Creating a Sci-Fi Pixel Art Scene with Gradients


I experimented further with using gradients and transparent layers to design a pixel art environment with depth and atmosphere. I was inspired by digital games such as Hyper Light Drifter, Risk of Rain and Transistor.

Scroll all the way down, or click here to view a time-lapse of my process.


An overview of the process I developed to create pixel art in this style.

  • I started with blocking out the shapes in the background.
  • Then, I sketched out basic shapes representing the grass, buildings, and water.
  • I then began to add gradients to create a sense of depth vertically.
  • In Photoshop, I used different blending modes such as Overlay, Soft Light, Multiply, and Color Dodge to achieve my desired effects.
  • I experimented with magenta, blue, and orange gradient overlays for lighting.
  • Finally, I added more details to the buildings, ground, and foliage. I used several different layers with transparency to do so.