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Pixel Art

A short explanation

I am active on the demo scene, using the handle "Grip". I mostly do pixel graphics on Amiga and Commodore 64. On the former platform, I tend to use Grafx2 on Linux or Deluxe Paint IV on real hardware. For C64 graphics, I use the excellent Pixcen, running under the equally excellent Wine.

You might also want to check out Scene Archetypes, which features a few more pixel creations of mine.

My creations

Amiga Lowres, 8 colours, ~11k 960x768 PNG
Zero Street Cred
Amiga Lowres, 8 colours, ~12k 960x768 PNG
GriMaPe Visits The Pub
C64 Hires, ~10k 960x600 PNG
The Heist
Amiga Lowres, ~18k 960x768 PNG
Swish and Flick
Inspired by J. K. Rowling
Amiga Lowres, ~21k 960x768 PNG
The Story of a Mother
Inspired by H. C. Andersen
Amiga Lowres, ~34k 960x768 PNG
Molly Millions
Inspired by William Gibson
Amiga Lowres, ~20k 960x768 PNG
Dichotomy Dissolving
C64 hires, ~20k 960x600 PNG
Santiago Dreams of Luck
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway
Amiga Lowres, ~25k 960x768 PNG
Grim Ape
C64 hires, ~7k 960x600 PNG
Shroom with a View
Inspired by Elsa Beskow
Amiga Lowres, ~24k 960x768 PNG

A longer explanation

Pixel art is created in low resolutions (typically around 320x200), with an indexed palette. Dithering and anti-aliasing is done by hand - I prefer to use a mouse.

A pixelled picture of a bespectabled boy using an Amiga 500.

Originally, all home computer graphics was pixel art. Highly skilled computer game artists worked both against hardware and memory limitations and with the special properties of cathode ray tubes to create an illusion of more colours and higher resolutions. By using clever colour blending, dithering and anti-aliasing, truly beautiful works of art were crafted on machines that are now surpassed a thousandfold by even the simplest smartphones.

Doing pixel art today is neither modern nor efficient, but the hardware limitations and time consuming technique is rewarded with a lot of interesting conundrums to solve or work around. When working on minute dither details or antialiasing, I soon find myself in a pleasant, zen-like state of mind. There's just me, the pixels and not much else.

In short, creating pixel art is fun.

On the Amiga, I typically use 32 colours freely selectable from a 12-bit palette and work in a 320x256 pixel resolution. These are the limitations enforced by OCS (Original Chip Set) as featured in, among other models, the popular Amiga 500.

On the C64, you always have access to all of the fixed 16 colours provided by the hardware. I like working in Hires, which on the C64 is 320x200 pixels. This is divided into "chars" of 8x8 pixels and each such char can only contain two colours at any one time. This limitation provides for quite a bit of fun and challenging puzzles.


These images are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. On the scene, people usually don't bother with software licenses. Unless stated otherwise, it is implied that productions are released on terms similar to the CC BY-NC-ND license and the community is rather self-policing: if you rip someone's graphics or music without asking, you are inevitably called out as a lamer and will be publicly shamed.