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Where to Get Sprites Before you can do any sprite editing, you have to get the original game sprites somewhere. If you want to download all the sprites from the post-Advance games for use, you can also always get my sprite packages. Popular Spriting Categories Recolors What you will learn: Colors in sprites, how to change colors This is the first thing you should learn, as you should know how it works before attempting anything else - you'll need to know the basics of this if you're going to be any good at all.
What you see here is a Ruby and Sapphire Scyther sprite - a very typical sprite color-wise - with its color palette beside it. Each of the green shades has been given a name; most sprites' colors include analogous shades, and this guide will use the names given here to refer to these shades. The Rules of Recoloring There is a reason it has all those shades of green. It's called shading, and it's supposed to be there. Do not recolor two different shades with the same shade, barring a few exceptional cases where the original sprite has too many shades for the color scheme you're going to give it.
Even worse, don't recolor, say, the highlight color to be darker than the base color; the relative luminosity of the shades on the original sprite should always be maintained on the new one. There is a reason all the shades on the main body are green, too. Don't make the highlights blue and the base color red; it makes no sense and is eye-hurting. The outline base and outline highlight colors are also colors. When you're recoloring, you must also recolor the outlines. It isn't always very noticeable when the sprite isn't zoomed in, but a trained eye will see it and it looks extremely unprofessional once you do zoom in.
The outlines must be reasonably dark. If you're recoloring a sprite in a relatively light color, be careful to make the outline base color sufficiently dark to make the outlines clear. If the sprite you're recoloring has considerable use of the shadow color as an outline highlight color, then recoloring it to be very light may look odd; in such cases, you should either stick with the outline base color in all but the very lightest areas or create a separate outline highlight color that's darker than the shadow color.
Do not use the Paint default colors to recolor under any circumstances. Be very careful not to make it too bright. If you can't find any other sprite that has quite the right color, pick the sprite's base color with the color picker. Now play around with the Hue value until you've found the color you want; remember or write down the current value. If the color doesn't look quite right after doing this, you can tweak it slightly. Of course, you won't have to do this for the black, and I recommend not raising the brightness of the base outline color if you've been doing that for the other colors, since like I mentioned above, most of the outline should generally be quite dark.
When you've picked all your colors, move on to recolor the sprite accordingly. In better paint programs, it is possible to set the Paint Bucket tool so that it paints all pixels of the same color in Photoshop or ImageReady, you check off the Contiguous option. In Paint, there is a rather complicated trick. First, select the color picker and left-click the highlight color on the sprite you're recoloring. Then, again with the color picker, right-click the highlight color you're going to use.
Next select the Eraser tool, make it the biggest it can get and right-click and drag over the whole sprite. The old highlight color will magically be replaced with the new one everywhere you touched it with the eraser, while all other colors will be unchanged. Repeat this for the other shades too.
As per rule 3, make sure not to forget the outline base. To demonstrate the process, I'm going to screenshot how I recolor that very Scyther sprite, both in Paint and ImageReady 3. ImageReady I used Articuno blue for this, just because I couldn't be bothered to make two screenshot guides both including the whole finding-colors process. Open up the two sprites Picking Articuno's highlight color with the color picker - Articuno actually has quite a few more shades than my Scyther example, though Using the Paint Bucket tool with Contiguous off to color Scyther's highlight color Recolor done!
Paint In this one, I'm going to make it dark blue, so you get to see the color selection. I like to use the Paste From command under Edit to get the sprite s into the document if I have to work in Paint. Of course, I have them all saved to my computer - you might just want to copy them straight from the Internet.
Showing the Edit Colors menu , the button you have to click, and the three values we might be editing - Hue controls the horizontal location of the pointer on that color square thingy, Saturation controls the vertical location, and Luminosity controls where it is on that slider on the side. I don't recommend moving the pointer with the mouse, considering all the calculations from those numbers we'll be doing, but the luminosity should be fine, as long as you remember what the value started at.
I'm making the Hue , lowering the Saturation by 20, and the Luminosity by Now just paint a little square off by the side with that color in, and do the same with the other colors Time to color it in - remember, right-click the color you want, left-click the color to replace, and right-click with the eraser Now that they're on the sprite, it's obvious that the colors were too saturated and rather too dark - normally I'd fix that, but I'm feeling lazy Erase the palette, de-magnify, click the little dot in the bottom right corner of the canvas and drag it so it fits around the sprite Enjoy the finished product - always remember to save as.
PNG when working in Paint if you want the colors to come out right Congratulations, you've gotten through the recoloring guide! Once you've mastered this, you can move on to the next part. Newbies in the field do this simply as if they were doing a slightly more complicated version of a recolor - they replace the colors, if expanding the palette a little bit, save it and call it a revamp.
It isn't. But revamping is not about the colors themselves. It's easy to look at the limited older sprites next to the brightly-colored newer sprites and think the main difference is those pretty bright colors the GBA and DS can produce, but that's not the case.
Revamping is about style. Because the older sprites were so limited, certain stylistic choices were made, and without accounting for that, a revamp can never look genuinely like it was taken from a newer game. This makes revamping very fundamentally different from recoloring - it calls for thinking about and working with stylistic aspects instead of just replacing colors with other colors.
The Rules of Revamping Don't stick to the original sprite's shading unless it genuinely results in the sprite looking stylistically similar to the newer sprites. Don't stick to the original sprite's outlining under any circumstances, ever. Especially don't stick to the possible manual anti-aliasing on the outside edges of the outline in the original sprite.
They worked on the originals because they were only ever shown on a white background in the game; in the newer games, and on the Internet where you may be showing off your sprites on various backgrounds, this results in very visible, horrendously ugly colored "dots" around the outline. In general, mimic the newer sprites' style in one and all.
So say I'm going to revamp the Yellow version Scyther, since I'm being Scyther-obsessed in this guide. Here it is: It doesn't look that bad for a sprite with only four colors, does it? However, if we make the background black instead of white See those dots around the outline?
That's because of the manual anti-aliasing I mentioned above - lighter pixels were placed on the outside of the outline in order to make it look smoother on the original white background. This is especially a problem in Yellow, hence why I chose the Yellow sprite for this tutorial - the artist for the Yellow sprites really loved anti-aliasing. Let's put it on a white background again to make it clearer what I'm doing, but knowing this, we'll of course fix those dots at a later stage.
I'll make it a little larger, too: In the magnified version you can clearly see the lighter pixels on the outside of the outline that produce that ugly dotted effect on dark backgrounds. Now, as it happens this particular sprite has pretty good shading in its original form. It uses white for the highlights, the lighter shade of green for the base color, the darker shade of green for the shadows and outline highlights, and black for the outline and the very deepest shadows.
It has a consistent light source and the shading is reasonably placed. All in all, this means we can use the original shading here as a basis, rather than having to make up most of it as with many other sprites. This means we can now go and color the Scyther to be shaded exactly like the original Yellow version sprite, but with post-Advance colors, here Ruby and Sapphire colors because this guide is old.
First of all, however, the outline will have to be completely redone, as is the case with all revamps. Let's see how it looks now With the outlining all-black, it looks very 2D and cartoony - not how we want the end result to look. There are also some clusters of black where the anti-aliasing was blacked out. To fix that, we take the base outlining shade for every color and color all of the outline except the shadows in that color, and remove the clusters so that the outline is always one pixel wide.
This is a bad idea and only makes the sprite look worse; you should avoid this in your revamp. On the other hand, lighter pixels on the inside of the outline are a far better idea and can make the sprite look smoother against dark backgrounds while giving the same overall stylistic effect as the occasional outside anti-aliasing in the official sprites. Let's see how our Scyther looks now with this applied to it Hmm, technically it doesn't look too bad.
This is a quintessential stylistic difference that should be fixed when we make a revamp. Well, the original Yellow version Scyther had white highlights, which contrasted much more with the green main color. The highlights were really used to apply shine, so very little of them was used. To make them seem to match up, we need to change the shading to the style of the official Scyther. We've also yet to do the outline highlighting at this point.
Again, place pixels of the outline highlight color on the inside of the outline rather than the outside. Conveniently, that's also where I got the red in the mouth from. And it's finished. We changed this: Into this: Now. That was a Yellow sprite, one that already had pretty good shading.
So let's take another example, this time one of those sprites: the Silver version Pikachu. Let's magnify it as usual: First things first: let's make the entire outline black and switch out the colors, like we did with the Scyther earlier. See how it really doesn't look that much better than the original sprite?
That's because there is almost no shading. Now, see those highlights? The spots that used to be white? They're facing the top left, so clearly, that's where the light is coming from. We're going to have to add all the shadowing, and that goes where the light is not coming from. If you imagine the light is a can of spray paint and you spray it in Pikachu's direction from a static position in the top left, the parts that get colored with the spray paint are the parts the light hits, and the shadows should be the parts the paint doesn't reach - where the light does not fall directly.
Note that Pikachu is mostly made of curved surfaces, which means that the shading should also curve around the shape of the body. The tail is not curved; however, it is behind Pikachu and should therefore have a lot of shadowing except at the top. For more detailed instructions on shading, if this doesn't really make instinctive sense to you, see the in-depth tutorial on the subject.
There; that's much better and more 3D. Finally, some of the highlights look a bit awkward, so let's change them. On to the outlining. Now, Pikachu has four shades in its outlines rather than three: there is the black, a dark brown outline base color, a medium brown outline highlighting color, and also the light yellowish brown that is used as the shadow color. We'll do the same on the revamp - remember, always imitate the style of the newer sprite. And now it should be finished.
Let's look at it normal-sized and transparent: We've turned this: Into this: And that concludes the revamping part of this guide. The concepts revamping should teach you - shading and a sense of spriting style - are extremely important; I suggest getting experienced with revamps at least before you start doing scratch sprites or pixel-overs. Perfect symmetry or identity in significant body parts immediately makes a sprite look fake. DO flip parts if the direction they're facing doesn't match up with the body you're trying to put them on.
DO recolor the end result to one consistent color scheme. DO edit the shading style to make sure all body parts that are colored with the same color match. This also applies if you've flipped any parts - you'll need to change the direction of the light source. DO add in or edit parts from scratch when that is called for. Now, how do we splice? Firstly, you need to get the sprites into your paint program, obviously.
You might want to use sprites from multiple games or even ones you've revamped but only if you can honestly look at your revamp and the official sprite side by side and not tell which is which except for recognizing the pose and possibly size. I don't think I'll need any other sprites for now. I have decided that I want Electabuzz's little antennae, the hair on its head, the markings, probably the sides of the head, the end of the tail, the claws, and the arms, while keeping everything on Aerodactyl except the end of the tail and the horns.
Then remove everything you're not going to use - just erase it carefully, making sure to remove everything you were going to remove and nothing you weren't going to remove. Now, in my case, even though the markings and sides of the head are probably going to be drawn from scratch onto Aerodactyl itself, I'll still need the sprites for reference, and I'm using ImageReady where the Lasso tool is quite precise, so I'm not erasing any of them.
In Paint, however, it is just about necessary to erase the parts you don't need, simply to have room to select the ones you do need; if you need to keep the full sprites around for reference, just copy and paste an extra copy of the sprite before you erase anything. Now you should have all the parts for your splice ready. In Paint, you have to drag the part you want to be in front onto the part that you want behind.
In a layered paint program, you can just copy the parts, paste them into the other image, and then drag it around independently and switch the order of the layers. Place the parts carefully - if you're putting on a new tail, don't make it come out of the middle of the back unless you're intentionally making something that looks absurd. Don't mind the gaps that may be left in there somewhere - placing the parts so that the sprite looks right is more important than leaving no gaps for now, because you'll fill them in anyway.
Now we have the first version of our Aerobuzz, the way some spriters would leave it - you don't really need to see the Electabuzz anymore, so no more screenshots: But we're not just some spriters. After you're satisfied with the overall composition of your sprite, you can start filling in the gaps from scratch.
Basically, you draw in any missing parts pixel by pixel with the pencil tool, and make carefully sure to shade them properly - see the revamping part, which you should have read, on shading both body and outlines. Usually these parts will be quite small; if they aren't, I suggest you change your plans for the splice until you're a bit more experienced.
In my case, it's mainly the right our left arm, but I'm also erasing a pixel from the tail end that looked odd. Anyway, when you've drawn those in, it's time to recolor. In this case, that would be Electabuzz, and I've already assumed that with my plan to give it Electabuzz's markings.
But this is a mix we're talking about, and therefore we're going to recolor it with Electabuzz's colors. We do that exactly as we'd have done it if we were simply recoloring a normal sprite to another color. Meaning you should go read that recoloring guide if you haven't already. But no, no, no, don't stop yet, even if you have no plans to start putting on markings. There may be slight oddities in the shading now - maybe you flipped a part so now the shading is backwards, or you put a part somewhere and now it would cast a shadow onto the rest of the body, or a part used to be shadowed by another body part but isn't anymore.
Therefore, you might want to change the shading a bit to fit better on your splice. I'm going to edit the outlines and take out some pesky dots, but you don't need to if you don't want to - they're official flaws, after all. Now, since I was going to use the markings, I'm adding them on. Obviously, I need to adapt them to the surface of Aerodactyl's body and shade them like on Electabuzz. This is probably the hardest part of this particular splice, but that's mainly because it's about scratching quite a bit of stuff; if you aren't very good at that, leave that kind of thing alone for now.
When working in a layered paint program, I highly recommend putting markings and such on a new layer; in Paint, copy and paste a copy of the sprite before you start doing something like this. I also changed the claws into Electabuzz-like claws, as I intended. Now our Aerobuzz is ready to roll, and you know how to splice. Well, it is when you take an existing image, possibly resize it, and then pixel by pixel draw another image on top of it that imitates its outlines and basically turns out looking like a sprite version of the image.
If that sounds confusing, I've got some examples of my own, made from Sugimori art: For comparison, here is the actual Sugimori art of those two: As you can see, the colors are different - on my pixel-overs, I used the colors from the Ruby and Sapphire sprites - but the pose is the same.
Then the pixel-overs are smaller because I happened to make them that way - a trained eye might notice that they are also a bit larger than the official sprites. That's all just because I happened to choose this size when making them; they could have been any size.
Pixel-overs are, in a way, "pseudo-scratching". The outline's shape is not yours, but the sprite technically is - you did not use any parts from other sprites to make it. The next step would be to draw your own poses and make pixel-overs from them - then you technically have a scratch sprite. That will obviously not be covered specifically, because the method, once you start working at the pixel level, is the exact same as when you start with somebody else's art.
Now, to start with, just find some suitable art to pixel-over. I'm going to continue my Sugimori series for this guide, but other official art you can pixel-over from is for example trading card art. Then, of course, if you do have some nice pictures that you drew yourself, even better. But I'm going to make a Scyther pixel-over because I like Scyther. First off, we need to resize it [ screenshot ].
The size I like to have for my Sugimori pixel-overs is something like roughly pixels when the dimensions are put together, so I made it this. The official Advance sprites are 64x64 pixels at the most, the fourth-generation sprites are 80x80, and in the fifth generation they're up to 96x Also note that I chose to make the result jagged even though ImageReady has the ability to make it smooth - this will make the outline less blurry and thus easier to follow.
When you're a beginner, make it relatively small. Scratch spriting and pixel-overing, whether you believe it or not, are an art form where the difficulty of creating one depends much more on the size of the sprite than on anything else.
I've seen a list of spriter "ranks" where in order to be an "expert" one had to be able to create x pixel-overs from x images, with it noted that "the smaller, the better". This is not true. Making a big pixel-over of an image is not only harder than a small one, but exponentially so, and not only because you have so many more pixels that you need to consider one at a time, but because there are all sorts of things you can get away with in a small sprite but not in a bigger one.
Sure, it is more difficult to fit details into a x image than a x one, but that isn't a matter of skill so much as how well the original image was chosen. As long as the pixel-over is large enough to fit the detail you need on, for the love of all things holy don't make it larger than that for the hell of it until you really know what you're doing.
Anyway, now that it's small, magnify it. Choose a darkish color that does not appear in the sprite - black is fine in some cases, but not all - and start tracing the outline of the art. In layered programs, do this on a new layer. You don't need to follow it exactly if doing so would make the outline look worse - all the advice given in the outlining guide in the In-Depth Tutorials section to make an outline look smooth is more important than making each particular pixel exactly like it is in the original art.
You may also have to do "pseudo-outlines"; basically, use a different color, not necessarily dark but still one clearly distinguishable from the original art, to mark a narrow area that will be separated from the rest only by color separation but not with an actual outline, such as the green edge on Scyther's scythes and wings see sprite below.
This generally applies to anything that is only one or two pixels wide. There, it would look very messy if you tried to make an outline of it in the same color as the rest of the outline. Instead, just color the area completely in the color of your choice.
Now, I've finished the outline roughly, and then it's time to erase the original art. It's often good to keep a copy of it somewhere for reference with the shading, though. Then make the outlines black if they weren't already. Here's how it looks now: Coloring time. Using the Paint Bucket tool, color the whole sprite with your base colors I'm going to do the latter, but you do whatever you want.
Of course, our Scyther doesn't look particularly good after this treatment But no worries; we're about to fix that. Now, using the basic principles described in the shading guide , add the first layer of shading - the base color in my case, but possibly the shadow color in yours.
Scyther is already looking better And then, finally, it's the highlighting. Now that that's done, we can shade the outlines, using the technique described in the revamping guide, make the sprite transparent if we're working in a good paint program, and Scyther is done.
Scratch Sprites What you will learn: Drawing sprites from scratch When scratch spriting, you basically draw the sprite from scratch with the Pencil tool instead of pixeling over an existing image. The purple hues were selected to represent dignity and awareness, the basket weave represents connection, structure, and support while the sunflower is a symbol for hidden disabilities. Painted to express the Joy of the Journey. And good places to find Moray Eels to hunt with once the danger has passed.
This original is available. Watercolor and Archival Ink. I heard a podcast once where the koi kept being stolen from an ornamental pond and it sparked my imagination. Available in a variety of high quality print on demand products: This original is available. Rosie Makes a New Friend. Inspired by late spring flowers and the delight that a visiting butterfly brings.
Spring Goddess. This ethereal dragonfly fairy was inspired by the magic in a soft spring drizzle. This meditative fairy concentrates on making cherished wishes come true. Kelpie Inspired by the aquatic Fae of Irish legend, though less horsey than traditional interpretations.
Seaweed Dragon Watercolor and Archival Ink. It probably wasn't a seaweed dragon