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MrHai
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Quote MrHai Replybullet Topic: A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art
    Posted: 12 May 2015 at 4:04pm
Interesting article on the blog of game developer Dino Farm about "HD", audiences' changing expectations, and the role of pixel art in modern game development.

http://www.dinofarmgames.com/a-pixel-artist-renounces-pixel-art/

I saw it mentioned in the chatterbox, but figured I'd make a post about it because I'd be interested in hearing more opinions on it.
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Bcadren
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Quote Bcadren Replybullet Posted: 13 May 2015 at 1:02am
The title did depress me a bit when I first encountered it and the points did make sense; in that a lot of the audience may see even good and intentional pixel art as 'sloppy' compared to 3D or vector art on a device; because the image of physically seeing the squareness of the pixels is jarring in comparison to the normal 'smoother' appearance of vector or 3D art that uses the full resolution rather than being fixed.

But; the 'embracing the medium' is the key. IN pixel; your audience will easily see how you worked on the piece and you need that to be a good thing and show them your deliberate actions and how you tied the piece together with a color theme; etc. You need to not use them medium just because you like it, but with clear reason. Many sprite and low poly games are enduring masterpieces for using the medium well and that's the challenge, I suppose; use it well enough that it's obvious to any layman player that everything is intentional.
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jalonso
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 13 May 2015 at 5:06am
A great read, well written and thought provoking too.
As usual, with these convos, I have a split opinion because I am always having to split all my opinions.
As a person and pixel artist I agree with everything and don't mind the 'pixelly'.
As a Mod on a site dedicated to the medium I have to be far more strict and pure.

The distinction for me and the reason for my purity and being a stickler on this site is '“pixel art” an elective aesthetic style'.
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MrHai
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Quote MrHai Replybullet Posted: 13 May 2015 at 8:29am
Well, I have a theory. I have no basis for this theory, no practical experience, so in all likelihood it's complete bullsh*t. However, my theory is this: "the audience" (being consumers without experience with and knowledge of pixel art), is less likely to accept high-resolution pixel art, than low-resolution pixel art. The reason being; when they see a high-res pixel piece, at a glance, it doesn't even register as different. As jalonso has put it before, pixel art is as HD as you can get. However, upon closer inspection, or by simply spending more time with the piece, they will start to notice the AA. The will start to notice the hard, square-jagged transition from the animated sprite and the static background. And in their head, this registers as a flaw, because that's what it is in other mediums. The piece seems immaculate except for these small imperfections. Now, show them a low-res pixel piece, and it immediately registers as pixel art. It is much easier for them to accept its limitations and characteristics. Suddenly, those "flaws" become part of the medium. They have always been part of it of course, but the audience cannot accept this unless its made abundantly clear to them.

Now, I have a lot of respect for people who do high-res pixel work. What they do is amazing. Their patience and skill is absolutely admirable. However, on a personal level, I simply prefer low-res pixel art. Low-res is why I love this medium. And to me, part of "embracing the medium" is exactly this. If you are going to give an "ignorant" audience a pixel art experience, your chances are better with a low-res approach than a high-res approach, simply because it will be easier for them to understand.

Thoughts?
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DinoFarmBlake
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Quote DinoFarmBlake Replybullet Posted: 13 May 2015 at 8:46am
Artist here! You know, that's come up a bunch. And you may be right. But I submit that, even if my game were literally the only one getting called "pixellated" or good in spite of being "pixellated" etc, my point would still stand. I still failed to communicate with an audience in a language they already speak. Making the art higher res would have helped, and perhaps lower as well. The takeaway is, don't feel entitled or expect an audience to acquire special knowledge to understand or decipher your work. This applies universally in my opinion. Thanks for the great response!
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Quote Ottbot Replybullet Posted: 13 May 2015 at 8:59am
Originally posted by DinoFarmBlake

The takeaway is, don't feel entitled or expect an audience to acquire special knowledge to understand or decipher your work. This applies universally in my opinion.


Well, I was gonna say something along these lines, but, I believe you've hit the nail on the head. Whatever the medium, that medium should be used effectively.

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MrHai
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Quote MrHai Replybullet Posted: 13 May 2015 at 9:34am
Originally posted by DinoFarmBlake

The takeaway is, don't feel entitled or expect an audience to acquire special knowledge to understand or decipher your work. This applies universally in my opinion.

I also agree with this. Coming from a concept-art background, a big part of that field is learning to communicate effectively - and if you fail to communicate what you wanted, that is on you, not the audience.

However, I feel like there is a case to be made for educating the audience. Sure, if you want to be commercially successful, you probably don't want to go that route. But you'll never teach someone to appreciate something by abandoning it/hiding it away. (Just to be absolutely clear, that was in no way meant as a critique of you Blake, or your decision. It was more of a general philosophic statement.)
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Cathoderay
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Quote Cathoderay Replybullet Posted: 17 April 2018 at 5:18pm
you only have to look at minecraft too see how popular pixel art is. Kids go crazy over it. pixel art done right is still very popular.
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