How to learn to draw pixel art?
Back in the 20th century, computer games became a wide area of application for pixel graphics, especially in the 1990s. With the development of 3D graphics, pixel art began to decline, but then came back to life thanks to the development of web design, the emergence of cell phones and mobile applications.
Pixel art is a special technique of creating images in digital form, performed in raster graphic editors, in which the artist works with the smallest unit of the raster digital image - a pixel. Such an image is characterized by a small resolution, at which each pixel becomes clearly visible. Pixel art is performed for a long time and painstakingly, depending on the complexity of the picture - pixel by pixel.
Basic rules of pixel art
The most important component of pixel art is the so-called line drawing - in other words, its contours. Pixel art is performed with the help of lines - straight lines and curves.
The rule for drawing lines in pixel art is that they should consist of segments that are shifted to the side by one pixel. Avoid the main mistake of beginning pixel-art artists: pixels should not touch each other, forming a right angle.
In the case of straight lines, you can ease the task yourself by using one of the well-known samples of oblique straight lines:
As can be seen from the figure, all the straight lines represented on it consist of identical pixel segments, shifted to the side by a distance of one pixel, and the most popular ones are segments of one, two, and four pixels. Such simple straight lines in pixel graphics are called “ideal.”
Straight lines may have a different pattern, for example, you can alternate segments of two pixels with a segment of one, but such lines will not look so beautiful, especially when the image is enlarged, although they do not violate the rules of pixel art.
Straight lines are easier to perform, because they allow you to avoid kinks, which cannot be said about curved lines. Their construction is more difficult, however, the curves have to be drawn much more often than straight lines.
In addition to the same prohibition on the formation of right angles from pixels, when drawing curved lines, it is necessary to remember the nature of their displacement. The length of the pixel segments should change evenly, gradually rise smoothly and fall down just as smoothly. Kinks pixel graphics does not allow.
You can hardly do it with one hand movement without breaking any rules, so you can resort to two methods: draw lines, draw one pixel after another, or draw a regular curve and then correct it, removing extra pixels from finished "frame".
In pixel art there is such a thing as dithering. It is a specific method of mixing pixels of different colors to create a color transition effect.
The most popular way of dithering is to arrange pixels in a staggered manner:
Its appearance is due to technical limitations in color palettes, because to get, for example, purple, it was necessary to draw red and blue pixels in a checkerboard pattern:
Subsequently, dithering was often used to transmit volume due to light and shadow in the images:
In order for pixel art with dithering to be successful, the color mixing area must be at least two pixels wide.
Programs for pixel art
To master the creation of art in a pixel manner, you can use any graphics editor that supports this kind of drawing. All artists work with different programs, based on their preferences.
Many people still prefer to paint with pixels around the well-known standard Windows operating system - Microsoft Paint. This program is really easy to learn, but this is also its minus - it is quite primitive, for example, it does not support working with layers and their transparency.
Another easy-to-use pixel-art program whose demo version can be found on the Internet absolutely free is GraphicsGale. The disadvantage of the program is, perhaps, the fact that it does not support the preservation of pixel art in the .gif format.
Owners of Mac computers can try to work in the free program Pixen. And users of the Linux operating system should test for themselves the GrafX2 and JDraw programs.
And, of course, a great option for creating pixel art is the Adobe Photoshop program, which has wide functionality, which allows you to work with layers, supports transparency,providing simple work with a palette. With this program, we will consider simple examples of how to draw pixel art yourself.
How to draw pixel art in photoshop
As in the forms of traditional art, shape, shadow and light are of great importance in pixel art, so before you learn how to draw pixel art, take a hard look at the basics of drawing - practice drawing with pencil on paper.
Let's start with the simplest - let's draw an ordinary balloon. Create a new file in Photoshop with a screen resolution of 72 dots per inch. It makes no sense to set the size of the image large - this is pixel art. Choose a brush, hard and opaque, set the size - 1 pixel.
Draw a small half-arc from left to right, leading it upwards. Remember about the rules of pixel art: keep the same proportions of the segments, move them sideways by a pixel, leaving no breaks or right angles. Then mirror this arc by drawing the top of the ball.
By the same principle, draw the bottom of the ball and the thread. Fill the ball with red using the Fill tool.Now it remains to add volume - our ball looks too flat. Draw a strip of dark red color on the right bottom side of the ball, and then apply dithering to this area. In the upper left corner of the ball, draw a flare of white pixels.
See, how simple - the ball is ready!
And now we will try to draw a picture in the traditional way, and then we will clean those pixels that violate the rules of pixel art.
Open a new document, make a rough draft of the future robot:
Now you can clean up everything that hinders, and draw pixels, where it is required:
In the same way, draw a lower body to the robot. Do not miss the opportunity to draw "perfect" straight lines in suitable places.
Detail the torso of the robot. Many experienced artists advise before starting to prepare yourself a palette - a set of colors that you will use when creating your work in a pixel manner. This allows for the greatest integrity of the image. Create a palette on a free area of the working area of Photoshop - for example, in the form of squares or color spots.Subsequently, to select the desired color, click on it with the “Pipette” tool.
You can start pouring contours. “Paint” the main body of the robot. We have this color - lavender blue.
Change the color of the contour - fill it with dark blue. Decide where the light source is in your picture. We have it located somewhere above and to the right in front of the robot. Draw the chest of our character, adding the volume:
On the right side, mark the deepest shadow in the figure, which runs along the contour of the body. From this shadow, from the edges to the center, draw a lighter shade that disappears in the intended areas illuminated by the light source:
Add highlights to the robot in all areas that are supposed to reflect light:
Give your legs a cylindrical look with shadow and light. In the same way, make holes from the circles on the chest of the robot:
Now let's improve the picture by adding to the shadow areas of the body the pixel-art element we considered earlier - dithering.
Dithering can not do on the glare, as well as on his feet - they are already too small. Using a dark and light pixel, draw a series of rivets instead of teeth on the robot's head, and also draw a funny antenna.It seemed to us that the robot's hand was drawn not too successfully - if you encounter the same problem, cut the object in Photoshop and move it down.
That's all - our funny pixel robot is ready!
And with the help of this video, you will learn how to make pixel-art animation in Photoshop: