Yellowhat's Tutorial Thread

Yellowhat

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I. What is Spriting?

II. Where do I start?

a. Tips
b. Programs
c. File type
d. Beginning the image


III. Anti-aliasing (AA)

IV. Creating your first sprite



What is Spriting(Pixel Art)?

Judging by the name, Pixel art is somewhat art made of pixels. But not every digital picture is digital art.
Photographs for example are not. They are built up by pixels but, No they are not pixel art.



If I make art on my computer then. It is pixel art, right?
No it’s not. Pixel art is a very specific sub-category of digital art. It isn’t what it’s made of as much of how it’s made.
For example, this digital painting is made by the computer but it’s not pixel art.



If the pixel art loses the sense of the importance of the pixels which construct it, then I don't think it can be called pixel art. It is when the pixels hold importance to the nature of the work which defines it as pixelart.
- Alex HW

Pixel art is set apart from other digital art by it’s precision and control over the pixels.
In pixel art, the artist has to control every placement of the pixel to be in control of the image.
An offset would have a dramatic effect on the image.



Other digital art forms use tools to create their art. For example blur, smudge, smear or blend the pixels. Which make pixels blend easier which makes the computer create the art rather than the artist.

Why it’s not just about the tools.

It's not the program that determines whether or not it's pixel art, it's how it is made.
You can’t just rush ahead creating an image in MS PAINT and think that it’s pixel art.



But it isn't pixel art. This is what we call oekaki. If you can create the image without zooming in, chances are it isn't pixel art. You’re not paying attention to the individual pixels, just the lines and shapes that make the pixel up.

Every pixel does not literally need to be placed by hand
The job of the pixel artist is not to manually place each and every pixel. You aren't expected to behave like a robot, filling in large areas with thousands of single-clicks of the pencil tool. The bucket tool is fine. The line tool is fine. What's important is that the artist has control of the image at the level of the single pixel, not that you create the image one pixel at a time.

Where do I start?

These tips are great to learn how to focus on the pixels.

Start small – Make an easy item, rather than start creating an outfit/creature that takes more time.
Use a limited palette – If you can’t make a good sprite in 4 colors, 40 isn’t going to help you.
Using 4 color you'll only have to worry about value, and not hue or saturation.
Programs - there’s plenty of good programs out there, Grafx2, GraphicsGale, Pro Motion, Photoshop, Pixen, and MS Paint.
This tutorial will focus on MS Paint. So we wont use any nice shortcuts or anything(even if it’s recommended doing so).
File type – I will keep this short. Save them in .png format or something bad will happen to your future children!



But how do I start the image?

It's completely up to you. Some artists prefer to create the line art first, then go in and add color wich is the easiest way to create a Tibia sprite.
Others like to block out bigger object with a big brush and then go in and refine their image:


Anti-aliasing (AA) - I will create a tutorial on this later on but this is a picture of what AA is.


Creating your first sprite

Outline- First of all, this is an outline. In Tibia outlines are black(with AA). Creating an symethric sprite like this takes like no AA at all (I'm using an inner AA with darker colors to make the edge smoother later on).



In the next step, I've chosed to decide my colors. The most common way is to chose a palette. And I decided to block out where to put each color.






The lightsource in Tibia comes from top-left, going down south-east with a reflection. But In item sprites, let's keep the light source coming from the top-left.
So now that the light hits the big middle line, it will shine towards the fattest part and then shade out. (something like this).



Even the darkest part has a light source. But it's also hit on the middle and then fade out towards the edges.



It's a shame I've chosed to shade and highlight at the same step here. But for the next image, let's talk about the highlighted parts. It's basicly only 3 colors. one base(the darker grey), a second grey color(lighter) and then the white color to give it a shine.



Some finnishing touch and fixing the handle. And your sprite is ready!
 
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Blazed Druid

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Not sure how much time gets down by spriting a sword, but a video where you film your screen and let people see how you do it would be nice, in my opinion :<
 
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Yellowhat

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This tutorial thread will be more about understanding. Why you shade, how the light source work. What AA is. What to think about. What not to do. What tools to chose and so on. If videos is a request Ill post them in a youtube channel later on :)
 

GhostX

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I think these kind are better for people since they don't have to do pause frame learning. As long as you explain in detail there is no reason to make a video :>
 

Anevis

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I agree with GhostX. People don't need to do exactly same way you do, they need to know what outcome should look like ;).
At handle, that bottom smallest part has different light source.
I'll start making little tutorials (mostly short descriptions with wips) too and translate my olds.
 
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Yellowhat

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Sounds great! Haha I didnt notice myself conserning the lightsource. It was quickly made to my defence^ appreciate the feedback!
 

Limos

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Nice tutorial, I think it would be good if you add an explanation to your steps.
 
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Yellowhat

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Updated: Added small explanation to 'Creating your first sprite'

Thanks to Anevis for pointing out my mistake on the light source
And special thanks to Limos for giving me the feedback to create it :)
 

LATE

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Great thing you're doing, will help new spriters :). You deserve rep, keep it up!
 
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Yellowhat

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If anyone got questions I'll make a FAQ
and if you don't dear you can PM me and ask to be anonymous!

or if you have any request you can do the same.
 

GhostX

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The hardest thing for me is creatures. I can never find a tutorial on it. I only edit cipsofts and go from there but from scratch? Too hard xd.

So maybe try to cover something for that? XD I understand it will take a lot longer than item tutorials but i think it is a tutorial well needed :)
 

Shadowsong

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Daaamn man, I wanted to re-make and upload my spriting tutorials this week haha :p
But I guess yours will be as good, let's just hope more people start spriting, I can't get enough of pixel art :D

Also I would disagree on something that the common pixel-art definition says, and that's about the automatic manipulation of pixels. I often, if not even always, use various photoshop tools to manipulate my sprites, and they turn out just as good as someone's who doesn't do that. I know some may not approve of this, or find it offensive to call that "pixel-art", because yeah, it steps off the rules and might not be considered as such - but if it gets the job done, then why not.

Sometimes the tools can save you a lot of time, and every second you can save making pixel-art is worth it. Some sprites take hours to make and you can save up to 10-15 precious minutes on more advanced ones if you just help yourself. I think you get me, I mean, who gives a shit if you used some tool or not, if the result still looks as good as if it would otherwise.
I guess you wouldn't do that on some kind of a competition where every pixel counts, or where you have a limited number of colors to work with, but on common pieces, it turns out to be very useful. (I'm specifically talking about brush, burn, dodge, auto AA, etc.)

However, I don't deny that even single pixels can make a difference, and that's why I recommend for anyone to first learn the basic techniques, shading and AA especially, before using any tools or such.
Good to see someone finally thought of getting some tutorials on here, keep it up. :D
 

EpiC1337

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Really helpful, but mine turned out like shit though xD I suck at this :p
 
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Yellowhat

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Really helpful, but mine turned out like shit though xD I suck at this :p
Yeah way better than my firsts. I would suggest that you pay more attention to the shading. It need more contrast. Pick darker colors for the darker parts.

Maybe a following tutorial about color theory would be good?

Color theory
Light theory, shading/highlighting (deeper)
Anti-aliasing
Tibia perspective (creatures and objects)(special for ghostx)

Any interest?
 

EpiC1337

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Yeah way better than my firsts. I would suggest that you pay more attention to the shading. It need more contrast. Pick darker colors for the darker parts.

Maybe a following tutorial about color theory would be good?

Color theory
Light theory, shading/highlighting (deeper)
Anti-aliasing
Tibia perspective (creatures and objects)(special for ghostx)

Any interest?
A tutorial about the color theory would of been awesome :p
 

Dezell

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Now that i think about it it's shit..
 
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Yellowhat

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A first sprite is never shit. It will tell you how far you have gotten within a short period of time.

there is no special secret in beeing a pixel artist. You have to play around a few times before you get it right. So keep on practicing.

a single pixel could destroy a whole sprite. So Im not saying its easy. But looking back on that sprite will surely make you a laugh in the future when you realize how good youve become.

cheer,
Yello What?!
 
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