Tips for Getting That Pixel Art Look in After Effects

Garth Lee Shares Some Tips for “Faking” a Pixel Art Look By Tweaking a Couple of Setting in After Effects

Award winning Gath Lee motion graphics designer Garth Lee offers up some tips for rendering out animations that carry that pixel art look. The craft of pixel art or pixel based animation is an interesting one. Everyone seems to carry a warm nostalgia for it, yet with today’s deadlines it’s nearly impossible to pull off for the projects that you want. This leaves us finding another more faster method to create pixel art and animations.

Although there are a some tools out there for After Effects that will give you a great looking retro-pixelated look, you can of course, make one on your own. When Garth Lee was experimenting with the look for an animated music video (displayed above) he ran into some issues.

It’s not as simple as rendering a low-resolution representation of the animation. “The problem I found, was that my renders were still soft and blurry, even though all layers in my project were set to Draft sampling.” Garth says. After Effects essentially tries to give you sampled antialiasing even though you might have your layers set to “draft”.

The key too getting a crips pixelated look is in the render settings as well. “In the render settings of a project in your render queue, you have a choice between Best, Draft, and Wireframe.” Garth mentions. “The Best setting renders a blurry image, whereas the Draft setting renders with crisp edges. Normally, the Best quality setting would result in a much clearer render, but in these specific circumstances, the opposite is true.”

Visit Garth Lee’s article where he covers the Pixel Art Quick Tip in more detail.