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Hey ppl. I''m a begginer in game programming, I''ve been doing spare-time coding with C++/DirectX for bout a year but to tell you the truth I like art. And I wish to become an artist as well as a good programmer if I can So I asked around and people told me to start off with basics and 2D.Ok I have Photoshop 7 and I''m ready to go.I start using it and then "BAM" ! What am I doing ?? A 3 years-old kid could do better ! My "art" just looks like weird doddles and scribbles...you guessed it no game art material So please ppl just a few lines on how to make a simple animated sprite would be nice.What size do I draw it ? How ? Advices ? How do I draw sprites to make it animated ? And what do I use in photoshop to make it ? Then how do I implement it in my game ? Thank you for taking the time to read this call for guidance and if I''ve wasted your time,I''m truly sorry. -DarkPsi

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My only suggestio - practice. My art started off rather horribly (and it still is pretty bad), but practice definitly helps. Read up on anything that you can get your hands on.

Moe''s site

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If you''re drawing with a mouse in photoshop, I wouldn''t feel too badly about not having good results. Even if you''re using a tablet, free sketching on a computer is definitely a lot harder than doing the same on paper (at least I''ve found this to be true for myself). Anyway, here''s a few suggestions:

1) Start by generating some concept art of the sprite character you want to create. A detailed front view and profile are a good place to start, as well as a head shot if it has one. You want to feel like you really know your character inside and out before you actually try to animate it. It might be helpful/inspiring to go to blizzard''s website and look at some of the brilliant concept art in their galleries.

2) As for actually creating the sprite, a couple thoughts:

2a) Decide on an aspect ratio for your sprite. For instance, if he''s a side-scroller action hero, you probably want him taller than he is wide, probably 1:2, or 2:3. Look at your concept art and make a reasonable guess.

2b) Now that you''ve picked an aspect ratio, you can work at whatever size you want; as long as your working size is in the same aspect ratio as your final size, you can always scale it down with impunity. I generally think working big is helpful; say you were generating what you figured should be about a 60x90 sprite, if you worked at 600x900 you''d have plenty of room to get even the finest details, and then when you scaled it down, a lot of the rougher parts of the drawing wouldn''t be apparent at all.

2c) Figure out what animation loops you need for your character, about how many frames each loop should have, and about how long you expect each cycle should take. For instance, maybe in a side-scroller beat ''em up, you have a punch cycle, and you figure it takes about 5 frames, and 0.5 seconds, to throw the punch and then return to the start position.

2d) Work in layers! Have a single layer per frame in your animation loop. Set your blend mode so that you can see through to previous layers; this way you can clearly see how the action in the animation is evolving.

2e)In classical animation, it is common to draw extremes first, and then fill in the "in-betweens" afterwards. For example, with the punch cycle, you could start by drawing the guy with his fist coiled back behind his shoulder, then draw the frame with the guy just having thrown his punch, with his arm fully extended. Then you can go back and fill in the middle frames more easily.

2f) In Paint Shop Pro (which I use) you can easily export layered drawings to Animation Shop (PSP''s sister program)--if photoshop has something like this, I recommend you use it repeatedly while you are in process on an animation cycle, so you can see how the drawings actually work in motion.

2g)When you''ve finished all the frames of all the animation loops associated with your sprite, you''re probably going to want to create a single unified image with all of your frames in it, to make it easy to load into your game. It can be as tall as it needs to be, but I suggest you don''t make it any wider than the width of the primary display resolution of your game, (some video cards won''t let you store a surface in VRAM if its stride width is larger than that of the primary display surface).

3) As for implementing it in your game, no easy answer. If you''re already in the process of learing Direct3D, I suggest checking out the sprite functions provided by the D3DX interface; they might be just the ticket. On the other hand, it''s not too hard to write a rudimentary sprite engine yourself; although the issue of having the timing for your animation be independent of your frame rate is a bit tricky (I believe if you look in the articles section you''ll find a writeup of how to do this, actually).

4) Don''t be afraid to shelve the whole game art thing for a while, and work on improving your traditional art. It helps everything, and it''s kind of fun. I hope you succeed at your aspirations; there aren''t too many legitimate artists out there who know much of anything about programming =)

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2D takes a long time really get good at. I''ve been working at it a while and I still have a ways to go. There''s a couple good sites I frequent for 2D sprite tutorials. They deal with animated stuff too. Unfortunately the search is working for me. One is by Tsugumo, and there was another site more recently that filled in gaps the Tsugumo had left out, run a search on the gamedev site for "2D sprite tutorials" choose the match any words and search in Visual Arts forum. Might take a little bit to find but I think that might help some.

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Here''s another simple approach (for my 2 cents worth).

Model your "sprite" in 3D. Use the 3D tool to create the animation. Then render frames every .2 seconds. Clean up the renders, and blam you have your sprites. Plus because you have a model, it''s easier to create a wide variety of animations.

It''s how I''ve done a few things because I can''t draw on the computer worth a damn. But cleaning up renders, that I can do. Plus you have the benefit of learning to 3D model. It''s not nearly as difficult as you might think. Just very time consuming.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
hehe i was just going to post about www.polykarbon.com, well anyways i guess i second the motion

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Muse: You were talking about a tablet to draw on my computer ? Is it really necessary to do acceptable art? If yes which one do you suggest for my needs (As a begginer) ? I hope it''s not too expensive

-Dark_Psi

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