Snowpixel recently added a new Pixel Art style, which generates images that are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly nostalgic (if you're like me and started playing video games back when they came on cartridges!)
To explore this new style in a playful way, we teamed up with Sailor Zero (@vasilisauzhasnaja), a traditional artist turned AI artist, who also happens to love video games. Together we created an imaginary video game complete with heroes, monsters, and three different levels!
The Heroes - Astronaut Kitty & Astronaut Bunny
To start Sailor Zero came up with the protagonist of our game, they envisioned an adorable Astronaut Kitty or Astronaut Bunny to adventure through our magical pixel world. It took a few tries to get this one right but finally we succeeded by using text prompts in Drafts and evolving our favorites through the Pixel Art style on Low.
By using the Drafts model first, we ended up with several adorable variations of both the Astronaut Kitty and the Astronaut Bunny to choose from. Our prompt for the kitty was: kawaii kitten astronaut soft pastel rainbow color scheme. Our prompt for the bunny was: kawaii bunny astronaut soft glitter pastel rainbow color scheme. After a lot of trial and error, it turned out shorter, simpler prompts worked better for these characters.
The Bad Guys - Ice Cream Aliens
Sailor Zero envisioned adorably terrifying Ice Cream Aliens as antagonists for our video game. I ended up playing with this concept a lot because it was so fun.
This first set of Ice Cream Aliens was made using the text prompt: A cute kawaii alien creature made of ice cream, glitter and bubbles, rainbow pastel color scheme. Like usual I started with Drafts and evolved my favorites using the Pixel Art model on Medium.
And if you think those guys are amazing, wait until you see the next round of Ice Cream Aliens. These images were created using the prompt: A cute kawaii ice cream alien creature, glitter and bubbles, pastel rainbow color scheme directly in the Pixel Art model.
It's worth noting that I originally tried running the prompt: kawaii ice cream alien creature 16 bit token sprite through the Drafts model, but asking the AI to specifically create 16 bit sprites created less interesting results (think MS Paint meets early deep dream). One of the best things about the Pixel Art model is that it's already got the 16-bit/pixel look baked into the style. You don't need to add it to your text prompt.
Level 1 - Ice Cream Galaxy
Sailor Zero envisioned our first level as an ice cream galaxy. For this one I ran the following text prompt directly in the Pixel model: 2d video game, pastel rainbow, ice cream outer space galaxy nebula, glitter and bubbles.
And loved the results! These ones came out so beautifully on the first go that we didn't feel the need to experiment with further prompts.
Level 2 - Candy Forest
Salior Zero envisioned a Candy Forest for the second level of our video game. This was a bit trickier as they decided they wanted the level to include a treehouse. To begin I ran a modified version of the Ice Cream Galaxy prompt in the Pixel model: 2d video game, pastel rainbow, candy forest concept art, glitter bubbles kawaii. Although the images were cute, "2d video game" seemed a bit OP in this case, as some of the images ended up having game controllers. Not exactly what we wanted...
The composition on the first set of images also felt a little more random than what Sailor Zero described, so I ran the prompt again with some modifications. This time I used the Drafts model with the prompt: A kawaii forest video game scene of a fantasy treehouse, surrounded by pastel clouds and peach stars. Dropping "2D video game" allowed the model to focus on the scene itself. Here's what we arrived at after evolving the best 10 Drafts through the Pixel model...
These results were much closer to Sailor Zero's concept, but I wanted to try to refine it even more. Here are a few more results created using the same Drafts to Pixel evolution process with a different text prompt: A kawaii video game scene of a fairy house in a tree, surrounded by pastel clouds and stars.
As you can see this prompt was really brought to life by using the Drafts to Pixel model strategy. And by simply changing the keyword "fantasy treehouse" to "fairy house in a tree" we got drastically different results!
Level 3 - Chocolate Lava Volcano
No video game would be complete without a lava level and you better believe that lava is made of chocolate in this video game world. Originally I tried running the Structured model with the following prompt: A kawaii volcanic video game level with lava made of chocolate, surrounded by pastel candy and glitter and bubbles. But the initial results leaned a little too far into "chocolate" and not far enough into "video game level". Like Andy Warhol painted a Hershey's kiss.
So I tried again using the Drafts to Pixel model method using the prompt: A kawaii volcanic video game scene with lava made of chocolate, surrounded by pastel candy and glitter bubbles. Bingo! The results were spot on.
Putting it Together
Of course we had to Photoshop things together to see how they might actually look as a platform jumper video game.
As you can see Snowpixel makes it super easy for users to quickly generate images using rough concepts and ideas. The Pixel model is incredibly powerful on its own, but if you are envisioning something really specific the Drafts model is really helpful in bringing those abstract visions to life.
Game designers, animators, and all types of creators can take advantage of these tools to quickly put together concept art for storyboards or early pitches. Once you get going on an idea in Snowpixel and start seeing the results, there's endless inspiration.
Are you making Pixel art or concept art with the Snowpixel AI? Tag us on Instagram @snowpixelapp so we can share your favorites!