Author Topic: Tools for 8-bit art (GrafX 2)  (Read 557 times)

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Offline MusicallyInspired

Tools for 8-bit art (GrafX 2)
« on: April 19, 2016, 11:48:24 AM »
The video Omer posted in the other thread with Mark Ferrari giving a discussion on 8-bit art is quite inspiring and I'm sure we all wish we could attain his level of talent with backgrounds. While it's easy to find a copy of Deluxe Paint II if you do a quick search, and as versatile as it is, there are some limitations with being stuck in DOS. For one thing there is no support for modern formats and resolution constraints etc. The program Mark himself uses (Pro Motion) has a free version but it's very limited (not least of the non-free features being pixel precise drawing).

One of the guys in the Q&A told Mark about another 8-bit program that does almost everything Pro Motion and Deluxe Paint can do. It's an open source program called GrafX. There is the generally stable 2.4 version and the newer 2.5 version with more features but is not entirely stable (yet). When used in conjunction with DP you can get pretty much exactly the same results. Mark seemed to ignore the comment and just kept championing for Pro Motion and Joseph Huckaby's new program which has yet to come out (the latter of which I am looking forward to, and I hope it will be free). Anyway, GrafX 2 is designed to mimic Deluxe Paint's interface but in SDL. It's fairly easy to use and does most of what DP did. It lacks some features like flood-filling gradients (you need to use the rectangle tool with stencils to fill in irregular shapes) and also lacks contour gradient filling, which is something else Mark talked about, where the fill can detect the edges of the irregular shape and flood fill the gradient in relation to them.

I recommend checking it out. It works with modern formats, as I said, DP's formats, the conventional Microsoft PAL format for manipulating palettes (SCI Companion and SCI Viewer both export to this format), works in layers and animation, and has gradient tools and color cycling previews. I've been experimenting with it for a while now and I'm willing to help with some questions on how to achieve certain effects in GrafX 2 (or Deluxe Paint as well, for that matter) and tasks if anyone decides to attempt to do an image like Mark did or even your own way. The principles of moving around and manipulating colour values in the palette is the same.

I'll try to put together some ideas for tutorials as well. Is there anything fancy with palettes and backgrounds that anyone's wondered about accomplishing? Any ideas?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 04:01:02 PM by MusicallyInspired »


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Offline Kawa

Re: Tools for 8-bit art (GrafX 2)
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 07:04:35 PM »
Ah yes, GrafX. I have a copy of that 'round here somewhere.

The gradient fill it doesn't have sounds kinda like pillowshading, which I wouldn't miss -- pillowshading is considered amateurish and such. Now, light sources shining on the walls on the other hand...

Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: Tools for 8-bit art (GrafX 2)
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 08:31:45 PM »
It's not just pillow shading. Deluxe Paint had about 6 different forms of contour gradient fill and Mark used it himself. So there's merit. Like any tool, it's in how it's used (or abused) that makes or breaks the effect you're going for.
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Offline Collector

Re: Tools for 8-bit art (GrafX 2)
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 09:09:56 PM »
I downloaded the source to GrafX a long time ago, but never got around to looking at it.
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