- Mar 11, 2013
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I. What is Spriting?
II. Where do I start?
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!