Hello pixel fellows,
I came some time ago over the question if it's senseful to connect dither and animations. I am thinking about dither as method to smoothen out gradients while keeping the color amount low and to add a clean looking but raw texture to smaller sprites (stone, rusty metal). Dither can look great if it's done in the right doses because it strengthens the impression of volumes and it's also a easy way to achieve hard and soft edges.
The only thing which is bad about dither is that it works only with bigger clusters. So there is no way to use it for standard e.g. 32x32 animations. But if you have to animate a bigger sprite (64x64+) it can be that there will be enough space for dithering.
This leads me to two solutions:
a) I use more colors - modern hardware don't really has a limit so there will only occur heavy banding problems if I am using too much colors - (this means that I am keeping my color orchestra manageable)
b) I use dither
I heard that dither is in general bad for animations because there will always be some pixel fragments which look odd.I have an dither example from metal Slug:
(don't mind that it's zoomed in - I was lazy and don't build rips together)
As you can see they used animated ditherpatterns. If you are looking at the elephant's back you'll notice that the dither there isn't moving heavily, it looks more crisp and clean than at the elephant's legs. I think the Dither at the hind leg leads to serious clusterfuck because the basic clusters changing there form heavily and the dither makes this impression even worse.
Because of that I'd say dither works at calm parts of an animationAn example for the layered method would be my seasnake:
The whole sprite uses only layered clusters without dither. The animation stays crisp and clean (at least at the head and the first body segments where I worked more carefully) but in general the form with a layered style looks more flat.The Questions are now:
1-a) Is Dither from it's technical side a plus for pixel graphics or is one color more better?
1-b) Where does dither general improve a graphic?
1-c) Improves dither the 3D effect (or general form) of a graphic more than more layered clusters?
2) Dither + Animations
2-a) Is it possible to use dither and animations together or is it a NoGo?
2-b) if 3 is possible where are the best places to achieve a better result with dither?
Well, that's all to start with