Help with Character pixeling

Kaese

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Don't know where to write this thread, so i put it in here.

I really need someone, who can draw a normal walking sprite for me.

Do you guys know someone who is good in pixeling and who would do it for free (i don't have much money at the moment).
Maybe it's a dumb question, maybe it's not.

I hope someone can help me...
This is what i mean with "walking sprite":

 

mlogan

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You either need to post this in Resource Support - to get help doing it yourself, or, if it's one sprite, post in Resource Requests. It sounds like you want the latter, but let me know and we'll get it moved to the right spot.
 

Kaese

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You either need to post this in Resource Support - to get help doing it yourself, or, if it's one sprite, post in Resource Requests. It sounds like you want the latter, but let me know and we'll get it moved to the right spot.
I really want to learn it (to do it by myself), so can you move it to Resource Support please? Or do i have to do it?
Thanks for your help.
 

mlogan

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I, or another mod, has to, so I've done that. In order to help you, we'll need more details though. For starters, your image doesn't show for me. Second, what are you trying to make the sprite look like? The advice we give will depend on whether it needs simple adjustments from an existing sprite - color changes, etc - or needs to be made completely from scratch.
 

Sharm

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It's just a picture of the female base sprite for MV.

Well, since we're starting completely from scratch you first need to figure out what it is you want to draw. Be specific about it, gather references both real world and examples of with other sprites with similar clothing or hair. Since I'm assuming you want the sprite to match the rest of the RTP sprites, I'd also suggest sorting out color references for what you're drawing too so you can just eyedrop to match instead of trying to figure out the palette.

Once you've done that start up an art program that has the ability to use layers (GIMP works, I use Aseprite, do NOT use Paint) put a new layer on and using the middle range colors start blocking out the basic shapes of the clothes and hair (if it's long hair I like to keep it on it's own layer). Try to get the silhouette right and making sense even without outlines, it will make everything else easier later. Show us this version of the sprite when you're ready for the next step.
 

Kaese

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Thanks for your answer.

I don't if i got that right, but i just made a raw sprite of how it should look like.
I hope it does'nt look that bad...
 

Sharm

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You may want to look into how you're adding the images onto the forum. I can get to it if I right click and open in a new tab, but otherwise it's broken. If you're doing it right it should show up in the message box before you post the message.

That's a good start. Be careful about what tools you use to do things. Whichever tool you were drawing with added in a lot of colors and partial transparencies that you're going to have to take out for this to be pixel art again. Use the pencil tool, not the brush and keep the anti-aliasing off.

The hair you've chosen is going to be tricky to get looking right, because upturned ends like that are hard in this perspective. It's a really difficult angle, so don't feel bad if you get it wrong a lot. Just try to keep in mind that you're looking downward at the sprite, not directly from the front. I can't tell if it's supposed to be a really short boyish cut with the upturn by the ears or if it's meant to be a bob cut with the upturn by the chin. If it's supposed to be an upturn that goes all the way around the head you'll need to actually show that going all the way around the head. In this flat color stage you won't be able to see the curl but that's okay, that's a detail to fuss over later. Most likely you'll want the bottom of the hair to be down quite a bit further so that it's framing the face instead of just coming out at the very back.

You've put in a lot of straight lines where they should be curved. It may help to find a ball and mark a straight line around the middle, then tilt the ball toward you slightly so that you're looking at that line partially from above. See how the line curves? That's how it will be on the sprite too, with the bottom of the skirt, where the shirt tucks in, the line of the bangs, her shoes, and so on.

I'm not seeing the hands at all. Is she wearing gloves the same color as her jacket?
 

Kaese

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Okay,
to be honest, i'm proud of myself a bit.
I know, the sprite is'nt perfekt as the other sprites are, but for a beginner like me, it is very decent.
I've put it in the RPG Maker and it looks good.
But i don't stop working on it of course, but i think i got the basics for sprite editing.
Thanks for your help.
If you have more advices for me, what i should look out for etc let me know!
 

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Sharm

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Good improvement! Now that you've got the flat colors the way you want, it's time to add in a bit of shading. This is where your color references will be useful, because figuring out the right amount of contrast can be tricky. Just do one shade for now, and still don't worry about outlining. Keep in mind where the light is coming from (mostly from above) and use the base without clothing as a reference. Don't rely too heavily on the shading the base has though, clothing will change the way the light and shadow works. Her chest, for example, wouldn't show cleavage with that shirt, instead the fabric stretches across the bust creating a flat area where there's actually a depression underneath. This is one reason to have clothing references, to have an idea on how these things generally work on a real person.
 

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I just added shades on the chest and the on the hair.
 

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You're going to want a much bigger difference between shades. I can't see it well enough to critique the placement. I can tell that you need more of it. The contrast for sprites is pretty evenly weighted between dark and light, so try for approximately 50% of the sprite in shadow. This isn't a hard and fast rule, some things are going to be more in light overall, some things will be more in shadow, but it should give you an idea of where to start.
 

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Like this?
 

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Well, the shirt has enough contrast between colors now (though I think there should be more) but there's not enough shading. There should be some at the sides of her waist and under her arms.

The skirt and hair don't work. I can continue trying to help you figure out your palette but it really would be better to find and use the ramp from an existing sprite. The bottom right sprite on the Evil sheet has a turban that has a warm light grey that could work for the hair, for instance, and if it's not exactly the hue you want you could adjust it from there and keep the contrast between shades instead. The method you're using now is getting you some very random results, with a high contrast shine and barely any contrast shadow. You've also got some stray color on her skirt.

When looking at the actual placement you're shading without considering your light source. It's coming from above and to the front and only very slightly from the left, there should be almost no difference between left and right. It's easier to start off with no difference and then add a little more light to the left at the end. Start by shading the sides of the hair and keeping the crown light. By 50% I meant the overall dark/light balance, not to cut it down the middle.
 

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It is so good?
 

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It's better, but it's still very left sided with the light source instead of above so it doesn't match the base and won't match any other existing MV sprites. Make the lighting exactly the same left and right and worry about the rest later.
 

Kaese

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I did it. And now?
 

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Hmm. This isn't working. Either I'm doing a terrible time expressing what I want from you or you just don't have enough background knowledge to get there with just critique. Drat, I'm sorry, I don't think continuing to work on the sprite right now is going to be the easiest way to get there for you. I could do an edit and explain exactly what is and isn't working but it's going to keep giving you trouble until you spend enough time studying to understand a little of how shadows work. You can do this in multiple ways, watching art tutorials, spending time doing real life observations, getting lots of lighting references and copying things you see exactly, and so on. It may take only an hour, it may take weeks, but I think you need to take at least enough time with studying light to figure out the difference between how something looks lit from above vs from the side. If looking at the heads of real people is too much information and making things confusing, use a simplified version of a similar shape like a ball or an egg.
 

mlogan

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What helped me to learn to sprite was just a lot of editing of existing sprites. I started with simple things - hair recoloring and what we call "frankenspriting" - that means learning to cut and paste from existing sprites onto others. How this helped is really gave me a chance to see how the shading and construction of sprites works. I highly recommend doing a bit of it before starting from scratch.

Just a few pointers that may help with sprites. MV sprites use a color palette of 4-5 shades for each "piece" - hair, a shirt, etc. The first thing I do when spriting is start by making a color palette. Usually, I just open a bunch of existing sprite sheets and look through until I find something that is about the color I want to use. Then I use the eyedropper tool to make a run of shades, selecting each one and drawing it next to the sprite, so I have all the shades to make up that color. You can see it in the image below.

A few other tips in this picture. #1 - MV uses black to edge the bottom of a lot of things - hair, shirts pants. #2 - The darkest shade of your palette or run is used to outline the right side of the sprite's hair, as your light source is from the upper left so it will be lighter in color. #3 - The second darkest shade is used to outline the left side, for the same reason.

hair.png

Clothes are a bit different, there isn't always the lighter on left, darker on right side. Usually, the darkest shade outlines both sides with your lighter colors in the middle to give a bit of a rounded or shaped appearance of the body. It's a bit tricky to learn how to do just right.

I hope this helps a bit. I strongly encourage you to play around with editing existing sprites. Take a color palette from one sprite and use it to change something on another - it will really help give you a sense of what shades to place where and see how each tiny pixel can have a dramatic impact.
 

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