Pixel art

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Portrait of a kitten made in a 64x64 Pixel art canvas. Includes a zoomed-in window in the bottom left corner to enhance the details of the cat's face. See complete image

Pixel art (/ˈpɪksəl-ɑːrt/)[note 1] is a form of digital art drawn with graphical software where images are built using pixels as the only building block. [o 2] Pixel art is particularly relevant in the world of video games, as 24% of the best selling games of all time employ this art style.[note 2] It is widely associated with the low-resolution graphics from 8-bit and 16-bit era computers and arcade video game consoles, in addition to other limited systems such as LED displays and graphing calculators, which have a maximum number of pixels and colors available. The art form is still employed to this day by pixel artists and game studios, even though the technological limitations have since been surpassed.[2]

Most works of pixel art are also restrictive both in file size and the number of colors used in their color palette because of software limitations — in order to achieve a certain aesthetic or simply to reduce the perceived noise. Older forms of pixel art tend to employ smaller palettes, with some video games being made using just two colors (1-bit color depth). Because of these self-imposed limitations, pixel art presents strong similarities with many traditional restrictive art forms such as mosaics and cross stitch.[o 2]

The precise definition of pixel art is a subject of debate, but an artwork is usually considered as such if deliberate thought was put into each individual pixel of the image.[note 3] Standard digital artworks or low resolution photographs are also composed of pixels, but they would only be considered pixel art if the individual pixels were placed with artistic intent, even if the pixels are clearly visible or prominent (see Definition).

The phrases "dot art" and "pixel pushing" are sometimes used as synonyms of pixel art, particularly by Japanese artists. A much more popular variation is the term spriting, which sometimes refers to the activity of making pixel art elements for video games specifically. The concept most likely originated from the word sprite, which is used in computer graphics to describe a two-dimensional bitmap that is used as a building block to construct larger scenes.

Overview[edit]

Definition[edit]

The majority of pixel artists agree that an image can only be categorized as pixel art when the pixels play an important individual role in the composition of the artwork, which usually requires deliberate control over the placement of each individual pixel. When purposefully editing in this way, changing the position of a few pixels can have a drastic effect on the image.

A common characteristic in pixel art is the low overall colour count in the image. Pixel art as a medium mimics a lot of traits found in older video game graphics, rendered by machines which were capable of only outputting a limited number of colours at once. Additionally, many pixel artists are of the opinion that in most cases, using a large number of colours, especially when very similar to each other in value, is unnecessary, and detracts from the overall cleanliness of the image, making it look messier. Many experienced pixel artists recommend not using more colours than necessary.

Differences from digital art[edit]

As images get bigger in resolution, pixels get harder to distinguish from each other and the importance of their careful placement is diminished, to the point that the concept of pixel art falls apart. The exact point at which this occurs and the conditions for a piece to be reasonably called "pixel art" have been the source of great disagreement among professionals and enthusiasts.

In general, the construction of a pixel image can be very similar to that of a digital artwork, particularly during the early sketching phases. The part in which the biggest distinction is made is the final pixel-by-pixel polishing.

Differences with Oekaki[edit]

Oekaki is a form of digital art done at small resolutions that presents many similarities with pixel art. However, in Oekaki, the placement of individual pixels is not considered as important compared to the general feel of the artwork, giving it a characteristic "messy" or jagged look.

Automation and Algorithms[edit]

There are plenty of algorithms that have been used to facilitate the creation or editing of pixel art, such as using 3D shaders within software like Blender to generate complex effects or rotating objects, that are later imported into pixel art software.

There also exist many interpolation algorithms calibrated specifically for pixel art.

History[edit]

Pixel art alien from Space Invaders (1978), a widely recognized icon of Arcade Games

Origin[edit]

Some traditional art forms, like counted-thread embroidery (including cross-stitch) and some kinds of mosaic and beadwork, are very similar to pixel art and could be considered as non-digital counterparts or predecessors.[o 2] These art forms construct pictures out of small colored units similar to the pixels of modern digital computing.

Some of the earliest examples of pixel art could be found in analog electronic advertising displays, such as the ones from New York City during the early 20th century, with simple monochromatic light bulb matrix displays extant circa 1937.[o 3] Pixel art as it is known today largely originates from classic video games, particularly classic arcade games such as Space Invaders (1978) and Pac-Man (1980), and 8-bit consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (1983) and Sega Master System (1985).

The term pixel art was first published by Adele Goldberg and Robert Flegal of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in 1982.[3] The practice, however, goes back at least 11 years before that, for example in Richard Shoup's SuperPaint system in 1972, also at Xerox PARC.[1]

1980s[edit]

Programmer art[edit]

In the 1980s, video game creators were mainly programmers and not graphic designers, particularly during the early arcade era when programmers had to manually input the position and color code of every single pixel by code. The limitations of computing at the time and the budget assigned to these projects did not allow for an artistic approach, resulting in most of the representations of the time being rather simple (such as Pong and Space Invaders). Nevertheless, this aesthetic gathered a great public appreciation and many of these early titles have become an integral part of video game culture.

1990s[edit]

Advancements in color display[edit]

Before the 1990s, display systems were mostly based on a small 4-bit palette of imposed colors (16 fixed shades innate to each system, often incompatible from one another). The coming decade greatly improved the graphics standard with the appearance of increased color depth and indexed color palettes (For example, 512 colors for the Atari ST and the Mega Drive, 4,096 for the Amiga ECS, 32,768 for the Super Nintendo, and 16,777,216 for the Amiga AGA and the VGA mode of the PCs).

First professional pixel artists[edit]

During the 1990's, the widespread availability of video games and the advancement in raster graphics technology allowed for professional graphic designers to specialize in working on computer graphics. They would work within the limitations of the technology at the time, such as file size and color palettes and they quickly replaced the "programmer art" of the previous decade. Some of these graphic designers can be considered as the earliest examples of professional pixel artists. However, the term "pixel artist" wouldn't become the standard until much later. Instead, during the early years of game development (especially in the international scene), "Pixel-pusher" was the common jargon used to designate the graphics artists that specialized in pixel art. The term probably originated from the appearance of pixels being "pushed" in the screen as the cursor made innumerable round trips to pick each color separately from the palette, and back to place them in the canvas (because of the lack of keyboard shortcuts and selection tools of old software).

Along with the emergence of these video game artists, an array of new techniques and guidelines emerged, with the purpose of achieving better representation of visual elements, objects and characters despite the minimum resources available on-screen. This includes many optical illusions and clever ways to manipulate pixels (See "Techniques" for more details)

Techniques[edit]

Visual techniques[edit]

  • The careful placement of pixels avoiding jagged edges, informally referred to as "jaggies", in order to better visually indicate arcs, circles and curves.
Curve without and with jagged edges

Pixel Art Jaggie Bigx4.png
  • Using lighter shades of a color in parts of a line to make it appear thinner, or using lighter pixels around diagonal lines to counteract the effects of old arcade monitors.
Lighter pixels used to represent a fading line

Pixel Art line thickness Bigx4.png
Lighter pixels used to make diagonal lines appear thicker

Pixel Art Diagonal weight Bigx4.png
  • Anti-aliasing drawn by hand, used to soften edges or visually merge clusters of pixels.
An example of anti-aliasing in a curve

Pixel Art Anti aliasing Bigx4.png
An example of anti-aliasing between shapes

Pixel Art Anti Aliasing in Clusters Bigx4.png
  • When making a line at an angle (Not straight), there's a preference for non-jagged pixel lines, which is achieved by the repetition of a constant array of pixels. For example, a repetition of 1:1 pixels in a diagonal results in a 45° angle line, while a repetition of 1:2 pixels in a diagonal results in a 26.57° angle. Anything in between is impossible without jagged lines or requiring anti aliasing. Some video games have used repeated lines of 3 or even 4 pixels for stylization purposes.
1:1 ratio vs 1:2 ratio

Pixel Art Isometric Example 3 Bigx4.png
  • It is also impossible to achieve the traditional 30° angle of isometric projection without the appearance of jagged lines, so most pixel games use the 1:2 ratio instead, popularized by titles such as Zaxxon and Q*bert as early as 1982 (followed by a series of seminal titles) using the same pseudo-isometric technique since 1983, until its rather systematic adoption in neo-pixel isometric art beyond the 2000s and 2010s, mostly chosen for stylization since with higher resolution graphics there is no longer any material need to maintain this specific ratio nor this precise type of "diamond" orientation.
30° angle vs 1:2 ratio (26.57° angle)

Pixel Art Isometric Example 2 Bigx4.png

Other Techniques and Technological Developments[edit]

A monster drawn in pixel art
Details from the monster artwork. Left: basic two-color checkerboard dithering. Center: Stylized dithering with 2×2 pixel squares randomly scattered. Right: Anti-aliasing by hand to smooth curves and transitions.
  • Color cycling (also known as palette shifting), is a technique used in computer graphics in which colors are changed in order to give the impression of animation. This technique was mainly used in early computer games, as storing one image and changing its palette required less memory and processor power than storing the animation as several frames.
  • The elaboration of masks, where a specific color code was defined to be read as transparent, and used in the background of spritesheets (commonly violet, magenta, red, green, blue, or cyan) which was eventually replaced by the most recent transparency systems that display a dynamic gray checkered "void" in the areas defined as transparent. Some software still uses the previous display method, such as Graphics Gale.
  • The grouping of image blocks of fixed dimensions in spritesheets and tilesets (single files that hold multiple assets or iterations), allowing to multiply the background screens and making the workflow easier.
  • The adoption of sizes and resolutions divisible by multiples of two (Allowing them to be divided several times in a row in a binary array without any loss of ratio, following the example of the most widespread display resolutions), such as in the size of character's pose sprites (being directly made with the sizing in mind or adding an offset of blank space), a precaution for better portability and restitution at the reduced display size.
  • The use of sprites of 8x8 or 16x16 pixels (Or any multiple of 8 / power of two) in size for tiling in order to save computing time and space while keeping the files organized.
  • The choice of lighting orientation (among the two opposite diagonals that were already widely used in computer graphics, where the shadow cast on the bottom right was commonly imposed by default, rather than on the bottom left, especially in texts and their titles or logotypes) with the intention of keeping consistency and improving the readability of all elements on-screen;
  • The development of graphical editors that would allow the edit and import of pixel art graphics into games, and respective game engines that are adapted to receive these graphics (Such as Filmation for the famous pseudo-isometric pixel art style)
  • The emergence of algorithms and tools meant to accelerate the image editing process in general, such as the accelerated filling tool, circle drawing tool, scaling and configurable deformations of image elements, automatic selections and trimming by tolerance, filter layers, MIP mapping, undo tools, inter-machine compatible software formats (PNG, JPEG), transmission of image color and resolution, etc.
  • A raster interrupt (also called a horizontal blank interrupt) which provides a mechanism for graphics registers to be changed mid-frame, so they have different values above and below the interrupt point. This allows a single-color object to have multiple, horizontal color bands, for example, or for a sprite to be repositioned to give the illusion that there are more sprites than a system supports.
  • File size reduction (limited number of color planes, mirror graphics, memory optimized by in-game decompression, distinction between lossy and lossless formats, etc.);
  • The settling of conventions for the placement of menus, tools and controls within graphical editors.
  • The specialization within development teams (scriptwriters, designers, programmers, graphic designers, musicians, etc.).

When referring to drawing in particular, all of these new technologies allow an artist to better approach the problems that naturally arise with pixel art. For instance, If an artist wants to represent the face of a character in a square of less than 10 pixels wide, how many pixels should be used to represent the mouth, the ears, or the nose? Should it even represent all of these elements or leave some of them to the viewer's imagination?

Answering these questions for each pixel art project becomes easier as technology develops and as best practices are set, but they still require an "Artistic" understanding of the medium when placing each pixel.

Method[edit]

Drawings usually start with what is called the line art, which is the basis line that defines the character, building or anything else the artist is intending to draw. Line arts are often traced over scanned drawings. Other techniques, some resembling painting, also exist. In terms of line art, straight lines are easy to accomplish, however, diagonal lines are harder, and curves are harder still. Daniel Silber recommends lines of one pixel in diameter be used at all times.[4]

The limited palette often implemented in pixel art usually promotes dithering to achieve different shades and colors, but due to the nature of this form of art this is usually done completely by hand, but most software specifically geared toward pixel art offers a dithering option. See the Software section for a list of options.

Anti-aliasing is also done by hand, and is used to smooth curves and transitions. Some artists only do this internally, to keep crisp outlines that can go over any background. The PNG alpha channel can be used to create external anti-aliasing for any background.

Saving and compression[edit]

Pixel art is preferably stored in a file format utilizing lossless data compression, such as run-length encoding or an indexed color palette. GIF and PNG are two file formats commonly used for storing pixel art. The JPEG format is avoided because its lossy compression algorithm is designed for smooth continuous-tone images and introduces visible artifacts in the presence of dithering.

Projections[edit]

Isometric
Non-isometric

Pixel art is commonly divided into two subcategories: isometric and non-isometric. The isometric kind is drawn in a near-isometric dimetric projection. This is commonly seen in games to provide a three-dimensional view without using any real three-dimensional processing. Technically, an isometric angle would be of 35.264° from the horizontal, but this is avoided since the pixels created by a line drawing algorithm would not follow a neat pattern. To fix this, lines with a 1:2 pixel ratio are picked, leading to an angle of about 26.57 degrees (arctan 0.5). One subcategory is planometric, which is done at a 1:1 angle, giving a more top-down look. Another subcategory is "RPG perspective", in which the x and z (vertical) axes are combined into a side/top view. This view is facing an edge, instead of a vertex.

Non-isometric pixel art is any pixel art that does not fall in the isometric category, such as views from the top, side, front, bottom or perspective views.

Scaling[edit]

2x zoom interpolated using nearest-neighbor interpolation (left) and the 2xSaI algorithm (right)

When pixel art is displayed at a higher resolution than the source image, it is often scaled using the nearest-neighbor interpolation algorithm. This avoids blurring caused by other algorithms, such as bilinear and bicubic interpolation—which interpolate between adjacent pixels and work best on continuous tones, but not sharp edges or lines. Nearest-neighbor interpolation preserves the pixels placed by the artist, but makes the image look pixelated. Thus, pixel-art scaling algorithms have been devised to interpolate between continuous tones while preserving the sharpness of lines in the piece.

Uses[edit]

Art asset from the 2017 video game Flinthook.

Pixel art was often used in older computer and console video games. With the increasing use of 3D graphics in games, pixel art lost some of its use. Despite that, it still has a very active professional/amateur community. The improvement in current technology has caused pixel art to evolve, as it allows for better detail and animation in the art style than previously attainable. Pixel art has also been used in advertising, with one such company being Bell. The group eBoy specializes in isometric pixel graphics for advertising.[5]

Icons for operating systems with limited graphics abilities are also pixel art. The limited number of colors and resolution presents a challenge when attempting to convey complicated concepts and ideas in an efficient way. The Microsoft Windows desktop icons are raster images of various sizes, the smaller of which are not necessarily scaled from the larger ones and could be considered pixel art. On the GNOME and KDE desktops, icons are represented primarily by SVG images, but also with hand-optimized, pixel art PNGs for smaller sizes such as 16x16 and 24x24. Another use of pixel art on modern desktop computers are favicons.

Modern pixel art has been seen as a reaction to the 3D graphics industry by amateur game/graphic hobbyists. Many retro enthusiasts often choose to mimic the style of the past. Some view the pixel art revival as restoring the golden age of third and fourth generation consoles, where it is argued graphics were more aesthetically pleasing. Pixel art still remains popular and has been used in social networking virtual worlds such as Habbo, as well as among hand-held devices such as the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PSP, PS Vita and mobile phones, and in modern indie games such as Hotline Miami and Owlboy. Reasons for employing pixel art in modern video games include that it provokes a feeling of nostalgia for classic video games, it is iconic, it uses smaller file sizes, it doesn't require a powerful computer to be crafted (unlike 3D art),it saves time when compiling games, it works well on small screens like smartphones, and it remains a popular aesthetic choice.[6]

Pixel artists[edit]

An example of pixels. The image looks smooth when zoomed out, but when a small section is viewed more closely, individual pixels can be distinguished.

A pixel artist is a graphic designer who specializes in computer art and can refer to a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation.[snv 1][snv 2][snv 3] Similar to chromoluminarism used in the pointillism style of painting, in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary and intermediate colors, a pixel artist works with pixels, the smallest piece of information in an image.[snv 4] The technique relies on the perceptive ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to mix the color spots into a fuller range of tones. Pixel art is often utilitarian and anonymous.[snv 3][snv 5] Pixel design can refer to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.[snv 6]

A pixel does not need to be rendered as a small square. This image shows alternative ways of reconstructing an image from a set of pixel values, using dots, lines, or smooth filtering.

Common uses of pixel design include print and broadcast media, web design and games.[snv 1][snv 3][snv 7] For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of design especially when utilizing preexisting materials or using diverse elements. Pixel artists can also be a specialist in computer animation such as Computer Animation Production System users in post production of animated films and rendering (computer graphics) images like raster graphics.[snv 8][snv 9][snv 10]

In the 2000s, pixel artists such as Tyler West, Stephane Martiniere and Daniel Dociu have gained international artistic recognition, due in part to the popularity of computer and video games.[snv 11][snv 12] For instance the E3 Media and Business Summit, an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry, has a concurrent juried art show, "Into the Pixel" starting in 2003.[snv 12][snv 13][snv 14][snv 15] Jurist and Getty Research Institute curator Louis Marchesano noted that most of the works were concept pieces used in the development of games.[snv 13]

Pixel artists are also used in digital forensics, an emerging field, to both create and detect fraud in all forms of media including "the courts, politics and scientific journals".[snv 16] For instance, the Federal Office of Research Integrity has said that the percent of allegations of fraud they investigated involved contested images has risen from less than 3 in 1990 to 44.1 percent in 2006.[snv 16]

A pixel artist is one of the new media artists that employs technology while also utilizing traditional media and art forms.[snv 2][snv 3][snv 17] They may have a fine arts background such as photography, painting or drawing but self-taught designers and artists are also able to accomplish this work.[snv 18][snv 19] They are often required to employ imaging and a full range of artistic and technological skills including those of conceptual artists.[snv 17][snv 20]

In digital imaging, a pixel (picture element) is the smallest piece of information in an image.[snv 4] The word pixel is based on a contraction of pix (for "pictures") and el (for "element"); similar formations with el for "element" include voxel, luxel[clarification needed], and texel.[snv 21][snv 22] Pixels are normally arranged in a regular 2-dimensional grid, and are often represented using dots, squares, or rectangles. Each pixel is a sample of an original image, where more samples typically provide a more accurate representation of the original.[snv 23] The intensity of each pixel is variable; in color systems, each pixel has typically three or four components such as red, green, and blue, or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Neuroplasticity is a key element of observing many pixel images. While two individuals will observe the same photons reflecting off a photorealistic image and hitting their retinas, someone whose mind has been primed with the theory of pointillism may see a very different image as the image is interpreted in the visual cortex.[snv 24]

Software[edit]

Essentially all raster graphics editors can be used in some way for pixel art, some of which include features designed to make the process easier. See comparison of raster graphics editors for a list of notable raster graphics editors. The following notable programs were designed specifically to facilitate drawing pixel art.

Relevant software whose primary function is the creation of pixel art graphics
Software Description License Financial cost Supported platforms Ref
Cute Pixel Art Maker This is a online tool which can generate pixel art image using any image you upload to the site. You can vary the pixel size using a slider. Open Free
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
[7]
Aseprite Aseprite features a large number of tools for image and animation editing such as layers, frames, tilemaps, command-line interface, Lua scripting, among others. Proprietary Gratis source code, paid precompiled binaries.
LibreSprite LibreSprite is a fork of the last free software (libre) version of Aseprite before Aseprite became proprietary. Libre Gratis
Pro Motion NG Pro Motion NG is primarily geared towards drawing art for video games, with features and tools for animation, spritework, and tilesets. Proprietary Paid (Full Edition), gratis (Free Edition)
  1. [8]
Graphics Gale Graphics Gale is a Japanese pixel art editor with animation features and a color-based transparency system which was extensively used by game artists during its early years. It was written in 2005, made freeware in 2017, and last updated in 2018. Proprietary Gratis
  1. [8]
GrafX2 GrafX2 was released in 1996, inspired by the Amiga programs Deluxe Paint and Brilliance. Specialized in 256-color drawing, it includes a very large number of tools and effects suitable for pixel art and 2D video game graphics. Libre Gratis
Piskel Piskel is a free, browser based, easy to use, pixel art software. With features for animation it is typically used for game sprites. Libre Gratis

List of 10 best-selling pixel art video games[edit]

This is a list of video games that have sold the highest number of software units worldwide, it only includes the first 10 games that satisfy one of the following definitions:

  •   Entirely Pixel art:
    A game that is entirely made out of pixel art assets, follows a square grid and is stylized to enhance the medium, rather than using filters or blending to hide it. Usually uses pixel art because of technological limitations of the time or platform.
  •   Mostly Pixel art:
    A game that is mostly made out of pixel art assets, except for a few exceptions.
  •   Partially Pixel art
    A game that is recognizable as having pixel art graphics but is combined with a significant number of other elements.
10 best-selling titles whose primary graphical style is pixel art
Title Pixel art use Sales Initial release date Ref
1 Minecraft Partially Pixel art Pixel art assets displayed as textures over 3D models[gs 1][gs 2] With 238,000,000 total sales, it is the single best-selling video game to date (2022)[gs 3] November 18, 2011[gs 2]
2 Super Mario Bros. Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software.[gs 4] With 58,000,000 total sales it is the 6th best-selling video game to date (2022)[gs 5][gs 6] September 13, 1985[gs 7]
3 Pokémon Red / Green / Blue / Yellow Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 47,520,000 total sales it is the 8th best-selling video game to date (2022) February 27, 1996
  1. [gn 1]
  2. [gs 8]
  3. [gs 9]
  4. [gs 10]
4 Terraria Mostly Pixel art Pixel art assets, with a few exceptions (UI, text, etc.) With 44,000,000 total sales it is the 9th best-selling video game to date (2022) May 16, 2011
  1. [gs 11]
5 Tetris (1989) Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 43,000,000 total sales it is the 12th best-selling video game to date (2022) June 14, 1989
  1. [gn 2]
  2. [gs 12]
  3. [gs 13]
6 Pac-Man Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 42,071,635 total sales it is the 13th best-selling video game to date (2022) May 22, 1980
  1. [gn 3]
  2. [gs 14]
  3. [gs 15]
  4. [gs 16]
  5. [gs 17]
  6. [gs 18]
7 Pokémon Gold / Silver / Crystal Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 29,490,000 total sales it is the 24th best-selling video game to date (2022) November 21, 1999
  1. [gn 4]
  2. [gs 9]
  3. [gs 19]
8 Duck Hunt Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 28,300,000 total sales it is the 25th best-selling video game to date (2022) April 21, 1984
  1. [gs 20]
9 Super Mario World Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 26,662,500 total sales it is the 30th best-selling video game to date (2022) November 21, 1990
  1. [gn 5]
  2. [gs 5]
  3. [gs 21]
10 Super Mario Bros. 3 Entirely Pixel art Pixel art is forced within the limited software. With 24,430,000 total sales it is the 37th best-selling video game to date (2022) October 23, 1988
  1. [gn 6]
  2. [gs 5]
  3. [gs 22]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The term was originally coined in the form "pixel art" (spaced) in a journal letter by english authors Goldberg and Flegal[1] (main section: #History). However, as time has passed the following alternative spellings have also been used to refer to the same medium: (in order of popularity and extense of use)
    • Pixel-art
    • Pixelart (Compound)
    • "Art of pixels" in some languages, like French[o 1]
  2. ^ Out of the 50 video games listed in the main List of best-selling video games 12 of them are built almost entirely in a pixel art graphic style. This represents a 24% of the list. The citations Video game statistics sources subsection within this article's References apply for all the claims (of copies sold and graphic style used) related to the titles within the List of best-selling pixel art video games
  3. ^ Modern pixel art software incorporates tools that automatically place multiple pixels at once (such as fill tools, line tools and brush tools), therefore defining pixel art as "art in which an artist has placed each individual pixel" is not accurate anymore. The following is a better way to interpret it: "The process that leads to the final artwork is less relevant than the final result. If the pixels play an important individual role in the final composition, it will be broadly regarded as a pixel art piece by most artists independently of the techniques that may have been implemented to achieve that result."

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Silber, Daniel (2016). Pixel art for game developers. San Francisco, CA USA: William Pollock. ISBN 9781593278861. Archived from the original on 2022-05-25. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  • Dawe, Jennifer; Humphries, Matthew (2019). Make Your Own Pixel Art. San Francisco, CA USA: William Pollock. ISBN 9781593278861. Archived from the original on 2022-05-25. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  • Benjaminsson, Klas (2016a). The Masters Of Pixel Art Volume 1. Göteborg, Sweden: Nicepixel. ISBN 9789163904851. Archived from the original on 2021-07-11. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  • Benjaminsson, Klas (2016b). The Masters Of Pixel Art Volume 2. Göteborg, Sweden: Nicepixel. ISBN 9789163904868. Archived from the original on 2021-05-15. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  • Benjaminsson, Klas (2019). The Masters Of Pixel Art Volume 3. Göteborg, Sweden: Nicepixel. ISBN 9789151935393. Archived from the original on 2021-06-20. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  • Ekilson, Stephen J. (2012). Graphic Design: A New History (2 ed.). Göteborg, Sweden: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780300172607. Retrieved 2022-05-25.

Other relevant sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Perry & Wallich (1985), pp. 62–76.
  2. ^ Silber (2016), p. 11, preface.
  3. ^ Goldberg & Flegal (1982), pp. 861–862.
  4. ^ Silber (2016), pp. 23–27.
  5. ^ Ekilson (2012).
  6. ^ Silber (2016), pp. 1–8.
  7. ^ "Cute pixel art maker". free-online-image-editor.com. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  8. ^ a b Dawe & Humphries (2019), p. 18, preface.

Online references[edit]

  1. ^ "Grand dictionnaire terminologique - art du pixel". gdt.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  2. ^ a b c "What is Pixel art?". Techopedia. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  3. ^ New York in Color. Rick88888888. 1930. Event occurs at 23:49 to 23:55 – via Youtube.

References for section: list of relevant pixel art video games[edit]

  1. ^ Red, Green, Blue and Yellow versions sold 46.02 million units on Game Boy, and 1.5 million units on Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.
  2. ^ Tetris (Game Boy) sold 35 million cartridges. Tetris (NES) sold 8 million cartridges.
  3. ^ Pac-Man: Arcade video game version (1980) – 400,000 arcade cabinets Atari 2600 version (1982) – 8,095,586 game cartridges (7,956,413 by 1983, 139,173 between 1986 and 1990) Pac-Man Nelsonic Game Watch (1982) – 500,000+ units Coleco tabletop version (1982) – 1.5 million units Family Computer (Famicom) and Famicom Mini (Game Boy Advance) versions – 598,679 cartridges in Japan Game Boy Advance re-release (2004) – 400,000 cartridges in North America Atari 5200 version – 35,011 cartridges (between 1986 and 1988) Atari XE computer version – 42,359 copies (between 1986 and 1990) Thunder Mountain's home computer budget release (1986) – 500,000+ copies Mobile phone version – 30 million+ paid downloads
  4. ^ Gold and Silver versions sold 23.1 million units and Crystal version sold 6.39 million units on Game Boy Color. (references in table)
  5. ^ Super Mario World sold 20.61 million units on Super Nintendo Entertainment System and 362,500 units on Wii Virtual Console, and Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 sold 5.69 million units on Game Boy Advance.
  6. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 sold 18 million units on Nintendo Entertainment System and 1 million units on Wii Virtual Console, and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 sold 5.4 million units on Game Boy Advance.

Notes for section: list of relevant pixel art video games[edit]

  1. ^ Frampton, David (2013-10-12). "Postmortem: The Blockheads". Game Developer. Retrieved 2022-05-26. Minecraft did influence the art in The Blockheads. [...] What I did take from Minecraft was the rather specific solution of real-life inspired low resolution pixel art on cubes.
  2. ^ a b "Minecraft Franchise Fact Sheet" (PDF). Xbox.com. Microsoft. April 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  3. ^ Winslow, Jeremy (3 May 2021). "Minecraft Reached 140 Million Monthly Users And Generated Over $350 Million To Date". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  5. ^ a b c Hatfield, Daemon (2010-02-23). "WiiWare, Virtual Console Sales Exposed". IGN. Archived from the original on 2019-03-23. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  6. ^ I. G. N. Staff (1996-10-01). "The History of Mario". IGN. Archived from the original on 2002-03-11. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  7. ^ Cifaldi, Frank (2012-03-28). "Sad But True: We Can't Prove When Super Mario Bros. Came Out". Game Developer. Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  8. ^ "'Pokken Tournament' and Pokemon's $1.5 Billion Brand". HuffPost. 2016-03-18. Archived from the original on 2020-02-18. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  9. ^ a b Terry, Paul (2016-10-06). Top 10 of Everything 2017. Octopus. ISBN 978-0-600-63375-4. Archived from the original on 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  10. ^ "Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ended March 2016 - Apr. 28, 2016". Nintendo Co., Ltd. Archived from the original on 2017-02-09. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  11. ^ "Terraria - 1.4.3 Trailer (ESRB)". YouTube. 505 Games. April 27, 2022. Archived from the original on May 18, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  12. ^ "Tetris at 30: a history of the world's most successful game". www.telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  13. ^ "BBC Four - Tetris: From Russia with Love". BBC. Archived from the original on 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  14. ^ Kao, John J. (1989). Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Organization: Text, Cases & Readings. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-283011-9. Archived from the original on 2021-04-20. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  15. ^ Inc, InfoWorld Media Group (1982-12-20). InfoWorld. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. Archived from the original on 2022-04-06. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  16. ^ "Game Data Library - Game Search". sites.google.com. Archived from the original on 2018-02-25. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  17. ^ "Game Search - Garaph". garaph.info. Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  18. ^ "Namco Networks' PAC-MAN Franchise Surpasses 30 Million Paid Transactions in the United States on Brew | Business Wire". 2017-06-29. Archived from the original on 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  19. ^ "Pokemon Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon Have Outsold Crystal And Emerald | NintendoSoup". 2019-02-01. Archived from the original on 2019-02-01. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  20. ^ "The Best Selling Video Game Of Every Year Since 1977". Complex. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  21. ^ "30 Best-Selling Super Mario Games of All Time | Gizmodo UK | Gizmodo UK". 2020-09-08. Archived from the original on 2020-09-08. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  22. ^ Henry Gilbert (2013-10-23). "25 things we still love about Super Mario Bros. 3 25 years later". gamesradar. Archived from the original on 2019-01-28. Retrieved 2022-05-25.

Temporary references (Pixel artist Merge)[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stacey, Patrick; Andrew Brown; Joe Nandhakumar (2007). "Making Sense of Stories: the development of a new mobile computer game". 2007 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'07). IEEE Computer Society; 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'07). p. 51. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2007.328. ISBN 978-0-7695-2755-0. S2CID 38174161. "On reflection, he said that 'I would have preferred to have brought in a more professional pixel artist.'" PDF version Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Wiedemann, Julius (2007). Taschen's 1000 Favorite Websites: Style Surfing. Taschen. ISBN 9783822825860. Archived from the original on 2020-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  3. ^ a b c d Middleton, Chris; Luke Herriott (2007). Instant Graphics: Source and Remix Images for Professional Design. Rotovision. ISBN 9782940361496. Archived from the original on 2020-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  4. ^ a b Rudolf F. Graf (1999). Modern Dictionary of Electronics. Oxford: Newnes. p. 569. ISBN 0-7506-4331-5. Archived from the original on 2022-03-20. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  5. ^ Currie, Nick. "Design Rockism". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  6. ^ Hall, Branden; Cantrell, Christian; Chambers, Mike; Torrone, Phillip; Heim, Andreas; Thomas, Glenn; Leone, Steve; Kroeger, Craig; Sharples, Fred; Perry, Bill; Hall, Robert; Niedermeier, Markus (2002). Flash Enabled: Flash Design & Development for Devices. New Riders. ISBN 9780735711778. Archived from the original on 2020-08-18. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  7. ^ Swanepoel, Kevin; The One Club (March 2004). One Show Interactive: Advertising's Best Interactive and New media. Vol. VI. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 9780929837215. Archived from the original on 2020-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  8. ^ "So You Want to Be in Pixels: Glenn McQueen". PBS/Nova. November 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2008-08-05. (Interview with Glenn McQueen)
  9. ^ "So You Want to Be in Pixels: Ellen Poon". PBS/Nova. November 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  10. ^ "Picture Revolution: Special Effects". McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour. 12 February 1998. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  11. ^ Snider, Mike (16 July 2008). "More Video Game Art is Now Museum Quality". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  12. ^ a b "Into the Pixel: Submission Qualifications". Into the Pixel. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  13. ^ a b Marchesano, Louis; Davidicus (18 July 2008). "Into the Pixel video game art". BBC. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  14. ^ Ted Backman; Jeremy Bennett; Tristan Reidford (2009-07-09). "Advisor". Into the Pixel. Archived from the original on 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  15. ^ "The first concept art from Half-Life 2: Episode Three". GamesRadar. 2008-07-10. Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  16. ^ a b Dreifus, Claudia (2 October 2007). "Proving That Seeing Shouldn't Always Be Believing". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  17. ^ a b Adams, Cameron; Mark Boulton; Andy Clarke; Simon Collison (2007). Web Standards Creativity. Friends of ED. ISBN 9781590598030. Archived from the original on 2020-08-20. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  18. ^ Wiedemann, Julius (2007). Taschen's 1000 Favorite Websites: Style Surfing. Taschen. ISBN 9783822825860. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  19. ^ Middleton, Chris; Luke Herriott (2007). Instant Graphics: Source and Remix Images for Professional Design. Rotovision. ISBN 9782940361496. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  20. ^ Remo, Chris (28 July 2008). "Interview: Nokia's Scott Foe - A Member Of The Reset Generation". Games On Deck/Think Services. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  21. ^ Foley, James D.; Andries van Dam; John F. Hughes; Steven K. Feiner (1990). "spatial-partitioning representations". Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice. The Systems Programming Series. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-12110-7. These cells are often called voxels (volume elements), in analogy to pixels.
  22. ^ Foley, James D.; Andries van Dam; John F. Hughes; Steven K. Feiner (1990). "surface detail". Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice. The Systems Programming Series. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-12110-7. This approach is known as texture mapping or pattern mapping; the image is called a texture map, and its individual elements are often called texels.
  23. ^ Edwards, Teon (August 2007). "NOVA scienceNOW: Kryptos". NOVA. Archived from the original on 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  24. ^ Schwartz, Jeffrey M.; Begley, Sharon (2003). The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. Harper Perennial. p. 337. ISBN 0-06-098847-9.