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    • Gradually, I started adding more detail to the figure and the background by using pixel dithering to achieve definition and dimension. Dithering is when you "checker" the pixels in order to smooth one color into another. This is a useful technique that allows you to use a limited color palette and still achieve dimension.

      Limiting your color palette is important in pixel art. Old video games weren't very powerful and could only use a limited amount of colors. While that was out of necessity back then because of technological limitations, contemporary pixel art tends to adhere to these traditions. If you have too many colors or "steps" between one shape and another, it ends up just looking like a blurry photo instead of sharp, clean pixel art.

    • I continued to add highlights and shadows to the figure until he felt solid. Next, I needed to tackle the floor beneath him, which was challenging since it was just a flat color.

      In a match though, there would likely be multiple light sources on him, which would cast crazy shadows in all directions. I had to simplify and approximate what this would look like in pixels. I cheated a little and used some soft brush gradients, but I added some pixelated shadows immediately beneath his feet to ground him in the scene.

    • Finally, I added some final details to the figure, and a crowd to the background. I put some white margins around the piece for printing and added some footer information. Here’s a mockup of it in a nice gallery frame.

    • That’s a good way to put it! It’s a fun and interesting challenge to walk the line between lo-fi and hi-fi. Part of the appeal for me is trying to make a piece transcend the lo-fi limitations and look like more than the sum of its parts, but not too much... otherwise it starts to creep into vector illustration territory. I still want it to clearly be made of pixels