Home 605


Early last year, I wrote a post here about a piece of digital art software that I thought was really neat. Pixel Composer was, and is, really neat, but after I wrote that post I didn’t use it again for months. That was no fault of the software. Pixel Composer is great. It just wasn’t something that I could fit into my regular workflow. I do a lot of 3D modeling and rigging and drawing and texture painting and creating shaders and materials. Almost none of that requires the use of a tool almost exclusively designed around pixel art.

Until the arcade jam.

I wrote about participating in the arcade jam last weekend, but I didn’t say much about what we made.

Both Kyle and I grew up in the days when arcade machines represented the pinnacle of interactive technology, so it should come as no surprise that we set out to create some sort of simulacrum of that arcade style of game. That meant, on my end, it also had to look the part.

I have done very little pixel art. When I draw or paint, I tend to work pretty large. For a pixel art game, a tile of 64x64 pixels is actually quite large, but I’m more accustomed to working at scale many times larger than that. 2048 or 4096 textures are fairly common. If I’m painting I’ll even go larger than that. For the game jam, that was never going to work. I had a maximum working space of 480x270 pixels.

I have been doing some pixel art for my game, so I have a couple of my regular apps configured for that style of artwork, but I knew that wasn’t going to cover everything that I wanted to do. I needed some big guns. Or at least some different guns.

It was time to dust off Pixel Composer.

I know that last time I heaped praise on Pixel Composer for being this weird and unconventional image editing tool. If there is some way that you would like to process an image and you can’t figure out how to do that with Pixel Composer it’s probably because you aren’t trying hard enough.

I can’t even say that it’s a program that you should use for creating pixel art. It’s not geared for that. It’s an image processing tool. If you have a sprite that you would like to add an effect to, or spin, or scale, or convert to 3D, or layer, or recolor, or anything else that you can imagine, you can do that with Pixel Composer. If you would like to create a processor that you can dump an entire projects worth of images in one end and get a converted batch out the other, it is honestly astounding.

Pixel Composer is an extendable, programmable image engine that I am honestly surprised wasn’t already a product.

If you have read this far and have absolutely any interest in pixel art tools, you should probably just seek it out and buy it. It costs about 10 bucks and it’s great.

I used it to make tile sheets and animate a fireball.

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
Trending Tags
Trending Tags