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Old 04 August 2015, 01:02   #1
trydowave
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questions about personal paint.

Hi all. thinking about doing some graphic work on Personal Paint

Maybe some backgrounds and sprites for a game. Not sure what res to use though and im not sure if u should use Dpaint IV vs personal paint

Any help would be appreciated and any more info on the subject of creating game graphics. What palettes to use etc.

Thanks
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Old 04 August 2015, 08:21   #2
Akira
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Personal Paint is very capable, I guess it'd be a matter of preference. I used to use a combination of both, DPIV for most of the work, and PPaint for converting to/from modern file formats like PNG and GIF.

Nowadays I just use grafx2 on my PC. I recommend it very much.
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Old 04 August 2015, 08:23   #3
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First you should know what resolution the game is going to use If it's oldskool classic Amiga game, 320x256 is common for PAL and 320x200 for NTSC. Occasionally some graphics can be hires-laced which doubles the mentioned resolutions.. but it's more restricted mode for the game usage, so it's mainly used as still pictures. You also should be sure what color depths the game is going to use. Is it AGA or OCS... It is better to pixel to the final resolution/colors, because it's laborous to start converting stuff to other specs later, and you'll probably get worse quality then. Games also may need some palette entries reserved for other use, or need some parts being transparent to get colored with copper effects, or have different palettes on different parts etc... so it's really better to ask from the coder what he wants, and have good designs first.

Choosing between DPaint and PPaint is mainly about personal taste. I prefer PPaint nowadays. PPaint has some good options to merge palettes between brushes, secondary images etc, and other nice palette conversion/handling options. And yes, PPaint supports more modern formats if you need that.

Resolution selected in painting program isn't that crucial, if you like to draw on a bigger area, you still can cut the smaller area out of it and save it as a brush to the final resolution. That way you can fit more objects to the same image which makes it easier to see and tune the same palette for all. But of course if you're drawing full screen images, then it might be more convenient to have the wanted resolution in the program too.

Last edited by jPV; 04 August 2015 at 08:32.
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Old 04 August 2015, 10:54   #4
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I also use PPaint regularly. DPaint is excellent of course but there's nothing I can think of that I miss when using PPaint, and PPaint also has the benefit of being able to import and export modern file formats, using plugins and filters, some good image processing functions and good palette managing options including a pretty decent colour reduction and dithering algorithm.

As for what palettes etc. to use, that really depends on what you're looking to do with the game. If it's for native chipsets you need to be very specific about your palettes, especially if you're intending your game to run on OCS or ECS machines. The more colours you use, the slower it will run so think about whether you need to do a lot of moving of large graphics. Also remember that OCS/ECS machines don't have as fine-grained palettes as AGA and RTG so colours that are very close to each other might end up being the same on the older machines. The palette itself can always be adjusted afterwards so fine-tuning can be done later.
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Old 04 August 2015, 13:33   #5
trydowave
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im aiming to do graphics for PAL OCS, so 16 or 32 colour palettes. Im new to PPaint but its starting to grow on me. I was just wondering if Deluxe paint had more features, especially when it comes to animation?

I found some guides to both on youtube but im looking for something that goes more into depth when it comes to creating sprites and backgrounds. A kind of a step by step guide for dummies. I consider myself a competent artist but I easily get lost when it comes to the technical stuff.

For example:

Do I need to create some kind of grid when making a character sprite with a 9 frame walk cycle? Does it have to be a certain width and height?

When creating backgrounds do I just make bits and them arrange them in different places, so the same tree can be used over and over etc. Is there a limitation on the bits I can make? I think sprites can be used for background objects too right?

Whats the process of creating a sprite, Ive seen some people starting with a silhouette and then painting on top of it for example.

How to create palettes, working with the best colours (something i'm not very good at even with traditional painting)

Matching the highlight colour of say a spaceship sprite to the background colour so it doesn't appear to have a black outline around it.

Id like to get info on the entire process first rather than making lots of mistakes. Time restraints and all that.

I know my way around Photoshop and there's tons of learning material, video gudies etc out there for it. It would be simpler to use PS or another program dedicated to pixel graphics on the PC but I want to get the full Amiga experience so Ill be working on my A1200.

Once I get the hang of pixel art (if I do) I'll start looking for other people who are interested working on a project.

Last edited by trydowave; 04 August 2015 at 13:50.
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Old 04 August 2015, 15:30   #6
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First of all, wether you choose Dpaint or Ppaint, good thing is, you can switch to other one since you can save/load pictures made with both on each other. Except of course some more modern formats which Dpaint doesnt support while Ppaint does, but even then you can first save it to some other format in Ppaint and then load it in Dpaint again.

If I am understanding right, you are someone who draws, but doesnt have almost any idea from the technical point of view/limits when making a graphics for games.

Today things are different, but if you are aiming to make some OCS/ECS/AGA game as it sounds, then one thing you need to take into consideration is, that there can only be displayed certain amount of colors at once.

So if you aim for 16 colors, that means both background as well as your characters (sprites/bobs) need to use those same 16 colors.

There are ways to get round this a bit. Like you could have a character wearing all kinds of green shades and another guy wearing all kinds of blues shades having more than 32 different colors in total in your characters, but then it needs to be taken care of, that these two characters dont appear on screen at same time, or there wont be enough colors to show them all.

If you have Civilization AGA, you can check some pictures in it, and notice that their palettes cotain lots of same black colors. I suppose the idea is exactly what i just described, that they are using certain number of colors in certain places, so that different pictures arent restricted to using exactly same 256 colors as others are, but they can have some variation. That colors 1 - 32 for example are reserved for sprites or something, while rest 33 - 256 can be used as artist wants.


Another thing to notice about color restriction is, that if you plan to make parallax scrolling game (that means the background and foreground are running separate) the usual way, then you have even less colors to use, since this background and foreground both reserve their own color palette to use.

Logic goes following. in AGA there are 8 Bitplanes to use. Each bitplane can contain 2 different states.

therefore, combining 2 bitplanes together, gives you 2x2 colors = 4. Combining 3 Bitplanes together gives you 2x2x2 colors = 8 and so on.

To a maximum of 8 bitplanes put together, making 256 colors.

These bitplanes can be separate from each other, making parallax scrolling possible, and you can choose to for example use 2 bitplanes for background and 6 bitplanes for foreground.

This would mean that you would have 4 colors to use for background scrolling stuff, and 64 colors for foreground stuff.


Therefore, before deciding about your color palette, you first need to know the technical aspects of the game.


Then to actual making of sprites.

There are different ways to make them, but i would suggest you first draw same sized rectangles, then draw your characters inside these same sized rectangles. This is easiest way for programmer to get your movement right.

As example, lets take picture of character jumping.

If you simply draw your guy jumping in different postitions, and then you always just take a sprite exactly of the size of your guy, the end result is, that the guy would all the time be touching ground, even when at maximum height jump position, unless the coder makes the code so that it automatically moves that sprite to different heights depending upon the imagae. This however, would be a lot of trouble.

It is much better from programmers point of view, that you make rectangles, anddraw your guy inside those rectangles into right positions. That for example, in case of the maximum jump height picture, you would draw that guy to the upper position of the rectangle, and there would be couple of empty lines at bottom of that rectangle.

This way programmer can make the program in such way that it simply moves the sprite towards for example right, and keeps changing the image of that character, and while from technical point of view there is only a sprite moving towards right, from players point of view there is a character that is jumping.

Hope this helps something and hope i still remembered things right since its bit of a time i have last time been working with these kind of graphic limitations.
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Old 05 August 2015, 11:44   #7
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Yep, as regards grids and background formats, it entirely depends on how the game is coded. Some games might load a single bitmap containing all the animation frames in 40x40 pixel rectangles for example and cut them out into individual shapes afterwards. Others might load each frame as a separate, small bitmap. Same for backgrounds, some code might use tiles to repeat regular patterns, others might just load one large bitmap and scroll around that.

If you are writing it yourself, I would suggest doing some simple placeholder graphics until you have the engine working, then you can figure out what limitations you have and what the best format for each image might be.
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Old 05 August 2015, 16:04   #8
trydowave
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I wont be writing it as I'm hopeless when it comes to things like that.
I see now that its a back and forth between the programmer and the artists. I'm not part of a team so I'll just mess around making sprites and backgrounds at any size and colour palette, no limitations, in order to get the hang of it.
Creating Pixel art is so different to painting and illustration with traditional media but luckily, there's tons of guides online to look at.
I'm sticking with Personal Paint as I prefer the look/feel of it even though I was a Deluxe Paint III user back in the day.
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Old 06 August 2015, 15:45   #9
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It could be interesting to find a developer who is in need of an artist - it often seems that way to me anyway, that it's more often the case that someone is either one or the other. I'm certainly in the developer camp, any time I've drawn graphics they've been functional but not exactly pretty. Games (other than very simple board games) aren't really my thing, but I'm sure if you could fine some classic game devs out there that they'd appreciate your help!

Enjoy yourself anyway, that's the main thing
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