Monday, February 22, 2010

Commuting Artists' feedback.

Here comes a small comment from a fry on Pixelation who was looking for "something else that UA paint for pixel art". Here's (anonymized) a snapshot of our conversation that contains relevant information for programmers. 'Embossing' is mine.

I saw from your sig that you pixel on your DS - which is something I often do too. I have a two hour daily commute, so it's great to shave some time off my freelance work. I use a program called UAPaint, which is fine, but picking colours is very long winded and I often get crashes losing work. I'd be very interested to hear what software you use, and your experiences with it. So far the graphics software I've seen has been programmed by programmers (obviously) who don't really need to use the software, and are almost quite 'proof of concept'. A few simple tweaks to UAPaint would make it so much more ideal for the professional pixel pusher so I'm cautiously hoping you have a better solution!


When working in photoshop I very frequently alt+click to pick colours directly from the artwork, which is a very quick and natural feeling of painting. In UAPaint doing this involves lots of steps: bring up menu, select dropper tool, close menu, pick colour, bring up menu, select brush tool again, close menu. 7 steps! It's my biggest bug-bear. I believe you can't really refine anything properly without having the freedom to push pixels around on a whim.

In SEDS, I tried to address specifically that problem of color management. I've never been convinced by typical paint-program approach where you use left button for FG color and right button for BG color. Gimp and Photoshop's "CTRL+pencil = color peek" is much more interesting, except that you only have it when ... using the pencil, obviously. You don't have anything like "right-click" with a stylus, so I recylced scummVM for DS approach: holding L while touching the screen is a right-click. And L-touch the edition grid is always "peek colour" while "just touching" the grid is "poke colour (paint)".

Now admitedly, SEDS' user interface is far from being optimal. It ignores the golden rule that "users don't remember anything" and that "users don't read" (mostly because I'm egoïstly developing it to fill my own needs, though there is some 'embedded tutorials' in the last release). Xelados already suggested alternate approach, which sounds valid but which I'm unsure how to integrate with the current work. Also, I recommend anyone working on a app targeted at pixel art to have a look at this Video where pixel master Helm does colour reduction, anatomy editing and much more on a 35x75 woman sprite. Even his powerful tool doesn't seem appropriate to the "palette touching" he's doing to locate pixels of a given colour in the colour reduction process.

If SEDS don't fit your needs either, you might be glad to learn that BassAceGold (the author of UAPaint) just revealed the name of his latest painting program project for the DS : Etch... Wait 'n' See.

Oui, désolé pour mes amis francophones : ces derniers posts sont surtout des extensions de commentaires faits sur les blogs d'autres personnes, et le boulot me laisse particulièrement peu de temps ces jours-ci.

No comments: