The history of pixel art. Past and future

Today we bring to your attention a guest post about pixel graphics from Anna, who maintains a nice interesting blog of the corresponding “pixel” theme.

Pixel graphics (pixelart, pixel art) – a form of digital graphics created using a raster graphics editor, where each pixel of the image is edited manually.

For the first time in 1982, the term pixel art was used in the Xerox corporation by Adele Goldbert and Robert Flegal, but the graphics themselves were used 10 years earlier by the same Xerox company. Also, to some extent, one can consider pixel art the occupation that our grandmothers-great-grandmothers did – cross-stitching, isn’t it, it looks like – one cross – one pixel =)

Most of us first saw pixel art on TV screens while playing super marios, tanks and other games on the Super Nintendo, Sega’s Mega Drive TV boxes. At that time, this was the only available way to display computer graphics.

With the development of technology and the advent of changeable 256-color palettes, pixel graphics began to be ousted from games and desktops of operating systems, while there was more and more talk that pixel graphics would soon come to an end. There were articles of famous people that the death of pixel art was inevitable and not far off. However, very little time passed, more and more perfect graphics began to appear, and now designers deliberately began to use pixel drawings as a special effect.

The target audience is mostly matured boys and girls who grew up on all the same Super Mario Brothers – plumbers saving the princess, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (based on American cartoons), Robocop, Contra – Super Nintendo games, some names of which belong to representatives of that generation evoke a whole storm of emotions. Therefore, pixel graphics in these people cause a wave of nostalgia, and if there is demand, then there is supply.

At first glance, there is nothing complicated in pixel art – relatively simple drawings actually require painstaking work, because a pixel art drawing is drawn from beginning to end using only manual editing – i.e. each pixel is drawn by hand using a “pencil”. The most ardent fans of pixel art insist that a real pixel art should be depicted not only without anti-aliasing, but only with a pencil, without even using the ability to draw a straight line or fill.

pixel art pictures

However, opponents insist that the use of these features does not in any way affect the image quality, but only speeds up an already laborious process. Also, it is considered good practice to paint using the standard 16 colors available on most video subsystems. It is not surprising that due to the laboriousness of the process, most of the pixel art style drawings are small in size, but there are also relatively large paintings, the image of which the artists spent up to 1 year!

Currently pixel art for the most part it is used not as a necessity (as it was before, when this concept first appeared), but as a kind of fashionable feature and direction in art. Although there are devices where pixel graphics are used not as a tribute to fashion, but as a necessity, where, due to the relatively small screen, another way of displaying information is currently impossible – mobile phones, PDAs, etc.

Thus, we can conclude that no technology can destroy pixel art – even if devices that need pixel graphics cease to exist, there will be at least a trend in art, stylish images for advertising and much more – there will always be a use for a good drawing.

Let me remind you that the author of today’s guest post is Anna, who is also the creator of an interesting blog about pixel graphics. If this topic is close to you, then I definitely recommend visiting this project. On my own behalf, I express my gratitude for the informative article. At one time, I found Pixel Art in various console and computer games – compared to current games, of course, it was thrash 🙂 But there was some charm and a peculiar style in this, so I also tend to think that in the future pixel art can become a kind of conceptual direction in art and graphic design. By the way, I have a gift for all lovers of pixel art – I once saw a very interesting video in this style on YouTube, the impressions are simply amazing:

In my opinion it’s great!

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