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Old February 27th, 2006 (3:50 PM). Edited July 5th, 2008 by Amachi.
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Guides, Terminology and Resources

Just to cut down on the stickied threads in Pixel Art, I've decided that perhaps, with the help of page anchors; putting every bit of information needed into one thread could be quite useful.

Here you'll find all you need to know for now about Pixel Art Spriting or even Pixel Art alone, some members had taken their time into writing guides in which can help you with your way of working with pixel work, commenting on them and providing you with resources.

If you have anything that may be useful enough to be on here, don't hesitate to PM the moderating staff :)


Need help with identifying certain words and phrases?
  1. Spriting - By armadilloHD
  2. Pokemon Spriting Terms and Styles - By [_DarkDragon_]
  3. Pixel Art - By Allstories

Not Terminology...not Resources...but yet just as helpful
  1. How to Criticise - By vaati
  2. How to Criticise 2 - By Signomi

Looking for sprites? Or perhaps need a tutorial or two?
  1. [Guidelines] Custom Spriting Guidelines - By Esupio
  2. [Colour Palette] Colors - By Captain Arcane
  3. [Tutorial] Advanced Spriting Tutorial - By DeltaSuicune
  4. [Tutorial] Sprite/Pixel Art - by .:Kaku:.
  5. [Tutorial] Recolouring Sprites tutorial - by Jolty-kun
  6. [Tutorial] Spriting Tutorial - by Belzeebub
  7. [Resource] PokéDex archive of Diamond/Pearl sprites - by Captain Arcane
  8. [Tutorial] Tile Spriting - by Дон Пач
  9. [Tutorial] Revamping - by Crashink
  10. [Tutorial] Revamping D/P Sprites - by Opacus
  11. [Tutorial] Creating sprites from scratch - by Opacus
  12. [Tutorial] D/P resizing - by Diggeh
  13. [Tutorial] D/P Scratch Sprites - by skeddles
  14. Resources


Spriting Terminology - armadilloHD

I noticed that a lot of people don't now some spriting terms, or have the wrong meaning. Let me clear some stuff up.


Spriting: The art, it's a way of manipulating pixels to make small or large pictures with only a mouse and your eye.
Pixel Art: Normally this name is used for large sprites, this is untrue, it means the same thing as the definition of spriting.
Sprite Sheet: The sprite along with "Movements" it makes

Parts of a Sprite

Pixel: You use these to create sprites. From here, you create art.
Linework: The lines on your sprite, should be the first step in making any sprite (Except recolors)
Color: Brings life into your sprites, you learned this in kindergarten, but it's nothing without...
Shading: The MOST important part of a sprite, darker color then the base color, to give it depth.
Base Color: The color you use to determine what the basic color is going to be on a certain part of the sprite.
Highlighting: Giving your sprite a shine for even more depth, used in larger sprites.
Anatomy: How realistic your sprite looks, like no broken bones, no limbs longer then the other etc.

Types of Spriting

Recolor: The name says it all, ussually the first step a person makes on their spriting journey, just an open source sprite made a different color, a decent recolor is a great first step, but a bad recolor is no excuse.
Edit: You edit a sprite, add on custom parts, change the anatomy a bit, etc. etc.
Custom/scratch: Not using anything to start off with. A good custom sprite can give you many good marks as a spriter.
FRANKENSTINING/mixing: You just put parts from different open source sprites together and MAYBE recolor them, this type of spriting is fun, but shouldn't be used for a serious sprite.

Shading Styles - (Credit to Dardanel/DarkPegasus for the Images)

Pillow Shading

Cut up Shading


Spriting Effects

Afterimages: Shown when you want to show fast motion in a sprite. You blur where the thing the character is swinging. Or if they're running fast, then you blur where they were running that as well.


Open source: Sprites ripped from games, you can use these as you want. But if you put their rips on your site leave their tags on. NEVER rip sprites from a fan game. Several open source sites include deek n' dazz, and sprites inc.

Sprite Theft: The most despicable act ANY spriter can do. Taking and editing a sprite a spriter has made themself without their permission. Never do this, EVER.


Pokemon Spriting Terms and Styles - [_DarkDragon_]

Meh, I was bored so I decided to write this, hope it come in handy for new people and for the ones who have been spriting for a while. If I forgot something important, you want me to add something or you just know any styles that I should add to a certain category (even if it's your own) just PM me. Here it goes:


-- Explanation & Normal recoloring: One of the basics of spriting, if you are going to enter the pokemon spriting world this is where you must start. Basic recoloring is all about getting two pokemon sprites and by looking at their linework colors + base and shading colors substitute the colors of one with the colors of the other. Although recoloring seems a boring process it can be easily done by using the select color tool in MS Paint, after that you can select the color that is going to be replaced by left mouse clicking on it and using the same tool again choose the color that will replace that one by right mouse clicking on it. When both colors are selected by using that process use the eraser tool and use it on the sprite that is being recolored by keeping right mouse button pressed instead of left mouse button.

-- Shadow: This type of recoloring only requires that the pokemon is almost completely (excluding eyes, mouth and some other body parts) colored of purple and respective shadows, highlights and linework.

-- XD: This type of recoloring requires three colors and respective shadows, highlights and linework. Two of the colors are dark purple and white, most of the pokemon must be colored purple although some parts like leaves, belly, flames must be colored white/light grey depending on the pokemon. Red is finally used for the eyes of the pokemon.

-- Evil: An evil recolor uses a similar process to XD except the colors are Black and Red instead of Purple and White.

-- Flag: A flag recolor normally is based on a certain country's flag, for example an american flag recolor would use red, white and blue colors.

-- Gold & Silver: This type of recolors normally needs a couple of extra colors for shading and highlighting. For Gold you are going to need mostly a dark yellow base and shading with a big ammount of white and light yellow colors for the outline to give it that real gold feeling. For Silver use grey instead of dark yellow.

-- Egg: get an egg and change its color, not much to say about it.


-- Explanation: A Revamp is a sprite from an older version that you take and put it in a newer version format, that does not only mean you recolor it, you must add more colors for shading and work a lot to improve the linework so that the old sprite will be similar to the one of a newer version in every aspect other than position and size. Although many people are used to consider a pokemon revamp as an older GB version to Advance format, anything that is transfered from an older version to a newer one is considered a revamp and therefore taking a sprite from Blue version and making it similar to the one in Gold version is also a revamp. Most older versions have poor light sources or no shading at all which make it more difficult to revamp them. I will explain the goods and bads of each version. A software I recommend for revamping, as well as any other kind of sprite work is GraphicsGale Free Edition.

-- Green/Red/Blue: These versions only use 4 "colors", those are: black, white and 2 shades of grey. This distribution of colors does not give us much flexibility to calculate where everything should go, the highlights seem to be placed in the right spots though so you shouldn't have to worry much about them.

-- Yellow: Pretty much like GRB except the 4 colors are now black, white and 2 shades of the main color of the pokemon, this does not improve much but helps. Appart from that, although the shading in the Yellow version is amazing the outlines are going to give you headaches when revamping.

-- Gold/Silver: All I can say about the Gold/Silver shading is: "realy bad". If you are going to make a revamp of a GS sprite make your own shading because the one they have is completely useless. GS sprites still use 4 colors, this time you can have 256 different colors or each one of the 4 if I'm not mistaken, linework is completely black and therefore won't help much with revamping.

-- Crystal: The good thing about crystal is that each spriteis an animation so it has more than one sprite of a pokemon and you can use any of the frames in the animation to recolor as a different sprite. Appart from that it is pretty much similar to GS.

-- Pinball, TCG e PLC: I dunno why anyone would want to revamp TCG cards but if you do be warned as the quality of them is not that good and I also don't know much about them. Pinball colors are pretty much similar to GS except that the shading and linework is amazing, if you are willing to finish the missing parts of pinball sprites and recoloring the sprite the outcome is really nice. Puzzle League Challange sprites don't have much to say about them as there aren't that many.


-- Explanation and in General: Devamp is the opposite of a revamp, here you try to take a 32-bit color sprite of an advance game and make it similar to the ones of a certain game version. To know how to make that just look in the revamping section and see the good and bad aspects of each version, try to apply them to the devamp so that it looks authentic.


-- Explanation: An edit is when you take an existing sprite and modify it in some way, changing one or 2 pixels isn't really an edit unless it really makes a difference in a sprite (which it normally doesn't), there are many types of edits than the room I have to list them all therefore I will just list some of them.

-- Angel: You get angel-like wings of a certain pokemon, put them on the pokemon you want to turn into an angel (be aware of the sizes first so you can get the right wings), get light blue colors and recolor the pokemon, then add some extra details if you like and you're done.

-- Devil: Pretty much like the Evil recolor but you get some devil like wings and do the same procedure than the angel but with evil colors.

-- Type Change: Get a pokemon and make it look like it belongs to another type, not much to say about it except that it can be quite difficult at times.

-- Chao: I dunno much about chao edits, get a chao sprite and mix it with a pokemon but using the chao as base.

-- Ham-Ham: Same as chao but with hamtaro + pokemon sprites.

-- Baby: Get a pokemon sprite and make it look a couple of years younger to the point of looking cute and small.

-- Skeleton: Probably as hard or harder than a scratch sprite, you really need to understand how anatomy works to make these, take a pokemon and a skeleton like the aerodactyl one and try to make a skeleton of that pokemon.


-- Explanation: Take two or more pokemon and mix them together, the more you have the weirder it will look and the harder it will be to get it right. There are other types of mixes or fusions like the egg mix. Be aware that the size of the pokemon matters, if you try to mix something huge with something tinny you might have problems.

-- Egg mix: It is different of Egg recolor, instead of taking an egg and changing it's colors you make the egg look like a pokemon but keeping its egg shape.


-- Explanation: A scratch sprite is one that you made from 0 with reference to nothing other than your brain and maybe a picture or so, you need to be really good to make a perfect scratch sprite with the right ammount of colors.

-- Drawing 2 Scratch: This one is a bit easier, take an image, resize it to the point where it is of the size your sprite will be, keep a copy of the non-resized picture next to you and using Graphics Gale and layers draw the basic linework, then make a pallette for your sprite by taking certain colors off the picture and paint, shade and highlight your sprite, then do the same to the linework and it should look great, have a look at my scratch sprites of Rukario, Bonsly, Munchlax and Mewtwo with armour, they were all made using this method and they look amazing.


-- Explanation: Animations are most commonly saved as gif files, a good program to use when converting bmp to gif files is giffy23 as it has a pallette optimizer so your sprites don't loose quality, GraphicsGale can also make gif animations. An animation works by saving a certain number of frames in the same gif file that will then display them at a defined rate.


-- Explanation: Items in general can be edited just as pokemon, they can also be mixed with pokemon although it doesn't look too good. Most commonly edited items are pokeballs which can be recolored and decorated to make all kinds of different pokeballs.


-- Explanation: Just as items they can be mixed between each other, with items and pokemon. Not much to say about them. One or more trainer parts are often used to make a new trainer.


-- Explanation: A charset is a table with walking sprites of a certain overworld character or object, in the objects case it might be a static sprite which ignores the walking ones by putting the same sprite in every frame. If you're not in Game Dev. or ROM Hacking you won't need to worry much about them.


-- Explanation: Most pokemon games don't use facesets, they are usually a sprite of a characters face that shows up when you talk to that character in a game. (eg. Mystery Dungeon)


-- Explanation: It's normally a big "table" of tiles of the same size that make a charset. In pokemon, charsets are used to design maps for pokemon games or comics.

[Battle Sprites]

-- Pokemon: The sprites that show up in battle, you will be working with these most of the time.

-- Pokemon (Rear View): The back view of a pokemon sprite that shows up in battle, not so frequently used as the pokemon are seen from behind.

-- Trainer: The sprites that show up in battle, you will also be working with these most of the time.

-- Trainer (Rear View): The back view of a trainer, there aren#t many as it is usually only used for main characters in a pokemon game.


-- Explanation: Overworld sprites include any sprite that is in the pokemon rpg's and that is part of the overworld (not in-battle) definition. Overworld are usually charsets and chipsets.


Pixel Art Terminology - Allstories

Pixel art - A form of digital art, in which images are edited on the pixel level. This does not necessarily mean that every single pixel must be placed by hand, but instead only for the most part, depending on what is considered pure pixel art. The use of things like the fill tool and brush tools are (arguably) valid tools for pixel art as they only speed up the process of creating pixel art. Use of filters such as anti-aliasing and such, however, are not considered valid. You can, however, manually simulate anti-aliasing.

A common misconception is that any drawing done with the pencil tool in a small drawing space can be considered pixel art. Pixel art is categorized by the method of drawing, not the results. Don't not confuse pixel art for oekaki drawings.

That was a paraphrased version, you can read more here:

Spriting - In this context, spriting refers to the creation or manipulation of existing sprites. A sprite by definition is a 2-dimensional, prerendered image integrated into a larger scene. Spriting can include combining pieces of multiple existing sprites to create a single sprite, recoloring an existing sprite, creating a new sprite from scratch, and so on.

Sprite Comic - A type of webcomic composed mostly of existing sprites and/or backgrounds. Similar to pixel comics, in which the pixel art is created specifically for the comic by the creator of the comic. Often, the comics on this board tend to sacrifice writing and merely focusing on making comics on a whim for the sake of doing so. Don't do that. >:(

Sprite Theft - The theft of sprites. Don't do it, son.


How to Criticise - vaati

Originally Posted by The Noise
Okay. You guys need to learn what's good crit, and what's bad. So - here's a little 'guide'.

Here's vaati's first fake. I've got his permission to use it for this guide, and it's good, because there are errors and stuff, but also good points so-

Good crit:

Okay. First off, although it DOES capture a whale's image, there are several things wrong. Perhaps the main thing is the tail, something is wrong about it, it looks like it's attached to the whale's side, and there's no real need for the checkerboard shading on the tail. The rest oft he shading looks wierd, it should be more rounded, to give a smoother look. It is a wet animal, don't forget. =P
And make the outlines less straight, make it more rounded.

But, on a plus side, it's easy to tell it's a whale, but it doesn't look too much like a normal whale, which is good. Also, it has potential to be a great fake. Keep up the work. =)

Bad crit:

I think it's good, but the shading and tail are wierd.

(I didn't choose this sprite because I had alot bad to say about it, I just find that pointing bad things out is better than pointing good things out. It helps in improvement.)

Use this as a guideline for the next time you decide you dislike (or, for that matter, like) someones sprite.
Remember, kids. Critique is your friend!
That there guide is from my good friend Noise, you see, he never did finish his guides so I'm gonna do the rest for him.(He gave me alot more critique over MSN on that piece, he's the one who pretty much got me to look at spriting in a better way.)

Now it's one thing to give critique, but reciving it can be hard, especially if it's a tougher critic rating your work, but none the less, you should take in what they say and use it, work on what they said.

for example.

The Noise: Vaati, you have ALONG way to go with that, you need to fix the tail, the shading, the outline, the palette looks dated etc.

Vaati: Hmmm, you make valid points, valid points indeed, well I'll take what you've said and work on my sprite, thanks =D

After accepting The Noises' crit I managed to turn my first piece into this:

When giving critique you should always elaborate, whether you like the piece or not, a good review should be atleast 1 or 2 lines. Just saying "OMG it suxors i hate it." is just as bad as "OMG rox I love it 9.55555/11" Both of which are unacceptable and against the community rules. When you add an elaboration your post should look like "Wow, IMO that really sucks, the shading's terrible(not to mention in the wrong style), the outlining and anatomy are awful(the right arm looks far too fat compared to the left, and there's no effort in studying human anatomy) on top of all that you stole the legs from Bean's custom TOTW Zero." Or "Wow, I really like this piece, the shading is perfectionate, I see nothing wrong with the anatomy or outlining. Good work!"

Well, 90% of you will ignore this and carry on breaking rules by spamming up the HotS, which in every case I see you doing so I shall report you, all of you, it's YOUR fault a lot of our good spriters left, it's YOUR fault the critics left and it's YOUR fault that most of you are still doing mixes, recolours and rather shabby customs(to those who do customs, at least you guys make an effort, you deserve good crit to improve, too bad you don't dish it out yourselves).


How to Criticise 2 - Signomi

Criticism - What do you do with it?

Have you ever come to a point where somebody came to your thread and gave you criticism on your work? If so, how did you react to it? Did you play the defensive by answering to everything that may be in it? Did you take it and use it to help you improve? Or did you take an offense to it and let it discourage you into not doing anymore?

And most importantly, what does Criticism mean to you?

I understand that sometimes, Criticism may be hard to take, but it makes you more aware of the flaws you've done, we're all human, people do make mistakes. But when you are given criticism by a certain person, what do you do with it? Do you throw it away and pretend it was never there? Or do you use it to help improve your skills, and even the work the crit was made for?

People give you criticism because they want to help you improve on your work, not because they want to insult you, or anything like that. When making a thread in either Pixel Art, Sprite Comics or Trainer Cards forums, don't expect everyone to be giving you a 10/10 on your work, expect even just one person to come along and tell you what you may've done wrong within it, you should take their advice and use it to help you improve on your work, and make you more self-aware of certain things when you proceed into making more in the future, that's a way of helping you improve your skills.

Criticism - Give it out more

Are you one of those people who seem to lurk threads and find sprites/comics/trainer cards that seem quite flawful and just...move on? If so, why don't you post your comments? You may have your reasons, however, top 2 of these reasons would have to be: Either you show signs of laziness of even bothering to tell the person what they may've done wrong in their work, or you want to but you may seem reluctant to.

Never be shy or too lazy to express your comments, if you don't, how will that benefit the person who made the work? They'd still remain unknowing of the flaws they may've done.

Yes, there have been certain happenings of people reacting rather offensively to criticism, but if they do so, say what I've already stated, people give criticism to help others improve on their work, not because they're trying to offend them in any way.

And don't show signs of brutality when you are giving out criticism, like sarcastic comments and even unnecessary insults. They are not at all helpful to the person you are giving criticism to and can only prove an offense to them, thus hurting their feelings and even lower their self-esteem

Practice makes perfect

Remember to keep practicing, there is never an end to what you can do when it comes to Spriting, Sprite Comics or even Trainer Cards, there are always ways you can improve and even better yourself at what you do. You can even find new ways of doing certain things. Who knows?


Resources - Post originally made by Castrainer/Deviruchi

Below, ya will find links to a lotta websites with stuff... erm... Sprites~

Originally Posted by Tendo - Nintendo, Sega, Capcom, Square, and Konmai assorted sprites. A jack of all trades so to speak...
Originally Posted by armadilloHD - Every Megaman sprite you'll ever need. tongue.gif - Shyguy Kindom. Assorted sprites. - Ren's Comic Zone, sprite section. He hangs around here sometimes, and he makes comics. - People's Sprites. Has sprites. Woo. - They have alot of sprites in sheet and game form, but a lot of credit is needed... - Good if you need Sonic Advance style sprites. They have other stuff too. - This site has quite a large selection of game sprites. It as well plays the games music while you view. - The Leaf Forest Zone. A good amount of the site is in French, but trust me, you'll never find a better resource for better Sonic sprites and BGs. They even have custom made sprites, Sonic objects galore, and custom made objects!!! - Sprite effects and whatnot. - Sprite and BG place. - Has trionic type sprites. - Has some hard to find Sonic sprites and some customs. - Backgrounds. - More backgrounds. - And even more backgrounds. - Chibi Bionicle sprites.. - 8 bit DBZ sprites... O.o
Originally Posted by {Donated By} Sapphire_Dragon - Emerald Rips. Custom Pokemon. T3h works. - General needs - General needs - Graphical Needs
Originally Posted by Rotekatze - Rotekatze's Archieve
Originally Posted by Esupio sono Kamereon

Good Sonic, DBZ, SFX sprites and some sonic tutorials in the Sonic bit.
Originally Posted by DarkDragon
Originally Posted by Amachi
A few more links that I've found lately ....

Sprite Database - Is exactly what it's called. Is a very impressive collection that even holds host to a large amount of DS, PS2 and Wonderswan sheets.

Sprite-aholic - a nice resource with sprites from a variety of platforms.

United Sprites Archive - All custom sprites and sheets from a variety of series.
Originally Posted by Kike-Scott
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