Dot graphics are often seen in old games.

The retro and cute illustrations make those who were familiar with games from the 80s and 90s, such as the NES, feel nostalgic.

What exactly is dot-pictures?

In this article, we will introduce the mechanism of dot-pictures.

&nbspThis time, we will introduce the mechanism of dot-pictures;

What is Dot-a-Pix?

Dot-a-Pix is a method of expressing graphics by outputting colors in squares of resolution on a computer screen.

It is called a “dot picture” from the dots that were struck on every single square of low-resolution pixels.


Color limited by the number of bits</h3
Dot art was characterized by a limit to the number of colors that could be used, depending on the number of bits.

Unlike today, where technology has developed and 3D representations are commonplace, there was a limit to the colors that could be output for games in the past.

How does the appearance change when there is a limit to the colors that can be used?

Let’s take a look at some illustrations drawn in 1 bit, 2 bit and 4 bit as examples.



Change of dots by number of bits


The number of colors that can be expressed in one bit is limited to two. Since the background is included in one color of a dot picture, you can think of it as only one color that can be used in a picture.

In this case, the illustrations expressed in 1-bit are often painted in solid colors.



You can use 4 colors at 2 bits, but if you omit the background color, you will be using 3 colors in effect.

2-bit is a technique often used in the NES era.

Now let’s take a look at 4-bit.



With 4-bit colors, you can use 16 colors (15 if you omit the background color).

You can see that the expression is much broader than the four 3-bit colors.

The 4-bit color is a technique that was used a lot in the Super Nintendo, but as the performance of hardware machines improved, the number of colors that could be output increased, and the expression of details such as shading became possible.


8bit and above

Nowadays, it is common to use 256 colors (8 bit) for dot-dot illustrations, which is enough to represent the whole range of colors.

For this reason, the term “8-bit” is often used to refer to dot-picture illustrations regardless of the number of colors used.

On the contrary, it is now possible to create dot-like illustrations by deliberately lowering the resolution of digital illustrations or by mosaicing them.



The dot picture boom is back

This is the basic mechanics of dot-pictures.

Dot-pictures are familiar to those who were familiar with games in the 80s and 90s, but to the eyes of the generation who grew up with 3D games, they seem to be novel.

Recently, there has been a nostalgia craze for the good old days, such as the development of dot-picture games.

Why not take this opportunity to step into the world of dot-pictures?

So next time we’ll show you how to draw a dot picture.

Next time we’ll show you how to draw a dot picture;