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[Guide] Matt's Introduction to Pixel Art

Discussion in 'Arts and Graphics' started by Scatterbrain, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Scatterbrain

    Scatterbrain You only live once*

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    Ever wanted to learn how to sprite? This is probably the tutorial for you, then. Before we start, here's some advice: you're never going to be "good" in one day. It takes time! As I look at my work from when I first started, and as many famous spriters such as Rioku and Annoying Orange, we all can agree that sometimes we have very odd and crappy looking sprites, with newbie mistakes. That's okay. In fact, "good" is subjective. What might be good to one person, might be complete trash or rubbish to another.

    To access MS Paint, go to the Windows icon, then navigate through All Programs > Accessories > Paint. (Windows 7)

    Once you open it, it should look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Now, here's a small introduction to the tools in the toolbox.

    [​IMG]

    The Pencil - the most powerful tool. With it, you can color your sprites with! If you left click and draw with it, then you'll fill it with the foreground color. If you right click it, however, it will fill it with the background color. (Same with the Eraser, but we'll get into that later)

    The Paint Bucket - it fills a group of pixels of the exact same shade (there's more than 4 billion possible ones, but most sprites stick to anywhere from 5 - 20) with the foreground / background colour, such as with the Pencil.

    Text - you probably won't use this, but it generates text with fonts and sizes that you are free to customize. Nothing too fancy, but you can erase parts of the text created by it with the Pencil and Eraser.

    Eraser - erases all colour, filling it with the background color (no matter if you left click or right click). Pretty good if you need to erase parts without destroying the background.

    Color Picker - absorbs a selected color from the canvas. You can do this by left or right clicking, and will put it as a foreground/background color, respectively.

    Maginifier - possibly the most useless of the tools. It does zoom in on the image, but you can do this with Ctrl + Scrollwheel. If you scroll forward, it zooms in. If you scroll backward, it zooms out. You almost always want to go to 800% if you're working on the sprite. If you want to check on how the sprite looks overall, go to 100%. Staying at 800% isn't always the best idea if you want an idea of the 'big picture'.

    Now, one more thing before we get started. The Select tool:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry if it's blurry. What you want to do is go all the way to the bottom and select Transparent Selection. What this does is simple, it makes the background go bye-bye, if any.

    Now, onto our adventure! We'll start with two small Pokemon, Bulbasaur and Turtwig. BTW, I get my sprites from here. You also don't have to use just Gen 5 sprites, you can use any Generation sprite you want, even the ones from Pokesho (on the same link.)

    After that, go to Paste > Select the file you want. It has to be an image file (JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.), or else MS Paint won't know what to do with it. You should create a folder (Right Click on Desktop > New Folder) if you're really going to take this up as a hobby.

    [​IMG]

    This is what it looks like when you paste both into the same canvas at 800% zoom (again, Ctrl + Scrollwheel on mouse.)

    Using the Free Select tool, cut off Bulbasaur's bulb, and you should get something like this. By the way, it doesn't have to be perfect.

    [​IMG]

    After that, erase some of the parts you don't need, and drag the Turtwig towards it so it looks like Bulbasaur's bulb is growing on his shell.

    [​IMG]

    Notice the arrow. That is a white space, also a part of the background. To solve this, use the Color Picker and draw on it so it isn't there anymore.

    The resulting product should look a little like this.

    [​IMG]

    Done, right? Yes, and no. Personally, I would recolor it so it doesn't look so foreign, but that's your choice. Spriting is all about free will and expression, just as much as any other type of art.

    After this, select it, right click it, then select Crop. This will turn the selected area into the canvas, cutting it. Save it as a PNG image, for the best quality. (JPEG, BMP, etc. files have a considerably lower degree of quality for pixel art when it comes to PNG files)

    After you are done, go to an image hosting site, such as tinypic.com or photobucket.com (I prefer tinypic because it's a lot simpler and doesn't have a laggy UI, or user interface.)

    After done upload, make sure you copy the code with the code. Do not, under any circumstances, upload from your desktop.

    [IMG]http://i43.tinypic.com/10nfgb5.jpg

    Tips:

    Ctrl + Z undoes an action, while Ctrl + Y redoes an action. Due to the very shitty crappy capabilities of Windows 7 and the program overall, it's only able to undo/redo so many mistakes before it stops. - Matt Ayala

    Have any suggestions for tips? Would like to praise this guide? Or add a tip yourself? Please, leave a comment.

    Thanks for reading. Hope I inspired you, and possibly, shared some valuable knowledge. After all, isn't that what we're here for?
     
  2. Duster

    Duster dodgerswin 2018

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    Nice guide for beginners, great job.

    What program do you generally use for spriting work though?
    I prefer to use Paint.NET, makes stuff much easier.
     
  3. Scatterbrain

    Scatterbrain You only live once*

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    MS Paint -- the UI (user interface) is so much easier to navigate than GIMP's. I don't have good experience with Paint.NET or GIMP, I just use the latter to make backgrounds transparent.
     
  4. Duster

    Duster dodgerswin 2018

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    Oh, nice.
    You should give Paint.NET a try though.
     
  5. Scatterbrain

    Scatterbrain You only live once*

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    I think we should have a guide for Paint.NET and GIMP now that you mention it. Contradictary interface, settings and technology are always hard to grasp especially with different programs because the simple Python (or is it Ruby?) may be a thousand times different than the way Paint.NET is set up. Idk, MS Paint is sort of an essential especially for grasping the very basics of pixel art.

    Everything in our world, digital or not, is broadcasted basically into billions of pixels. I think all people can be inspired by the simplicity yet beauty of pixel art.
     
  6. Duster

    Duster dodgerswin 2018

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    Hmm, maybe I'll make a guide on Paint.NET or some other sprite tools that I use.
    Don't have much experience with GIMP though..
     
  7. Suigetsu

    Suigetsu Active Member

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    Nice guide, although there is much more to be learnt afterwards, like removing and replacing parts, swapping colour with rubber tricks, palettes, dithering, shading, what colours to use and what colours to avoid etc.

    Nice job though, it'll surely help a few people get started off!

    Side Note: I use MS Paint, by far the simplest and easiest interface, then i transfer to gimp for a transparent background :]
     
  8. Scatterbrain

    Scatterbrain You only live once*

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    Same here bro. This hasn't been updated in the longest time, and I completely forgot this existed.
     
  9. Duster

    Duster dodgerswin 2018

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