1st Edition

Pixel Art for Game Developers

By Daniel Silber Copyright 2016
    256 Pages 379 Color Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    256 Pages
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    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

    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


    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