Data Realms Fan Forums

Sprite Help Thread
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Author:  Contrary [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Sprite Help Thread

So you want to be spriter? Well first thing you got to know is you won't be able to sprite real good right from the start. Like anything else worth doing, it takes practice. Don't be discouraged though, this thread is here to aid you! Go on, post your pixels, and CrazyMLC, Coops9753, myself, and anyone else who wants to help will do our best to critique and improve your sprites!

What program do I use?
In my personal opinion all you really need is MSPaint and confidence- but many use or GraphicsGale, allowing you to do fancy things like layers.

Where do I start?
Well first you need to use the palette.


Cortex Command will only recognize these colours, your sprite will look really weird unless you paste it into a copy of this document. It's weird but trust me. Save this image, open it up, expand it so you have room to work, and use the eyedropper tool to select the colour you want! Switch to your pencil and you're ready to draw! Just remember that the pink colour in the top left hand colour is the invisible colour- so use it as a the background for your sprite and where you want it to be see-through. However, I recommend that you don't use it as your background while you're spriting- use a neutral gray or blue so the sharp pink won't mess up your perception of brightness.

Another thing is using a reference. A picture or something of the thing you're trying to make. Even if you don't follow the reference detail for detail or colour for colour, it helps a lot.

My sprite looks all flat, what do I do?
You need shading. Shading is making different bits of your sprite different colours so that it looks like light is hitting it.
Crazy MLC wrote a fantastic guide on this, you can read it here.

Here is a small collection of Vanilla (that means unedited content that comes with the game) sprites so that you can compare technique. Don't sweat it if your sprite doesn't seemlessly blend in- everyone has there own style of spriting, and that's ok.

My sprite looks all smudgy and blurry, what do I do?
Likely you saved your image in .jpeg format. Jpeg is a file format which saves space, but does this by cutting down on a lot of detail. Try saving in .bmp or .png, so that all of your work is preserved.

Other Links
The Sprite Dump is a great place to view other people's works, or to post your own when you're done.

This spriting tutorial is a really helpful guide created by internet and Indie Game superstar Derek Yu.

Post your sprites here!

Author:  CrazyMLC [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Yes, me and Contrary will do our best to help with any issues.

Anyone who wants assistance, please post a sprite/image of your work and tell us what you need help with.

Author:  MrMcdeath [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Any tips on how to make this better? I want it to look good before I get all of the legs and arms done. Image Image Image Image Image Image

Author:  411570N3 [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Step One: Never save as .jpg. Ever.

Author:  MrMcdeath [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

None of them are .jpg . They are saved as .bmp .

Author:  CrazyMLC [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

When you upload .bmp files to photobucket it does you a 'favor' and automatically compresses them to .jpg format.
Save your pictures as .png before you upload them to photobucket.

Author:  411570N3 [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Anyway, the outlines don't have to be black. You could change them to darker or lighter than the colour they outline, depending on shading.

Author:  MrMcdeath [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

I see. Thanks for the help. I'll get them changed.

Author:  salt_1219 [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

I think this thread is a great idea. Okay here's a project I'm working on, its going to be a race of bug aliens (with wings for jetpacks).
*2x view for easier viewing*
Any ideas how I can make this better.
(only saved as a png so photobucket wouldn't ruin my image, the original is bmp)

Author:  Lizardheim [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Drop the pillowshading, utilize contrast better (not so sharp lines)

Author:  Contrary [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Hey that's really nice. The face has a nice design, and the wings are really great.

I think that the orientation of the sprite, the direction it's facing, is a little weird. The torso is facing too much towards the viewer- I know I'm probably the most guilty of this, but you're actually going to use your sprites. :P And as a result of this, everything else looks a little odd. The backpack/shell looks to be jutting out on his right side, rather than out of his back. The only way you can really fix this without hiding it completely is to make the body face to the right more. I see you are trying to solve this by squishing up the right chest plate thingy, but that mostly just makes it look a little squished. Try to make them overlap more, as they would with a more sideways view.

This is one of the hardest things when it comes to spriting in CC style, mainly because orientation issues are inherent to CC itself. I did a quick edit to get you on the right path, but it's hardly perfect. I really want to save your pretty wings, but I think that new ones with a different angle is all that could work. I also edited the head a little, but disregard that.

halp1.bmp [8.3 KiB]
Not downloaded yet

Author:  salt_1219 [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

wow thanks that's lots better, and best of all you seem to really understand what I was trying to do. Later down the road the wings idle sprite will be a glow so you can see through them.

That extra shading on the head, and changing the chest plates really makes a big difference.

Author:  Contrary [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure what you're doing with the stomach part. Do you have a reference you are using? That would help a lot.

Oh and wit the head, I was just messing around. I like yours better.

Author:  CrazyMLC [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

My edit is an edit of Contrary's edit.

One problem is that the wings can very odd AA.
It's hard to explain, but please look at my edit to see what I changed.

Your problem before was that you were 'pillow shading', or that you were making colors darker as they approached the outline.
This is a mistake, it makes the picture look like an indent, when you want to make it look like it's popping out, having light reflected off of it, etc, just like a real object. (Or ant man in this case.)
If the outline looks too dark, and the shading looks too bright, and it looks like its a problem, make the outline brighter instead of darkening the shading.

Another issue was that the picture was very dark. I added in an extra color, and used the brighter color that you previously had only used on the mouth. This makes the ant man look shiny, like a real ant man probably would. This makes it look real, at least to a degree.

I made a brighter spot in the top-left corner of the ant man's eye, to make it look like it was larger there, then I removed some of the outlines surrounding the eye to make it look like it was tapering off. Voila! Evil eye! :twisted:

Don't be afraid to make your outlines brighter, they don't have to be black all of the time.


AntMan.bmp [8.3 KiB]
Not downloaded yet

Author:  salt_1219 [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sprite Help Thread

Vary nice, I copied both your edits to my correction sheet.
I'm going to try them in game now.
-and your right they do look more 3d now.

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