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Old March 27, 2012, 03:23:51 AM
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hinorashi hinorashi is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mahogany Town
Posts: 199
Default Hino teaches spriting: Part 1 - Palettes

Hello! In this series, I am going to teach you how to actually sprite and pixel art. If you want to learn how to use cut and paste, please look elsewhere.

In this part, you should learn the very basics of colour selection.

Sprites typically function with a limited amount of colours ( depending on what they are meant for ). One of the most vital building blocks of a sprite are the colours which constitute it. The colours which make up the sprite as a whole are the 'palette'. The selection of colours and their shades are very important to give the illusion of depth, tone, and texture. I'd take it a step further and say that a palette is half of the sprite itself. the amount of shades of light, base, dark, etc. can vary but I will explain that in another section which will be on lighting.

One of the most vital things I can tell you is to avoid using extremely vivid colours. Take a look at the world around you.

Can you honestly see anything this bright? I didn't think so. It's best to subdue your palette a bit ( the amount is up to you ). Let's say you wanted a bright red for some reason.

Decreasing the saturation helps. In short, making the colour less vivid, but closer to a grey. As the RGB values approach each other closer, the colour becomes more of a grey in nature. An object being any pure colour is a bit silly of a notion, don't you think? Even the red on the right isn't ideal, but it's a definite improvement. As you can see in most colour selection, the very top are the most vivid tones and the bottom are greys. This will be semi-important coming up.

Your other tones should follow suit with this bit of colour knowledge you've aquired. As an object's light level decreases, it does not simply become a darker version of the colour. It also experiences a shift towards grey.

There's a difference between the left and right. The left simply decreased brightness while the right also decreased saturation a little bit. This can make the transition between tones a bit less harsh.

We can expand on these ideas in terms of atmosphere, light, and feel of the object.

This is a colour wheel. You should be familiar with it. Moving towards red or blue in your tones can make the whole feel more warm or cool. This can vary depending on environmental lighting and the like, but I won't confuse you with it right now.

To illustrate this, I have shaded the yellow.. lemon.. ball thingies differently. The one on the left is shifting towards blue, becoming more cool. The one on the right is shifting towards red, becoming more warm. As you can tell, though the base tone is a yellow, the darker shades which constitute it in their red/blue shift make it appear more of a green or orange-ish.

In short:
  • Objects generally are not pure colours.
  • Decrease saturation on your darker tones, they become more grey.
  • Play around with colour shifts. They can look pretty neat and change the feel of the piece.

Remember to practice, experiment, and observe. It's how you improve.

Last edited by hinorashi; March 27, 2012 at 03:29:35 AM.
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