The care and feeding of pixel artists

All development of pixel art and graphics
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Crush
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The care and feeding of pixel artists

Post by Crush » Wed Oct 05, 2005 3:24 am

We pixel artists are a species which requires intense care. When you handle us right, we can have a joyful and productive relationship. But when we don't feel like being cared about, we can decide to run away from you quickly. To prevent that i wrote a guide about how to treat pixel artists.

Ideas

We pixel artists love creative input. So feel free to bombarde us with your ideas. Tell us everything that comes into your mind. Give us pictures or concept art to show us what you mean. We often even get a lot of own ideas when listening to the ideas of other people. But don't get frustrated when your ideas don't get realized immediately. We often discard or delay ideas for later because we don't have the proper inspiration to do it yet, we got other stuff we feel like doing first or we just don't like the idea.

But when there is something you really need desperately, then tell us. For example when you need a large warrior statue for a quest, then tell us that you really need it and that it isn't just an inspiration you came up with. Then we will do it as soon as we can.

Praising an Criticizing

We pixel artists love feedback, may it be negative or positive. It motivates us to do the best we can. Saying that it is good what we are doing gives us the self esteem we need to create more tiles. Pointing out the flaws in our work helps us to improve our work and our general skill. But when you criticize us, make sure that the comment really helps us. Don't just tell us if you like or dislike our work. Tell us exactly why you do so. When you don't know why you like or dislike it, then think about it and tell us your conclusion. That helps us much to improve our work.

Here are some example of useful and useless negative comments:
your walls suck - sorry
Very bad. To know that something sucks but not why doesn't help us a bit. Think about why it sucks and then tell us.
your wall tiles need improvement
very bad, too. It's more friendly but says absolutely the same.
the shading of the walls look strange
Thats better. At least something we can work with.
the wall texture looks as if it comes toward the viewer. but it should head away from him. maybe there is a problem with the shading?
Thats a really good critic. It doesn't only states that something is wrong but also whats wrong. You are trying to find the error so we can correct it more easily. Now we can try some things and see if it helps or not.
you made a mistake when shading the wall. you applied the bright color tone to the lower right side of the stones. but considering the light source and the orientation of the stones the upper left side should be the brightest.
YES! Thats a really good comment. It doesn't only states whats wrong but even why it is wrong and what we could do to correct it. Those are the comments that really help us a lot. It also shows us that people are really concerned about our work and take the time to examine it closely.


Here are some examples of useful and useless positive comments:
very good water. i like it.
We like to hear that. But it isn't that useful either because you don't tell us what excactly made you like it.
your water looks good. the surface looks almost real.
You like the surface? Good, now we know that people like that style and we will try to use it more often.
the little sparkles on the water give it a really realistic effect. and it also looks good how the coastline mirrors in the water.
You noticed the techniques we used. That really makes us proud of them. We will now use them more frequently and even try to improve them.


...to be continued...
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Post by ElvenProgrammer » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:13 am

Ok I'll shoot my opinion. I think everyone noticed artists are a strange race, they like to feel free, and that's where their insipiration comes from.
The main difference with programmers is that if you ask something to a programmer you have a chance of 99% to get it, and 50% to get it done the way you were thinking about it. If you ask something to an artist you have a chance of 50% to get it done before it's too late and 99% to get it done the way you were thinking about it (which is 99% of the times a good thing).
Yeah, we programmers, like to speak with percents and I guess programmers and artists hardly understand each other.
Apart from that I think everyone agrees that artists need feedback or they could feel as if their work is useless. Programmers code something as a personal achievement mostly, while artists draw something to show to the people so the opinion of other people is important too. What I'd like to underline is that the most of the people (I think 99% on this forum) are not artists (even me, I tryed for years but no results until now), so you don't have to expect a lot of comments and critics, especially tech ones. The majority of people will only say "I like this", "I don't like it". I often do the same because you like something not for a particular reason but just because it looks good. If something is wrong when I look at a tile and I can state clearly what it is, then I'll tell you, don't worry, but most of the times to my eyes there's something wrong and I can't define it exactly, it's just a feeling. And I'd also want to notice that most of the critics are just ignored or not agreed by the artists, and they continue to work how they like, so someone could feel as worthless to waste their time criticizing something.
This is my personal opinion even if I talked about programmers in general, I hope noone get offended. This was a useful post, I'll take it as a reference for my next C&C :wink:
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Post by Rotonen » Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:53 pm

We could close the content creation from the greater public at some point. Having a private forum section for artists would ensure two things:

1) The new content would more likely surprise people and be more enjoyable and they wouldn't be too hyped up about stuff that could possibly be postponed indefinitely.
2) Artists would only have to endure the comments from other artists and from the staff.

We don't have to go this far, do we? ;)

My solution would be for the generic public to be more considerate and for the artists just to tolerate that extra bit of annoyance.
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Post by Modanung » Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:17 pm

Speak for yourself

Although I agree on some points

Sometimes you can't exactly put your finger on what's wrong with the creation, then it's hard to comment. Mostly for non-artists I think this is often the case.
A good artist can feel what is wrong about his work. And if people just don't like his style and can't adapt it... that's his problem.

As an artist you should be able to resist punches in your face. If you're not used to it, get used to it. If you only go to places like Deviant Art and Elfwood you probably never had any punch or good advice. In that case you should brace yourself for the real world... if you plan to be a real artist.
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Post by Pajarico » Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:40 pm

As an artist you should be able to resist punches in your face. If you're not used to it, get used to it. If you only go to places like Deviant Art and Elfwood you probably never had any punch or good advice. In that case you should brace yourself for the real world... if you plan to be a real artist.
I think you missed the entire point of "Praising an Criticizing". Critics (either positive or negative) are not "punches to the face", badly done critics are.
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Post by Modanung » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:19 pm

I never said I meant criticts with that.
I even seperated them: "...punch OR good advice."
Good advice being the critisism.
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Post by Pajarico » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:34 pm

Then i just don't understand the point to the quoted comment, Modanung.
Do you mean that he (or any artist) should come along with rude attitude* and worthless comments? Maybe for an artist, yes; but for a bunch people that works in their free time as labor-of-love, a big no.

* Not that i'm complaining, is just an example. Althought sometimes I notice some discouraging comments from people, that aren't even a critic, just comments that are better kept for themselves.
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Post by Talaroc » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:38 pm

I think what he was meaning was basically, be accepting of criticism, and grow a thicker skin to the rest. 'Cause they're both going to happen, regardless of where you are.
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Post by Modanung » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:49 pm

Nevermind, I shouldn't have posted that.
...sjeesh.
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Post by Ultim » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:02 am

Hahaha... Crush, you're awesome. Good points too.

A closed forum is a stagnant forum though. We are artists, but we are also men. We can take a little harsh and/or bad criticism (not to contradict Crush. He gave the ideal situation, i give the bottom end of the a probable situation).
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Post by Pajarico » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:15 pm

Modanung wrote:...sjeesh.
I hope you are not insulting me in dutch :mrgreen: What does that mean?
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Post by Modanung » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:44 pm

Pajarico wrote:
Modanung wrote:...sjeesh.
I hope you are not insulting me in dutch :mrgreen: What does that mean?
"OMFG... give me a break... christ"
Something like that I guess... it's not in the dicionary btw.
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Post by Pajarico » Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:20 pm

So someone who encourage artists to be patient can stand a reply? :wink:

Anyway, I agree with Crush.
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Post by neoriceisgood » Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:46 pm

Artists speak a common language, money.
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Post by Rotonen » Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:08 am

I have to disagree with that one.
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