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How To Make Battle Sprites In GIMP

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION

This tutorial will show step by step how to make sprites using GIMP (2.8) for Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen based games. GIMP is a free, capable, and popular image software. This tutorial will cover most, if not all, of the sprite requirements for this game.

Indexed Pallet

1. We will start with the PonymonSizingGuide since it has the preferred transparency color and correct sprite size (64x64px). Download the guide shown here (Green cross hairs).

PonymonSizingGuide


2. Load the PonymonSizingGuide.png into GIMP. You will notice it is already 64x64px in indexed color mode with a single indexed color (00FF00h Green).

PalletTutorial1


3. Load a picture into GIMP for color sampling. GIMP can sample colors on the screen by other methods, but this is an easy method to add indexed colors. Use a picture with daylight colors if possible. If not, the colors can be adjusted later.

4. Select the Color Picker Tool (Circle A). Then select a color in the sampling picture without and with holding the Ctrl key. Without the Ctrl key (Circle B1), samples a new foreground color. With the Ctrl key (Circle B2), samples a new background color.

PalletTutorial2


5. Go back to the new sprite, and go to the colormap dialog (Circle C). This is a dockable dialog found in Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Colormap. It can be added to the toolbox by dragging it from its window to the tabbed area on the toolbox panel. Press the plus at the bottom of the colormap dialog (Circle D) without and with holding the Ctrl key. The first color will show up when the second is added (Dashed Circle D), and the second color will show up after the next step. Since the first color for this example was white, it did not show up against the white background. However, the up arrow on the "color index" number selection box changes from gray to black when it is added.

PalletTutorial3


6. To show the last added color, you will need to right click on one of the visible indexed colors (Circle E), and select Rearrange Colormap (Circle F). Then, select [OK], and the last added color will appear. The astrix at the top (Circle G) is your friendly reminder to save. When saving you might use the format ###FYourUsername for sprites facing left and ###BYourUsername for sprites facing right to make it easier for later identification on the wiki. The default GIMP file extension (.xcf) will work for now, and will make saving easier.

PalletTutorial4


7. After adding the last color (index #15) go to the Rearrange Colormap dialog by following the directions in step 6 (Circle E and Circle F). Make sure there is only index #0 to index #15 listed. Follow the directions in the dialog box to group the colors (optional, but suggested), then press [OK].

PalletTutorial5


Working On The Sprite

1. Load the new sprite file like from the section above, which has the guide and pallet ready, and load a reference frame from the show.

2. Compare the new sprite Ponymon to a known standard size Ponymon. Use the Rectangle Select Tool (Circle A) to measure a frame from the show with both MLP's in pixels from crown to ground (Circles marked B). The measurement shows up in the GIMP status bar (Circle C) until the selection box is released. This measurement does not include hair, horns, wings, etc. (Applejack measures 87px and Maud measures 83px)

Spriting1Tutorial1


3. Convert the measurements to a height for the new Ponymon. HeightNewSprite = StandardPonymonHeight / StandardMLPPixels * NewMLPPixels. Applejack is 1.9 meters. (HeightNewSprite = 1.9 / 87 * 83 = 1.812...)

4. Round to the nearest 0.1 -> (HeightNewSprite = 1.8) Keep this number to submit with the sprite (Height=1.8).

5. Convert to Pcx (crown to ground height in pixels). Pcx = HeightNewSprite*20. If Pcx > 64px, then make Pcx = 64px but leave HeightNewSprite at what it was in the previous step. If Pcx < 16px, then ask what size to make it or make the sprite as small as possible. (Pcx = 1.8 * 20 = 36px)

Note: Pcx is the size used for left facing sprites. If the right facing sprite is a mirror of the left facing sprite the height will be the same. If it is an actual back view then the multiplier will be 28 instead of 20. (Coming soon) Pcx = HeightNewSprite*28. (Pcx = 1.8 * 28 = 50px)

6. It is handy to use layers here so the sprite can easily be adjusted. Add a layer to start the visible part of the new sprite. On the Layers dialog (Circle D). This is a dockable dialog found in Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Layers. It can be added to the toolbox by dragging it from its window to the tabbed area on the toolbox panel. Right click in the Layers dialog box (Circle E), select "New Layer" (Circle F), select "Transparency" (Circle G) and then press [OK]. Optionally you can rename the layer in the "New Layer" dialog at "Layer name" or in the list of the "Layers" dialog by double clicking the layer name.

Spriting1Tutorial2


7. Use the Pencil Tool (Circle H) with colors from the Layers dialog mentioned above along with the Eraser Tool (Circle I). When on the eraser tool, go to the "Tool Options" dialog (Circle J) to uncheck "anti erase" (Circle K). This is a dockable dialog found in Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Tool Options. It can be added to the toolbox by dragging it from its window to the tabbed area on the toolbox panel. If you have a pen tablet with a eraser function you can select these tools with separate ends to quickly switch between them. Make the base sprite fit between the closest marks on the guide (Circles marked L). A standard height sprite will exactly fit (crown to ground) between one set of the guide marks. Preferred view is slightly isometric, so ground is usually in line with the bottom of the back closer hoof. The astrix at the top (Circle M) is your friendly reminder to save (and save often). Don't worry yet about making it look right we are just working on size and proportions on this step. (For 36px use the marks for Size 3 with 1px away from the marks above and below the sprite.)

Spriting1Tutorial3


8. Add the rest (hair, horn, wings, etc...) If you want to preserve the basic sprite body from step 7 during this step, follow step 6 above to make a work layer. Then can merge the layers later as described below.

9. Merge extra layers that are no longer needed (optional). This step will not change the outcome of the PNG that is exported later. Go back to the Layers dialog (Circle N). See step 6 and Circle D above. Make sure that the extra layer is directly above the layer it is to be merged into by clicking and dragging it into place if needed. Then right click on the layer to be merged (Circle O). Click "Merge Down" (Circle P), and the two layers will be combined.

StyleTutorial2


Ponymon Sprite Style

1. Slightly Isometric pose is preferred.

100NDinky


2. Use shadowing on far legs and wings if possible (Circles marked A). Avoid flat feet in iso view where possible (Circle B). Smooth transition edges don't overlap or gap (Circle C).

StyleTutorial1


3. The colors stored in the game are 5 bit per color instead of the 8 bit color that is used for most image colors, to avoid colors becoming the same color when it is inserted into the ROM, make sure that at least one of the red, green, or blue segment has at least a 08h difference to the other indexed colors. Filling in the unused colors helps identify the whole pallet in the ROM, but is not necessary. To do this, add colors like in steps 4 to 6 of the "Indexed Pallets" section above.


Working On A Sprite With The Same Pallet (Paired/Grouped)

(This section uses the pallet from the sprite in the Working On The Sprite section. Paired sprites and some grouped sprites share pallets. This section will show how to import a pallet from another sprite.)

1. We will start with the PonymonSizingGuide since it has the preferred transparency color and correct sprite size (64x64px). Download the guide shown here (Green cross hairs).

PonymonSizingGuide


2. Load the PonymonSizingGuide.png into GIMP. You will notice it is already 64x64px in indexed color mode with a single indexed color (00FF00h Green).

PalletTutorial1


3. Now would be a good time to use "Save As" to preserve your copy of the sizing guide. When saving you might use the format ###FYourUsername for sprites facing left and ###BYourUsername for sprites facing right to make it easier for later identification on the wiki. The default GIMP file extension (.xcf) will work for now, and will make saving easier.

4. Load the sprite that the new sprite will be paired with into GIMP.

5. Now to transfer the pallet to the new sprite you started in this section. This is only one of the ways to transfer the pallet, but it is a way that is easy to find the right one. Go to Image (Circle A), then Mode (Circle B), and RGB. This clears the indexed pallet. Then Go to Image (Circle A), then Mode (Circle B) again, but this time select Indexed (Circle D).

Spriting2Tutorial1


6. In the "Indexed Color Conversion" dialog select "Use custom pallet" (Circle E), make sue the "remove unused colors..." box is NOT checked (Circle F), and left click the pallet selection list icon (Circle G). Scroll to the top of the list where you should find "Colormap of Image #..." (Circle H). Unless you have other indexed color images open there should only be one. The Image # will match the number that follows a dash after the sprite file name in the window name bar at the top when that image is active. Select that pallet (Circle H), and it will replace "Web". Left click "Convert" (Circle I) to finish importing the shared pallet to the new sprite work file.

Spriting2Tutorial2


7. For sprite sizing, see "Working On The Sprite" step 5 above. From here finish the sprite in the same fashion as before by following Working On The Sprite starting at step 6.


Submitting The Sprite

(Coming soon!)

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