A couple of us have a bit of background from Pixeljoint.com. It is a major community of pixel artists that is designed to help artists improve their pixel-pushing abilities. Members can submit their pixel art into the site gallery, but here's the catch: All submissions are community-approved so no spam, porn, non-pixel art, and very low-quality works would get into the site. Of course, to make sure only pixel art gets into the site gallery, you have to have a clear definition of what is and is not pixel art.
Pixeljoint's definition of pixel art? It can be summarized with this community-famous tutorial which acts as a basic overview of pixel art: www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum…
DeviantART works differently. Anyone with a deviation in PNG or GIF format can submit said work into the pixel art category. People are free to categorize their art as pixel art. Anyone can also call their pixel art 'pixel art' because it has visible pixels, but visible pixels is not what defines pixel art. This is where most people will get confused - people on deviantART can essentially have their own definition of pixel art!
I think most people who are reading this have a good idea of what pixel art may look like, so I would like to focus on things that will take a piece of art into a gray area where we may start wondering "does this work belong in a pixel art group?":
- "Automatic tools", e.g. brushes, blurring tools, which are non-pixel-art (NPA) tools which changes pixels uncontrollably and creates colors automatically.
- Semitransparent layers or pixels (which may or may not be NPA), while not a huge problem but when overused may start looking very messy
- Very high color counts, which is often (but not always) caused by the above tools.
- Extremely large areas of solid color or very jagged edges, suggesting lack of control at the pixel level which zooming in is necessary
- Lack of manual dithering, antialiasing, or lack of other pixel-polish techniques may also push a given piece farther into the gray area if it already is so.
- However, a combination of noisy dithering and extremely high color counts within the dithering will make it impossible to tell if the dithering was done manually and not with a filter.
- Works that where made using programs such as "Hexels" are not allowed as these create artwork that isn't pure pixel art, but a vectorized "similar" looking artwork.
This is where things start to become confusing. There is no strict dividing line that says "This is pixel art; that is not pixel art." There is a gray area which we as the administrators are largely very inconsistent with.
Some times, we decline a work because its color count is in the hundreds and we wonder if NPA tools were used. Other times, we see past the high color count and trust that no NPA tools were used. Some times, we allow use of NPA because most of the submission can stand as pixel art, while others were in a more strict mood to decline it for not being purely pixel art. Other times, we notice the sheer amount of effort put into a very gray-area piece and we accept it regardless of whether we can consider a piece pure enough to be confidently called 'pixel art'.
With new administrators who are basically all over the place, our submission policy has become quite unpredictable when a piece of art is submitted that bends a few rules of pixel artistry. While we are figuring out in private how to handle gray-area pieces, consider this an update to our submission policy:
If we are dealing with pixel art done with an acceptable level of polish, it will be accepted.
If we are dealing with pixels made with little control or with NPA tools, they will be handled individually rather than sticking with a strict guideline.