yup, one of those topics: "Character sprites"

All development of pixel art and graphics
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Bjørn
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Post by Bjørn » 13 Apr 2005, 01:26

I've tried to give the characters some better shading and also modified the legs not to stand out so wide. Also note the drop shadow I've included below the character. The point is to draw this thing separately so that it doesn't need to be included in the character sprite, of course.

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I've put a standing frame of the other player character in development in the picture as well for comparison. Although the boy and girl look pretty young, I think they fit the the game better.

I know Clef has also done a bit of fiddling with Talaroc's player character to make it look better. I would ask the artists to please work together on this and don't feel afraid to post modifications of eachothers work. The player character is the most important animated sprite in the game, and we really need to agree on a common style and then get the animation frames done. I think by now it is pretty clear that doing all the animation frames is a lot of work and should probably not be done by a single person.
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Post by maci » 13 Apr 2005, 07:48

btw.. should we store the shadow in an external ..png file ?
so ou could make shodwos of different size there and just let them appear under the player npc or monster..

and sure other things shwadow like a trees shadow or a rock or wahtever should exactl have same colour .. so the players shadow dissappears when he stands on such a "shadowed area"

just a littlte thing which came into my head while looking at the nice shading you made bjorn
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Post by Bjørn » 13 Apr 2005, 11:03

maci wrote:btw.. should we store the shadow in an external ..png file ?
so ou could make shodwos of different size there and just let them appear under the player npc or monster..

and sure other things shwadow like a trees shadow or a rock or wahtever should exactl have same colour .. so the players shadow dissappears when he stands on such a "shadowed area"
I imagine some monsters would have to have the shadow included in their bitmap because of shape and size (for example large maggot), but we could have a few generic shadows that are used by multiple being types.

As for shadow color, the shadow doesn't have a color, it's simply blending what's below closer to black. This means it's hard to do as you said to make different shadows not add up. To do that one would have to draw all shadows in a separate bitmap together, and blend that over the map, but that's slow (at least 2x), and I wouldn't know how to do it in OpenGL. In general, I think the adding up doesn't matter.
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Post by maci » 13 Apr 2005, 15:51

i just mean.. it would be look weird if you stand in front of a huge house, which throws a shadow and your shadow is still visible
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Post by Talaroc » 13 Apr 2005, 17:37

Got something fun here. Jetryl crawled out of the woodwork this morning to give me this image, bearing his own retooling of my standing frames. He's also offered to give me a bit more training, so that whatever sprites we wind up with, I can do better work on them.

Yeah. Jetryl rocks. :D

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Post by ElvenProgrammer » 13 Apr 2005, 17:44

I like those ones especially the head and arms. The torso and legs seems a bit too too realistic. Ah and legs seems still too thin to me, but I'm no artist so take it easy.
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Post by Bjørn » 14 Apr 2005, 00:35

Ah, Jetryl has changed the boy and girl to man and women, adding a much better detail of body shape than I could have hoped to realize. I especially like the male character.

ElvenProgrammer, I don't understand your point about torso/legs being too realistic. Could you elaborate on why you think this is a problem, and wether you think it'd be better to go with a more unrealistic version?

One important issue remains and this is that we need to finish a complete character set, which means not 1 but currently about 64 frames (for one sex). Would it be possible to work together on that? And can we realize the quality Jetryl used at that amount?

maci, almost any game will add up shadows instead of having one shadow merge with another. Keep in mind when you're in a dark area, your shadow will automatically contrast less significantly with the rest. And also that realistic shadows actually behave in a way that lies between adding them up and merging them, so neither method is entirely accurate.
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Post by Jetryl » 14 Apr 2005, 02:22

Bjørn wrote:Ah, Jetryl has changed the boy and girl to man and women, adding a much better detail of body shape than I could have hoped to realize. I especially like the male character.

ElvenProgrammer, I don't understand your point about torso/legs being too realistic. Could you elaborate on why you think this is a problem, and wether you think it'd be better to go with a more unrealistic version?
The only concern comes from a want to make the game really SD - "Super-deform".

Even the version I hacked is quite super-deform - the head is nearly twice normal size. The head is the really important thing, since having those big-o eyes allows one to show a lot of expression - for example, the blinking that Neko-mon demonstrated (which we should use - it can easily be copied into this set).

The danger in getting too super-deform and having too childish of sprite bodies is that the work becomes what the japanese call "moe". An example of a very "moe" work would "dot.hack/twilight bracelet".

I think that people should shoot for characters which are somewhere from 16-19 years old, which is still rather young. By avoiding the younger age bracket, you avoid all sorts of issues spawned by showing young kids going around doing adult things. :wink:

One could potentially shorten the character to make it more cutesy, but there are some advantages to having it taller - it is already cutesy, but by staying tall, it can be other things as well. By appearing, as it does now, as a hybrid youth/adult, it can represent aspects of both roles. Experienced players and bad guys using the same model will actually have the potential to look vaugely imposing, instead of looking as silly as gonzo did in a Darth Vader costume (eg - looking like a little kid dressed up like a grown-up).
Bjørn wrote:One important issue remains and this is that we need to finish a complete character set, which means not 1 but currently about 64 frames (for one sex). Would it be possible to work together on that? And can we realize the quality Jetryl used at that amount?
I can help talaroc get those done.
Bjørn wrote:maci, almost any game will add up shadows instead of having one shadow merge with another. Keep in mind when you're in a dark area, your shadow will automatically contrast less significantly with the rest. And also that realistic shadows actually behave in a way that lies between adding them up and merging them, so neither method is entirely accurate.
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Post by Kyokai » 14 Apr 2005, 05:02

I'm sort of confused about whether we're going with Talaroc's sprites, or Neko-mon's sprites, or some combination that's going to take 2 more months to agree on?

On a side note: I think I'm just going to stop worrying about graphics altogether and focus solely on design from now on. I'm starting to have alot more real-life work lately, and it seems like Rotonen is back, so this shouldn't be a real problem.
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Post by ElvenProgrammer » 14 Apr 2005, 09:14

Bjørn wrote:ElvenProgrammer, I don't understand your point about torso/legs being too realistic. Could you elaborate on why you think this is a problem, and wether you think it'd be better to go with a more unrealistic version?
Well probably I was drunk, because I can't see any problem at the moment, except maybe where the feet joint the leg and the male playerset should have one pixel more "boobs" (I don't know the male word). Maybe this could lead to a worse a result, but I'd like to see the difference.
Kyokai wrote:I'm sort of confused about whether we're going with Talaroc's sprites, or Neko-mon's sprites, or some combination that's going to take 2 more months to agree on?
As far as I know Talaroc, Neko-mon, Clef and now Jetryl should be working on the male playerset. It would be cool to have some updates about the development...
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Post by Yuuki » 14 Apr 2005, 17:03

Yo Talarok
I think that u should'nt use blur to character set... Cause it'll make the character diferent from the map.... It isnt a good look...
Try to dont use more than 16 colors.
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Post by Talaroc » 14 Apr 2005, 17:33

I didn't use blur. I made those graphics pixel-by-pixel.

What you're probably seeing is the outline smoothing I did. Frankly, I think that doing that makes the graphics look a hell of a lot better, and more like objects, rather than accumulations of pixels. With regards to looking different than the map, to be perfectly frank; good. The tileset we've got currently (as it appears in the wiki) needs more work, as most of it's very obviously been made at a small size and blown up, and as a result is highly pixelated. Again, the graphics should look like scenery, not amalgoms of pixels (big ones, in this case).

As for colors, this game is being made for current-day computers, not old consoles; we can use whatever colors we like.
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Post by Jetryl » 14 Apr 2005, 17:36

Neko-Mon wrote:Yo Talarok
I think that u should'nt use blur to character set... Cause it'll make the character diferent from the map.... It isnt a good look...
Actually, believe it or not, the sprites are not blurred at all - What likely makes you think that, though, is that the edges, however, are not all black, and they really shouldn't be all black.

Making them all black is ok if sprites are the same size as those in ragnarok online, but it causes significant problems on small sprites. The same is true of landscape sprites - you do not need black lines to make an edge, you just need contrast. In this case, colored outlines were necessary to augment the internal shading of the sprite - this is the case when the outlines occupy more than 1/10 the area of a sprite in one dimension - for example, the legs are only 5-6 pixels wide, and two of those are edges. If those are black, they affect the color of the internal pixels by proximity - they won't affect it when you are zoomed in, working on the sprite, but they will when the sprite is at normal magnification.

This basically has to do with orders of magnitude - if they are less than an order of magnitude, they become what we in the science world call "negligible," and then making them jet black usually doesn't hurt - in fact at times it may be advisable.
Neko-Mon wrote:Try to dont use more than 16 colors.
There aren't a lot of good reasons not to exceed a high color set, at least not anymore. The only valid ones have to do with color table tricks, and speed, and the latter is only relevant if you exceed 256 unique colors. Ironically, these days, computers actually tend to run faster in 16-bit and 32-bit color, because that is what they are designed for - the 8-bit mode on a modern graphics board is an afterthought, included only for backwards compatibility, and it is not as well optimized.


HOWEVER I actually used a very small color set on this image, in fact it may be below 16 colors. I introduced a few more than what talaroc's image had, but not that many.

Keep in mind that just because a lot of other people do something one way, doesn't mean they're right.
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Post by Whist » 27 Apr 2005, 01:47

The girl's head shouldn't be shaped like the guys, it should be slimmer...for lack of better words
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Post by Talaroc » 27 Apr 2005, 02:23

Actually, given that we're using a quasi-SD anime style, girls' heads should by rights be a little bit shorter, but the same width. That's what gives them the standard anime "cute girl" look. However, I don't think we really need to worry about it, personally. It's not like the difference is that big, in real life or anime.
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