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Tutorial - 'Pixel Art Mayhem: Anti-Alias and Dithering' by RPGoddess

An item about RPGMaker 2000 posted on


Fun techniques to get you right into pixel art!


Pixel Art Mayhem: Anti-Alias and Dithering.
Well, I know a lot of you are completely bewildered by the
words "anti-alias" and "dithering". These are both terms
commonly used in the world of pixel art, so listen up! These techniques will
give your pixel art, be it tiles, sprites, or what have you, an extra
professional edge. 
Part One: The Joy of Anti-Alias
A basic definition of anti-alias is: A technique used on a
grey-scale or colour bitmaps to make diagonal edges appear smoother by setting
pixels near the edge to intermediate colours according to where the edge crosses
them. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? Well, this is where I come in. 

Figure 1a, White moon on black
background, with no anti-alias. Looks fairly crappy. But wait! That can be

Figure 1b, Basic greyscale gradient.  Anti-alias is
basically setting a gradient along the edges of an object to make the object
seem more smooth. It has other uses as well, such as shading, but I'll get to
that in another tutorial. 

Figure 1c, Examples of anti-aliased lines. Note that the
more gradation in the colours, the more "blended" the lines

Figure 1d. Anti-alias, close up. Note that on each
"curve" of the object, there is a graduated line

Figure 1e, The final product!  Isn't it smoother than
the one above?
Part 2: Blending Fun with Dithers!
A lot of times as pixel artists, we find that we must work
with 256 colours, so it's impossible that we can blend everything with the
anti-alias method. Dithering is also a good way to show texture. Basically,
dithering is a "screen" of colours set up upon another.

Figure 1a. Dithers! This is fairly easy to recognize after
you've seen it. Note that out of two colours, you created 5 more! Seven for the
price of two. You may also notice the common patterns dithering come in from the
above illustration: dots, crosses and checkers. Each are a different "density" of colour.
Part 3: Practical Application
In this section, we will step by step make an object using
the anti-alias and dithering methods.
Step One: Outline and Fill with basic colour

Step Two: Anti-alias outline

Step Three: Add basic shading normally.

Step Four: Add highlights using a dither.

Step Five: Add shadows and texture using dither.

Finished! This is the final product:

I wasn't satisfied with my little bowl, so I added flowers. XD
Anyway, that about wraps it up! I hope you learned something.