[various block images of pixel art]
Pixel art is one of the most popular aspects of 2D game development today due to its simplicity and general low hardware demand. With games like Fez, Minecraft, and Crawl, we see many artists bringing back that old art style for new machines, and generations of gamers, to enjoy. In order to look crisp, pixel art is usually scaled at a whole-number factor (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, etc), and never filtered/blurred.
Creating pixel art
There are many different styles of pixel art, but the software used to create it is generally the same. Open source software such as GIMP or Paint.NET are very well suited to the task, as they allow pixel grids as well as efficient zooming.
- Pixelation.org - A forum dedicated to 2D pixel art. Highly recommended for inspiration.
Vector art is the beautiful opposite of pixel art. Both forms of art are pixel-perfect, but they achieve it in different ways. Vector art can zoom, rotate, and scale an infinite number of ways, and is redrawn every time it moves to ensure it's as crisp an clear as possible. Vector art is sharp and beautiful, but never gets pixelated or blurry like raster graphics (PNG, JPEG, GIF, etc).