Classic gaming sprites. Back in the day when simple graphics were all the home consoles could muster, each pixel on the screen were blown up to full effect. One odd color was the difference between perfection and an incoherent mess of blocks. They've made a comeback for smartphone and downloadable games since they are small in bytes and big on effects, creating an instant feeling of nostalgia. I tried my own hand at making these for the sake of a little art project on my iPhone. Here are a few tips and rules of thumbs for making your own Famicom style characters on your iPhone or iPad.
Apps to Use:
Sketch Club - Dots - Sprite Something (Advanced)
My app of choice for this particular project is Sketch Club (is there anything Sketch Club can't do?) It has a pixel brush which can be as big or small as required and can even have a 3D shadow effect which was pretty cool. I played around with Dots and while the same information can be applied, it lacks the layers function which I will refer to. However this can easily be overcome by drawing overtop each step.
1: Create a Foundation
Sprites are very intricate and require symmetry (where it evens out on both sides.) what you'll need to do first is create a cross or plus using two straight lines. Staying close to these lines will anchor your work and will make it easy to count how many pixels each side spreads outwards. If it’s still difficult try making a secondary line on the x axis but only mark every other pixel. This makes it even easier to count.Sketch Club users: Tone down the opacity of this layer and start working one layer above.
Dots users: Proceed by working above the anchor and eventually erase it.
2: Skeletal Structure
Tip: Remember to avoid hard edges or a 'boxy' look. Organic forms have smooth, curvy forms which unfortunately are harder to pull off when using pixels. Some clever coloring in the next step or literal cutting of corners will help rectify this problem.
Sketch Club users will want to go up another layer higher while Dots users can paint over progress already made. Start with basic colors for skin, clothes and begin drawing hair.
It's at this point Dots users can start doing away with our cross guideline that we created earlier. Things are starting to come together but we need a little definition.
All images Copyright: Jason Rodway