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A Guide to (GOOD) Palette Editing Gimme a chance, fellas :3

#1 User is offline Spektacular 

Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:32 PM

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So! My first post as a trial member. Yes, it's a tutorial! A tutorial that most of you will overlook due to me being a trial member, but, oh well.
The purpose of this simple guide is to teach a basic concept of colours, so the palettes in your Sonic hack don't look batshit insane.
One thing I've learned over time, specifically from a certain other forum that I will not mention, is...
JUST BECAUSE YOU THINK YOUR PALETTE IS GOOD DOESN'T MEAN EVERYONE ELSE WILL.
But it's all a matter of opinion, yes?
In most cases, no—opinions on palettes are, for the most part, universally shared.
I've seen a lot of hacks where the creator boasts about his palettes, and after playing the hack, they look downright stupid.
So don't be that asshole.
I might be that asshole, but most people from the past have seemed to love my palettes.
So, let's get started.
Load up that rom of yours into an editing program.
No disassemblies needed for palette editing :P




EDITS TO BE AVOIDED BY BEGINNERS
These are the palette templates that over the years, I've only seen decently executed by experienced hackers.

I. Changing the time of day. So, you want your GHZ to have a sunset feeling going on? Or you want your EHZ to be during the night? STOP RIGHT THERE. These will be your first mistakes. These two ideas should be avoided for two reasons:
A. They're very awkward to do if you're new at this. Sure, maybe the checkers will look a little lighter orange, but the grass might look like glowing radioactive stuff.
B. They're generic and over-done ideas. Seems like only the experienced hackers can make these two ideas look fresh nowadays.


II. The "Neon" look. Good. God. NO, GHZ will NOT look good with colours that match a rave scene. Don't even fucking try. I'll cut you.


III. The "Dark Re-Imagining" look. Dark colours, bloody grass, etc. I don't care what you say, LZ does not look "cooler" when the water is made red to look like blood. It'll make you look immature, I can promise you that.
It also makes playing on portable devices a pain in the ass.





EDITS TO BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS
These are colour edits that I've never once seen done well. They mostly aren't used by experienced hackers.

I. Making the grass some weird ass colour. It seems that only shades of green fit for grass because, well, it's grass, stupid. Making weird coloured grass makes your hack look too odd, people won't be familiar with weird colours, therefore, people will subconciously lose interest in it. It'll look like Sonic is on some alien planet.


II. Grey ANYWHERE. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Grey checkers in Green Hill? NO. Grey Marble? "OH but it's a castle stage" FUCK YOU MAKE IT BRICK. Grey Springyard? NO. Labyrinth? NO. Starlight? NO. The only exceptions to this are, in fact, the mechanical stages. There it will look cool.


III. Making night-time coloured stages day-time coloured. Kind of like above, but this will never look good, I've seen a lot of hacks where they tried to make Starlight look like it's in the morning, it looks like shit.




So that's about all for now. Before anyone starts bitching, keep in mind that I'm NOT telling you to follow this guide, but it will make things a lot better if you do. I've been studying art for a long while now, what colours do what to the brain, what colours pull you in or blow you out. Some hacks, if you haven't noticed, have done NOTHING but change the palettes, yet you keep playing because they use amazing colours that are not too "IN YOUR FACE" about it, they're calm or complimenting colours that pull you in and make you want to press on. One strategy I use for basic palette editing is starting with the darkest colour, then working my way up. Learning how darker colours contrast with the lighter ones can really help you when you're wondering what kind of feel you want going on in your level. But all in all, as I said above, it's all a matter of preference. What you choose to make of this guide is up to, well, you.
Happy hacking.

#2 User is offline Aerosol 

Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:54 PM

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Can I be frank?

You hardly seem to know what you're talking about. Telling someone not to do something because it's hard is...well. Presumptuous. It's better to warn that it will be difficult to do correctly rather than advise not to do it all.
This post has been edited by AerosolSP: 25 January 2012 - 11:49 PM

#3 User is offline MarkeyJester 

Posted 25 January 2012 - 11:44 PM

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In addition to agreeing with AerosolSP, I would like to bring to your attention that those who are often associated with terrible design choices, gaming/planning, and even programming directions, are often those who are impatient, self delusional, and have a high sense of ignorance, hence, it is likely they will not read your guide for those very reasons. As for those who are most likely to give it a read, these individuals are likely the ones to have the common sense to know what does and does not look good without going into design philosophy, hence this guide won't tell them anything they don't already know.

Another problem is, we have reached a new level in the scene in which palette hacks aren't praised as much anymore, we have advanced to a new age where the art, music and programming itself is vastly more important, and we (as a scene) are starting to experiment more with different directions and styles (including original art) in which "palette editing" has now become "palette creating" and hence renders your guide quite useless, we no longer need a "palette editing" guide, but rather a "design creation" guide, however, such a guide cannot really be created without being contradicted considering the many methods of art creation that exist out there. The only advice in such a guide you could give is "Open your eyes and look at the thing, if it actually looks good, then well done, if not, start again please".

Different games/hacks will have a different set of directions and reasons to have art in a specific way that most may find not as pleasant, but because of the direction in which the game/hack is going in, the art has to follow that direction in order to work with the game/hack, that is why you don't see any decent guides on how to make art, there is no set direction universally, only common sense.

#4 User is offline Spektacular 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:02 AM

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View PostAerosolSP, on 25 January 2012 - 09:54 PM, said:

Telling someone not to do something because it's hard is...well. Presumptuous. It's better to warn that it will be difficult to do correctly rather than advise not to do it all.



View PostMarkeyJester, on 25 January 2012 - 11:44 PM, said:

Different games/hacks will have a different set of directions and reasons to have art in a specific way that most may find not as pleasant, but because of the direction in which the game/hack is going in, the art has to follow that direction in order to work with the game/hack, that is why you don't see any decent guides on how to make art, there is no set direction universally, only common sense.


Sorry guys. Those are some pretty good points. I wanted to try and contribute something so I didn't look like a useless piece of shit, but I guess I failed horribly :<
It'd be nice if someone could delete this thread.

#5 User is offline SteelBrush 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:16 AM

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If you do want to make a palette editing tutorial, I think it would be far more important to talk about colour theory. Also it would be good if you mentioned the specific tools used for palette editing, such as what are the pros and cons of each program.

#6 User is offline GeneHF 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:06 AM

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View PostSpektacular, on 26 January 2012 - 12:02 AM, said:

Sorry guys. Those are some pretty good points. I wanted to try and contribute something so I didn't look like a useless piece of shit, but I guess I failed horribly :<
It'd be nice if someone could delete this thread.

You would be very surprised how many people are members here without really contributing anything outside of loudmouth and useless opinions. Just look at any of the Megathreads in General Sonic Discussion. :v:

Don't feel that you have to contribute something with hacking. Chances are that it's been covered in this scene in the last 10 years, especially palette edits. Any dime a dozen tool can do it, be it SonED or the more antiquated Esrael Sonic Editor for those that don't have the drive to get into disassemblies.

Your heart's in the right place, certainly, but don't feel you HAVE TO make something. As the others mentioned, you could talk a little more about color theory. Not everyone has taken some sort of art course, so stuff like working colors to complement or contrast each other would work well. You know, the whole blue and orange thing that everyone and their mother into design is so in love with these days.

The only thing you need to do as a trial member is just relax and post. You're not expected to revolutionize anything. We're not THAT big a group of assholes. :eng101:

#7 User is offline Tribeam 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:57 AM

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View PostSpektacular, on 25 January 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:


I. Changing the time of day.
II. The "Neon" look.
III. The "Dark Re-Imagining" look. Dark colours, bloody grass

...

I. Making the grass some weird ass colour.
II. Grey ANYWHERE.


OMG WTF HAVE I DONE?!
Posted Image

Sorry couldn't resist trying to add all those points in one shot lol

Your guide is very....unstable I guess the word I'm looking for? Better yet it seems held together with scotch tape.
However I think you're trying way to hard to get approval, just post, talk about sonic stuff, ect ect. you don't need to go to such extreme's to become a member.

#8 User is offline Cinossu 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:05 AM

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While this is a nice idea, something like this would've been more likely to be seen a number of years ago.

Palette editing, while still key to a ROM hack, is not as black & white as you make it out to be. Yes, neon edits of existing levels are generally bad, but they can work depending on changed art or in specific areas of it depending on the zone's situation. Day/Night transitions do work when done well, finding the balance is key. Grey DOES work in other areas, but it has to be complemented appropriately.

As Gene has said, you don't need to do something like this with your trial posts to prove yourself worthy of full membership, although the gesture is obviously appreciated. Just relax, be yourself, and I'm sure you'll be fine.

If, however, you DO want to continue something like this, I suggest you look into disassemblies and art editing yourself before doing so. You'll find so much more available to you for guiding on. Also, with a guide like this, you need to put in good things to do, not just the bad. Examples of said bad and good things in screenshots (the right size; 320x224/240 and not 640x480) would be a great thing too. That way, you can show that you're not just saying "this looks bad because I say so and I don't know any different myself", but that you actually know what you're doing.

#9 User is offline Infiniti 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 07:41 AM

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View PostSpektacular, on 25 January 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:

II. Grey ANYWHERE. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Grey checkers in Green Hill? NO. Grey Marble? "OH but it's a castle stage" FUCK YOU MAKE IT BRICK. Grey Springyard? NO. Labyrinth? NO. Starlight? NO. The only exceptions to this are, in fact, the mechanical stages. There it will look cool.

Posted Image
Tell that to Sonic Team...

#10 User is offline Chimpo 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 07:42 AM

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View PostInfiniti, on 26 January 2012 - 07:41 AM, said:

View PostSpektacular, on 25 January 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:

II. Grey ANYWHERE. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Grey checkers in Green Hill? NO. Grey Marble? "OH but it's a castle stage" FUCK YOU MAKE IT BRICK. Grey Springyard? NO. Labyrinth? NO. Starlight? NO. The only exceptions to this are, in fact, the mechanical stages. There it will look cool.

Posted Image
Tell that to Sonic Team...


Fuck, I would.

Scrap Brain Act 3 is the worst act in the entire game.

#11 User is offline MegaDash 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:52 AM

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View PostTribeam, on 26 January 2012 - 04:57 AM, said:

View PostSpektacular, on 25 January 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:


I. Changing the time of day.
II. The "Neon" look.
III. The "Dark Re-Imagining" look. Dark colours, bloody grass

...

I. Making the grass some weird ass colour.
II. Grey ANYWHERE.


OMG WTF HAVE I DONE?!
Posted Image

Sorry couldn't resist trying to add all those points in one shot lol


I kinda like that actually. Reminds me of LttP's Dark World.

#12 User is offline Mr. Mash 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:20 AM

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I think good palletes still rely on good colour theory, just like painting, design etc. Greys, Neon, and different times of day can all be used if you know what you're doing.
Luckily though, you're working in a whacky world where there's a blue hedgehog that destroys giant space robots, so you can push the palletes pretty far, and still have them convincing.
Posted ImagePosted Image
So basically, you can be as subtle or extreme as you like in your palletes, you've just got to know how to use the colours.

#13 User is offline Spektacular 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:57 AM

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Well, after re-reading this thread, mainly my post, I can't help to wonder what the hell I was thinking.
I was aiming to explain a bit of the colour theory and how it can play into hacks, but I sort of just ranted.
Not a "Hacking" tutorial, but an "Art" tutorial.
Maybe I'll write a not-so-useless guide sometime.
This post has been edited by Spektacular: 26 January 2012 - 09:59 AM

#14 User is offline Selbi 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:58 AM

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View PostSpektacular, on 26 January 2012 - 09:57 AM, said:

Maybe I'll write a not-so-useless guide sometime.

Hey, take that line back right now! It's not useless in any way, because, although it's cutting open an old topic, it does list the facts that need to be addressed. Apart from that, the rest of the thread gives interesting opinions on palette edits and really shows that normally awkward looking colors can work really well together with good custom art.

What really should be banned to the ground is 8 years old idiots making crap like this and considering themselves super duper amazing.

#15 User is offline GT Koopa 

Posted 26 January 2012 - 11:04 AM

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Posted Image

Posted Image

I like using gray shades. It is what I think of when I want something metal, or stone.

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