being too low do you mean the shadow being too dark? The grey shadow? I used a dark grey for the grey shadow and a dark white for the white shadow. For the colors I didn't touch the Hue or Saturation. I just altered the value. In Gimp there is Hue, Saturation, Value, Red, Green, and Blue.

Oh the mixing of colors for transitions to shadow is anti aliasing?

Alright I'll bookmark those 3 links and work through them.
 
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starlight dream

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Hi again. I'll explain a bit my thoughts on the transition.

In the first image you posted, the wolf's fur was rather light compared to the shadow which leaned towards black, so I thought it needed a smoother transition between the two.

After you changed the dark shadow it looked better, I apologize for not being clearer. The transition wasn't that necessary on your 2nd image.

Your new version has a nice painted look (for example the greys on the wolf's lower face are pretty).
If you look at the tail now (the white part of the tail), the transition from the darker colour to the lightest takes over 50% of the tail area. This creates a very smooth change, like we would see in a painting. (Edit: It also gives a roundness to the tail).

If you look at Rukiri's post (1 above your 1st one in this thread) he has posted a pixelated character image. See the orange shirt for example. The contour is black, the main shirt colour is bright orange, a greyer orange breaks the flatness here and there. And dark orange pixels appear on some of the edges (external ones mostly). Not much is needed to create an effect of volumes, and break the flatness.

In your new image, the difference between light and shade isn't too strong.
In your 1st pic the dark shadow vs the light fur created a strong contrast (1 was very dark compared to the other).
In your 2nd pic the contrast was better between the light areas and the darker ones (for example the difference of the wolf's legs: the shaded legs were visibly darker than the ones in the light, and IMO those colours were well chosen).
In your 3rd pic the shaded legs have a grayness that is perhaps too similar to the lighter parts of the fur.

It's a matter of taste too of course and depends on the look you're trying to achieve.

Are you using a wolf picture as reference for the body & position?
 
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FleshToDust

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@starlight dream ah yes I see. The orange shirt has mainly 1 shadow color. I had 4. the shadow and the 3 transitioning colors. I'll change the colors back to how they were in the 2nd picture. You said that was good contrast? @Sharm mentioned not liking the contrast for this new version. Maybe for the same reason you dislike it, the shadows and main colors aren't different enough. I'll continue experimenting.

Also yeah I have a bunch of wolf photos I'm using for reference. Some cartoon and some real.
 
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starlight dream

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I can't be certain what Sharm meant regarding the contrast, maybe she was referring to something else? ;p So better wait to hear from her first!

Photos of cartoons can be tricky, because the features can be too exaggerated and it ends up looking somewhat-like-a-wolf but not exactly so :p You can use them of course, as they simplify shapes and colours. But if you're unhappy with your wolf shape, maybe it's the reference image's fault?

You're doing very good by the way, and I looked at one of Sharm's links. Lots to learn there (talking for myself ;))
 

FleshToDust

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@starlight dream I used the cartoon wolves to figure out where to put the shadows. It's hard to see shadows on real wolf pictures especially if they're running around in the snow.
 

Marquise*

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@Sharm I got to those sites by curiosity and.. It kinda learned me some terms that were all foreign to me even if I now sprite for about 2 years+ now. I knew about the annoying AA thought. I wonder if RPGMaker can handle non-pixel art with AA?
 

Sharm

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Hmm, I can see how what I've been advising has been confusing. Let me clarify.

An image with low contrast would have very little difference between the lightest and darkest shades. The highest contrast would be a purely black and white image. Contrast has nothing to do with color/hue. Your first image had inconsistent contrast with the dark fur having a very dark shadow (probably slightly too dark) and the white fur having a very light one. I think if it was consistent; the distance between brightness of the shadows compared to the base color being about the same, that it would work better. I think that the first image had better contrast than the latest one, this new one everything is too similar. I think that the base color of the fur is up to you and shouldn't be considered when talking about contrast.

Starlight Dream and I currently have conflicting goals with the advice we're giving. Sorry about that. She's giving advice that would be great for finishing up a piece. I'm trying to tell you to ditch that stuff until the foundation of the art piece is more solid. We're both giving good advice though so if you want to go back to the foundation like I'm suggesting then you should keep her advice on hold until you're ready to go back to doing the details.

Cartoons can be a good reference, but the difficulty is that cartoons may not be in the right style and it's really easy to replicate mistakes and not even know that they are mistakes. Get lots of pictures of real wolves, there's no way to do a good job without using real world references. You can also see if you can find any sprites of wolves (Pixel Joint and Spriter's Resource are good for this) to get an idea of possible ways to render the wolves in pixels. For things besides the basic form you can also look at other four legged animals like cats and dogs to get an idea of things like how the shadows fall and how to imply fur.

I know how hard it is to translate real 3D high def creatures into a flat and stylized form. That's why I was talking about breaking down what you see into shapes. Figuring out how to shade the stomach is confusing. Figuring out how to shade a cylinder is much easier. Getting an exact example of what you want to draw is hard. Knowing how the wolf is put together in simple shapes and using them to arrange the right pose is easier (if you have enough references anyway).
 

FleshToDust

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@Sharm Oh so contrast being too low is the shadow being too dark. On the newest wolf I changed the color of the fur to something I didn't like so I could take into account the 4 shadow colors. I learned that you can make raster drawings with a pencil using many shades but it also made me realize that is not what I want. I like Nintendo style art. Mario for instance has one base red and one shadow color for it. It's bright and vibrant. The many transitioning colors may be more realistic and complex but it's not more appealing to me. I've found out what art style I like. I didn't like the blurred shadow look.

Also looking at your avatar I can see your shadow is only one color.

Oh yes cartoon pictures are very odd. Most cartoon animals have human eyes which looks odd to me. I definitely prefer real photos.
I might use Blender to practice shadows since Blender has a bunch of shapes and a movable light source. I could probably even make a wolf made of ovals and see where the shadow hits on it and draw it in Gimp.
 
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Sharm

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Oh so contrast being too low is the shadow being too dark.
No, sorry. I'll try explaining again. When I mentioned the shadow being too dark I was talking about the first version of the image. When I said the contrast was too low I was talking about the newest image. High contrast means a large difference between light and dark. Low contrast means a small difference between light and dark.

I'm not very good at blender so that seems like a lot of extra work, but if it helps you understand the concept then that's great!
 

FleshToDust

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@Sharm Ah so somewhere in the middle. On the new image I lightened the shadow but I guess I went to far.
 

Sharm

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@FleshToDust It was just the shadow for the darker fur that might have been too dark, and it wasn't by much. It can be a lot easier to choose the right shades and colors if you use a medium grey with a bit of hue to it for the background. I personally like to do a slightly brown grey.
 

FleshToDust

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@Sharm Oh good tip! I'll try messing with the hue(I don't know why they don't just call it color). I finished the tutorial you gave me by the way. The one that explains dithering, banding, anti aliasing etc. I was thinking of using AA to soften the black outline of the wolf(to get rid of jagged edges) but then I read at the bottom of the tutorial that it would be a bad idea.
 

Sharm

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I've seen a tutorial somewhere that did a good job explaining exactly how to smooth out the lines, but I can't remember where. I think it was a youtube video. I'll try to find it again. What I did is I drew circles with the circle tool and just studied how the program would get a smooth transition. This was years and years ago though, back before pixel art tutorials were even a thing. I'm sure there's an easier way to learn it.

Basically if you go from a long segment to a short segment back to a long one you're going to get something that looks jagged. But if you do a short, medium, then long segments it's going to look a lot smoother while still taking up the same space. You can use this to your advantage in places that you want to look a bit rougher but most of the wolf will look better with smooth transitions.
 

FleshToDust

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I think I'm going to practice just doing lines and angles and save them so I can reference them when I'm trying to smooth out the wolf. I think it's just something that takes time and practice.
 

FleshToDust

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I have a few questions concerning this thread.
Is double posting allowed if 3 or more days have passed since the previous post?
If 30 days have passed and nobody has commented does that mean this thread becomes dead and nobody is allowed to post here?
 
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Sharm

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3 days is fine. That's a huge improvement, it looks way more like a wolf now. I don't think the lines for the fur is working for you, try implying the fur with the shape of the shadows instead.
 

starlight dream

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The wolf looks much better now, and the contours are very nice, they have roundness and a furry look, combined. :wub:thumbsup-right:
He also looks more aggressive, well done.
 

FleshToDust

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@Sharm Yeah I don't like the lines either. I thought I should make less lines but larger ones but I'll try a lighter colour and make them shadows instead.

Also does the 30 day rule apply to this thread? This thread doesn't seem to get much action. I could see 30 days passing without anyone commenting here but then if it dies there wont be a work in progress thread for people to post in.

@starlight dream Thanks. Yeah I thought if he's more aggressive looking, you wouldn't feel bad when you kill him.
 
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Sharm

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Less lines would also be good, right now they're placed randomly and it doesn't match where fur would stick up on a real wolf.

The necroposting rule doesn't apply, since this is a pinned thread, but it's never once been a problem. This thread gets plenty of action, which is why we're on the 3rd incarnation of it.
 

FleshToDust

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@Sharm Thanks for clearing that up. I'll see what I can do with the lines. I don't really know how I should do them. Maybe I'll look at some sprites and see how it's commonly done. I've seen some that don't put any lines.
 
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