Previously, on ArtInPinkerton Blog (dun dun!)

Pixels so sharp they will cut you

For anyone who reads this blog (all 3 of you), its no secret that I tend to favor a more cartoonish and abstract style when editing game artwork. With the Arena Depixelization Project (ADP), this was mostly a necessity since I was looking at simplifying images due to the extremely low resolution and terrible graininess (grain E ness?).

Textures so muddy, they have to take their shoes before coming inside

However, with Morrowind, it was more of a desire to undrab (not even a real word I’m pretty sure) it some. The individuals textures were unimpressive but all together they worked (for back in 120 A.D. when it was created). With my early experiments, I used the cartoon method to add interest to the individual textures but it was crude.

 

 

“You know my name is Simon and the things I draw come true”

From here, I had a detour with a little experiment. For all the games I work on, I have a soft spot. Darkstone was one such game. It’s low resolution blurry textures begged for me to edit them. It was a challenge just figuring out how to access them and understand the file structure: there are odd duplicates, art sheets (many separate art assets on one texture), and strange encryption. I wanted to create a chalk-like art style. It was a side diversion and never meant to be a full project though. I really liked the results though.

STOP CHANGING THE DAMN FORMAT ALREADY!

I had very little experience back then and it was before Borderlands captured what I desired so well (ICE CREAM…wait no…CELL SHADING!). So I switched to working on Minecraft for my sons. I finished not only the main game but several of the most popular modification at the time. However, Mohjang (the makers of Minecraft) changed the texture format and naming several times over the duration I was working on it; breaking my texture pack (Grrrrr!) more than once. I never released it as by the time they finalized it, they had added so much more that I hadn’t done.  However, it gave me time to work on learning the graphics software (GIMP at the time…not the one from Pulp Fiction).

 

But the name almost begged it!

I’m not sure how I started working on it, but the next project I worked was Torchlight. I think I had just wanted to see if I could do it. During this phase, I dedicated quite some time experimenting with different styles and the software. Eventually, it turned into a full blown project which I called “Toonlight”…I am so clever…so damn clever. Looking back, I think I lamented how little the backgrounds “popped” and though I could smooth and outline them to make them defined. My biggest failing on it (beside the wee-bit of amateurish work…cough cough) was that I was so focused on the individual textures, that I didn’t account for the whole picture and scene. So much detailed “polluted” the screen. This is relevant for when I get to my newest endeavor. Toonlight was never finished (I had illusions it might be). I didn’t like the results on a game level and didn’t want to start over. The creatures looked nice though.

 

Nailed it….

Then came Borderlands. It perfectly encapsulated what I was going for. I loved the art style and now I had a inspiration to study and evolve my style. It was here I learned about rim lighting (making dark lines pop with a lighter line near it) and ways to make larger blank areas look less dull (hint: random lines and squiggles).  I didn’t try it for some time as I was working on finalizing ADP (which is….sigh…not done yet). When I finally took a break, I experimented with Morrowind again…this time on the faces; trying to capture that Borderlands style. Ultimately, I realized that my style was Borderlands-inspired but had my flavor added.

Brown…so much grainy awful pixel-y brown

I finally had enough experience to move forward. I had a few other side projects not “cartoon” style related (such as the FATE mod..so I can have all that crunchy 4K resolution…mmmmm tasty). Moving on, I had just the project in mind to hone those skills even further and put them to the test. Eventually, I’ll return to Morrowind and complete a full artwork overhaul once I’m done.

By then, I should have most of my style and workflow on lock (see I’m cool…I said “on lock”…like a boss). More coming next post……. (oohhhhhh a teaser…what can it be…).

Martin

 

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Pixels….so many pixels

Project statuses

Minecraft

At request of my son, I had resumed working on PinkertonCraft, my Minecraft mod. Although almost all (99%) of the original game textures are complete, I don’t want to release till I complete the art for the mods my sons use. Most of those are complete but a few are quite large. In fact, one mod called Divine RPG has almost 4 times as many textures as the original game. I have used most of my time since August working on it and am about 70% done with that.

One thing I noticed with a lot of mods (and even “vanilla” Minecraft) is that many textures are the same except for the color. For example, all the “rugs” in the Divine RPG mod were just the same bland texture in a different color. Mods are especially bad about this. Divine RPG has many “dimensions” but in the original art set, they were all the same texture but in different colors. I have strived to avoid repeating textures in such a manner unless it made since (i.e. colored wool or glass). So for each of the dimensions, I tried to give them as unique a look as possible. I apply the same principle to the “mobs” (i.e. monsters). If the game has 7 “golems” then I want them all to actually look different and be distinct.

(Click the pictures to see how they look different now)

Arena 

I had made a lot of progress before I switched back over to the Minecraft project. I have completed 102 of 184 set files. I should note that like many other resource file packs, Arena is chock full of unused files or files that were started and then switched to another format. I can think of 5 SET files off the top of my head that aren’t actually used. They are all ground files that Bethesda switched to IMG files (that I have already completed). A lot of the remaining SET files are less linear and more organic. Because they are base on 64×64 pixels, they require more creative approaches. I will start planning out how to handle them soon.

Website

I have been wanting to finish the website. Currently, the only thing linked are pictures. I need to add a Minecraft category and add to all the other categories. My goal is to have the site fleshed out in time to coincide with the release of PinkertonCraft (hopefully in October).