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Augestein

Let's have it out here.

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So I decided to take a shot at making a portrait because so many people do it and make awesome ones. So I took a rather spotty one as inspiration and tried my own portrait.

4qeUAwL.png?1

It's that MarkyJoe portrait and I made my own version of it (because I saw it in those ragefests so often that I decided I wanted to try that sprite because it was pretty simple).

I don't know, I think that he might be a bit too *small* so to speak. I don't think it looks particularly bad, but is it Fire Emblem? I don't think so. Any advice? I feel happy about the chibi portrait though. I'm pretty good with Chibi.

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try referencing some other images: that is, comparing your image to theirs and figuring out what they did to make it look the way it did

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It's always good to take time to practice splicing existing FE mugs first in order to get a feel for the proportions involved. Full custom work is something that can take a lot of time to master.

When doing proportions, I like to keep an existing mug on a layer underneath what I'm working with, so I can tell if what I've done is rediculous compared to the FE style.

It might also be within your best interest to look up tutorials or resources about avoiding pillow shading, jaggies, or how to format you mugshot to be insertable in a ROM ("Hackbox" and all of that jazz)

Good luck, happy spriting.

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Gonna be real blunt about this: Take the time to learn how vanilla FE mugs work before running headlong into full customing. To begin with, the original piece was probably not the greatest mug in the world, but your attempt at the style in general is pretty far off the mark. Your proportions are small and squashed, there's essentially no anti-aliasing involved with the shading, and what shading is actually there is incredibly simplistic and lacks a definite light source. Colors are also all over the place, and the way the mug is formatted now would probably involve the eyes not blinking properly when inserted because the mouth frames overlap.

I really hope you're honestly attempting this and not just trolling.

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Gonna be real blunt about this: Take the time to learn how vanilla FE mugs work before running headlong into full customing. To begin with, the original piece was probably not the greatest mug in the world, but your attempt at the style in general is pretty far off the mark. Your proportions are small and squashed, there's essentially no anti-aliasing involved with the shading, and what shading is actually there is incredibly simplistic and lacks a definite light source. Colors are also all over the place, and the way the mug is formatted now would probably involve the eyes not blinking properly when inserted because the mouth frames overlap.

I really hope you're honestly attempting this and not just trolling.

Yes. I was trying.

There's a fine line between blunt and rude. What's the point of even adding that last sentence? Clearly I'm not an artist. Hence why I even have "BadMug" and "Tips" in the hashtag. I want tips so I CAN make better portraits, because I'm not very good with pixel art. It's totally not the same as drawing by hand as it's easier to actually shade with a pencil than it is to do a focused concentrated effort. Take something like Eirika's portrait.

Eirika's portrait has darker shades of hair on the tips of her hair because... Why? The hair is clearly the same color on the darker tips. Her right eye is lighter than her left eye despite the fact that if that were so, then her face should be darker on the right than the left. It looks good, but makes no real sense from an actual light source-- so it's not the same as drawing a standard portrait. Hence why I was asking to make a more "FE style portrait."

It's like some of you guys DON'T want people to try things out by being rude. If I were trolling I would have made it something that took me considerably less effort. I'm just going to write this style of comment down as an unhelpful one and move on. The issue is that I'd like for someone to guide me through to making the portrait better. This post is just plain unhelpful, because it doesn't actually tell me how to do diddly squat or even point me in a direction to improve. I was actually going to make him a nicer one because it seems like people were kind of mean spirited about the portrait. I was actually trying to simply make nice with people.

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Try imitating shapes from other mugs and looking at the pixel width of certain areas.

Also, learn antialiasing and very closely observe how jaws are made in official mugs: as in, where the lines go, which shades they use.

Her right eye is lighter than her left eye despite the fact that if that were so, then her face should be darker on the right than the left. It looks good, but makes no real sense from an actual light source--

It looks good

That's what's important. When you've limited color and space, you use stylistic flourishes to make it look "right." Edited by Yasako

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Try imitating shapes from other mugs and looking at the pixel width of certain areas.

Also, learn antialiasing and very closely observe how jaws are made in official mugs: as in, where the lines go, which shades they use.

That's what's important. When you've limited color and space, you use stylistic flourishes to make it look "right."

What algorithm do you guys use for anti-aliasing? I'm only familiar with the usage for letting the CPU itself doing it.

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Oh, good, you're offended. Perfect. Apologies, then. o 3o~

1e0d3995ff83b4a6474e26b9f6ea2306.png

To start off with, the formatting isn't going to work unless you stay within the bounds of the hackbox. As it is, the portrait's hair would be cut off in this corner. Furthermore, it's an incredibly short portrait and would need to use either Nils' or Nino's character slot (or Myrrh's, if you're bothering with FE8) in order to be fully displayed in the stats.

c411a2a81404dd0a332a6f5f75ce1ff6.png

Let's start out by explaining how the hackbox works (in a low-tech way).

It's broken up into 8x8 px bits, which will then determine where your frames will align.

c2a20faa0df586394007cd1c573bc284.png

Here in Usenti, you can see that some of your frames aren't aligned quite right with the grid. This'll make the frames "jump" or stutter when they're animated in-game. Furthermore, since the bottom of your eye frames show up in the mouth frames, there may be a potential issue with the blinking.

74dd16d90bf41c7a524a865dc29ade53.png

Let's move your mug into the middle of the hack box for now. Things can be extended later.

1fb36fa418c998cefce32ef33563f57f.png

First issue is the incredibly squashed face. Let's lengthen that a little and space things out more.

cde953b69c2797fd3c8a27061c531021.png

Fill in with color, so it looks less like a glitch attacked his face, then assess the damage.

Immediately, I'm seeing a few issues:

> Face is too wide for features.

> Mouth is very small and possibly a little far from the nose.

> Eyes are exactly identical and really shouldn't be.

> Neck is too far to the near side (right).

> Angle of nose doesn't match the rest of the face.

> Face generally lacks shading.

c6e5f027f545c5ad23d161a22fa33adb.png

There, fiddled around a little by taking in the cheek and chin a pixel, and then expanding the mouth by a pixel, as well. This also sort of makes the neck angle work a little better, so I'll leave that alone for now.

b2ee20a823bdb9c73645c3d1ebd7c929.png

Now let's throw some rough shading on.

1091df98c662244c085e264bbfe72790.png

Oh, right, colors. Now would probably be a good time to check those. As it stands, you have 16+ colors. The parts not highlighted in red are stray colors, which need to be consolidated.

FE mugs use 15 colors + background, the latter of which will be read as transparent. Therefore, it's best to stick with 15 colors or fewer in a palette.

The normal spread of a palette goes like this:

> 5 skin tones

> 1 border color

> 3 hair tones

> 3 clothing/armor tones
> 3 accent tones

Granted, there are always exceptions to the rule, depending on how a mug is shaded, but this is a very safe general formula to follow.

b0e894a6afff579e3684ba93a82a90eb.png

A quick, rough shot at adjusting colors. Also, while it's not necessary, per se, a consistent border color is also preferred. Now you have a 15 color palette.

Everything beyond this point is more advanced shading stuff, which I'll get into given some time. I can't sling shading around as quickly as quick fixes like this. As far as AAing goes, there's no algorithm. It's all done by hand.

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fd6d90576303ee1fde081f43524c8c8a.png

Eh, cbf to finish, but some quick shading/fixing/etc.

2faaebaebc079aeaa4bb4902c6c01300.png

Basically, how AAing works depends on what you're shading. In terms of something very smooth or round, you'll want to stagger the colors a lot. It creates the illusion of a gradient.

5729db7f3492a2b891d62be708ddebcd.png

ceaca95187bed672fe8ecf59ab6ece0f.png

For finer details, less shading might be required to give it a sharper, cleaner appearance.

This especially applies to hair, which has many strands. Depending on level of detail, you may want more or fewer strands.

fb8cf182ad571da7c81010b2239eafad.png93d65709e7ac7de7f2dbb293d8354164.png

Usually I use a technique called blocking. You start with a base color and block out the shapes you want, then follow up with shadows and highlights. I prefer to work with middle tone, then block shadows and shapes in with the darkest tone, then finish and polish with highlights.

a829731cd9d7d336d161f56856d4072d.png

This is probably best seen in the scarf, where I've roughly blocked out the shape, then applied shadows where necessary.

Edited by Sphalerite

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Okay, thank you. That is useful to know. The portrait does look better, but even looking better, it still doesn't look very Fire Emblem like. I guess that my base style is too radically different from the base to work with to make it look like a Fire Emblem style mug. I did read the tutorial on splicing and followed it, here's what I have:

srT8G5k.png?1

I think I might need to fix the front of the hair a bit, but splicing wasn't too bad. I wanted to use Karla's hair at first because I thought it looked good but it doesn't fit with the neck or the position the head is tilted. Recoloring wasn't too bad with Usenti as well, and with the blocks it's much easier to look at and read where I should locate things in proportion to the face (normally when I draw faces I use lines anyways to keep everything stable). As for mouth animations, I don't think that's going to be terribly difficult if I know how to do shading a bit better. I'm not used to animating things of that precision I'm afraid.

Also: What's the deal with eyes? There doesn't really seem to be a rhythm or reason to them outside of "light reflects from the left." This is especially true for females and less manly men. Tough guys don't seem to have shiny eyes at all.

Also, if I were to put them in FEEditor for instance, do they all need to be the same transparent color, or does each on individually have a transparent color? I didn't realize that the transparent color was part of the 16 color limitation.

Edited by Augestein

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Immediate issues:

> Ninian has fucktons of hair colors/colors in her palette that share like crazy, which doesn't allow it to be recolored very nicely without making several adjustments. You probably flipped a couple of colors, which is why it looks kind of funny.

> Don't mix FE6/7 and FE8 colors. They're too dark/saturated/etc. generally don't mesh with each other. This goes for any custom palette you design, as well. The dark red is much darker and more saturated than FE7 allows. There's also that leftover blue from the white shading that doesn't work with that red.

> Ninian's hair isn't the same angle as Farina's face. You'll probably have to move the entire cap of her head including the bangs down an to the left maybe two pixels.

> Lots of stray pixels in the forehead area where recoloring didn't work out.

> Hair is chopped off abruptly at the collar and shoulders.

Eyes are stupid and need to be tossed into the void. The reflected light is sometimes present in smaller eyes, but the amount of detail you can get away with in 6 pixels compared to 20 is very significant. Also, lighting for FE is somewhere to the upper front, thus the reflected light.

No, they don't. It's just whatever leftover color you want to throw into the background that doesn't share with the actual palette of the sprite itself. You can leave it blank, too.

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2ZbHoaR.png

Alright, here's another one that I did. He's a little blue, but I wanted to try a male instead because I find that the hair is surprisingly more detailed than longer female hair. It's almost more difficult to do. I think I'm getting the shading for eyes down, but the hair still seems a bit odd. Especially near the ear. Any tips on how to fix that up?

I'm leaving the older ones kinda unfixed so I can take note of what I did wrong and compare them with later ones.

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I am learning a ton about potraits just by reading Aeo's posts in this. (Guess I should posts some mugs to get some of this Aeo awesome edit critiques... Seriously cool. :o )

...latest mug ummm... Colors are needing some work, try another pallete for your blues. Also random junk pixels in hair near the forehead.

It's getting better though. Keep at it. That's how we all get better.

Edited by TheErrantShepherd

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Sure, I'm trying to find some good tutorials on anti-aliasing because everyone seems to have their own opinions on how to do it. I think I'll give it a shot when I get back home on another splice.

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Alright, I tried making another one. I think I'm getting the hues down for various colors like scarves, I tried making this face a bit more custom instead of using direct splices-- however, it's still a splice.

qdudGC0.png

I'm still a bit lackluster in the hair department, but I do think I have the face angles and shading for skin a bit better.

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Guide for good face-splicing in my signature.

As for your work, body's still too obvious as to it's source and the hair needs to look less like a noodled mop.

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Guide for good face-splicing in my signature.

As for your work, body's still too obvious as to it's source and the hair needs to look less like a noodled mop.

Ah, I see. I'm reading it now. I think that's exactly what I was doing wrong. In this regard, I think I can't really improve until I'm able to fix the hair and non-skin shading. I couldn't get back to my home computer to have access to all of my stuff (the computer I have right now is not mine) so I took a stab in the dark.

vjYuK4p.png

I think he's much better than the MarkyJoe, but he's still not good. The hair... The pixels next to his forehead on the left need to be fixed don't they? and the clones probably look a bit too plain don't they? I think I can salvage this one though, so any advice?

Update: btgtiix.png

Tried detailing him more. Yay or nay on the changes?

Edited by Augestein

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