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Pixel Art: Common Mistakes in 2020

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We’ve all been there. You learn a few things, and it seems like it’s all so easy, but when you have to create something by yourself, it’s not quite right. This tutorial will show you how to make “beginner’s pixels art”. We’ll also be making edits to this piece to highlight common mistakes and their solutions. Self-critique is one of the most difficult aspects of creating art. We are often too attached to our work to be able to objectively evaluate it. It can be very helpful to ask other artists for feedback to help you see problems in your work. It is considered rude to edit someone else’s work, unless they ask for it. )

This tutorial is a follow up to PIXEL-ART TUTORIAL BASICS .

What I’ve done here is create a little scene that looks like a lot of early attempts at pixel art. This type of work is charming and I don’t mean to be negative. It is also very stiff and hard to read. Furthermore, part of what I enjoy about art is admiring craftsmanship – the skill and knowledge of the artist at work. Although naive art can provoke strong emotions, I will always treasure the feeling of awe at someone’s technical mastery.

My favorite artworks show a genuine vision and strong craftsmanship. This requires a lot more personal exploration than a tutorial can teach. We’ll be focusing on the latter. This is what I will do. We’ll rework the scene in a few large steps, and try to figure out why it’s so naive.

1. Simplifying and Recoloring

To begin with, I won’t change any of the outlines. I will remove any shading, and at the same, decrease the color count and increase contrast. This will immediately improve the readability and visibility of all the objects in the scene.

The Problem: Too Many Similar Colors

We want each color to have its own identity so that it can do as much work as possible. Pixel art is unique because of its efficiency. We continue to use limited palettes and low resolutions, even though this is no longer necessary. Pixels can become lost if they are too similar. This may not always be a bad thing. For example, it may make sense to have a background image that is more distinct so your characters stand out against it. We want to be sure it’s not accidental.

The Problem: Naive Coloring

When we start out drawing, we tend to think in terms of what color something “should be”: leaves are bright green, the sky is bright blue, rocks and mice are pure gray, etc. However, colors are rarely pure. Reflected light can cause colors from other objects to mix with each other, creating complexity.

This doesn’t mean one has to learn hundreds of hours in color theory to create professional-grade pixel artwork. For example, you could modify or use existing palettes. You could also be more observant and try different levels of saturation and brightness until you find the right combination. In short, experiment!

2. Creating Forms with Volume

In PIXEL ART TUTORIAL: BASICS, we talked about thinking in terms of forms that have volume (i.e. They take up 3D space. Realistic shading is the best way to convey volume. Most objects can be simplified to reduce their complexity so that they don’t get obscured by too many details. A treetop might be seen as a collection of small green spheres that have been glued together, rather than thousands of tiny leaves. A bird’s nest can be described as a brown container, rather than a collection of tiny twigs.

The Problem: Pillow Shading

Pillow shading refers to shading from the outline inward, creating a “pillowy” effect. This shading is almost impossible to achieve in real life. It tends make objects appear blurry and undistinct. This is often used in conjunction with the “too many alike colors” problem.

3. Dynamic Character Design

We can do a lot with color and shading, but stiff and flat designs will prevent us from doing more.

The Problem: Cardboard Designs

With pixel art, we’re making artwork on a grid, and it’s easy to let that grid force us to design along straight lines. This is where it can be helpful to think less about lines and shapes, and more about forms that have volume. You can also imagine the object moving and exaggerating the best features. The less restricted you feel about the medium, the more alive your artwork will feel in your head.

One rule that I try to keep in mind is to not render anything with less than one pixel of thickness. I call it my “Chunky Pixels Rule”. Protrusions such as arms, legs and tree branches are often made very thin by new pixel artists. They are difficult to shade, and therefore hard to shape into three-dimensional forms. They feel thin and flat as a result.

4. Before and after

You can use the slider to compare the After and Before images. Let us know what you think. What do you think? You can accept that there are some things you like more about the original. My ultimate goal is not to teach you how to create pixel art like I do, but to help you think about what you like and why. Consider what you like about pixel art. What can be improved? What is “wrong”, but adds to the work?

Self-evaluation can be one of the most difficult aspects of being creative. Instead of viewing it as a competition, think about it as an ongoing journey. There is no end point. All that matters is the joy of learning and making art!

That’s the end of this tutorial!

Click on the hand to check out my PIXEL ART GALLERY and study some master-level pixel art from the 90s and early 2000s.

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign


Author: Mark Hachman
, Senior Editor

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more
Google Pixel watch



The Google Pixel Watch is incoming
(Image credit: Google)

We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.

Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.

Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.

Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022

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Full colors

If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.

We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.

There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).


Analysis: a big moment for Google

It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.

While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.

Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.

What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

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