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Pixel Art Makers - What Pixel Art is

Updated on July 31, 2017

Making Pixel Art

Pixel Art is a form of artwork that is derived by the early days of graphical computing.. It's all done on a computer using the smallest part of an image, a Pixel. Most people would assume that because a work is "pixel art" that means it is old, but people make the active choice nowadays to create signatures, videogames, and other various applications of pixel art. This artstyle allows small images to contain a lot of detail and the illusions of depth can be made very easily with shadows as small as (you guessed it) a pixel.

First let's learn what a pixel is.

A pixel is the smallest part of an image. The word pixel is based on a contraction of pix (for "pictures") and el (for "element") Pixels are normally arranged in a regular 2-dimensional grid, and are often represented using dots, squares, or rectangles.

Basic Pixel

Here is a pixel man on a gradient backdrop. Simple and easy to create.
Here is a pixel man on a gradient backdrop. Simple and easy to create.

What is Pixel Art?

Now we know what a pixel is, how is it art?

Well, you have probably seen a basic pixel image before. Most of online games are made with pixel art, like Habbo Hotel. The art of pixeling is basically making the eye think a color but blend them together. Ok, OK! I know that wasn't too clear, what I mean is by making each pixel a slight variation of that color, the eye then sees it as one color changing.

Pixel Art - How is it generally made?

Pixel Art is normally made almost one pixel at a time! (that's why its RARE to see LARGE pixels.) Using a graphic program of choice, you don't use any fancy filters or softening smudges or any of those tools. It seems simple enough, but it really is difficult to master. Here is an example of a complex Pixel:

This is a complex Pixel, so much detail is in this it's hard to believe!
This is a complex Pixel, so much detail is in this it's hard to believe!

What are some of the uses of Pixeling Art?

Pixeling Art can be applied almost anywhere computer graphics are used (because there basicly the same thing, but done manually and not with code filters etc). Pixels normally have a more "edgy" look to them, but they are appeling and high in demand!

Pixeling can be used in all of these cases:

  • Logos - using pixel art for logos has a vintage, uncommon feel that can help a business stand out. They are perfect for gaming companies, artists, and technology based
  • Site Banners - this creates an elegant solution to enhancing websites.
  • Signatures - one of the most common applications of the art-style in current times, high grade pixel signatures stand out and show the community someone is a part of that they are very engaged and enjoy the subject so much that they made or had made a pixel artwork to show it.
  • Avatars - just like signatures, avatars are another popular use of pixel art. Lots of people wish to be represented by a classic character.
  • Word and other print-outs (business cards, flyers, etc) - pixel art helps bring attention to printed out materials in a world of glossy smooth images.
  • Computer Games - one of the best applications, old and new games such as 2D side scrollers use pixel artwork to add depth to each frame of gameplay. Another large section of pixel art is arcade style games that recreate and relive the glory days of games like pac-man.
  • Flash movies
  • Flash Websites
  • and many more!

Here is a bunch of players in Habbo Hotel, a pixel graphic based chat game.
Here is a bunch of players in Habbo Hotel, a pixel graphic based chat game.
A very good Pixel Runescape Signature.
A very good Pixel Runescape Signature.

I want to do Pixel Art! What must I do to start?

So you want to try your hand at pixeling? It is A LOT harder then it looks. But do not fear, practice makes perfect. The best platform for pixeling (and my choice) is Microsoft Paint (if your on a windows computer, you have it!). Another free option you might wish to use (Don't cheat!) is Paint.net.

Paint.Net is a super version of MS Paint, it is hosted for free and can be downloaded at: www.paint.net (the right one, not the left!)

If set correctly all of these other programs will allow you to pixel with them:

  • Photoshop (all versions)
  • Corel Painter Essentials (all versions)
  • Ms Paint (all versions)
  • Paint.Net (all versions)
  • there are a TON more out there, almost all programs that allow you to create an image you can pixel with.

Here is a tree and a red dragon I made! Pixel art is really fun and doesn't take much to get started.
Here is a tree and a red dragon I made! Pixel art is really fun and doesn't take much to get started.

Here is a Video I created about making a quick simple Pixeling Art picture using MS Paint.

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    • mysteriousmaven profile image

      mysteriousmaven 5 years ago from The Internet

      Great hub! ;)

      I've often seen pixel art done in various places online, from using it entirely for websites to using it for games, and I've always been amazed at the simultaneous simplicity and complexity.

      Have always been wondering how people go about doing it, so thanks for sharing those resources! :)

    • blue parrot profile image

      blue parrot 7 years ago from Madrid, Spain

      It works.

      Thanks again.

    • blue parrot profile image

      blue parrot 7 years ago from Madrid, Spain

      Thank you very much. I'll try, not now, but this week end.

    • thranax profile image
      Author

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      @Blue parrot

      I did the video on an XP machine, the some one im on now. The Grid is there and it is tricky but simple to put on just follow this:

      1.Go to View

      2. Go to Zoom

      3. Click Custom

      4. Click 400, 600, or 800%

      5. Go back to Zoom and click "Show Grid" or CTRL + G

      Hope that Helps you and anyone else,

      ~thranax~

    • blue parrot profile image

      blue parrot 7 years ago from Madrid, Spain

      This is a great hub, and I have done many things on MS Paint, so I know how it works, but when I watched your video, I did not see how you got that background grid. It was too fast. Maybe my MSPaint is too old. It is the Windows XP version.

      Don't you think that after the text processors, MS Paint is the best thing that Windows has come up with ever? I still remember the day (and the hour) when for the first time it popped up by accident in the middle of the MSWord document, when I was new to all of it and just could not believe the things that were happening.

    • Connie Ho profile image

      Connie Ho 7 years ago from Quebec, Canada

      Interesting and informative. Yes, anything can indeed be art, including pixel and other computer generated art! Perhaps we can have more hubs on different types of art.

    • profile image

      MrSmiley 8 years ago

      Wow! Pixel art is something I have to try now. Thanks for sharing the stuff here, and for the video tutorial!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Very interesting hub. Your video was fun to watch. I have never tried pixel art but will come back to this hub to read again if I wish to try it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      dafla 8 years ago

      Many moons ago, I used to make my own avatar dollz with blank bodies and pixel art. I never worked at it enough to get the shading quite right, but it was fun. Difficult, but fun.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Very easy demonstration on how to do pixel art and I think this would be easy for anything to try. I am into old fashion drawing, but I love to edit pictures on the computer of course. Thanks for the tips.

    • WHoArtNow profile image

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      Great hub, I'm a fan of pixel towns, they just look so retro and early "Mario"

      *Thumbs Up*

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Interesting hub- never thought about doing pixeling art!

    • terenceyap07 profile image

      terenceyap07 8 years ago from Singapore

      Thranax!!!

      Welcome back, buddy!!!

      It's good to have you back here, my friend. I've missed you.

      *smiles*