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DD Suggestion Guidelines [PixelArt]

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 6:38 PM
Hello everyone c: I've been hearing that people want to know more about what individual CVs look for when they select DDs, aside from the usual 6 months in between DDs type stuff. I think it would be great to discuss some of the things I look for, because I keep getting great suggestions but they don't quite fit the kinds of things I'm looking for, so to help us all out here is what I consider when looking at a piece.

Please keep in mind that these are "personal" opinions and do not reflect the opinions or guidelines of other dA staff or CVs. Most of these are not "absolute" things that a piece must or must not have, it's more an insight into what I think about each piece when deciding.

1. I don't always decide on the spot.

Sometimes it might be weeks or even months before I look back over something and decide I want to feature it for certain. This is partly the reason why I personally don't notify people of whether I will feature their suggestion or not. I also like it to be a surprise ;)

2. Size isn't everything

I get a fair few suggestions that are really big, but sometimes they lack the quality or special something I could find in something half as big. I know that for some, to see someone go to the trouble of making Pixel Art in a large size is impressive in itself, but I still want to see something special, and skill displayed. The same goes for small things, sometimes, something small may not have the quality and detail I'm looking for either. Basically I'm saying, just because something is reallyyy big or any other particular size, doesn't mean it will have the other aspects I'm considering (and I like a piece to show multiple things successfully).

3. Colour Usage

Now at this stage, we are still in the middle of discussions about the definition and limitations on what colour counts should or should not be used in Pixel Art, and therefore I'm pretty open when it comes to the colour counts of suggestions, however, I do ideally like to see palettes that are well thought out (using things like hue shifting and a good amount of contrast), and unless the piece is truly massive and has many different scenes or characters or lots of animation, I like to see at least just under 256 (as that is the .gif compression limit of colours). For things with animation and large canvas sizes, I might be willing to overlook this if it wows me, but I do like a little bit of thought into the use of colours. It's also another way for me to tell if you've actually used pixel art methods, or whether you've moved more into a mixed media type piece.

4. Lighting

Like a lot of artistic categories, correct lighting sources is a big factor, if a piece has pillow shading I will most likely not be keen to feature it. Pillow shading refers to the shading going from dark edges to light in the middle, without any indication of where the light actually comes from (the upper left? etc). It might be wise to find some tutorials or even just to look at a piece and ask yourself if you could point to where the light would be coming from.

5. Animation

Animation is not always a guarantee that I'll go for something, and it can also be a big factor. If the animation is smooth and well done, then it will greatly appeal to me. If the animation doesn't add to the piece, or the rest doesn't show other factors like the lighting source, than it may not be enough to show as an overall piece (just because it's animated, doesn't mean it doesn't need to show other skills too). There are pieces with no animation whatsoever that blow me away, so it's not a necessary element, but it can be a major stand out factor for a piece as well.

6. Dithering

It's really up to how it's presented in the piece, I'm happy with things that do and don't have dithering, although it's really nice when someone's tried out a unique style of dithering like bubble dithering or varying the pattern.

7. Artist Popularity

I tend to want to feature those with the least exposure, but I also believe in featuring work that's exciting enough to bee seen by the whole community, regardless of the popularity the artist has. It wouldn't feel fair to me to exclude some pieces because of being from a popular artist. I do my best to feature a little of all types of artists.

8. Number of Favourites

Now this is a big one, for as much as I'd like to feature both popular and unpopular artists, I really don't feel there's much point in featuring something that's already gotten over 1000 favourites, and I think that's a pretty generous sort of area to be looking within. So many of the suggestions I get are great, but having something like 5000 favourites, it really doesn't need to the exposure, even though it is a great piece. Afterall, we have to remember that DD's aren't "awards" or "rewards" but "features" that share something with the wider community. If a piece has already been seen by a large amount of the community, then try to find something that hasn't, even if it's something less popular from that same artist.

9. Previous DDs

This is also something I've seen a lot of debate about, but I personally feel, that I again couldn't exclude some over others because of previous DDs. One, it wouldn't be fair if someone had been around for a long time, and had actually managed to show a significant amount of improvement since their last feature. Having worked for a long time at your artworks and being a part of the community for a long time shouldn't limit you in my opinion. I also think it's important to remember that people may have had a lot of DDs for another category, but haven't necessarily had their Pixel Art exposed to the community in the same way. All in all, my biggest priority is to feature those with less exposure, but I will do my best not to cut out those who continue to work hard to perfect their work even after years in the community. I think everyone is deserving of exposure when they work hard, no matter how long they've been here.

10. Detail

The more the better! Detail is something that greatly appeals to me and typically shows time and effort and thought have been put into considering colours, lighting, placement of pixels and design. It won't always be a certain thing that the detail is going to appeal to me, but it's usually something that shows a piece has gone above and beyond average and is worth sharing with others. However, this doesn't mean that a piece without crazy amounts of dithering and characters and things going on doesn't appeal just as much. Detail doesn't mean it needs to be a "busy" piece. Detail can also refer to well placed anti-aliasing and textures.

11. Anti-Aliasing

Although again it's not a yes or no just on one factor, this is one of the things I love to see in a Pixel piece more than anything, as it creates a smooth look and shows good understanding of the colour palette used. It's basically the use of an "in-between" colour which fills in the edges of two areas so that they are not so "jagged". I'm terrible at explaining in words but your welcome to search for tutorials in the meantime. I'll be trying to find time to make my own tutorial to explain when I can.

12. Suggester Reasons

If a piece blows me away and meets several of the things I look for described previously, I don't mind writing the description for it at all. I personally love the DD descriptions option and if one doesn't come with one, I'll always take the time to write it one. However, I do really like it when a suggester takes the time to actually say why the piece should be featured. While I agree that some things do speak for themselves, your putting something forward something for consideration in front of the whole site. I think to at least mention your favourite thing about the piece or why you think the whole community should see it is a simple enough thing to do :P If English isn't your first language, or your spelling isn't the best, feel free to ask for some help, or if there's a typo or two, I fix those if and when I go to feature it, so don't worry too much about a fancy description, just say what you think when you see the piece.

13. The Category it's Submitted in

I never thought it would be such a big point to have to make, but if your not sure what I feature, please check the guidelines module on my profile page, currently it's ONLY things from Digital Art > Pixel Art and Deviant Stamps from the Deviantart-Related category. So many suggestions I get are from other categories, things like Emoticons, Flash Animations and Pixel Dolls, which all have their own CVs. I know that some things might look like Pixel Art or even be Pixel Art, but if it's not actually submitted to Pixel Art, it's outside my area. The one possible exception may be if it's Fan Art and Pixel Art at the same time (although please note I don't feature Oekaki type stuff, that has it's own category). In that case, note either me or the Fan Art CVs and we will decide where it best fits for featuring c:

Oh and please, I know a lot of really awesome pixel icons are submitted to pixel art, but they actually have their own gallery called Icons and Handhelds, even with a specific subcategory for deviantart icons. If someone has submitted their icons to Pixel Art, perhaps let them know it would be better off in the right category and send the suggestion to ValaSedai .

In fact, if you want to get into DD suggesting in a fairly regular manner, I recommend bookmarking this link here, as it makes my life much easier when suggesting: communityrelations.deviantart.…

There you can always find an updated list of who does what in the galleries c:

14. Mature Content

I prefer pieces that don't have too much mature content, but if something is really that amazing that you'd like me to consider it anyway, I will of course take the time to check it out. It would need to show a lot of the things described above, and really have a "wow" factor. It would also need to be tasteful and within deviant art's policy guidelines.

15. Must be Original Work

This means, if you use something as a reference or stock, you need to link and credit in the description. Also, it means if I suspect it's not your work, then I won't feature it. Please be sure to suggest works that are actually created 100% by the artist (although I'm not going to tell anyone off if they do find a piece that wasn't crediting properly, it can be very hard to tell sometimes). Even a texture or lineart etc, you need to explain where it came from, even if you already had permission to use it.

I'm not sure if I forgot to mention anything else in particular.. if you have more questions comment below c:

Add a Comment:
inspiroid Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Can we suggest our own art? Like if we thought that we worked really hard and might deserve a DD? I'm just curious. :XD:
ClefairyKid Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013
Hmm I thought I would have had that somewhere on my list but it's been announced site wide on a few occasions (such as the recent DD PE week) that you can suggest yourself (that goes for any CV, there's no rule about not doing it).
inspiroid Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh okay, thanks! 8D
Nebelstern Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012   Digital Artist
I'm doing pixel stuff =w= durr...
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
THAT'S A LOT OF BOLD, did you miss a </ tag? :D

Great guide tho :aww:
ClefairyKid Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
Darn! The first one had the slash after the letter :lmao: Thanks for pointing it out, I was half asleep when I did it haha
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
No worries :love:
ArtByCher Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012   Traditional Artist
Good to know when suggesting :nod:
ClefairyKid Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
cality Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Great information here, thanks for providing this! :la:
ClefairyKid Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
You're welcome :aww:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012   General Artist
Wow. Very nice! I'll take all this into consideration when suggesting!:) nice descriptions and wonderful info.
ClefairyKid Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
I'm glad you find it useful :aww:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012   General Artist
:) You did a really wonderful job on it.
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Submitted on
July 16, 2012


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