What is Pixel art?

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.6 instructor rating • 13 courses • 695,503 students

Lecture description

So what is pixel art exactly? In this lecture we're going to brake it down into its bare components. You'll learn about what a pixel is and why pixel art is created at such small resolutions. We'll also go over what anti-aliasing is and how it effects pixel art. 

Learn more from the full course

Learn Professional Pixel Art & Animation for Games

Become an exquisite pixel artist and animator.

04:36:16 of on-demand video • Updated November 2016

  • Design and build professional pixel art
  • Animate your art for games
  • Understand shape, color, and value in pixel art
English [Auto] So what is pixelate exactly? Well, obviously it's art created with pixels, but what's a pixel? Well, a pixel is kind of a small unit of data and it's the smallest bit on an image. So when you zoom in on an image, there's only so many pixels in that image. And once you get down to the pixels, you can't zoom in any further. You can only look at those pixels and each pixel is one color. There aren't multiple colors in a pixel. There's only one pixel. So right now you can see I have this pumpkin pixel art that I've created and it is 200 pixels by 200 pixels. So that means that there's only 200 pixels across here and a pixel is a square. It's in the shape of a square. So if we really zoom in here, you'll see this square right here. That's one pixel. Same with this square. So that's one pixel. This whole picture is made out of tiny little pixel pixels. Now, when you create pixel art, you create it very small, but it'll be blown up later. But the reason why you create it so small is so you can see those pixels. A standard image for a video is 19, 20 pixels by 10, 80 pixels. Another thing to note about pixels is that usually there's no anti aliasing, which means that there's no like blurring between two pixel colors. There's a sharp edge. So this yellow and this purple, there's a sharp edge between them and there's no blurring. And that blurring is called anti aliasing. Now, generally, Pixel R is created, so you can see the pixels very well. So right here you can see this pumpkin, you can see the pixels very well. But even this is still pretty large for a piece of pixel art. Sometimes pixel art is created so small that a couple of pixels can make up a whole fist on a character such as this character. Right here you'll see that just about five to six different pixels. Create that hand right there. Same with the eye. The eye is created out of maybe 10 pixels. So there's all different types of variations of pixel art and different styles. And we're going to go over some of those in this course. So in this lecture, we learned about pixels and what they are, that they're the smallest unit of data that a computer can read on an image. We also learn that they can only be one single color. And we also learned that pixel art is generally has hard edges and there's no anti aliasing. And lastly, we learned that pixel art is created very small so we can see those pixels.