Half-dot technique

Maybe not the right place for this but I was looking at this quote and wondering if it’s a mistranslation:

“ *It’s a technique where by slightly changing the color of surrounding pixels, to the human eye it looks like the pixels move by around 0.5 pixels.* ” explains Kazuhiro Tanaka, graphic designer on Metal Slug (1996). His colleague Yasuyuki Oda adds that “ *Back in the old days, we’d say* [to our artists] *“add 0.5 of a pixel”, and have them draw in the pixels by taking scanlines into account. But with the modern Full HD monitor, the pixels comes out too clearly and too perfectly that you can’t have that same taste.* “

To me it sounds like half-dot technique has more to do with the crt screen’s phosphor structure than the scanlines. By choosing certain colors you can activate “half” (really it’s either 2/3rd or 1/3rd) of a phosphor triad, allowing you to draw “half pixels.” This allows for even finer details. Basically it sounds like “half-dot technique” is actually describing some kind of subpixel rendering (like ClearType).

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The translation is fine, scanline bloom and width varies depending on the surrounding colour, it’s a similar technique used with a composite output to blend colours and create perceived detail.

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I’m familiar with that aspect of scanlines, however it’s this part in particular that I’m hung up on:

*It’s a technique where by slightly changing the color of surrounding pixels, to the human eye it looks like the pixels move by around 0.5 pixels

the pixels move i.e., shift position by half a pixel.

I’m not sure how blending colors relates to shifting a pixel’s position by half a pixel.

Just having a hard time parsing this.

It’s called sub-pixel animation, some shit like that, I’ve read about it in interviews and in a pixel art how-to thing.

Yeah I’ve seen that discussed before, I think that’s what’s being described in the quote. It doesn’t have anything to do with scanlines per se, though. :thinking:

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It’s straight up what is being discussed in that quote, the pixel art how to book I read, specifically references metal slug and capcom during the sub-pixel animation section of the book.

Can’t really comment on the validity of it being something that directly involved the scanlines

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Nice, what’s the name of the book?

Here’s an article describing the technique, there’s an example using Metal Slug at some point.

So the next head scratcher is what Yasayuki Oda means when he says “taking scanlines into account” I don’t see what subpixel animation has to do with scanlines per se.

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Sorry for the delay!

It’s called Pixel Logic

Ye I don’t really follow what scanlines have to do with this, but I’ve never attempted to work/view my pixel art on a CRT, did it all on LCDs…

If I had to guess, probably something something, color bleed, adjecent pixels, optical illusion, here’s some toast!


This might result in a “duh, yes we know that already” response, but to me it seems to mean that the surrounding pixels being changed had gaps left where they knew the scanlines would be?


Kinda what my color bleed toast comment was about :joy:

Edit: Now I think about it some more, this doesn’t make sense in the context of it being used for Metal Slug tho imho, as Metal Slug would’ve been normally viewed via rgb/vga afaik, which isn’t really known for color bleed afaik. So idfk what is going on with life at this point ROFL