View Single Post
Old May 24th, 2009 (12:31 PM). Edited January 7th, 2011 by Chesu.
Chesu's Avatar
Chesu Chesu is offline
Boss Carrot
    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: Where The Carrots Be
    Nature: Relaxed
    Posts: 596
    Trainer Amalgamation Tutorial
    by Chesu

    As this type of sprite is the one that will most often
    make its way into ROM hacks and independent games, I
    wanted to make sure that I made everything clear and easy to
    understand. That's not to say that this is why I haven't created a
    new tutorial in over two weeks; as I'm typing this, I haven't even
    started on the resources for this tutorial. I guess what I'm trying
    to say is, this is going to be a long, very image-heavy tutorial.

    While using concept art helps immensely, and I
    can't recommend it enough, it isn't necessary so long as
    you have a clear mental image of what you want the sprite
    to look like. While the only major deviations from the base sprites
    in the image above are in the coloring, most people probably wouldn't
    recognize the Lass' arms, because of context they're used in (aggressive,
    rather than charming). The Cool Trainer's face, however, is slightly more
    recognizable. While I don't like leaving faces unchanged, even small
    changes are all that's needed for a complete makeover.

    The only real change (color aside) in the face is above
    the eyes, but the expression and perceived shape of the face
    has definitely been altered. While I prefer to blank out faces and
    draw in new ones, you can make big changes by altering just a
    few pixels. Now that I've covered that, I think it's time to
    start the tutorial proper! I don't actually know what I'll
    be making, so let's see what I get on impulse.

    Hmm, Sabrina's left arm seems like a good place to start.
    For the right arm... well, a hand can easily become a glove, and
    vice-versa, so I'm not even going to worry about that. I should
    find an arm with sleeves about the same as Sabrina's...

    Or, practically no sleeves at all. That works too. I
    honestly just chose this on a whim; "Oh, an Aqua Grunt.
    Okay, let's see if this pans out"... Now, to find a sleek,
    attractive female body and a cute head.

    ...Or not. Again, I'm just choosing whatever catches
    my eye, even if it doesn't make sense. I went with the Bug
    Catcher's body, and the Tuber's head. His hair is just so goofy!
    So, now I need to render the parts I'll be using from their bodies.
    If you're spriting along with this tutorial, collect the parts
    you'll be using before reading the next paragraph.

    Well that's not hideous or scary at all. You may
    be wondering, "How is this even going to work?"... well, I
    couldn't tell you. What I can tell you, though, is that the
    Bug Catcher's torso needs to be cleaned up a little.

    There we go. It should be a lot easier to affix the
    arms now. You don't necessarily have to remove the arms
    to put the new ones on, as demonstrated by this sprite from
    earlier, but in the Bug Catcher's case it's unavoidable. Since the
    arms I've chosen are so much larger than you would expect to see
    on a seven-year-old, I'm going to need to trim them a bit. Even if
    the limbs you're using are around the same size as the originals
    from the torso you're attaching them to, don't be afraid
    to adjust them as necessary.

    Yeah, yeah, I left the hands the same size...
    The entire point of this is using existing assets, and
    I'm not great with hands. I guess the kid will be wearing
    large gloves for some reason. Anyway, it's time to assemble!
    If you're worried about it not turning out right, work with a copy
    of your progressing sprite. I'm almost certain that the majority
    of spriters do it... I do, anyway. In fact, this is what
    my work area looks like at the moment:

    When cobbling sprites together like this, I like to keep
    resources and palettes in the corners of my screen (this
    image fills the screen in MS Paint with 6x zoom), and an open
    area in the middle to work freely. Due to the differences in the
    way they progress, my work area for sprites drawn from scratch
    tend to become filled with long chains of sprites. Looking at
    the following image closely is not for the weak of heart, as
    it's the unedited fallout of my sprite-making process.


    You clicked it, didn't you? Well, if you're able to read
    this, you've clearly managed to recover. My point is, it's okay
    to leave an "evolution of man"-esque trail of sprites that you can
    revert back to or reference. Moving right along, I've affixed the
    arms to the torso, so it's time to homogenize everything.

    I don't think I need to say this, but I will anyway,
    for the sake of thoroughness: make sure that one part
    flows seamlessly into the next (unless there's supposed
    to be a seam there, that is), and replace colors with a similar
    shade in the hue that you've chosen. If you need to reshade
    anything, you'll just have to rely on your own judgement.

    If you're combining parts that show skin, make sure
    that they're all shaded with the same tone; though my little
    gloved kid may look like he has a continuous skin color, the Bug
    Catcher, Tuber, and Aqua Grunt all use different palettes for
    their skin. I'm not going to bother making the face and legs
    the same color... he's wearing a long-sleeved shirt and
    gloves, shorts and sandals with that would look silly.

    Okay, so he's still wearing sandals... I'll worry about
    that later. Now that I have the basic shape done, it's time
    to get down to details. You should know what it is you're making
    by now, if you didn't when you began... I still have no idea. He's
    a kid... what do kids do? The way he's dressed, he doesn't seem
    to be on the way home from school, and I'd bet my beard
    that he isn't ready for a day on the beach...

    Okay, why do people wear gloves? To protect their
    hands... but from what? The cold.. he could be a sledder...
    or hot water, maybe he's a dish washer at a restaurant that's
    breaking child labor laws. Or, maybe... chemicals? You know, he
    does look a bit like a mad scientist. I actually kind of like that.
    Okay! My little gloved kid is hereafter a mad scientist!

    Most people would depict a mad scientist as wearing
    a lab coat without a second thought, but my mental image
    is of Dr. Frankenstein in an old-fashioned surgeon's gown, so
    that's what I'm going with. It's important to remember that
    these are supposed to be real people, and that a lot of
    them dress the way they do for a specific reason.

    Yeah, I know, this tutorial is supposed to be about
    using parts from existing sprites... but sometimes, you just
    have to draw things yourself. I use bright red or blue, so that
    my lines are easy to see and modify. I couldn't tell you why,
    but I felt the urge to make the gloves and pants
    purple and black, respectively. Hmm...

    Ye Olde Surgeon's Gown™ folds over and usually
    buttons from shoulder to hip, so in my sprite's stance
    you should be able to see the underlying layer of the gown at
    the bottom. Small details like that can make more of a difference
    than you might think. The white palette used on the Bug Catcher's
    shirt is only three shades, so to shade the sprite a bit more I replaced
    it with the (four-toned) palette from a Lass' shirt. I also stole the
    shoes of a Youngster that was in a similar pose, and recolored
    my little scientist's hair. Why orange? Well, who can say. I
    could alter the shoes, but I think I'll leave them as they
    are. The sprite is more or less done now, but... I
    think I'll add just one more small touch.

    Oh come on, I had to.

    Remember, if your sprite is for a ROM hack, you
    have to limit it to sixteen colors, one of which must be a
    background color used nowhere else on the sprite. I hope
    you've learned something, and if you haven't... well,
    maybe YOU should be writing tutorials!


    If you have any questions or would like to give feedback
    on the tutorials, click here to leave me a visitor message!

    Reply With Quote