Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

How to get started with Pixel Art

Journal Entry: Fri Feb 17, 2012, 2:47 AM
Lately I have frequently been asked what programs I use for pixeling and/or animating and also in general how I go about it. Now I currently don't have the time to create a tutorial of my own but I figured until I will be able to do so I could at least give you some helpful tips and link you to some tutorials made by others. :)



:bulletwhite: About the programs I use :bulletwhite:

I do pretty much all the pixeling itself in Photoshop Elements 8.0 which sadly enough isn't free. But don't worry, in general photshop is even a little overpowered for pixel art, I simply use it because I am most used to it.
Technically you can even use Microsoft Paint for pixeling, after all the only two things you really need to be able to create pixel art is a pen tool and the ability to zoom in far enough. The only real disadvantage about Paint is the lack of transparency support so you can only create pixels with an opaque background.

However I can offer you a really great third option - Gimp - which is not only freeware, it is besides being an excellent general art program also capable of animation. It is the program I myself use for animation as well.
Now you could ask why I don't pixel AND animate in Gimp. Well it's a simple matter of habit. I just like the interface of Photoshop a little better and have been working with it for so long that I might have gotten too used to it. :D

You can download gimp here:

Download Gimp 2.6.11

[Edit: someone let me know that apparently there's a way to make pixels from Paint transparent with Irfanview (which is freeware as well). I haven't looked into how exactly it works but I'll try to add it once I figured it out.
Edit 2: I can't believe I didn't even think of it before but paint.NET is also a good freeware option for pixeling and this one does allow transparency. ]


white divider by ToxiceStea


:bulletwhite: Other tools :bulletwhite:

One of the great things about pixel art is the fact that it doesn't require a graphic tablet. It does usually go a lot faster with a tablet but only if you want to create a really big sized work of pixel art you will find that a mouse might not be sufficient anymore. Unless you have a lot of patience of course. ;)


white divider by ToxiceStea


:bulletwhite: How to get started :bulletwhite:

Before I will give you any concrete tips I should let you know that it's not absolutely necessary but pixel art becomes a LOT easier if you have some basic drawing skills. In general a lot of the same rules apply to pixel art that apply to any other form of performing art.

That said the very first thing you need to do is get familiar with the basics. The one thing I recommend to everybody who is completely new to pixel art is to start out by thoroughly reading this tutorial:

Pixel Joint: The Pixel Art Tutorial

After you have done this, try to create some simple 50x50 icons. Start out with simple objects, simple shapes, get familiar with the interface and probably very unaccustomed zoom factor.
There's enough time to start with bigger sizes later on. As small as it may seem, you can squeeze a lot into a 50x50 sized file.

Always save your file as a gif and most of all NEVER as a jpg since its compression algorithm will result in blurring your picture.
Another option would be png but once you go into animation you will need to save as gif anyway so you might as well get used to the format right away. Furthermore pixel works with transparent background saved as png will result in DA displaying its logo behind your work which will ruin half the effect. So bottom line: It's safest to save your files as gif.


white divider by ToxiceStea


:bulletwhite: Starting with animation :bulletwhite:

Like I mentioned above, you don't need any fancy animation program to actually animate. All you need is gimp and a little bit of basic knowledge.
Basically the animation works via your layers. Each layer will become one frame in your animation and by naming each frame accordingly you can set its speed.
But the best thing is to check out this tutorial:

Simple Animation Tutorial for Gimp


white divider by ToxiceStea


:bulletwhite: Additional list of useful tutorials :bulletwhite:


Colour Theory for Pixel Art

Basic Spriting Tutorial

Basic Dithering

"Pixeling Over"

A Selection of Textures

Animated Sparkles

Tree Tutorial

Hair Tutorial


If you can't find what you need in here then just take a stroll through deviantart yourself, there are a ton of other great pixel art tutorials on this site.


white divider by ToxiceStea


:bulletwhite: Final Words :bulletwhite:

Even though there are - just like in other areas of art - certain rules to follow in pixel art you should remember that it's always most important to have fun with what you're doing. Don't get too lost in following every single rule to the utmost and get frustrated while doing so. No one will kill you for breaking one of the rules here and there. ;)



Purple CSS

Images & Code by CrimsonReach
  • Listening to: The Morningside
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmuffinz01:
Muffinz01 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Would you by any chance be able to use DA Muro for it aswell?? ]]
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh hmm to be honest, I can't say, since I hardly use muro and I think they updated it a LOT since I last did so...maybe....I'm totally not helpful, sorry. ><"
Reply
:iconsenjei:
Senjei Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015
great entry... sadly most links are 404'd now  =/
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah that's a pity, never even noticed since it's been so long since I've written this. The internet moves too fast I guess. ^^
Reply
:icongamergirl11111:
gamergirl11111 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks!  I have paint.net and I can't get it on pixel mode or paint with pixels on it right now!Boogie! 
Reply
:iconbisquie:
bisquie Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice journal entry! Lots of helpful links. Thanks!
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure. :)
Reply
:iconmaymay500:
maymay500 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
if u do paint net, how do u animate?
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You'd have to switch to another program, such as gimp, for the animation part. :)
Reply
:iconmaymay500:
maymay500 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok thx ill look into it
Reply
:iconscarletterosedezzean:
ScarletteRoseDEzZean Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
wow. This really help me well ! :) Thank you for the link to the freeware ! :D
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
np :)
Reply
:icondaoofpow:
daoofpow Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
Graphics gale is good too
Reply
:iconoppuy:
oppuy Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
What about paint net?
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That one works just fine. :3
Reply
:iconoppuy:
oppuy Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
oh okay :)
Reply
:iconpsyrecxx:
Psyrecxx Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Is Adobe Illustrator (CS6) good for this as well?
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I haven't used that program but as long as you have a tool comparable to the pen/pencil tool it should work just fine. :)
Reply
:iconsamyichiro:
samyichiro Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013
What about using adobe flash cs ???
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't really know that program but as long as it has a tool that works like the pen/pencil tool it should work just fine. :)
Reply
:iconsamyichiro:
samyichiro Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
Ok,thank you 
Reply
:iconyummibutta:
YummiButta Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Student General Artist
um how do u make pixel art with Photoshop CS5?
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
With the pencil tool. (it's in the same section as the brush tool) :nod:
Reply
:iconyummibutta:
YummiButta Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Student General Artist
every time i try it just draws an extremely smooth line
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hm it sounds like there's something wrong with the settings...I've played around a bit but haven't figured out yet what might be wrong...I'll keep trying. :)
Reply
:iconkingbatty:
KingBatty Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A-aaaah. i-i have Photoshop Elements 8.0!!!
Reply
:iconbrunalh:
BrunaLH Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is pretty helpful. Thank you!
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure. ^^
Reply
:iconr3537l1f3:
R3537L1F3 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This may be a year old but it was really helpful. Thank you for making it. And thank google for finding it for me XD.

But yeah this will help me alot ^^
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad to hear that. :D
Reply
:iconmissscorch1:
MissScorch1 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Are there other programs I can animate with besides GIMP? :D
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think gimp is the only free one I know of...apart from that I know that Photoshop CS or Adobe Imageready for instance can animate but they're both not free. :hmm:
Reply
:iconrowdyruffboylover:
RowdyRuffBoyLover Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
There is iaza,too,it's free online.
Reply
:iconmissscorch1:
MissScorch1 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I think I'll just get GIMP, cos it free! :meow: Thank you, anyway! :D
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
np^^
Reply
:iconfiqachu:
fiqachu Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
in gimp, i can't find the shape tools like making circles and rectangles. help? i can't draw circle perfectly D:
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A quick way to draw a perfect circle also without a specific tool is to select the pencil tool and set it on the size you would like your circle to be. Then you just push the brush once and you get a spherical shape that you just have to delete the interior of. :)
I'll have a look though and see if I can find tools for it as well. I haven't worked with gimp in a while so I don't know it by heart. ^^
Reply
:iconxundieingxsacrificex:
XUndieingxSacrificeX Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:O Is it okay if I have the 2.8.0 version? of gimp?
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It shouldn't really make any difference. :)
Reply
:iconxundieingxsacrificex:
XUndieingxSacrificeX Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok. :D Thx.
Reply
:iconme2unique:
Me2Unique Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012
what kind of brushes are used in pse for pixel?
Reply
:iconme2unique:
Me2Unique Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012
wow! i have photoshop elements 8 too!!! i dont know how to set up for pixel art, is it just zooming in? TT^TT need help
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Basically just that, yeah. :nod:
And to answer your other question: You just use the pen tool, that's all. ^^
Reply
:iconme2unique:
Me2Unique Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012
oh! yay x3 thanks heh heh
Reply
:icontaurelia:
Taurelia Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I got a problem with my gimp
if I want to colour this base: [link] with the colour blue, it appears in grey..?
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Maybe you've got a prefixed colour theme set?
Reply
:icontaurelia:
Taurelia Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's ok now :)
but thanks anyway
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah okay, glad it got fixed. ^^
Reply
:iconanimenerd123:
animenerd123 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
hi
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:wave:
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconvalasedai: More from ValaSedai


Featured in Collections

Journal Entries by gogospirit

Journals by fenicksreborn

Giveaway journal faves by ShiningPirate


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
February 17, 2012
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
34,272
Favourites
522 (who?)
Comments
111
×