Pixel Art for Beginners | Oscar Dove | Skillshare

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Pixel Art for Beginners

teacher avatar Oscar Dove

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

3 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Pixel art lesson intro

    • 2. Pixel Art Lesson 1 Basics in Piskel

    • 3. Pixel Art Lesson 2 Platform & RPG Perspectives

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About This Class

This comprehensive class will teach you the basics of pixel art, and will conclude with a simple animation to show you the full range of what is possible for beginners to progress through this medium!

You will require a program capable of pixel art:

-Piskel, I use this and highly recommend it for beginners as it is a free web software that you can jump straight into!

- Aseprite (which I recommend! Although it does cost around £12 but it is the best software and I use it in my videos)

-Photoshop (you can use this but it is much like using a bazooka to thread a needle, too much power!)

-Graphicsgale (this is free pixel art and animation software, though it can be a little hard to understand at first, it is very good!)

All of these programs work fine in reality, and my tutorials will be more about the very basics so you can branch out how you see fit for yourself!


Meet Your Teacher

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Oscar Dove


Hello, I'm Oscar Dove I am a Freelance Pixel Artist and Animator, I have spent the last 2 years working on various different ongoing projects and games and I am here to share my skills with you all in the best way I can. www.odovedesign.com

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1. Pixel art lesson intro: welcome to my comprehensive beginner's class on picks a lot. What it is on, most importantly, how to actually create the pixel art. This is a complete basic class. There will be more to come, so make sure to stay tuned. There is a little stigma out there regarding picks, a lot as a week for Matt saying that it's basic or simple, but we're done right. Pixel art is something to really be admired. It's an art form that safe is quality when faced with decreases in detail. It can be done in such a way that amazes people. Make some say, Wow, I never realized you could portray something so cool, so few pixels, if only one saying that specifically. But they would definitely think it because that's what makes it special. Just so you know, just cause I know other classes will be locked and you think to yourself, You know what to expect. This is classic capitalism. Basically, I'll be starting by covering a how to open your document in whatever program you've chosen . It's fairly simple and programs designed for it, but it's a little bit different if you have things like photo shop, be golden rules of picks a lot, some of the things that you must always remember and see. We'll cover some fun things you can make, and I will also cover some bits on some of the best artists out there to follow. And some of the best examples of picks thought, different styles You'll come across because that's always important to compare and admire and be inspired you guys. 2. Pixel Art Lesson 1 Basics in Piskel: Okay, so welcome to the first installment. This is going to be an introductory video that just runs you through some of the basics on . I'm gonna be using a program called Pisco. Now, Pisco is a browser based program. That is kind of just something open and get going with. I didn't want to use something straight away that would be possibly out of reach for some of you. I know Photoshopped cost quite love money on a Sprite, which is, while it is the most popular pixel art program. At the moment, it does cost money. So I just wanted to avoid that for the very basics for the time being. So let's get into it. I'm gonna run you through some of the basics off the actual program before we start doing anything else. So I've drawn a couple of things here. Uh, help explain. Here we have the four default pen sizes that physical office. So we have them over here. Penn size one, size 23 Nine times out of 10. You're just gonna want to be on one pixel for the duration off your picks. A lot work now, Something very basic like this tree here is possible through life's little feature we have here called Vertical Mira pen. No vertical Mira pen in Pisco allows us to completely mirror anything. We draw completely down the center of the of the screen and has allowed me to create this wonderful little tree. See how I can just electorally make the body of the tree very quickly in here on the right . You've got pallets on current colors. Anything you do in school, I will give you an extra color on your color palette. So, for instance, if I do that, who had a nice, vibrant red tow? A color palette, which will then disappear if we do raise it? So just be aware of that if you if you want to keep a color but you get rid of that color, it wont be available on your current colors palette. So because picks a lot often uses this kind of thing so harsh black border on anything just to distinguish because it's quite a video game because it's a video game related form of artwork. Everything's quite distinguishable using black outlines, and that's turned into kind of a popular former. But these kind of lines are very important, as opposed to what picks a lot normally creates few automatically. When you drag slowly, which is something called stepping. That's something we want to avoid. When we use picks a lot, it's ugly. It's intrusive on if I can give you an example. If you drawer ahead Ah, and you draw it with just thick stepped lines, you're going to notice very quickly that the head is going to be kind of. It's quite it's gonna be quite invasive on the content, so you'll draw the eyes. You're told that let's use it on this guy for a second. It kind of see how a soon as I do this, it completely ruins. This character has no distinguishable features. You can't really get a feel for how is how he looks. He loses a lot of character, you know, he loses his is sort of hair tuft. There he loses his neck and, you know, because of the gaps filled in hair as well, he'll lose his feet. It's very important to be delicate with your line work, so whenever you draw anything, make sure that you don't have any of that and you're gonna be well on your way to creating good quality content. Just for an example, we give this docking outlined. See, we would go down for that and then back up now that would cut into the existing work. But it does make life all the better. Now he is just a situation. If you ever come across something like this, we would do that. We would lose the beak up a notice. Impressing Oh, here for color picker. Press that you'll be out to pick the color that exists there will pick that again. Okay. Like that. I'm just here. We're just going to fill that with the other as well. So that's how you don't loan this. You know, you could outline this duck like this now just for contrast. Let's just say we did this like so it looks day disgusting. That should be enough to put you off ever outlining something like this, Honestly, don't it? That is the Golden Rules for Picks him up. So that's what I wanted to cover online work. Let's move on to direct Ingle toe the rectangle tools. Very useful. It's gonna help you with very quick shapes, and so is the circle tool. So the circus all obviously creates circles. We're gonna do that right here. If you drag right from the corner, you see and see that we have show no notice. One thing with circle toe and it's something that does change depending on this scale. The circle toe has almost a mathematical rule with picks a lot on creating curves. So you'll see here. 1234567121211 1212 and then back. And with that, you end up with what appears to be the picks. A lot equivalent of a circle. If I just go back here, we can. We can take that. We can take that sort of equation full curves when we can use it whenever we do something freehand. So let's go. 1234 You can do this as well. What? I'm doing it and we're gonna half a each time. So no. 1212 one warned. We go back to one just to do duplicate just a course or extend that curve. Then 1212 Then 1234 1234 and we're going to take that old away around, so just take it around. 1112 You can see we've created a circle, a completely free hand by using the rule of having and duplicating the central piece here. So that's a pretty useful way of remembering how to create a nice curve with very limited pixels. And, you know, you could take that up to whatever scale you want. Let's go to resize Andi, where it says 32 by 32. That's 32 pixels by 32 pixels trees after 64 by 64. We can anchor this in the middle. And what that means is that any all of these things here I will stay in the center of our project. So resource. So to get good curves in picks a lot, the general rule of thumb is gradually increase, gradually decrease and increase your numbers as you go along. Like so. Just remember, if you're gonna go for a path that curve, you need to increase gradually as this in the same way that you decry so 321123 for as like so, feel free to mess around with that Because you can change the level. See how well I've done here is I've just gone 3 to 123 Next session will pick up with a little bit of shading animation. Andi, just a few more essentials for you guys. 3. Pixel Art Lesson 2 Platform & RPG Perspectives: Okay guys, Welcome to the sort of this lesson. We'll be kind of a step up from what we've done initially at the beginning. In that we're going to be covering perspectives and it's going to all be implementing some of the things that you learned from the first video. So that includes things like stepping and everything that we've gone through in terms of circles and sort of maintaining dimensions and taking into account what works visually. So what I'm gonna do with this first, well, with the second session is I'm going to basically run you through perspectives for characters and perspectives for buildings. So we should be able to jump straight into this. I'm going to quickly draw a character from one angle and then from another angle and from the middle angle. Okay guys, so what I've done here is I've just done a little bit of shading as well. And I've drawn a couple of different perspectives. So you got right facing here. You've got Central, and you've got left facing, all sort of shaded with that sort of. Now, one interesting thing, I don't want to sidetrack too much, but with shading, It's always important to go for a slightly colder color. So say that you've got the flesh, skin, hair, the flesh sort of color. Let's just pinpoint that. There we go. So here it is. So what I'm gonna do is instead of going here or instead of sort of just going down darkening just to create shadow because that's obviously not you'd normally do quite a good practice with pixel art. That's, it's always worked just for whatever reason. It just seems to work better with pixel is just go across here and it does work with a lot of other mediums as well. Actually, slightly purple. And just bring it down and see that you've got that sort of tyrant. See in the purplish not to purple. And if you want to take notes, I will give you these skin tones right now. So in your pistol, just go to primary, you can find F12, a 8, 9 one there. And then fewer shading. You've got BB8, 892. And you can use those to work alongside me here and make these little characters freeze for as long as you need to. I'm deliberately working in a sort of size frame that's easy to copy as you're going along just to sort of find your feet and find where you are are, you know? And then right here we have a top-down perspective. You know, you've got your shoulders, you've got your hair, and I haven't done too much on that, but you can see what I mean, you, what you'll tend to get with this. If you look at games like hotline Miami, Those are great examples. You know, you've got just a top-down thing. You could hold a weapon and you can sort of have it coming out like this. If you were to hold a weapon, they could be holding something in their arm here. Normally when they walking, You'll see the knees sort of coming forward and the feet going behind. So when you're animating a walk cycle like this, it's fairly straightforward. You just rock the shoulders back and forth and you do a sort of knee foot cycle. And I'll go through that later on. When we go through the animation process of pixels. Stay tuned, keep following through and we'll get to that in a later class. Okay? Oh, one more thing I want to cover actually. So you'll notice when I was talking about stepping and making sure you don't have too many sort of blocks when you're designing. So remember you, I was going through last stream, stream, last lesson. As I mentioned this. Now a lot of you probably follow it along and you know, you sort of got the gist of what I was talking about with this and making sure that lines are subtle and not too over the top. Now there's a few exceptions to that. And you probably noticed when I was going through this, you're thinking, Oh what the hell, Oscar, you know, you've got this hair. You've got here. And you've got here like this. Well, the answer is, there's no rules. There's only suggestions with these things. Because at the end of the day, when you are creating arms and you're having intersecting points like this. I mean, you imagine if I were to, right now just do this for example. It just starts to create like what are these strange fleshy protrusions here? Because what happens is if you have an outline here and an outline here for your hand. If I then put the contents of the man, it can look a bit dodgy. But what I'm saying is the outline of the hand then becomes the outline of the body. And suddenly people pay far too much attention to this outline of the hand taking care of the body. Whereas right here you've got the outline of the leg, very clearly an outline of the 100 flatly. Same applies to this. Now I can do this differently. Of course, I could have, maybe I could have special glory eyes because it's a special wizard or something. The point is, don't sacrifice something that works, just to follow a rule. Okay? If you take anything away from this, when you go ahead with pixelized, remember, don't follow a rule if it means it's going to make something look worse. Same with this, you can see how these feet of fairy sort of clearly defined as the character is facing forwards. You wouldn't have that with this necessarily, you know, if they had shoes on her, you know, they would look correct. They would look very correct. And that's fine. And we're sticking to the rules there and everything's fine. But when they're facing forwards, you need that defined edge. You know, you need that very clear blocky sort of look because that's the, that's the sort of size pixel that we're working with her hair. So yeah, just just go with your gut. Obviously stick to the rule when it applies, but go with your gut. You know, we're obviously not going to have shoulders that are very, very chunky like that unless, you know, situations called for it. But we can't keep doing it. We immediately ruined his neck line and his his jaw. And the same just keeps going on for forever and ever. I could just do this to demonstrate. You could even do it for the issues. Honestly, that wouldn't look out of place. If we just had square shoes the whole time around, that wouldn't look out of place at all. So like I said, there's very few rules that are going to stick with you forever when you're doing pixels. I'm just had to make sure that you're on the right track, you know. Okay, guys. So I'm going to see, I'm going to work through this with you. We're going to create front-facing building. Now, what I want you to start with is the rectangle tool. And if you want to go one-to-one with it, you can't or you can follow along with me. If you want to go one-to-one with a rectangle, you just click while holding Shift. And it will stay on a one-to-one ratio the whole time. And you can drag it from any side you want. Otherwise, just drag. So what this is actually, if you look at the bottom right, you can see yellow text and it tells you in the brackets what the ratio is. And it also tells you in the brackets what, how many pixels by how many pixels. So what we're gonna do is 29 by 26. 29 by 26. And if you want to make sure your workspace is set up to handle this more than enough. Just go across here to resize and change it here to 64 by 64. I prefer a 64 by 64 workspace. It gives me lots of room to work, but it really depends on what you're working on at the time. Now then we're going to choose a color for our building. So let's go ahead and I'm gonna go with E, F, B to 26. It's a nice sandy color, very sort of tropical. Almost Cuban. We're actually not going to use outlines for this one. So once you've filled your square and click the edge, and it will fill the engine as well. And now to make our shade, we're going to go for a slightly cooler. We're going to lean over to green and we're going to lean over to the darker side. A little bit less obvious, a green maybe. In fact, we're going to have a little bit more to read. It's not going to it's going to seem warmer. But if we go across a 87958 hair, that good. Give us what we're looking for. So we're going to make another rectangle above it and see. And just drag that up. This isn't going to be a, this isn't going to stay this rectangle. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna bring this down and bring it central. There. There we go. Lovely. So you can already tell if you were to look down on this, that it is a basically a square being looked down on from a very flat perspective. Now this is the kind of thing that you would see in RPGs. So you'll Gameboy Advance games, you're old school games. I can throw up some pictures right now. What you would expect. So what you're seeing here is known as an orthographic perspective. It's essentially a 2D view of a 3D object. Now there's basically because there's no proof in this picture, apart from our eyes perceiving the edges of the top here in the front. There's no other proof that this is actually 3D, quite rightly. So, so what we need to do as artists is we need to make it seem 3D in the best way possible. So what we're gonna do for that is we're gonna go, going to go ahead and make some windows. We're just going to keep working on this, right? So we'll make ourselves a rectangle tool here. Now what you can do if you want do, and I would actually recommend it. We're going to find where the center is. So this is the center. So you can use, you can feel free to use the symmetry tool, guys. It's a very useful tool indeed. So what I'm gonna do is I'm actually going to add one square to this whole thing. So we're going to have one squared on this side. And the reason why I'm gonna do that is because then we can use the symmetry tool to work on the building. Now it's a little, it's kind of a little lifehacker really, because obviously you're not, not everything you make is going to be symmetrical, but it's a great way to stop. So if you go into vertical mirror pen, what we can do now is we can basically take our window frame and we can just go, boom, boom. With slightly bigger windows. This is going to be a very basic house guy's a very basic house indeed. Just to really get you familiar with making buildings at a sudden perspective, we will actually, will actually work on this slightly differently. So we're gonna go into a local ofs color. I think eight, a d 0, d five would be good. And maybe we'll just color in with the symmetry tool. Okay, Lovely. Now you can really see how basic this is. I'm actually going to go a step further. I'm going to get rid of a layer. And we're going to really focus in on just making a nice little, nice little LAM building here. So guys, next up, we're going to go ahead and make kind of a roof. Reason why I'm just using this color. I can change this color in a second. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna make it a stroll sort of color and 86 3D if you'd like to use this color. And then what we're going to do after that is just sort of go a little bit brighter. So what we do know, this is where things start slightly get a little bit off the beaten path, I suppose the way to say it. So, well, actually, we'll use symmetry anyway. So we're doing a little bit of thatch here, guys. Just working our way through creating some slight inconsistencies, starting with the tool and then sort of moving away from it. I'm actually going to grab the dark shade here as well. And I'm just going to gently add some inconsistency is around the edges. Okay. Maybe a little bit of that. Just on the corners here, just tapering it out to create these sort of rough edges. And the reason why I'm doing this, and you can probably already tell is we're doing sort of a thatched situation. So then I'll also want, I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go over to a richer sort of dark wood. So 55291 B. We're going to run that along the top here. One-by-two line like that. And then ever so slightly just, I'm actually going to run out, just out to the edges here. And then taking the dark shade and taking that just along the top there as well. So these windows, by the way goes as we slightly sort of work our way into. Well, there's two ways to do this, okay? Double the width. I'm gonna take this over. So this is an interesting practice in perspective, okay? Because there are ways to do this depending on what you're going for. So see what I've done here is I've already sort of worked on the perspective a little bit. So guys, what I've done here is I've just basically for the purpose of demonstration, I've made a house that follows a slightly different rule of perspective. Okay? So what we're, what we're going through currently at our own pace. Now this particular house here essentially follows and I'm just giving outlines. It follows a rule where you can see it. Imagine yourself looking down on it. Okay, imagine yourself looking down on this house from above. But with a slightly more realistic 3D perspective where it's actually sort of tapering off into being further away from your eyes. Now you can use, this is actually a very popular thing that's been done in things like games and an artwork. Um, you can use this particular strategy. The only thing that obviously makes it harder is that this thing. There are certain other games that may not use this for the purpose of being able to clearly see things. You couldn't clearly paint the front of something and display the front of the building. By doing it like this, by having an orthographic perspective, which is more of a 2D thing. But if you're just making it, you want to make it very clear. We'll have a little sort of, um, of a wooden doorway. Now you guys can decorate this house as much as you want. I've obviously taking you through all of these assets. But if you look at this house here, you know, you can texture, you can sort of add. There's a little rule. So I've made this into star and take your slightly sort of blue stone and throw like specs. What I like to do is either you can do spec, so you can do is sort of brickwork which is patched based. So if you wanted to make this, let me just show you here. Let's make this a little bit more like bricks. You can just do that and just scribble a little sort of patches. Just be very conscious of things like that. Windows frames, bom, bom, bom, and just keep reasonable spacing basically. So you can see that as we sort of go along and I scroll out, we're starting to develop a very nice sort of stern complexion on the house. And maybe it will do that. And slurry just working our way through like that. I could do a I cannot see they've got a job with that, but you see what missing my point. Yeah. Perfect. So you can do things like that. Now that by 2 this door. So let's just make a little door. Guys, I'm going to go to 3D to 31 a for the store and I'm just going to shade underneath. So you can sort of see that. And the same goes for the windows actually. So we have the Windows environment eight AD D5. I'm going to take that down. I'm going to pull that down to 72918 D, just for the tops here. Just to show that continuously show that there's stuff going on above. And you can use that as well to sort of outline the door will make a little handle. You can follow along with these colors pretty, pretty easily anyway. So see that there's a very clear daughter. And yes, that's open. That's wide open. Okay. What if I just took that door? Did the same treatment with this storage so you can compare it. This is a good example actually as well. See the door frame. I'm actually deliberately using stepping. And this shows you that there's really no rules when it comes to pixel up because I've actually deliberately using stepping on that to show you that you can sort of make something look stronger by using stepping. Because we're looking for strong wooden beams there. I'm deliberately using stepping to enhance the width distance. Now, it's really up to you, but I actually do think that there is something in the front facing doors and there's something in the doors here as well. So it's really up to you how you utilize that. See your artwork. No one's telling you. One way or another is better known as saying that. But there is some, there are certain strengths and weaknesses to the tape. And look, you know, you have less space at the bottom of buildings. You have more space on these project-based. It's really project-based. There's also a lot of different ways that you can design things like roofing. So for instance, right now what we're doing is obviously a sort of thatched roofing. You don't have to do everything by no means. But make sure that always, whenever you are doing individual layers, then it has to be some degree. And again, rules are made to be broken. That doesn't need to be some degree of outlining to show where the edges of this law and things like that. We're just going to the rough ER, the better with this. Just make sure there's some degree of structure because you're imitating straw. And make sure when you're doing this, by the way, make sure you're not getting in the way of all of the different layers that we've added. Now we can do this for the back, but we're actually not going to because we want to, more than anything else, we want to show that there is a structure behind. And if we go crazy with the back, it's just going to look a little bit so I can show you what I mean. It's going to look a little bit chaotic. It doesn't look quite right. I mean, it still shows something that's going on, but it's a little bit better to have it again up to you. Again, it's entirely up to you. So this is the two types of houses. You've basically got orthographic and you've got a bit more of a top-down perspective. If you want to go for a completely top-down perspective, I would really probably don't have to tell you. I shouldn't have to tell you that this is what the result would basically look like. I mean, completely top-down. You're basically looking at something like that. So just follow my roof tutorial and add the other side dads. It's basically because with a top-down perspective, you're getting the full brunt of one side of the roof. And I am going to run through with you some very clear things in the next video though, and especially things like shading colors. And what to look out for, what not to use, what to use when you're shading pixel up. So guys, we have kind of reached the end of what I wanted to cover in this particular video. It was just a simple sort of what character perspectives are generally good to go for with pixel art. And what buildings perspectives are the most useful for pixel are. Hopefully you've been able to follow along with some of the stuff that I've been drawing and creating today. I've tried to make sure it's sort of inclusive in terms of being able to sit alongside with another monitor as you go. What I'm going to cover in the next video is drawing quite a few different things. I also wanted to cover isometric perspectives, which is the diagonal perspective you often see in some content. And yeah, hope for me, if you guys want to respond to the class and just give me ideas for things that you'd like to see me draw for you and run you through the process of drawing. I'd be more than happy to take those all into account. Make a video of basically just a compilation of different things that we can cover together. Make sure you guys are properly learned up in terms of all sorts of different content. I'm also going to go across into animation very soon. So when we do that, I'm going to stick to pestle for one video. We're going to go across to a sprite for another video so that everyone's covered? Yeah. I'm aware that I'm probably sort of rambling a little bit, but yeah, I mean, it's it's been absolutely great. Coming back to sort of dive more into this for you guys. And we'll do some more different roof types for houses and buildings. And the first animation I'm going to cover is a run cycle. I know it's quite a lot. So we'll start in the same video just during a bouncy ball animation, making sure that you guys are on board with working with frames and working with the onion skins. Before I go, I just like to cover one last thing and that is fading and colors. I'm going to make an entire video on shading and colors, mainly because I'm fully aware that there's a lot to digest on that front and there's a lot of margin for error. Using the right colors does sound easy in theory. But when you actually come into making buildings and making characters, as you've seen today, you do. It does require a very specific set of colors to make things work. Not only that, you need to make sure you've got the right colors when you're working so that you're not having sort of ever-so-slightly different colors that, that sort of become a very noisy, messy production. You need to make sure things are clear, defined, but also not sort of garish. And over the top, you know. So yeah, thank you very much for being here for the next video. And stay tuned for more.