Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

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laiktail
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Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#1 Post by laiktail » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:35 am

Hi all,

My friend and I were discussing the problem with animating sprites and some of the uncanny valley-ness of it, which appears to affect people to various degrees. The question I pose to you is: do you preferred animated sprites or static sprites?

Static sprites: Rewrite


Dynamic sprites: Using e-mote


Dynamic sprites: Using Live2D


I'm thinking that the latter would be much more useful especially if you do not plan to voice your game, but I'd like to know your opinion on this. I think E-mote (or EmoFuri) is much better for being closer to anime than Live2D, but whilst I think it doesn't look bad at all, my friend thinks that it hasn't hopped out of the valley. Given this difference in opinion, I'd like to know what you think of it, and whether you'd prefer static or dynamic sprites. I've included Live2D just for kicks, but IMO static sprites definitely trump Live2D at this stage in time.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#2 Post by Joshua1207 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:29 pm

The dynamic sprites look so unnatural, especially with the lip-syncing. I personally prefer static sprites by far.
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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#3 Post by Asceai » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:36 pm

Some other games look far better with emote/emofuri - the key is subtlety. If you're too excited about a new technology and want to throw in lots of motion, you'll go overboard and get this effect. If you just use it to subtly enhance state transitions and add in some mild motion you'll end up with something far nicer and more immersive.

So, like anything, it works well if you use it well.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#4 Post by LVUER » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:17 pm

Live2D looks a bit 3D due to its nature while Emote looks much more 2D. But so far Live2D is more dynamic and offer interactivity (I have yet to see Emote used in real time game like Neptune Android/iOS App). While which one looks better, I don't know. In this example, Emote rules... but it's a newer and PC game while OreImo is a PSP and older game. Neptunia looks good and doesn't have the uncanny valley.

Don't forget that Emote is movie maker type while Live2D is SDK type of software... I heard that Live2D is integrated with Unity now.

One thing for consider when picking Live2D or Emote is the licensing fee, especially when you're going to make a commercial project. Emote is very expensive, even for indie project. And it only have yearly/monthly subscription type license, which is a turn off for me. While Live2D, you only pay once. It's not cheap either... but it have the free (or indie) version as long you make less than $97,660 per year.

I agree that at this stage, static sprites still looks better. After all, it's cheaper to be made, far easier and faster to be drawn, doesn't need specialized software, and it's a "mature technology". While dynamic sprite using Live2D and Emote is rather new one, only been used in several games. We can only wait and see the progress...
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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#5 Post by Asceai » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:23 pm

LVUER wrote:Don't forget that Emote is movie maker type while Live2D is SDK type of software... I heard that Live2D is integrated with Unity now.
Emofree makes movies. Emote itself is provided as an SDK for various platforms.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#6 Post by Tyrantauranox » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:47 pm

One more vote for animated. I don't really expect manga/anime style characters to move realistically.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#7 Post by LVUER » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:00 pm

Asceai wrote:
LVUER wrote:Don't forget that Emote is movie maker type while Live2D is SDK type of software... I heard that Live2D is integrated with Unity now.
Emofree makes movies. Emote itself is provided as an SDK for various platforms.
That's good to hear. Now if only Emote's price is lowered and translated into English...
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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#8 Post by gekiganwing » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:24 pm

If the animation calls attention to itself, then it might distract the reader rather than keep them involved.

"Going through the motions" can also be a problem. If the characters have only so many poses and emotes, it can be distracting. Likewise, if they use broad gestures more than a few times, it's kind of like watching a real life actor hamming it up and milking the giant cow.
laiktail wrote: My friend and I were discussing the problem with animating sprites and some of the uncanny valley-ness of it...
The uncanny valley problem seems more common with graphics that are intended to be realistic. I'm sure there are a few examples with drawn art that's not detailed and that's relatively abstract. But if you're aiming for a style that's close to real life, be careful. Think about how you can portray challenging things such as humans with 3D polygon art, detailed expressions, and creatures that are almost human such as robots and animal hybrids.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#9 Post by Yokura » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:06 am

Right now, I like simple 2d animations such as.. blinking eyes. It gives the VN a nice alive feeling without being distracting at all.

The.. second video with dynamic sprites was really.. kind of distracting and not terribly natural feeling.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#10 Post by Nekobiker » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:37 am

The animated sprites are aesthetically pleasing but also very distracting. Reading a whole VN with stuff constantly moving in the background would be exhausting and possibly headache-inducing. I would only recommend this if the game is short and is light on the writing.

Otherwise, blinking eyes is about as much as I can take. Static sprites just do the job better. If you like animated sprites, you're better off making an interactive movie where the player doesn't have to divide their attention between pictures and text.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#11 Post by SundownKid » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:54 am

I have to say that I like dynamic/animated sprites a lot better than any static sprites. The static sprites feel like a technological holdover and they are in the uncanny valley for the vast majority of people who aren't used to jRPG gaming or visual novels. I see no reason why they shouldn't be used if you can handle the technology. That said, I still don't know how to create them yet so I probably won't be using them soon.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#12 Post by Gambit74 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:43 pm

I prefer static myself to be honest, since something about those dynamics bug me. While not necessary, lip-to-text syncing (Think Phoenix Wright) is a nice addition though.
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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#13 Post by rainbowcascade » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:20 pm

I prefer the emote one. That looks fantastic. Like watching an anime in your visual novel. I can see that going far. Coupled with voice acting makes it powerful in my opinion.

But man, that Live2D one. It's kinda creepy because the girl is constantly nodding. People don't do that in real life unless they're about to fall asleep but trying to stay awake or if they're high. The animation rocks when the girl agrees with you and gives a confirming shake of her head to add to the "Yes!" but when she's idle and talking (or your the one talking to her), she moves way too much. It reminds me of JRPGs where the the characters never ever stand still and constantly move in a certain way while standing still.



See how Auron keeps bending his knees? How Tidus keeps moving his torso back and forth? Wakka constantly bobs his head up and down? It looks even sillier when they're on haste.


I think dynamic sprites would make the characters really come alive. But what would be even better than using emote would be to actually painstakingly animate the sprites frame by frame at 60fps.
Last edited by rainbowcascade on Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#14 Post by LVUER » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:04 pm

Actually, do you ever see a real person standing exactly still for hours? Besides, those sprites aren't standing still because the artist/programmer makes them so, not Live2D.

Anyway, you also need to look at the price when you starts making commercial project.
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Re: Static sprites vs. dynamic sprites?

#15 Post by Fungii » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:34 pm

I've gotten used to Live2D sprites at this point from playing TMGS3 Premium so much so honestly, I have to say I like both. With a slight preference for dynamic, just because it stops the screen from looking, well, static.

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