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Guides on Getting Started with Pixel Art?

A topic by FrostFyres created Sep 29, 2016 Views: 654 Replies: 10
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I was wondering if there are resources for how to "format" photoshop to have the right size and grid etc. also some nice tutorials on how to construct pixel art. I'd love to take a crack at it and I have all the programs I need, but I don't know where to start.

It's an art, not a science, so there's a lot of wiggle room with how you accomplish it. The basics for formatting are to use a low-res canvas, zoom in, and use the pencil tool to get crisp, single pixels.

This guide is pretty in-depth.

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To get started use paint!

Use the pencil tool to be able to draw pixel by pixel, keep the LEFT SHIFT button pressed while drawing to draw straight lines, and the filler tool to color spaces, another good program is the paint tool in Gamemaker, which is similar to paint but has more and better tools and you can also create in game animations.
Save the works as .png

I also recommend Aseprite, which is on Steam, which is an awesome pixel art tool (its paid though!).

If you are familiar with photoshop I can give you a few tips (I've used it for pixel art for years)

First go into every tool (eraser, selection, fill, etc) and make sure every anti-alias option is disabled. For the eraser change the mode from "brush" to "pencil"

Go into Properties (ctrl+K) > General and set Image Interpolation to Nearest Neighbor. In Units and Rulers change both units to Pixel

Go into Window > Arrange > New Window for (file name). Set it to the side at 2x zoom as a preview for your main window, which you usually zoom in a lot closer

krita + (includes 3 pixel art brushes) + (set-up from scratch & example) + will get you on the right track (maybe) <- all free

Aseprite is OSS so if you compile it yourself its free. You might buy it later if you liked it tho.


How do I compile it! I've tried but I haven't figured it out!

Everything mentioned so far is probably fine.

I use my own tool which you can get here (if you want a tutorial I can write one for you):

It only outputs 256-colour tga files, so you'll probably want to convert them for use in your engine.

I also use GIMP from time to time. It can be used to turn those tga files into other formats.

But basically, if anything looks bad, make it look less bad, and repeat this process until it's good enough or you've had enough. Tutorials will help you make things look less bad, especially that one neptuneisadrift linked.

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Dont really know how to begin with my art, do you make it with 1x1 px squares

And do you make a 160*144 px bg and paint in that so you can see how big it should be?

I want to make it look good on 5" phone and 24" monitor, how to achieve that?

For me I tend to start with rough lines and then fine-tune them at the pixel level.

As I'm not much of a mock-up sort of person I tend to not bother with testing the size, I just start making a tilemap straight away. Having said that, 16x16 is a nice tile size to use for this.

As for 5" phone vs 24" monitor, render your game to a 160x144 canvas/image/FBO/whatever and upscale that.