Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advices

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uselessp
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Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advices

#1 Post by uselessp » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:37 am

What I meant is described from the title. I need advices for my projects. So anyone, or anybody with experience, please help me.
I'm having a hard time. I am trying to create a game with my own originality. (Except the music. I don't have any sense or talent about making one.)

Well then, back to main topic. First is my problems in my projects.

First problem: I don't have a tablet, so I use my own hands to draw the arts. But that's just consuming too many times!!
Second problem: I'm starting to lose my free times to draw. Sure that my holiday will end sooner or later. But at this rate, I can't finish my projects on time!!
Third problem: I can draw linearts using manga studio, but I don't know how to use photoshop for the color. Which means that everything would be black and white like in manga. I don't hate that, but there is beauty and atmosphere that can only be described through color!!

Those are my problems currently. Next is requests for advices and help.

First: I need a short, quick, and understandable guide to use a photoshop. (It's Adobe photoshop cs 5, by the way.)
Second: Just wondering, but I heard that many used more than twenty layers in coloring. Then I want to ask, from where do you usually starts coloring the layers? Eyes? Hair? Etc? I might use one of your method to paint my art.
Third: If I look carefully about every single character sprites from every games, it seems like the only changes are at expressions. But does that means that the drawings are only blank at face, and then duplicated? Or using layers? If so, please tell me how to do that.

Lastly, I'm sorry for my bad English. I'm still learning now.
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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#2 Post by Sharm » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:30 am

Okay, here's a quick explanation of how to do an easy photoshop coloring. If you have an inked drawing scan it at a high dpi then adjust your levels (under adjustments) to make the lines completely black and white. Use the magic wand selection tool with 0 tolerance and anti-aliasing off and continuous on to select the parts you want to color then hit alt-delete to fill the selection. You might want to select the background and delete it (delete key). You can put the colors on a different layer if you want, this will make it easier to use masks. On the layer pallet there's an icon that looks like a paper with the top right corner turned down. Click it to make new layers. It's easier to make a background if it's on a layer below the lineart (just drag the layers around to move them). At this point it's all up to how you want to shade and highlight it, I prefer to cell shade on a new layers.

Masks are really useful and the main reason I use lots of layers. If you have two layers and hold alt while clicking the line between them you'll have one masked by the other. So if you color on the top one it will only color the places that are colored on the bottom one. You can have a flat color and then shade on a layer above without fear of going outside the lines.

If you want more specifics you should try searching for tutorials on Deviant Art. There are a lot.
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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#3 Post by Tag- » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:50 am

Okay, I'm not an expert at any of these, but I'll try my best to give some advice :'D

First: There are literally thousands of things you can do on photoshop, so it's impossible for anyone to give you a quick guide on how to use it. You have to be more specific with your question, and an example could be, 'How do I colour using the mouse on photoshop? There are a lot of tutorials on DeviantArt and the internet, so a quick search on Google should help.

Second: It is possible to use anywhere from 1 to 200+ layers for colouring. For sprites in games though, depending on complexity, it can range from 10+. As for where to start colouring the layers, everyone is different, and I usually start with the skin shading. Then I go to the eyes, then clothes, then hair. I leave hair last because I have a lot of trouble with it D:

Third: Usually the only changes are expressions, but you can have arm, head, and leg movements, but these are more complex to make, especially traditionally. With expressions, it is indeed a blank face with each expression on a different layer. I usually keep the nose on the blank face though.
And here is Lorin from Out of the Darkness, who shall be my example:
layerseg.jpg
(This program is not photoshop, but it works in the same way) So as you can see, each expression is on one separate layer, with the body and hair/clothes/etc on other layers. You can name the layers to make it easier to remember which is which.
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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#4 Post by Arowana » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:16 pm

First problem: I don't have a tablet, so I use my own hands to draw the arts. But that's just consuming too many times!!
Wow, mouse-only drawing? You have my admiration. While I know there are definitely people who do it amazingly well, drawing with the mouse always took me a ton of time and caused much pain haha. You probably have more experience mouse-drawing than me, but here are a few mouse-drawing Photoshop techniques that I know of:

Lineart with the Pen Tool - A way to get very smooth lineart in Photoshop with a mouse, using the Pen Tool. It's time-consuming, but the lines are so smooth haha.
Anime Photoshop Guide - They have a basic intro to Photoshop and also talk about using the Pen Tool.
Shading with the Gradient Tool - Also uses the Pen Tool. The shading effect it produces may not be for everybody, but I think it looks nice. :)
Second problem: I'm starting to lose my free times to draw. Sure that my holiday will end sooner or later. But at this rate, I can't finish my projects on time!!
Yeah, I understand the feeling of not having much time to draw, especially if you have classes or are working. :( Do you have a strict deadline for your projects? If not, maybe it would help to set smaller goals for yourself every week? I don't have much time to draw either, so having something small I want to accomplish every week helps me get stuff done more consistently.
First: I need a short, quick, and understandable guide to use a photoshop. (It's Adobe photoshop cs 5, by the way.)
I think the "Anime Photoshop Guide" tutorial I linked above includes an introduction to Photoshop. You might also want to try going to the deviantArt Photoshop tutorial section and searching for a tutorial that matches your current experience level and the style you are looking for.
Second: Just wondering, but I heard that many used more than twenty layers in coloring. Then I want to ask, from where do you usually starts coloring the layers? Eyes? Hair? Etc? I might use one of your method to paint my art.
Lol yeah, I know I use a ton of layers. The lineart layer goes on top, then you can do base colors (i.e. put new layers for every color you use - skin, hair, clothes, etc. - below the lineart). The base color layers don't need any shading - you just put down one color for each new thing, and it doesn't really matter what order you do them in (I like to do skin first, though, and make that the bottom layer, because hair and clothes normally go on top of skin). Once you've got the base colors down, you can put your shading on new layers using "clipping groups" for the layer you want to shade on.

Sorry that probably doesn't make much sense. ^^; It's hard to explain without using any pictures, so maybe this tutorial will help?
Third: If I look carefully about every single character sprites from every games, it seems like the only changes are at expressions. But does that means that the drawings are only blank at face, and then duplicated? Or using layers? If so, please tell me how to do that.
Yeah, I would put different expressions on different layers in the same file, just so you have them all together. Here are some sprite tutorials/examples that might be useful:

Deji's sprite example - Step-by-step spritemaking process. Comes with a Photoshop file for the sprite, if you want to see what layers are in it.
Spritemaking for visual novel beginners - A more detailed discussion of the considerations that go into making sprites.
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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#5 Post by Tetiel » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:22 pm

My biggest recommendation is to work on a very large scale. That way, you can get by without having your lack of pressure sentitivity show. I used to have a tablet that didn't have the pressure sensitivity option (foolish purchase) and I would use the opacity and flow settings for the brush tool to get a softer look. You can also use the pen tool to color. Sometimes I would use the pen tool to make sharper lines in a regular hard CG because my hands were shaky. I have a couple tutorials. They kinda match what someone else has posted, but maybe there are a few things in there (including pen coloring and lineart):
http://tetiel.deviantart.com/gallery/55962

My layering is very complicated. On a sprite, I can sometimes have hundreds, especially on a sprite that can have color changes. I have a different layer for the base color, shadow, darker shadow, and highlights. That way if the person decides to change the color from blue to purple, they can do that without the hue/saturation tool which often makes it look ugly. Normally on a regular sprite, I just have one layer for each object. For example:

Lineart
Eyes
Skin
Hair
Jacket
Shirt
Belt Buckle
Belt
Pants
Shoelaces
Shoe color 1
Shoe color 2

I fill them in so they're nice and neat and then lock the layers so I can be as sloppy as I want while coloring xD

But to answer your second question about the freetime... honestly, if you want to draw, you will find time in your schedule to draw. Don't treat it like work, treat it as your passion. It takes forever to complete artwork, but it makes you feel so good to see the finished piece at the end. It's worth the sacrifice of other activities, in my opinion. You just need to think about if it's worth the sacrifice yourself.

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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#6 Post by AERenoir » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:37 am

'kay, I feel stupid asking this because I've been drawing for a while, but how exactly do you go about doing sprites that have many different clothes? Draw a naked sprite and draw the clothes on top? Because having to redraw the sprite for every single darn outfit he/she wears is annoying when they have lots of clothes.

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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#7 Post by Tag- » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:57 am

@ AERenoir - Definitely draw a naked base and chuck clothes on different layers/folders over it. It's the same for expressions too.
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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#8 Post by AERenoir » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:23 am

That's what I thought, until I run into poses like crossed arms or hands on hips. Then what do I do? Leave hand-shaped "holes" on the clothes' lineart?

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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#9 Post by Sharm » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:18 am

Depends on how you want to do the layering. You can also copy the hands onto a new layer on top or make a mask to cut the hole for the hand while still leaving all the information for the rest of the sleeve there if you do something else.
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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#10 Post by Fungii » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:30 am

I personally go for the hand shaped holes method, but I make sure to include lineart around those gaps so that I don't spend forever trying to erase the colouring enough so that the lines don't look wonky.

As for colouring, I DO use seperate layers for each part, but if two things are far apart from eachother on the picture, ie hair and trousers, I use the same layer for them.
Then again, I do bases and shading on the same layer because that's how my tools work best for me.

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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#11 Post by Tetiel » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:13 am

Basically, you draw the clothing in layers, just like you would need to draw the arms on a different layer than the normal base.
Example layering:

Sleeve
Arm pose
Shirt
Base body

When you're doing a sprite, you need to think about what is in front and order it from that perspective. It's complicated, but with experience you'll learn to do it instinctually. Making sprites is like solving a very complicated math problem sometimes ^^;

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Re: Character sprites, CG event scenes, and background advic

#12 Post by Deji » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:36 am

God, this is *really* old, but if you're doing sprites on paper, this may help (I used to draw my sprites on paper first)
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 078#p38078

I'm pretty sure I posted one paper sheet with a sprite that had two arm positions and two outfits, but I can't find it ):

In that case, I basically drew the full outfit without sleeves and then the sleeves for each arm position. I'd just duplicate the base outfit then and erase where the hands/arms should show for each arm pose.

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