3x4t0r gone Picasso? Creating a Splinterlands themed Twitch Emote.
Few days ago I saw Splinterlands posting an emote contest and it was already at round 2!
Which means I somehow missed the first round...
To be real, I'm far from an artist - although I kinda enjoyed painting class back in school and I would say that my art pieces occasionally scored me really nice grades. I've not done any art relalted stuff lately, but when I saw some of the 8-bit art that is on the nftshowroom I got kinda intrigued and started doodeling around. Without any meaningfull success, so far.
Not sure how people create those high detail and realistic looking pieces with just a few pixels. Are there any algorithms involved?
Anyways. I had an idea for a Splinterlands emote for quite a while now, so I figured I might as well practise my digital art skills and maybe become capable of implementing my initial idea.
The contest beeing about the Alpha/Beta theme, I decided to go for the Twisted Jester card. The idea beeing some Joker-like laughing emote. I do like to use laughing emotes a lot. LUL!
Unfortunately I did not really document my art creation process, as I was just blindly swimming into new territory without expecting anything, but I try my best to recreate some of the steps and dead ends.
My first stop was incscape. It's a very powerfull tool that I mostly use to create my thumbnails.
First step was to remove the background and cut out a square piece that contains enough information to make the Jester recognizable and still work in a 16x16 pixel environment.
Next I went to some online tools that claim to create 8 bit art. After some messing around with the settings and removing more information (the shades and light effects) on the original art, this was the best result:
Created with retromancers.com
As I was not really happy with the result - mostly because it's just automatically created by some random algorithm and not much of an original art piece - I went to pixilart.com and started drawing from scratch. I found this page a few months ago and wanted to see what it is capable of.
I opened a 16x16 canvas and started doodeling. This is the first frame I came up with that I found to be kinda satisfying. The hardest part was the mouth, as it is a rather detailed part in the original art:
At first I tried to recreate the mouth with a mix between the red and white colors, but it looked kinda weird and too much like a happy smiley mouth.
I also had to move the eyes one pixel down, because they are relatively low on the original artwork. Now they are directly on top of the mouth, but it looks way cooler that way. Also the black eyeshadow is very important for the looks! I couldn't add the white glowing part of his eyes, so I chose a bright red instead.
I also added the top of his jacket to fill some of that background. I couldn't figure out how to add the arms without making it look weird, so I just ignored them.
The cool part about pixilart.com is the fact that it has a tool for gif creations. So I copied the first frame and changed the jiggly hat of his. As it's supposed to be an evil laughing emote, I also altered the mouth part. Setting the timings to 300ms and voila!
For the second frame I simply moved some of the hat parts up by 1-2 pixels and simultaniously a little down his forehead. It's really easy with the preview function, as you can do slight adjustments and immediately see the effect. Also the little image in the top right really helps, as the closeup picture might look weird with the low res and only when you move back from the canvas you start to see more clearly.
Initially I also wanted to animate his collar, but it always ended up beeing too much and looked weird.
This piece is far from perfect, but with the deadline for the contest coming closer, I didn't have much time to refine it. It was definitely fun getting into the whole gif creating process and I hope it's not my last one.
This gif is created by @exator for the splinterlands community. Feel free to use it anywhere you like!