Learning to “Pixelize” Anything and Everything

Yesterday I managed to compile Aseprite for my Linux laptop so I could officially get started with the game. I’m going to tackle pixel art graphics first because it will help define the look of the game, the style of the artwork, and color palette. Once all (or most) of the pixel art graphics are created, then I can begin work on the actual programming. This is still the extreme early stages, so there are still a lot of specifics yet to be discovered about how the game will eventually look and feel.

Learning a New Pixel Art Form

One of the most helpful sources for learning this new pixel art thing has been Brandon James Greer. His videos have been insanely useful for learning the basics of pixel art and changing the way you approach creating new art. Please give that guy a subscribe!

Select the Smallest Detail That You Want Visible

When selecting a person, object, or character to create in your pixel art, one of the first steps is deciding how much detail you’re willing to lose, and where those losses of detail occur. If you’re creating a car, what’s the smallest detail you want to make out? Do you want to have a license plate visible? Readable? Once you’ve decided on that level of detail, create that smallest detail and work your way out from that detail. But also keep in mind that, depending on which detail you choose, that will impact your next most important decision when starting out.

Select Your Canvas Size

Depending on what your ultimate goal is, this one might actually be your first choice. Knowing which resolution to design in will ultimately impact the amount of detail you can realistically include. In my situation, I’ll be using my pixel art to animate walk/run/jump/idle cycles, and create spritesheets and tilesets for a retro inspired arcade game. With that in mind, I’m using the original resolutions of classic console hardware as a starting point for my designs. The NES console’s resultion is 256×240. With that information, I can start designing my character within the context of the entire screen so I’ll know just how that character will look and feel within the space of the entire screen.

Reference For Getting Started

Again, Brandon has been a huge help in teaching me the basics of pixel art and how to get started with the sizing and scaling of the characters in the screen space. Just for everyone’s reference, I’ll leave you with this excellent video on the subject.