Advanced Pixel Art: Altering Existing Creations

There may be times when you want to make your pixel art creation stand in a different position, this is often the case with 3D pixel art versions of minecraft characters, as the legs of characters are placed directly next to each other and will look odd when they’re both the same color. To get your creation in another position may seem difficult, but it’s actually quite easy and I’m sure most of you will be able to do it pretty much all by hand after practicing a little with the trick mentioned below.

The important thing to realize is that even though the desired result is different from the original image or creation, it will still be pixel art, which means we can use any image editing program to first plan our altered creation before building it. In this guide we’ll be using paint, as it should be available to most of you, but (almost) any image editing program can be used.

Recreating the original

Before we start creating our altered version in paint, we first need to know what the original version looks like in paint. We don’t need the entire image, but only the important parts we want to change. I will be altering a Minecraft pig to make it look like it’s jumping/flying.

To make the pig look like it’s jumping or flying I needed to change the body and legs. The head could remain the same, but I wanted to make it look like it’s slightly hanging downwards, so I had to change the original as well. This means we recreate the pig’s body, head and 1 leg in paint, just to get the dimensions as a point of reference for our altered versions.

The pig’s body is 16 x 8, but because I plan on using 2 blocks of wool per pixel I create a 32 x 16 rectangle in paint. The same is done for the head and leg. These shapes serve as a great reference point from which we can create the new shapes without having to count how many pixels we’re using, though most image editing programs will count the pixels you use while creating a line with a line tool.

minecraft advanced pixel art tutorial image

Changing the original shape

To change the shape of the pig I use the curve tool in paint, which allows me to first draw a line and then alter the line slightly by clicking towards where we want the line to curve. This tool allows us to create a good looking bend shape with the right dimensions. Just make sure your line is 32 pixels long (or whatever the size of the original is), but don’t worry about the increase in length the lines get from being diagonally placed, this doesn’t affect the end result at all.

minecraft advanced pixel art tutorial image

Make sure the bottom and top lines aren’t the same, this will make the pig look more like a diagonal shaped block, rather than a natural looking creature. Also make sure the start and end of the lines are 16 blocks apart. This matters less on parts which only change height slightly, like the head.

Now that we’re done with the body we simply have to repeat the same steps with the leg and head, but the leg will be a little different, as it already has to fit the now changed shape of the body.

This is why we only change the bottom of the leg and then simply attach it to the pig’s body by adding blocks. Again, don’t worry about the increase in length, in real life the skin will also stretch when you stretch or bend parts of your body. The legs will look just fine with the extra length.

minecraft advanced pixel art tutorial image

Due to the small size of the leg and the small change we need for the head, building everything by hand is quite easy, so you may not have to plan those before you build them.

Building the new version

We’re pretty much done now, all you have to do now is recreate the shapes in minecraft in the same way you’d create normal pixel art. You may have to change a few parts to make it look better, as pixel lines in paint don’t always look as good in Minecraft, but the general shape should usually be good enough to play around with.

minecraft advanced pixel art tutorial image

However, note that specific details, like the nails and eyes on a pig, will look a lot better if they’re 1 complete section of the pig, instead of 2 halves on different levels, as seen in the image below.