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Mick Dagohoy
Mick Dagohoy

Pixel Warfare: The History and Evolution of a Classic Game


How to Make Pixel Art: A Beginner's Guide




Pixel art is a form of digital art that uses pixels as the basic building blocks of images. Pixels are small squares of a single color that can be arranged to form complex shapes, patterns, and scenes. Pixel art is often associated with retro video games and pixelated graphics, but it can also be used for modern and creative purposes. In this article, I will show you how to make pixel art using some tips and tricks, as well as some examples of pixel art software and artworks.


The Essential Tools for Pixel Art




To make pixel art, you will need some software and hardware that can help you create and edit your images. Here are some of the most popular and useful tools for pixel art:




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Software




There are many software options for creating pixel art, ranging from free online tools to professional programs. Some of the best pixel art software are:


  • Photoshop: Photoshop is a powerful image editing software that can also be used for pixel art. It has many drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, filters, and plugins that can help you create amazing pixel art. Photoshop is not free, but it offers a free trial version.



  • GIMP: GIMP is a free and open-source image editing software that can also be used for pixel art. It has similar features to Photoshop, such as drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, filters, and plugins. GIMP can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.



  • Krita: Krita is a free and open-source painting software that can also be used for pixel art. It has many drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, brushes, textures, and filters that can help you create stunning pixel art. Krita can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.



  • Pixlr: Pixlr is a free online image editing tool that can also be used for pixel art. It has basic drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, filters, and effects that can help you create simple pixel art. Pixlr can run on any browser.



  • Pyxel Edit: Pyxel Edit is a paid pixel art software that specializes in creating tile-based graphics for games. It has drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, tilesets, tilemaps, tile animations, dithering tools, onion skinning, and more. Pyxel Edit can run on Windows and Mac.



  • GraphicsGale: GraphicsGale is a paid pixel art software that specializes in creating animated graphics for games. It has drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, sprite sheets, onion skinning, preview window, and more. GraphicsGale can run on Windows.



  • Aseprite: Aseprite is a paid pixel art software that specializes in creating animated graphics for games. It has drawing tools, layers, animations, color palettes, sprite sheets, on ion skinning, pixel-perfect mode, and more. Aseprite can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.



These are just some of the many software options for pixel art. You can choose the one that suits your needs, budget, and preferences. You can also try different software and compare their features and results.


Hardware




Aside from software, you will also need some hardware to make pixel art. The most important hardware is your computer or laptop, which should have enough memory, storage, and processing power to run your pixel art software smoothly. You should also have a good monitor that can display colors accurately and clearly. A high-resolution monitor can help you see the details of your pixel art better.


Another hardware that can help you with pixel art is a drawing tablet. A drawing tablet is a device that allows you to draw on a surface with a stylus and see the results on your computer screen. A drawing tablet can give you more control, precision, and comfort when creating pixel art. However, a drawing tablet is not necessary for pixel art. You can also use a mouse or a trackpad to draw with your pixel art software.


How to Make Pixel Art




Now that you have the tools for pixel art, you can start making your own. Here are some steps and tips on how to make pixel art:


Sprite Size and Canvas Size




The first thing you need to decide when making pixel art is the size of your sprite and canvas. A sprite is a single image or graphic that can be used as a character, object, or background in a game or animation. A canvas is the area where you draw your sprite.


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The size of your sprite and canvas depends on the purpose and style of your pixel art. For example, if you are making a pixel art game, you might want to use a small sprite size (such as 16x16 or 32x32 pixels) to create a retro look and feel. If you are making a pixel art illustration, you might want to use a larger sprite size (such as 64x64 or 128x128 pixels) to create more details and complexity.


The size of your canvas should be proportional to the size of your sprite. For example, if you are making a 16x16 pixel sprite, you might want to use a 256x256 pixel canvas (which is 16 times larger than your sprite). This way, you can zoom in and out of your canvas without losing quality or clarity.


Color Palette and Color Theory




The next thing you need to decide when making pixel art is the color palette and color theory. A color palette is a set of colors that you use for your pixel art. Color theory is the study of how colors interact and affect each other.


The color palette and color theory are important for creating pixel art because they can affect the mood, atmosphere, and harmony of your image. For example, if you are making a pixel art game set in a dark and gloomy dungeon, you might want to use a color palette with dark and muted colors (such as black, gray, brown, purple, etc.). If you are making a pixel art illustration of a sunny and cheerful beach, you might want to use a color palette with bright and vibrant colors (such as blue, yellow, green, orange, etc.).


There are many ways to choose a color palette for your pixel art. You can use online tools such as to generate or browse color palettes. You can also use existing color palettes from other pixel artists or games as inspiration or reference. You can also create your own color palette from scratch using color theory principles such as hue, saturation, value, contrast, harmony, etc. Drawing Tools and Techniques




After choosing your color palette, you can start drawing your pixel art using the tools and techniques available in your pixel art software. Some of the most common and useful tools and techniques are:


  • Pencil: The pencil tool is the basic tool for drawing pixels. You can use it to draw lines, curves, shapes, and details. You can also adjust the size and opacity of the pencil to create different effects.



  • Eraser: The eraser tool is the opposite of the pencil tool. You can use it to erase pixels or parts of your image. You can also adjust the size and opacity of the eraser to create different effects.



  • Eyedropper: The eyedropper tool is a handy tool for picking colors from your image or palette. You can use it to select a color that you want to use for your pencil or eraser. You can also use it to sample colors from other pixel art images or references.



  • Bucket: The bucket tool is a useful tool for filling large areas with a single color. You can use it to fill the background, shapes, or regions of your image with a color that you choose from your palette or eyedropper.



  • Selection: The selection tool is a powerful tool for selecting and manipulating parts of your image. You can use it to select a rectangular, circular, or freehand area of your image. You can then move, copy, paste, rotate, scale, flip, or transform the selected area.



  • Grid: The grid tool is an optional tool that can help you align and organize your pixels. You can use it to display a grid of squares over your canvas that matches the size of your pixels. You can then snap your pixels to the grid or use it as a guide.



  • Zoom: The zoom tool is an essential tool for pixel art. You can use it to zoom in and out of your canvas to see the details of your pixels or the overall look of your image. You can also use keyboard shortcuts or mouse wheel to zoom in and out quickly.



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