Canvas Size, Pixel Size, Resolution and PPU

Hi there,

My name’s Cat. I’m new to game making and just had a few questions about 2D art, before I start in earnest on my first project.

I’m going to make a fairly simple 2D exploration game, using minimally animated ‘flip-screen’ background art for the game world, displayed one at a time (inspired by ZX Spectrum etc).

The only other art will be the player character, who will be quite small in relation to the game world.

I would like the background/ world art to fill a typical 16:9 monitor, no borders, looking crisp and pixel perfect.

I’m still a bit confused as to what pixel size and resolution I should be using for the game. Aseprite seems to suggest that pixel size and canvas size (and by extension resolution) are the same thing.

E.g I type 480x270 for pixel size, and it generates a canvas this size as well.

My question is: is pixel size, canvas size and resolution all the same thing?

Will I run into problems if, say, I paint all my backgrounds at 1920x1080, but characters at 32x32?

How will this affect the 2D camera and PPU in unity if my assets are different sizes?

Any clarification would help immensely.


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This isn’t an Aseprite question, so #help is probably not the appropriate section to post it.

Pixel art games on modern screens are generally scaled up. So, if you make a 480x270 game, then it’ll be shown at 4x zoom in a 1920x1080 screen. Because of this, it is helpful to think in terms of the game’s internal/native resolution and the scaled resolution.

The canvas size is the size of an image document. For mockups and screen-size backgrounds, that’ll also be your game’s (internal) resolution, but the canvas size will be different for other assets, such as sprites.

You should design all your assets at the same scale, at your game’s internal resolution, e.g. 470x270 backgrounds and 32x32 sprites (or whatever you deem appropriate). You can mix scales/sizes, but then you’ll need to scale all the elements independently in the engine, and your game will probably look quite ugly. Pixel art games look their best when everything is designed around the same base size and scaled together.