Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

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Sapphire-Skillz
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Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#1 Post by Sapphire-Skillz » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:14 am

I didn't know how to word my topic better... But I was wondering if people have a preference towards games that have sprites with different poses, rather than one with multiple expressions but one pose?

I personally don't mind either, but in some games, some of the different poses drawn often have the character looking different or disfigured at times. Also when you're skipping (i.e if you're trying to get to a new part) the change in pose can cause the game to lag a bit, in comparison to if it was just a single one (though that could just be me. o.o).

On the other hand, having different poses can make the characters expressions more dynamic and offer more visual cues (such as having a fighting scene with the character unsheating his sword -- or something like that?)

But I'm not sure if I'm thinking too hard about it. Time is not that much of a factor so I would be willing to do different poses, but I don't want to bother if it isn't as important as I think it is.
If anyone could give me their preferences (as a player or creator), that'd be really helpful.(*^3^)/~♡
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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#2 Post by Biomass » Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:20 am

I definitely prefer a wider variety of poses versus a single pose with multiple facial expressions.

The main reason is, the latter approach looks "cheap". A single pose with multiple expressions on average takes less time to create than multiple poses so it makes me, the viewer, think that not as much work was put in when the two are compared.

Why does this matter? All other things equal, why does it matter if one set of sprites look like it took more work than the other? I think it's because as a dabbling creator myself I appreciate that kind of effort.

Of course, the realities of production often force people to use the latter approach whether they want to or not.

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#3 Post by Mammon » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:52 am

I agree with biomass, more poses = more effort. The reason you see tons of VN with just one pose and multiple expressions is because this is much, much easier to do. I can make a mouth in 5 minutes (then again my mouths can be just a single line) while a new pose can be a whole new sprite to make. And for people who aren't too skilled in drawing, making a new sprite that actually resembles the old one can be quite difficult.

Poses also have the advantage that they are much more expressive. With a single sprite you'll have a certain body language that will be present even when the expressions change. So if you have a confident character whose pride just took a hit or who's scared, the still confident body language will looks lessen this effect of broken confidence. And a hyperactive and extravert character will seem much more calm if they never actually move a lot. With multiple poses you can greatly improve the expression of the character and make them seem much more dynamic or energetic.

This is a matter of workload. If you have the skills to make multiple poses of the same character while still making them seem like the same character, and if you have the time and focus to do it (as you said in OP), I'd say yes. Definately do it. It's a great improvement upon the characters and the story quality. The best would be if there were a new pose for every expression, but that's a lot of work.

Personally, I added multiple poses in my game but did this with a shortcut: I only changed the arms of the character. That way, the character's expressions could stay in the same place and I would only have to make a new version of about 1/6th of the sprite, while still getting some more body language. Also having to make multiple poses AND multiple outfits would be a nightmare.

Edit: Fuseblower (the next post) would be a good example. From what I saw, one of their characters (and her avatar) has at least three different poses to display three vastly different emotions.
Last edited by Mammon on Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#4 Post by Fuseblower » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:29 am

Sapphire-Skillz wrote:Time is not that much of a factor so I would be willing to do different poses, but I don't want to bother if it isn't as important as I think it is.
Well, if you don't want to bother then you shouldn't draw different poses :lol:

Apart from whether or not you get excited from the prospect of drawing all kinds of different poses to show expression (and personality!), you can think of it this way : suppose all you had was a silhouette. No fancy shading or line art, just a silhouette. How would you express emotions then? The posture is far more important than the facial expression. If someone would be smiling but had an angry pose then the smile would be fake, not the pose (same goes for the eyes, if the eyes tell a different story than the mouth then the eyes should be believed, not the mouth).

You don't even need the whole body for it. Just look at different expressions and see what the shoulders are doing, what the head is doing. Is the chin pushed forward? Is the head tilted back of forward? All these things together follow a line of action. The whole body has a purpose, a direction. This gives it life.

But a body that's just holding some kind of neutral pose and only changes the eyes and mouth is lifeless and stiff. No amount of fancy shading and line art can change that.

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#5 Post by SundownKid » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:15 am

IMO, the strangeness of the manikin-like single pose and many expressions outweighs any strangeness caused by different poses. That said, I have nothing wrong with a single pose if it's done well, but it can be immersion breaking if the game is too long and they are just stuck in that pose the entire time. And especially if the game deals with a heavy degree of emotion and not just fluff.

If you dont have time or cant afford to do many poses, then doing one pose is just fine. Whatever gets the game out the door. But it will just not be as expressive.

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#6 Post by Parataxis » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:15 pm

One thing I've seen done kind of between the two options is to have a "base" neutral pose with like half the expressions for each character and then have the rest be individual expressive poses. But I personally prefer the existence and utilization of more expressive posses myself, though I am pretty tolerant of the other on the whole.

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#7 Post by YossarianIII » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:52 pm

Personally, as a player, I've always preferred simple but hyper-expressive art (i.e. like Phoenix Wright) over more complex but static art. (That said, I do think detailed art can look great in promo materials or screenshots.)

Because of that preference, as a creator, I keep the art extremely simple so that even minor characters can have multiple animated poses and it doesn't take a billion hours. The general rule of thumb I've found is that the more complex the art is, the harder it'll be to make it look consistently good in different poses (although sometimes the higher difficulty will pay off).

So starting with a clear goal of how simple or complex you want the art to be is a good first step, and the "right" answer will vary from project to project. After all, it took years for Leonardo to get the pose right for the Mona Lisa, but Charles Schulz churned out dozens of characters in different poses every week for Peanuts.


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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#8 Post by Mellanthe » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:22 pm

Personally, I love different poses!

As an artist though, I know just how easily that can wrong. Like how you said, they can look different or disfigured. If that's the case, I would rather one base and multiple expressions. It sucks me out of a game when I start mentally trying to figure out why the character looks different. OTL

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#9 Post by indoneko » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:43 pm

I'd prefer different poses instead of single, static pose.
Well, unless if your character has rigid appearance by design (like a robot soldier or something)...
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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#10 Post by Sonomi » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:07 am

I never really considered, but now that you mention it...
Mammon wrote:The best would be if there were a new pose for every expression
I can agree with this.

Honestly, I do not mind a single pose with a variety of facial expressions. This tends to work well in SVNs especially.

On the other hand, multiple poses certainly deposit more emotion and character into a given scene. In Fate/Stay Night, Saber has a combination of multiple poses and expressions (...with two costumes, and holding a practice sword if I am not mistaken), and I feel this added a nice touch overall to the experience. This is probably one of the things I remember most about that visual novel.
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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#11 Post by Taranee » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:13 am

I'm drawing a new pose for every expression and every time a character holds an important object. Some characters also have younger versions or different outfits (with a new pose) for flashback scenes. I think the biggest problem is keeping the art style consistent. I've drawn over 50 sprites already, and realized that the styles of the 1st and the 50th are somewhat different.

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#12 Post by Vegeluxia » Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:58 am

Body language can tell a lot at first glance, I think, and I've always been partial to pose changes because it makes the characters feel a little more alive. Even if it's a minor change, like an arm going from rest to at the hip or something.

That being said, I don't really mind static art that much if it's just a head shot or if the game isn't super long. The longer I'm looking,the more likely I am to notice. At least an occasional blink or something helps.

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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#13 Post by Katy133 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:20 pm

I like a wide variety of poses because it shows that the artist put a lot of effort and went the extra mile to draw different poses. It also lets the player learn more about each character's personality: The way a confident characters shows anger will be different that a timid character showing the same emotion, and so on.
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Re: Sprites with different poses as well as expressions?

#14 Post by YonYonYon » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:01 am

If you can afford different poses, do different poses And maybe add different clothes and hairstyles.
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