Sign in to follow this  
Timesplitter14

Hand-Drawn Sprites?

Recommended Posts

I'm having a real hard time drawing good sprites in Photoshop, and I'm even worse at animating them. However, I'm good at drawing with a pencil. Does it work well to scan drawings to make sprites with them? (and color them with photoshop) Is this a common practice? What works best for you? Taking someone else's sprites is out of question for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's possible to scan in hand drawn artwork and then trace over it in photoshop to make sprites. This sort of technique is used a lot nowadays with CG artwork. Most webcomics are made this way. (example: penny-arcade.com)

The real trick is going to be getting it to actually look like a pixelated game sprite. Though I think it could be interesting having your game artwork look hand drawn. It wouldn't be totally new but it would be pretty unique among most of today's games. You could hand draw and color everything, scan it into photoshop and then just trace around the outer edges so that you get nice clean edge work. Then just leave the rest of it alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had the same problem -- I wanted to draw animated sprites, could draw by hand, but not digitally. I had a whole plan to draw all the images in a game with watercolor then scan them in, etc.

I found the production chain to be too cumbersome and time-consuming. It was quite a pain to have to go back and redraw/repaint by hand and rescan any small mistake or change I wanted to make -- and this is perhaps the crux of the problem: the creation and especially modification of hand-drawn assets takes quite a lot more time than digitally reworking assets.

So I went and learned to do everything digitally, and now I do everything digitally. I highly recommend it if you have, um, 6 months to a year to dedicate to training yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Photoshop is not really compatible with animation, I use gimp to create animated sprites because it can open animated gifs and preview animation movement. I use drawn frames as source images when creating an animation, but do not leave any of the original pencil or marker work in the final sprite, I redo it all with a vector program or pen tool in gimp/photoshop. This is because the lineweight of the original is uneven and in most cases sprites need to be on a transparent background, not white like scan backgrounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
@sunandshadow
Photoshop can open animation files and if it is 6 or 7 it should have ImageReady for animation. The newest ones have the tools from ImageReady built in.

For your trouble, perhaps draw the sprite you want and digitize it. I tend to take drawings and use layers to trace over them so I get a digitized version and have a guide to work from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Dragonsoulj
@sunandshadow
Photoshop can open animation files and if it is 6 or 7 it should have ImageReady for animation. The newest ones have the tools from ImageReady built in.

For your trouble, perhaps draw the sprite you want and digitize it. I tend to take drawings and use layers to trace over them so I get a digitized version and have a guide to work from.


I have CS3 and it does not open animated gifs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CS3 here as well.

It's true, you cannot /open/ .gif files like you could in previous versions of Photoshop without having some other Adobe product that was not in the bundle I purchased. I was extremely disappointed with this and it certainly did not come as a pleasant surprise when I was called upon to update some animated banners...

You can still use the animation tools built into Photoshop (which are admittedly a bit lacking) to create animations and /save/ animated .gif files. Not that anyone actually uses .gif files for sprites in games, of course.

So, yeah, Photoshop is not a tip-top tool for doing sprites efficiently but I like the rest of its abilities enough to deal with it -- and various third party apps make up for anything PS doesn't do, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GIF is a useless format for real animation. It's not useful for games (try extracting the delta-encoded frames), and its color palette is too limited for scripted animation. It is best suited to small, quick web previews.

Frame sequences are more valuable for sprite-based game development, and generic movie formats - SWF, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV, etc - are preferably as final output for scripted animation.

(The best sprite animation tool ever was probably Deluxe Paint for AmgiaOS, which was ported to PC in the early 90s. Those were the days. [smile])

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you having trouble drawing by using the mouse in Photoshop? Look into a tablet, Wacom makes some fairly inexpensive ones and once you get used to using it (and you will, it just make take a few days to train your hand to move while looking at the screen) you'll wonder why anyone would ever want to use the mouse with Photoshop....

Beyond that, you could draw the most important keyframes by hand, scan them in, make copies and tweak them for the in-between frames.

I think Illustrator has a function that will look at line drawings and convert them into vectors. Then you could try smoothing the lines out if you want a cleaner look.

You could draw at a higher resolution and then reduce the image size to your required bitlevel to get a pixelated look.

You can photograph "things" and use Photoshop to cut them out of the photo and then animate them. I've made things by hand with clay and simply taken pictures of it. You can also do stop-motion animation and use that, or take the stop-motion footage and rotoscope it....


Really, when I interpret your question, it sounds like you're asking "is there some other way to do animtations besides drawing them inside Photoshop?" And the answer is yes!!! Try researching various animation techniques; people've been doing this over a century now, long before computers even existed, and you're doing yourself a disservice by not looking deep into the subject and seeing what's possible....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although it's true no one would put an actual gif animation into a game, they are far from useless. One of the best ways to study animations is to look at animated gifs because they show a single motion repeated infinitely - you can immediately tell if this is a movement you want your own sprite to be able to execute, you can watch it cycle repeatedly to develop a good sense of the motion, you can slow it down to see it in more detail, and you can advance it one frame at a time to see how many are necessary and what is going on in each one. Static sprite sheets are better or in-game uses but they're damn hard to study.

Also, the animated format is the most convenient way to display a single completed animation to other team members, in forums like this one, and on a project website, unless you want to do that with flash, which may cause problems for any viewers who have noscript or don't have the flash plugin installed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
looking at an animation is more up to the application itself rather than the gif format, (which only legacy feature still useful is previewing on the web).

gimps animation tools are probably more the reason rather than gif.

one tool I used back in the days with animation and sprites especially back in the days was pro-motion, is it still being used for portable sprite works today?



and to the threadopener, what kind of sprite-sizes are we talking about?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this