Making sprites out of portraits

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Tet
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Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Tet »

I just want to share, how you can get reasonable good results scaling pictures down to sprite level.

First you need a good picture. You have to make it a png with no background. Make sure it has a 1 pixcle black outline. Improve hue or contrast, if it is not shiny. Make sure the proportions are reasonable. Shorten long legs and make small heads bigger. Artists seems to like a perspective from the boots.

I usually scale the portait to 700 to 720 pixel for a full body human size portrait.

Now we entering a little bit math magic. I strictly scale pictures down 1 to 12. That makes the portrait a 60 pixcel high unit.

For the process of scalling down are a few things important. I am using gimp.

First I resize the canvas to 864x864. The reason is 864 is 12 times 72.

I use a grid of 12 pixel and place the unit accordingly. Whatever is inside one square of the grid becomes a pixel in the unit. Mostly I make sure the eyes are placed accordingly. So a unit with to green eyes will be actually produced if the portrait has green eyes.

After you moved the unit inside the grid you have to make the plain fitting the canvas again.

Then the use of rescale picture is important. The results are much better than of resize plain. So resize the picture to 72x72.

Next I copy the result 2 times on itself. So in total there are 3 of the picture on top of each other. This is reducing the transparancy on the border reasonable well. It makes the unit more pop or however you call it.

I place the unit strictly on the centerline and make it stand on line 62 with the dark part of the feet going into line 63 from the top.

I add an old style eliptical shadow in black with blure outline in an different layer and move it down to the lowest level.

A usable unit is ready. I give you an example for a barbarian. That is in case you need a Conan style fellow. If you need something else just repeat the process with a feasable picture.

The good thing is that you have a portrait as well.
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barbar.png
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Last edited by Tet on October 2nd, 2010, 7:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Major
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Major »

This is a bad, bad way of making sprites. :doh:
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Tet
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Tet »

Tet wrote:I just want to share, how you can get reasonable good results scaling pictures down to sprite level.
I would not call it a sprite. You can try to redraw the picture to improve the spriting. I usally make it worse. But if you are a better pixel artist prove it.

Go ahead and improve the barbar-unit. So much more productive than flaming.

May I quote you? "Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool."
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Major
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Major »

I was not flaming but I shall take up your challenge.
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thespaceinvader
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by thespaceinvader »

NB: unless the initial portrait is appropriately licensed, you will not be able to use it in-game. Be aware of that.

You will also be certain not to get sprites which are proportioned as Wesnoth sprites are. And to be honest, this isn't going to teach you much about how to make your own original material.
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Tet
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Tet »

Well, I would say it is an advice how to use a tool.

Any tool can be used for wrong purposes.

For instant you could draw the art yourself and you would dicover that the art could be pretty bad and still gives usefull sprite-size units.

You could use it for monsters, where you would not have to bother about proportion in comparision with wesnothian cute bobbles.

I strictly advice against the use in mainline for obvious reason.

I do however recomend it if somebody wants to create some units for himself and needs something on screen.

Please understand that it works with any picture you throw into that process and it only takes a few minutes at most.
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homunculus
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by homunculus »

i wonder if that would work as well with a photo?
there are certainly many public domain photos of, say, politicians, available.

as for the proportions, the original picture was not mutilated enough, it seems.
you wrote about making head bigger and legs shorter, did you do that at all?

and while you are at it, you might as well spend another 2 seconds and go colors>posterize, and reduce the total colors to something like 7..10.

that thread surely made me lol.

btw, are you intending to animate your nice statues in the temple thread?
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Tet
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Tet »

In case the questions are meant to be answered.

There is nothing mentioned about animation. Why would you want statues to be animated? How would you do that with castle walls in Wesnoth WML anyway?

Yes, you can use photos. It is better you get a feasable drawing. Posterisation would be counter effective. Try for yourself.
If you want politicians as unit. Go ahead.

Resizing art first is meant to get back to regular proportions. Many artist draw tiny heads and long leg to make you look up to their creation. If you wish you can distort whatever you like.

You are welcome to post the results here.
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Frogger5
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Frogger5 »

What you did in that first post in enough to make a graphic designer throw up.
Scaling like that is a bad bad thing. Scaling is best done with vector formats, or images saved in format such as tiff. Always make things for the size intended.
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johndh
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by johndh »

I'll preface this by saying I'm not, as Jetrel might say, a "pixelfag". I do not make sprites, and I'm generally not that good at two-dimensional art. However, I do have a couple years of experience in other forms of game-related art, and I believe my experience applies here.

A long time ago, back when I was much more of a noob at Blender, I was always looking for an easier way of making a human(oid) model, because I didn't have the courage or skill to do one on my own. I ran across a program that generates high-quality meshes of human bodies, and I tried to use it for a Glest mod. As it turned out, the models were much too high-poly, and the amount of time I had to spend deleting extra features (back of the eyeball, inside of the throat, etc.) and decimating in such a way that wouldn't completely ruin the model, was as much as it would have taken to make a decent Glest-quality human model from scratch. Plus, it turned out rather bad because of the decimation. None of the approaches that I found were anywhere near as good as learning to model on my own, and none of them offered anywhere near the same flexibility or made me any better at Blender. You know what I did? I frickin' learned to model better, that's what!

The moral of the story is that doing art the lazy way is never an adequate substitute for learning to do it the right way. The amount of time and effort it would take to turn one of those shrunken portraits into a respectable sprite is probably about the same as it would take to make one the right way, and it wouldn't help you develop the necessary skills to make anything on your own. Thus, all you would be able to make would be things you could find (freely-licensed!) pictures of, and even then they would turn out rather poorly.

My advice: learn to sprite, or don't sprite.
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artisticdude
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by artisticdude »

johndh wrote:The moral of the story is that doing art the lazy way is never an adequate substitute for learning to do it the right way. The amount of time and effort it would take to turn one of those shrunken portraits into a respectable sprite is probably about the same as it would take to make one the right way, and it wouldn't help you develop the necessary skills to make anything on your own. Thus, all you would be able to make would be things you could find (freely-licensed!) pictures of, and even then they would turn out rather poorly.

My advice: learn to sprite, or don't sprite.
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IPS
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by IPS »

Well ... the picture is nice, but the sprite does not has a good proportion. I mean the sprite's legs like to bigger and the head to small. You must edit it.
Major wrote:This is a bad, bad way of making sprites. :doh:
I'm right with this. But I'm not sure if you can make good portraits increasing the size of the sprite and after many color pixels changes :whistle:
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Frogger5
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by Frogger5 »

IPS wrote:
I'm right with this. But I'm not sure if you can make good portraits increasing the size of the sprite and after many color pixels changes :whistle:
I'm gonna answer that before people get bad ideas:
No.
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thespaceinvader
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by thespaceinvader »

I'm gonna answer this too: HELL no. You can't make good sprites this way. Making good portraits the opposite way is even worse. Scaling up CANNOT add the sort of detail you need for a good portrait. Even scaling up and drawing over is highly unlikely to work. I tried it once early on, and it was hopeless. The proportions of Wesnoth sprites are simply too exaggerated.
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homunculus
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Re: Making sprites out of portraits

Post by homunculus »

Tet wrote:[...]Why would you want statues to be animated?[...]
just for the heck of it.
if you animated the lights on top of the columns, why not animate the statues?
upon closer look, the statues unfortunately do not look like frames of the same statue dancing (and there might be problems with the frames not being in sync with the music that is currently playing).
i hope this clears up the offtopic question.
Tet wrote:[...]Posterisation would be counter effective. Try for yourself.[...]
actually as far as i understand, reducing the number of colors is like a requirement for sprites.

my feeble attempt on correct proportions and posterized to something like 7 (actually 4 was also not too bad):
barbar-sprite.png
barbar-sprite.png (11.17 KiB) Viewed 3068 times
i am sorry i forgot those magic tricks with the grid, blame the beer i was drinking.
i did move the large image around in a small view to get less freaky result, though.
merged into a layer of solid gray and deleted background to get rid of semitransparent edges.
and did extremely minor correction on less than 10 pixels (sorry for that, but those were just too obvious).

i wonder why there is so much hate towards this idea here, i would say the results look better than many frankies i have seen here, and no one seems to be claiming that this is the preferred way to make sprites.
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