Double the pixels, half the colors

Today, I started an experiment, or better continued an idea that I had last yea, shortly after starting to pixel. I wanted to try out another gfx mode aside of the standard multicolor mode. There are a bunch of new graphics modes available for the C64 like interlace or fli or various combinations of such. But since I didn’t want to familiarize myself with more than necessary new aspects of those modes, which  I would have to constantly remind myself of during the pixelling proces, no, I wanted something simple and so I chose the second native C64 gfx mode called hires. That mode offers 320×200 real pixels while multicolor has only 160x 200 pixels. Unfortunately the colors are restricted to 2 (one background and one foreground) colors per char, meaning per 8×8 pixels. That is not too much, if you want to do colored pictures, but various C64 artists have shown imressive works in this mode. So I said to myself, why not try and test it. I started in Timanthes and chose to work only with 3 colors, so that I don’t screw up with the specifications. The enhanced pixels gives a lot more sharpness to the picture so that is a enjoyable plus, but the color restrictions hit me hard. I had to improvise numerous times to get compromises between what i wanted the picture to look and what was possible with the restrictions. Overall I am satisfied with what I archieved so far. I would say that my picture Praise the Lord is at 75% finished. I didn’t go for some mindblasting, but rather consider the picture a learning one. So I may never finish it and release it as it is now, we’ll see about that. But more important for me are the things I learned during the making.
First of all, you have to think about the motif and its placement a lot, so that you can avoid color clashes before they happen. That means, a lot of positioning and re-positioning of the picture elements is necessary. Secondly, I am under the heavy impression that this mode is more suitable for larger objects, not because of the details, but because of the color restriction. Small, colorful objects are extremely tricky and I tend to avoid them in the future.  There are other aspects I can not recall anymore, maybe I will remember them when returning to the picture. If I return.

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