I have been creating a lot of pixel art lately and decided to also continue improving my motion video skills using Procreate (until I install After Effects because I have also watched a whole After Effects tutorial on Pluralsight a week ago or so) as well as video production in general. Thus, I have decided to put these skills to good use and create a showcase video focusing on my pixel and fantasy digital art or the transformation of art from digital illustrations to pixels.
Keep in mind that everything in the trailer was created on my iPad — from the pixel art itself to the video editing:
Below are some brand new pixel art imagery I have created just for this trailer as I was working on it:
Notice the image in the center of the bottom section. I tried to go for the Zelda a Link to the Past Overworld map look for it. The overall aesthetics also turned out very gaming related. Here is the pixel art-based variant included in the latest version of the trailer:
The horse warrior in pixelated form I did at a whim, which you see at the beginning of the trailer. I did it because I wanted to include the horse warrior in there, but did not have a pixel art version. Thus, I wanted to keep with the theme of the overall transitions from digital to pixels. It turned out sort of Commodore 64 or real lowRes and old-school gaming like:
I also created a low resolution version at a whim of one of the warrior pieces:
One thing I discovered is that once I took the image from the pixel art app as in this case all I did was the figure or soldier in it and the rest as pure digital. I could use the Apple Pencil and tap on it at one percent power with certain brushes to finish it off or also use pixel art techniques within Procreate and without having to import or edit specialized brushes:
Pure pixels or pixel art and not mixed with digital here:
Here is a pattern I created from one of the illustrations in both digital and pixel form:
Here is the revent warrior overlooking a tower piece I have created for my last blog post in pixelated form:
Here is a version with some scanlines added in for an even older-school look:
Pixel art is a captivating art and a science where small dots (one pixel wide) are used to created larger imagery with vivid and bright colors (unless we are talking about retro computers like the Atari 8 Bit or the Commodore 64). However, with the iPad app I use it is squares instead of circles that I am putting in grids and it is quite evident in the blown up samples you can see above.
The pixel art style was used exclusively in gaming’s early years to create the early games from the 1980s and 1990s on home computers like the Commodore 64 and gaming systems where it was the norm all the way until the 32-bit era of consoles. This is my favorite style of gaming aesthetics, visual design and graphics. It is also becoming popular again anongst indy game studios.
What was not too long ago seen as outdated outside of portable gaming systems like the Nintendo 3DS (itself a dead system how) is fun and innovative again. The cycle of technology sometimes comes back around in a circle or reimvents itself, albeit in new and interesting ways. To get a good sense of the style done in modern times, check out games like Dead Cells, Axiom Verge or Sydney Hunter, which I have been going through lately.
Here is an interesting article about this art style and game design by Gamasutra.
Here is a motion graphic using Procreate’s animation assist feature:
Here are a couple of monochrome renditions after tracing into illustrator and vectorizing one of the pixel art designs:
Something else I am working on is pixel art of user interfaces and this time of a Gameboy-like device that shows a game running on it:
I have decided to add some of them into Procreate for another motion video or animation:
Here is an animation also created via Procreate with some more layers and image samples as well as one that loops at a higher frames-per-second (FPS) count. It seems to flow more naturally like a game would, but the screens switch fast, so it may be hard to keep up:
I have also added a new hero or header image using one of the designs above and switched it so the symmetry fits and worked on it further to refine it: