AuthorTopic: Need some help learning pixel art sprites  (Read 7675 times)

Offline TechBro

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Need some help learning pixel art sprites

on: May 24, 2014, 05:19:55 pm
Hi!

I've been working on a sidescrolling action game for about 6 months now. I have no problems with coding, I'm learning fast. Already have the main code written, so my character can already run around, jump, shoot etc. I can play diffirent sprite animations for jumping and falling, dashing and I have a tile processing engine and scrolling backgrounds set up.

I was just about to move on to level design, when I noticed that I just don't like the way the game looks. I have to remake sprites. So far I have been doing anime sort of illustrations using vector graphics and exporting them to pixels. But that is just an excuse for sprites. I must learn pixel art myself, since I don't have enough cash to pay a designer to do sprites for me.

I was already playing around with those small 16x16 sprites, and that's pretty easy.

I've also done some of higher resolution (150x150) sprites that games like Street Fighter use, and it's also not that hard, because you can just draw outlines, scan them and put pixels over them.

Those aren't the type of sprites that I'm looking for tho'.
I need something like the sprites that were used in games like Megaman Zero for Gameboy advance.
Something like this:


These are Megaman Zero sprites from GBA series, and I have a huge admiration for Capcom, who made these.
I have absolutely NO IDEA how did they manage to do these awesome sprites!
This probably wans't hand drawn first.
Am I supposed to use pencil input device or a mouse? And how do you even begin to make them? Where do I start? Should I do outline first, and then put in color and shading or what?

Any help appreciated! Tutorials, tips, anything. Help please.
Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 05:22:51 pm by TechBro »

Offline namunamnom

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Re: Need some help learning pixel art sprites

Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 08:41:56 am
Heya!

When I read the title side-scrolling, it reminds me of my favorite game so I just had to reply!  ;D

The thing is, when you said "side-scrolling action game' did you mean hack and slash games, like Devil May Cry and MegaMan? or did you mean 2D fighting games, such as Touhou Shinkirou(my fav game) and Tekken?

Sprites for those kinds of games are either made in a a side view or 3/4 view.
Examples


1/4 view aka quarter view

1/2 view aka side view
ALL STOLEN FROM TOUHOU SHINKIROU HARHARHAR

 While for the tools, it depends on your own skill. Example, if you can control your mouse well, then i guess its no problem. But if you can't, the pen tablet is your friend. The programs I recommend are the ones that have layer systems, so you don't erase the parts by mistake (like in MS paint

I also recommend drawing the sketch first. After that do anything you want (in my case, I draw the outline first)

I know it's not that helpful but I do hope this (kinda helps!

Offline Buko-Studios

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Re: Need some help learning pixel art sprites

Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 03:16:14 pm
We can chime in with some thoughts/advice..

The key to this kind of animation is an efficient workflow. This is essential to creating a large amount of frames in a short time span.

The basics involve, fast selection of colour, quick translation of blocks or layers of pixels, and cycling or scrubbing of the animation frames. Typically all on various hotkeys.

Personally we do our work with a pen/tablet, but this is not essential with this kind of art.

If you search around you may find some different techniques for animating.
Our preference is to block in the main shapes with flat colours, and get the motion right.
After this comes the cleanup, outlines, and shading.

All the best with it!

Buko Studios
Game Art & Design Specialists
Check out our portfolio [Facebook][Deviant art]

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Need some help learning pixel art sprites

Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 06:16:42 pm
And definitely not shamelessly aping capcom's sprites.   ::)

Offline Buko-Studios

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Re: Need some help learning pixel art sprites

Reply #4 on: June 01, 2014, 06:01:22 am
In that particular case, yes, quite closely matched in style.
Such was the client brief (who provided the character concepts too).

I can assure you each frame was created by hand, the same way the capcom work would have been created.
We have plenty of original work in our portfolio too!
 :-[
Buko Studios
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Offline Drazelic

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Re: Need some help learning pixel art sprites

Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 02:07:42 am
Do note that it's not as daunting as it looks. Take a close look at that Zero sheet you have in the OP, and focus on rows 3-5.

It seems like there's so many sprites, right? But in fact there's only really a third as many. Every 3 sprites are literally the same thing except for differences in lighting due to the buster shot.

This principle holds true for the whole sheet. Every pose is replicated three times, making the entire thing seem much more inflated than it actually is. Take the challenge piece by piece and it's probably going to turn out much easier than trying to do the whole thing in one go. Set your first goal to a standing pose, then a basic run skeleton, then a run animation... Piecemeal!