Creating Sprites

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by serpx, Dec 24, 2019.

  1. serpx

    serpx

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    Hello!

    I've found a sudden jolt of motivation where I have interest in learning how to draw sprites. Specifically, my end game is to be able to draw sprites that mimic the Genesis or Sega CD style sprites in our favorite classic Sonic titles (Sonic 1, 2, 3 & K, CD).

    What suggestions would you have for someone that is starting from scratch with going from newbie to pro? How to go about starting?
     
  2. True Dude

    True Dude

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    Aside from constant practice, I'd recommend the getting Aseprite. Best program for Pixel art I've used:
    https://www.aseprite.org/
     
  3. Ritz

    Ritz

    Subhedgehog Member
    Pixel art is attractive to beginner artists because it looks easy, and it can be, but you're going to flounder with getting a good result if you don't have a strong grounding in the fundamentals of drawing and painting. There's no shortcut (I've spent the last 14 years looking). I'll try to lay out the shortest path you can take toward Sonic-quality level art:

    If you're a complete beginner, you need to spend some time drawing from life to develop your 2D perception and motor skills. If you're still in high school or college, any drawing course is good for that. If not, read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (I haven't, but people swear by it). Once you can accurately outline a still life, read Loomis. Fun With a Pencil is a good introduction to constructing forms from imagination (the Most Important Thing), Successful Drawing is an excellent primer on perspective and color theory.

    Next comes painting. The key thing about pixel art that people tend to overlook is that it's just low resolution digital painting (see also: Artstation, CGSociety)- an understanding of how light, color and texture work are prerequisites for rendering art with confidence, but pixel art is the worst way to learn that since good pixel art is all about inferring detail that isn't actually present. Studying existing pixel art will only teach you a particular solution to a rendering problem without providing the context by which the artist arrived at that solution. So:

    1) Get a tablet. Wacom only, no Huion bullshit. The 6" x 8" Intuos 3 that cost me $300 in 2006 can be bought used on eBay for $20 right now, it's the best possible value for your money.
    2) Learn Photoshop and/or Krita. Krita's free and is honestly way better for digital painting, but learning Photoshop will be a boon to your budding career as a professional artist (this is your new life) and will give you the most solid foundation since it's the template for every art program that came after.
    3) Once you've learned how to blend using a basic hard round brush with opacity set to pressure, go buy a fruit/vegetable and paint it as realistically as you can. This thread was my guide, although sadly most of the embeds are dead now.
    4) Have fun painting for a few years. For reference, I got into art with the intention of producing Sonic tilesets and it took me 9 years to return to pixel art with confidence. I got sidetracked, your mileage may vary

    All that remains at this point are some of the finer details of palette management. Art is 70% observation, so the most important thing that you can do right now is to download some tile rips (like here and here), zoom in and just really study them. I've spent HOURS vegging out staring at Chaotix at 400% zoom and it had a profound influence on my entire artistic identity. It's a particularly good starting point since you get to see the same scenes under four notably realistic lighting conditions.

    Oh and Pro Motion NG is hands down the best app for pixel art. If money's a problem, try Grafx2- it covers 85% of the same feature set, just with an ancient UI that eventually becomes charming once you get used to it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  4. Ritz

    Ritz

    Subhedgehog Member
    And now that I'm feeling nostalgic, I just remembered the first tutorial I saw that convinced me that art was something I could actually do. Still a good window for the process of developing a picture from scratch. Feng Zhu is even better for that.
     
  5. serpx

    serpx

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    Incredible -- thank you both for taking the time to share your perspectives. Ritz, your message and the details with it is SUPER helpful. Makes sense to understand the basics of art and applying it in modalities such as painting in order to confidently produce what the classic games have in sprites. And thank you both for taking time to send links to resources.

    I knew this wasn't going to be a simple journey, and am hopeful I have the endurance to someday feel confident of putting what's in my brain onto paper with satisfaction.

    Side Note: I checked out your twitter @Ritz and holy crap, great work! Definitely goals for me.