Drawing Sprites by Hand?

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Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#1 Post by cppietime » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:00 am

I'm wondering if there's any feasible way to draw sprites by hand(on physical media, then scanning or other similar process) rather than digitally? The main problem I see emerging is making many sprites for each characters with varying expressions, i.e. how could I make the same image but with different facial expressions by hand(not computer) without just drawing many completely separate images. Is that reasonably possible?

Basically, I can draw OK by hand, but am completely terrible when it comes to trying to use a drawing tablet, so I'm trying to see if I can use hand-drawing to make the sprites, but of course I don't want to spend my entire life drawing a dozen nearly identical copies from scratch of each character. Would it be reasonable to draw "layers", scan them, then ink/lineart them digitally?

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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#2 Post by Cakey » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:00 pm

It depends how you draw and if you use colors. It is very easy to just change expression by swapping for example happy mouth to sad mouth in manga style but a lot harder with more detailed ones.

Maybe your tablet is not very good? What are you using or what have you tried using?

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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#3 Post by cppietime » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:44 pm

Intuos Wacom 5 tablet. Even if it were a manga style sort of thing, how would I swap the mouth, as you're suggesting, without drawing a whole new image?

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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#4 Post by Digiflux » Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:06 pm

For majority of the face and mouth animations I prepare a "clean slate" or a blank face and simply add the layers for the major expressions and build inbetween frames since you'll be familiar with positioning. You may not have to create entire news images but rather build a library of all the movable pieces or export the complete images with slight variations. Traditional animation uses a similar method however its very manual but again you should likely research which methods are easiest for you. Which programs/software are you using to do this? I imagine scanning and refitting would be quite tedious.

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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#5 Post by Green Glasses Girl » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:13 pm

The Parasol Festival is a good example of a visual novel with traditional art. The artist (Deji) has a screenshot on her tumblr with a method similar to what you're talking about. With watercolors to boot!
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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#6 Post by cppietime » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:11 am

Green Glasses Girl wrote:The Parasol Festival is a good example of a visual novel with traditional art. The artist (Deji) has a screenshot on her tumblr with a method similar to what you're talking about. With watercolors to boot!
Thanks! I'll keep in mind doing something like that(probably not watercolor though) as a possibility. If I may ask for some opinions, how would you feel about a VN using sprites that were taken from 3d-rendered images edited to look 2d/cartoonish?

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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#7 Post by MaiMai » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:31 pm

cppietime wrote: Thanks! I'll keep in mind doing something like that(probably not watercolor though) as a possibility. If I may ask for some opinions, how would you feel about a VN using sprites that were taken from 3d-rendered images edited to look 2d/cartoonish?
In my opinion, I'd say you're better off just doing 2D/cartoonish from start to finish. Unless you have a good example on hand to show, I'd imagine it wouldn't have much of a lively look to it.
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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#8 Post by cppietime » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:27 pm

and while I'm asking about sprite advice, would you be able to take a game with sprite graphics that were kinda cartoony(unrealistic, caricature type stuff) at all semi-seriously?

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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#9 Post by MaiMai » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:29 pm

It all depends on what kind of story you're telling. Is the story going to be humorous, or played straight? What's are the genres? Are you taking on a particular theme? Would the story benefit from the art style you're thinking of??
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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#10 Post by cppietime » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:12 pm

I'll have to consider all that. Here's a demo 3d-to-2d image:
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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#11 Post by SwedishJazz » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:20 pm

As-is, it doesn't look very appealing, I'm afraid. The disappearing contours remove details, and it looks stiff and makeshift. However, you could draw over the renders to fill out the contours and add more details without having to worry about keeping the proportions consistent, cutting down on a lot of the work. If you were willing to try that, the effect could look really nice!
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Re: Drawing Sprites by Hand?

#12 Post by Biomass » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:33 pm

You could use a photocopier and a light table. Tracing to reproduce previous layers isn't great, but given your restrictions it seems like the best way and it most closely resembles what animators use to do.

The real solution is just to get use to using tablets. I personally have lost the ability to use traditional media after so many years of tablet abuse, so it really is just about acclimatization.

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