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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Pixel Art for Video Games by Michigan State University

232 ratings

About the Course

This course is aimed to give you the tools and knowledge you need to start creating simple art for video games made in the Unity game engine. Through the aesthetic of pixel art we will explore artistic principals like shape language, color theory, and composition as well as show you a step by step workflow for creating assets that you can use to make your own games. The course is broken into 4 main modules, props, environments, characters, and animation. Each of these courses will have a series of video lessons alternating between artistic and technical skills culminating in a peer-reviewed project based assignment. The last module will challenge you to take the knowledge learned in the previous 4 and use it to create your own pixel art asset pack. This course is aimed at art novices who are interested in creating art for their own games or contributing to game projects. If you are a game designer or programmer, you will find this course helps give you a glimpse into the world of game art. You will be able to better work with artists, or create your own prototype or final artwork. If you are an artist or visual designer who is interested in bringing your style to the world of video game development, this course will give you the workflow to properly interface with a game engine and help contextualize how your artistic sensibilities can enable gameplay. If you have ever wanted to start making art for video games but have no idea how to start, this course is the perfect for giving you a solid foundation while teaching you usable practical skills. Our goal is to give you a sense of the whole pipeline from creation to setting up in a game engine....

Top reviews


Nov 5, 2020

I really loved this course, I learned how to create pixel art (assets = characters, tiles and backgrounds), how to sketch a character before working on it and create animation.


Oct 15, 2020

If you're a beginner trying out pixel art for games for the first time, this would be a great place to start. It will help you get started and would help you in the long run.

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1 - 25 of 72 Reviews for Pixel Art for Video Games

By Tim S

Nov 26, 2018

Aside from focusing more on which buttons to push and settings to change in Photoshop or Unity (which are admittedly useful tidbits) the course doesn't teach much in terms of skills or theory. I had to learn the skills on my own. Mostly what I got was a list of assignments so I didn't have to wonder what I should work on each day. @Pixel_Dailies on Twitter can do that too.

As soon as I watched the second video I realized that this course was just cobbled together from pre-existing courses and that the parts were not originally meant to go together. If the only result was comments like "last time you learned [thing they haven't coverered]" it'd be awkward, but fine. But then they have conflicting assignment details in the videos vs the written course material and that confusion can lead to a lot of wasted time or failing to complete an assignment properly.

Annoying as that is, it is not the worst part of this course. That would be the pacing. Week one: draw a single 32x32 sprite. Week two: draw at least 9 of those plus a huge background painting, which is hard enough, but then make sure it tiles too! Week 3: back to a single sprite, with a reasonable challenge increase from week 1. Week 4 do a bunch of animations with minimal animation instruction. I hope you've animated before! Week 5: a bunch more animation and new character designs and polish up all the older stuff you did and AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!

I realize it was a free MOOC, so I shouldn't expect too much, but you can do better for free. Google: Pixel Art Academy, Pedro Medeiros, Achebit, Heartbeast for a good start. Happy Pixeling!

By Lanea Z

Oct 25, 2018

I'm not normally a harsh person. Even when I'm saying something negative I try very hard to keep my emotions in check and see the other side as someone close to me; as someone needing my help to know what they're doing wrong so that they have the tools they need to improve. I try to be as kind as possible. However, this time I just can't give a review like that. I can find no reason, even through a mistake, that someone with a real desire to teach could make such a course.

I have no idea who this course is meant to be helpful to. The more difficult assignments would only be able to be completed by someone with a lot of experience, but the videos were clearly supposed to be for beginners. Saying that, however, implies that the videos were good for beginners, but sadly this isn't true in the slightest. They often presented material that was incomplete and often highly misleading to the point of being more damaging to a beginner's ability than an outright lie. They spent too much time on things that weren't very relevant, and completely glossed over or skipped things that were very important. It's such a bad course that it's making me angry for the sake of all the others who are duped into thinking they're going to get something useful out of this. Overall my impression of their abilities is passable in artist skills, beginners at pixel artist skills, and con artists as teachers. I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't artists at all, and are actually programmers who wish they could be teaching Unity. Either they're trying the "fake it till you make it" method of teaching and can't do better, or they felt forced to do this and phoned it in. It's disgraceful. The University of Michigan should think more carefully about the way they're presenting themselves as a school, and not just give us the dregs that they know they shouldn't charge money for.

If anyone actually wants to learn Pixel Art, I suggest going to Pixel Joint or Lowspec and getting information from real tutorials, real experts, and real feedback. Plus, it'll be completely free and without the pressure of a time limit. This course, however, is a waste of time.

By Yamam S

Jun 1, 2020

as a person with little experience in this field, i thought it's not for complete begginers .. this course assumes that you know how to draw pixel art and only wants to teach you how to do it technically and prepare it for importing into unity, which is ok but that's not what i expected at all .. more artistic tips would have been very helpful.. the only good one i remember is "do not draw stuff in angles because it's tricky" .. and NOW TO THE PART I HATE THE MOST : anyone .. litterally anyone who happened to sign up for the course can demolish your motivation by giving false reviews .. how is it okay to let other students decide if a student's doing okay or not ????? i was aiming for 100% grade but some troller came by in the last assignement and said awful stuff and marked my work with zeros all over .. that is complete nonsense .. isn't there an instructor who could actually give real advice ? or someone proffessional to judge your work and give you tips to improve ?? i hated it .

By Raul O

May 4, 2019

This is amazing, helps a lot...especially when you are a programmer and you need some art support... Thanks Coursera, thanks Michigan University Staff...

By Hunter F

Dec 3, 2021

As a complete novice with regards to pixel art (aside from an abundant fascination with the craft and, of course, games that employ the art style) I can't thank MSU and Professors Dennis and Guimaraes enough for allowing me to tap into my potential and finally take the first step towards achieving what may as well be a lifelong dream of mine; creating art for (and eventually developing) video games. Hearing references to things like the Super Nintendo or Game Boy (the original monochrome sprite of Pikachu was an unexpected surprise!) just made me all giddy, knowing that video games were finally, finally, a part of my work and not just a means of "goofing off" anymore.

The course is adequately detailed, enjoyable to watch/listen along with, and really well-rounded in the techniques it sets out to teach in such a relatively short amount of time; however, nothing is perfect, and I do feel like PAVG has room to improve despite its smaller-than-average timeframe. The main problem is, without a doubt, the content of the video "lectures." Don't get me wrong, the videos were the de-facto tool I had opened next to my Photoshop window whenever I worked, but they either were way too long (for the more traditional art techniques taught by Prof. Guimaraes) or absolutely too short (as was the case with Prof. Dennis's actual Pixel Art tutorials) with no real in-between. I understand that as an art course at its core, traditional art concepts such as color theory and character design are not just useful, but essential; that said, the fact that the videos focused on them -- with no application directly applied to Pixel Art aside from a passing mention by Prof. Dennis later on -- took up more than half of the amount of time spent watching the instructory videos felt bizarre. By comparison, Prof. Dennis's tutorials, if I'm not mistaken, rarely surpassed a solid five minutes, if ever. As such, Prof. Dennis's videos felt rushed and shallow in their execution, and the constant use of fast-forward combined with somewhat awkward pauses got frustrating at many points. Having us see the process without straight-out telling us the step-by-step points of it would be fine, but way more often than not, Prof. Dennis would have already drawn something richly detailed out in the span of (literally, in the character tutorial's case) five seconds, leaving me frankly stunned and repeatedly rewinding the last few seconds just to see/ensure if I was doing things correctly. As something that regards itself as a beginner-friendly and "no-prior-experience-needed" introductory course, (there's even an Introduction to Photoshop video in Week 1) the actual getting down to work each week just served as massive difficulty spikes. Compounding all of this was the lack of actual grading by the Professors themselves; every assignment submission from start to finish is only reviewed and graded by your peers. I have no doubt that we all have a clear understanding of the requirements of the assignments, but considering pursuing this course as a means of a first-step towards entry into such a sprawling industry, not having any feedback from the professionals made some of my work (despite getting perfect scores most times!) feel lesser and almost cheap. I'm by no means pefect -- again, I may as well be a complete amateur -- but I still feel like something being graded as an 8/8 should be at least verified by the people who are actually teaching us this content.

I take all of this into consideration to say, to anyone considering taking this course, you should still come on in and go for it. I stress the fact that prior to these past five weeks, I didn't know anything about designing pixel art besides zooming all the way into a Photoshop drawing and going pixel-by-pixel, and now I type this with an entire platformer's scene animated in Unity. This course can and will teach you amazing things that are equally as amazing to see coming to life by your own hand, but that's the caveat as well as the strength of this course; you need to be confident in your own capabilities, because you're ultimately on your own aside from a few minutes of video tutorials that speed by.

By Matvieiev M

Oct 19, 2020

very precise and stractural, my only complaint is with unity fast paced tutorial , i could bearly understand the teacher when he moved and talked fast when introduced new material to work with. other than that, i highly recommend to try this program.

By Israel R

May 4, 2019

game dev Michigan Spartens gone n broke the internet!

By Abeyratne, K M I U

Aug 5, 2020

It's not easy but it is a great learning experience, but people may have a harder time at some parts of the course if they aren't good at drawing. However I do wish it to be possible to talk to your lecturer so that some troubleshooting can be done without having to search online.

By Emily C

Apr 22, 2022

Overall was fun from a creative aspect - I don't like that the grades are based on what your peers think. As someone who went to school for art and design, critiques from your classmates is of course beneficial and I loved the feedback, but it shouldn't be up to students what your grade results in.

By Rohan R

Oct 12, 2023

I think this course was quite bad. There's very little actual teaching and zero guidance. You're often just left to figure things out for yourself. Then the final assessment is just too big, requires way more work than is necessary and the student just isn't prepared at all.

By Pavel T

Aug 21, 2020

The course instructors pose you a real problem that can be difficult to solve. That is why you get a lot of experience and learn a lot at once, as was the case with me, since I was new to the topic. I liked that there is no water in the course and no one chews everything for you twice, but on the contrary, they try to quickly show that you learn to look for information yourself. This course was a real challenge for me!

By Ross

Oct 15, 2020

I am glad that I took this course, thanks to the teachers Andrew Dennis and Richardo Guimaraes for the excellent lessons, I really liked the course, I worked with pixel art before, and this is probably why it was easy for me, but I also gained some knowledge in it, thanks for the course guys.

By David A

Jul 23, 2019

Es un curso increíble muy completo te da todas las herramientas y bases que necesitas para el maravilloso mundo del Pixel Art. Recomendadisimo me Encanto, Muchas gracias por este curso tan Espectacular.

By Belen M

Nov 25, 2018

I liked it waaaaay too much! Sometimes I found it hard to create the things you have to create, because they are difficult, but with effort and paying loads of attention you get a greaat result :)

By Ilie L G

Nov 6, 2020

I really loved this course, I learned how to create pixel art (assets = characters, tiles and backgrounds), how to sketch a character before working on it and create animation.

By Neeraj M

Oct 16, 2020

If you're a beginner trying out pixel art for games for the first time, this would be a great place to start. It will help you get started and would help you in the long run.

By Elena I

May 31, 2020

Very useful for beginners; I really enjoyed doing projects and created my very first assets that look even better than in some of the pixel art games I've seen before.

By Naveen G Q

Feb 13, 2023

I learned alot from this course. To complete this course you need dedication and consistency. At the end of the course you will create an amazing pixel art for games.

By Yadunath B

Nov 16, 2021

Really Enjoyed this course. I learned a lot about pixel art ,i.e., from making a concept art to making the actual sprite itself and a bit about 2d animations.

By David T

Feb 28, 2019

This was one of the most helpful courses I've ever done about game development or design. It is easy to follow and understand and it is also very rewarding.

By maro f

Nov 13, 2020

Amazing course .. I learnt a lot of new techniques either in photoshop or unity

Plus the design and animation .. it was very helpful and easy

By Yahia E

May 13, 2020

This course provides all the information needed to design a 2d game in unity. It explains it in details and the videos aren't that long.

By Ben-Hur M P

Feb 2, 2021

This is a very nice course, I was not expecting that Coursera would has a Pixel Art course and I am very happy to have completed it :)

By Aryan K

Jul 29, 2021

This course was very in depth and very useful. The course was also fun with assignments/projects being fun to create and present.