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Thread: Change Color Palette and Update Sprite Colors

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    Change Color Palette and Update Sprite Colors

    I am looking into changing the color palette of my game. I was told that my game has too many colors, and also I think the palette I've used doesn't really look that great. The problem is now I have hundreds of sprites and I can't go back and redraw every single sprite. So is there a way to automatically update sprites to a new color palette? Is there software that will do this for me?

    If so, what recommendations do you have? Thanks! Here is an image below of what my current graphics look like to show what I mean:

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    Hey Shadeve,

    as this feedback on the colors comes from me and you're asking this question, I guess I missed the point a bit. You color palette is not your main problem - it's the noise in your art. Especially in pixel art, color clusters are very important for individual objects to stay readable. I think I said you use too many colors, what I should have said is: You make too many dots and complex patterns. I found a great tutorial from Tower 57 artist Cyangmou, that will probably help you. If you start with pixel art start simple. That means work with color clusters first and skip complex patterns, also skip line art. All you need is making a good looking shape, apply light and shadow to it. Then put these shapes on a denoised ground and adjust the sprites colors so they have a good contrast to the ground while still blending in enough to have a nice overall composition for the eyes.
    And if you go with outlines: Watch for the jaggies, those are much more visible in outlined art, so if you do it you have to put a lot of effort into avoiding jaggies.

    I personally did a lot of pixel art tutorials, as my skills really sucked a lot and I know how tedious and discouraging it can be having to start from scratch, but it's seriously the best thing if you really want to get better. Embrace practicing (pixel) art, that's the way to go for every indie, at least if you don't have an artist on the team. I redid the art for Outbuddies four times, the complete art, seriously, and it's still not as it should be.

    Here ist the tutorial from Cyangmou and a shot from Tower 57 that illustrates pretty well how this stuff works in a game. If you look at the individual objects he created you can see how few colors are used for each surface. Mostly one base color + one shadow color (shifted a bit into the blue spectrum) and a highlight color. Most objects work without any black outlines. And the overally composition is just stunning, IMO this guy is probably the best pixel artis alive at the moment ^^

    Btw: You can force a pallette on a picture using Gimp. https://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-tutori...ange-mode.html. Make the picture indexed and choose "use custom palette". This way all colors will be changed to their nearest neighbour in your custom palette. It's also easy to ripp off palettes from other artists with Gimp, just load a screenshot, convert the image to "indexed" and open the palette editor window. You'll then see the pictures palette in the list selection and can save it for future usage.




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    Hi Julian! Thanks again for more suggestions! The Gimp Indexing was just what I was looking for. I'll also look into some tutorials. It sounds like for the most part I will need to go back manually to change a lot of my sprites.
    Also, do you happen to know of where I can find any already created color palettes? I just want to test out some other palettes on my game to see how it looks, and when I create a palette based on a screenshot it doesn't work quite as well.

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    I took your advice and made a lot of changes to the main graphics in the game (tiles and trees mainly). Here is a before and after image of it. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for it! Thanks!



  5. #5
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    Looks better to me, althogh the trees could use some dithering on the edges of the shadows to make shadows softer.

    //edit: If you haven't already, I'd strongly recommend investing in Pro Motion NG from Cosmigo. This is the best pixel art editor I know of and seriously beats any and all alternatives. There's a bit of a learning curve, because the workflow is different, but once you get it you'll find it's superior for pixel-art. It's $38-$40 (not sure which since Steam now supports my local currency) and it's worth every cent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkhog View Post
    Looks better to me, althogh the trees could use some dithering on the edges of the shadows to make shadows softer.

    //edit: If you haven't already, I'd strongly recommend investing in Pro Motion NG from Cosmigo. This is the best pixel art editor I know of and seriously beats any and all alternatives. There's a bit of a learning curve, because the workflow is different, but once you get it you'll find it's superior for pixel-art. It's $38-$40 (not sure which since Steam now supports my local currency) and it's worth every cent.
    Alright, I can look into some dithering. I've never done it before, but I know what it is and how it works. I currently use Asesprite, Gimp, and the Clickteam editor to make my graphics which seems to work pretty well.

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    I think your new graphics look much better. Your old ones weren't bad tho. You just need to make sure your background graphics don't overpower your character and other foreground graphics.

    Asesprite is a great editor. Pro NG is a solid competitor but not as necessary since you have Asesprite.

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    @Shadeve : Much better and cleaner, contrasts are also better. I've played around with your screenshot a bit to illustrate some concepts that could help you to improve your art further (little pink circles)

    Characters: Have to contrast very well to the back, so maybe apply colors that are not used often in the scene. You work with ultra small resolution 320 x 160 and very small sprites. I removed a lot of detail to make the core aspects of the sprite more readable. Avoid any pixel that is not essential to illustrate the anatomy of the sprite.

    Big left tree: Very good change. Lots of single color shapes. Corrected the outline (watch for jaggies). I don't think pitch black outlines contribute to the environment sprites, for the main character those are good to ensure contrast, but the trees blend in better without them. Use shadow color for outlines instead.

    Palm tree: The leaf-shapes were not right, watch out for correct overlaps, make sure the shapes of an object are right before you start coloring and shadows. I'm bad at palm trees , so my one does not look very good too.

    Dithering: Remember that many techniques in classic pixel art don't look good without CRT and on crisp scale up like factor 6 in your game. I won't dither here at all, the effect would IMO make no sense at this heavy scale anyway and even look odd/ add noise. Hyper light drifter uses no dithering at all, for example.

    Ground tiles (example grass): I would add bigger objects like leaves or flowers on rather solid ground color. Would be cool if your procecural generation would recognize edge tiles, so you could make them irrregular to obscure the tile based logic a bit.

    Big right tree: Made an example of how to recycle art. I took just one element of your tree, corrected the lines (jaggies, I know I'm repeating myself, bit this is just so important not to have). Then do some color variations, fade dark elements to blue a bit. Draw a basic branch layout and copy paste the leaf elements to it. Add details and irregular elements afterwards to obscure the recycling (not done by me). Also recycle tree elements as ground bushes Making good art costs a lot of time, so modify and reuse stuff whenever possible. Rather make few polished looking elements and recolor/ reuse than making a lot of different stuff without polish.

    Happy to see you're redoing stuff and are up for the challenge

    Very good tutorial here (also how to avoid jaggies :P) http://pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11299

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wererabbit View Post
    Asesprite is a great editor. Pro NG is a solid competitor but not as necessary since you have Asesprite.
    I would disagree. As a person who have use both Aseprite and Pro Motion NG, PM is much more convenient to use and features such as Multi Shade and formulas saves a lot of time you'd otherwise spend chipping pixel-by-pixel at your art while still having that good PA look. Yes, you need to get used to few things (unless you've used Deluxe Paint in the past), but when you do, you'll find it crushing the competition.
    @Julian82 has the righ idea in general, but I'd still add some dithering anyway, it'll make the shadows look softer, CRT or not, scaling or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkhog View Post
    I would disagree. As a person who have use both Aseprite and Pro Motion NG, PM is much more convenient to use and features such as Multi Shade and formulas saves a lot of time you'd otherwise spend chipping pixel-by-pixel at your art while still having that good PA look. Yes, you need to get used to few things (unless you've used Deluxe Paint in the past), but when you do, you'll find it crushing the competition.
    @Julian82 has the righ idea in general, but I'd still add some dithering anyway, it'll make the shadows look softer, CRT or not, scaling or not.
    I made my first animation in Deluxe Paint back in 1994? 95? - gosh it's been a while. Frankly, either Aseprite or PM are miles and away ahead of DP. It's a brave new world, don't discount the advances in Aseprite because of a couple creature comforts in NG. There's a level of "Do I need this to survive, or is this going to work for me for now?" that plays a part in any program we purchase for development.

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