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Shiny's Spriting Tips

Shiny Pyxis

2016 Singles Football
I know we already have a few of these, but I thought I'd give my hand at it as well. Anyways, I'm going to do this bit by bit, as I don't have too much time to do a huge "this is how I sprite a complete trainer!" tutorial. ^^;


I see a lot of people having problems when making outlines and stuff, so I thought I'd give some pointers for them.

1) Avoid using straight lines

I know straight lines are easier to draw, but in reality, very few things are actually completely straight. People and living things are definitely made of curves, and while a few straight lines here and there are fine, your fakemon's tail should not be a rectangle. And I really hope your trainer's pants don't look like the first example at the top.

2) Avoid overlapping lines

Similarly, when scratch-spriting, especially with the pencil tool, your lines often look something like the image on the left, right? This makes your outline look clunky and messy. I highly suggest cleaning up lines so that you have as few right angles as possible. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule (if you want something to look pointy, lines often overlap), but in general it's a good idea to go back and erase the bits at the corners and around curves.

For more in-depth about overlapping lines, curves, and angles, Cave of Dragonflies has a pretty decent guide here. I suggest you look at it! (It also has other good spriting tips, if you want to read more, but yeah)

3) Use colors other than black

The difference is subtle and might not be immediately noticeable, but alternating between black and another color can bring more depth to your sprite. This isn't to say to never use black; in fact, black can help add depth to your sprite when used right. I had to learn this myself as I used to never use black for a lot of my sprites, and I realized black helped make the sprite pop out more.

4) Don't use the shape tool
If you're using MS Paint, you probably have the shape tool. Avoid using it at all costs, it's clunky and has a lot of flaws. If you must use it, keep in mind you might have to go back and rearrange some pixels to fix things.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Any other spriters who has tips for peoples for anything, feel free to contribute! I'll probably talk about shading next week, since that's another big thing, eheh.
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Shiny Pyxis

2016 Singles Football
MS Paint Tools/Tips

MS Paint has a pretty decent variety of tools to use, despite being free to use. Many spriters (including myself!) use it, either because they have nothing better to use or because it's just simple and not too hard to pick up. I'll be here to explain some of the more useful tools you can find on the toolbar, and how to use them effectively.

The explanations can get kinda long especially with pictures, so I've hidden everything behind spoiler tags.

1) The Selection Tool

The selection tool is a pretty neat thing and can be used in a variety of ways. Usually I just use it to pick out a base from a sprite sheet, but it can also be used for moving parts of a sprite to a different area, adjusting the size of a sprite, etc.

The Transparent selection thing you see at the very bottom is IMMENSELY useful, as it takes anything matching your background color and ignores it when moving stuff around.

So instead of something like this happening (oh no, part of her hand is cut off!):

You can instead get this (I can see her hand!):

Pretty neat, huh?

You can also use the selection tool to rotate and flip anything you've selected. Keep in mind this is a little glitchy, so if you want to rotate something 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise, you'll have to make sure your selection is a perfect square, or else some pixels might get lost.

2) The Pencil Tool

I already talked about the pencil tool in my previous post, but basically you should use the pencil tool when drawing outlines and adding details to shading/highlights in your sprite. It's simple to use, really.

One thing to note is that if you right click on your mouse, the pixel added to the canvas becomes that of the background color. So say I have a green canvas, and my foreground color is black while my background color is white. (on paint, your foreground color is "Color 1" and your background color is "Color 2")

If I use the pencil tool regularly by pressing the left mouse button, I should have something like this:

However, if I instead right-clicked while drawing, I'll be using the background color to draw!

How cool is that?

3) The Paintbucket Tool

Used to fill in colors. There's really not much to say about this tool either; I mainly use it to fill in the flat colors of a sprite first before going back in with the pencil tool and adding shades and possibly highlights. Sometimes, if a particular region to shade is large enough, I'll go back with the paintbucket tool and fill it in.

Like the pencil tool, right clicking on your mouse will fill the region with the background color as opposed to the foreground color. I don't think I need to show an example since it's very similar to the pencil tool. ^^;

4) Eraser Tool

The eraser tool isn't just for erasing, actually! You can use it for that, but there's one other neat trick I'd like to show you.

So back to our green canvas with our colors of black foreground, white background, what if I have a black shape that I now want to be colored white?

Using the eraser tool, I can just right click on my mouse and anything that's black is now replaced with white!

(I was in the process of erasing so you still see some black there, but yeah)

This is really useful for color replacement and recoloring a sprite! I use this tool all the time, it's one of the greatest things in paint. (Of course, programs like photoshop and whatnot have better options, but that's a whole 'nuther story.)

5) Eyedropper Tool

EXTREMELY important in spriting. If you ever lose a color, the eyedropper tool is there to help you pick the exact color you need. No more going back into the color selection and guessing what your color is.

So say, I want to turn Kris's jacket yellow instead of white in this sprite, and I want it to be the same yellow as her shorts.

Using the eyedropper tool, I can easily go back and pick out the exact yellow I need...

... and color in the jacket!

I usually pair this up with the eraser tool by right clicking on the color I want to replace (which will select that color to be the background color/Color 2) and then using the right-click erasing thing. They're a very powerful couple!

6) Zoom Tool

This is the ONE tool that actually doesn't edit your sprite at all, but rather just helps you make the sprite appear bigger to you. My sprites are usually 80x80 pixels, but that's extremely hard on the eyes. The zoom tool lets you make your sprite appear bigger or smaller to you and thus allows you to edit the details on your sprite better. Left click is zoom in, right click is zoom out.

You can also zoom in and out of your sprite by holding ctrl on your keyboard and scrolling with your mouse.

However, zooming into your sprite sometimes messes with how your brain sees proportions and whatnot, which is why the following item is so important...

7) Thumbnail

Can be a little difficult to find, but the thumbnail allows you to see how your sprite actually looks with its actual dimensions. What might look okay zoomed in could look horrendously messy at the actual size. If you're spriting zoomed in (which you should be or else you're really straining your eyes), it's highly recommended to have a thumbnail open so you can check back and forth between what you're editing and what the actual sprite looks like.

A thumbnail should look something like this:

That's all I really have with MS Paint Tools! If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them here and I'll answer them to the best of my abilities. ^^;

Shiny Pyxis

2016 Singles Football
Spriting Trainer Hair

I made this a bit back but forgot to upload it. Ah well ^^;

1) Get your base head

This is pretty straight forward; get your base sprite, figure out which part of the body is its head. Here, I chose Aaron's head because it's fairly simple to use.

2) Shave all the hair off!

It's actually a little more complicated than just removing all the hair; first of all, hair is poofy, so if you make your sprite bald the head's outlines should actually fit somewhere inside where all that hair was (so the overall shape of the head is smaller than before). I like keeping heads rounded, too, very much just like what you see here.

3) Outline the hairstyle you want

As mentioned before, hair is poofy, so when outlining the hair can (and probably should) go outside of the shaved head's outline. Here, I outlined the hair in red to show how his hair's shape relates to the size of his head.

4) Erase whatever's inside the hair outline

I think this step doesn't require too much explaining. Erase anything you don't need of the head. I also changed the hair's outline color since I want him to have purple hair.

5) Pick some colors out for your hair

This is for shading purposes and whatnot. For me, I pick my base color first, and then go on to the next darkest shade by increasing hue (or decreasing, kinda depends on the colors and whatnot), lowering saturation, and lowering brightness. The shade after that would be the outline color, and I do the same thing as before. The brightest color you see is actually the color for the highlights, and basically I do the opposite of what I just mentioned doing for the other colors. Picking colors for shades and highlights kinda comes with a lot of experimentation and whatnot, and if you're not confident picking colors from scratch you can always pick out pre-existing palettes on existing Pokemon sprites. That's what I did for many, MANY years of spriting, and I still do so sometimes.

You could always go with more or less shades than shown here, but this is what I typically like to do. Gives the hair a shinier feel or something.

6) Fill in the base color

As noted, this is the second lightest color on the palette, as the lightest one is used for highlights.

7) Add in shading!

This kinda also comes from experience of spriting, but in general for Pokemon, your light source is somewhere in the upper left hand corner. I usually go around in a spherical/diagonal fashion on each bit of hair from there (that probably made more sense in my mind than it did to you, sorry), and maybe add in a pixel or two to better define things like bangs, spikes, hair parting, etc.

8 ) Add in highlights!

Highlights usually shouldn't take up too many pixels and usually make a sort of halo/semi-circular ring around the top of the head. Other people might just leave out the highlights completely and go with more shading, or have more highlights than just a halo, but this is what I do. Mess around a bit and see what you like.

9) Adjust the outline

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts here, adding black to an outline can help define the sprite better and make it pop out more. This part is very much a trial-and-error thing; it helps to have a thumbnail open and see what works and what doesn't while you go back and change certain pixels from the outline color to black.

10) End Result (actual size of the sprite when I was done with everything)

And you're done! That's basically all there is to spriting hair; much of this is being patient and experimenting with what works and what doesn't. I suggest starting off with simple stuff like straight, not-too-messy stuff with little to no bangs, and branching off from there. I still struggle with spriting spiky hair myself, but like everyone, I keep learning and experimenting. ^^
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Shiny Pyxis

2016 Singles Football
I'll start off with a disclaimer: I am by no means an expert at color theory or shading, though I've done a lot of self-studying for a while now and I wanted to share a bit of what I learned.

Terms Explained:

1) Brightness, aka how dark or light a color is. Usually explained as just adding black or white to a color or value, from my experience.


2) Hue, aka the colors people usually think of as "different". For example, blue and red are different hues.


3) Saturation, aka how vivid the color is. This is the hardest for me to explain, but it's basically how close to the color value you are.

General tips:
1) Don't shade with black!

Here is an example of a ball I made where the only difference between each shade is its brightness value. In real life, shading is almost never just "add black/add white" to make things darker and lighter. There are some exceptions, but none that I can think of off the top of my head.


Here is the same ball with the same base color, but adjustments to the colors of its shades and highlights. Still cartoonish due to the nature of cell-shading, but more realistic.

2) Light Source
Using the above image, we can pretty easily tell that there is a single light source is somewhere towards the front-upper-left of the image. This is where most of the light sources for your front-facing Pokemon sprites are. For backsprites, your light source, relative to the sprite, is in the back-upper-right. It's always important to keep in mind where your light source is.

3) Experiment!
A LOT of shading for me is messing around with color values and seeing what works and what doesn't. Different colors will look different under different light sources. Most Pokemon sprites, though, are usually made with an outside light source in mind, so the highlights tend more towards yellowish and shades more towards blueish. This isn't a set rule, though, and objects of different materials will have different kinds of shading and colors. Always keep in mind what your base color is, though, and work from there.

This is honestly the most basic of basics on shading; I highly suggest googling stuff on shading because it's one of the most complex areas, since a lot of things about how we perceive color are qualitative and not quantitative. As I stated, I'm not an expert, and I never took actual classes to learn about shading and color relationships and all that. Really, the best way to learn is by practice and experimentation, and I think that applies to everything, not just spriting or art.
@Shiny Lyni how do you draw in 'Cubes' in ms paint? I Colourswap in ms paint but that's about it, i can't Sprite and wanted to so I looked at this. It's extremely helpful but I don't have fa because my dad is the only one with a compatible computer for it and won't let me download it. I want to give Spriting a go but as I said before, I don't really know how to draw cubes or pixels, or whatever you want to call them. Can you help?

Shiny Pyxis

2016 Singles Football
In the simplest terms I can offer you, the images you see on a screen (be it a game console, your TV, your computer, phone, etc.) are made of tiny little dots. These little dots are called pixels. When doing sprite art or pixel art, there is a sharp, defined distinction between colors and lines, as opposed to smoother transitions between colors in other forms of digital art.

I think using fonts would be a good way to show what I mean:


This is the exact same font (envy code R bold) at the exact same font size, but the top one is more pixely while the bottom one has less sharply defined borders. Zoomed in, the fonts look like this:


The top font's boundaries are still clearly defined, but now the bottom one looks fuzzier. We'd call the top font a pixel font, and the bottom one would be just... a normal kind of font you'd find anywhere.

As for how to draw pixels, you don't. You use pixels to make a picture in digital art, and the way you do that is typically with the pencil tool, which I talked about in my second post. All image editing programs should have the pencil tool; the icon is quite literally a pencil. If you can't find it, you could also go to your brushes and change the setting from brush to pencil.



(You'd also want to make sure the Eraser you're using is using the "pencil" setting as well, and that your pencil/brush size is 1)

If your question is actually "how would you draw a pixel cube", the answer is "with straight, parallel lines, and a general knowledge of geometry".