Since there is a new art contest going on, I figured I’d share some information regarding spriting. I originally wanted to make a new video on the subject, since my skin creation tutorial is quite dated (and sounds bad), but I haven’t really had the time yet. My apologies to those who have already made their submission. However, most of these resources can be used outside of Realm as well.
I also wanted to announce that I retired from UGC/testing, simply because there are other things I’d like to do right now. I just don’t really care much for Realm atm, but I still enjoy spriting. I did leave on good terms though, so no worries about that. Just wanted to make that clear, since there may still be cosmetics or whatever coming out with my name on them. This also means I’m also not involved with the voting for this contest.
Anyway, resources! I’ll just be listing useful links under the different categories:
Since the RotMG art editor is no longer functional (can’t save/load), you may be looking for another program to use. Consider the following:
Paint.NET, my program of choice to this day. It’s free, it’s versatile thanks to user-created plugins and has a simple interface! When making animated sprites for realm, I liked making them in Paint and then using another program to animate them. There is a plugin that allows for animations in Paint (as mentioned in the skin tutorial), but there are better alternatives out there.
Piskel is a free program that you can run in your browser or download. I like its palette managing features and easy-to-use animation options. I believe that a combination of paint and piskel will get you far, but you can always opt to use only one. In the end I see it as a poor man’s Aseprite, but it’s not bad for a free program. Unlike the AnimationHelper plugin for Paint, Piskel shouldn’t mess up your colors (need confirmation)!
There’s also Lospec, a browser based pixelart tool, but I found it to be too simplistic, personally. Finally there is GraphicsGale, which is what Beige used. I haven’t tried it much, but it seems solid for creating animated pixelart.
I should also mention there is a trial version of Aseprite, which allows you to do everything bar saving. The actual program isn’t that expensive, but money can be tight.
Previewing your skins + sprite sheet arrangement
I wanted to put this in its own category, because its a very useful tool. Pfiffel’s dye tool now allows for previewing 8x8 character skins (though you can also just put 8x8 enemy sprites in there). This allows you to see how your sprite would look in Realm and check for errors easily. A valuable resource! If you’re unsure how the sheet should be formatted, check out this graphic I made recently:
One thing I liked about Aseprite are the pre-installed color palettes. However, you don’t need Aseprite to find a good palette. Lospec’s website has a plethora of great palettes for you to mess around with.
If you want to learn how to pick colors manually, I really liked this tutorial by MortMort. It teaches the importance of carefully tweaking the hue, saturation and value settings when choosing your colors. In the next category there I also mention a tutorial on coloring.
Some pixel artists out there have made very informative tutorials, usually in bite-sized fashion. First we have Miniboss, who’s made over 70 small tutorials. The link will take you to his Tumblr page.
Next up is Aamatniekss. Not much to say here, just a talented artist. The tutorial linked here is for creating trees, but he has many other tutorials (example: hue shifting)
Another good source of information is RHLPixels. This link goes towards one of his tutorials on color palettes, mentioning the importance on using a low amount of colors (FeelsLHv1MarbleColossusMan).
And then, a mention goes towards Cyangmou, who in this case talks about shapes and outlines.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to Cure’s general pixel art tutorial, which covers most of the above and more.
The end (for now)
That’s all I got for now. I feel like I’m missing something, but maybe I’ll remember later. Realm’s artstyle is a bit of an odd one, with 16x16 being the largest sprite size and the general style being all over the place, but hopefully these links can help at least a little bit. In any case, happy spriting!