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The history of pixel art. Past and future

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

For the first time in 1982, the term pixel art was used at Xerox Corporation by Adele Goldbert and Robert Flegal, but the graphics themselves were used 10 years before, all in the same company Xerox. To some extent, you can also consider pixel art’s occupation, which our great-grandmothers engaged in – embroidering a cross, is it not true, it seems – one cross – one pixel =)

Most of us saw pixel graphics on television for the first time, playing super mario, tanks and other games on the Super Nintendo, Sega’s Mega Drive set-top boxes. At that time, it was the only available way to display computer graphics.

pixel art mario
With the development of technology and the advent of modifiable 256-color palettes, pixel graphics began to be squeezed out of the games and desktops of operating systems, while there was more talk that pixel graphics were coming to an end. There were articles by famous people that the death of pixel art is inevitable and just around the corner. 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 mature boys and girls who grew up with the same Super Mario brothers – plumbers saving the princess, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (based on American cartoons), Robocop, Contra – Super Nintendo games, the names of which are representatives of that generation evoke a storm of emotions. Therefore, the pixel graphics of these people cause a wave of nostalgia, and if there is demand, then there is a supply.

At first glance, there is nothing complicated in pixel graphics – relatively simple drawings actually require painstaking work, because pixel art drawings are 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 graphics insist that a real pixel drawing should be depicted not only without using smoothing, but only with a pencil, without even using the ability to draw a straight line or fill.

pictures pixel art
However, opponents insist that the use of these capabilities does not in any way affect the image quality, but only accelerates the already laborious process. Also, the use of the standard 16 colors, available on most video subsystems, is considered good form when drawing. It is not surprising that due to the complexity of the process, most pixel art drawings are small in size, but there are also relatively large paintings, which artists spent up to 1 year on!
At the moment, pixel art is mostly used not as a necessity (as it was before, when this concept only appeared) but as a kind of fashionable chip and trend 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 to display information is currently not possible – 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 remain at least a direction in art, stylish images for advertising and much more – there will always be application for a good drawing .

I remind you that the author of today’s guest post is Anna, who, in combination, 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. From myself, according to tradition, I express gratitude for the informative article. At one time, I found Pixel Art in various console and computer games – compared to current games, it certainly was trash 🙂 But there was some charm and a peculiar style in it, 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 fans of pixel art – I somehow saw a very interesting video in this style on YouTube, the impressions are simply amazing:

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