The Art Barn: The Cool Rules of Spriting

Cool Rule #1. Every pixel counts

In other forms of visual art, being loose is good.  When people paint they tend to value loose strokes that give them impression of, say, some dumb leaf, but computers aren’t people or your friend. Pixel art is a rigid, precise pain in the ass.  We’ve already established that pixel art is mostly for low resolution, so naturally you will see each pixel.  Like any form of visual art, your goal is to create the illusion of depth, light and shade, and objects in space by means of any given medium.  Our medium as spriters are little teeny squares.  It’s a bit like pointillism, an art movement born of impressionism.  Hundreds or thousands of little dots create the illusion of objects in space.  Pointillism is a precise style, but you might say pixel art is even more precise, at least when it comes to articulating tiny things like faces.  In this example, mr. alchemist’s eyes and brow are composed of grays, whites, pinks, oranges and peaches.  Hopefully when you look at it you’ll see “eyeball,” specifically, “crazy eyeball.”  Why is it crazy?  Because of 1 pixel. Adding 1 black pixel makes his iris HUGE and thereby changes his whole facial expression, even identity!

“Goin for a little ‘Vigo from Ghostbusters 2 thing here.”
“Hello. I am moderately stern.”

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