Pixel Slam Jam PIXEL SLAM JAM Season 3 Trial I: Buddies for Life

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Can you manage your way through the perils of playing with tiny little colored squares?
This is the Pixel Slam Jam! Relic Castle's pixel contest that happens every once in a while!
Pixel Slam Jam Season 3 Trial I: Buddies for Life!
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Event dates: October 25th - November 1st 2020



Welcome to the cutest Pixel Slam Jam yet! Friendship knows no bounds, and what better way to show that than with a duo!



Example sprites:
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Yep, you saw it here! The theme this time is duos!

About this event:
The Pixel Slam Jam is a friendly competitive event where participants create pixel art based on a theme. Submissions can be spliced sprites or scratch work, and do not have to fit the standards/limitations of Essentials or RMXP. If you have made something prior that happens to fit the current theme please do not submit it here; our goal with this event is to provide a fun exercise for our members. There is a special time window where submissions are accepted, and when that ends the judges take a short time after to collectively decide who to award and write up any critiques.

Event Objectives:
  • Show us two characters interacting! It can be a person and a Pokémon, two people, or two Pokémon, as long as it is done in a pixel art style.
  • Post your pixel creation in this thread, and include your design thoughts with it!
  • Mention in your post if you'd like to receive critique during the Award Round.
  • Check back here after the conclusion to see who earned themselves a Pixel Slam Jam Badge!
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Quick Rules:

Judges:


Is this Pixel Slam Jam not for you? Check out some of these links:
 
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AnonAlpaca

Why Do People Call Me A GOAT
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When the nights and days in Sinnoh's tiniest mountain villages grow long and dreary, the mail still has to be delivered by someone.

I always liked the idea of Pokemon being more practical companions, in addition to just being emotional support - give us some service Pokemon! Pokemon being companions on the job! So I had an old character design laying around (not in pixel art form, just a rough sketch) with a Copperajah as his ace Pokemon, and I thought I might draw that.

It's one of the more complex and large scratch sprites I've done, and I really enjoyed adding practical bits and bobs onto the Pokemon like the bag it's holding, and even little snow boots. I tried to convey that it was lifting the bag up off the ground?

(Critique is welcome!)
 

Monika~♡

Dev for Pokemon Elysium and Freelance Artist
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7

Attachments

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Armin

破壊の神
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Set your heart ablaze!

I wanted to write a longer description, but I thought it'll be better if I let the picture do the talking. Some of the proportions are a bit wonky, I know, and I do apologize for that! Squint your eyes and tilt your head back from the screen a little and maybe it'll look fine...?

Critique is welcome and very much appreciated! Thank you!

The original Braixen sprite was taken from the Smogon XY Sprite Project.

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Keivind

The King
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Burn them to a crisp~!

I'm still fairly new to pixel art but I wanted to draw my character with his shiny ace! I don't do a lot of pokemon so it took me a while to get the ninetales down. Also not great at drawing lava lol. Critique is welcomed!
 

Jelo

Some No Name
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32
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Partners even in death
"If you're looking for the champion, you can often find him on Mount Pyre"​

I wanted to do a more melancholic take on the theme but still wanted to stick with using Pokemon to do so. So I came up with the saddest Pokemon experience I could think of and I immediately went to the time I lost my marshtomp, Edmund, to a crit from a gym leader (I can't exactly remember which gym leader crit me, but I think it was Norman) during my Emerald nuzlocke. I definitely lost a lot more than just Edmund but the theme was duos so I wanted to pick the death that impacted me the most during that run.

I love doing backgrounds and scenery and consider myself garbage at doing character and people sprites, so I also wanted to challenge myself with this to get in some practice with spriting characters. Whether or not it looks good, I accomplished my goal in slightly improving my ability to sprite and am quite happy with it (and sorry for the essay of a description :)).

Critique is welcome and would be greatly appreciated if given.
 
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VanillaSunshine

.。.:*バニラ陽光*:.。.
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Trial I. Buddies for Life
RESULTS
Submissions:
7
Deadline: Monday, November 1st 2020
SEASON 3 DISCUSSION THREAD

Thoughts


We kicked off Season 3 of the Pixel Slam Jam with an astounding set of entries, getting up to 7 total! Thank you all so much for your hard work and participation! It's been wonderful to see how different artists interpret this trial's theme. This Trial is only the beginning of Season 3, so please keep an eye out for Trial II in the future!

Let's check out our winner!!

Winner of Pixel Slam Jam #9: @AnonAlpaca!


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@AnonAlpaca's entry is a beautiful and well-contained scene of a postal worker and his Copperajah partner! Their entry shows high skill with the pixel art style, doing a fantastic job at utilizing art fundamentals such as perspective, color theory, and movement.

Congratulations to AnonAlpaca!

Critiques


Vanilla: This is a beautiful piece of pixel art! It's clear that pixel art is one of your artistic comfort zones. I love the details all around the image: the footprints in the snow, the rendering of the copper veins, the contrasting expressions on the trainer and the Pokémon, the snow on the bottom of the bag... Pixel art is all about simplification, so when an artist is able to add tiny and meaningful details to a piece, it is always fantastic to see. The use of perspective is perhaps the most subtle yet impressive part of the piece! Perspective is a difficult concept to grasp and utilize in art, and is best executed where it isn't obvious. Great job with this whole piece! My main critiques are in the general composition of the piece; though I like that the trainer is clearly walking ahead of the Copperajah and also wears similar colors to his ace, it is a bit difficult to tell where the trainer ends and the Pokémon begins. Similarly, the red "sweat drops" were almost entirely lost until I zoomed in, thinking they were a part of the Pokémon's design! Readability is one of the most important parts of pixel art, given how small and intricate it can be. Even something like a white outline where the trainer and Pokémon overlap would have helped this piece, but it's fantastic nonetheless!

Otter: I really, really love this piece!

The scale of Copperajah, the bags it picked up from the snow and now holds on its trunk, the bags on its back, the snow, sign, both the Pokémon's and trainer’s pose, shading, outline, everything is just stellar! This piece really shows your amazing skill with pixel art, it shows how well you understand the power of each single pixel and the detail it can give to a piece. No pixel is left to chance!

Only thing to somewhat critique is how the trainer's clothing colour kind of "hides" them when next to the Pokémon. It makes their outline somewhat harder to read since it is blue-green right in front of more blue-green.

Though, I do understand why they have these colours! The ginger hair and green clothing goes with Copperajah's yellows and blue-greens, the red of the backpack, satchels and boots, it ties both trainer and Pokémon together!

I'm not sure I can suggest a good way to fix this small critique. Perhaps having the trainer in a different spot? Changing their clothes colour isn't an option in my opinion, as they are such a big tie-in between trainer and Pokémon.

Overall, this is my favourite piece, the one that made me go "Wow, this is AAA quality!"
Vanilla: This piece is so cute! I love the idea of a Braixen and its witchy trainer having some magical fun together, and the magic fiery hearts are done in a very appealing way! Splicing is a whole art of its own, completely underrated if you ask me, and this piece is a fantastic example of the great work that can come from it. I love the bows on each character, matching the colors of their partner! My main critique is with the trainer. The biggest issue I have is the awkward bend at her hips: her hips and legs appear to be pointing with a slight bias away from the Braixen, but her torso is beyond a 45-degree angle toward the Braixen. It seems like a very uncomfortable pose, especially with that front leg having to cross over her entire body to be where it's currently standing. Splicing can be a bit limiting and I completely understand the struggle of finding the right pieces to work with, but it would've been great to see her with a different set of legs! I also wish she had been given a top to match the style of the rest of her outfit! The inside of her sleeves don't match, which feels like a mistake rather than an intentional choice.

Otter: Gotta say, I enjoy how all these different sprites were used to make this neat piece!

Looking at the credits and the finished one it's fun to see where each piece came from. I do really like how, even after splicing the trainer together, the clothing was edited quite nicely to match the Mismagius hat and skirt they wear.

I also find it a nice little touch that the trainer is wearing an orange bow to symbolize their tie with Braixen, and vice-versa for Braixen!

It's also super nice to see these two interacting! The trainer making hearts and their Braixen setting them alight as they float off into the sky is a nice touch to bring the two together!

That said, personally, I think it would have been more interesting to see the trainer dressed as a Braixen, to give more of a connection between trainer and Pokémon. Or another option would have been to have an interaction with a Mismagius instead.

Posing for the trainer is also somewhat off. I do think the proportions are good. However, whilst their torso is turned to the side their legs are facing forwards and looks as if they're walking, meanwhile Braixen is standing still. I would suggest having used another sprite's legs to better suggest their direction.

Other than those issues, I still think this is nicely done splice and shows your skill with grabbing bits and pieces from several different things to make something entirely new out of it!
Vanilla: This piece is very impressive for a beginner pixel artist! I love the clear closeness of the trainer and Pokémon, shown subtly with the way they stand next to each other and the Ninetales tail curls in front of its trainers leg. The matching mask and collar on the Ninetales are a great touch; since Shiny Ninetales is such a cool grey color, it may otherwise have struggled to feel "right" alongside its Magma-clad trainer. My main critique is with your technique, but I understand that you're still new to pixel art! I recommend looking into some tutorials or guides that cover the basics of pixel art, such as cure's Pixel Art Tutorial. I think the main part I recommend focusing on is that much of your linework is "jaggy", causing curves to appear unnatural and lines to appear thick in random spots. The areas where this is easiest to see is on the middle-line of the trainer's pants, the main curved line of the trainer's cape, and the top-right most tuft of Ninetales' "hair". The overall shading of the piece shows an understanding of form, but there doesn't appear to be a specific light-source, so many shadows and highlights are inconsistent. Despite these problems, you did an amazing job as a beginner, and I really hope to see more of your work as time goes on! It'll be very exciting to see your improvement! Keep up the hard work!

Otter: You could have fooled me about not drawing a lot of Pokémon!

The Ninetails looks superb in its pose! It's big, intimidating with its mask, the shading on its chest tuff is quite well done. The trainer's attire is also visually interesting. I'm guessing it's based on Team Magma, yet it has some unique touches and an old traditional Japanese style to it.

However, there are some issues with this piece. The outline has several issues with jaggies, doubles, at times it cuts off but at other times it's a continuous line. The last issue makes the piece feel a bit incomplete and incoherent, maybe even rushed.

The outline being a solid black through and through works well for dark areas like the trainer's cape, hair, slippers and Ninetails's collar, but it breaks up and "cuts out" different elements in to single pieces. The gold shoulder pads, Ninetails's tails, the neck tuff, they stand out as a single piece rather than connected to the person or Pokémon.

The anatomy of the trainer is very strange. Comparing their upper-half (from head to waistline) to their lower-half (from waistline to foot), their lower-half is nearly 1.5x longer. Normally both from the waist down and the waist up should be nearly the same in length. Their left foot (our right side) is also in an odd position, as its completely flat whilst their right foot is at an angle.

I also find it somewhat odd that you chose to use dithering on the lower left side of this piece, to darken Ninetails's tail, rather than using a solid colour or shading. It's the only area where dithering is used, it draws your eyes to it as an irregularity.

Lastly, the floor. I think it could have worked out better if it were just a simple shape or shadow. It’s hard to see it as lava, more so since they’re standing on it.

Regardless, this shows potential! Keep improving and practicing your pixel art skills, you’re on a good track!
Vanilla: Regardless of how long it took me to get the reference since I don't know Star Wars very well, this is such a great piece! I agree that crossovers are fun; it's hard to convert characters into a Pokémon style and still make them recognizable! Surprisingly, I haven't seen a Han Solo trainer sprite myself, and you've managed to translate him really well! I could honestly see him being a trainer in the main series Pokémon games, and that is a true sign of skill when making Pokémon crossovers! My main critique is in the small things. The shading on Han's pants is quite low-contrast compared to the rest of the sprite, and I would recommend darkening or saturating it a bit to keep the sprite cohesive! Chewbacca appears to be floating next to Han, but I think the intention was for him to be standing slightly behind him; I recommend lowering his sprite by a few pixels and then moving him to the right so he's behind Han a bit more. That might help better convey the positioning you're after!

Otter: Sweet, simple, just nicely done!

I really like the reference you pulled out here, and it's pulled off quite well! A big brown bear with a bag/bandolier and a smuggler that shot first.

Don't have much to say on this piece though, sadly. Really like the edits you did to the trainer, I think the vest and shirt are spot on, the hair and face edits are nice and the bag on Ursaring is a nice touch!

If you hadn't said you pulled it from a sprite from Showdown, I wouldn't have found the original and would have believed this to be an official sprite!

Would have been nice to see more changes done to Ursaring though. Maybe give it a crossbow, to reference the bowcaster, or changed the fur to somehow make it look longer. Still though, those would have changed Ursaring's design more than just the bag/bandolier, which is already a nice touch!

An honestly good edit and reference! The trainer sprite is definitely worth being proud of!

Hot take though: The Empire is better ;p
Vanilla: This piece perfectly captures the word "adorable" without any question! I love the idea of a Cutiefly and Teddiursa becoming friends, especially through their shared love of flowers! The overall colors in this piece are gorgeous, staying accurate to the Pokémon while giving off this warm pinkish shift to the entire image. The colors tie together well, and none of them clash with each other; however, the yellow sparkles on the pink background do blend in quite a lot, almost going unnoticed and potentially teetering on seeming like an error. My main critique is that I feel like the outline around most of the image is a great color, but comes off as harsh in many places, such as the rear of the Cutiefly and the flowers at Teddiursa's feet. Perhaps taking some inspiration from Pokémon battle sprites and their selective outlining would help, but given the "children's book" vibe of the image, I do think the single dark outline is a perfectly fine stylistic choice! Speaking of the flowers in the bottom-right, I feel they get lost amongst each other. They could maybe be bigger to give you more room to add detail to them, but even at their small size I believe they can be cleaned up a bit to help them read better. Perhaps changing their inner-outline colors would help, much like you did on the flower on Teddiursa's ear!

Otter: God, this is adorable!

The small style is amazing, the shading is on point, the amount of small detail with just a few pixels is great! Really enjoy how the background was done as well and how the sideways heart is basically a “short Tetris L piece”. This really shows your skill and ability to use pixels to make a great piece!

Only two small critiques I have is that the yellow sparkle directly above Teddiursa hides itself with the background as it fits perfectly with the dithering. The other two sparkles stand out more as something that doesn’t belong with the background, but rather are their own effect.
(P.S. I just noticed the background uses transparency, and that this issue is non-existent if the RC page was darker rather than white.)

The second one being how the outline is a single colour. It works great for Teddiursa as it’s a dark Pokémon, but for Cutiefly I feel like a different outline colour would have been needed to better compliment their lighter colours.

In the end, I love this piece! Regardless of the small things I suggested differently, it’s amazing what can be done on a 58:57px tall piece and how well you managed to use the limited size to great results!
Vanilla: One of my favorite types of artwork done using pixel art are the full-blown scenes. This is a gorgeous piece of work with an emotional impact that most every person can relate to. The atmosphere created by the sunset and the ocean is powerful and beautifully executed: the ocean is absolutely my favorite part of this piece, with the sky being a close second! I love the shot of Edmund in the clouds and how it looks as though he's coming out from the cloud itself. My favorite small detail is the flower right in front of the grave! My main critique lies in color choice; though the sky and ocean have these beautiful colors that contrast nicely with each other, the foreground's lack of contrast becomes a bit distracting. The most obvious place this happens is with the two darkest tones of the leaves, which are just slightly different to each other that the darker shade almost appears invisible. Since the tree is such a main focal point of the image with the leaves being in the direct center of the picture, I would suggest reevaulating the choice in shading colors to help them feel similar to the rest of the image! Similarly, the grass tones are very light, desaturated, and very low-contrast, which becomes distracting when put next to the heavy hue-shifting done with the sky and ocean. The shadow on the grass that are directly under the tree/grave/trainer are almost identical to the next shade, resulting in a similar issue to the dark tones of the leaves. I think a good change there would be to use the grass color on the bottom-right corner of the image. And as a very last small note, the clouds feel as though they could use a bit more structure: they're shaped and shaded very similarly to the tree leaves, so my recommendation is to perhaps look to references of clouds when building their main shapes and shading them! Regardless of these nit-picks, this piece is absolutely gorgeous and deserves much praise! Keep up the fantastic work!

Otter: In a good way, this is something I didn’t expect to see in this event.
Gotta give credit where credit’s due, this is a different take on the idea of “Duo” from all other entries. Pokémons truly are our partners even after they pass on, which isn’t an uncommon thing in the official series, so to see this idea represented in a piece gives it a different “feel”.

I think it’s a neat touch to have the “classic” idea of Marshtomp’s ghostly figure looking down at its trainer. It’s pulled off rather nicely, though I would’ve consider trying to not have an outline, as the rest of the piece doesn’t really use outlines either.

The whole piece is honestly very pretty with its choice of colour and setting. Using purple for the tree trunk and sea, peach, orange and reds for the sunset sky and reflection, they’re quite unorthodox and work super well!

That said though, with some colours having a different colour than expected, I would imagine the grass and tree to be a bit different in colour too, rather than the traditional green.

Composition wise, I consider it a bit of a shame to have covered up the sun with the tree. A sunset is normally something you want to have only partially blocked up or completely unblocked.

The treetop’s shading also throws me a bit off. The sun is behind the tree, going below the horizon, yet the top of the tree leaves is shaded in a lighter colour. You’d expect the difference in shades being between the front and back, rather than top and bottom. Perhaps only the very edges of the leaves at the sides and top could be shaded, but little else.

Nonetheless, this is a quite nicely done piece! You should be happy with how it looks and hope you keep improving your character spriting skills!
 
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