Pixel-style animation

Hi, there.

I was wondering if I can make animation with Pencil2D, specifically pixel-style animation, it may not be as good of quality as most professional animation is done in vector though. The reason I’m making this approach is because I want to easily edit the pixels and easily color in objects, like characters. This animation style I’m aiming for would be reminiscent of hand-drawn computer animation used for computer games from the 1990s.

Is it possible to do this? Thank you for the reply.

Yes you can just change the camera size to something small and zoom in to see the individual pixels. The pen tool at a small size is most appropriate for this, and you can use it with or without antialiasing depending on the style you are going for. When you export it, it may appear smaller than you were expecting, but that’s because most pixel art you see has actually been scaled up with a nearest-neighbour algorithm so the pixels appear larger but maintain their blockiness. You cannot scale this way in Pencil2D, but you can scale the output of Pencil2D with this algorithm using one of many batch image editors or video editors.

I’m not talking about making sprites, I’m talking about something like this:

This is a screenshot of one of the cutscenes from the 1993 video game Link: The Faces Of Evil for the Phillips’ CD-I. It is based on The Legend Of Zelda by Nintendo and is an internet meme. The animation is made with raster/bitmap graphics. Unlike vector graphics, raster has a pixelated outline, which is not exactly very smooth. You can anti-alias this by blurring the image very slightly or shrinking the image or better yet both. Even though the results won’t be as good as using vector.

@JacobZeier1992 Pixel-art is made with intentional restrictions like small canvas sizes, limited color palettes and without antialiasing so the pixels are noticed.

Scribblemaniac already mentioned how you can work in Pencil2D to consider these artistic limitations. Anti-aliasing can be turned off in the mentioned tools (Pen tool). In the next version the grid size has been lowered to allow 1x1 pixel size visualization as well.

The example you’ve shown is a perfect example of a game sprite, which is simply the game development term for a raster image, which incidentally uses pixel-art style.

If you want specialized tools to make something like this, consider looking for the free software Piskel, Pixel-o-rama or Asesprite ($)

That sounds nice. I just hope that one day the vector coloring would actually improve so I can take advantage of it for making the animation that I want. I know, it won’t be for a while, but hopefully as soon as possible. I might consider pixel-o-rama for making animated movies with. Thank you.

Vectors are almost never used for pixel art or pixel animations. I mean it even has pixel in the name! Even if you have the option to turn antialiasing off for vector strokes (which most applications do not), then it is still very difficult to have the fine control over each pixel that is needed. What you posted is not what I would consider pixel art at all, it is merely aliased. You could definitely draw what you posted with the pen and bucket tools on a bitmap layer.

Sorry if im a bit off topic, just found this heh, never knew this actually existed, though it was some kind of fan movie, but it’s an actual game :open_mouth:

I thought it was “pixel-art” but after seeing it in motion it may well be a bit different from the definition. Pure raster graphics though, I wonder what hardware limitations they had to get the images like that :thinking:

Yes, it is aliased, but how is it not pixel art? When I draw in GIMP sometimes, I might draw stuff just like as shown in the CD-I Link screenshot; I use the pencil tool with alias, which to me is helpful for editing details, and then I color in with the bucket fill tool afterwards. This is definitely not vector art. What I’m describing is raster/bitmap art. But why can’t it be called pixel art? It is pixel art because it uses pixels and it is aliased. I don’t see anything wrong with using pixel art. But if you want to be more professional, like how most animations are done in production companies, then it’s best to use raster/bitmap art, particularly for background paintings and animation sketches. I agree with you that it is not exactly pixel art in the conventional sense, which is aliased like the method I’ve described earlier, but no matter how any of us look at it, bitmap/raster drawings are still pixel art. Even when you export vector graphics to GIF, PNG or JPG, it will become bitmap/raster drawings and therefore pixel art, just anti-aliased. When you zoom in on vector layers, the vector outlines and edges will appear smooth, never pixelate, and inherently anti-aliased.

I’m sorry if I made you upset. I don’t mean to cause an argument over semantics. Please forgive me. :cry:

The game was made in 1993, the technology that was available in that year was limited when compared to now. Sure, it was advanced when compared to say, 1983, when primitive methods of making hand-drawn animation on a computer was around. But back in 1983, the drawings were still done on paper as it was normal back then, then the drawings were scanned into the computer and colored in. One of the first TV shows to use this primitive process was the last two seasons of The Jetsons, which was broadcasted in 1985. Hanna-Barbera was pretty cutting-edge back then when it came to television.

Anyway, I digress. I don’t want to offend you and argue over semantics here, but the screenshot that I’ve shown you from the game’s cutscenes is still pixel art, even though you are right that is pure raster/bitmap graphics. But how is it not pixel art? It is drawn with aliased raster graphics, which is how video games used to be made in the past and continue to be to this day. So, why can’t it be called pixel art? It is pixel art.

Also, in reference to your previous reply, I wouldn’t call the screenshot I’ve posted a sprite, this is a sprite which would be in the game itself, usually they are small hence low-resolution when compared to the background. Granted, the sprite is scaled to a larger size, but this is what I could find. They are also playable and usually in side-scroller games like this:

The cutscenes from CD-I Link on the other hand have a much higher resolution hence larger screen size than the Link sprites in the game itself, resulting in much greater detail of the characters, backgrounds and props, like this:

But no matter how we look at either the Luigi sprite sheet or the CD-I Link cutscene screenshot, they are still pixel art nonetheless, which you could define as aliased raster/bitmap graphics.

But here’s the thing though, even anti-aliased raster graphics and rasterized vector graphics are pixel art. Also, like you said earlier that in video game terminology, both the cutscenes and playable characters are still considered sprites. I get it.

But I just want to experiment with making animation like this because I think it would be in some ways easier than usual animation process done by most professional studios and even ametuer filmmakers. I will definitely give Pixelorama a shot. It looks good to me.

Until the vector coloring tools are fixed, which won’t be for a long while, I will try using either Pencil2D or better yet pixelorama for making animated movies.

I’m sorry if I offended you, since you are basically like the Big Kahuna of Pencil2D. I respect you greatly.

@JacobZeier1992 Hey Jacob, I don’t think anyone here considers themselves “kings” or in a position of power to shut down others opinions. Everyone’s opinion is important, don’t worry. I can see there is a language barrier. English is not my native language either.

When talking about pixel art there are many schools of thought and ideas, but most artists consider pixel-art to be what I described before, which is an intentional raster drawing with limited colors, and purposefully placed pixels on the screen from scratch.

What scribblemaniac mentioned might be true that the Zelda image might not be “pixel-art” in the sense of the previous definition, but it is indeed a raster image made of pixels and that is a fact we all can agree on.

Each person that creates artwork will have their opinions forged by experience or acquired knowledge, but at the end of the day what matters is that these kinds of discussions where opinions and facts are mixed together are not to be taken personally.

At this point I don’t really think it’s important to discuss if something is or isn’t pixel-art. Your original question was if you could make, and I quote “specifically pixel-style animation” with Pencil2D. The answer was yes, and we provided tips on how to achieve that.

Related to the confusion from our comments, I for example have a miscommunication problem in real life. I tend to provide too many ideas at the same time, assuming people can understand them, and without proper context or speech regulation people tend to misunderstand me pretty quickly and I have to re-explain myself or clear up confusion after confusion, so perhaps your comment on vector after we were taking about raster was misunderstood like that.

Of course I can’t speak for Scribblemaniac or yourself, but I’m personally not offended at all by your comments.

Even if sometimes I have some difficulty understanding what you’re trying to convey, because of the language barrier I understand perfectly that any perceived attitude or “tone” we can read on the text, might not be there at all, so I hope that you too are not offended by our comments either, as none of us here reply with the intent of offending or making users feel uncomfortable, otherwise we would not even try to help :slightly_smiling_face: .

To me “text has no emotion” and these discussions should be considered as simple exchanges of words and knowledge if nothing else. Don’t read too much into these replys, and keep the knowledge and learning. We hope to see more of your work in the future regardless of the software and techniques you use. Until next time! :wave: :smile:

I am not offended either. I also only claimed that I did not consider them pixel art. You can call it whatever you want but I have not changed my mind. Just because an image is composed of pixels (as in all bitmap images), or that the pixels are visible (as in aliased lines), does not make it pixel art in my opinion. Wikipedia has a pretty good definition for pixel art:

Although the definition of the medium is not concrete, the majority of pixel artists agree that an image can be categorized as pixel art when the artist is manipulating the image with deliberate control over the placement of each individual pixel. When purposefully editing in this way, changing the position of a few pixels can have a drastic effect on the image.

When you are drawing similar images in GIMP, are you zooming in and concerning yourself with the individual placement of each pixel? If so then sure it’s pixel art, but I doubt that they were doing that for the Zelda cutscenes, and they were definitely not doing that for The Jetsons where they are tracing pencil lines.

When I draw in GIMP sometimes I first sketch the image with the hard pixelly black pencil tool on the white image and trace on another semi-transparent layer to add details and I zoom in to make sure that the pixels are aligned with the sketch in a somewhat loosely way, which I would consider the character’s skeleton. So in this sense, I would say it’s pixel art, but that’s just my opinion. Then I would color it in afterwards with the fill bucket tool.