iPhone App Scavenging

I love isometric 3D in games, so alongside the awesome EDGE I have a new love on iPhone in Eboy FixPix. I’ve been a fan of his for some years now but have found a new level of appreciation for the work when viewed in pseudo 3D by tilting the device to achieve the parallax effect and sync up the image correctly.

This is a good time to share a trick I found online, enabling one to dive into the assets of many app-store games to get an idea of how they were created. Simply copy the app file (work with a copy so as to retain the original file, which you’ll find in your My Documents…\iTunes\Mobile Applications folder) and rename it from .ipa to .zip – from here it’s possible to explore the contents and view the available movies, images and animation frames with WinZip or similar.

It should be noted that some apps are better than others, (depending on how well-organised the developer is and, as far as I can tell, the bit-depth of the .png files), but there are some gems to be discovered.

Animated Short: The Bug

Now either students are getting more talented at rendering, or 3D packages are becoming more democratised and so affording more time to learn, but here’s a fantastic videogame-inspired piece by Yongsub Song.

You know your artform is maturing when even homages are becoming part of pop culture – especially when the BBC picks up on this. It’s worth watching ozzy Simon Cottee’s pixel-art documentary referenced in the article – I’d never before considered the comparison between pixel-art and pointillism.

Animated Short: “Pixels”

One can’t help thinking that this is a little in bad taste, given the recent failed bombing attempt in Times Square, but that doesn’t stop this classic game-inspired short “Pixels” by director Patrick Jean being awesome.

Trucker’s Delight: Pixel-Art Animation

Here’s a fantastic game-influenced pixel animation from director Jérémie Périn. Hilarious, and about as NSFW as a bunch of moving pixels can be.

[via Motionographer]

SNK Pixel Art Gallery

Still on my pixel art trip, I created this out of fridge magnets the other day. Coincidentally, one of the guys at work forwarded this page by SNK Playmore illustrating their methods for pixel art creation, (which they refer to as “Dot Art”.) While I’ve always been a fan of Capcom’s games, I do appreciate that SNK’s character art and animation are superior, with a personal preference for the realistic style of Shinkiro below.

There are instructions as to the various stages of the art creation but unfortunately the text is image-based so I can’t babel it. While there are 5 characters at the time of writing, it looks like it’s going to grow over time so certainly something to check back on.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jason Porath for swiftly providing a translation for the stages of production:

  1. Get the design of the character, usually from the art director, or sometimes Rough Design. One character usually takes about 3 days.
  2. Make a 3d model of the character. This usually takes 2 weeks per character. You also make the ranges of motion, which takes around 2 months/character.
  3. Render out the 3d character. To bake out all the animation for one character usually takes around 2 weeks.
  4. Touch up the render, according to art director’s wishes. This usually takes 1 week per character.
  5. Add in additional stuff like wrinkles, muscle creases, and the like, while maintaining the form. This takes each character around 6 and a half months (!). This is where all the character’s consistency in form is checked.
  6. Adding in gradients. This takes 2 and a half months per character.

Each character usually has around 500 frames of animation, but some are up to 4x that.

Megaman Pixel Art

Here’s the product of a rainy Sunday afternoon – a twist on the original purchase here. I took bad when we first moved from pixels to the anti-aliased imagery of photoshop because of the loss of control, so it’s nice to see pixel art becoming a decorative retro-style all of its own.