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Roots

Sprite Design Evolution, a case study

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I've been doing some historical back-tracking related to my project lately and found some old threads on our forums related to various sprites. I found it interesting to see how our sprite models have evolved over the course of the game and thought I would share it. So without further adeu, I present the evolution of the main protagonist's map sprite in Hero of Allacrost:: Version 1.0 Created: September 2004 Artist: Valdroni Version 2.0 Created: January 2005 Artist: Adarias Version 3.0 Created: January 2005 Artist: Safir-Kreuz Version 4.0 Created: November 2005 Artist: Safir-Kreuz, with suggestions and assistance from Jetryl (enlarged) I have side and back animations for most of those somewhere too, but I didn't feel like digging around this morning. But it's interesting to see how our sprites have improved, isn't it? Thoughts or critique anyone?

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That's a pretty cool progression, it's interesting to see the changes in art skill over a course of a major project (not that it wasn't good to begin with).

I myself should do something similar someday :)

By the way what program was used to draw those?

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I think the use of selective outlining reinforces the directional lighting on the character, makeing a more believable figure (note the lighter tones used on the upper edges of the character, compared to the black outline used elsewhere). The artist is definitely learning more advanced tricks of the trade! :) Also, the quality of animation is far more "weighted" and natural in the most recent iteration. Little details, like the rotation of the shoulder plates and the hair bob add character to the movement, and make it feel much more animated.

Excellent work for what appears to be a 7 frame walk cycle... I'd love to see how the aritst handles more advanced animations, with a little more wide range of motion (attacks and such). I do this for a living, and this is the level of work that clients are expecting to see...

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Agreed, the design itself ended up quite nice, and the dynamics of the animation are near rock solid. There is a definite sense of weight and force to the final animation, however, the legs are still a bit stiff and are slightly out of dimensional perspective in relation to the upper body. Just slightly.

edit: Furthermore, it looks as though he is shuffling his feet flatly forward, rather than stepping. This may work if he was wearing slippers on a tile floor, but I imagine not for your purposes!

[Edited by - Salsa on January 21, 2006 8:24:01 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by Prinz Eugn
By the way what program was used to draw those?


I have no idea what they used to be honest. Sorry.


Version 3.0 and 4.0 use only 5 frames for the animation cycle, not 7. I'm not sure what version 1.0 and 2.0 use though. Oh, and do keep in mind that these were not all done by the same artist, but they did build off of each other's work. [smile]

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Really nice work.

However, I would say that the space you save by repeating two images (frames 2/4 and 6/8) isn't worth the cost in animation quality. Specifically, the character's right foot should be a pixel higher in frame 2, and the same for the left foot in frame 6. Right now it looks like the feet are sliding, because they're at the same height in the passing pose (when the foot is off the ground) and the strike pose (when the foot has hit the ground.) If you make that change -- even the copy-paste job I just did, which could certainly be improved upon with some pixel work -- it looks better.

That said, it's a great sprite.

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Are you talking about the version 4.0 sprite, or another version? Like I said, there's only 5 frames to the animation. Here's a skin that our sprite artist put up to make it easy to create new sprites. (Only frames 1-5 are in the animation of V4.0, not frame 0).

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Quote:
Original post by Roots
Are you talking about the version 4.0 sprite, or another version? Like I said, there's only 5 frames to the animation.

When I opened the v4.0 sprite in a .gif editor, I counted eight frames to the loop, although there may have been only five different images. Anyway, you can see the problem in the reference image you posted, too. Compare the images labelled "2" with the images labelled "3." In the side view, you can see that the right foot is lifted up higher in 2 (the passing pose) than in 3 (the strike pose.) (Actually, if anything, the right foot might be a pixel too high in 2.) In the front and back views, the right foot is at the exact same height for both 2 and 3. It matches the side view for 3. For 2... not so much. And that's where the shuffling/sliding effect is coming from.

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Ahhh, I see what you mean now. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll refer our artist to this thread to gain from your wisdom. [wink] And yes, frames are used multiple times in the animation of V4.0.

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Very cool progression :) I have to agree that although the animation is vastly improved by the time it reaches ver 4.0, the feet definately need to lift. For small sprites at this size, its important to over-emphasise movement (in this case the lifting of the feet) or it simply isn't noticable and looks like a slide...

Cool work though, better than any of my sprites and I have loads of published titles :)

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