Basic Isometric Pixel Art

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The Angles of Isometric Projection

In a sentence, Isometric is a word used to describe a way to represent a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional space.

In other words, it's like drawing a cube on a piece of paper. Paper is only 2D, but a cube is 3D. In order to achieve this, we must distort the view of the cube, so that your eyes will interpret it as 3D.

The Isometric Projection is one of the ways we do this using certain angles. The word "Isometric" means equal angles. In order to make an object conform to Isometric Projection, we make all the angles between connecting lines equal to 120 degrees (as seen in the picture below).

Drawing Isometric Lines

In order to make all lines conform to the correct angle, we use a simple trick! Using the standard Microsoft Paint program that comes with basically every PC Computer, we can use the line tool. Zoom in as far as you can onto any clear space on your canvas. Then, the trick, is to make a line that is two pixels across and then one down. This may be hard to visualize from words, so see the picture below. You'll definitely need to zoom as far as you can to see each little pixel box.

Making Objects

Once you master the line, that's all there is too drawing objects. That is the beauty of Isometric Pixel Art, it is all made out of lines that conform to the 120 degree rule. Houses, cars, people, trees, and ever other object is formed from these lines and combinations of lines.

It's important to notice that not EVERY intersection point between lines is 120 degrees, only the angles noted in the picture above. If you look at the cubes, you'll see that some of the angles are smaller, like the one in the top potion of the cube on the left side. That angle is only 60 degrees.

Using that knowledge and keeping all you lines in the same format, you can draw any shape. Examine the combinations of lines below to see how each shape is formed.

Notice how I drew the sphere. It actually looks only like a circle. I did this to show how, for the case of rounded objects, like spheres, cones and cylinders, you need to use color shading in order to give the appearance of 3D. (Coloring will be covered in a different article)

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Conclusion

The results are amazing, and has become it's own form of art. This style is also commonly used in video games. Once you learn this, you'll begin to see it pop up everywhere in many types of graphic designs. Over time, it has slowly become a popular, modern form of art.

Below are some samples of Isometric Pixel Art to show you how amazing the art can be.

Rufus89 (author) from USA, New Mexico on February 22, 2013:

I agree. It's very cool looking and beautiful at the same time. Thanks for your comments.

SotD and Zera on August 25, 2012:

The examples remind me of the graphics in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Most people think of clunky things when they think of pixel art, but it can be really pretty. Thanks for the article!

-Zera

RTalloni on August 14, 2012:

Iinteresting--thanks for this look at pixel art.