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Reply to topic GDR Forum Index -> Game Developer's Refuge -> Pixatool - The pixel art quantizer that's too good
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PoV
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:56 am    Post subject: Pixatool - The pixel art quantizer that's too good Reply with quote







Damn.

https://kronbits.itch.io/pixatool


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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's pretty good for a single tool.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool. Reminds me of Retrospecs (iOS App: http://8bitartwork.co.uk/) that retro-ifies photos in a similar way - but without the palette accuracy.

I love apps like this. Sometimes things look better as chunky blocks. :]
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inb4 scoffing pixel purists and other bit-nazis. :D
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PoV
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm old and find time to be precious, so I'm anything but a purist today (I'm more about consistency than purity). I think this would be an excellent tool to use on background/portrait art. Do animated sprite art the traditional way (by hand), then use some speed-painting techniques to block-out a scene, and this tool for the automatic detailing/palette smarts.

I'm tempted to grab this myself, to see if it'll do something interesting with 1-bit art.

EDIT: oh, there's a demo.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the demo has limited palette choices and only a single dither option, but it does include a B&W palette, so I was able to do a test.

Googled a random image. Started with this:



After some time fiddling with the sliders for a couple minutes, I chose this as my dithered output:



It definitely does a better job that most "to B&W" options in other software, and it's rather quick to do. I had a choice of how I wanted the image broken down (pure black, pure dither, white), depending on what I did with the sliders. I'm impressed that it even maintained that thin-wire detail to the left of the neck.


Other details: It's made with Construct 2 (so it's huge but portable). It only runs at 720p. It seems to have a file size limit of like 1024x1024.
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BadMrBox
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say, too hell with puritism as long as the end result looks good.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with the above sentiments. Hand-crafted stuff is great, but time is fleeting and game devving is already a total time sink ;)

And I suppose at some point I should get back to work on Moai. I had some interesting things in the pipe.
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will play devils advocate anyway, also because I'm not convinced yet that any tools will replace artists any time soon. It's another useful tool to add to the process and it can be put to good use, however, not in itself and alone, it still needs to be used by someone who knows what they're doing, so it's already great that there are many sliders and settings to play with, allowing a very fine grained control by the user.

So, totally, pixel purism is dead and this seems to be a great tool to speed up the process to fake "Pixel Art"(a term which I believe eludes any accepted formal definition anyway(see also: here) but still needs a lot of manual cleanup and human-emotion-and-life-experience-and-culture-informed decisions/touch-ups afterwards to be able to compete with the best hand-tailored art out there.

That is because quantization like that operates on flat 2D color information alone, which is about the lowest, narrowest and purest technical point of view one could possibly have on a flattened visual interpretation of any thing(a digitized image).

It completeley lacks every other aspect/understanding there is to art(how it relates to life, our life) because it (the algorithm/s) does/do not have all that information and background that even an untrained(non-artist) human has when looking at something. Information about "meaning" mostly but also very basic information like the expansion of an object in the perceived 3D space is not available to the algorithm. Information that is very much needed while creating art.

A trained artist on the other hand has the power to build a 3D model of the stuff she sees in her mind and she can relate to a life of human experience and emotion, human perception to make decisions about how to render the stuff, how to attribute/create/manipulate meaning and appearance so that another human being can relate to it and how to guide the eye through an image or how to balance the elements in it.

She can decide how and where to emphasize form/volume with techniques like cross-contours(this is one thing in particular that quantization can't do because it requires knowledge or at least an experience based informed guess about the three dimensional nature of an object to, for example, dither with lines that follow surface curvature) and occlusion, line weight, composition, texture, where to add or take away information to improve clarity and readability and possibly even create a specific feeling/emotion.

So yes, this is a great tool but to make good use of it, it must be in the hands of an artist, or in other words, one needs to first create a piece/image that already works/"arts" well on a fundamental level, before running it through any quantization and the work still isn't done afterwards.

If I had to name the biggest "issue" in one line, it is this: Technique is merely a tiny subset of art and the untrained person (or inexperienced artists too) tend to confuse this small subset with the real thing.

...

Well, AI will take over art eventually after it has learned what it means to be human, so all effort should go into improving AI, not just for computer controlled game entities but to help with doing menial game dev programming grunt work and asset creation. (Put MOre AI into MOAI. :D)
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, by all means. This isn't a "replace artist" tool. This is an "I'm an artist, lets save time pushing pixels" sort of tool. You absolutely need an eye for what you're doing.

The detailing in these:



An ordinary programmer playing with sliders isn't going to get that kind of result.
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