Pixelegends

posted on December 6th, 2011 by Anthony

Smicer (56)

At the end of last year (2010) I decided I should have a new Twitter background. So I played around with a few ideas, and came up with some great ideas. Now, over twelve months later, I still have the same Twitter background … but I do have some quality posters to sell.

Massive Pixels

My current background Twitter is a massive pixel rendition of the sprites from Excite Bike. Basically I took the originals and individually recreated each pixel as a 50 pixel square. I’ve done it for other things in the past, it’s a pretty effective way of making something new out of a quality piece of nostalgia.

For the life of me I can’t remember why I chose Excite Bike. It’s not a game I have any particular affection for. So when I was looking to do something new I made sure I chose a game I have genuine love for. There was only ever one game in it – Sensible Soccer. Undisputedly my favourite game of all time. Specifically Sensible World of Soccer 96/97, preferably on the Amiga and played with a Zipstik.

Since it’s original release back in 1994 it’s a game I have gone back to time and time again. I could fill a huge article with my love, but now isn’t the time. I had my muse.

Seeds

So I did some research, got some source images and started mucking about in Fireworks. I started enjoying myself.

On November 1 2010 I posted this up to my Dribble.

Early doors

Textures had been added, different shades, some filters. I was liking the direction it was taking, and so did a few people on Dribbble.

Then the ideas started flowing.

Instead of just exactly reproducing Sensible Soccer circa 1996 images I thought about applying the look to contemporary football. More specifically Liverpool, even more specifically That Night in Istanbul.

At first I was just going to recreate the team line up photo. I moved a few pixels around, and out popped Rafa.

The Boss

Again some more positive feedback on Dribble and other places.

So I went down that route. I made little recreations of the whole squad. Even Igor Biscan. The 2005 Liverpool shirt lent itself well to the pixel format by just having those white flashes on the armpit area.

I couldn’t come up with a format I liked. I was still working towards a Twitter background at that point and cramming that many players on wasn’t really working. So I decided to change tack again. This time focussing on elements of the actual match.

At first I thought about doing the whole scene of key moments of the game. I created some Milan players and started arranging them, but it was bit fiddly, and didn’t look that great. But I did like the idea.

So I went back to individual players and iconic moments. In that match there are plenty to choose from.

On to something

It’s January 2011 by now, and I’ve been faffing around for weeks. I post this up to Dribbble.

Vlad

I pretty much threw it up there and forgot about it. A few hours later all hell broke loose when I saw this tweet pop in my mentions.

@dribbble: Coaches’ Pick: “Vlad” by @anthony_casey: http://drbl.in/MTx

I had ideas before seeing this, but now I knew that this work wasn’t just going to be a Twitter background. It was properly Cederholm approved.

Transition

Work, as you have probably worked out, since then has been slow. I’d been producing all the ideas at 72dpi, with the screen firmly in mind. I wanted to take this to print, and to a fairly decent size. That meant I basically had to start from scratch.

For my sins I produced all this in Fireworks. I absolutely adore Fireworks. Unfortunately Fireworks doesn’t feel the same about working with a A3 sized canvas set at 300dpi. Especially when virtually every object on display is made out of *hundreds* of 100 pixel squares.

The transition was slow.

Plus, if I’m being honest, I’m a bit daunted by the whole print thing. It’s a different kettle of fish to working digitally. It’s so … final. I’ve procrastinated something rotten. It’s taken far longer than it should have done, but I do finally have something to show for it.

Pixelegends

I finally plucked up the courage to get some prints made. The nice people at Awesome Merchandise have lots advice on their site, plus some handy templates for making sure you submit things in the right sort of format etc. Their prices are pretty good too, and their service has been impeccable.

So I got some printed. But where to sell them?

As I’m starting small I decided to go with Big Cartel. If you’ve got less than five products you can use their framework for free, plus they open up the CSS file so you can completely tailor the basic templates. From there it gives you nice levels of service and extra flexibility as you grow. Perfect.

Then there was a name. Pixelegends was easy. The buying of the domain name. Oh and some cardboard tubes.

What are you waiting for?

Smicer (56)

So the Smicer (56) print is up for your buying pleasure. Only Fifteen quid, plus a few pounds to pay for cardboard tubes and Postman Pat. I’ve chosen some lovely thick 300gms recycled card that enhances the texture of the design. An ideal Christmas present for any Liverpool fan with a love of retro gaming.

If all goes well I’ll get the other goals and moments sent off to the printers. I’ll even branch out to other matches and teams … even other sports. I could even do a proper job on the shop.

If I ever sell any.