For a while I’ve wanted to try and trace something I’ve drawn and turn it into pixel art. Which sounds easy but it *really* hard. Like there is so much that can go wrong and you can just sit there knowing something is wrong but unsure of how to fix it. So after a few days of trying to trace art work and turn it into pixel art I tried something new, which I will explain in another post because I want to try and perfect this technique of mine.
Anyways so today I decided to try and turn my little animal crossing character into some pixel art. I grab the image from my dec 2013 hourly comic.
So I opened up the image in Pixen which is why there are so many shades of grey in the Frequency Palette. I started with the head and while I wanted to start off with a black line art I found once I added the moon the image would look too messy so I made the moon yellow to be able to tell what was hair and what was moon.
Oh gosh, that face and her soul-less eyes.
So here’s the (almost) finished line art above the original sketch, As you can see it’s not a 100% perfect copy. I ended up changing little parts to make things easier. Biggest difference is the trim on the skirt.
I might need to study up on how to colour pixel art but how I did it was add in flat colours and trace the line art with a shade darker then the flat colour.
Added a little bit of shade, I didn’t want to over do it which is a mistake I often do. And then I was done!
Here’s the finished product:
She’s pretty damn cute, huh? I’d like to try a little more tracing pixel art and then I’ll show you guys how I’ve been doing it. Which is a pretty slow way but helps create nice lines and less jaggies (which are little breaks in the line that make the line look uneven.)
I’d also like to work on my shading a little more, the image is still a bit flat.
I bought Pixen the other day from the app store. It cost me about $10 something AUD I finally got around to using it today. So far all I’ve done is made a little purple cube. For anyone who doesn’t know, Pixen is a pixel art editor for mac OS. It’s not that bad but could do with some improvements.
So the biggest problem I have with Pixen is that it doesn’t have panning. As someone who uses a lot of photoshop I just expected that I could hold space bar and be able to move around the canvas, this was not the case. While zoomed in I needed to use the scroll bars, which isn’t a bad thing but I feel like it slows me down. Pixen does have a “move” function but that moves the image.
My second problem with Pixen is probably stupid. On the top left there are two little icons a clock/timer and a little graph. These are the Recent Colors and Frequency Palette. They are alright in their own way and the frequency palette isn’t that bad. The frequency palette will store whatever colours you have been using, this is neat unless you are indecisive and can’t choose which shade of purple you want to use and end up with the frequency palette filled with 5 million shades of purple. I do wish I could hide the recent colors and frequency palette. I’m not sure if you can, so far it looks like you can’t.
Thirdly (and finally) another thing that annoys me with Pixen is that you can’t hide the cursor while in pen mode. It’s a little distracting and hard to explain.
Anyways, on the plus side of things pixen is pretty damn good for what you pay. Here’s a few things I like about Pixen:
1. Live preview (lets you see your image at size 100% while you are zoomed in working on your pixel art)
2. Custom colour palettes, unlike the Recent Colours and Frequency Palette you can create and store the colours you want and will carry on into any new files you create.
3. Background settlings! Comes with Flat colour and checkered background. Also allows you to use an image as a background.
That’s it for now. This is just my first impression. I’ll update again after I do a few more things. So far it seems pretty good value. But if you want to try pixel art you can also do it in Photoshop and MS paint, maybe then get Pixen if you find yourself enjoying doing pixel art (or keep using whatever you were using).