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Submitted on
March 13, 2006
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Sprite Tutorial by ghost0311 Sprite Tutorial by ghost0311
Created jointly by John Cutting and Jessica Mora.

Check out more of our custom sprites at

Too often do I hear that sprites are "not art" or "for people who can't draw." I believe we at the Fortuna Saga have demonstrated that we do know how to paint and draw, but we choose not to. To be honest, I think it is easier to use oils than pixels. I don't have to be as creative with oils.

Think of a sonnet. The Shakespearean sonnet uses four divisions: three quatrains + rhymed couplet for a conclusion. The quatrains can have different rhyme schemes, but the typical pattern is abab cdcd efef gg. When I first looked at those restraints I thought, "What the hell?! How are you supposed to be creative if you have to follow that crap." But once you try it out and explore this area of restrictions, you find that there is a lot of room for variation and innovation. With the same base sprite, you can make heroes, villains, monsters, angels, men, women, children, animals, werewolves, ghosts... it goes on forever. You just have to be clever enough to figure it out.

I think sprites get a bad rap because they are easily misused. If you must, attack the writer not the genre.

*Some images property of Square-Enix.
Some images property of John Cutting.
Some images provided by st0ven ([link]).
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Kurvos Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013
"Good knowledge of Photoshop is a must"? Uhm... I'm sorry, but that is extremely far from the truth. As a matter of fact, you're supposed to work on sprites through Paint essentially since it's adapted for just that. And I in my case can then later add it in to Flash to either animate it or work on comics or it. I'm just saying, Photoshop isn't a must - and good knowledge of it is neither so.
Still, I really do appreciate this tutorial. :) It helps me a lot, and I hope it'll help me come closer to be capable of doing good sprites. ^^;
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014
In the context, I believe we were talking about the easy pitfalls of many doomed sprite comics on the web.  I don't think the focus was on photoshop the app as much as it was shorthand (ie. "that photo looks photoshopped" when I could have easily used a dozen other apps) to say there is much more to a sprite comic than the sprites.  Our earlier comics used watercolors and oils along with digital paintings but it could just have effectively been pixel-art backgrounds as well.  Your point is valid, but I don't think we disagree about the main thrust of your comment.
*Sorry it has taken so long to respond.  It's been a rough year for me.  
Irako-of-the-Desert Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012
What kind of file should pixel art be saved as? I'm kind of new to it, and you didn't mention what kind is best in the tutorial.

Also, I agree with you about sprites being a kind of art. It's just like painting minatures.
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012
I prefer PNGs for highest color fidelity, but a few of my colleagues prefer tiffs.

GIFs will limit the number of colors you can use, and I once ruined several hours' work by saving it as a JPEG.
Hope that helps. Let me know if you need anything else.
Aveneline Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I know that people say that sprites are not art, but let me say this: I can draw all you want me to, but I have difficulty with sprites :giggle: My sprites will be art because it is something I have never done before! :)
shonnen Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i agree with your comment, "not art"?? drawing a square is one of the principles of art, and besides perspective and everything else applies to sprites, just look at the latest marvel vs series and tell me that's not art . anyway thanks for the tutorial :D
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2011
You are most welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
You make very good points. I was trained with acrylics and have done welding for 3D pieces, and working with sprites has been just as challenging and rewarding. Unfortunately, I run into sprite stigma often probably because the "barriers to entry" with pixel art is lower than other art forms.
TheRealBeautifly Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I only see "Sprite Tutorial".....
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
Some browsers don't show it correctly. Try downloading it or clicking on it to expand.
TheRealBeautifly Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks X3
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