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Tutorial Editting Palettes with Character maker 1999 and more

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Old January 15th, 2014 (10:40 AM).
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    Editting Palettes with Character maker 1999 and more

    Character Maker 1999 is a tool for editing 2d graphics. It's often used to make RPG Maker XP/VX games. Some of its features:
    - Drawing tools
    - Editing RGB palette (limit 256 colors) includes change, load, rearrange,
    - Working with different character sizes: 16x16, 32x32, 48x48, and custom sizes
    - Making Animate sprites
    Program appearance

    You can download it here
    In this tutorials we'll find how to use Character maker 1999 for making a hack room
    For working with tools and basic, you can find out more here

    2.Install program
    When you first open the program, it'll ask you to register or use trial,
    Don’t bother with the edit box, press register button on the left and fill two fields, then press Ok. It'll never ask you to register it again.

    3.Using Character Maker to editting palette and something more...

    1. Indexing Sprites from custom sprites
    Very very very long times ago destinyjagold has posted this tutorial to guide how can we index a custom sprite
    With character maker 1999, we have a different way to do this:

    A valid trainer sprite or pokemon sprite in GBA rooms is 64x64 pixels (DP and BW is 80x80 pixels) and 16 color, with the first color in palette table is the background for transparent

    Although making the first color in the palette table maybe difficult with Paint or Irfanview because they don't have a real ability to rearrange the palette order, but it makes easier with character maker 1999, you will see.

    Okay, if you want to use a custom sprite from internet or from a picture you have, follow these step
    (download the attachment file for more details)
    1.Prepare your sprites:
    Firstly open your sprite in Paint. Resize it to 64x64 pixels by press Image->Stretch/Skew or Ctrl + W, then try to resize it to a smaller one that fit 64x64 pixels. (or 80x80 pixels if u're using DP ot BW room)

    In my tutorial I use Sugarmon of Centurymon on DevianArt. The attributes are 597x624 pixels. So I decrease it to 10% in width and 10% in height. The new one attributes are 60x63 pixels so it'll fit 64x64 pixels format. Okay. After you decrease its dimension, change the attributes to 64x64 pixels again (80x80 pixels for DP and BW)

    Now change the picture background to a different color that your sprite doesn't have. We'll use this color to make a transparent background. You don't want to have a pokemon without a head or a leg, do you? So make sure no part of your sprite/pokemon/trainer have the background color. Fill the color in the background.

    Using fill tool in Paint won't make all the old background color come to the new one, because when you change the dimension, it'll automatically add more color to the background. So use the pecil tool to fully change the background color to the new one.

    Save your work as 24-bit bitmap format. This format works perfect on Character Maker 1999. Don't save as Jpeg or gift because these format will destroy your sprite.

    2.Decrease Color Depth:
    I have a little explane here: color depth is number of colors you use in your sprites. There are some standard color depth: 2 colors (1bpp), 16 colors (4bpp), 256 colors (8bpp) and 65536 colors (24bpp)

    So what does it mean when we save as "24-bit bitmap"? That means the image will be saved with 24bpp format with
    65536 colors. But the number we must use in our sprite is only 16 colors. So we must "decrease color depth" it

    There is two program that can do this work. IrfanView or Corel Paintshop Pro. Corel may better a little, but just a little. If you don't have Corel Paintshop, don't worry about it. IrfanView will be OK, as long as you uncheck "Use Floyd-Steinberg ditherring" option, because that option make our sprite really terrible.

    Okay, now you must have one of two program. You can download IrfanView here

    Open your sprite in one of two program. Go Image -> Decrease color depth -> 16 colors depth. Choose option and then press OK to decrease your sprite (If you use Irfanview you should uncheck "Use Floyd-Steinberg ditherring" option)

    Save your sprite as "something-indexed.bmp". Don't save to the old one because Corel sometime cause bug with 24-bit bitmap and 256 colors bitmap,... and something more can confuse your head. I'll save my sprite as Sugarmon-indexed.bmp

    Okay. We finish decrease color depth it. Let's go to step3

    3.Palette editting:
    Open you sprite in Character Maker 1999. Go to Palette-> Edit palette. All the work we have todo here is cut the background color and paste it as your first color in palette table.

    If you use Corel you may notice there are more than 16 colors. All colors after the first row (first 16 colors) are useless. If you don't delette it, it's Ok because Unlz GBA can read/write 256 colors bitmap and it'll understand that you're using first 16 colors. But for safe you should delete all these colors. So delete all the colors after the first row

    Now save your work. Press File -> save as, this time choose 16-colors bitmmap.

    Okay! You've successfull indexed a sprite. Congratulations! Now you can add your sprite to game using Advance Series if your sprite is Pokemon or Unlz GBA if your sprite is trainer.

    2. Tileset Inserting
    Again we already have threads of inserting tileset and making tiles from Block Editor of Advance Map.
    You can find them here
    Tileset Tutorial by Le pug
    Tileset Tutorial by Cello
    Tileset Tutorial by Alijam
    Uhm...Just another way to inserting tileset. I won't say much more about making tiles. This tutorial will guide you how to palette editting and inserting a tileset to the game. The rest are making tiles, about Block Editor, Up/Down canvas, behavior byte you can find out in these link above.

    But I also have to explan how the palette format in GBA working. You can access Block Editor in Advance Map by pressing Ctrl + B or click the puzzle icon in the toolbar. If you continue press Ctrl + P to open palette editor, you'll notice this: all the RGB (red - green - blue value, the values with colors next to the textboxs in Block Editor) values in game is divided by 8, such as 0, 8, 16, 24 etc....

    That's because GBA room compress the value, I think so. There is no 7 or 10 value in RGB values. If you load a palette with color have value of 7 or 10, it'll come to 8. So if you want "copy and paste" your new tileset, you have to change all your tileset value to the new values in Advance Map after you load palettes. You can find this method in Lepug's tutorial. With Character Maker 1999, we have "15-bit colorize" button that all take the difficule works go away.

    Now it's our tutorial of Inserting Tileset
    You can download the attached file for more details and pictures.

    1.Prepare Materials
    Prepare your image resource. You can find on Internet or drawing yourself. If you find on internet, make sure you have permition to use them, and don't forget to credit the authour. I'll use Zein tileset in this tutorial.

    In gen 3 room, every map is made by two tilesets: one is the Main tileset, which has tileset of trees, roads, water, sand and sea,... that make the overworld view or TV, household appliance ,.... The Main Tilesets in game are 0, 14, 20,37, 55 (Ruby), 0, 12, 16, 24, 33, 35, 39, 55, 56 (FireRed). Not all of Main Tileset is used in game

    One map is based from 2 tilesets: one Main-tileset and one Sub-tileset. Every tilset have 6 diferent palettes: Main-tilset has palette 0 to 5. Sub-tileset has palette 6 to 11. palette 12 is error palette. Don't ever use it. When you add new tilset, you must replace the old palette by the new one. So choose the palette you want to replace carefully. Changing palette at the palette section in Block Editor

    Now open your Image resource. To save the number of palette use, you should make some of tree, grass or house that have the same palette at one place, then delete others. Then changing the background to a strange color and save your new image as 24-bit bitmap format.

    2.Decrease Color Depth
    Just like Decrease color depth in Part 1: Indexing Sprites from custom sprites

    3.Palette editing
    Do everything in step 3 of part 1: Indexing Sprites from custom sprites, but this time you have a little bonus work. Before you close the palette editting window, press the "15-bit colorize" button. This button will make all RGB values are devided by 8. Then save your Palette as *.act file (Adobe Color Table). Save your indexed image

    4.Adding to Game
    Open your room in Advance Map. Press Ctrl + B to open Block Editor.
    Choose the palette you want to replace (Remember: palette 0 to 5 is Main-tileset's palette, and 6 to 11 is Sub-tileset's palettes. Choose the corect one. If you want to edit the Main tileset, don't choose palette 6 to 11 and oposite...) , Then press Palettes -> Load current palette from file. In the new window, change the "File type" to Adobe Color Table (*.act). Then load your saved act file. Close Block Editor and choose Yes to apply the new palette.

    Now Open Block Editor again. Choose the palette you have edited. Now you can see the color is changed. Export your tileset you want to edit. (Again: Choose the corect tileset) using Pictures -> Save Tileset 1 (or Tileset 2). The Main-tileset will be tileset 1, and the Sub-tileset is tileset 2. Okay. Now the exported tileset has the same palettes with your new tileset palettes. Just copy and paste, and then Load Tileset again in Block Editor by Pictures -> Load Tileset 1 (or Tileset 2), you have successfully changed the tileset.

    All the rest things is making new Tile and edit Tiles behavior. It comesto easy now: to change to block number: Blocks -> Change amounts (Max: 512).

    Then just make your tile. There are two canvas in each tile: Up and Down, and with behavior. I think everything is wrote in AdvanceMap and easy to learn

    .....Just one note:
    Up behavior:
    "Jump with mach bike, splashing water" : is reflection on water and HAVE POKEMON
    "Reflection on water, splashing water, waves": NO POKEMON
    Behavior number 8: POKEMON ON THE GROUND

    Down Behavior:
    10: Block is covered by hero AND WEATHER EFFECT (include relection on water, mist)

    Hope this tutorial help you in editting palettes more easier, also in Indexing Sprite and Inserting Tileset faster

    Zein: Tileset Resource
    Centurymon: Sugarmon Sprite

    Quick way to edit palettes, indexing sprites and insert tileset
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