.com.unity Forums
  The Official e-Store of Shrapnel Games

This Month's Specials

AATF - Save $5.00
winSPWW2 - Save $5.00

   







Go Back   .com.unity Forums > Illwinter Game Design > Dominions 3: The Awakening > Scenarios, Maps and Mods

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 04:09 AM
Burnsaber's Avatar

Burnsaber Burnsaber is offline
Colonel
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,617
Thanks: 179
Thanked 304 Times in 123 Posts
Burnsaber is on a distinguished road
Default

This is a tutorial on using excisting Dom3 graphics to make new units. If one has artistic talent, he probably is able to create good looking sprites from scratch (see some mods by Amos, for example), but the rest of us will have to do with what we have got. When I first started modding and tried doing my own artwork, the results were.. not too encouraging. Then I decided to take a easier route and even managed to get some compliments for my artwork. In this tutorial, I'll show step-by-step on how I edit the humble Peasant into a fierce Rabble Rouser.

I use GIMP. So if you prefer some other image edit program, you might have difficulties following on what tools I exactly use. However the stuff I do is quite basic and should be able to be reproduced in all-image altering programs.

There are some things you should have done before starting to make a unit.

1)Have the spritedumps. If you don't have them, you can load them from this post (they're in the Spritedumps3.21.zip) They are large pictures which contain most unit sprites in the game. They are a must-have tool when editing, allowing you to easily skim large amount of graphics for intresting poses and equipment. Organized sprites are also a must have. Orginally done by EricM and expanded by other users. I've added the combined download to this post.

2)Have a clear picture on what kind of unit you are making and how it will look like. You'll notice that not having a proper plan cost me some extra work in the making of the Rabble Rouser.

3)Be prepared to quickly view the unit ingame. Use a modded SP game and alter one of the mods so that you'll replace some unit graphic with your own.

So the we'll be making today is a Rabble Rouser for my Holy War mod. Thematically speaking, he is a charismatic and religious peasant, able to recruit fellow peasants into the service of the awakening god by their immense charisma and fiery speeches alone. Artistically speaking this means that he is dressed like a peasant, unarmored, but he will have an inspiring pose.

I decide that the attack sprite of the regular dom3 Peasant will work as our base. Why the attack sprite? Well, this guy will be summoning regular peasants and thus be often seen with them ingame. It will help to differentiate him from regular peasant if he has different pose. The regular attack pose isn't too inspiring though, so we'll use a random guy I found in a spritedump as a help.

Step 1


Our starting point. When doing size 2 troops, I usually use a 64x64 canvas. The extra space is useful, especially when using parts from several sprites. Let's start by ”removing” the pitchfork. He'll have a pitchfork, but he won't be holding it like that!

Since I'm going to need the Pitchfork for later use, I first select it by lasso and copy paste it for later use. Then I remove the pitchfork with black pen (expect on the parts where it overlaps with the guy).

Step 2


Now let's put that random guy to use. I'm actually only intrested in his left hand, so I select it and fuse it with our peasant. After removing the peasants orginal left arm, we have a lot more inspiring pose, with slight miscolorings.

Step 3


Now were going to start recoloring the new arm. I first pick the lightest shade of white in the arm and do a box of it. Then I take the second lightest shade and make a box of it right next to the old one. Repeat until you have done a box with the darkest shade. This will give us a nice thick line of showing us the the different shades in the white arm. Now, since we will recolor the arm to the ”Peasant Brown”, I'll create a same kind of line but it will feature the shades of brown from the peasant garb. This line will be placed exactly beneath the old one.

Step 4


Okay, we have lines. What now? We can use the lines to easily view which white colors will be replaced by which brown colors. This way we can recolor it and still have the advantage of the shading in the orginal work! I usually fasten the job by using ”select by color” and ”fill with color” tools.

Let's see how the arm looks after we have replaced 3 lightest shades of white in the arm with the 3 lightest shades of brown from the garb.

Step 5


See the difference? Let's go all the way baby!

Step 6


Done! There are some pixels untouched, but we'll get to those later.

When I stated doing sprite works I constantly used this ”boxing” method and slowly got the hang of shading by seeing how KO had done it.

Enough rambling, onwards! Let's finish his pose and outlook. That Pitchfork has been laying around for too long. Let's give it back. I select it and rotate by 90 degrees.

Step 7


Ta-Daa! The pitchfork still has the fists of the orginal peasant sprite, but we will tackle that later.

This guy still looks a tad too much alike the orginal peasant. Beard will be a good way give him some authority. There are many well-haired inviduals in Dom3, but after some pondering I decided to use...
* drumroll *

Step 8


But, look! It's your friendly neighborhood EA Philosopher. Let's take his head before he starts to wonder where his legs went..

Step 9


Just in the spot! Remember, with beard comes great authority.

You're probably wondering about that torso of an Rhuax Anointed. To tell the truth we are not intrested in the guy itself, just his flaming fist. You see, the pitchforks and torches are clishee weapons of your average angry peasant mob. Making this guy wield both at the same time will give him ”the champion of peasants” look we are going for.

So what we do is make a makesift shaft and put the Spenta's flaming fist (after mirroring it) on top of it.

Step 10


Look at that, it worked! The shaft is a tad too long, but we'll fix that later.

That peasant head is there to provide his hat back (which I accidentally lost when replacing his head).

Step 11


Hatless man no more, our Rabble Rouser is starting to shape up. There a numerous clitches on him thought. Let's start to fix those.

Let's remove the extra fists from the Pitchfork and give him a proper grip on his large tool.

Step 12


Now that he is wielding his trusty pitchfork, our trusty (a)Rouser will be safe from any nearby Igors.

His right hand looks odd thought. Probably because it still has part of the orginal horizontal pitchfork shaft on it. Let's draw some peasant brown on top of it..

Step 13


His right arm is okay now. But the shaft of the old pitchfork still haunts us! His waist has that odd dark line because of it. Let's draw some brown on top it..

Step 14


Waist? Check. Remember how me missed some spots when recoloring his arm from white to brown? Let's fix that now.

Step 15


Now we are getting into fine detail, but he has that odd vertical dark line in his chest (it's from the orginal peasant sprite). Let's fix that.

Step 16


Now let's make that Torch more ”Torchy” by shortening it and giving some basic shading. We'll also fix the akward angle.

Step 17


Ok. All the minor clitches from our little game of ”mix & match” have been fixed. Let's see what we have created. Hmm.. This guy looks a bit too meek and orginal to be a charismatic leader. Those shorts look pretty redicilious on a old man. Let's try giving him a robe.

I pondered on the possibilty of using the under-waist of an existing unit, but I'd also like to show some ”heavy” editing in this tutorial, so let's draw him a robe by expanding his under-waist areas.

Let's start by recoloring his bare feet into peasant browns.

Step 18


Note that we could now easily go for leathry pants if we just erased his kilt. But I decided to do a robe and robe it shall be.

He has that empty space between his legs. Let's fill that with dark brown.

Step 19


Much better. But as you can see, the shading is not quite right. That's because I used just a single shade of brown. I'll now improve the shades by using several shades of dark brown (the darkest shades are reserved for the middle and lighter shades to the edges of the are we just drew).

Step 20


Ok, he now has a robe. At this point he felt confident enough to view this unit in-game. I can't provide a screenshot thought, because my laptop has a problem with that. Graphically speaking, he looked okay, but..

He still doesn't look too charismatic. It's probably his white hair. Why won't those damned young chaps of today listen their elderly! In my time I remember...

You see? Let's make him younger. But the Beard of Authority must stay. So let's just recolor his body hair. Ignoring Anime, we have 4 options for the color of facial hair. Black, Blonde, Brunette and Red. This guy is already too brown so brunette is out. And I'm not too hots on red hair myself. Black.. meh, he's not emo. So he'll be long beared blonde. Vikings for the win!

”Ok. You're going to make him blonde, but how will you know what colors to use in the recoloring? There are no blondes in the picture!” - Good Question. The anwser lies in the next pic.

Step 21


Our decapitated Ranger will provide us with his lustry long blonde hair. Using his hair as a palette, let's recolor the beard.

Step 22


Armed with the lustry blonde facial hair of a hero metal guitarist, our Rabble Rouser looks a lot more charismatic. But alas, his head looks a bit odd. Let's adjust it a bit..

Step 23


A lot better don't you think? He's still hunching a bit (like the regular peasant we used as a base). But this rabble rouser is full of religious fury, he won't hunch! Let's make him a tad taller so that he can stand over his fellow Peasants.

I select his torso and move it up by exactly 1 pixel.

Step 24


The path is clear! Let's clear that gap.

Step 25


Lot better. You just witnessed an easy way to make a sprite taller by couple pixels. The shading in his waist and chest looks a tad odd, thought. Let's address that.

Step 26


Now I viewed him in-game again and was happy with the results. Yipee! We're done! Call the dance orchestra! Let's paaarty!

Oh right... He still needs an attack sprite. But trust me, those are easy. The attacksprite is only visible for 0,5 seconds at a time, so you can slack a bit while doing the details in it. No-one is going to notice if the shading is a bit wonky or pose slightly akward. It's enough that there is some movement and that the sprite is ”attacky”.

We'll be using the basic Peasant pic as base. Let's go to business.

Step a26


When making attack sprites, it's good to put the units next to each other like this so that you can easily compare them.

The peasant has the attackery pose but lacks the facial hair and robe of our Rabble Rouser. Let's do some copy-paste magic..

Step a27


Ok. Let's ditch the pitchfork.

Step a28


Now that the hands are empty, we can give him something to hold on to.

Step a29


Torch? Check. Let's now give him his Pitchfork back.

Step a30


Ok, looking good. Let's do some fine-tuning thought. I'll select his torso and move it forward by couple pixels.

Step a31


Lot more aggressive, don't you think? Let's ditch the base sprite

Step a32


I viewed this in-game and was pleased. Remember to always test your sprites in-game. The different backround will usually reveal some graphical glitch that's hard to notice while editing the unit with a zoomed view.

And here are all the steps in a single pic.


Now that wasn't that hard, was it? If you feel like that was too hard, don't get depressed. When I started, I probably wouldn't have been able to make this kind of graphic, even with instructions from future me. Below are some pics of my earlier works and their base sprites. You can probably see how much simpler they are. I just wanted this tutorial to show lots of different tricks and perhaps even giving a tip or two to unit makers with some experience under their belts.



As a finale here are some tips on sprite editing
- The quality of KO's artwork has just gone up in the years. If you want especially high quality base sprites, aim to use sprites from newer nations, like Hinnom, Tir'na' Org, etc...
- Watch the sprites you are editing closely. Sometimes, do not copy-paste things right on top of the pic. Just take expample from the piece and reproduce it by pen. I learned to do shading by taking example from KO's sprites.
- From time to time, do small areas of sprites (arm, swords, jewelry) by yourself to hone your skills. Attack sprites are good for practice, since it won't matter too much even if it's not quite high quality.
- Your fellow modders have also made numereous good sprites. Don't be afraid to use them as base sprites (it would probably be best if you ask them for permission first.)
- Read all of this thread, there is some useful art discussion from page 2 and onwards.
- If some part of a sprite is proving difficult, ponder on options: Can you 1)copy it somewhere? 2) cover it with something (shield?) 3) Change pose so that the difficult obcejct is no longer visible? 4) Just change the theme of the pic so that you delete the difficult item (head proves difficult? Why not give it a helmet? Long hair? Hood?)
- If something just seem impossible and/or frustating, work on something else for a while to hone your skills and then try again. Try to keep it fun!

I'll also show my hearthful support for you soon-to-be editers out there. If you post your pics to this thread, I'll give some comments on them. Besides, it will be useful to have lots of that kind of discussion in single thread.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Organized_Sprites_to_3.21.zip (6.11 MB, 1042 views)
File Type: zip Spritedumps3.21.zip (2.94 MB, 811 views)
File Type: zip Editing Tutorial pics.zip (94.8 KB, 414 views)
File Type: zip newLongdeadSprites.zip (11.4 KB, 325 views)

Last edited by llamabeast; January 10th, 2011 at 04:01 PM.. Reason: Added tag
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 05:04 AM

llamabeast llamabeast is offline
National Security Advisor
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 5,921
Thanks: 194
Thanked 855 Times in 291 Posts
llamabeast will become famous soon enoughllamabeast will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

You're a legend Burnsaber, that's a really excellent tutorial. It seems we use very much the same methods on the whole. I think that kind of systematic bit-at-a-time with lots of copying and comparison with existing sprites is definitely the way forward.

Once or twice I've made original sprites from scratch (like the Anubite in Tomb Kings, which is definitely not my best work but is tolerable). When I did that I simply drew something from scratch which was absolutely terrible, and then went through similar processes to those here to gradually converge on it being tolerable.

Oh, one other thing. When you want to change the colour of something, you can just select it (using the select-by-colour or some other clever method in GIMP), and use Hue-Saturation (or Colourise for grey things). I use these loads, and might, for example, use them to make that grey arm brown. It generally takes a bit of messing around to match the colours correctly, but probably saves time. In simpler cases (e.g. I want this red robe to be blue) it saves loads of time.

Actually all the options under "Colours" in GIMP get lots of time from me. I like Brightness-Contrast too. For example, when doing the skeletal horse in Nehekhara, I started by copying KO's skeletal horse, but it didn't have proper ribs. So I just drew the ribs in, using only two colours (light for rib, dark for in-between-rib). Then I needed to add shading, which could have been laborious. Instead I selected say the bottom four-fifths of the rib cage, and made it darker using Brightness-Contrast. Then I selected say the bottom three-fifths and did the same again. Then a few times more with smaller sections each time, so the very bottom bit got darkened quite a few times. I might then have decided that the back of the ribcage should be darker than the front, and darkened another couple of selections. By darkening regions in thsi iterative way it's easy to end up with really nice shading without too much work.
__________________
www.llamaserver.net
LlamaServer FAQ
My mod nations: Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts
A compilation of high quality mod nations: Expanded Nations Packs
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to llamabeast For This Useful Post:
  #3  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 05:06 AM

llamabeast llamabeast is offline
National Security Advisor
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 5,921
Thanks: 194
Thanked 855 Times in 291 Posts
llamabeast will become famous soon enoughllamabeast will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Actually maybe the horse ribcage was a bad example, because the shading there isn't especially complex. I guess I did that in maybe three selections-and-darkenings. I've been doing bigger sprites recently (for my forthcoming late-game summons mod), and shading them is rather more arduous.
__________________
www.llamaserver.net
LlamaServer FAQ
My mod nations: Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts
A compilation of high quality mod nations: Expanded Nations Packs
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:09 AM

Sombre Sombre is offline
BANNED USER
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,463
Thanks: 165
Thanked 324 Times in 190 Posts
Sombre is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Man my methods are completely different from that. A cool tutorial though. Hopefully it will wean people away from copying resizing and pasting graphics from other places (which looks awful in my opinion).

I guess I could do a step by step for the next unit I do, though it wouldn't involve tool explanations since I doubt anyone else uses PSP. Would probably just be a series of graphics with comments.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:59 AM

llamabeast llamabeast is offline
National Security Advisor
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 5,921
Thanks: 194
Thanked 855 Times in 291 Posts
llamabeast will become famous soon enoughllamabeast will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Hmm, intriguing. I wonder what your methods are Sombre.
__________________
www.llamaserver.net
LlamaServer FAQ
My mod nations: Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts
A compilation of high quality mod nations: Expanded Nations Packs
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 10:11 AM
Burnsaber's Avatar

Burnsaber Burnsaber is offline
Colonel
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,617
Thanks: 179
Thanked 304 Times in 123 Posts
Burnsaber is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamabeast View Post
You're a legend Burnsaber, that's a really excellent tutorial. It seems we use very much the same methods on the whole. I think that kind of systematic bit-at-a-time with lots of copying and comparison with existing sprites is definitely the way forward.
Oh, I'm a legend now, like Conan the Barbarian? Sweet. Now I just have to wait for the scantily-clad busty chicks to show up.

Yeah, the constant copying also has the nice side-effect of making the finished sprite seem "dominionsy", easily fitting in with the rest dom3 graphics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamabeast View Post
Once or twice I've made original sprites from scratch (like the Anubite in Tomb Kings, which is definitely not my best work but is tolerable). When I did that I simply drew something from scratch which was absolutely terrible, and then went through similar processes to those here to gradually converge on it being tolerable.
Well, I've also done sprite by hand. The "Manifestation" pretender in Alugra. But he's not a human, more like a geographical shape so he doesn't count (anyone can draw a star).

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamabeast View Post
Oh, one other thing. When you want to change the colour of something, you can just select it (using the select-by-colour or some other clever method in GIMP), and use Hue-Saturation (or Colourise for grey things). I use these loads, and might, for example, use them to make that grey arm brown. It generally takes a bit of messing around to match the colours correctly, but probably saves time. In simpler cases (e.g. I want this red robe to be blue) it saves loads of time.

Actually all the options under "Colours" in GIMP get lots of time from me. I like Brightness-Contrast too. For example, when doing the skeletal horse in Nehekhara, I started by copying KO's skeletal horse, but it didn't have proper ribs. So I just drew the ribs in, using only two colours (light for rib, dark for in-between-rib). Then I needed to add shading, which could have been laborious. Instead I selected say the bottom four-fifths of the rib cage, and made it darker using Brightness-Contrast. Then I selected say the bottom three-fifths and did the same again. Then a few times more with smaller sections each time, so the very bottom bit got darkened quite a few times. I might then have decided that the back of the ribcage should be darker than the front, and darkened another couple of selections. By darkening regions in thsi iterative way it's easy to end up with really nice shading without too much work.
Sounds cool. I'll try that sometime.

I really don't use that "boxing" method I descripe in steps 4-7 anymore , but I remember that it was a great help to me when I was starting.

I'm just a bit scared of the advanced GIMP tools. I remember completely spoiling some graphic of mine with the "smudge" tool. Since then, I've just been using my trusty Pen. You can't go wrong with Pen. But on the other hand, my biggest sprite is the Big Ape hero (size 4), so I haven't encoutered any super-large areas to shade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sombre View Post
Man my methods are completely different from that. A cool tutorial though. Hopefully it will wean people away from copying resizing and pasting graphics from other places (which looks awful in my opinion).

I guess I could do a step by step for the next unit I do, though it wouldn't involve tool explanations since I doubt anyone else uses PSP. Would probably just be a series of graphics with comments.
Yeah, I also find the copy-elsewhere graphics horrendeous. They often have wrong perspective, proportions, size and just do not fit in.

I'm also intrested in hearing about your methods.
__________________
I have now officially moved to the Dom3mods forums and do not actively use this account any more. You can stll contact me by PM's, since my account gives e-mail notifications on such occasions.

If you need to ask something about modding, you can contact me here.

See this thread for the latest info concerning my mods.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old April 2nd, 2009, 12:36 PM
Endoperez's Avatar

Endoperez Endoperez is offline
National Security Advisor
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Eastern Finland
Posts: 7,110
Thanks: 145
Thanked 153 Times in 101 Posts
Endoperez is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Excellent! I'm doing basically the same thing, except that I haven't tried to change the existing sprites that much.

This really should be put into a FAQ or something.

P.S. Llama, your first post appeared twice.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old April 3rd, 2009, 04:23 AM
hEad's Avatar

hEad hEad is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: WA, Australia
Posts: 228
Thanks: 18
Thanked 7 Times in 5 Posts
hEad is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Excellent tutorial Burnsaber. I have been wondering how to get into sprite making and this is the very thing, thanks very much!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old April 4th, 2009, 04:49 PM
Edi's Avatar

Edi Edi is offline
National Security Advisor
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 5,425
Thanks: 174
Thanked 695 Times in 267 Posts
Edi is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

Hmm, I thanked, but seemed to forget to post. So, better late than never...

Absolutely excellent work, Burnsaber. As llamabeast said, legendary. The community owes you one for this.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old April 4th, 2009, 05:16 PM

Aezeal Aezeal is offline
Lieutenant General
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,691
Thanks: 5
Thanked 39 Times in 31 Posts
Aezeal is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Sprite Editing Tutorial

I love your guide, might need to do things that way too, probably should actually.

my way of giving shades etc is that I just select the region I want shaded (usually select color and then a smallish value as treshold, I usually just try a few time and then decide which area I like best, goes very very quikcly) and then "brush" it with a lighter color on one side and a darker shade on the other side.. GIMP creates all sorts of inbetween shades that way. I think I mean that I use pressure sensitive coloring.

reading back I guess it's a bit what llama means, Burnsaber has a point, you can completely ruin a pic by doing to much.. but luckily Gimp give the option to undo step by step soo you can go back to where it's still good.

I also love doing bloodstains on weapons this way.

other stuff I've learned the hard way:
copy pasting from sprites = good
rotating 90/180/270/360/inverting etc = good
rotating it at any other angle = not good = ugly

And while Sombre has a point that resizing will nearly never get near the quality of his artwork it might still be better than you can create yourself if you are less artistic.. and your wanted sprites don't resemble anything existing. Just mind the edges is a thing I've learned .
__________________
Want a blend of fantasy and sci-fi? Try the total conversion Dominions 3000 mod with a new and fully modded solar system map.
Dragons wanted? Try the Dragons, Magic Incarnate nation.
New and different undead nation? Try Souls of Shiar. Including new powerfull holy magic.
In for a whole new sort of game? Then try my scenario map Gang Wars.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1999 - 2017, Shrapnel Games, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.