• pixel art and animation •

1. I’d like to learn pixel art. Where do I start?

First off head over to this pixel art tutorial that covers pretty much everything about pixel art that you need to know! Pixel art is simple so you don’t have to know a lot of theory.

Start practising right away! What software do you need? You can read an answer to this question below. It’s #5 on the FAQs list.

Start with small pieces. You have to understand that the bigger canvas is the more time and effort you have to put into your work to finish it. Start from 20 x 20 pixels canvas. Later you’ll get to do much bigger and complicated works anyway. Starting from big canvas will make you unmotivated to finish your work. Start small and simple : )

The most common issue that I see in first pixel art works is that colours appear to be dull and dirty. I had this problem! The thing is that pixel art is much smaller compared to other digital art techniques. To make your piece more readable and to make it stand out I’d recommend you to increase your palette’s contrast and saturation. Do not be afraid to use bright colours! Also search on the internet some info about basic colour theory cuz it’ll help you for sure.

Join a pixel art community like PixelJoint to get some feedback on your work. It has massive gallery of images of any style from artists that have different skill level. Look at others and highlight for yourself things that you like in someone’s works. Be curious and never stop learning new things. Analyze what you like in a certain piece and try to use this knowledge in your next pixel art.
There are also nice forums at Pixelation. Don’t be afraid to get critiques on your works because it will help you to improve faster. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes! You are learning and they are fine as long as you continue to fix them.

..and most importantly have fun!

2. How to learn animation?

I don’t know the exact answer to this question to be honest. I would recommend you to read “The Animator’s Survival Kit” because it has all basic info you’ll need. There aren’t much things that you have to learn to do animation but you have to practice a lot!

Animation is something that you’ll learn through practicing and failing cuz it’s hard to do any kind of motion exactly how you’ve imagined it at the first try. Just don’t give up and do it again. Here are the 12 basic principles of animation for you : )

None will teach you animation; You are the only person that can teach yourself how to animate. Be observant, practice and watch animation but while you’re watching it think this question – “How it was made?” and try to find an answer to it. Be creative and have fun!

3. Can you make a tutorial?

No I think that there is so much information already that I have nothing new to add. I don’t have any secret tricks or powers; I just sit and draw frame by frame and it takes me a lot of time. I could record a video of my process but I don’t want to do this because I’m lazy. Maybe one day but not right now. I’m really sorry for disappointing you!

4. Can you teach me? Can I get your help or advice on my work?

No and no.

5. What software do you use?

I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for pixel art and animation. I guess any Photoshop is okay since you’ll be using just few basic tools.

How to set up Photoshop for pixel art? These are my settings:
• Pencil tool (keyboard shortcut – B) set to 1px or larger if you need so.
• Eraser tool (E) set to Pencil mode.
• Set Magic wand tool (W) and Paint bucket tool (G) tolerances to ZERO. Also make sure that anti-alias box isn’t checked on both of these tools.
• Change image interpolation to ‘nearest neighbor’ (photoshop preferences > general > nearest neighbor preserve hard edges).
• Make a new window with your current pixel art at 100% scale so you won’t waste your time for zooming out (window > arrange > arrange new window for…).

I don’t do any special settings for animation. If you wonder how to animate in Photoshop you should search for a tutorial on-line like this one. I don’t do any tricks, I just draw and animate frame by frame.

If you don’t have Photoshop there are few other nice programs but I don’t know how to work with them so do not hesitate to search tutorials on-line:
– GraphicsGale
– grafx2
– Pro Motion

6. How many frames do you usually end up with? What is your FPS rate?

Right now I’ll be writing about 2D animation in general. I follow these rules:
– the bigger object is the more frames you should draw.
– if you want smoother animation add more frames.
– ..just add more frames!

Now about pixel art animation for games! Making animations for games is easier. Number of frames depends on size and complexity of a certain object. Sometimes it can be limited due to technical capabilities or if you’re trying to achieve that old school style. You’ll have to get creative with timing and spacing : )
For games I usually try to make smooth animations with less number frames. I think it’s under 15 frames usually.. sometimes when objects are really small it can be 2 or 4 frames.

Now about the speed of animations. I usually start animating pretty much everything at 0.07 seconds per frame; then I just tweak time on some frames until I become satisfied with the final thing.

7. How long does it take you to finish an animation?

It’s a painful question! It takes me forever to finish any animation. You should feel yourself better if you think that you are slow at animating cuz I’m even slower.
Here are some examples: 60h48m, 17h5m, 13h4m, 11h15m.

I hope that one day my speed will increase! day!

8. How do you schedule your time? How do you stay focused on your work?

The main thing here is that I’m a full-time artist. If I was studying right now or if I had a job somewhere I don’t know how I’d find time for my precious animations.

I’m always experimenting with my day schedule because I haven’t found yet the one that works perfectly. Recently I’ve started to work 5 hours a day only on projects that I have. Once I’m done working I do other things. I have days off : ) Such schedule doesn’t make me tired and I don’t feel burned out when I work few days a row. From my experience I’d recommend you to set less time for a work but in this case you should do this work regularly. Start with 15 mins a day and make it a part of your daily routine.

..and remember that ‘to get things done’ you have to actually do these things. Cut the link between feelings and actions and do these things anyway!

9. How to become good at animation and pixel art? Can you show your first attempt at pixel art?

Usually we don’t see all the effort. Our eyes see only final results so success of others seems to be an innate talent or just a big luck. Sadly there is no magic.. so to become good at something you just have to do it during a really long period of the time. Strive for perfection, educate yourself and remake your old works!

Above is my first attempt at pixel art. It was made on the 29th of February in 2012 and it turned out pretty lame he-he Now you have the hope!! : )

• about me •

1. Some general info about me:

My name is Anna Oliver aka ATPrises. I’m 26 years old and I was born in USSR. I like to draw and to create stories. I’m living a humble life and learning lots of different things to be able to direct movies and video games in the future

I’m passionate about animation, fun gaming and comedy movies. I love when it rains and snows. I like tea and biscuits. I really don’t like summer, raisins and bugs.. cuz they look like raisins.

2. How can I contact you?

Send a direct message on twitter! I’ll reply to you once I have a free minute

3. Are you available for work? Do you do commissions?

There is a section on my home page named ‘RIGHT NOW’ and I always update it when I am available for work and vice versa. Please, check it out!

4. Do you work for free or for promotion?

I don’t work for free. If you can’t afford paying an artist right now it’s not the artist’s fault.
I don’t work for promotion because I can’t buy groceries or pay bills by writing a check for “full credit and exposure”.

5. Do you want to collaborate with me? What about art trades?

Most of the times I’m not interested in collaborations. If I’ll be searching for someone to team-up for a project I’ll let you know this through my social media or on the home page of my site.
I’m not interested in art trades.

6. Can I use your animations?

Nope. You can only look at them.