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Tutorial - 'Sprite Modifying Part 1: Re-colouring' by Stormshadow

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Kaworu demonstrates the basics of sprite editting by transmuting a Sonic sprite into Shadow, step-by-step.


Sprite modifying for n00bs part 1: Re-colouring

Well hello, I am Stormshadow (or Kaworu), I've done a fair few tuts and articles in my time. Some good (ABS in Gamemaker, Sight/view mini-game in rm2k) and some appalling(an article on romance). Welcome to my first Tutorial in a while, here I will show you the basics of Sprite re-colouring and editing. As an example, I will use a Sonic sprite from Sonic3 (a still taken from where he becomes Super Sonic). It will be explained in a series of steps, and I will be using MSpaint for convenience (it really is the best program to use when you are working with sprites)

STEP ONE - Select your sprite, you can take it from a Sprite Sheet, or from an animated Gif, or better yet, Rip it yourself. Anyways as you can see, here is Sonic in all his glory. Let’s say I want to turn him into Shadow, well then let’s progress to step two.

STEP TWO - As you can see here, I simply changed the dark blue areas into a very, very dark brown (one of they key rules to most art forms is to never use black as it looks unnatural and false, though whether that applies to the world of Mobius with talking blue hedgehogs, flying foxes and cyborg crabs is a question not worth asking.). I used the fill bucket as it’s well easier. I always stat with the darkest colour as it gives me something to set the other shades by, but you can start how you like.

STEP THREE - Now he’s coming along nicely, you can see him starting to take shape as Shadow. By using a dark brown instead of black/grey it gives him a more natural fur/lighting look. I can’t really explain how to choose the shade, you’ll just have to go with what looks right. So you pick a slightly less dark shade and change the colour of the medium blue bits, then a lighter shade and change the light blue bits. it’s as simple as that. While he may look cool, he doesn’t look too much like Shadow does he? next I’ll explain how to add the details.

STEP FOUR - Look at him now, he is getting pretty spiffy. What have I changed? Well by using the same method as above I changed his arms and stomach from flesh to dark brown. So he has a more “Shadow” look. I also found three shades which resemble gold and added his wrist bands (I changed the rim of his gloves fro white to gold) by using the darkest shade of gold over the dark grey, the medium shade over the medium grey and the lightest shade over the white.

STEP FIVE - Now this looks like Shadow. So what did I do? Well first of all I drew a white upside-down triangle under his chin for his body hair (as he is a grrrr manly man), then I highlighted the corners with a darker grey to make it seem more 3D. I simply got the dark red and drew in his eyes (well eye to be precise), and highlighted the bottom of his eye lids, by following along the eye. The red streak on his head was again made by colouring in a large portion (remember while it’s meant to be a triangle style shape, the angle of is head makes it difficult for it to look right, so it look slightly off). There was originally a light effect on his head, so I used a light red to shade that. I removed most of the red from his sneakers, except for a bit around the front to create Shadow’s sneakers. Some gold was used to highlight the front and around the top of his sneakers.

Now you can see how a Sonic sprite was used to create a Shadow sprite. I chose a simple one as this is a n00b tutorial. After toying around with simple transformations like this, you can then try Street Fighter sprites (turning M. Bison into Darth Vader, Ryu into Goku etc) or even more complicated some KOF sprites (turning Rock into Trunks is an easy one). I hope this helps you understand the basics which people go through for some minor customised sprites, and will prepare you for my next spriting tutorial, the art of “FRANKENSTEINING” mwuhahahahahaha!