Pixel Art for Game Developers
As a kid, did you ever get right up close to the TV despite your parents’ warnings that it will make you cross-eyed and turn your eyes into bloody stumps? If you did, you would have noticed that the images were created with tiny dots of bright color. Those tiny dots are called pixels. Pixels compose the images that are displayed on TVs, computermonitors, tablets, phones, and most other digital devices. Computer graphics were originally built by manipulating those dots of color one pixel at a time, which became the early history of Pixel Art. In some cases, those pixels were controlled through cumbersome programming scripts but over time computer art programs became more common and the quality of representation improved. Pixel Art grew out of technical restraints from a generation ago. Game systems had much less memory and worked with much smaller pixel dimensions than today, so it was a technical necessity to work within tight restraints on size and color. As games grew in quality and sophistication, it became important to make the most out of the aesthetics within the technical restraints. Out of this era, some “best practices” grew out of the process and have evolved into what we now think of as Pixel Art. Before starting to rant on the many useful aspects of Pixel Art in games and applications or even explaining what Pixel Art is, I want to give examples of what it is not. 3D graphics are not Pixel Art (Figure F.1), despite that they are being created by pixels on screen.