Pixel by Pixel: Now in 8-Bit

80×80 pxl
16×16 pxl

So you might be wondering why there are so many of the same picture back to back like this. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. The picture you see is a creation of mine. The character portrayed is one of my favorite characters from the Super Mario Bros video game series, Yoshi. Yoshi is a dinosaur that has a big nose and frog-like eyes. Click here to see an image of Yoshi for reference and the site it is from. They can come in all sorts of different colors, in this case he is in light blue. You might also be wondering why he looks so blocky. That’s because I made this only using a max resolution of 16 pixels by 16 pixels. With such a limited amount of pixels to work with, it becomes a challenge to see how much of the object’s detail you can capture in a small frame. Another limitation I put on myself was to use only the color palette that the retro video game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), was able to use. In addition I have a sized up version – 80 by 80 pixels – to show how resolution scaling changes the overall detail of the image and to show the sheer scale I was working with. It seems difficult to actually see the 16 by 16 image unless you zoom in, so that’s the reason for the scaled up photo.

Yoshi has always been one of my favorite video game characters of all time. I am a big fan of media representation of dinosaurs whether based on real fossils or based on fiction and creativity. Yoshi is an unrealistic yet creative character made for the purpose of expanding the Mario franchise. Since Yoshi’s introduction, he has been made into a mascot character alongside Mario and others within the franchise. Yoshi’s design is simple and, which can be difficult to capture in a small scale. I made this with the intention of giving Yoshi more expression, so I only was able to capture the face.

So as for an explanation of how I made this, I simply used Photoshop (though you could use paint as well) and set the max size of the image to 16 by 16, zoomed in and used the pencil tool set to 1 pixel width. I selected specific hex code color values one would see on an NES. Here is the palette I worked with to show exactly how limited I was.

the NES palette by erik-red on DeviantArt

The assignment I based this on did not have the color limitation, but if you wanted to copy the style I went for, here’s what I did. In reference to the palette, I used the dropper tool to extract the colors at values 19, 31, 21, 12, 15, 25, 30, 0D. That would be green (19), sky blue(31), ocean blue(21), deep ocean blue(12), pink(15), magenta(25), white (30), and black (0D). That’s 8 colors, each represented by one bit in the NES styled palette I created here. This would be called an 8-bit Yoshi sprite because the palette uses one byte worth of data, or 8 bits, for all of the colors. Since Yoshi’s design only uses a few different colors, I was able to add similar colors to add shading and depth.

Assignment these pixelated pictures were based on: 256 Points (3 1/2 stars)

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