1st Edition

Pixel Art for Game Developers

ISBN 9781482252309
Published August 18, 2015 by A K Peters/CRC Press
256 Pages 379 Color Illustrations

USD $69.95

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Book Description

Is the art for your video game taking too long to create? Learning to create Pixel Art may be the answer to your development troubles. Uncover the secrets to creating stunning graphics with Pixel Art for Game Developers. The premier how-to book on Pixel Art and Pixel Art software, it focuses on the universal principles of the craft.

The book provides an introduction to Pixel Art, its utility, foundational elements, and concepts such as light and shadow. It offers tutorials on creating animations and serves as a functional guide for the most common methodology in 2D game development.

Gamers love the retro feel of Pixel Art, and lucky for you it is easy to create. You'll love the tiny file sizes that will reduce compile times and help your game run faster. Providing you with the skills to create the characters and environments needed for 2D games, this book will help you:

  • Create tilesets to build game environments
  • Understand light and shadow
  • Work efficiently with pixels
  • Use atmospheric and linear perspective
  • Create professional-quality Pixel Art

This book has chapters dedicated to theory as well as step-by-step tutorials, both of which describe the process explicitly. Whether you are an artist, programmer, indie developer, or certified public accountant, after reading this book, you'll understand the steps necessary to create production-quality Pixel Art graphics.

Praise for the Book:

Pixel Art and Pixel Art games are very popular and the technique is a great way for independent creators to create very good-looking games with limited resources. It’s frankly shocking that there hasn’t been a resource like this before ... a very timely book.
—Chris Totten, George Mason University, Washington, DC, USA

Table of Contents

Why Pixel Art?
Players Love Pixel Art
It Makes Your Life Easier

Pixel Art: The Technology of Yesterday…Today!
Why Now? What’s in It for You?
Who This Book Is For
How to Use This Book

Who Am I and Why Do I Know So Much about Pixel Art?

Software: Set Up Your Working Environment
What Not to Use
My Software Recommendation
Other Options for Pixel Art Software
A Brief Glance At Graphicsgale

Making Pixel Art: Doing Lines
Straight Lines
Diagonal Lines
Curved Lines
Line Width
Exercise 5.1: Creating a Line Drawing Sprite

Coloring Inside the Lines
4-Bit Palette
Fill Tool
Creating Gradients
Palette Swapping
Palette Size and Time Consideration
Choosing Colors
Exercise 6.1: Coloring the Sprite (From Exercise 5.1)

Drawing Secrets Revealed: It’s All Smoke and Mirrors
Cast Shadow
Shadow Direction
Atmospheric Perspective
Linear Perspective
Exercise 7.1: Shading the Sprite (From Exercise 6.1)

Animating Pixels: The Shock and Horror of Being Flashed by a Pixel
Using the Program for Animation
Onion Skinning
Pixel Flashing
Core Animation Concepts
Game-Specific Concerns
Exercise 8.1: Create an Idle Animation (From Exercise 7.1)
Simplify the Sprite (Suggested But Optional)
The Simplest Path

Tiled Backgrounds
Tile Sizes
Setting Up the Tilemap Work Area
Textures That Repeat On You
Create a Tile Library
Dithering and Other Patterns
EXERCISE 9.1: Creating a Top-Down Tile Set
Exercise 9.2: Creating a Simple Side-View Tile Set

You’re Doing It Wrong: Things to Avoid
Banding and "Super Pixels"
Too Much Anti-Alias
Poor Line Quality
Weak Palette Choices
Too Much Complexity
Flash Shading
No Texture

Interviews with Game Developers
An Interview with James Petruzzi of Discord Games
An Interview with Jochum Skoglund of Crackshell

Online Resources
Pixel Art Software

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Dan Silber is a game developer who has been credited for Pixel Art on dozens of games with licenses, including Marvel, Nickelodeon, Pixar, and Disney. His work has appeared on games that span multiple platforms including PC, Nintendo DS, and GBA. In addition to working with Pixel Art, he is a programmer, musician, and accomplished 3D Artist—with work that has appeared in an exhibit in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Dan owns the game development studio Interstellar Tortoise and has written several indie games.

If you want to know more about him, check out www.dansilber.com and www.interstellartortoise.com


"Pixel Art and Pixel Art games are very popular and the technique is a great way for independent creators to create very good-looking games with limited resources. It’s frankly shocking that there hasn’t been a resource like this before ... a very timely book."
—Chris Totten, George Mason University, Washington, DC, USA