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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 www.fortunasaga.com

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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:iconkurvos:
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. ^^;
Reply
:iconghost0311:
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.  
Reply
:iconirako-of-the-desert:
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.
Reply
:iconghost0311:
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.
Reply
:iconaveneline:
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! :)
Reply
:iconshonnen:
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
Reply
:iconghost0311:
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.
Reply
:icontherealbeautifly:
TheRealBeautifly Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I only see "Sprite Tutorial".....
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
Some browsers don't show it correctly. Try downloading it or clicking on it to expand.
Reply
:icontherealbeautifly:
TheRealBeautifly Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks X3
Reply
:iconfiradraco:
firadraco Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2011
Thanks so much for this tutorial. I'm really interested in sprites and wanted to try it out. It's hard starting from nowhere. This is a great starting point.
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
My pleasure. Let me know if you have any other difficulties. I've been thinking about making another tutorial but I'm not sure where else people want advice.
Reply
:iconthemagus199:
TheMagus199 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011
I cant see the tutorial...
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011
Could be a browser issue. Try the download image link.
Reply
:iconsupremeinferno:
SupremeInferno Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Before, I was terrible

But now...I have uncovered a natural talent of mine that has laid dormant for years!
Reply
:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Jesus. Who the hell thinks sprites aren't art or are easy mode? I'm a 3d artist, and I actually think good sprite work is harder to do than good 3d work. Specially HD sprites, that stuff is hard to do really well.

Good old school tut!
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011
Thank you for sharing. That's very interesting the hear from a 3D artist. I've felt that a big challenge of sprites is that they have to be able to convey emotion/action in both still shots and in motion. HD sprites are less abstract (your mind fills in less blanks automatically) which could make this process much harder.
Reply
:iconnit13:
Nit13 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2010
My pleasure.
Reply
:iconzhleader:
zhleader Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Ty for making this! I used it to create sprites! you can check them out on my page, if you want!
Reply
:iconjustamuse:
justamuse Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
Who knows... I may go crazy one day and try this... *faves*
Reply
:iconjstansantana:
JStanSantana Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Who the bloody hell would say sprites are not art? They have to be drawn first, just because they're made of pixels doesn't make them any less artistic. Thanks for the tut! It helps a lot!
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009
You are most welcome.

It is sad but true that I encounter people who say that quite a bit. I can't blame them though, the internet is full off half-ass rips and comics with two-tone backgrounds, no plot and no direction. It's hard to see art in a sea of garbage.
Reply
:iconjstansantana:
JStanSantana Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Yeah you've got a point there. I've a whole new respect for the spriters out there who do a good job, I can only hope that my sprites come out as nice and smooth as I need them to be.
Reply
:iconappletreeyaoi:
appletreeyaoi Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
wait, so what do you save it as? you said not jpeg or gif, but which one?
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009
I usually save them as PNGs.
Reply
:iconappletreeyaoi:
appletreeyaoi Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009
oh alright. thanks for replying.
Reply
:icondastierlockjaw:
DasTierLockjaw Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thats pretty cool ^w^ I have been curious on how well I can make sprites. I always enjoy trying something new =p I also dont understand how that couldnt be art....
Reply
:iconvnyx:
VnyX Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2008
Awesome! This is what I'm looking for^^
Reply
:icondawnofminstrel:
dawnofminstrel Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2007
Good stuff. Will use when get back to pixel art.
Reply
:iconrole-playah:
role-playah Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2007
Nicely done tutorial. I'll have to try it out. BTW, maybe it's just me, but that "generic FFVI" sprite looks like Locke to me.
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2007
You're right. Locke is one of the more basic main characters in the game. If you wanted a good starting point, I would pick his sprite set and empty out all of the stuff in the middle.
Reply
:icondead-payne:
dead-payne Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2007
This is might me a bit. I'd love to do animations in that Harvest Moon, Mario pixel look. Thanks.
Reply
:iconexplodingseashells:
ExplodingSeashells Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
omg thank you soo much! i love sprites! ever since those days...the good old days...Harvest moon ect...!!! thanks again im finally gonna have a crack at making one!
Reply
:iconghost0311:
ghost0311 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009
Best of luck. If you need a hand or honest opinion, feel free to contact me.
Reply
:icongrayseer-thanquol:
grayseer-thanquol Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2007
love the tut, tyvm
Reply
:iconjurodan:
Jurodan Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2006
An excellent and well formed tutorial. Kudos.
Reply
:iconcherryoaks:
Cherryoaks Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2006
Very nice. I'm going to fave it just so I can try using it in the future. I may end up not... but I would like to remember it if I decide to use sprite-based things. Thanks for opening up the sprite-based genre to having a serious plot.

-SZ
Reply
:iconthehalfbreed2006:
TheHalfBreed2006 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2006
Haha!!Thanks cool...i like it,im gonna try this!!!! When i do i'll +fav
Reply
:iconoracle-of-light:
Oracle-of-Light Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2006
Definately faving this one. I've been looking for a way to produce my comic for a while now....so far this is the best thing next to hand making them....and I haven't got the time or the resources for that.
Reply
:iconlorddragonclaw:
LordDragonClaw Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2006
Nice. I'll fav this for later. :+fav:
Reply
:iconrm3k:
Rm3k Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
That's cool man, I'm faving this.
Reply
:iconjaratu:
Jaratu Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006
Wow...that's pretty cool. I don't have any intention of making any sprite-art, but it is cool to see the process behind one of the best sprite comics on the net. Keep up the good work!
Reply
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