Digital art uses software that replicates traditional creative methods for digital screens. Various software allows artists to create images by manipulating pixels on any display. The result is an image that looks like it was created by a human artist using paints and brushes, but without any physical materials involved in its creation.
In this article, we’ll cover the history of pixel art, talk about some of the techniques artists use to create these wonderful works of art, and even explore the future of pixel art mediums: On a digital replica of the Earth, powered by the blockchain.
What is Pixel Art?
Before we get started, though, let’s look at what a pixel is. For those who haven’t been exposed to it before, here’s a brief crash course: In digital graphics terminology, a pixel is a tiny square that’s composed of red, green, and blue.
An image is therefore made up of a different number of pixels; for example, an all-red square would be a ton of red pixels.
This brings us back around: When people refer to ”pixel art” they are referring specifically to images created on the pixel level.
The resulting images look blocky and simple, but this was the only way that anyone could produce such artwork in older video games. However, the aesthetic has clung to our cultural fabric, even decades later.
And don’t forget: Pixel art isn’t just limited to video games; it can also be used for creating printed media like posters or T-shirts, or even just as part of someone’s design process when designing websites or other visual content.
Nowadays, we have programs like Photoshop and Illustrator that make it much easier to create sophisticated digital graphics.
That said, there are still artists out there who prefer working with even 1-bit pixel art. But whatever form it takes nowadays, everyone can agree that retro gaming fans will always have an extra appreciation for this particular type of style.
How to Make Pixel Art
There are actually several different ways this process can be achieved:
- Pixel painting
- Vector graphics
Let’s dive into each of these.
A common approach for creating digital art involves using software called a ”painter” program that replicates traditional methods of making images with paint or other media on canvas or paper.
Using these programs is similar to how artists traditionally make their works — they use various tools (paintbrushes, erasers) and colors to create an image on canvas or paper.
Another approach for creating digital art involves using vector graphics software instead of painter programs. In this case, artists draw basic shapes and lines that represent objects in their artwork instead of coloring them in manually as they would with painter programs.
These shapes can then be manipulated in various ways such as resizing them up or down, rotating them around a center point, skewing them left and right, adding shadows and highlights, and so on.
An additional approach for digitally reproducing traditional forms of artistic expression involves scanning actual physical objects such as photographs or original paintings into computer memory where they can be digitally manipulated into pixel art.
Digital Art on Earth
This brings us back to digital art on the surface of the Earth.
By combining a digital replica of the Earth on the blockchain with the concept of pixel art, Next Earth is enabling digital art on Earth.
Up until now, artists who were motivated to make pixel art on the Earth’s surface could only do so using centralized interfaces. Thanks to Next Earth, they will be able to create and mint their art on the blockchain in the form of NFTs, adding instant value to their art pieces.
This new form of digital art beautifully combines the old and the new: Retro pixel art of the late 1900s with today’s cutting-edge blockchain technology.