My first sprite

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DJ1337
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Joined: June 5th, 2006, 3:06 pm
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My first sprite

Post by DJ1337 »

So today I installed GIMP and made my first sprite. It's an axeman, and I intend to use him in a campaign I have planned. I tried to follow the size guidelines, but he came out 5 pixels too tall. Still, I think I can shave 3 pixels off him and make him a L2 unit.

I started by drawing a sketch on a piece of paper. Then I looked at the paper and drew the basic lines in GIMP and then coloured it in another layer. As I'm very much new to GIMP I only used pencil, bucket and dodge/burn tools.

I'm pretty happy with what I got, considering it's my first try. However, it's quite obvious to me that this sprite just doesn't mesh with the other sprites in Wesnoth. I think it's a wrong choice of colours, but I just can't put my finger on what exactly is wrong. The blade of his axe also needs to look more metallic, but I'm not sure how to fix it. Also, I'm worried that his posture is a bit too dynamic, compared to other units.

So, I'd like you to give me some tips on how to make this sprite look more Wesnotish. Thanks in advance.
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thespaceinvader
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Post by thespaceinvader »

The flesh tones are too red. Try sampling some colours from existing units' flesh tones.

The head is turned FAR too far round to the unit's left, particularly given the location of the axe.

But it's a very competent and promising start all told. You seem to have a decent eye for anatomy and posing. Good work.
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DJ1337
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Joined: June 5th, 2006, 3:06 pm
Location: Jajce, Bosnia

Post by DJ1337 »

Good tip on sampling the skin colour from existing units - I'd never get it right on my own. And now that you mention it, I see that his neck must be broken for him to hold his head that way.

All right, here's a new version. I redid his head almost completely, recolored his arms, changed the shading on his armour to make his upper body less twisted and re-coloured the axe head to make it look more like metal. I think his arms aren't quite right yet.

Is this getting any better?

BTW, thanks for the comments. Also, what tools do you recommend me to get a hang of first?
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thespaceinvader
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Post by thespaceinvader »

o_O now it looks very orange. What unit did you take your flesh tones from?

In accordance with the rest of Wesnoth's sprites, i'd flip the body so that it's facing SE. This would also fix up the alignment of the head, which is still facing in the opposite direction to the body - try standing in that position and see how difficult it is...

Lighten the outlines around the hair - at the moment they're too dark, and it looks more like a weird helmet.

You could do with narrowing the beard/neck by a pixel or two - at the moment the neck is too long.

You need to outline the arms in a dark flesh tone.

The axe is looking much better already.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly: this unit is suffering from a severe case of pillow shading - there's no consistent light direction, particularly on the arms. You've shaded not the points which would be in shadow, but the points furthest from camera. This is a fairly serious issue, and something you'll need to work on.

As for tools... my way is to use basically only the pencil and various selection tools. Occasionally i'll use a colour filter, but that's rare. You also need to familiarise yourself with layer opacity and gaussian blur in order to make unit shadows. See this page for more.

This unit's definitely improving, though.
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DJ1337
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Joined: June 5th, 2006, 3:06 pm
Location: Jajce, Bosnia

Post by DJ1337 »

I flipped his head as you suggested, and it looks much better :D

However, I'm still having trouble with the shading. The light source is supposed to be above and just a bit to the left, but I can't get it right. I've come to realize that I shouldn't have done all the colouring in a single layer. I'll recolour the whole sprite tomorrow and maybe then I'll have more success. On the bright side, I think his arms look a fair bit better now. I used the same basic colour (I picked it off somebody's avatar), but I didn't shade it as much as I did last time. I'll also need to grab a rough metal colour as the current axe head still doesn't feel right.
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the_revenant
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Post by the_revenant »

The skin colour looks alot better.

Just a bit of CC, Wesnoth sprites are positions facing South East, currently yours is facing West. Some slight modifications to the legs, torso and head can easily fix this.

Apart from that the sprite is looking rather good.
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DJ1337
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Post by DJ1337 »

I flipped his legs to change his apparent facing, but I think this looks worse than the previous version. Now he's resting his weight on the back leg, and that just looks way too awkward. I guess it takes more than a quick hack to fix this problem. I'll make his right leg longer and his left shorter in the previous image to give him a more natural stance and proper facing, and I'll adjust the shading on armour. But that'll have to wait till tomorrow, as it's time to sleep now.
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the_revenant
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Post by the_revenant »

The axe looked better the other way round. It kind of gave him a look as if he was preparing to swing it. I just adjusted the head a bit and put the axe back to the origional place.
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Gordon CSA
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Post by Gordon CSA »

He has a rather ugly beard parasite on his face...
Seriously though, its a bit too shapeless right now, and mishapens his face. You might also want to make the head bigger in general.
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irrevenant
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Post by irrevenant »

He could use a bit more of a waist, IMO.
DJ1337
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Post by DJ1337 »

I recoloured him in different layers, enlarged his head and added some waist. I'm quite unhappy with shading - it looks worse than what I had, especially his pants and arms. I'm thinking about making solid black shadows in another layer at appropriate spots and then setting it to 70% transparency or something because I feel I'll never get the shadows right with dodge/burn. Is this how it's normally done?

I'll also need to shorten his neck, but otherwise his head is starting to look better. His legs, on the other hand, need a complete redo.
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thespaceinvader
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Post by thespaceinvader »

The arms have gone VERY odd. The lack of shading and fact that it gets a LOT narrower near the hand makes the (our) left arm look like it's pointed away from camera, and give the whole thing an air that the whole torso has done an exorcist...

The hair's maybe a touch too big, but the face is looking a LOT better.

I'd avoid dodge and burn for highlighting and shading. You ought to be manually picking the colours yourself, you'll be able to fine tune the effect a lot better.

Honestly, while the head's improved, i think the body looked a lot better in the second incarnation than it does now, orange skin aside.
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Back to work. Current projects: Catching up on commits. Picking Meridia back up. Sprite animations, many and varied.
DJ1337
Posts: 14
Joined: June 5th, 2006, 3:06 pm
Location: Jajce, Bosnia

Post by DJ1337 »

I redrew his arms to make his posture more natural. On the flipside, his axe doesn't looks as threatening as it did before. It is a nice posture for swinging has axe, though, provided he's left-handed. I also gave him a small haircut, but I think I liked him better with big hair - that lion's mane he had gave him an air of authority. I didn't do anything to his legs, so ignore that part. I know they look bad, so fixing them is on my to-do list.
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DJ1337
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Post by DJ1337 »

Another update - I redid his legs and gave him back some hair. I'm reasonably satisfied with his outline and now I want to fix the lightning issues.
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irrevenant
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Post by irrevenant »

That face is looking awesome!

The position of his right arm looks pretty awkward now, though.
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