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How to Make High-Resolution Pixel Art

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Pixel art is a style of digital art that is composed of tiny squares of color, also called pixels. This type of artwork has become increasingly popular with pixel game developers as well as artists and designers looking for a unique way to express their creativity. 

In this post, we’ll discuss seven steps for making high-resolution pixel art. Whether you are hiring a freelance pixel artist or are learning how to make pixel games, this article provides you with the insights you need.

Choose the Right Software

If you want to create high-resolution pixel art, use a program that allows you to work with resolution settings and zoom in or out as needed. Two popular programs for making high-resolution pixel art are GIMP or Photoshop, both of which have great tools and an intuitive interface.

There are also specialized pixel art programs, like Aseprite or GrafX2, that you can use. If you are completing the project on your own, we recommend taking classes online. These programs are not intuitive to the average person and will require a professional walk-through to familiarize yourself with the basics.

Set Up Your Canvas

Decide on the size and type of artwork you plan to produce in order to determine the size of your working canvas. For small pieces such as avatars and icons, a 64 X 64-pixel canvas should be sufficient. For larger projects like game sprites or comic pages, you want to use a larger canvas size. While bigger canvas sizes mean higher-resolution art, they require more space to fill–this takes more time and effort. 

How do you make high-res pixel art without adding labor hours? Start on a smaller canvas and then enlarge it once the artwork is complete. To ensure your canvas can be enlarged to the desired size, divide your desired resolution by any multiple of two to achieve an initial canvas size. 

For example, if you’re drawing something for a laptop resolution of 1366 X 768, use a 683 X 384 canvas and then enlarge it by a scale of two to get your desired resolution. 

Begin With a Simple Sketch

You’re finally ready to start drawing your high-res pixel art. Start with a simple sketch; it doesn’t need to be detailed, but it should give you an idea of what the end result will look like.

For this stage, focus on the general shape, form, and the different elements your art will have. To streamline this process, draw a few lines or basic shapes on the canvas and use them as guidelines for your sketch. For example, if you’re working on the head of your character, use a circle to give you a rough idea. Once you’re satisfied with the overall design, you can start filling in the details.

Draw Detailed Pixels

With your outline completed, you can now build in more detail. Start by selecting the color of your pixel and zoom in on the canvas until each pixel is clearly visible. Work methodically at this stage, as this is the most important part of creating high-resolution pixel art.

Be careful and precise to create smooth gradients and sharp outlines. To check your progress, zoom out and view it from a distance. If there are any mistakes or areas that need improvement, use the zoom tool to make adjustments.

Fill in the Colors

Once you’ve drawn the outline and details of your artwork, it’s time to add color. Pick a solid background color for your canvas and fill in the areas with colors you need. Use the eyedropper tool to select specific shades or create gradients using two different tones. 

We recommend you start off with a simple color palette, like that of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). You can find this by searching for ‘NES Color Palette’ online.

Add Final Touches

Now that you’ve filled in the colors, it’s time to make your artwork shine.

Adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of your art to make it more vibrant. Experiment with filters to create unique effects and textures that will further enhance your work. Don’t forget to smooth out the edges of your artwork with a technique called anti-aliasing. 

Congratulations! You have now successfully crafted a beautiful piece of high-resolution pixel art. 

Consider Professional Help

High-resolution pixel art can be challenging to create, but you can always try again until you achieve your desired result.

However, if you keep getting stuck in the process, don’t hesitate to get help from experts. If you plan to mass-produce high-resolution pixel art, professional help from an expert on Guru can increase efficiency and produce polished work!
Wondering how to make an isometric pixel art character? Check out our latest post!

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